Blood and Bourbon
The Krewe of Janus
Known Members: Harlequin
Meeting Place: Unknown
Perceived Goals: Protecting the Masquerade
The Krewe of Janus was founded in the early 1900s by Harlequin through his connections with the mortal Mardi Gras krewes. The Malkavian originally intended the Krewe to be a vampiric continuation of his mortal social life, but the coterie’s purpose soon evolved in response to the escalating factional struggle between Vidal and Savoy. Both Kindred leaders attempted to enforce the Traditions within their respective territories, but they refused to work together and coordinate efforts on a truly city-wide scale. The Krewe of Janus thus found themselves in the peculiar position of being in a better position to enforce the First Tradition (at least in some respects) than the city’s Prince.
Harlequin initially stepped forward to keep things from getting out of hand during his beloved Mardi Gras, and policing this holiday is still the Krewe’s best-known activity. As time went on, however, the Malkavian’s fascination with masks led him to branch out into other festivals. New Orleans celebrates far more holidays than Carnival, after all, and the Krewe involves itself with each one.
Harlequin acts as the Krewe’s spokesman and leader. He is the only Kindred who is widely known to be a member of the coterie, though most of the city’s older Kindred can name at least several other members. The Krewe also keeps about a dozen “enforcement ghouls” for muscle and keeping a lid on Kindred affairs during the day. These ghouls (all of whom have backgrounds in military or law enforcement) are among the best-trained and loyal in the city, and give the Krewe a real edge against other Kindred.
The only time the Krewe acts openly is during Mardi Gras. They greet the massive influx of Kindred into the city, warning the newer and younger ones to keep their feeding discrete for the good of the city. Any threats are dealt with swiftly, and the Krewe makes it clear who was behind the retribution. Even so, all the Krewe wear masks when policing the Masquerade. This is partly done to protect the members’ identities, but also out of simple respect for tradition (members of the city’s oldest mortal krewes keep their identities strictly secret as well).
The rest of the year, the Krewe works quietly and secretly. Through Obfuscated spies, media monitoring and simple detective work, they watch for threats to the Masquerade. Few things escape their notice. Once they spot a threat, they rarely fail to find its perpetrator. Initially, they will leave mysterious warnings for the vampire to cease their activities, such as notes in their havens, “hauntings” created with Obfuscate, or messages delivered by Dominated mortal allies of the target. If the vampire does not heed these warnings, the Krewe quietly eliminates them. Few fail to listen.
The city’s elders are fond of the Krewe, because it handles the night-to-night maintenance of the Masquerade and leaves them free to focus their efforts on other pursuits. The only notable exception is Vidal, who remains lukewarm to the Krewe’s efforts even after a century after its inception. He does not like the fact they exist outside his control, and were it not for their activities in Savoy’s territory, it is probable that he would have would have forcefully disbanded the coterie. As it stands, the Prince grudgingly finds it preferable to let Savoy and a neutral third party enforce the Masquerade in the French Quarter than to let Savoy do so by himself. The Toreador, for his own part, is all-too aware of his rival’s tepid feelings regarding the Krewe and has made repeated overtures towards them. Harlequin has gracefully declined each one to date. The Krewe’s sole aim, he repeats, is to uphold the Mask.