Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood & Bourbon
Smoldering-tempered jazz singer
While the first woman brought on only curiosity, the second arouses… competition? That’s not quite it. Interest. Concern. It’s like looking into a mirror of her mortal life: attached to the most important people in the room. Effortlessly mighty. Amused and domineering. If Becky Lynne brought on jealousy, then this woman brings on something else entirely: nostalgia. And yes… attraction. It’s not something she’d ever considered, really, beyond the simple peer evaluation, prior to her Embrace. But Caroline cannot deny now that the woman’s very presence calls to her. That thought burns shamefully.
“I can always appreciate someone out to advance their own position, their own interests, even if they are at odds with my own. I appreciate someone out for their base amusement far less. Now matter how beautifully wrapped or how lovely their siren song, a monster that destroys without greater purpose is simply a beast.”
“I’ve often wondered what my Requiem would be like with a different sire. Someone who is more nurturing, more maternal, less prone to spitting venom. I wonder what it would be like if I weren’t known as Veronica’s childe, as just another empty-headed slut. My sire and I might speak of art, history, politics, religion, and other intellectual topics… and I can’t think of anything more incredibly, absolutely boring. For all that Veronica is and isn’t, time with her is never less than entertaining.”
Veronica has unblemished chocolate skin, long wavy hair, and the sort of curvaceous figure that begs people to put an arm around her waist—though in her case, it seems like it dares more than begs. Her green eyes smolder like slow-burning coals, and her full lips don’t smile so much as smirk—or just as often, sneer.
She favors tall heels and short, tight-fitting dresses in bold primary colors that suggest more than they reveal—she’s happy to do the latter simply by taking them off, and rarely minds doing so. It pleases her to let the kine gaze upon her sculpted perfection. For some of them, it’s their last sight on earth. In more formal venues, she usually wears longer attire of similar cut and style. Emeralds also glint from her ears and neck.
Name: Veronica Ethel Alsten-Pirrie
Date of Birth: September 9th, 1896 (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Date of Embrace: September 27th, 1924 (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Apparent Age: Late 20s
Real Age: Approx. 120
Eye Color: Green
Hair Color: Black
Veronica has never been one to dwell on the past. If someone wants to know who she used to be, they can ask her sire. To hear him tell it, she was a flapper and jazz singer during the Roaring Twenties who seemed born for that era. Her sultry voice could lead men smiling to their deaths, while she herself could have cared less whether they lived or died, so long as they showed her a good time first.
Accou had already been delighted by the birth of jazz when he heard Veronica singing at a speakeasy. He desired this vibrant young woman from the moment he laid eyes on her: she seemed to epitomize everything that excited him about this raucous and fast-paced new age. He offered to make her immortal. She didn’t even ask how before saying yes.
Veronica adjusted well enough to undeath and was content to “play the good girl” in the Invictus for a time. She followed her sire’s lead in most matters and slowly but surely worked to increase her own power. She wasn’t in any hurry. The Requiem offered so many new ways to enjoy herself, and with Pearl in torpor and Matheson exiled, Accou was as good as king. Sitting on a powerful man’s lap wasn’t a place she’d ever minded being, and her broodmate Marguerite Defallier even “kept things interesting” as a competitor for Accou’s favor (though many suspect he always favored his youngest childe).
Veronica never liked her cousin-in-blood Katherine Beaumont, though. The heavyset opera singer held her tongue around Accou, but clearly disdained Veronica as a low-class tramp who practiced “low” art. The other Toreador’s opinion on her promiscuity was amusing: the one regarding her art was deathly serious. So long as Accou ran the Invictus, however, Katherine had few outlets through which to express her scorn. Veronica had many, and was rarely shy about “taking that fat blowhard down a peg.”
Her Grandsire’s Return
Everything changed when Pearl Chastain rose from an almost century-long torpor. The elder Toreador hadn’t once laid eyes on her grandchilde, but wasted little time in making clear her displeasure at the state of her clan in general and Veronica’s Embrace in particular. Jass was an ugly symptom of this new era’s vulgar sensibilities, and it certainly was not art. Katherine found herself very much in favor. Accou insisted to Veronica that her grandsire needed “time to adjust” to the modern world’s “breathtakingly many developments.” Veronica patiently listened to his explanations, apologies, and nostalgic recollections about how things used to be, then told him she wasn’t having it. She’d always lived in the now. Her sire and broodmates could “kowtow to that dusty relic” or do whatever the hell they wanted, but Veronica promptly jumped ship to the Anarch Movement. She led numerous dissatisfied clanmates with her, including her uncle-in-blood Barthélemy Lafon and her cousin Pietro Silvestri. Pearl was more contemptuous than furious, and Veronica’s relations with her kin have been strained ever since. Accou has endeavored to remain on good terms with his childe, though many have observed he seems to make a stronger effort than Veronica does.
Relations grew worse than strained with several of her kin. Veronica’s once semi-friendly rivalry with Marguerite turned anything but: she lost substantial respect for her sister-in-blood when the ex-madame chose to remain in the Invictus despite the clear disfavor in which Pearl held her. Veronica could overlook her broodmate’s lack of artistic talent, but swallowing shit from a broken relic like their grandsire deserved only scorn. Marguerite, meanwhile, pounced at the opportunity to rise in favor (which she now sorely needed) by attacking their bloodline’s “bad seed.” Katherine, the sole Toreador of their generation to enjoy Pearl Chastain’s wholehearted approval, watched with barely disguised glee. She had waited decades for the social winds to blow her way and proved all-too happy to kick both of her cousins-in-blood while they were down—after all, neither of them was a true artiste like she was. The three Toreador have feuded ceaselessly ever since. Their enmity is now a thing of legend, and more than one Kindred has gotten bitten for carelessly wading into that nest of snakes.
Veronica won new friends, though, among the Anarchs. Her Invictus background and social acumen made her an excellent spokeswoman for the Movement, and she lent the covenant an air of respectability that was a useful boon to the recently-recognized Primogen Coco Duquette. Annie Pope had defected to Antoine Savoy’s bloc during the 1967 Carnival Coup where radical Anarchs attempted to assassinate Vidal, leaving a vacant spot in the covenant’s leadership that Veronica was glad to fill. She helped broker the prolix diplomatic deal that resulted in Miss Opal joining the Cabildo, as she’d always appreciated the Nosferatu elder’s “sass,” and having another black primogen was nice too. Despite her estrangement from her grandsire, she also offered the Anarchs another inroad with the Toreador, long the city’s largest and most powerful clan. If Coco and Miss Opal had one complaint, it was that Veronica’s actions seemed more motivated by desire to spite her clanmates than actual belief in the Movement’s cause. She liked the Anarchs because they let her do what she wanted, not because she cared about promoting liberty and equality among larger Kindred society.
Veronica weathered Hurricane Katrina like she did everything else: her way. Accou offered to fly her to Lafayette, whose prince was also one of his childer, but Veronica chose to make the perilous overland journey to Houston instead. She survived through a combination of luck and grit, but her uncle-in-blood and long-time lover Barthélemy Lafon was not so fortunate. Stories claim that his final death at the claws of Lupines is the only time Veronica has wept since her mortal life.
Houston’s Kindred didn’t receive the refugees from New Orleans for free. Veronica took part in the coup d’etat that deposed then-Prince Peter Hartmaan and installed Hezekiah Rutledge as “first minister” of a theocratic new Anarch regime. Veronica enjoyed giving the finger to a pompous Ventrue, but swiftly tired of the city. Perhaps it was sourness over Barthélemy’s destruction, or perhaps Houston’s so-called “give your blood to Jesus” Anarch Movement was not to her tastes, but she returned to New Orleans as soon as was convenient.
Since the Storm
The shattered city had ample opportunities. The harpies’ ranks had been decimated by Katrina: Clarice Barabet, Dominique Toutain, and Francesca Dumont had all met final death. Someone needed to provide the common masses with an example of how to behave, or to at least humiliate them when they stepped out of line, and Veronica stepped into the role like she’d been Embraced for it. She was less than thrilled when Marguerite Defallier and Katherine Beaumont both had the same idea. Her sister-in-blood had of course “scampered back to the city like a whipped dog” and was pathetically eager to curry favor with their sire and grandsire, while Katherine had doubtlessly returned for no other reason than petty desire to spite her cousins. These lickspittles were to be her fellow harpies?
Still, Veronica’s increased standing gave her new avenues by which to prosecute her feud. Once the city’s population began to rebound, Vidal even granted her permission to Embrace a comely young musician who’d caught her eye. New Orleans’ jazz scene was back on its feet in even less time than that, and the blood of her adoring fans tasted as sweet as ever. The city’s elders may lament all that was lost in the storm, but for Veronica, the good times have never stopped rolling.
Veronica is notorious among the masked city for the many lovers she has taken. Pietro Silvestri, Shep Jennings, George Smith, Micheal Kelly, Rocco Agnello, Coco Duquette, Jonathan North, Marcel Guilbeau, and Lidia Kendall, and many, many other Kindred have all been said to number among her conquests. More salacious gossip claims she’s had liaisons with Harlequin (whose true face she has seen), Sundown (despite being a sewer rat), Antoine Savoy (before the recent Anarch split), Pierpont McGinn (despite his racism), and Caitlin Meadows (before her recent bout of insanity; most Kindred would rather sleep with a startled tiger). Some even more incredible stories name her as a lover to the inscrutable Baron Cimitière, the ever-frigid Donovan, and Augusto Vidal himself.
Veronica occasionally weighs in to confirm some of her alleged liaisons. She denies none of them. Rumors can be useful things to have. She rarely keeps these lovers for any appreciable length of time, though she has been known to circle back to them: her cousin-in-blood Pietro has been an on and off liaison of hers since they were first Embraced. The steadiest lover she’s known to have taken was her uncle-in-blood Barthélemy Lafon. The former pirate also left the Invictus after Pearl Chastain rose from torpor, but declined to join the Anarchs in favor of going his own way. Coco Duquette and Miss Opal both wanted to recruit him, but Veronica found his stubborn-minded independence arousing. To her it’s always been about the thrill of the chase and whoever can keep that excitement alive the longest.
Veronica is somewhat notable for her devotion to Lilith, the Dark Mother. She isn’t a formal member of the Circle of the Crone, nor does she preach her faith, but she appreciates the Bahari creed of learning through pain and the notion that “God is a self-righteous cunt whose eye we can spit in.” Vidal hasn’t made a serious effort to persecute the Bahari (who’ve never had more than a handful of followers in New Orleans) like he has the city’s Vodouisants, but Veronica’s beliefs have traditionally cooled relationships with more zealous members of the Sanctified.
Veronica has made her domain in Faubourg Marigny since the 1970s. Since the 2015 Anarch split, she has been spending increasing amounts of time in the French Quarter. Veronica is a frequent sight throughout Frenchmen Street’s jazz clubs, where she’s performed for decades under a variety of pseudonyms.
Sabrina Paris, Veronica’s current mortal pseudonym, is one of the city’s most talented and popular jazz singers with a voice like a nightingale and a body built for bedrooms. She flits from band to band as the whim strikes her, sometimes a year, sometimes a week, and almost invariably sleeps with her bandmates. Between her talent and connections, she’s usually able to raise their profiles and hook them up with great-paying gigs, often at Calvin Berthelot’s clubs in Faubourg Marigny or Leon Gressau’s Evergreen Plantation. She’s also a magnet for trouble. Interpersonal drama, substance abuse, infidelity, and police arrests are only the start of the problems she’s caused bands she’s joined. Many of them implode after she inevitably gets bored and leaves, with some former members swearing off music forever. At least one has killed himself. Sabrina, though, always seems to land on her feet. Everyone in the music scene knows she’s a mistake to get involved with. That doesn’t stop them from making mistakes.
It’s the rare mortal who can watch Veronica take the stage and not fall for her, if she wants them to. She relishes the attention of her fans and admirers like few other things. Marguerite Defallier and Katherine Beaumont have gone after members of the bands she belongs to before, but Veronica always replaces them or winds up in another band. She’s thought to have substantial sway over the city’s live music scene, as well a more diffuse influence over mortal men (and women) from various walks of life she’s wrapped around her finger. She’s inserted herself into countless relationships over the decades as the “other woman:” these individuals, some of whom she ghouls, know pleasures unimagined before she tires of them and moves on. “Homewrecker” doesn’t even begin to describe the number of relationships she’s destroyed. Mortals have always been toys and playthings to Veronica.
Veronica is a figure of considerable influence within the city. (Anarch Status ••••, Camarilla Status •••, Harpy Status •••, Toreador Status •••)
GM’s Note: Spoilers for the adventure logs follow below.
George Smith encountered Veronica singing in his hotel’s nightclub after he recruited her childe Amaryllis to serve as a companion to John Harley Matheson in his exile. Veronica was skeptical of Matheson’s intentions and warned George that if “this comes back to bite her… I’ll come back to bite you.” She also observed his courtship of Becky Lynne and appeared to consider “involving” herself before purring that “I only pick fights where I’m evenly matched.” The Ventrue took her warning seriously but held his own against the harpy with a game of “two truths and a lie,” and briefly reminisced back to the two’s shared “night in Paris.”
GM: “Blood runs from blood. If Matheson turns out to be no good, just remember where his flowed down.”
Veronica shared a subsequent phone call with George where he informed her of the anonymous attack attack upon Amaryllis during their drive to Matheson’s plantation. The harpy ended the call in a foul temper after declaring her intent to make someone suffer.
Story Four (Part I)
Veronica made good on her threat after George leaked the scandal of Matheson’s feeding habits through Antoine Savoy. When Coco Duquette wanted to wait until the trial Vidal promised to convene before taking action, Veronica wasn’t willing to be so patient—or trusting of the prince, who had ample motive to ensure Matheson did not suffer the consequences of his actions. She fanned the flames of discontent among the Anarchs and led half the covenant to walk out of Mid-City and into Antoine Savoy’s welcoming arms. Some Kindred sourly observed this was the second time in Veronica’s Requiem that she’d caused a split among her clan or covenant after feeling personally slighted. Savoy, however, was delighted to have lured half the Anarchs into his fold, and Veronica didn’t seem to mind her new place among the French Quarter lord’s inner circle. If he becomes prince, Coco and Miss Opal likely aren’t long for this world, and will leave Veronica as good as queen of the Anarchs.
Micheal Kelly, who was Veronica’s lover at the time, avidly followed her into Savoy’s fold in the name of striking a blow against elder tyranny. Coco subsequently lured her childe back into her service as a double agent, only for Cletus Lee Boggs to discover and expose his treachery before the French Quarter lord. Micheal’s first warning that something was wrong during his next meeting with Savoy was Veronica’s sneer when he addressed her by an affectionate pet name. The harpy taunted him over how Cletus had murdered his mortal descendant Julia and clapped sardonically after the Giovannini beat him into torpor.
Cletus: He turns to Veronica. “No offense meant ‘gain, darlin’, but what did ya be seein’ in ’im?”
Story Four (Part II)
Rocco Angello arranged a meeting with Veronica through Sundown at the Blue Nile nightclub. He sought to turn her back to Vidal’s faction by offering to help break her childe Amaryllis’ blood bond to Matheson, who had remained loyal to the prince and publicly broken with her sire. Veronica, however, was more interested in making Matheson suffer than “crawling back to the prince.”
GM: “Wright had months to break his bond.”
Rocco, however, had anticipated Veronica’s likely response. He overpowered her in a brief but vicious contest of wills and dominated her into forgetting the memories of her (justified) suspicions while his fellow hound Camilla Doriocourt bugged the harpy’s haven.
Caroline Malveaux-Devillers encountered Veronica at Antoine Savoy’s side during the trial of John Harley Matheson. The harpy had little time for the neonate and did not deign to speak with her.
Veronica testified against George Smith (who she blamed for what happened to—and with—her childe) during his and Matheson’s trials. Although Vidal was no friend of Veronica’s by that point, the prince had also marked George for death as a traitor to the Ventrue clan and lent the harpy his tacit support. Veronica nearly goaded George into a disastrous public frenzy, but the Ventrue’s masterful showmanship turned the crowd against her. He was so successful, in fact, that they attempted to strip Veronica naked and “marry” the two ancillae in a mocking ceremony after George “confessed” the depths of his purported affection. Vidal was forced to personally intervene to restore order. While few in the crowd could resist the ancient prince’s mastery of presence, the very fact he was forced to assert his authority in such a blatant manner spoke as to how far matters had deteriorated. Katherine Beaumont and Marguerite Defallier, both of whom had offered their help to George against Veronica, relished their rival’s public humiliation.
Veronica would not suffer that humiliation meekly, however, and was present the next night when Vidal passed judgment upon the various accused Kindred. When Caroline Malveaux-Devillers was driven to frenzy by her sire’s rage at George’s last words, Veronica intercepted the neonate before she could attack the other Ventrue and was badly mauled by her—in Elysium, no less. The harpy’s eyes gleamed as she declared that,_ “You_ owe me, you foolish brat.” She has yet to call in her marker, but no one who knows Veronica doubts that she eventually will.
Rocco Agnello heard from Alexander Wright that Veronica had taken a new lover in Shep Jennings. The Brujah also said he’d heard the two had castrated Micheal Kelly and forced him to wear a dress during their lovemaking. Rocco in turn shared that his ghoul Annabelle had discovered Micheal was under a full blood bond to Antoine Savoy—an ironic fact, given that Micheal had publicly defected to Savoy’s bloc alongside Veronica, and had “always” been loyal to the French Quarter lord.
Caroline Malveaux-Devillers heard from Jocelyn Baker that Caitlin Meaows had attempted to assassinate Veronica. The rabid scourge tore off her arm and torpored Micheal Kelly before Rosa Bale and Peter Lebeaux arrived to help drive her off.
In 2009, Veronica was present at Pietro Silvestri’s apartment when he brought home Celia for a hookup following their meeting at Saints and Sinners. She seemingly killed the mortal she was feeding from and the sound of their bickering woke Celia, who attempted to sneak out the window to get away from the feuding vampires. Veronica easily caught Celia and carried her back inside where she was subjected to sexual abuse and had her first experience of what passes for Kindred sex.
The next evening Veronica showed up when Celia’s mother went missing and offered her a devil’s bargain:
GM: “I don’t care about broken things,” she says flatly.
Unfortunately, Veronica never had the chance to deliver on that “something extra.” Celia was Embraced before she could collect on her bargain, and their budding relationship might have ended then and there if Celia hadn’t managed to talk her down. Veronica sought permission to “Embrace” Celia and has since taken the abandoned neonate under her wing to serve as her surrogate sire.
In 2016, Rocco Angello clashed with Veronica in Elysium and bested the harpy in a public duel of wits. Alas, the Gangrel’s triumph was just as quickly undermined when the neonate Isa Suarez, who he subsequently picked on, refused to be intimidated by him. This would have caused the hound enough embarrassment until Isa began receiving advice from a telepathic voice on ways to further goad Rocco. Isa suspected the voice originated from Veronica, although the speaker refused to confirm or deny their identity.
The results of their counsel and Isa’s continued baiting, however, were undeniable: when Rocco finally snapped and attacked Isa (still in Elysium), he suffered great loss of face and was stripped of half his domain by Philip Maldonato. Though Veronica was disappointed that Rocco’s status as hound saved him from execution or exile, she was last seen pitilessly mocking the disgraced Gangrel.
• 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)
Veronica is childe to Accou Poincaré, the former prince of Santiago, the regent of the Lower Garden District during Pearl Chastain’s torpor, the junior of their clan’s two primogen (though an elder in his own right), and the third-eldest of the Prima Invicta, the Invictus’ ruling body in New Orleans. Accou is the childe of Pearl Chastain, 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. Pearl has not publicly spoken of her sire, but is believed to be of the sixth generation and a great-grandchilde of Arikel.
Veronica’s sire has Embraced Embraced many times over the years. Her broodmates and their descendants in Cuba are known as the Santiago brood, and still hold praxis over that city since Accou’s abdication. Veronica’s eldest sibling-in-blood in the United States, Avoyelles Desormeaux, rules as prince of Lafayette, Louisiana. Veronica has one sister-in-blood in New Orleans, Marguerite Defallier, who predates her Embrace by several decades and is a harpy of no small renown.
Veronica’s younger childe Amaryllis DeCuir was a promising young singer who caught her eye in the early 2010s. After John Harley Matheson subjected her to a blood bond, she remained loyal to Coco Duquette’s and Miss Opal’s faction during the split among the Anarchs and has been estranged from her sire. She met final death in the 2016 Battle of Mid-City.