Behind The Veil In New York City

The richest metropolis in the world has long been a magnet to many supernatural entities and extraordinary creatures. There are old-money vampires and mages in Manhattan, were-rats in the Bronx, fay in the parks of Queens, Ghuls deep beneath the human hive – the city is even reputed to have its very own Guardian Angel, harassed and over-worked! The city is near to boiling over, because every time some vampire Baron gets powerful enough to establish itself as Count of the whole city, they die. It’s been that way since the last Countess true-died, dusted by unknown assailants using blessed weapons, a decade ago. The power politics and paranoia spill over into the other extraordinary communities as groups make and break alliances. Up until now the Black Chamber’s Cleaners have been able to keep the peace and the Veil intact, but as the extraordinary population gets more and more on edge their control is starting to slip, promising a dangerous, bloody and quite deadly time ahead for the immortals who call New York their home.

There are many powerbrokers and groups active in the city, all with their own agendas and all trying to make deals with everyone else to further those agendas.

The Cypress Hill Kiss
Led by Baron Tamaqua, also known as Grandfather, the dozen or so vampires based in a complex concealed behind a tomb in the Cypress Hill graveyard are one of the most powerful vampire groups in the city. Grandfather was a native Lenape shaman in life and claims to have been the man who originally sold Manhattan to the Dutch. He and most of his Kiss are of Moraven Mora the Nighthag’s line. His animal to call is the rat, and his animal servant is the Alpha for the bulk of New York’s were-rats, giving him access to plenty of day-walking bodyguards and soldiers. Grandfather keeps on friendly terms with the Black Chamber nowadays, after agents helped him forge a truce with the sidhe Winter Court last year.

The Blood-Rat Nation
Based in the Cypress Hills area and led by Ricky Fernandez, the Blood-Rats are the largest single shapechanger community in NYC, with over a hundred members scattered in groups of up to a score over Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx. They are joined with the Cypress hills Kiss of vampires, but also do work for Papa Ton-Ton and Stephen Alziz as well as being involved in various illegal gang activities.

The Fate
The group known as the Fate is the elite of the organized crime world. The more proper name for the organization is “the Network.” For people who know the organization well, only the upper tier of leaders are called the Fate. Of course, very few people know the organization well, and the rest of us have to make do with rumor, myth and innuendo. These criminal-masterminds are also powerful mages and take a piece of the action from each of the rival families that directly control the drugs, prostitution and rackets of the Big Apple. In exchange, they put the impossible into the hands of the highest bidder. Known members include Stephen Alziz (The Master Of Fate), Robert Hubert aka Belial (The Lord of Life), Anton Merriweather (The Lord of Sleep) and Papa Ton-Ton (The Lord of Dreams).

The Order of the Sword of St. Jerome
The Order, Vatican-controlled group dedicated to fighting and collecting information about the supernatural, has several of its Pilgrim agents scattered among the Catholic clergy of the city. There’s also at least one team of Knights. In addition, the Order has developed an extensive network of contacts in all walks of life. These people don’t know the true nature of the Order or their mission, but are willing to help them out with information. Within the Order, these contacts are referred to as the Longa manus. That can be literally translated as “long arm,” but has the more colloquial translation of “cat’s paw.”

The Thronos Haugr (Barrow Throne) Clan
This pack of werewolves are the largest shapeshifter group in New York State, with over 60 members. Their main hang-out is the wildernesses of the contiguous woodlands of the Bear Mountain/Harriman/Sterling Forest State parks, about 30 minutes north of the city, which they consider their exclusive territory. Most live in the surrounding small towns, especially Fort Mongomery, but several live in NYC proper. The Clan keeps a subterranean complex at Doodletown, the old mining ghost-town in Harriman Park, but their Omphalos, the Shrine of the Barrow Throne, is in the deep woods several miles to the Northeast. The leadership of the pack was decimated earlier this year after their Vargamor (shaman) and tried to summon Fenris the sun-eating wolf of Norse myth. The attempt was halted by the Black Chamber, who felt the danger so great even the Director himself went into the field to destroy the Vargamor personally. The clan also lost most of its Alpha’s including the Pack leader and is at present shaking itself into a new order – aided by three Black Chamber agents who were bitten in the fight and are now werewolves themselves.

The Winter Court
On Hallow’een last year a group of Wiccans from the affluent Forest Hills neighborhood in Queens performed a ritual that succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They awoke the old Sithen which had lain long-buried under the glacial moraine hills of Forest Park and with it the Unseelie Fay Court of the Winter Queen! The wild winter magic of Fay affected every area of the Park, especially landmarks like its old carousel carved with magic in every part. The Black Chamber were tipped off by a rash of child disappearances all across Northern Queens but concentrated in the Forest Hills area and an A-Team was dispatched. They discovered the Winter Court – which had last manifested in the Middle Ages when only native Indians inhabited the area – about to go to war with Grandfather Tamaqua’s vampire Kiss from the nearby Cypress Hills graveyard. After trials of strength with champions picked by Beiria, the Winter Queen, the A-Team managed to construct a truce between the two preternatural groups. On February 2nd, Imbolc, the Winter Court disappeared from the park’s woodland – no-one knows for sure when they might return again, or if a few stragglers stayed behind in the many linked Queens parks.

The Hunt’s Point Kiss
From their subterrainean haven beneath the old American Bank Note factory, this clan of the Lillathu bloodline pretty much rules a large part of the Bronx. Their leader, Baron Cristopher, is known as The Headmaster and is one of the two or three most powerful vampires in the entire city. Recently, he’s begun building alliances with other vampire groups, notably the Manhattan Kiss of Kalima vampires, in an apparent bid for the title of Master of The City. No one is quite sure whether his own Mistress in Rome is behind these moves or whether the Headmaster has his own plan to use the position to step out of Her shadow at last.

The Manhattan Kiss
Marqessa Suzan Siderine may not lead the strongest Kiss in New York, but she controls some prime real estate. From her lair beneath a sub-continent themed nightclub and restaurant complex on Madison, the Marquessa and her Kalima vampires hold a substantial chunk of New York’s “glitterati” zone and financial heartland. Rumors say she’s recently made an alliance with The Headmaster which if successful would put her second politically among the city’s vampires, if not second in actual power. Like her ally, she is beholden to greater powers, though – in her case, the Master of New Orleans. the notion of Rome and New Orleans holding New York by proxy makes more than just vampires nervous and the whole community behind the Veil are snatching at every story and titbit of gossip right now.

The Brooklyn Kiss
Probably the second oldest vampire group in the city after Cypress Hills, this kiss of Succubi lair in an exclusive brothel in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg district that was there when the district was a seperate village. Their Mistress, Marquessa Red Opium, has inside information on many of the city’s most influential mundanes and sits like a spider at the center of a web of manipulation. Even so, she seems uninterested in Veil politics, other than to oppose there ever being another vampire Master of the City, since that would inevitably make her own political games the subject of that vampire’s eventual attention.

(continued later)

Behind The Veil In New York City

Beyond The Veil Cernig