Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood and Bourbon
Julius B. Baudoin
Counterfeiting mogul & jazz trombonist
“Talent borrows, genius steals.”
“You can’t copy something that isn’t wanted."
“Jazz was not built in the minds of the great ones, but on the backs of the ordinary ones.”
“Music isn’t an occupation or profession, it’s a compulsion.”
“Once you play the music, it’s in the air. It’s gone, and you can never capture it again. But when you record it, it comes back to haunt you sometimes.”
“Lissen to dat base-line of da sousaphone in ‘ya ‘tire body, da maynez-smooth slide of da trumpet an’ trombone, da snare drum rite like da beat of ya’ blood. Widout it, we’re nuttin’ but uh flat-line. Brass jass is da heart an’ soul of N’walins. Widout it, uh Cap cain’t git no hip-hop, no rap, no rock an’ roll. But da life-crowin’ beat an’ pure bliss of brass jass ‘came rite from mil’tary processions, ‘minding us to git joy e’en in wot’s uh whole lotta pain an’ death.”
where da saints
all come to play,
An’ da angels
dye der feathers
If you’s judgin’
by da shoes,
Gawd wus gay.
woik dat thang
down Magda Lane."
—Papa Juju singing Saints Been Lookin’, a piece allegedly dedicated to either Mary Allen or Maria Pascual. Pick your sinner.
Papa Juju never walks into a room. He saunters. Dances like a jazz funeral’ second-line. Sometimes, he even waves a handkerchief to match the part. But usually, he wields brass–for Caitiff or no, Julu Bleu seeks to be first-line. Indeed, those who look past his rhythmic stroll and honeyed movements glimpse the lurking, savage prowess of a quarter-ton silverback. He’s tall, barely hunched since his nights as a Bleu Devil dimeback. Back muscles like steel cables. Bass-drum chest. Buoy-belly capable of hurricane-force breaths. Long corded arms ideal for the trombone, but just as suited to shucking skulls like sugar peas.
Most, though, only see a black man whose enigmatic weight of years that could be anywhere from a hard four to a gentle eight decades. Hinting at the latter, his full goatee and high fade are powdered white as a beignet. His skin, though is supple, barely wrinkled skin, and brown and rich as Cafe du Monde’s chicory coffee. Like most brass disciples, his thick lips are calloused, and his cheeks are leather balloons. Coupled with his bulbous nose, bullfrog chuckle, and grandfatherly smile, Julius could fit the bill for a Creole Santa Claus–or Krampus when his fangs decide to solo. And then there’s his eyes. Hid behind sunglasses, Julius’ glaucoma-bloodied sclera surround blurry pupils of gasoline smoke. And when smoke turns to fire, those eyes burn crimson as a gator’s night-shine.
Yet, regardless of his mood, Papa Juju’s plangent voice is deep as Lake Peigneur and deliciously gravelly as liquid thunder. His gumbo-thick accent, however, is all New Orleans, a jambalaya of Caribbean-touched Ebonics and working class Yat. Some find his odd pronunciations comfortingly familiar, while others respond with delightful whimsy, upper class derision, or downright confusion. To each of these, Juju Bleu just smiles and says, “Maybe deese lips tawk rite, but yo ears jus’ lissen diff’rent.”
Julius spends most of his Requiem in three-piece suits made by the likes of Gucci, Bottega Veneta, and Ermenegildo Zegna–or at least convincing knockoffs of such Italian imports. Regardless of brand (or authenticity), he prefers black pinstripes and similar dark classics that equally suit a boardroom as a funeral procession. As Julius quips, “Dey’ll git me rite dead uh ‘nutter time, Cap, ’fore de’ll git me in uh Jacquard.” This understated elegance hints at his wealth like a subtle baseline, and his working class masquerade is augmented by innocuous white dress-shirts and perpetually askew silk ties that could either be luxury fashion or discount-rack discoveries. Clearly in the former, though, are Julius’ perennial sunglasses, watches, and shoes. Said to be a stage-musician’s gimmick, Papa Juju is rarely seen without a pair of expertly counterfeited Versace, Prada, or similarly well-heeled designer sunglasses. He accentuates these with convincing but ultimately fake Rolex, Patek Philippe, or Richard Mile timepieces, as well as equally false but quality knockoffs of Mauri, Uggo Vasare, or Ferrini wingtips or cap toes–all of which are accented with alligator leather.
During his rare forays outside such formal fashions–which occur solely inside Algiers Point–Julius can be spotted in baggy gym shorts coupled with a knock-off Saints’ or Pelicans’ jersey, sun-faded Mardi Gras swag shirt, or Nike knockoff tank top. In these circumstances, he retains his sunglasses and watches, but substitutes his formal footwear with replica Balenciaga, Jordans, or Salvatore Ferragamo sneakers. Such apparel suits both stoop-sitting and neutral ground gridiron. Either way, he often keeps a blender or party yard cup in or near his hand.
Yet, regardless of his attire or locale, Julius is never too far away from a musical instrument. Most commonly, it’s a brass instrument; such as sousaphone, euphonium, saxophone, trumpet, or cornet; or else a jazz-related wind or sting instrument like a clarinet, double bass, or electric guitar. On other occasions, it’s an instrument more suited to zydeco or the blues, such as a fiddle, accordion, banjo, washboard, or steel guitar. All of these he freely parts with, lending or gifting them to aspiring or hard-luck musicians. One instrument alone does he not share: his trombone. True, Julius owns a plethora of trombones, from a Civil War relic that allegedly was Kid Ory’s first instrument before meeting Buddy Bolden to a purple plastic trombone he played on K&B’s ‘96 Mardi Gras float. But Julius’ true trombone is a bespoke bass with clot-red rose nickel overlay, large-bore, fast-taper, and interchangeable lead pipes made strong enough to both withstand and accentuate Julius’ supernatural breath capacity. This trombone, which he dubbed ‘Salty Beans’ (an inversion of the local expression Les haricots ne sont pas salés), was gifted to Julius a decade ago by Ms. Lansdale after a post-Katrina jazz event, purportedly as a public token of Antoine Savoy’s favor.
Name: Dimetrice Herbert Pidoux
Aliases: Julius B. Baudoin (false legal name), Julius B. Bleu (stage and composing name), Jules (nickname), Juju Bleu (stage name), Meter (mortal nickname), Papa Bleu (stage name), Papa Dimes (counterfeit gang name), Terlet Dimes (mortal stage name)
Date of Birth: December 26th, 1936†
Date of Embrace: February 27th, 1979†
Apparent Age: Mid-50s to late 70s
Weight: 256 lbs
Eye Color: Pupils as black and hot as gasoline smoke surrounded by burnt umber irises and glaucoma-bloodied sclera
Hair Color: Once black as tar, now powdered white as a beignet
Complexion: Brown and rich as Cafe du Monde’s chicory coffee
† = alleged
“Lissen ‘ere cat’pillar,
dat cocoon dere
ain’t no coffin, mis’ser.
So stop yo cryin’,
cuz you’s ain’t dyin’.
Jus’ learnin’ you is
—Papa Bleu performing, Caterpillar Wings, on his first album, Sleep is the Baby-Mama of Death.
It’s a dubious honor to be the last man publicly lynched in St. Tammany Parish.
Julius’ debut into New Orleans’ All-Night Society occurred in February of 1979, during that year’s infamously cancelled Mardi Gras. While Don Vico’s Teamsters and the NOPD engaged in a wage war strike with Mayor Dutch Morial, most Carnival captains voluntarily called off New Orleans’ Fat Tuesday parades. A few krewes, however, simply moved their parades and parties outside the Crescent City, such as Endymion, Hercules, and the Krewe of Okeanos temporarily relocating to Kenner, Gretna, and Chalmette, respectively. St. Tammany Parish in turn hosted the New Orleans East krewes of Pontchartrain and Selena. These latter krewes’ parades occurred in Slidell, but Pontchartrain’s Coronation Ball was hosted in Mandeville’s historic Dew Drop Social and Benevolent Hall.
At that event, numerous musicians played, including a jazz trombonist by the rather ignoble stage-name of Toilet Dimes. That night, Dimes played his part and played it well, but he likely would’ve lived and died as just another hand-to-mouth jazz performer had he not been killed that night. Following the Ball, the black man allegedly attempted to rape a White woman beneath the eaves of the Seven Sisters Oak, and so a mob strung him up to one of the branches of the massive live oak, flogged his like a Carnival piñata, and left him to slowly asphyxiate as the bent bough barely allowed his toes to touch the St. Augustine grass.
He would have surely suffocated too, but his agony had just begun when a Cainite allegedly found him, drawn perhaps like a sadistic bloodhound to the scent of his suffering. The identity of that vampire is widely disputed (see below), but Julius claims it was a Bahari who drained him dry before resurrecting him with the vitae’s undying thirst. So Embraced, Julius was purportedly then left to fend for himself, which he did while leaving a trail of mutilated bodies as he fled west along the Tchefuncte River, before more permanently settling in Algiers Point.
Although Julius–a name he assumed post-Embrace–allegedly presented himself to Prince Vidal upon his arrival to New Orleans, and was permitted to reside in the city after being vouched for by Harlequin (a Kindred of no small respect). Still, vanishingly few of the city’s Kindred population saw or heard from the Caitiff during the ‘80s. Of those who had heard of him, most soon assumed he had perished in Algiers’ hinterlands. Instead, Julius spent much of this reclusive decade establishing the foundations of his counterfeiting ring. Supposedly, his first steps included creating and selling knockoff designer jeans to yuppies obsessed with Brooke Shields’ Calvin Klein ad or Guess Girls like Claudia Schiffer and Anna Nicole Smith.
When Julius broke his isolation in the early ‘90s, he did so with surprising vigor, frequency, and aplomb, becoming a regular fixture at Antoine Savoy’s parties. During such functions, the Caitiff was–and remains–most commonly seen as a musician, typically performing as part of a jazz band. Over the next dozen years, Julius helped reinvigorate Evergreen Plantation’s jazz club and become a publicly known acquaintance if not friend of Leon Gresseau and his circle of living socialites, celebrities, and VIPs. Julius’ reception amongst Savoy’s unliving associates was far more tepid, though, as most regarded the Caitiff as little better than a musically talented ghoul best suited to playing background music.
This heard but unseen role seemed to initially satisfy Julius, especially as it allowed him to build his counterfeiting empire largely unnoticed and unchecked by rival Kindred. The heart of this empire remained counterfeit consumer goods, particularly knockoff apparel and accessories such as Rayban sunglasses, Rolex watches, Nike shoes, and Louis Vuitton handbags. However, the advent of the digital age led Julius to expand his counterfeiting portfolio to include bootleg CDs, videotapes, DVDs, software, and similar media as well as counterfeit electronic components such as circuits, relays, breakers, fuses, cable assemblies, and connectors. Initially, most of these products were distributed by Julius’ predominately black, low class pawns via street markets in Algiers, the French Quarter, and Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Wards. Yet, over time, Julius’ ring gained contacts, suppliers, and markets beyond the Crescent City; including domestic connections in New York City, Boston, Houston, Mobile, Baltimore, Pascagoula, Detroit, and Cincinnati; as well as international partners in Vietnam, Nigeria, Singapore, Belize, Thailand, Albania, and Panama.
This multinational web of counterfeit producers and transits made Julius not only wealthy, but also skilled at generating fake IDs and similar documents as well as smuggling things and persons (particularly the unliving variety) in and out of the Crescent City. These latter talents earned the Caitiff a few boons and modicum of respect amongst New Orleans’ Kindred–though not enough to gain admittance to the Invictus. Similarly, despite Julius’ musical gifts, entrance into the Toreador guilds remained beyond his clanless grasp. Rather, his influence remained largely isolated within the Bourbon Sanctified, even if grossly overshadowed by Savoy’s then-inner circle.
As it did for so many, Katrina overturned Julius’ Requiem. During the hurricane, the Caitiff bizarrely stayed behind. Yet contrary to most of Savoy’s allies; such as Clarice Barbaret, Annie Pope, and Julius’ own lover, the Malkavian Julia Trilbey; Julius survived the hurricane and its aftermath, though he claims he was torpored for several months. When he did return to Savoy’s court, he found it greatly changed, with the old guard almost entirely replaced with younger neonates such as Peter Lebeaux and similarly aged expatriates like Natasha Preston and Reynaldo Gui. After Vidal executed Jared Buckner, Julius became one of Savoy’s longest surviving allies, alongside Rosa Bale and Roxy Adrieux. Yet, even as Julius’ star seemed to rise (if perhaps only by default) among the Bourbon Sanctified, the Caitiff failed to become a true member of Savoy’s true inner circle, likely due to his misbegotten bloodline.
Katrina and its aftermath wrought havoc on New Orleans’ shipping and commercial industries–including Julius’ counterfeiting ring. Yet, in the past decade, the knockoff mogul has rebuilt his empire into a more modern web of enterprises. Counterfeited consumer goods remains his primary focus, but he has shed his involvement in electronic components given the NSA’s recent crackdown on such counterfeits. Bootleg CDs, DVDs, and so forth are still within his wheelhouse, as are game clones (particularly Typhoon console knockoffs) and Goophones (especially fake Sunbursts). He also has largely cornered the local market on sports-related counterfeits, including fake jerseys, caps, and balls; forged autographs; and fraudulent season and front row tickets for the Saints and Pelicans. Additionally, his ring has acquired several 3D printers, which they use to mass-manufacture precise pieces of high quality knockoff handbags, glasses, watches, and the latest Avalon toy fade. His ring still peddles counterfeit cigarettes as a low-class commodity, but he’s lately joined the more lucrative hustle of high-end wine knockoffs. Another recent change has been his ring’s use of bot-generated social media accounts and untraceable third-party payment services to ‘advertise’ and sell knockoffs to gullible online shoppers. He has also expanded his ring’s use of express mail carriers to ship products. At the same time, Julius has stayed away from counterfeiting money itself, except for creating and selling Mardi Gras doubloon knockoff. He has similarly avoided counterfeit pharmaceuticals, save for bulk knockoffs of Viagra and Revatio. However, this last enterprise has helped advance his ring’s counterfeiting of custom package seals, authentication labels, holograms, and security printing.
Apart from these manifold counterfeiting endeavors, Julius also owns a significant amount of real estate in Algiers Point. These properties run a wide gamut: liquor stores, warehouses, corner stations and convenience shops, billiard hall, seafood restaurant, watch repair shop, po’ boy shop, adult toy store, salvage lots, night club, junkyards, body shops, and more. Some of these hurricane-ravaged, graffiti-tagged structures have yet to be repaired, but still serve as clandestine knockoff-producing sweatshops or covert storage sites. Meanwhile, several of his openly operating businesses help to launder money, though a few seem to be truly legitimate (if still of dubious ethics). Chief among these are his significant shares in Circinus’ new vaping products and his newer purchases of burley tobacco farms in nearby parishes. The latter of these he has all-but converted for marijuana production in anticipation of Louisiana legalizing the drug. In the meantime, though, he smuggles vast quantities of it from the state’s northern neighbor, as medicinal pot is both legal and decriminalized in Arkansas.
Given such enterprises, Julius has numerous pawns and contacts. These include not only a loyal Algiers-based gang, but also allies within the Dixie Mafia, Asian triads and tongs, Albanian mafia, and Nigerian confraternities. He also has moles and bribed and/or blackmailed officials within the Coast Guard, state police, and other law enforcement agencies. Perhaps surprisingly, though, Julius has little to no interaction with the Black Hand or larger Cosa Nostra, potentially due to some non-competing arrangement with the Giovannini and/or Reynaldo Gui, given their mutual alliance with Savoy.
The Performer & Patron
Notwithstanding these illicit, secret associations and enterprises, Julius is more publicly known (among the kine if not Kindred also) as an accomplished musician. Apart from being a local fixture in New Orleans’ jazz, blues, and zydeco scenes, he is known to regularly work with Zodiac Productions, composing the score for the blockbuster, Breached; the main title track for the locally filmed, still-running TV series, Vieux Carré; and mixing for several recent mockbusters produced by the company. As such, he is often on Ronnie Landreneau’s short list for Zodiac’s musical needs. Additionally, Julius has composed numerous TV and radio jingles for products varied as Good House International baby-wipes, Cap’n Bill Hallahan’s fish-sticks, Young & Smith tampons, and Rainbow sandwich baggies. He also has worked with Omni Television, scoring a Creole-themed episode of MSG Express, and RED Network, for whom he brokered a deal between Mega Cage and the B.B. “Sixty” Rayburn Correctional Center.
By and large, such ‘accomplishments’ earn Julius little acclaim among New Orleans’ kine or Kindred. In contrast, Julius has become better respected for funneling a substantial amount of his wealth into supporting talented local musicians. This patronage not only includes lending and gifting instruments, but also introducing musicians to bands looking for certain skillsets, connecting artists to music labels, facilitating jigs, fundraising for school music programs, and directly financing musicians’ rent, utilities, and car payments. He also regularly lets local musicians use his personal recording studio in Algiers Point, Dewdropper Studio, to create professionally mixed demo-tracks. Moreover, he does these things with little to no strings attached.
More importantly to the Guild of Plutus, if not also Nemesis, Julius has become a rather canny judge of musical promise. Pre-Katrina, he assembled a talented jazz band known as Papa Bleu and the Creole Crawdaddies, with multiple members going on to have esteemed musical careers–with Julius producing several of their albums. More recently, Julius has collected and groomed a jazz band known as the Hawt Licks. Composed of several ghouls and a thin-blood, this band has become the primary performers at Savoy’s (and Leon’s) parties, Elysia inside the Quarter, and nocturnal jazz funerals for local musicians and respected black community members. Such performances have earned Julius notable recognition amongst the kine, and even semi-regular if still sometimes begrudging praise from New Orleans’ harpies. Still, the Caitiff is well-aware that he is rarely more than one sour note away from losing it all.
Julius formerly belonged to a now-defunct krewe of all-black Bourbon Sanctified known as the Numidians.
Since the Numidians’ demise, as well as as final deaths and/or dislocations of most of the Bourbon Sanctified, Julius remained without a krewe for several years. Allegedly, he was recruited by OXR, but he either was purportedly blocked by Roxy or declined due to their Anarch allegiances. Instead, Julius formed his own krewe filled with comparatively younger, though still Savoy-allied Kindred: the Levee Hepcats. Their members include:
• Arthur Duchamps (13th gen. childe of Louis Ash, Bourbon Sanctified Status •, Camarilla Status 0, Toreador Status 0, e. early 21st century)
• Justine Chaudrier (13th gen. childe of unknown sire, Bourbon Sanctified Status 0, Camarilla Status 0, Toreador Status 0, e. early 21st century)
• Laura Melton (12th gen. childe of unknown sire, Bourbon Sanctified Status •, Camarilla Status 0, Gangrel Status •, e. mid 20th century)
Rumors suggest the Levee Hepcats also have, or have had, a fifth member: a thin-blood whose identity is either kept secret or merely made up by slanderous harpies. In contrast, the Levee Hepcats’ leadership is well-known, with Julius serving as a de facto mentor to at least the krewe’s younger, higher-generation Toreador.
“I’ll sleep some mo’,
so I can be
in ma mask
of sweet, sweet dreams
fo’ morrow’s grand jubilee.
Dey’ll not see me.
Dey’ll not see me.
So my foes,
Dey will be,
po ol’ me,
An’ dat’s when I’ll be
—Papa Bleu singing Parade of Fools, on his second album, Blood is the Sugar-Daddy of Life.
• Unknown sire
• Julius B. Baudoin (e. late 20th century)
Caitiff. Clanless. That curse sours Julius’ Requiem like a piano missing its major keys. True, he’s scraped together a surprisingly successful tune with the scraps, but his misbegotten blood inevitably mars the melody. Like so many of the Crescent City’s clanless, Julius claims to be the product of an illicit Carnival Embrace performed by a sire he does not know. When asked to describe his sire or the circumstances of his first death, Julius proves rather evasive, with the more persistent hearing a rather vague account of a Bahari who tortured him under the eaves of Mandeville’s Seven Sisters Oak. Some question the veracity of that story, while others simply do not care–after all, he’s a Caitiff. Still, the secret of Julius’ unliving ancestry has proven fruitful soil for Cainite gossipmongers. The most common or persistent of these rumors allege that his sire is:
• Veronica Alsten-Pirrie. After all, she is one of the city’s few unashamed Bahari. Additionally, her passion for jazz would have drawn her to Julius’ musical talents–and explain why they have blossomed so greatly after his Embrace. Moreover, Veronica has no alibi for Mardi Gras of ‘79–the night of Julius’ alleged Embrace. This rumor typically suggests that Veronica offered Savoy significant prestation to raise her illicit childe while keeping his misbegotten bloodline secret, and that this debt paved the way for her eventual switching camps–and that Julius may have played a part in fomenting that betrayal of allegiances. This set of rumors is particularly held, or at least spread, by Katherine Beaumont and her sycophants, as it slanders Veronica, suggesting her blood is impure enough to create a Caitiff, while also implying that her fury over Amaryllis is an affectation concealing far less idealistic reasons for her joining Savoy’s camp. While the former barb is welcomed and fanned by Marguerite Defallier (who has also alleged that Veronica is sire to at least a dozen Caitiff Quarter rats, including Julius’ protege Justine Chaudrier). Meanwhile, the second accusation has gained some traction amongst the fast-dwindling Anarchs still loyal to Vidal–including Amaryllis. If Veronica is indeed Julius’ sire, then he would be of the 9th generation, elder sibling to Amaryllis DeCuir and Jade Kalani, grandchilde to Accou Poincaré, and cousin to the likes of Abraham Garcia, Lisette Toussaint, and more.
• Lisette Toussaint. In contrast to the above rumors which have only gained traction in the past year, the oldest rumor of Julius’ lineage placed him as the bastard childe of Lisette Toussaint. After all, Lisette was a known patron of musicians, both living and otherwise. More telling, she was the barely secret sponsor of Julius’ former krewe, the Numidians. Gossipmongers also point out that Lisette and Harlequin were close friends, and thus it would’ve been easy for the former to convince the latter to vouch for Julius’ admittance to Vidal’s praxis. Additionally, Lisette has no known childer–which is surprising given that the influential Toreador was embraced in the mid-19th century. Moreover, Julius was allegedly gifted one of Lisette’s favored ghouls, and he has purportedly kept in contact with her even after relocation to Houston. Yet, despite all this ‘evidence’, this rumor has seemingly fallen out of vogue amongst local Kindred, likely due to the fact that Lisette is no longer present to volatilely react to such allegations (and where’s the fun in that?). However, if these claims are true, Julius would be the 10th generation grandchilde and great-grandchilde, respectively, of Valentine St. James and Barthélemy Lafon, both of whom perished as a result of Katrina.
• Helen Dillehay. According to this rumor, Julius is the childe of a Ventrue antitribu, Helen Dillehay of Bogalusa, and thus grandchilde of the short-lived prince of Bogalusa, Clarence Etheridge. Some claim that Helen secretly Embraced Julius in 1919, just before her and her sire’s demise. Feeling his sire’s final death, he allegedly fled Bogalua, dwelling in Franklinton for some 60 years before traveling south to Mandeville in the late ‘70s. There, he was captured by St. Tammany’s sindaco, Cletus Lee Boggs. Cletus would have slain the trespasser, except for some old arrangement or debt owed to Prince Etheridge and his bloodline. Due to that promise (the details of which Cletus has never shared), he escorted Julius to the Camarilla, and specifically the lord of the French Quarter, and washed his hands of Etheridge’s failed bloodline. Other variants of this tale, however, suggest that Helen Dillehay is not dead, but merely faked her demise to conceal her diablerie of her sire to become Bogalusa’s secret prince–a prince that Julius allegedly remains bound to and serves as a Sabbat spy. Adherents of these rumors–which include some Bourbon Sanctified and local Invictus–point to the fact that Julius and his pawns own significant real estate in Bogalusa and Franklinton to which they have allegedly made several forays. Others claim that Julius’ counterfeiting empire ships significant amounts of his knockoffs to New York City, where it is purportedly sold by Anarchs in liege with Julius’ alleged great-grandsire, the money-laundering Anarch Baron of Staten Island, Douglas Callihan, to whom his true loyalties lie. Should these rumors prove true, this would mean Julius is the childe of Helen Dillehay, grandchilde of Clarence Etheridge, great-grandchilde of Douglas “Boss” Callihan, and great-great-grandchilde of Thomas Albee. If so, he would be of the 13th generation–unless he like his alleged Sabbat sire has engaged in diablerie.
• Jared Buckner. This rumor suggests that Julius is the Caitiff childe of the twice-dead Jared Buckner, the former servire under his archon sire, Gangrel clan whip, and later century-long warden of the French Quarter under Antoine Savoy. According to this tale, Jared watched as the then-mortal Julius tried to fend off the Bahari–who may or may not have been Veronica–and was impressed enough by the man’s bestial bravery to Embrace him after either Julius and/or Jared finally drove off the Bahari. True to Gangrel tradition, Jared then abandoned Julius to wait see if his childe could survive on his own. To Jared’s delight, he later found Julius along the banks of the Tchefuncte River, preying upon gators and strays. Allegedly, whatever paternal pride he felt was soon soured after discovering his childe was clanless. Perhaps out of pity, Jared purportedly took Julius to Algiers and placed him in the ‘care’ of a local-dwelling autarkis; whereupon, Jared twice-abandoned his childe. This tale helps explain Julius’ talent with Protean, a discipline rare for a Caitiff to possess. It also helps to explain why Julius branched out from the relative placidity of Algiers Point to the French Quarter in order to win his sire’s favor–and also why he was, despite being a Caitiff, able to so quickly gain inroads with Savoy and the other the Bourbon Sanctified. Others also point out that Julius’ eyes share the same gator night-shine of his alleged broodmate, Roxandra Adrieux. Roxy herself seems unconvinced of said stories, though Julius does seem equally interested in (if less capable of) clearing Jared’s name. Then again, some malign that Julius had a hand in Pakachilu’s death or at least Jared’s framing (allegedly as retribution for forsaking him), and his offers to help Roxy’s investigation are only to throw his supposed sibling off his scent. Either way, if Julius is indeed the illicit childe of Jared Buckner, he would be a 10th generation grandchilde to Roger Halliburton, as well as nephew-in-blood to Lidia Kendall and Richard Dahl.
• Clarice Barabet. A final prominent set of rumors suggests that Julius is either the childe or grandchilde of Clarice Barabet. Even today, Julius makes no attempt to hide his undying love for or admiration of the former Malkavian primogen and Sanctified bishop, nor has it gone unnoticed how Julius used to faithfully attend every one of her sermons, but now only rarely, half-heartedly attends current Lancea services. Those who ascribe to Julius being her grandchilde often point to Harlequin, as Julius’ alleged embrace coincided with the infamously canceled Mardi Gras of ‘79, a particularly low point for the masked Malkavian. Moreover, if gossip proves true, Harlequin was the one who formally introduced Julius to Prince Vidal and vouched for him. Others, however, suggest that it was Clarice who pressured (or bribed) her childe into vouching for Julius, either as her own illicit Embrace or that of her musically talented childe, King Bolden. Julius, after all, does seem fiercely protective of the mad cornetist and staunchly defends him as the real Buddy Bolden. Then again, Julius was similarly protective of Clarice (though she needed little protection from naysayers), and he was just mad (or madly in love) enough to stay with her when she refused to depart New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Allegedly, Julius was the last one to see her ’alive’ as she watched the approaching storm from a rooftop, barefoot and clad only in a nightgown, laughing that she “didn’t mind getting rain in my hair.” It is said that Harlequin was the first of her descendants to reported feeling the psychic backlash of Clarice’s final death, but it may be that Julius was simply unable to report it, as he was torpored during the hurricane and only resurfaced several months later, allegedly awoken with vitae by his secret sire Veronica, Helen, or Jared. Regardless, Julius’ post-Katrina mourning of Clarice’s final death was no less deep or lasting than any of her childer, and his journeyman’s piece amongst the Toreador guilds was a soul-aching trombone dirge that moved both Julius and many of his audience to bloody tears. Adding further weight to this rumored connection was the pre-Katrina testimony of King Bolden’s grandchilde, Julia Trilbey, who swore that she had tasted Julius’ blood and knew it was descended from Clarice. Then again, Julia was Papa Bleu’s’ known lover, and crazy even for a cassandra. But if the hurricane-slain woman spoke true, Julius would be either a 9th or 10th generation Cainite and broodmate to the likes of Harlequin, Marceline Duval, Janine Clairmont, Catarina Glapion, Elyse Benson, and King Bolden. Then again, Julius has never displayed any overt form of madness unless you count his compulsive love of music–but then again, what kind of lunacy would you honestly expect from a Malkavian-descended Caitiff?