The Concord of Ashes
Something of a misnomer, the “Independents” are really anything but. In short, they are those Cainites that exist within Constantinople but without the constraints and protection of either the Family System or the Venetian Lasombra. The vast majority of them either exist within the Latin Quarter, and therefore technically under the aegis of Bishop Alfonzo and the Narsene Lasombra. However, a number of these Cainites either actively resist their nominal “overlord” or try to exist unnoticed among the teeming throngs of mortals. Still others, such as the House of Tegyrius, have existed as outsiders in the city for centuries. They contribute to and honour the Dream in their own ways, but have not been invited to join a Trinity or Scion Family, nor have they (for whatever reason) formed their own Scion Family. Lastly, the Tremere can be considered among this group, but the gravity of their impact on Constantinople is such that they require a separate, more involved treatment.
INDEPENDENTS OF THE LATIN QUARTER
During the Latin Riots of AD 1185, the Narsene Bishop Elizio and every other among the twenty or so Cainites of the Latin Quarter (save Gabriella of Genoa) were destroyed. Narses demanded satisfaction during the resulting Eighth Council, and he received it. The elders Epirus (the Domestic Prefect of the Antonians) and Tribonius (Autokrator of the Lexor, were tried and executed for their part in instigating the riots. Also, from that time forward the “Latin Quarter” (which consists of the Venetian, Genoese, Pisan and Amalfitan Quarters) would be autonomous, and nominally under the authority of Bishop Alfonzo, Elizio’s replacement.
Bishop Alfonzo then threw the gates wide open to any Cainite who wished to settle in “his” domain. Some believe he did this to gain a quick powerbase with which to compete against the Families, and others think he merely wanted to antagonise their already pained sensibilities of his rivals by rubbing salt into their wounds. In any case, as a result of Bishop Alfonzo’s open door policy, the many Cainites of the Latin Quarter may now actually outnumber their cousins in the Greek districts. They are squeezed into a much smaller area, however, and competition for hunting grounds and influence is fierce.
Moreover, the plan backfired on Bishop Alfonzo in AD 1196. While returning home after a night of debauched revelry, his most beloved and favoured childer, Adrianna and Juliano, were ambushed and murdered by the Chosen of Calomena. While justice was done on those who were directly responsible, Alfonzo was embarrassed to discover that it was he, personally, who granted them access to the city some ten years earlier. Despite the public execution of their prophet, Stanislav, the Chosen have only grown in power, and reports continue to trickle in that the propet of Calomena yet exists.
The masters of the Genoese, Pisan and Amalfitan quarters were never happy with his assumption of authority over them, and until recently worked to keep their domains free of his thugs and his influence. The most vocal and energetic of his opponents was Bishop Gabriella of Genoa, but her apparent destruction in AD 1198 signalled the end to any organised resistance to Alfonzo’s ambitions. The Amalfitan and Pisan Bishops have also met unseemly ends in the years since, or else bowed to the authority of the Narsene Lasombra.
INDEPENDENTS OF THE GREEK DISTRICTS
The scholars of Clan Assamite have long been welcome in the Queen of Cities. However, as a condition of their right to remain, they have never been granted Family status, nor have any of their number ever been adopted into an existing one. They have always been considered a neutral party in the many squabbles among the Families, and they are required to keep their numbers few and their presence low key. Their leader, Tegyrius, is a master of both law and military history. He has always been graceful and discrete in service to the Dream, having assisted Tribonius in the creation of the Codex of Legacies and the various quaesitors and Family leaders in conducting the Eight Councils. Few of either the Latin or Greek districts would have a clue how to even contact the Assamites.
A ROSTER OF KNOWN CAINITES OF THE LATIN QUARTER (excluding the Narsene Lasombra and the Byzantine Tremere)
- Nerea of Spain (10th gen. Childe of Gusman Bravo [d], e. mid 12th century CE); a lonely, sombre and insightful Spaniard who fled a blood hunt in her native Barcelona. Her opinion is often sought at Alfonzo’s feasts, which she attends regularly.
- Phoebe, a young thief (13th gen. Childe of Stavros (d), e. late 12th century CE); a hot-tempered girl in Isabelle Manara’s gang, Phoebe is usually the first to pick a fight. She is half-Greek, and maintains contacts for the gang outside the Latin Quarter.
- Alfredo d’Atrano, merchant prince (9th gen. Childe of Sergius (d), e. mid 11th century CE); a wealthy, capable and passionate man, the prideful Alfredo bristles at paying tribute to the Venetians. However, he is pragmatic enough to realise he is merely a figurehead, so he keeps that head down.
- Erminia, the master’s fledgeling (10th gen. Childe of Alfredo, e. 1202 CE); a pretty, smart young woman, Erminia belongs to the emerging social elite of the Latin Quarter. She is new to the blood, and still finding her way under her sire’s guidance.
- Charles, a French sellsword (11th gen. Childe of Guillaume the Troubadour, e. mid 12th century); a terse, no-nonsense man-at-arms. Charles is street-smart but not particularly c;ever. He is known for his brutal methods in service to the Narsene Lasombra.
- Taszgar, a Serbian sellsword (12th gen. Sire unknown, e. early 12th century); even more violent than his partner, Taszgar is known for being sneakier and more… creative in his methods. He believes his sire was a Tzimisce.
- Gavril, a young thief and ne’everdowell (13th gen. Sire unknown, e. late 12th century); the youngest member of Isabel’s gang and also her adopted childe, Gavril is still learning the realities of his condition and is unsure of himself. He is a skilled pickpocket.
- Stephen, a burglar and confidence man (12th gen. Sire unknown, e. late 12th century); the eldest of Isabel’s gang, Stephen lacks the spine to be a good fighter. He has a talent for stealth however, and also gathering information.
- Riccardo Pollomba, the merchant of small water (12th gen. Sire unknown. e. 1195 CE); a very capable merchant who tries to keep his head down amidst the bloody intrigues that infrequently erupt in the Latin Quarter. His patron is Alfredo d’Atrano.
- Marta, the serene slayer (11th gen. Childe of Ermanes (d), e. early 12th century)
- In addition to these three, as many as a dozen of the clanless Carrion are thought to lair throughout the Latin Quarter, many of them in the service of Bishop Alfonzo. It is rumoured that the Chosen of Calomena have also re-infiltrated the Quarter in recent years.
- Markus Musa Giovanni (7th gen. Childe of Guiseppe Giovanni, e. ealy 12th century CE); a personable Venetian, with a penchant for seeking advantage in all matters whether they be mortal or Cainite, mercantile or pleasure. Currently he sells his services to Alfonzo di Venezia.
- Isabel Manara, thief and gang leader (12th gen. Unknown sire, e. 1192 CE); a street-smart cast-off of the Greek Gangrel who leads a gang of thieves and thugs, both mortal and Cainite. Her gangs aggressive defence of the Genoese Quarter is vital to keeping it nominally independent of the Narsene Lasombra.
- Antonio di Genoa, streetwise thug (13th gen. Childe of Isabel, e. 1198 CE); Embraced in the wake of Bishop Gabriella’s destruction, Antonio was apparently Isabel’s way of stamping her independence. He is clever, strong, fearless and charismatic, but ignorant in the ways of Cainite society. Antonio is also dangerously close to thin blooded, and the Gangrel blood has barely taken.
- Ambrose of Portsmouth (10th gen. Childe of Megan of Bristol, e. mid 12th century); a trader whose ship often docks in the Amalfitan Quarter, this Englishman entered into an arrangement with Alessa that has grown into an alliance in recent years. He attempts to keep his involvement in Latin Quarter intrigues to a minimum, but is quite social nonetheless.
- Gradin, the odd-fellow (9th gen. Childe of Mavros, e. late 11th century)
- Rafael di Ghezzano, misbegotten heir (9th gen. Childe of Nicolo di Pisa (d), e. 1151 CE); the last remaining progeny of Nicolo, the late master of the Pisan Quarter, Rafael had the good fortune to be away on business during the Latin Riots of 1185. He bends the knee to Alfonzo di Venezia with ill-grace, but knows he is outclassed by his elder.
- Alessa di Positano, opportunistic trader (11th gen. Childe of Calogero, e. late 12th century CE); a fierce mercantile and political rival of Alfredo d’Atrano, it is said that this clever neonate hopes to wrest control of the Amalfitan Quarter from the Brujah in due course. She actively cultivates allies for this purpose, particularly among the Venetians.
- Fultensia il Tessitore, a serial weaver of plots (10th gen. Childe of Gaetana la Sarta, e. late 10th century CE); a skilled politician and master of Dominate, who has many pawns among the belligerent Pisan civil guards and many friends among the mercantile elite. If not for her weak generation, she would probably be master of the Pisan Quarter.
- Adolf Marburg, mad merchant (11th gen. Childe of Rolf die Alte, e. early 12th century); a skilled speculator on mercantile ventures who has made a name for himself making risky gambles on behalf of himself and his friend, Alfredo d’Atrano. He is a frequent visitor at Bishop Alfonzo’s blood feasts.
- Brother Ranulph, flagellant scholar (9th gen. Childe of Odo der Zwerg, e. late 11th century)
- Brother Njegoslav, flagellant savant (10th gen. Childe of Baba Slatka, e. mid 12th century)
- Sister Maria, flagellant masochist (12th gen. Childe of Brother Josephus, e. late 12th century)
- Albertus, Prophet of Doom (8th gen. Childe of Wenceslaus [d], e. mid 10th century)
- Brother Gavril, his diciple (10th gen. Childe of Andon [d], e. late 12th century CE)
- Sister Basia, another disciple (11th gen. Childe of Lubomir [d], e. early 12th century CE)
- Father Iago, the lost priest (6th gen. Childe of Le Fanu, e. mid 11th century)
- Stephanos (10th gen. Childe of Martin the Rat-lord, e. mid 12th century CE); a ruthless mercenary who relishes his relative position of power as second to Rafael, the master of the Pisan Quarter. He excels at the trade for which his clan is infamous, and keeps a constant watch on the borders of his quarter.
- Rodolphio di Salerno (10th gen. Childe of Adelchis [d], e. mid 12th century CE); an information merchant who is nominally a member of Alfredo d’Atrano’s power base. Rodolphio will trade with anyone, except against those who have proven ill designs on his quarter.
- Sanser, Alexandrite smuggler (7th gen. Childe of Tibaldo [d], e. mid 8th century CE); a happy-go-lucky thief and mercenary who relishes his reputation as a man who can find that which is hopelessly lost, or acquire by whatever that which cannot be bought. The Baron’s Gangrel have made it their business to bring him to justice, which naturally makes him welcome in Alfonzo’s court. He maintains a small residence in the Venetian Quarter, but can be contacted more readily at the Saut Aswad.
- Irendo, the Gypsy Lord (6th gen. Unknown sire, e. mid 9th century CE); a trickster who comes and goes with alarming frequency and by secret means. He has a bitter feud with Sanser stemming from some insult of centuries past.
- Pasqual, the quiet Phaedymite (8th gen. Childe of Leon, e. mid early 10th century CE); a friend and coterie-mate to the former master of the Genoese Quarter, Pasqual now lends his considerable experience to the efforts of keeping his home independent. He is largely a mystery, even to his own friends.
- Jean de Marseille, the Sybarite vice-lord (9th gen. Childe of Léon la Vesse, e. mid 12th century CE); a pimp, smuggler and fence who serves as Alessa di Positano’s fast ally in most matters. He has busied himself of late filling the void of procurer for the Narsene Lasombra, now that the Settites are no longer welcome in the Venetian Quarter.
- Desiderio, the rogue (9th gen. Childe of Durant (d), e. early 12th century CE)
- Sophia, the quiet one (12th gen. Childe of Gavriel of Sinope (d), e. early 12th century)
- Cosima, trader in antiquities (11th gen. Childe of Enuncio of Durazzo, e. late 12th century CE); a statuesque beauty with a good eye for rare cultural treasures, Cosima fills the niche of selling family heirlooms that the Greeks can no longer afford to keep. She is a sybarite, who spends much of her time in the flesh pits of the Settites or the blood feast of the Narsene Lasombra. She is an occasional ally of Alessa di Positano.
- Raphael di Genoa, the cheerful dilletante (9th gen. Childe of Rosanna di Fabrizio, e. early 12th century)
- Domenico Vincenzo, custodian of inns (9th gen Toreador, Childe of Vlasios of Mystakonon, e. late 12th century); a genteel soul who excels at the business of running and coordinating fine accommodation. He was Embraced by one of the Michaelite degenerates after an unfortunate feeding frenzy, then abandoned in the midst of the Genoese quarter. He counts Sir Thomas of Winchester as his best friend.
- Salvio, visiting degenerate (8th gen. Childe of Bertha Mavropoulis, e. early 12th century)
- As many as half-a-dozen Toreador exist in the Latin Quarter; ostensibly to study the artistic wonders that Constantinople boasts. In practice, they exist to gorge themselves on the delights of the Silk Road and Bishop Alfonzo’s blood feasts.
- Iziaslav, the Varangian (10th gen. Childe of Rogneda [d], e. late 11th century CE); a mercenary of Kievan Rus who formerly worked for Belisarius during his stewardship of John Comnenus, Iziaslav now makes his home in the twisting streets of the Genoese Quarter.
- Sir Thomas of Winchester, sword-for-hire (10th gen. Childe of Harris Beauchamp, e. mid 12th century); arrived in 1197 CE from England, Sir Thomas has since sold his services at one time or another to most powers among the Latins. He has made his haven in the Genoese Quarter, where he currently lends his military experience to the effort of keeping Alfonzo out. Paradoxically, he is happy to work for the Bishop on other matters, and enjoys investing in trade through his pay.
- Roberto di Pavia, entrpreneur (9th gen. Childe of Foteine Tylakis, e. mid 12th century)
A ROSTER OF KNOWN CAINITES OF THE GREEK DISTRICTS (excluding the Byzantine Tremere)
- Tegyrius, the Scholar of Law (5th gen. Assamite, childe of Abu Ilaf, e. 4th century BCE); this legendary elder has dwelt within the auspices of the Dream for at least 7 centuries, and despite his supposed neutrality, he maintains a deep respect for it. He is thought to be furious with the Turkish elements of the clan for abusing the neutrality that he has guarded for so long.
- Fajr, the touchstone (8th gen. Assamite, Childe of Manikar [d], e. late 11th century CE); the most social of the Assamite scholars, the insatiably curious Fajr is usually the one who volunteers to meet those who would ask the advice of the House of Tegyrius. He is quite skilled with Auspex, and quite ready to trade his knowledge in return for kind.
- Shabah, envoy from the Turkish Banu Haqim (6th gen. Childe of Pelagon, e. mid 7th century CE); a gentle diplomat who has been tasked with keeping relations between her Turkish clanmates and the Families from degrading still further. Until the spate of assassinations in AD 1197-1198, she maintained an uneasy detente but this has now ended. She is unwelcome in most salons and blood feasts in the city, and finds welcome only with the legendary Antonian Military Prefect, Belisarius.
- At least 1 other Assamite scholar, a male who has been spotted hunting books in the Grand Bazaar.
- Hadeon, wayward wanderer (8th gen. Unknown sire, e. late 8th century CE); a taciturn, formidable warrior known for his knowledge of the secret paths of the Balkans and and Transylvanian mountains. Gradin was once a member of a now fallen provincial family, and occasionally visits the city to look up old friends.
- Patricus Mencius, the natural philosopher (6th gen. Malkavian, unknown lineage, e. mid 4th century CE); an unassuming monk who once dwelt in the city for several centuries with the blessing of the Michaelites and Obertus, Brother Patricus has been spotted on the streets once more. Perhaps, like so many of his clan-mates, he has been drawn to the city like so many others as disaster looms?
- Alexius the prelate, Orthodox champion (5th gen. Nosferatu, unknown lineage, e. early 7th century); this zealot is a former prelate of the Byzantine church in Syria, Alexius was cursed with the Embrace in an attempt to destroy his faith and weaken the provincial ecclesiastical authority. He has hunted his unknown sire, one of the ancient and monstrous Bay’t Mutasharid, for centuries without success. Curiously, he has begun taking a leaf from his sire’s book, and he has strategically Embraced a number of talented Muslim generals and imams in order to break them, thus hoping to stem the tide of Islam. In the past he has allied himself with the Magnus Orthodox Lasombra but he now shares closer links to the Malachite Nosferatu. It is unknown where he lairs, or whether he is currently in the city.
- Corbeau, the collector (7th gen. Childe of Lugh (d), e. mid 7th century CE); an elder of Brittany who appears to be more at home travelling than amassing influence and status. He has an avid fascination (even for a Toreador) for cultural curios, art and other “beautiful things” (or people). An infrequent visitor to the city with links to the Michaelites, he is seen as a harmless eccentric, and has long since been given leave to come and go as he pleases. He is believed to haven somewhere in Exokionion.
A ROSTER OF THOSE WHO MOVE BETWEEN
- Gallasyn, the First Fallen (8th gen. Toreador, Childe of Enasius [d], e. mid 4th century CE); a dissolute wastrel who, it is said, long ago served as the Michaelite Muse of Sculpture. He now prowls the city in company with drunkards, thugs and rapists. He can often be found in the Amalfitan Quarter.
- Gabor the Bulgar, ally of the Obertus (6th gen. Tzimisce, Childe of Noriz, e. 914 CE); a former Voivode of great power, this grasping elder relentlessly seeks favours to reclaim his former glory. He has a residence in the Amalfitan Quarter, but often travels between the lairs of his patrons, the Obertus.
- Lady Katerina of Adrianople, envoy of the Licinians (8th gen. Lasombra, Childe of Adrastos Zonitzes [d], e. 975 CE); a skilled diplomat with many links to both Latin and Byzantine vampires, Katerina makes an effort to be present at every major blood feast, salon or Elysium gathering. Her service to the influential Prince of Adrianople opens many doors, and this sly ancilla has walked through all of them. She maintains at least 3 havens in the city, one of which is in the Amalfitan Quarter.
- Serafina d’Amalfi, the quiet elder (8th gen. Childe of Grimoald, e. early 8th century); a skilled social animal, Serafina’s graceful manner has made her welcome throughout the city. She resides in the Amalfitan Quarter, and returns there before dawn each night, but can be found wherever a salon is being held.
- The Nameless, a hired investigator (6th gen, childe of the Ankou, e. mid third century CE); a resident of Exokoinion, the Nameless is also welcome everywhere but not for his polished manners. After centuries of plying his trade, he is owed by everyone who is anything in the city, and he has used some of the prestation that he has garnered to give he and his two childer free movement in the city.
- His two progeny, each of them an elder in their own right (7th gen. Childe of the Nameless, e. mid 6th century and late 7th century respectively). Seeking a bizarre resonance with their sire, each of these Malkavians changes their name every few years. In life, the older is thought to have been of a Roman senatorial family, and the latter a farmer. Each has recreated themselves several score of times since their Embrace. It is unknown to most where in the city they reside.
- Calleo Abetorius Minor (2), opportunistic wizard (6th gen. Childe of Abetorius Maior, e. mid 12th century); the touchstone for most Latins with his clan, Calleo wheels and deals as well as any Italian merchant. He can be found in all of the sectors with regularity, offering his spells and talismans as security against unwanted interlopers. He keeps a small residence in the Pisan Quarter, and visits the Chantry in Exokionion every few nights. The Baron’s Gangrel bear his license of free movement with ill grace, but abide by the decision of the Quaesitor Tribunal.
- Sarrasine (3), the favoured son (7th gen. Childe of Khay’tall, e. early 6th century CE); Secure in the depths of his lair, the Silk Road, in the southern reaches of the Great Bazaar, this seductive elder rarely ventures forth into the Latin Quarter anymore. He has too many enemies among the Narsene Lasombra. When the mood takes him, he sometimes follows particularly juicy prey into the Genoese sector.
- Sir Jules Talbot (3), purveyor of vice (8th gen. Childe of Sarrasine, e. early 12th century); a dealer in rare drugs and slaves, Sir Jules was a fixture at Alfonzo’s blood feasts until recently. As the enmity between the Children of Judas and the Narsene Lasombra increased, Sir Jules’ welcome in the Latin Quarter declined. He now frequents only the Genoese sector, where he has made himself the main touchstone of the locals to the Children. In 1201 he opened a large brothel and tavern, the Eye, in an abandoned warehouse of the Strategion, near the Gate of Eugenios.
- Jezebel (3) (9th gen. Childe of Antonia (d), e. early 10th century CE); Sir Jules’ business partner spends much of her time in the Eye, where she cultivates the patronage of both mortal and Cainite locals. She excels at teaching the arts of seduction, and practices her wiles on anyone within her ever-expanding reach.
A Primer to the Latin Quarter
Each of the four sectors that make up the Latin Quarter each have their individual character in addition to the general atmosphere of frenetic activity, filthy lucre, moral dissolution and criminal disregard for human life. For instance, the Pisan Quarter is unusually clean in comparison to the other sectors, and it enjoys orderly watch patrols. However, those watchmen are just as corrupt as the guardsmen in the Venetian sector, and probably cheaper to bribe as a rule. There are just as many thieves there, but they are less brazen and harder to spot than elsewhere. The Latin Quarter is no longer paved (except for Embolos Street, at the end of the Great Bazaar south of the quarter proper), and it faces terrible sanitation issues. It is universally dark, crowded and claustrophobic (especially in the Amlafitan and Pisan sectors), and life here is very cheap.
Unlike the rosters included above, all Cainites of note who frequent the quarters are listed below. However, the list is not comprehensive and as many as 40 more Cainites of both Western and Eastern extraction make their havens in the Latin Quarter, generally keeping their heads down and paying tribute to be left alone. The Cainites with a number following their name are covered in another faction, but are included for the sake of completeness.
THE VENETIAN QUARTER
The Narsene Lasombra rule openly in the Venetian Quarter, which spans the docks between the Gate of the Drungaries, past the Gate of St John de Cornibus, and on to the Gate of the Perama (also known as the Porta Hebraica, or Gate of the Jews, for the large enclave that surrounds the massive fish market there). The Great Bazaar of Constantinople lies directly to the west and south-western boundary of the Venetian Quarter. The Narsene guards, with their crimson capes blazoned with a gold cross, are visible during all hours of the day and the night. Few of the Venetian Lasombra are gracious enough to hide their smirks at the gestures of independence made by the Cainites of Pisa and Amalfi, and they are dismissive of the resistance put up by the Genoese. The Venetian Quarter is the largest and wealthiest of the sectors, with more than 44 000 mortals under their power; the Narsene Lasombra enjoy every advantage and they know it. Perhaps 48 vampires dwell in the Venetian sector, with another dozen or so passing through at any one time, and dozens more throughout the Latin Quarter “owe him”.
They openly sneer at the guttering power of the Byzantine Families (though never to the face of one of the Baron’s Gangrel), and see their ‘city within a city’ as the future Dream of Constantinople. They may well be right. Bishop Alfonzo’s notorious ‘open-door’ policy has caused a dramatic increase in Cainite numbers since 1185, and most of them still owe him a boon for their admittance. At this point, he has far and away the most Prestation capital (albeit of minor value individually) of any vampire in Constantinople.
Prominent Cainite Residents: Alfonzo di Venezia (Bishop of the Venetian Quarter, Overlord of the Latin Quarter) 1, Marko d’Este 1, Gregorio di Venezia 1, Faustina Soranzo 1. Doriano di Venezia 1, Alessio Valiero 1, Euginia Ziani 1, Evaldo Polani 1, Ricardo di Venezia 1, Markus Musa Giovanni, Sanser, Charles, Taszgar
THE GENOESE QUARTER
The Genoese enjoy a large, spacious swathe of territory, from the eastern Seraglio point and its Gate of Eugenios, all along the Prosphorion Harbour to the eastern arm of the* Neorion Harbour* and the Gate of Bonus (also known as Porta Vectoris Rector Bonus, or the Gate of the Old Rector Bonus). The Genoese Quarter is also notable as containing the Strategion, which in better times warehoused the naval might of the empire, and also for holding the Tower of Eugenios (also called the Tower of Mangana) which anchors the sturdy chain that stretches across the* Golden Horn* to the Tower of Galata. While somewhat decrepit, the plumbing in the sector is reasonably intact. The genoese Quarter is a close second to the wealth of the Venetian Quarter, holding some 32 000 souls. Some 35 Cainites reside here, and perhaps 10 more can be found hunting on a good night.
The Genoese were, until quite recently, very much the organised opposition to the Narsene Lasombra. The party of line of Bishop Gabriella and her supporters was that the Crown of the Queen of Cities had become tarnished, but she was not yet a fugitive from greatness. If she could be nurtured and properly modernised (with the aid of Genoa), Byzantium could shine once more and bring wealth and prosperity to all.
Genoa has been a fast ally of the empire during her recent troubles with Venice and the West, and the 10 000 souls who live in this quarter enjoy unusually good relations with the mortal Greeks to the south and east of its boundaries. Sadly, the bishop went to the Final Death in AD 1198 and her quarter now struggles to fend off the complete domination of the Venetians. Most of the Cainites in the sector pay a token tribute to Bishop Alfonzo but close ranks in force if any of his patrols step foot in their territory. It is thought that they loosely follow someone’s secret lead, but only in so far as it keeps them free. Owing to the recent enmity between the Narsene Lasombra and the Children of Judas, a number of Settites have been made welcome here in recent years.
Prominent Cainite Residents: Sir Thomas of Winchester, Pasqual, Albertus, Brother Gavril, Sister Basia, Isabel Manara, Antonio, Gavril, Stephen, Phoebe
THE AMALFITAN QUARTER
The Amalfitans are in a difficult and rather weak position. Nestled in the slice of territory between the Hikanatissa Gate to the east, the stifling maze of the neighbourhood of Gate of the Jews to the West and the sickle-like south-eastern reaches of the Venetian Quarter to the south, the territory of Amalfi is close and claustrophobic. The pavement and plumbing is in even poorer repair than that of the Venetians and Pisanos. With the domineering Narsene Lasombra on one side and the stiff-necked Pisanos on the other, the Cainites of this quarter now make a point of keeping their heads down and offending no one. Perhaps 12 000 mortals and no more than 14 Cainites dwell here, although the Amalfitan Cainites put up little resistance if that population doubles during the prime hunting hours.
Alfredo d’Atrano has ruled as master of the quarter since his sire, Sergius, was assassinated (supposedly by an Assamite) in AD 1198. Sergius was a greedy and grasping Cainite, eager to line his coffers by working with Bishop Alfonzo. Alfredo’s apple has fallen a little closer to the Brujah tree, and he is known to resent Lasombra hegemony and the vicious ties that come with it. Alfredo is a capable ancilla in his own right, known for his command of disciplines and his quick mind. However, he knows that he is far from the strongest or most clever Cainite in his own quarter, and he is also painfully aware that he is little more than a figurehead. Thus, he does Alfonzo’s bidding for now in hopes of strengthening his position. A number of foreign elders and ancillae have long made their havens among the Amalfitans, and more or less do as they please here. The Narsene Lasombra and their flunkies also patrol the Amlafitan Quarter with impunity, extorting tribute from the mortals and weaker Cainites.
THE PISAN QUARTER
Extending along the expanse of the Neorion Harbour from the western Gate of Hikanatissa to its bounds at the tenements overlooking the Gate of Neorion, the Pisanos share part of the harbour with Genoese to the east. They are bounded on the south by the second and third hills, and many once fine Byzantine homes dot the slopes. In centuries past, the captains, admirals and other officials of the imperial navy lived here. Within the valley it is a tight, closely packed sector, where the old Byzantine plumbing and architecture has started to go to seed. As a result, the locals are uncommonly clean, and avoid clutter and refuse on the streets. The Cainites of the Pisan Quarter put on a brave face. Their pawns in the night watch, easily recognised by their red and white striped capes, batons and short swords, are present on nearly every corner to enforce the peace and ensure law and order. They are politely forceful when they insist that other Cainites hunt elsewhere, although few of the Pisanos have the courage to gainsay one of the Narsene Lasombra if their prey wanders into the sector. More than 13000 Pisanos and many Jews live cheek by jowl. 18 Cainites dwell among them.
It is an open secret that Master Rafael privately bends the knee to Bishop Alfonzo, and all of the Pisanos pay a tribute to the Narsene Lasombra in return for their nominal independence. Such was not always the case. Rafael’s sire, Bishop Nicolo, was a powerful elder who ruled in his own right and kept the Venetians at bay through his own brand of aggressive guile. He quarrelled often with the masters of the Genoese and Amalfitan Quarters, and disrupted the peace more than once with his designs. In 1162 and again in 1171 he joined forces with the late Bishop Elizio of Venice to attack and humble Gabriella and the Genoese Quarter, which ultimately did much to cause the tension between Greek and Latin in the city. Ironically, he was slain in the Latin Riots of AD 1185, and Alfonzo was quick to subdue Nicolo’s youthful and ill-prepared childe when he claimed his inheritance. In recognition of his twisted authority, he has permitted Rafael to call himself master of the Pisan Quarter, but never Bishop; a stipulation that rankles the younger Lasombra.
Prominent Cainite Residents: Rafael di Ghezzano (nominal master), Fultensio il Tessitore, Desiderio, Brother Ranulph, Brother Njegoslav, Sister Maria, Stephanos
THE HOUSE OF TEGYRIUS
The Greek Assamite elder known as Tegyrius has dwelt within the walls of Constantinople at least since the time of Emperor Justinian. It is said that in return for offering his expertise on matters of mortal and Cainite law, and ensuring that his clan remained neutral in the affairs of the empire and the Trinity, he was given leave to establish a single estate in the city. In that estate he was permitted to give shelter to others of his clan, and so many servants and herd as they could support. Despite tensions arising during the Arab sieges of the city in the 7th and 8th centuries and the rise of the Seljuk threat in the 11th century, this contract existed inviolate for many centuries. Unfortunately, the Assamites were assigned blame for a spate of assassinations in the Latin Quarter in 1197 and 1198, and Tegyrius and his followers now exist in an uncertain climate.
While there is nothing in the agreement explicitly prohibiting individual contracts on the Cainites of Constantinople, the assassinations have cast doubt upon the intentions of the peaceful scholars under Tegyrius’ protection. The learned elder is also considered a dangerous warrior (whom legend as it rode with Alexander the Great) and a deeply honourable man, and he is understood to have been furious with his Turkish, Kurdish and Arabian clanmates for besmirching his reputation and endangering his arrangement. He personally sought out Shabah the Turkish envoy, to communicate his displeasure and seek redress for his Byzantine allies. Now only a handful of Assamites reside in the city, all of them scholars unwilling to abandon knowledge to the vicissitudes of fortune. They are secretive in the extreme; few know how to contact them, and fewer still know where they lair.
To be Continued