Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood & Bourbon
Hidebound relic of an age gone by
“The Roman Corinthian column is lauded as the quintessential architectural pairing of form and function of the classical era. Despite an archaic facade, it has evaded aesthetic obsoletion by pure merit of its structural integrity. Le Maison Carrée or the Temple of Apollo would not have withstood the ravages of time without the support of this integral component. So it is with New Orleans and my sire.”
“Primogen Chastain is a lovely lady of the Crescent City, and I won’t hear a word against her just because you think she’s ‘out of touch.’ "
“Primogen Chastain is a shining example of how poorly many are suited to immortality. At the height of her influence when I arrived in New Orleans, she was likely the most celebrated individual in the city next to Prince Vidal himself. She charmed all she met, myself included, and wielded that charm as weapon as deadly as it was riveting before her descent into torpor. That remarkable individual appears to be long dead, having been buried alongside her and never risen. The relic dusted off and placed before others when I last saw her in 2005 bore almost no resemblance to the vibrant Kindred who once occupied the same shell. She proved unable to adjust to the modern world after long torpor, squandered affection, and alienated allies. She has not simply failed since her awakening: she has shown herself to be a failure. In hindsight it might have been more merciful to put an end to her while she slept. I wonder if she, too, like the lamed and degenerated masses locked in assisted living, would not have rather died.
That she has persisted is a great tragedy for herself, for her legacy, and for her childer.’"
Pearl is considered somewhat gauche in her tastes among her clanmates. She ceased trying to keep up with the various fashions and cultural trends a long time ago, and in her attempt to go for a “timeless” and “classic” look, she ends up coming off as antiquated and dated. Although she was Embraced in her late 30s (“early” 30s, she says), she has a dusty, forgotten air about her that betrays the decades she has endured. Although trapped at the moment of death, it is as though her body has continued to bear the weight of its passing years. Yet the sagging jowl, the twin fans of wrinkles around her cloying eyes… these are products of her aged spirit, not reflections of physiological change.
Aliases: Pearl Chastain
Nationality: Pearl was a subject of the County of Provence during her mortal life. It’s located in modern-day France, which did not become a truly unified nation-state until many years after Pearl’s Embrace. She still considers herself Provencal first and French second.
Ethnicity: French by birth, Creole by assimilation.
Date of Birth: Uncertain; sometime in the Late Middle Ages or earlier (Provence, France)
Date of Embrace: Uncertain; sometime in the Late Middle Ages or earlier (Provence, France)
Apparent Age: Mid-30s, though many Kindred have remarked she looked more youthful before her torpor.
Real Age: Unknown; estimates range from approx. 700 to older
Eye Color: Blue
Hair Color: Brown
Religion: Monachal Sanctified
As much as she would hate to admit it, Pearl Chastain is a relic of an age gone by. As the eldest member of the city’s Cabildo (primogen council), Pearl has seen and weathered a great deal. She’s watched New Orleans blossom from a backwater colony with mud streets into the jewel it is tonight. As a result, she knows the sadly high price paid for that transformation… as well as the many ways that jewel’s luster has faded.
The Old World
Pearl was born centuries ago in medieval France (likely under a different name) and speaks little of her days as a mortal woman. It is possible she remembers equally little of them. Some of her descendants whisper that fact has troubled her more and more of late, especially while she sleeps.
Pearl has spoken even less of who granted her the Embrace, save that their blood was very close to Caine’s. Superstition and the sword ruled that dark era and paragons of vampiric terror still openly walked the night. Pearl was a gnat besides such titans and spent her Requiem’s first centuries among the Cours d’amour: the loose confederation of Toreador courts that ruled France’s cities, better-known to English-speaking Cainites as the Courts of Love. Pearl still recalls their splendor. Chivalry and courtly love in their most poetic expressions were elevated to an art form by the Rose Clan’s lords and ladies. Cainites across Europe sought to emulate their French peers’ exquisite culture.
The three firestorms of the Black Death, Inquisition, and Anarch Revolt brought that glorious era crashing down. Pearl remembers the formation of the Invictus from the ashes of the Cours d’amour and Lehen des Schwarzen Kreuzes (the Germanic Ventrue-dominated Fiefs of the Black Cross) by Hardestadt, Beatrix, and Rafael de Corazon, a fact for which her covenant holds her in great esteem. Pearl passed the following centuries in greater ease than the “calamitous 15th” and is thought to have spent several periods in torpor before reemerging in Marseilles during the 18th century.
There was no worse time for a vampire to reside in that city than 1720 when the Great Plague struck. Neighboring princes remembered how the Black Death had decimated their herds. The pestilence was only scarcely less fatal to vampires, for they could still contract the plague and spread it to vessels they fed upon. Pearl, caught between the hammer of a quarantine ruthlessly enforced by her own kind and the anvil of a plague-ridden city, opted to flee to the West Indies.
By the 18th century, France’s century-old colonial empire was no longer a backwater. Coffee and sugarcane plantations on Saint-Dominique, the “Pearl of the Antilles,” were generating the French crown phenomenal wealth. Pearl missed her homeland, but the planters (many of whom hailed from aristocratic backgrounds) harbored similar sentiments, and were rich enough to hold fetes of such extravagance one might still believe oneself back in Paris. Pearl easily insinuated herself into this world and married a plantation owner giddy at the prospect of eternal life supped from his “wife’s” wrist. The island’s slave population was all-too convenient to feed upon and Pearl passed the warm Caribbean nights in easy leisure.
Trouble comes to all paradises eventually, however. Pearl was not the only vampire to reside in France’s colonies: a single plantation could support an entire coterie if they fed with care. Perhaps it was conflict with neighbors that drove Pearl from her Caribbean home: Anarchs and Sabbat had also fled to the New World in droves, while Setites flourished among the African slave population. An isolated and strong-blooded elder like Pearl was a tempting target for diablerie. Other rumors hold the 1750s earthquake which reduced Port-au-Prince to rubble or the much-feared threat of a British invasion of Martinique drove Pearl to La Nouvelle-Orléans. Pearl, for her part, has only remarked that, “New Orleans was to be my home. It was high time for me to settle in.”
La Nouvelle-Orléans was not the Pearl of the Antilles. French Louisiana was among the most hardscrabble and backwater colonies in the world during its earliest years: France was never able to find gold and silver in the Louisiana swamps like they’d hoped. As the 18th century wore on, however, the burgeoning city was well on its way to replicating Saint-Dominique’s economic success through its sugarcane harvests (which also had the advantage of being less vulnerable to trans-Atlantic piracy). Pearl’s decades of familiarity with plantation economics served her well, as most of the “lawless Kindred rabble” who’d fled the Old World didn’t know the first thing about how to run a plantation, or how to insinuate themselves into the planters’ social circles. Pearl ghouled and married another wealthy planter and was soon enjoying a comparable standard of living to her last home’s.
Pearl also established herself as an authority and figure of culture among the lawless Kindred and drew some of the more stability-minded ones into her orbit, including her clanmate Maria Pascual, the Ventrue Alejandro, and the Gangrel Pakachilu. Though Pearl never claimed the mantle of prince, she was among the eldest of the city’s Cainites and made a name for herself as a civilizing influence and force for stability. It was during this period that she mediated the dispute between Alejandro and Maria Pascual, whose ghoul Accou she Embraced as her first childe (at least in the New World). To this night, Pearl remains the Big Easy’s eldest known resident. All of her peers from the era before Vidal’s and Maldonato’s coming are long gone. When the two then-archons claimed New Orleans for the Camarilla, Pearl saw the writing on the wall and opted to support the new prince. She was tired of the colony’s semi-lawless state anyway.
Vidal was caught up in Spain’s fiercely pro-nationalist fervor and had a somewhat dim view of the Invictus French Toreador who did not share his faith. It was a testament to Pearl’s local accomplishments, as well as her own exquisite social graces, that Vidal objected to neither the formal creation of a primogen council (to be known locally as the Cabildo), nor to Pearl’s seat on that august body. Indeed, the Cabildo was a far more potent institution in those early nights than it is now. Vidal was new to his city, closer in puissance to its then-primogen, and needed their support to deal with the periodic insurrections against his rule. Some Kindred thought Pearl might make a bid for the princedom herself, after Vidal had done the hard work of bringing order to the semi-anarchic colony, but she never did. Pearl was often wont to remark,
“I have always preferred a place beside the throne to the place upon it. The view is equally high and ever so much more comfortable.”
Pearl truly came to prominence during the Antebellum era, which was a glorious time for the Crescent City. The once-backwater French colony had matured into a cosmopolitan center of trade under Spain and the United States, and was even the third-largest city in the Union for a time. Pearl seemed to equally flourish during this booming period and was one of the city’s most active and influential Kindred. Already wealthy from the sugar and cotton grown on her country plantations (following the 1794 invention of the cotton gin), Pearl invested heavily in the burgeoning steamboat trade and made her money back ten times over.
Like many of her mortal and Kindred contemporaries, Pearl re-invested that wealth back into the city through the sponsorship of cultural projects. Unusually for a Kindred, she did not claim to be behind the construction of famous landmarks such as the French Opera House or St. Louis Cathedral. Few of her contemporaries, however, doubted that her hand had touched many now-historic mansions, churches, and cultural centers. Pearl ghouled some of the era’s most promising artisans, including, by her claim, Henry Howard. She even Embraced the one responsible for designing the Lower Garden District, Barthélemy Lafon, to save him from a wretched and ignoble death by yellow fever. Many Toreador followed Pearl’s lead in ghouling mortals of exceptional vision and talent. To this night, displaying such artists at Elysium remains popular among all Kindred as a means of currying favor with the Rose Clan.
Pearl led her clan to no less estimable achievements among the all-night society than she did among the kine. Spurred by the Mississippi river trade, New Orleans’ population tripled from 10,000 souls in 1800 to 30,000 in 1820, and swelled to 100,000 by 1840. This boom brought an influx of Kindred eager to carve out domains in the thriving city, as well as locals clamoring for the right to Embrace. While Vidal granted permission to those Kindred whom he believed would further consolidate Creole (as the Toreador and Ventrue clans came to be locally called) and Sanctified influence, Pearl attended to the burgeoning city’s social scene. Together with her fellow elder Maria Pascual and the younger Francesca Dumont, Dominique Toutain, and Clarice Barabet, the so-called Grandes Dames de la Nuit (who coarser tongues would later call “harpies”) established the customs and protocols at Elysium that would guide the behavior of new Kindred arrivals and induct the most worthy into Creole circles.
The Grand Dames
The Grand Dames’ activities were manifold. They backed the first Mardi Gras parade in 1837, which was considered a smashing success among the Kindred. Every lick takes Mardi Gras and the walking buffet of feeding it presents for granted, but Carnival wasn’t always part of the city. Pearl and the Grand Dames are credited for being its first sponsors—it certainly wasn’t Vidal. When the festivities devolved into a violent street bash, Pearl supported the Mistick Krewe of Comus’ efforts in 1857 to restore culture and sophistication to Carnivale with a themed parade and grand ball. The result was even more popular, attracting thousands of visitors to New Orleans for the first time and presaging the tourist industry that would later become the city’s lifeblood. For this too, Pearl and the Grand Dames received credit.
The Grand Dames also regulated the custom of duels among Kindred (dueling was extremely popular among the mortal Creole population) by serving as referees between combatants and wielding social pressure to discourage fights from ending in final death. Pearl believed duels provided a valuable outlet for Kindreds’ Beasts. As she was often wont to quip, “The Embrace does but little to cool the Creoles’ hot-blooded passions.” Pearl also took the filles à la casquette whose domitors had predeceased them as her ghouls and shaped them into the living repositories of the city’s history they would later be revered as. She established the custom for elders to trade these prized ghouls amongst themselves through games of chance and skill, rather than intrigue and violence (which would surely have killed many of the now-prized ghouls). The isolationist Southron Lords, thanks to Pearl’s and the Grand Dames’ efforts, even found cause to pay homage to Vidal’s court when they were in more social moods, for the Antebellum South lacked any other urban center of comparable size to New Orleans.
Indeed, Pearl worked hard to ingratiate herself with even the most reticent of souls. She became known for making allies of bitter enemies and princes out of paupers, her childe Accou most prominently among the latter. She even managed to make a lasting ally out of an ideologically opposed prince, charming the notoriously intolerant and pro-Spanish Vidal into instituting French as his court’s official language and permitting his subjects some relief from his strict rule through the Nuit de rêves sans entraves, or Night of Unfettered Dreams. (Pearl’s still-loyal descendants never fail to smile when they point out—could that idea have possibly been Vidal’s?) Indeed, it was not an uncommon sight at the yearly Mardi Gras balls to see a masked Pearl dancing arm in arm with the prince or his seneschal while a quartet of musicians played. These many achievements garnered New Orleans a reputation for having the most exquisite Camarilla culture outside of Europe. They earned Pearl the respect of nearly every Kindred who called the city home. Ever the soul of modesty, she denied that she was anything more than “just another French expatriate” who had been assimilated into the city’s vibrant Creole culture—always so much more than the sum of its French, Spanish, and Americanized parts.
Indeed, if there was a reason driving Pearl’s actions, it was love for her adopted city. Her centuries-dead heart was captivated by New Orleans’ Creole culture: it was so like her native France’s in its love for music, cuisine, romance, and life’s finer things. Yet it was also uniquely adapted to its Caribbean home through its hot-bloodedness and a fierce independence that absorbed the best parts of French, Spanish, and even African culture while stubbornly refusing to bow its head to any of the international powers that claimed to rule it.
Pearl’s heart would forever belong to the Crescent City. It was her home.
The Civil War
The Civil War marked the end of an era. While the Union occupation of New Orleans was largely peaceful (if despised by locals), the city was never be the same afterwards. Plantations and family fortunes were destroyed by sabotage, Northern appropriations, and funding of the hopeless war effort. Slaves were enfranchised, turning aristocrats into paupers overnight, and a new government of freed blacks and Northerners was installed. English was taught in schools rather than French. While many neonates now mock Pearl for her Gone With the Wind-like sensibilities, and point to the human misery upon which the city’s prosperity was built, Pearl has never backed down from her stance that the Antebellum was a golden age. It wins her few friends among Kindred Embraced in the 21st century.
The Creole families of old did not disappear overnight during these dark times, but the Civil War forever altered something into the city’s character. The Antebellum’s carefree gaiety was gone and French immigrants would no longer be accepted into Creole circles: the city’s people had lost too much and turned inward amongst themselves. Further economic downturn followed as the railroad supplanted the steamboat, making the Mississippi river trade irrelevant. Tourism rather than commerce would become the city’s lifeblood.
Times were changing among the city’s Kindred too. A kaintuck archon with appetites even coarser than his breeding had followed Justicar Baylor and the Union army into the city, and harbored aspirations of displacing the rightful prince. Vodouisant and negro Kindred began to rally around this newcomer, or at least grow bolder from his presence, and Vidal had to make compromises to retain his power. Pearl steadfastly refused to have anything to do with Roger Halliburton and worked with Philip Maldonato and Maria Pascual to frustrate his admission into Creole society, yet even Pearl was forced to grant Halliburton a seat on the Prima Invicta. He was too powerful to completely shut out.
The Civil War had some silver lining. Pearl’s faithful childe Accou returned to the city, for the Ventrue who maimed his hands met final death at the hands of parties unknown during the Union occupation. Still, Pearl felt her heart grow weary. She Embraced a promising new childe culled from the city’s old aristocracy, Adelais Seyrès, in hopes of connecting with the new era. Pearl saw only an icy emptiness in her childe’s heart that matched if not exceeded her own ennui.
Pearl grew ever more tired. As the once-cultured French Quarter began its descent into the mecca of vice for which it would later be famous—the later 19th century was by far its bleakest period, for the Quarter was not yet a tourist mecca that drew in money to cover up its vices—Pearl had seen enough. She turned over her titles and holdings to Accou, then withdrew into the sleep of ages, hoping to reawaken in a less miserable age.
The Modern Era
Pearl rose from torpor almost a century later into a world vastly transformed. By the 1970s, many more Creole families were gone and their descendants spoke English instead of French. Oil had brought the Malveauxes and a new money aristocracy to power. The Vieux Carré was just as synonymous with vice, but was now a gaudy playground for tourists and partygoers. Carnivale was increasingly dominated by commercialized “super krewes” rather than secret fraternities of gentlemen who best understood the city’s character. Even the racket once played in brothels and saloons called “jass” had become the city’s most defining music. Horses had given way to automobiles. Screaming steel contraptions flew through the sky. The sexes and races proclaimed equality if not equivalence.
Changes were no less drastic among the all-night society. Vidal had abolished French as the language of court and the Grandes Dames de la Nuit were now called harpies. Maria Pascual, Pearl’s only true peer among the coterie, had met final death, as had Pearl’s own childe Bruno Courtet—he may have been a poseur, but he’d still been faithful and proprietous. Pascual’s childe Antoine Savoy was a pale imitation of his sire, for he embraced the Vieux Carré’s new character and openly pandered to vice-seekers and Vodouisants alike. Pearl’s beloved ghoul Cloe, once an eternal cherub of childlike beauty, had been allowed to age and was a cherub no longer. Pearl’s progeny had sired a brood of grandchilder, few of whom met her approval: Marguerite Defallier was a whorehouse matron lacking in artist talent, Veronica Alsten-Pirrie was a jass-singing negress, Pietro Silvestri was a dago thief who forged art he couldn’t create, and their own childer were even worse. The only one of Pearl’s descendants to meet her approval was Katherine Beaumont, an opera diva whose discerning tastes and respect for tradition swiftly earned her grandsire’s favor.
Accou gracefully stepped aside to allow his sire to resume the reins of power. In hindsight, he might have regretted it. Vidal’s imperiousness had never been Pearl’s style of rule, but the Toreador matriarch could not suffer this state of affairs to persist. Drastic and immediate action was required to set things back upon a proper course. Pearl made her displeasure at the state of her clan keenly known, as well as her disapproval of the contemporary art forms that had impugned New Orleans’ culture. Rare indeed was the occasion during the Antebellum that Pearl had uttered a disapproving word. For the founder of the Grand Dames to directly express such disapprobation should have been viewed as unto a social apocalypse and presaged immediate and dire change.
No one was more shocked than Pearl when nobody cared.
Pearl’s descendants, these “selfish-minded childer of the modern age” had never laid eyes upon their ancestress. Instead of receiving her words with grave solemnity, they promptly abandoned the Invictus en masse. Veronica Alsten-Pirrie and Pietro Silvestro even went so far as to defect to the Anarchs, much to their grandsire’s mortification. Even Barthélemy Lafon, her favorite childe after Accou, elected to remove himself from the First Estate after he decided his sire was a losing horse. If given the choice, few doubt that Pearl would rather Barthélemy have stayed than Marguerite. Coco Duquette and Miss Opal had the good taste not to gloat about the influx to their covenant’s ranks (Pearl had always granted they were “less coarse of tongue” than many Anarchs), and even made conciliatory gestures, but younger Toreador openly crowed that Pearl had accomplished nothing since her return but to weaken her clan and covenant.
The Invictus, at least, was still ruled by the same unaging circle of Creoles who predated Pearl’s torpor, and they still respected her prior achievements. Pearl tiredly delegated much of the covenant’s administration back to Accou. Where the old Pearl would have laid plans to win back her descendants’ loyalty (or more likely, never lost it in the first place), she instead brooded in her haven for nights gone by. Pearl’s discontent with the modern era seemed mirrored in Vidal, and she supported the increasingly short-tempered prince’s increasingly draconian policies to curtail the influence of his rivals. When thin-bloods began to appear in mass numbers during the ‘90s, Pearl was disgusted by these “water-blooded worms” and supported Vidal’s policy of wholesale extermination. With each passing year, a little more of the Toreador matriarch’s spirit withered as she sank deeper into malaise. Even older Kindred who still respected her for what she was found her company gloomy.
Most Kindred scoff at the notion that Pearl Chastain could have survived Katrina on her own. Despite Accou’s entreaties to flee to Lafayette (the city’s prince was one of his childer), Pearl stubbornly refused to abandon her beloved city. Some Kindred wondered if she was suicidal: if New Orleans was going to go down, perhaps Pearl had resolved she would go down with her city. It would be a more dignified end than walking into the sun.
Suicide, however, would not be Pearl’s way out. The Lower Garden District where she made her haven was one of the least impacted areas of the city and only suffered light wind damage. Residents’ money bought their homes well-armed protection against looters and vandals. The ever-faithful Accou saw to Pearl’s protection and the nightly procurement of vitae, even scarce as that was. It’s become a repeated joke among Anarchs and younger Toreador that Pearl has failed at everything, even killing herself.
The political repercussions of Pearl’s refusal to leave the city were considerable. Most of the Invictus had fled New Orleans, and since Accou had stayed to attend his sire, he couldn’t lead the covenant. Neither could the rest of the Prima Invicta. Matheson was miles away and Dumont and Toutain were destroyed during the storm. In their absence, Pierpont McGinn stepped up to provide the First Estate with decisive leadership during its hour of need. He led the majority of the Invictus to Baton Rouge and negotiated a “refugee settlement treaty” with its Prince Lawrence Meeks. The fact that he did this during a completely unexpected coup d’etat that installed Meeks as prince only further cemented McGinn’s reputation as a hero. More than one Kindred observed those accolades could have been Accou’s—or the Pearl of yesteryear’s.
Katrina’s staggering death toll was another blow to Pearl’s psyche. Every last one of the other surviving Grandes Dames de la Nuit—Francesca Dumont, Dominique Toutain, and Clarice Barabet—met final death in the storm, as did Pearl’s childe Barthélemy Lafon. What was left of the Toreador matriarch’s spirit seemed to collapse as surely as the levees. Years passed before other Kindred even saw her at Elysium again, gloomier than ever.
Since the Storm
New Orleans did not take long to rebuild. Within five years, Vidal lifted the moratorium on new Embraces. Pearl evinced almost no interest whatsoever in nightly affairs. When Pierpont McGinn began to scheme against Accou following his elevation to the Prima Invicta, Pearl did nothing to rein in the ambitious Ventrue.
Come the second decade of the 21st century, Pearl is an echo of her former self, bereft of vibrancy or even motivation. She still holds the power, prestige, and titles she has amassed, but only by virtue of not wishing to see them taken from her. She still attends meetings of the Cabildo, is a regular presence in Elysium, and holds court among the Invictus and Clan Toreador. Yet it’s all such much pageantry. The queen of the Crescent City’s Antebellum nights and the grandest of all the Grandes Dames de la Nuit is now a Kindred who has passed her prime—but like all the undead, she has been forced to continue on into perpetuity, denied even the dignity of retiring quietly from view.
Pearl is regent over the Lower Garden District, colloquially known among the city’s neonates (together with its more upscale sibling) as “Elderville.” Pearl has not only resided in the neighborhood since its founding, but she was integrally involved in many aspects of its design and construction, and even Embraced the architect responsible. Even the Nosferatu would be hard-pressed to match Pearl’s intimate knowledge of the area. (Domain ••••)
Pearl’s name is synonymous with the city’s old money families. Her knowledge of their histories, genealogies, and secrets is encyclopedic. Although her century-long torpor left gaps in that knowledge, there’s probably no other vampire in the city who knows more about its oldest families. These kine hold a great deal of influence through New Orleans in a variety of professional fields and social organizations, and their inherited wealth is no thing to discount either. Many Garden District families look to Pearl as a silent patron and advisor, and even among the ones who don’t, Pearl knows more about their histories and secrets than they themselves probably do. She knows whose grandmother was an adulteress, she knows Grandpa’s sawed-apart corpse is buried under the magnolia beds after Grandmother shot him for finding out, and she knows where Grandpa’s real will is stashed away, too—just behind the secret door in the attic.
She’ll never say so, though. She doesn’t want scandal to hit the Times-Picayune. Just so long as Grandmother’s heirs comport themselves with propriety, listen to her advice, and understand that she knows best. To Pearl, the Garden Districts’ mortal families are like the neighborhood’s magnolias—beautiful but individually short-lived things whose beauty must be maintained by her careful hand. She knows what’s best for them.
Pearl is one of the richest vampires in the Crescent City. She became phenomenally wealthy in the city’s early nights through sugarcane, cotton, and the Mississippi trade. The Civil War was a blow to her fortunes, but her childe Accou managed her assets well throughout her torpor and invested them into a variety of modern industries. He’s still believed to handle much of the night-to-night maintenance of her wealth; most Kindred doubt that Pearl understands the vagaries of modern finance.
Pearl was once one of the most respected Kindred in New Orleans. She is still high in the Camarilla’s esteem by virtue of her past deeds, but her once glittering crown has taken on some tarnish. (Camarilla Status ••••, formerly •••••)
Pearl’s reputation remains supreme among the Invictus. She is the eldest of its members and sits as primus on the Prima Invicta. The covenant owes its presence in New Orleans to her. (Invictus Status •••••)
Among her clan, Pearl remains a greatly respected connoisseur and patron of the arts. She’s a master in the Guild of Plutus but is no poseur either, and has displayed talent at a number of artistic mediums from song to painting to embroidery. Her lack of original works over the past century has caused her once sterling reputation to dim. Her heart just doesn’t seem in art anymore. (Toreador Status ••••, formerly •••••)
Pearl is the senior-most member of the Cabildo. She’s by far the eldest and the only one of the Cabildo’s original primogen who’s still around in the 21st century. Her influence isn’t what it once was, though, and she’s treated more as an equal than a first among equals. (Cabildo Status ••••, formerly •••••)
George Smith shared a dance with Pearl Chastain at the Windsor Court’s Elysium Primo. She reproached the neonates who lost control of their Beasts and were subsequently banished from the city.
Pearl Chastain was marginally involved in the scandal surrounding John Harley Matheson’s alleged headhunting. As Matheson was one of Pearl’s few surviving Antebellum peers and shared a seat with her on the Prima Invicta, no one was surprised that she maintained her fellow elder’s innocence. The political effect of her support was largely negligible.
• 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” Babineaux (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. Jade Kalani (e. early 21st century)
Amaryllis DeCuir (e. early 21st century, d. 2016)
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)
Lineage unknown. Pearl Chastain has not publicly spoken of her sire, but is believed to be of the sixth generation and a great-grandchilde of Arikel.
None known, though many suspected. It was common during the long-ago nights of Pearl’s early Requiem for sires to Embrace vast numbers of progeny.
Pearl is rumored to have (or have had) progeny in the Old World, but has spoken of none. Her eldest childe in New Orleans, Accou Poincaré, is the former prince of Santiago, the regent of the Lower Garden District during her torpor, the junior of their clan’s two primogen (though an elder in his own right), and the third-eldest of the Prima Invicta. Pearl’s next-eldest childe was Bruno Courtet, a poseur of limited artistic talents. He served as myrmidon (a titled position for bodyguard) to her and Accou before being destroyed by the vampire hunter Nathaniel Bordruff in the 1920s. Pearl’s second-youngest childe Barthélemy Lafon was a semi-famous Creole architect and associate of Jean Lafitte’s’ who designed much of the Garden District. He was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina. Pearl’s youngest childe Adelais Seyrès is a vicious-tongued harpy and councilor on the city’s Prima Invicta. All of these childer but Adelais have Embraced progeny of their own, and through them, Pearl is ancestress to a vast brood of Toreador throughout Louisiana, Cuba, and beyond.