Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood and Bourbon
Heavyset opera singer
“In a way, being an opera singer is like being a very romantic sixteen-year-old who falls in love with great passion and conviction every month.”
“The first rule in opera is the first rule in life: see to everything yourself.”
“Lots of opera singers are just boring.”
Katherine is a heavyset and stunningly beautiful opera singer. She always dresses elegantly, preferring flowing silk gowns that accentuate her ample endowments, though these are considered less attractive than they were in earlier times. Anarchs, to her displeasure, often mock the fat harpy for her weight behind her back (though never to her face).
After nearly a century of undeath, Katherine has honed her voice to a razor’s edge and can move less controlled members of her clan to bloody tears with but a note. She relishes the life of a concertina and has adopted numerous singing personas over the years so she can remain in the public eye. She’s often found in the company of gaggles of smitten admirers.
Katherine Beaumont was born to a Creole family that could trace their bloodline back to Louisiana’s first colonists. They claimed descent from the filles de la cassette, or casquette girls of local fame—not the whores, slaves, and degenerates who sired so many other local families. The Beaumonts were of good stock and good character ran in their blood. Their fortunes reflected this. The family were sugarcane planters during the Antebellum and extraordinarily wealthy.
The Beaumonts were also one of many wealthy families ruined by the Civil War. Decades later, nothing remained of a once-great fortune except pride. Katherine’s parents remembered indignities heaped upon them by Yankees who’d destroyed their childhoods. Katherine’s grandparents remembered decades of ease and luxury. Both generations reared their family’s youngest scion on tales of stolen glories and a magnificent life she could never live.
Katherine’s interests gravitated towards the classical arts and its desire to recapture the spirit of heroic ages gone by. Her family’s name still had enough worth to get her into the French Opera House. Her passion was undeniable. Decades passed and Katherine built a respectable singing career. She made enough money to live in style and luxury. People all over the city praised her talent. Opera wasn’t just for young women: Katherine could bask in fame until her 50s or later.
It wasn’t enough. Bitterness still gnawed at her heart.
Apparently, the Beaumonts’ claims of descent from the casquette girls were true. Deathless eyes followed Katherine’s career and deemed her of worthy stock and worthier talent.
Bruno Courtet was a Toreador poseur of minimal artistic talent. Although he was the second-eldest of Pearl Chastain’s brood, he’d found himself fading into irrelevancy by the dawn of the 20th century. Accou Poincaré had assumed the reins of power over their clan and covenant following Pearl’s torpor. Barthélemy Lafon, former pirate that he was, had adapted with the times to become a purveyor of modern vices. Adelais Seyrès commanded the city’s gallery scene. Marguerite Defallier’s brothels and political connections made her valuable despite her reputation as a poseur. Bruno, lacking any of these things, chose the only path he saw remaining to him: Embracing art. With Katherine as his get, he would finally win his clan’s respect.
Bruno was clumsy with his Embrace. Katherine’s husband lost his life to an ill-timed frenzy her sire failed to prevent. She tried to walk into the sun twice to make the nightmare end. Bruno wished he hadn’t run his mouth to his clanmates about the “artist of extraordinary vision and talent” he had procured as his childe. Resigned to Accou’s insistent calls to finally meet his niece-in-blood, Bruno brought Katherine before their gathered clan. Katherine had never faced so terrifying audience as those predatory stares. She felt as if she were in a dream and sang as if her life depended on it.
At the end of her performance, Accou declared she was one of them.
Accou took Katherine under his wing and proudly showed off her talents to the city’s other Kindred. Marguerite Defallier, several decades older, was bitterly jealous of the fledgling for stealing her sire’s attention. In 1919, the French Opera House burned down. Katherine blamed her cousin-in-blood but could prove nothing. When Marguerite exposed her efforts to immediately finance a new opera house by enspelling the minds of wealthy patrons as “clumsily executed and dangerous to the Masquerade,” the harpies all tittered how stupid Katherine was next to her cousin. For an entire generation, New Orleans would go without an opera production company of its own, and could only host companies from other cities.
Despite this setback, Katherine retained Accou’s favor, who attributed it to the “follies of youth.” He encouraged his niece-in-blood to view the opera house’s destruction as less calamity and more inevitability: after all, her mortal self needed to retire at some point anyway. She could spend the years between now and the next opera house honing her voice to perfection. It would never fail with age, and after the original Katherine faded from people’s memories, a “new” diva could emerge to make an even bigger hit. Her art would be eternal.
Bruno, meanwhile, did not win as much respect among his clan as he hoped. When he fell to the infamous vampire hunter Nathaniel Bordruff in the 1920s, Katherine did not shed a tear. She couldn’t have been happier than for Accou to fully assume her destroyed sire’s role. The elder Toreador taught his niece-in-blood much of the Requiem’s pleasures and for a time Katherine was content—though she swore she’d have revenge on that “talentless whore” Marguerite some night.
It only took several years for Katherine to learn how fickle the Rose Clan’s attentions could be. Accou Embraced a jazz singer—a jazz singer!—named Veronica and suddenly had less time for his niece-in-blood. Marguerite’s reputation as a poseur meant she would never be her cousin’s equal within the clan, but this “low-born negress trollop” was an actual artist in Accou’s eyes! No longer was Katherine the favored childe. Veronica returned her cousin’s disdain in equal-fold and never turned down a chance to one-up or humiliate her.
Katherine seethed but waited. If there was one thing her adoptive sire had taught her, it was patience.
Her Grandsire’s Return
When Pearl Chastain rose from torpor in the ‘70s, she made clear her dissatisfaction at the state of her clan and her disapproval of its newest Embraces. Katherine proved an exception. She was of worthy mortal stock, practiced a “true” form of art (Pearl still enjoyed opera), and preferred the classics over the coarseness of the modern age. Marguerite derided Katherine’s attempts to ingratiate herself to their grandsire as a “disgusting display of blootlicking.” Veronica likes to say her cousin “planted her fangs to Pearl’s ass and never let go.”
But neither of them deny that it worked.
In short order, Katherine won Pearl’s favor and was the golden childe again. She wasted no time in shoving Marguerite’s and Veronica’s faces into the mud. The harpies watched with amusement as the trio feuded: Katherine’s rivals were now the ones forced to play defensive. Much of the clan might lament Pearl’s return from torpor, but to Katherine it was the best thing that could have happened. The next several decades were good to her.
Katherine fled New Orleans for greener pastures during Hurricane Katrina. Unlike most “Katrina refugees,” she refused to settle in Baton Rouge or Houston: if she could not have New Orleans, then only the finest cultural centers in the world would do. The journey to New York City was perilous and cost the unlife of her childe Rayisa Kostenko, who fell to the claws of Loup-Garoux (called Lupines outside of Louisiana). Nevertheless, 2005 was a good year for immigrants to the Big Apple. The Camarilla had recently broken out of Manhattan, driven the Sabbat from the city’s outer boroughs, and Katherine scented opportunity in the still-rebuilding Kindred court. She presented herself before the new prince, Hellene Panhard, with whom she had something in common—the Ventrue was also an overweight woman who’d been the butt of more than one “queen heavy” joke. Katherine inserted herself into Manhattan’s cultural scene with the sympathetic prince’s blessing.
Since the Storm
Four years later, Katherine returned to the Big Easy. She’s cited a variety of reasons, including the city’s “incomparably exquisite culture.” Veronica likes to say her cousin’s ego couldn’t live with the fact she was a “C-list Elysium attendee at best:” in New Orleans, Katherine’s blood ties are everything, but in New York they mean a good deal less. Marguerite says her cousin returned out of pure spite against her rivals. Katherine maintains she made a successful name for herself in the Big Apple and simply missed her home and kin.
Most Kindred believe that whatever Katherine’s motivations, one of them was opportunism. Every single one of the city’s previous harpies had been destroyed during Hurricane Katrina (it remains a running quip that couldn’t have possibly been coincidental) and an Elysium regular like Katherine was perfectly suited to assume the role. The new harpy did so with relish. The fact Veronica and Marguerite had also joined the murder’s ranks, however, proved rather less to her liking. The three have feuded ceaselessly ever since.
Katherine holds territory within the Arts and Lower Garden Districts, where she is a vassal to Philip Maldonato and her grandsire Pearl Chastain. She holds the third-choicest territories in the latter’s regency after Accou and Adelais. She accepts this as her right.
Katherine has adopted numerous false identities over the years, all of them opera divas, and none of them ever anything less than a leading role. Her current persona, Judith East, arrived in the city in 2009 and quickly became its premier opera singer. Judith has many admirers and is a highly public figure. Katherine loves the stage, relishes her fame, and points it as an example of “how to do the Masquerade properly.”
Katherine claims domain over the New Orleans Opera Association and can make or break anyone in the performing arts world. She’s known for micromanaging everything down to the performers’ diets and costume choices. In her eyes, the kine are no more than amateurish children: none of them actually understand opera like she does. At best, they may exhibit talent promising enough for her to make use of, but they certainly aren’t qualified to have any say themselves. A few Toreador have complained about Katherine’s influence being stifling, but most of her clanmates seem content to let her run the city’s opera scene how she pleases.
Katherine has worked her tendrils into other performing arts, including theater, ballet, and orchestra. All of her efforts were met with applause by her clan, but these catch her interest only intermittently. Her true passion remains opera.
Katherine’s enmity with her cousins-in-blood Marguerite and Veronica is a thing of legend. She claims not to understand why the other Toreador hate her so, even if there’s so much about them worthy of hate (perhaps it’s jealousy?). The Rose Clan are notorious for airing their dirty laundry around outsiders, and it can be all-too easy for uninvolved Kindred to get drawn into the three harpies’ dramas.
Katherine retains her grandsire’s and uncle-in-blood’s favor and is on good terms with the Prima Invicta. She’s friendly with Pierpont McGinn over the special importance she ascribes to one’s “blood and breeding.” Although she won’t ever be the equal of a Ventrue WASP in his eyes, an Invictus Toreador of descent from the filles de la cassette still ranks highly.
Katherine is possibly the most disliked, or at least the most targeted, of the harpies by Anarchs and other angry-minded neonates. Her arrogant demeanor rarely fails to arouse their ire, while her weight is always easy to make fun of.
Katherine is one of Clan Toreador’s premier artistes and her judgment in all matters to do with fine art is considered supreme. Toreador outside of New Orleans consider her opinion worthy and listen to what she has to say. She’s served several terms as the regional grand master for the Guild of Apollo over the years and is likely to do so again in the future. Younger clanmates care little for her deeply conservative opinions, but she cares even less for theirs. (Toreador Status ••••)
Katherine enjoys high standing among the Camarilla, largely by virtue of her age, bloodline, social connections, and contributions to the city’s culture. Anarchs like to make a point of how she hasn’t done anything outside of Elysium. (Camarilla Status •••)
Katherine was a hanger-on to the harpies for most of the 20th century. After the entire murder was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina, she easily assumed a harpy’s role. She’s considered less vicious than Adelais and Veronica, but only by a little bit, and possibly even more prideful and quick to take offense. Marguerite and Veronica consider her the murder’s least politically astute member and regularly mock her for her alleged stupidity. (Harpy Status •••)
Katherine has devoted less effort to her activities among Invictus, but enjoys a position of moderate standing through simple bloodline and longevity. Her accomplishments are primarily in the world of fine arts. It still remains a sore point to her that Marguerite enjoys greater standing among the First Estate. (Invictus Status ••)
• 5. Unknown sire
• 6. Pearl Chastain (e. centuries ago)
• 7. Accou Poincaré (e. mid 18th century)
• 8+. The Santiago brood (e. varies)
• 8. Avoyelles Desormeaux (e. mid 19th century)
• 9+. The Lafayette brood (e. varies)
• 8. Marguerite Defallier (e. late 19th century)
• 9. Abraham “Bram” Garcia (e. mid 20th century)
• 10. Maxzille “Max” “Zilly” “Zillah” Babinfeaux (e. mid 20th century)
Anne Sommers (e. late 20th century, d. 2005)
• 12. David Hansen (e. early 21st century)
• 9. Aniyah Bailey (e. early 21st century)
• 8. Veronica Alsten-Pirrie (e. early 20th century)
• 9. Amaryllis DeCuir (e. early 21st century)
Bruno Courtet (e. late 18th century, d. early 20th century)
• 8. Katherine Beaumont (e. early 20th century)
Pablo Gallegro (e. early 20th century, d. late 20th century)
Rayisa Kostenko (e. late 20th century, d. 2005)
Barthélemy Lafon (e. early 19th century, d. 2005)
Valentine St. James (e. early 19th century, d. 2005)
• 9. Lisette Toussaint (e. mid 19th century)
• 8. Pietro Silvestri (e. early 20th century)
• 7. Adelais Seyrès (e. late 19th century)
Katherine is the childe of Bruno Courtet, a poseur of limited artistic talents. He served as myrmidon (a titled position for bodyguard) to their sire and elder broodmate before being destroyed by the vampire hunter Nathaniel Bordruff in the 1920s. Bruno’s sire Pearl Chastain is the matriarch and senior primogen for their clan in New Orleans, the regent of the Lower Garden District, and the eldest member of the Prima Invicta, the Invictus’ governing council. Pearl Chastain has not publicly spoken of her sire, but is believed to be of the sixth generation and a great-grandchilde of Arikel.
Katherine’s first childe Pablo Callegra was a sculptor of some talent, though she seemed to lose interest in him several years after his Embrace: the Rose Clan’s attentions are notoriously fickle. Pablo disappeared decades ago and is presumed destroyed.
Katherine was much closer to her second childe Rayisa Kostenko, a Ukrainian-born opera singer who managed to retain her sire’s interest for over a decade. She fled to New York City with Katherine during Hurricane Katrina and was destroyed by Loup-Garoux along the way.