Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
Alfonzo of Venice
This Lasombra elder is the overlord of the Latin Quarter of Constantinople and a Bishop of the Cainite Heresy. He serves at the behest of his master and sire, Archbishop Narses of Venice, and has a stranglehold on trade in the Queen of Cities.
A Venetian stands here, judging by his fine features and wealthy, sophisticated dress. He is middle-aged, gaunt and pale, with dark eyes, slightly receding black hair. He wears a placid, controlled expression.
Bishop Alfonzo of Venice is a walking contradiction. He cultivates a reputation as a gracious and generous host but is known to be tyrannical in his control of the Latin Quarter. He maintains a strict facade of self-control but has a sybaratic reputation. And he claims to be a loyal priest of the Cainite Heresy but seems to spend most of his time overseeing mercantile projects and pursuing self-gratification rather than piety. Bishop Alfonzo has been a fixture in the Latin Quarter only since AD 1185, but the roots of his power go much deeper.
The Narsene Lasombra were created in the early 7th century, with the arrival of the Lasombra neonate, Narses, in Constantinople. A former palace eunuch and abandoned mortal pawn of the Antonian Ventrue, Narses appeared before the Trinity Quaesitors and claimed rulership of the Byzantine dominion of Venice. Granted provincial Scion family status but in truth autonomous from Trinity control, Narses has brilliantly manoeuvred his city into becoming the pre-eminent trading city of the Mediterranean. Since the Seventh Trinity Council of AD 1081, the Narsene Lasombra also managed to claim Scion family status within the capital itself, thus gaining a measure of autonomy within the city. The Italian merchants (including Pisans, Amalfitans and the Genoese as well as the Venetians) have consistently out-manoeuvred and out-politicked their Byzantine counterparts for more than a century; the best ports in Constantinople are now theirs and trade concessions mercilessly favour their clients. Even the Byzantine navy has withered to a shadow of its former strength, forcing the Greeks to rely on Latin power on the seas. As a result, much of the wealth of Constantinople now flows into Venetian coffers.
Resentment over this state of affairs, coupled with dynastic strife and destabilisation caused by a Norman invasion of the western provinces, boiled over into the Latin Riots of AD 1185. Most of the Latin Cainites, including Alfonzo’s brother-in-blood Bishop Elizio, were slain by Byzantine rivals in the confusion, and the Narsene Lasombra cried out for justice and compensation. It was given, on typically extortionate Venetian terms. The Latin Quarter was now to be autonomous, and the Narsene Lasombra were given strict control of it. It would be a city within a city, outside of the purview of the Codex of Legacies. Bishop Alfonzo arrived soon after to take control.
Bishop Alfonzo has thrown the gates wide to any and all Cainites who wish to make their homes in the Latin Quarter. All they need do is recognise his overlordship of all districts within it and accept a minor boon for the privilege of existing within them. As a result, the Latin Quarter is drastically overpopulated with Cainites, and none can keep tabs on all of them. Alfonzo’s policies backfired on him in AD 1196 when his two favourite childer, Juliano and Adrianna, were assassinated in his own haven by a cult of vampire-hunters now known to be the Children of Calomena. The Bishop spared no expense in securing justice for the crime and the insult. A coterie was assembled for the task consisting of Sir Conrad de Monreal, Veceslav Basarab, Gunther ritter von Wolfgang and Iulia of Adrianople. This coterie succeeded in their task, although their methods are known to have displeased the Bishop, and Alfonzo and the Narsene Lasombra have acknowledged a boon to all Cainites involved in the investigation as well as to their sires.
The Narsene Lasombra continue to strengthen their hold on the Latin Quarter, and their power can be felt in nearly all parts of the city. Bishop Alfonzo is assisted in his mercantile ventures by his childe Marko, and in more brutish matters by his other remaining favourite, Gregorio. His other progeny in the city include the brash Alessio, flighty Faustina, pretty Euginia and the quietly competent Doriano. Other Narsene Lasombra visitors to the city are quite common, and tend to stay in Bishop Alfonzo’s walled compound.
Lineage: Childe of Narses, Childe of Galerius, Childe of Deinomenes (d), Childe of Lasombra