Blood and Bourbon
The Circle of the Crone
“The sot drinks, and is drunken: the coward drinks not, and shivers: the wise man, brave and free, drinks, and gives glory to the Most High God.”
“What is all Knowledge too but recorded Experience, and a product of History;
of which, therefore, Reasoning and Belief,
no less than Action and Passion, are essential materials?”
The Acolytes in the Big Easy are divided into two factions. The first group consists of Vodouisants who follow Baron Cimitiere and wage a bitter cold war against Savoy and Vidal. The second faction includes Acolytes who do not follow the Baron, and there the commonality ends. Some of these Acolytes are neopagans or followers of Native American shamanic traditions, while others are Vodouisants who owe no loyalty to Cimitiere.
Baron Cimitiere serves as the covenant’s visible head and holds a rather unusual form of power in New Orleans, one that allowed him to go largely unnoticed in the political arena for a substantial amount of time. Cimitiere informally holds dominion over even fewer neighborhoods than Savoy. He does not dominate (in Kindred terms) many specific industries. He has fewer Kindred followers than even Savoy can claim.
No, Baron Cimitiere’s power base is made up largely of mortals. Where Vidal and Savoy can claim a large handful of mortal pawns, proxies, contacts and servants, Cimitiere has literally hundreds of mortals at his beck and call. Baron Cimitiere himself serves as houngan (a Vodoun priest) for several congregations, and some of his closest Kindred and mortal followers serve as houngans and mambos (female houngans) for others. Entire neighborhoods of Vodoun practitioners—or Vodouisants—consider Baron Cimitiere a religious and cultural leader. While an overwhelming majority of these followers remain ignorant of Cimitiere’s undead nature (though less fanatic about it than some, Baron Cimitiere is not unconcerned with, or careless of, the Masquerade) they do consider him a houngan of substantial power. It would be exaggeration to say that these Vodouisants would do anything for Baron Cimitiere, but they would do much—as much as could be expected of any devout community with a popular and respected religious leader.
Thus, while Baron Cimitiere has influence over the management of few industries, businesses or political organizations, he has extremely loyal people throughout New Orleans. Vidal and Savoy are both aware of the potential for rampant bloodshed should Baron Cimitiere ever bestir his followers to violence. So far, Cimitiere has shown no inclination of drawing that much attention or putting his followers in such danger, but his rivals remain fearful of the possibility. Out of respect for this influence, Vidal has reluctantly granted a loose Regency over the Vodouisant community to the Baron. This Regency infuriates Savoy, who has made much public show of his acceptance of Vodoun. As much as it incenses Vidal to recognize the “bastard faith,” his acknowledgement of Baron Cimitiere’s supremacy in that arena serves to keep Savoy from devoting his full attention to the Prince, thereby preserving the balance of power for the time being. Baron Cimitiere really cares little for the formality of the Regency, but it does give him some basis of legitimacy in the city’s power structure.
Baron Cimitiere espouses a belief that the Vodoun loa are the source of the Kindred race. He holds that the Antediluvians are spirits rather than vampires and that Caine never existed. This belief directly flouts the precepts supported by the Lancea et Sanctum. So long as the Sanctified dominate New Orleans, Baron Cimitiere’s struggles will continue. They will never leave him or his followers to go their own way. On the other hand, Cimitiere’s enormous sway over a specific group of the city’s mortal residents makes him a force to be reckoned with. More than once, Cimitiere has subtly urged the local Vodouisants to activity, whether gathering on the steps of City Hall to oppose an unpopular law or rising to near-riotous fervor after an unfair court verdict. Such demonstrations come and go in the eyes of the mortal populace, but among the Damned, the message is clear: Baron Cimitiere can crush any single Kindred in town by focusing mortal attention on her. Neither Vidal nor Savoy can move overtly against him for fear of being snuffed out in a single act of reciprocity, so they must move subtly. Indeed, word has spread among Kindred loyal to neither Savoy nor Vidal that the Baron could be Prince if he so chose, claiming the title by denying the ability to make any move to his rivals. Whether this is true—and whether the Baron acts upon it—remains to be seen.
Covenant Members (Baron’s Followers)
- Baron Cimitiere, Regent of Treme (Samedi, e. unknown)
- Lidia Kendall (Gangrel, e. mid 19th century)
- Malia Eliza Curry (Malkavian, e. unknown)
- Doc Xola (Brujah, e. mid 20th century)
- Jonah Freeman (Brujah, e. mid 20th century)
- Josue Vendredi (Caitiff, e. mid 20th century)
- Spook Wilson (Malkavian, e. early 21st century)
Covenant Members (Other Acolytes)
- Nathaniel Blanch, Regent of Algiers (Gangrel, e. 16th century)
- Morgaine (e. early 17th century, Toreador)
- Pakachilu, Gangrel Primogen (Gangrel, e. mid 18th century)
- Lavine (Gangrel, e. mid 19th century)
- Rosa Bale (Ventrue/Circle of the Crone, e. early 20th century)
- Dahlia-Fleur (Gangrel, e. mid 20th century)
- Eris D. (Brujah, e. late 20th century)
- Yellow Sidra (Ravnos, e. early 21st century)