Booze in the Blood
The Invictus were the first covenant to establish a presence in Chicago. By the mid 1860’s neonate and ancillae vampire Invictus swarmed into the city from other domains. Chicago was a new place, a rapidly growing city that showed great promise and to the young vampires in the Invictus it seemed fruit ripe for the picking. Eager to leave the oppressive ruler-ship of their Elders, these inexperienced Invictus came to establish their own domain. The opportunity to bypas decades of boot licking servitude in order to gain a modicum of power in their home domains was a strong incentive, and the hungry Invictus did whatever was necessary to be granted leave to go to Chicago. Thus it was fiercest of the fierce that won their chance, and the Invictus of Chicago is made up of the most ruthless young vampires of that covenant. A saying quickly grew up among the younger Invictus that a Lord in Chicago was equal to two Barons anywhere else.
When they arrived in Chicago the young Invictus were shocked to find that the Prince held no court, designated no land or hunting grounds and was unaligned. The first Invictus to learn this assumed that it meant the Prince was weak and tried to immediately claim the city. The manner of their Final Death was so swift and brutal that remaining Invictus quickly acknowledge the Prince as the rightful ruler of the city and abandoned any plans for a coup. Though they recognized the Prince, they swore no oaths of fealty to him and they soon established the First Estate by the traditional methods. The Inner Circle of the Invictus began to take control, slowly at first, of mortal politics and business. When the Prince did not rebuke them, they moved forward in earnest to ensure that their control of the mortal city was absolute. Chicago would be an Invictus city in all but name today if the Carthians had not come to oppose them.
There are no true Elders among the Invictus of Chicago. Many of the neonates that first came to Chicago have suffered the Final Death in their war against the Carthians. Those that have survived are among the cities many ancillae. Thus, most of the Invictus vampires in Chicago are ancillae, though in the past 10 to 20 years there has been a slow growth of neonates. In practical terms, this means that the rulers of the Invictus are also usually the ones that are forced to get their hands dirty. With no Elders and few neonates, the ancillae form the majority of the Invictus. While they may chafe at still having to perform duties that in other domains would be relegated to the neonates, they take comfort in the knowledge that they are the ones giving the orders. Competition among the Invictus is intense, and any Invictus that manages to lose any amount of power and respect is heavily shunned and given the lowest tasks. In a city where no one else is willing (in their eyes) to maintain the proper decorum of the court, the young Invictus of Chicago do so out of both respect and fear. Nearly everything they learned about what it means to be a vampire and Invictus has been casually disregarded by their Prince, and only by tightly adhering to the principles and formalities that were instilled in them have they been able to achieve any sort of cohesion.
The young Invictus that left their Masters domains to rule Chicago brought their own traditions with them. While The Most Honorable Order of the Thorned Wreath and Most Noble Fellowship of Artemis are both respected among the Chicago Invictus, it is the Octopus that holds the power within the Clan. Chicago’s corrupt politics are fertile playground for the Hands and while the Artemids and Linesmen sometimes look down on the dress and behavior of the Hands, they both respect their power and connections.
In 1922 the Invictus Prince of San Franciso declared the Carthian Movement a dutifully recognized covenant within the purview of his domain. This action sent a shock wave through the worldwide vampire community and was the Carthians first real victory. No longer could they be summarily dismissed as pipe dream philosophers and malcontents; the First Estate itself had legitimized their struggle. To the Carthians around the world it was the dawn of a new era and for the Movement in Chicago it was a revitalization. In the two years since then the Carthians in Chicago have redoubled their efforts against the Invictus, increasing their activities which has led both sides to escalating the violence in what was essentially a cold war. Now the gauntlet has been thrown open and the turf battle waged by mortal proxies is on the verge of open warfare between the two covenant.
The Carthian movement first came to Chicago around the time of the Great Fire. It’s rumored by some Invictus that the Carthians started it in an attempt to burn down what the Invictus already controlled. What is known for certain is that the Carthians made their move in the first days after the fire. While the city was disorganized and in shock, the Carthians swept in, ready to help rebuild and provide aid to the thousands of mortals that needed help. Their effectiveness immediately after the disaster has always been suspect, but no evidence has ever been found linking them to it.
The Carthians answer the accusations by claiming that they came prepared to help the city, and that part as least was true. Whereas the Invictus sent eager neonates, the Carthians recognized the opportunity that Chicago represented. Here was a chance to build and organize a pure Carthian domain without having to tear it from the grasp of an entrenched aristocracy. If they failed it would be a heavy cost, but the rewards would be even greater. That’s why when the Carthians came to Chicago they sent not one but two Elders, along with each of their respective broods. The Elder Mekhet & Nosferatu, along with more than a dozen ancillae and neonates was exactly what the Invictus didn’t want. Instead of sending bruisers to violently force the Invictus out, the Carthians sent vampires that could beat them at their own game. The Invictus are masters at controlling the mortal herds, sending tendrils of control that run deep through every level of human society. But it’s damn near impossible to keep secrets from an Elder Mekhet or Nosferatu, and with both of them working together along with the genuine aid of their broods, there was no back alley deal that the Invictus could make that the Carthians wouldn’t know about before the ink dried.