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[personal profile] primaleph
For those who enjoy in-character Vampire writing, I think this is some of my finest yet.

Good evening, my esteemed harpy colleagues. Here I present a consolidated report for the month of July, which includes some juicy rumors and background information about both our city and others. I have no doubt that it will satisfy your rarefied taste.

----Formal Court, July 2----

For the occasion of his 400th court, Prince St. Clair held a most lovely formal court, which included several debates on the Traditions. Nearly all the Kindred of the Pittsburgh domain were in attendance, excepting the Giovanni. I am unsure as to whether the Seneschal, Sheriff or Scourge were present, as in his twenty-year reign Prince St. Clair has not seen fit to inform the domain as to who or what clan any of them may be, saying "That's not something you need to worry about," and I suppose for those of us who are Acknowledged and behave ourselves, that is true indeed. Since it is relevant to the report at this juncture, I wish to highlight Prince St. Clair's open-minded and progressive approach toward the independent clans.

In addition to his amicable relationship with Clan Giovanni - one of their ghostly servants is with him at all times, even during sensitive business, a mark of their "good arrangement" in the Prince's words to me - several Followers of Set attended and were allowed to vote with the rest of us upon the winners of the debates. (One of them, Mansoor Khalil, is a well-respected Camarilla member; the other two, however, are not.) One of these also took part in a debate himself. After court was concluded, the Setites provided the evening's entertainment with Prince St. Clair's full sanction; I will touch upon that more later. During the court, several Gangrel appeared uninvited and presented themselves to Prince St. Clair when I informed them they should; they have since joined the Camarilla, and have been rewarded with a seat on the primogen council. So, as I say, Prince St. Clair's approach to the independent clans is most innovative indeed.

--The Debate--

The *Cowardly* Jacob Fen of Clan Tremere debated the merits of the Tradition of Domain with Bastien of Clan Toreador, who took the position that the Masquerade is more important than Domain. While neither was particularly persuasive, all assembled were allowed to vote upon the winner, and Bastien was chosen as having delivered his argument with slightly less ineptitude than Mr. Fen. After the debate, I suggested to Bastien the importance of choosing and defending an actual position in a debate, rather than clucking and moving changing one's mind like an confused hen. One can only hope he will take the suggestion to heart.

Following this, Primogen Black of Clan Malkavian debated the merits of Domain against Primogen Winters of Clan Brujah. While both argued with the grace and poise we should expect from the local leaders of a clan, Primogen Winters truly shined as both a scholar and an orator, for which he both won the debate and was formally seen as *Insightful* by Prince St. Clair. Primogen Winters is to be commended for representing the Platonic ideal of a Brujah - both a formidable warrior and a learned scholar, and I salute him for his self-discipline and his cultivation of a wide array of skills.

Finally, Jack Thompson (the aforementioned independent Setite) debated with Primogen Black regarding their varying interpretations of the Tradition of Destruction. Primogen Black naturally took the position that only the Prince of a domain holds the right of destruction, although he did allow for an exemption in the case of mortal danger or one's haven being violated. Mr. Thompson supported the older and now quite unfashionable view that an Elder may hold the right of destruction simply based upon age, regardless of the Prince's decrees. While perhaps this may be the way the Setites do things in those few cities they hold, the overwhelming majority rightly supported Primogen Black in his traditional and well-argued position on Destruction.


It seems that *Cowardly* Jacob Fen cannot seem to keep himself out of trouble. At the Prince's request, he presented himself before the gathered Kindred and confessed to breaching the Masquerade. The details are unimportant, as the breach has already been dealt with; Prince St. Clair asked Mr. Fen if he was ready to die for his crime. Mr. Fen replied that he was. Prince St. Clair appeared quite upset - the quickness of his temper is well known, as the previous Harpy died after having "a disagreement" with the Prince (his words) - but was most restrained when explaining that he would be merciful to Mr. Fen, at the urging of his primogen, Caleb Richardson.

--Other Business--

After the formal court concluded, Prince St. Clair suggested we enjoy the hospitality of the present Setites, who had offered to provide the evening's entertainment. When I questioned a one of them, a Miss Jezebelle, about what sort of entertainment she and her clanmates planned to provide, she showed herself to be most gregarious, wrapping herself around me and gyrating while saying she could give me "anything you want". I replied that I wanted her to step back, which she did. Ultimately the evening's entertainment consisted only of poker, which I find boring and did not participate in. This was a bit of a disappointment, especially from a Clan whose penchant for revelry has become legendary.

The new Gangrel (three of them) approached me, asking me to facilitate in finding them a feeding ground. I discussed the matter with Prince St. Clair, suggesting that perhaps Frick Park would be a good location. Prince St. Clair agreed, so I then discussed the issue with Primogen Black, as Frick Park lies within Squirrel Hill, which has been assigned to Clan Malkavian as feeding grounds. Primogen Black agreed, in exchange for a minor boon from Clan Gangrel to Clan Malkavian, which I have recorded.

Toward the end of the evening, a visitor calling himself Maximilian appeared and introduced himself to me. He claimed to be an old friend of Primogen Raspy Atonwe of the Toreador, and asked that I deliver the message that he was in town. I did as he asked, leaving a message on Primogen Atonwe's voicemail. In retrospect, perhaps there was more I could have done, but I assumed that any friend of Primogen Atonwe would already be known and Acknowledged by Prince St. Clair. I was mistaken, however.

----The Murder of Primogen Raspy Atonwe, July 16----

Our next gathering began first with a mystery and then with tragedy. We were invited to the home of Primogen Raspy Atonwe of Clan Toreador, who is a researcher in the area of determinism (what some might call "fate"). The Kindred of the city have previously aided him in his research, and he invited us to see a great breakthrough he had recently made.

When we arrived, he was very excited - not quite frenzied, but certainly frantic - and he informed us he had determined that there was a greater than 99% chance he would die tonight. He had with him one of his research journals. He also told us that we must find out who or what had done this to him, or all of us would be dead by April. As we questioned him, he grew more frantic and less coherent, until finally his face began to grow red and he exploded or melted (I am still not sure which; perhaps both) into a puddle of vitae.

At this very moment at the back of the room, I recognized his "friend" Maximilian from the previous gathering, who shouted something about "Good riddance to a madman!" and then escaped, leaving several henchmen behind to prevent us from pursuing. As I am not one who specializes in battle, I concerned myself with protecting the journal, since if Primogen Atonwe could accurately predict his own death with such accuracy, his research might be very valuable indeed, especially if he is correct about whatever may happen in April of next year.

I recovered the journal and brought it to my haven, where I read it and made a copy of it, then returned to the gathering with the original after informing Prince St. Clair about what had occurred. (As previously mentioned, I could not inform the Sheriff because I do not know his identity.) In the journal, Raspy spoke several times of an Assamite called Farook, whose line had sworn to eliminate Raspy's lineage, considering his research dangerous and heretical in some way. It seems clear that this "Maximilian" is probably the same Farook, who had been trying to kill Primogen Atonwe for over forty years. (Not, perhaps, the efficiency for which Clan Assamite is known, but also a personal vendetta rather than a contract, and I do not presume to know the inner workings of the Assamite mind.)

Upon returning to the gathering, I arrived in time to see Prince St. Clair questioning everyone as to their involvement in what had occurred. To several of those who had attempted to defend the domain against this blatant attack, he formally expressed his gratitude, seeing Joseph Chambers and Reese both as *Courageous*. As Primogen Richardson did not try to prevent the escape of the murderer, Prince St. Clair declared him a *Coward*. Maximilian / Farook himself was, of course, *Blood Hunted*. Prince St. Clair also *Acknowledged* several Kindred new to the city, including John Henry Holliday, who now owes Primogen Richardson a minor boon for saying the murder "looks like Tremere magic". Very gauche indeed. Before taking his leave of us for the evening, Prince St. Clair asked for volunteers in investigating how to find the murderer; I volunteered to lead this investigation, and I will report on my findings as soon as I learn anything of use.

The issue of feeding grounds was also discussed with Prince St. Clair, as it has come to a head in recent nights. By the Prince's decree, all the clans' feeding grounds have been in the eastern part of the city, and none in the northern, southern or western portions of Greater Pittsburgh. The Primogen (of whom I used to be one) feel that confining our feeding to one section of the city greatly increases the risk of breaching the Masquerade; however, while Prince St. Clair has discussed opening the Strip District (closer to downtown) as a rack for all to use, he now feels that with the Assamite attack we must be vigilant and confine ourselves to as small an area as possible. (The feeding grounds were originally set this way fifteen years ago, in anticipation of a Sabbat attack, but have since never been changed, even after the attack.)

----Other Interesting Gossip----

I have recently been attending the gatherings in Cleveland as well as Pittsburgh, and have found them most enjoyable (though the Sabbat presence on the outskirts of the city does make traveling there a bit of a challenge). At Cleveland's most recent gathering (July 17), I was most interested to meet one Diego Lopez, self-proclaimed Independent Lasombra Prince of a domain in Ohio whose name I do not recall. It seems the Sabbat may have followed him to the gathering, however, and one came into Elysium, proclaiming, "I had to see it to believe it," and spitting upon him. Whether this was staged to camouflage Prince Lopez's true allegiance to the Sabbat, or whether he truly is Independent, I cannot say for certain, but Cleveland's Sheriff certainly found him most unpleasant. While Prince Lopez was very open with me about his Independent status, apparently he misrepresented himself as having been formally *Acknowledged* by Prince St. Clair (at a gathering I was unable to attend, so I cannot speak directly to the truth of this, but I seriously doubt Prince St. Clair would ever do such a thing), and was asked very forcefully to leave the gathering, especially since his presence there had brought the Sabbat upon us.

Finally, it has come to me from a reliable source that Prince Eloi of Richmond allows his Seneschal, one Mr. Staples, to publicly contradict him, argue with him, ignore his status, and take aside individual primogen and speak to them while Prince Eloi is trying to address everyone. As if that is not bad enough, Mr. Staples apparently also ignores the status of the domain's Scourge, Mr. Waise, whom Prince Eloi has spoken favorably of in the past. One hopes that Prince Eloi will find himself a Seneschal who gives him the respect and deference he is due, for while it is the province of the Seneschal to question a Prince's decisions, that duty is best carried out respectfully and in private.

This concludes my first harpy report. I do hope it does not fail to please; if it does, I hope you will understand that this is only a first attempt, and I am sure my next one will be more refined. As I have always been a cultured and civilized creature, it is my distinct pleasure to serve the Camarilla in all things.

Phobos of the Andraste
Master Harpy of Pittsburgh

I'm not sure if this needs to be said, but just in case - when a Harpy calls a prince progressive, innovative, or open-minded (or especially all three), that is *not* a good thing. It sounds very nice and polite, of course, but really what it means is that he's rocking the boat. Just saying. Harpies are all about preserving the status quo, after all.
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November 2012


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