Wednesday, August 26, 2015

City of Curses: Icon: The Blood Barons

Blood Barons
Aspect: Blood Calls To Blood
Quote: "These are ours.  But we aren't savages.  Of course we are willing to make a deal."

The heads of the five vampyre clans in the Blood Quarter; granted their baronies by the Prince centuries ago, they refuse to let progress unseat them from their place of power.  They've been part of the City of Curses for almost twelve-hundred years.  The Blood Barons are certain they'll survive any storm on top.  Unlike the other icons in Crux, the Blood Barons are five powerful persons, sometimes united, sometimes divided.

Common Knowledge
"Don't go down there.  Blood quarter is only for losing your blood.  You understand me?"

Most folk don't know the who's or what's of the vampyres in the Blood Quarter.  Sure, they've heard tales that of Fish-vampyres that use the coves of the Blood Quarter for smuggling.  And certainly there have always been rumors about the monsters that abduct unsorcerous at night.

But with the right wards and words, such things can be driven back.  And the Blood Barons, no matter who they are, are more legend in Crux than actual threats.  Landed gentry in Ith has long been outlawed, to be replaced by the more progressive magocracy that dominates Ith life.

Like the Prince, the Blood Barons are faceless figures.  Unlike the Publisher or even the Spice Khan, they don't directly influence the daily lives of folks.  Most pray to the Twins to protect them.

Conflicts, History and Infighting
When the current Baron Inculti aided his mother in the massacre of the elders of the vampyres-then besieging Crux, he and the other scions of the four vampyre clans swore allegiance to the Prince.  He granted the their baronies, and gave them the area now known as the Blood Quarter to rule.  Even when Othebea had conquered the region around Crux, the vampyres endured: each attempt to excise them by the Church of the Twins and the Eternal Order of the Eagles and the Crows failed.  Or at least, that's how the vampyres tell it.

The five Blood Barons share rule over the Blood Quarter.  Their council meets in the Bloodfire Tower, which was built at the site of where Baron Inculti slaughtered the Elders in the Bloodfire Age.  The building is a massive, gothic edifice that serves a reminder of who survived the fires and who didn't.  Their shared rule is rarely doesn't scathe.

The five clans compete against one another from one issue to the next.  The Medama clashing with the Visconti over discoveries under the University of Crux.  Patrizo and Walridr feuds over rights to particular prey.  Their feuds last decades, orchestrated through pawns and manipulations.  Even the civic-minded Inculti are known to partake of these games of shadows the vampyres play.

Few things can make the five Barons unite.  Should the five of them ever unite, the five barons could take down any of the other Icons and gather more power for themselves in Crux itself.  The Prince has always kept them feuding amongst one another, using their own pettiness to keep them from unbalancing the status quo.  The Blood Barons themselves each try to worm their way throughout Crux, doing what they can to gain more power: artifacts, alliances with other icons, blackmail and whatever else they can claim.

Each Baron has their own veritable horde of Dhampyr and Vampire children.  The children of a baron often do whatever they can to prove themselves.  For Dhampyr, its the chance to become a full vampyre.  For other vampyres, its a vicious competition to make themselves viable heirs for their Baron parentage.  Over the years, a few Barons have been slain.

There is always a chance to move up in the dark.

The Barons
Baron Konner Visconti is a Ursyklon embraced about four hundred years ago; a arithomancer, his specialties are numbers.  He hates animals.  His part of the blood quarter is known for the bloodslaves tasked to find any animal and  to kill them as cruelly as possible.

Baron Hoberto Patrizo became a Patrizo while held captive in south Ocrid seven hundred years ago.  He loves the sea, but loves commanding others more so.  Any child Dhampr or Vampyres of his are expected to be his servants and crew, in whatever capacity he sees fit.  His part of the Blood Quarter tends to be devoid of many bloodslaves- Patrizo has a bad habit of gorging on them.

Baroness Jiddia Walridr looks like a girl barely fifteen years old.  From Ainesia, she led her Clan to Crux fifteen years ago.  Walridr loves extravagance, often treating the dreams and minds of others as her canvas.  Her part of the blood quarter is theaters and music halls, bordelos and bars- her bloodslaves never are fully aware, always half-asleep in some dream or nightmare.

Baron Zyan Inculti is the eldest child of the original Inculti.  His part of the Blood Quarter maintains all the civic elements of the quarter.  It also is closest to exits to the surface in Old Crux.  Inculti keeps no bloodslaves, just folk who pay him rent in the form of boiled blood.

Baroness Izzeranna Medama was embraced at Crux University five hundred years ago.  The process cured her of her deafness, allowing her to hear others.  She is obsessed with the history of the Prince, often forgetting to maintain elements of her part of the Blood Quarter- she cares for information and manipulations, not providing food or water to any starving bloodslaves that harass her.

The Blood Barons have ever-shifting alliances with the other icons in the city of curses.  This vary from Baron to Baron.  Baron Patrizo deals on good terms with the Spice Khan, as does Baron Visconti, some of the time.  But sometimes Visconti insults the Spice Khan with his demands.  Their mutual interests in trade with Maliph always seem to clash with her as much as it could aid them.  In recent years, the Vampyres have been trying to draw more and more Maliphi vampyres to Crux, to add a new clan to the Blood Quarter, one that might be able to overthrow the Inculti.  Whether or not the Spice Khan sees a profit in that, remains to be unseen.

It is the Prince from which they derive their mandate to rule over the Blood Quarter.  Each Baron claims to have ways to communicate with the Prince, to even ask him for favors.  The Barons still perform tasks for the Prince, claiming to still provide Crux with protection or security from time to time.

All of the Barons share the same warm relationship with the Banker.  Each Baron has wealth from their centuries of life.  They have been clients of the Banker ever since the Bank in Crux first was founded.  Often they and the Banker share goals for various business ventures.  But the Banker rarely commits to anything.  Worse, none of the Barons has ever been able to turn the Banker against one of the others.

The Archbishop remains long-term foe of the Blood Barons.  He and the eternal order of the Eagles and the Crows are constant in their attempts to slaughter vampyres.  It has been years since they've succeeded at slaying a vampyre of any significance.  The Blood Barons, though, still strive to find ways to use the Archbishop in their own manipulations, even if it might blow back at them.

The Prince is also a enemy of the Blood Barons.  In that he always works to prevent them from uniting any meaningful way.  The Prince always sends adventurers and others in order to help keep their feuds going.  Sometimes he favors them only to try and frustrate their efforts to garner power at the same time.  He is both their enemy and ally, their eternal foe and jailer.