Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood & Bourbon
Genevieve "Gina" Elsworth
Unwanted child & unwanted childe
“I’m glad her brothers and sisters are in the compost heap behind Planned Parenthood!”
Gina looks as young as she is, with a smattering of freckles to complete the look and draw out the creeps. The youth, combined with her slight frame and large eyes gives her an appearance of innocence, almost naivety, that she uses to lure plenty of victims in to sate not only her own thirst but that of her krewemates. Topping off at just over five and half feet, it is her build that really sells her youth, a body she’s never quite grown into and never will. A slim, almost too slim frame combined with high autocratic cheekbones. Not shapely, much less voluptuous, the look that two decades ago rose and fell as heroin chic.
She died with long hair—a blessing—though few see it in the state she died in. Instead, she dyes it all manner of colors to suit her mood. Some nights she’s a blonde, others a redhead, others a brunette. Natural colors, but those that shake up her identity. When she gets tired of one look she shaves her head before daysleep. When hunting she regularly opts for red—as her krewemate Ken observes, it seems to draw the creeps in like moths to a flame.
A few harpies have taken aim at the low-hanging fruit of her changing appearances, drawing unfavorable comparisons to Coco Duquette. Despite the humiliation she’s endured publicly at their hands Gina remains unchanged, and the topic has faded from interest: why bother wasting their time on the slip of a girl?
Damnation has not cured all that ails Gina. She remains as insecure about her appearance as she ever was in life, in some ways more so as she can do so little to change it. To cover it up she obsessively spends the first hour each evening perfecting her appearance—covering up blemishes, trimming stray hairs, and often layering cosmetics. The results are mixed. The truth is nothing really covers up the fact that she looks like a teenager.
She used to dress up—fine dresses provided by her patron, the kind of elegant attire only the rich and famous could wear—but early in her Requiem she was mocked for “looking like she was headed to prom” by the harpies. The digs got to her in a way that similar attacks comparing her to Coco did not, and it wasn’t long before she reverted to her preferred wardrobe from life: t-shirts, pants, jackets, tank tops, shorts, tennis shoes or flats. This of course only encouraged those same harpies to savage her for the change, but those attacks drew much less blood. “I don’t have much to show off anyway,” she admits privately to Ken. Besides—her street cloths are more modest anyway. These nights she only dresses up for mass, dressing up for church in somber understated dresses, and commonly changes afterwards into something more comfortable.
Name: Genevieve Trinity Elsworth
Date of Birth: March 5th, 1999 (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Date of Embrace: Prior to March 22nd, 2016 (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Apparent Age: Late teens
Real Age: Approx. 20
Weight: 101 lbs
Eye Color: Green
Hair Color: Black
Education: Some high school
Occupation: Gina never held a job prior to her Embrace
Religion: Monachal Sanctified
Gina was a mistake: her mother told her as much when she was a small child and never let her forget it. Gina ruined her life, she said, destroyed her dreams, got in the way: she should never have been born. If her mother had had the choice, she’d have aborted Gina. She’d have braved a back alley abortion and left her in the bottom of a dirty dumpster if she had to, if they’d have let her.
“It’s fitting,” Gina laughs behind an insincere smile, brushing her hair back behind her ear, “that I’d be a mistake as a vampire as well.” The words hide a bitter hurt.
Gina’s mother, Erika, conceived her at fifteen. It was a blow to the upper middle-class parents who had tried so hard to conceive Erika in the first place. Erika, their miracle baby and only child. She wanted an abortion. They refused, dug in their heels on pro-life arguments. The child was a gift from God. Erika told her parents she’d been raped, but their position didn’t change: it wasn’t the child’s fault. She told them he’d been a black man, that she didn’t want to carry a black baby, to give birth to a mixed-race rape baby that would mark her forever. They chided her for her racism even as they winced at the thought, at the looming scandal. Both were staunchly pro-life in a state that required parental consent for the rare abortion services available. They forced Erika to carry the child to term. “It’s not the child’s fault,” they told her. She disagreed.
The baby girl that popped out after eleven hours of excruciating labor was pristine and white as driven snow. Erika’s parents never forgave her lies. Erika never forgave them for forcing her to endure the humiliation: they kept her in school until just before her due date. Everyone knew. Everyone saw. The whispers followed her up and down the halls: what a disgrace she was, how stupid she was for not using a condom, how she was a slut. That she never named a father only made it worse. Had she gotten around so much that she couldn’t even be sure whose it was?
Her parents told her she could still make something of her life, that she could go back to school, still get her degree only a little behind schedule. They said that this didn’t have to define her life. Erika disagreed. She was ruined and she wanted them to know it. Wanted them to see it, to suffer watching her life fall even further to pieces. Wanted to rub in their faces that they’d chosen some bitch whelp over their only daughter. It was their fault, after all—and what did she care if she fucked her life up more? She was already ruined. Acting out and hurting herself became her weapon against them.
Gina doesn’t remember very much of her mother from the early years. She was raised by her grandparents. They tried to love their granddaughter and raise her well. But for all their pro-life views, they could not get over the fact that she was a symbol of the divide between them and their daughter. That she was, in some part, to blame for what happened afterwards. Gina’s mother showed up now and then for birthdays or holidays. Those days often ended in nasty fights. Erika never made it to back to high school after giving birth. She fled home at 17, living with a string of boyfriends and working service industry jobs. The lifestyle led to heavy drinking, smoking, and eventually illegal drugs, both soft and hard.
Gina distinctly remembers, when she was six or seven, going to bail her mother out of jail with her “pop-pop.” She learned later that her mother been picked up for possession. Gina’s grandparents brought her along in the hopes that they could use her to help manipulate Erika into entering a rehab program. It didn’t work. She skipped out that night from her parents’ house with her daughter’s half-full piggy bank and went right back to the life.
“Get my life together for my daughter?” she snarled, accusatory finger directed at Gina. “My life would have been fine if it hadn’t been for that little bitch in the first place.”
They tried to cover Gina’s ears. They were too slow.
Gina grew up with unavoidable self-image problems: if no one else wanted her, how could she want herself? Her grandparents decided they’d been too gentle to accommodating to her mother, that they’d failed her. They swore not to make the same mistakes with Gina. Strict curfews, high expectations, and conservative values were the order of the day. On the surface, they succeeded: Gina was a straight-A student. She was on the high school swim team. She presented herself as a polite and demure young lady. Under the surface, sharks swam in an inky black abyss and ate her up from the inside.
Her scourges weren’t unusual: they were the scourges of a generation. She obsessed over her appearance. It led to obsession over her weight. She was all too ready to leap into the grasp of bulimia when she saw a special about it on the news. She wasn’t hurting anyone, she reasoned, not even herself. She was making herself better. The quest for academic perfection opened the door to moral intransigence. First was trading for Adderall and Ritalin at school. It wasn’t as though she was actually doing drugs—they came from a pharmacy, for God’s sake! Just something to make it a little easier to manage a courseload full of AP classes. All the high achievers at school used them, whether they had prescriptions or not.
Eventually, it wasn’t enough to keep up with all the extracurriculars she and her grandparents piled on. Her grades started to slip. Her grandparents tightened their hold on her. Cheating on assignments and tests came easily enough: like the drugs, it was rampant. Copying homework, plagiarizing papers, little things. Just things that saved her time, she said, things that let her fit more into her days.
She didn’t really believe it, though, even when she told herself otherwise. All of it simply made her feel like more of a fraud. A fraud physically, her appearance the product of her shameful habits. A fraud academically, cheating and using drugs to get ahead. A fraud in her Christian youth group, where she pretended to be an icon of purity. A fraud to her friends, who she lied to and told everything was all right, about how perfect her life was. They said she was smart, but she was just a cheater. They said she was beautiful, but they didn’t see the ugly things that she did to stay that way.
The pressure built throughout high school. It hit peak in her junior year as the combination of high expectations, mounting extracurriculars, and strict controls on her social life (to prevent her from ending up like her mother) nearly drove her to a nervous breakdown. She had to get away—needed to get away—at least some of the time. She started sneaking out at night, meeting up with her fashionably miscreant classmates, the kind that did “edgy” things like sell their Adderall to her. Drinking was typically involved. She lost her virginity in one of those meetings in the backseat of a battered 1998 Honda Civic. She barely remembers that night, but it left her paralyzed with fear for almost a month. What if she ended up pregnant like her mother? What if she was ruined too?
The pregnancy scare drove her from her hangouts, but not back home at night. Certainly not to the straight and narrow. She continued to sneak out and fell in with a young artist she saw tagging one night. He was confident, rebellious, and free in all the ways Gina wasn’t. Maybe he took pity on Gina. Maybe he was attracted to her. Whatever the case, he invited Gina to meet him again the next night.
There was a freedom and rebellion in the petty vandalism of graffiti. I wasn’t long before she was adding her art alongside her companion’s, quickly discovering a remarkable talent for it. Never mind that she came back from those nights physically exhausted in ways she could well imagine: she needed the mental escape. As her talent flourished, her companion’s enthusiasm for it grew. He pressured Gina to join him more often, to sneak out every night. Gina couldn’t say no.
They were tagging at the top of an overpass when it happened. She was just so tired. Gina slipped, missed a step, and fell almost twenty-five feet to what should have been her death. Her “friend” tried to save her in the only way he knew how, but Gina was dead when she hit the pavement face-first. She didn’t rise immediately. She was left for dead.
Dead she was, but she eventually rose alone in the night. What came back wasn’t a ghoul.
Things got worse before they got better: her sire was captured and executed by agents of the prince—burned alive for Masquerade violations—before her existence was revealed to her fellow Kindred. She was subsequently captured by a hunter, Claire Malveaux, and left staked in a safehouse of the woman’s. The going theory is that Claire intended to induct a successor into life as a hunter and use Gina as their first kill. Nights passed. Gina fell into torpor. When she woke up, she looked like she’d been burned alive and was in terrible pain. She was sitting in a well-furnished living room, with no idea how she got there.
That’s where her bad luck ended. The prince’s childe, Caroline Malveaux-Devillers, was sitting across from her.
Gina has settled into her role as liar, temptress, and monster to mortals quite comfortably, with relish. She’s accustomed to viewing herself as these things, and her ability to be genuine, open, and honest about them with at least some others gives her a catharsis she never expected to find in life. After spending all her life pretending she was perfect, she’s at last able to accept not only that she isn’t, but that her flaws can exist to serve God’s will. Unlike Ken, she doesn’t view her Embrace as a curse as much a just desert. She acknowledges, like all the faithful, that she’s damned, but finds both irony and joy in the fact that it was only in damnation that she felt she could be who she really was, that she actually found a place. God truly does have a plan for everyone she’ll tell you. She might not even be wrong.
That duplicity towards the kine has not extended so easily to other Kindred. The truth is that many older vampires scare her more than a little—their decades or centuries of experience, the raw power they wield in the blood, the abject cruelty they’re not just capable of, but that so many actively embrace. She cannot help but feel like a child next to them, and leans heavily on the others in the krewe when interacting with others. It’s not helped by her relatively physical frailty—her gifts have not lent themselves to confidence among the Damned. More than a few other licks took merciless advantage of this in the first nights of her Requiem, and undoubtedly many still would if given the opportunity.
Perhaps because of that, perhaps because of desire for company, Gina is rarely found alone outside of the Giani Building, preferring to lurk in the shadow of either another member of her krewe or otherwise ‘friendly’ Kindred as identified by Caroline Malveaux-Devillers. She’s an agreeable companion, quiet, non-objective. More than anything else she seems to simply enjoy being a part of something, and she seems to have few objectives in her Requiem beyond terrorizing those that stray from the path.
• Hunting: Gina prefers to hunt with others of her krewe, taking particular satisfaction in luring in family men that stray from their wives to be terrorized by Kenneth. It lets her fully embrace the idea of being wicked in a way she’s less comfortable with when alone. Absent that she gravitates towards the ‘creepos’ of the world, the older men intrigued by her youth, who’s crotches bulge when she mentions she’s underage. She genuinely enjoys luring them into alleys, into stalls, back to their cars or their houses, only to brutally flip the script ambushing them with krewemates and leaving them in gibbering messes.
Despite the savagery the blood has given her in a rage her predilection towards such violent feeding, she’s far more conservative without her krewe. When hunting alone she favors helpless victims, preferring to break into houses to feed from sleeping victims, making good use of the skills she learned sneaking in and out of the house around her parents. These are visits of necessity, the grocery shopping of her Requiem contrasted with her preferred dining out.
• Hobbies: Left to her own devices, she fills nights mostly reading. She wasn’t allowed to watch much television in life and doesn’t have much taste for it. She does enjoy literature, though. Her haven bursts with tattered paperbacks from every genre: classical literature, science fiction, biographies, romance, mystery, even horror. She tries to make it a point to fit in a visit to a church nightly and feels bad when she misses a night—it’s one of the few things that can drive her from her haven alone.
• Artwork: The other is when she feels ‘it’. When an idea, an inspiration in her mind reaches fever pitch. Her artistic projects are relatively few and far between for a Toreador, but when they boil over drive her with all the frenetic energy that is her deathright. She claims they come from God. Her murals tend to be large, sprawling, colorful. They consume her entire night. She paints good and evil. She paints God and the devil, angels and demons. She paints faith and fury. They’re almost always hopeful images—rising from the ashes, casting down demons, the triumph of Christ over death.
Her murals—graffiti more vulgarly—have been met with a mixed reception by Kindred and kine both. Some kine have called them inspiring, have remarked on how their religious iconography is a welcome departure from the gang signs and self-glorification that dominate the ‘scene.’ One was even covered in a local magazine. Others have called it simply a more tasteful form of vandalism than some—but vandalism all the same. Most don’t last long before they’re defaced, tagged over, painted over. They live on only in her albums. Caroline Malveaux-Devillers has privately wondered if her destroyed lover Jocelyn would have preserved them.
Among Kindred, the divide is more strictly along generational lines. While some younger neonates, especially among the sanctified, have quietly complemented her work, among her clan writ large she’s been met by an especially chilly reception. Most critics refuse to even acknowledge it as art. Others have been even less generous. Pierpont McGinn reportedly offered a boon for delivery of her to his haven, no questions asked, so he could ‘teach her a lesson for her part in ‘niggering’ up the city.’ If true, no one to date has publicly taken him up on the offer.
She received a more welcome response among several Anarch krewes, even receive an open invitation to ‘tag’ several domains that she’s of yet left open.
It’s one of the least well-kept secrets in the city that Gina and the rest of the Red Right Hand make their havens in the Giani Building. Less well-known is the precise location of ‘her’ haven in the building on the fourth floor, a quaint one-bedroom apartment under an assumed name with inconspicuous but significantly upgraded security features, including a reinforced steel frame on the door, alarm system, and panic room featured in the bedroom.
Gina’s apartment is understated, more closely resembling a dorm room than the lair of an undead monster. The furnishings are all tasteful, but the personal touch is reflected more in the piles of abandoned books on tables and counters, scattered electronics and power cables, and mountains of unfolded laundry piled in chairs and the floor around her bed than in any actual decorum. It’s not exactly dirty—it’s difficult to generate actual filth when one neither eats nor sweats nor sheds skin or hair. Still, there’s an obvious neglect and unkemptness common in those living on their own for the first time, when they have no one to tell them to pick up after themselves.
A closer examination gives away interesting details. The lack of any family photos on the walls or shelves says all it needs to about her relationships with them. The few photos in the room are recent things, photos of her and krewe in celebration. The absence of food in the fridge (though she does keep a Brita pitcher full of water) screams the truth of her undead state—something she’s been chided for before. The piles of beauty supplies, cosmetics, hair dyes, and vast wardrobe paints a picture of her views on herself, of the effort she quietly puts into how she presents herself.
She rarely entertains (even her krewemates), preferring to visit others in their more well-appointed (and maintained) havens or on the Giani Building’s roof, where the krewe does its own entertaining when required. When she does plan on having others over she makes half-hearted efforts at cleaning, cramming books haphazardly on overflowing and ever expanding shelves, stray papers in drawers, and laundry both clean and dirty in her closet or bedroom—as company in question dictates.
Someone asked why she doesn’t paint in her apartment, instead leaving it with its dull cream-colored walls. Gina answered art was to be shared and enjoyed, not hidden or hoarded. Doing it indoors just felt wrong.
• Anarchs: Gina has received (relatively) warm overtures from several Anarch krewes, seeking to draw her into Mid-City, but has been wary of extended trust beyond her existing social circle: other vampires scare her and she has seen well just how duplicitous even those with the most friendly faces can be.
• Caroline Malveaux-Devillers: The Toreador’s affection for the prince’s childe is an exceedingly open secret. Whether she admires, respects, or lusts for her is a not infrequent topic of ridicule among the would-be-harpy crowd at Elysium, but those barbs draw little blood from her. In her mind, as she’ll happily tell, the young Ventrue is everything she wishes she could someday be: strong, fearless, certain of herself, and even moral.
• Kenneth “Ken” Sanders: Gina is closest to her krewe, and more than any other, to Ken. Despite how close the two are and the frequent suggestion that they are an item given the frequently with which they are together, Ken has gone out of his way to avoid ever actually ‘sleeping’ with Gina, barring the initial far-from-sexual blood bond the entire krewe initiated with each other. Ken’s fatherly nature makes her feel normal, his own lack of ambition makes her feel comfortable, and his physical prowess makes her feel safe when she’s with him.
• Catherine Ward: Catherine is a sort of big sister to Gina—the kind she isn’t sure she’ll ever measure up to, and worries she frequently disappoints. The ‘older’ Lasombra pushes her to expand her horizons and grow her ambitions, but the truth is Gina just doesn’t have a lot of drive for either, and makes an effort only to avoid disappointing Catherine. More than anything else, she doesn’t believe she’ll ever actually meet the standards Catherine seems to want for her—the same standards Catherine holds herself to.
• Warren Kontkowski: Warren has always looked out for Gina, but also kept her at arms length. That’s largely to her satisfaction, as the truth is the intensity and violence he is capable of intimidates her. She doesn’t dislike him, but the overlap in their interests is quite narrow, and his more frequent comings and goings as he has gained greater status and tightened his bounds with both the Snake Hunters and the Guard de Ville Status have only further separated them as they interact less and less.
• Malcolm Solomon: Less well known is the brief but fiery relationship she had with Malcolm Solomon while the two sought their sires and subsequent release. The two hit it off almost immediately, and his destruction while seeking vengeance against his sire deeply affected her. She keeps the handful of pictures of the two in her haven on display, sadly remarking to those that ask that he was her “prince charming.”
Gina has no domain to speak of, and covets none, though she wouldn’t mind expanded hunting rights. She makes her home in the apartment provided by her patron and has sought to cultivate little influence in the city, preferring to just ‘go with the flow’.
Though Caroline Malveaux-Devillers insisted all of the Red Right Hand take at least one ghoul, and most (including Gina) took two or three, Gina has proven superbly disinterested in her bound blood-slaves. They don’t quite ‘creep her out,’ but she vastly prefers to spend her time with her own kind where she’s far less the center of attention. While she appreciates the ghoul’s almost unfailing loyalty, their ‘can do no wrong’ view of her reminds her a little too much of the admiration her family piled on her.
Status: Ghouls •
Gina’s designated ‘security’ ghoul, Jimmy was one of a number of individual’s ‘auditioned’ to the Red Right Hand by Caroline Malveaux-Devillers’ through her own head of security, Brian Fuller. A prior Navy corpsman, he was more quiet, reserved, and introspective than many of the others when introduced. Gina was drawn to Jimmy when she saw him with a sketchbook. In his spare time (especially when waiting around) he’s often found with a pencil in hand sketching whatever strikes his fancy. Though less stocky than many of the security ghouls utilized by the group, Jimmy, like the others, saw actual combat in Afghanistan and is no pushover. Less well-known and advertised is that Jimmy regards himself as well and truly damned, deserving of his fate as a servant to Kindred masters, due to an firefight in which he shot and killed a woman and her infant child by mistake in Afghanistan—a split-second decision that has haunted him ever since. Jimmy’s frame is all wiry muscle built over a marathon runner’s long legs and lanky arms. His blonde hair is sharply offset by a patchy mustache he’s cultivated since his first days in the navy that Gina has coined ‘endearing’. Other opinions are more mixed, ranging from ‘you should shave that shit off your face’ to ‘you look like the child of a porn star and a child molester’.
Status: Ghouls •
Kathleen is the most recent building manager for the Giani Building. Smiling and motherly (at least around Gina), she presents a welcoming image for the building and prospective tenants utterly at odds with her existence as the ghouled servant of unholy monsters. A divorcée with no children, Kathleen was rendered sterile in a botched abortion that also destroyed her marriage. What even her husband didn’t know was that it wasn’t his child, and that the abortion was an attempt to hide that fact and save her marriage after her infidelity. In her own way, Kitty views Gina as the daughter she never had, the bond warping into a twisted maternal affection for her. The vampire’s failure to reciprocate any similar affection—and attempts to avoid her—no doubt contributes to her spending most nights with a bottle of wine. Kathleen provides most of Gina’s clothing—and other needs for that matter—frequently showing up at night with wrapped ‘presents’ for Gina. She tells the Toreador that they’re things she saw that she thought would look good on her, but the truth is her shopping is much more deliberate, and she feels a surge of pride on the rare occasions when Gina deigns to wear the outfits she’s provided. Kathleen looks like a woman past her prime—but only just. Her skin hangs a little too loosely on her arms and legs, her face has just the beginnings of wrinkles, her dark hair has just begun to thin, and there’s the slightest hint of a paunch at her stomach. She’s not ugly by any stretch of the imagination, but she’s the type of woman that young men have only recently stopped chasing, no matter how many cosmetics she dolled herself up with. At least that was true until the blood gave her just a bit of an edge on the average woman at a bar—enough to help her satisfy her growing and shameful appetite that Gina has privately used to help justify the woman’s damnation, citing, ‘she can serve until she learns the lesson she didn’t the first time’.
Much as with a domain, Gina has not actively cultivated pawns to date, though she has occasionally used her powers to help Ken or Catherine do so. Most influence she exerts is through them or through their patron, though her ghouls also give her not inconsiderable capabilities she has to date little exploited.
Gina’s role as the meek and timid member of her krewe has earned her no respect of note within the All-Night Society at large. She’s treated as more of a joke by some than anything else and has to date made no move to change the opinions of others on the matter. (Camarilla Status 0)
She has garnered more respect, but no meaningful influence, among the Sanctified, most of whom view her as a new lamb in their flock rather than an object of ridicule, and several of which have been impressed by the veracity and diligence with which she has taken to her role as a wolf of God. (Hardline Sanctified Status •)
Among Clan Toreador, matters are far worse. Led by luminary elders like Pearl Chastain and Accou Poincaré, and bolstered by vicious harpies like Veronica Alsten-Pirrie, Katherine Beaurmont, and Adelais Seyrès, the clan has less than no respect for more ‘modern’ styles of art, and actively distains the sort of ‘vandalism’ that Gina partakes in. Even among other Toreador that are largely looked down on by their distinguished elders like Abraham Garcia and Jocelyn Baker, Gina has been met with relatively chilly receptions: it’s one thing to practice an art form the elders hold as unworthy of acknowledgement (such as photography). It’s another entirely to practice one many actively abhor as damaging to the city’s grand history. They haven’t been entirely hostile towards her, but amid their efforts to gain more recognition of their own art forms, they are less than eager to notably associate with a pariah. (Toreador Status 0)
In contrast, Gina is well-liked among her krewemates, though Catherine has observed more than once that she wishes Gina took a more active role in her Requiem. Her willingness to always ‘back up’ her krewemates is a welcome thing, and like the rest she is (at least) one step reciprocally bound to each of them. (Red Right Hand Status ••)
• 11. Unknown sire
Trent Ambrose (e. early 21st century, d. 2015)
• 13. Genevieve “Gina” Elsworth (e. early 21st century)