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In the country the darkness of night is friendly and familiar, but in a city, with its blaze of lights, it
is unnatural, hostile and menacing. It is like a monstrous vulture that hovers, biding its time.
- W. Somerset Maugham -
While there have probably been vampires in the area now known as Miami prior to the twentieth century, it wasn’t until the 1920’s when Miami was prospering and an increase in infrastructure and population as northerners moved to the city followed by the first half dozen kindred who would serve as the nucleus of the first court in the city. At the time Miami had an image as a tropical paradise and outside investors across the United States began taking an interest in Miami real estate driving an explosion in the mortal population and within it an influx of fresh kindred trying to carve out their own niche.
On September 18th 1926 the “Great miami” hurricane makes landfall in southern florida. The cyclone generated hurricane-force winds over a broad swath of the region, causing widespread and severe structural damage from both wind and water. Many a haven and the kindred inside were destroyed by the arrival of twenty foot waves or the sudden exposure to the elements that followed. The disarray in Miami following the hurricane’s passage led a breakout of looting and the eventual declaration of martial law.
Cornell Mason and Joshua Bowen two of the original half dozen kindred would use this disarray to firm up their own power base, striking their rivals with ruthless efficiency. Those political opponents who were not physically destroyed found mobs of rioters set on their havens and other assets ensuring those who survived would either flee the domain or be too weak when it was over to mount an effective opposition.
With power firmly in hand Mason established himself as prince of Miami, Bowen his right hand and seneschal. The pair would prove to be adept rulers guiding the local court through the great depression, the influx of servicemen during the 2nd world war and the post war boom. Though their administration was often heavy handed it was at least equally heavy handed across all kindred so long as they didn’t upset the status quo.
The Acolytes had always been viewed with suspicion within Miami by the court as several rabble-rousers had caused masquerade issues in the past. This feud escalated when the local Invictus began a campaign of economic destruction of the Overtown neighborhood which had been a center for entertainment and nightlife in the city in the post war years. However, starting in the late 50’s and early 60’s, Joshua Bowen and several other prominent court members used their influence within the city to push for redistricting in the area and the construction of I95, the Dolphin Expressway and the Midtown interchange which decimated the-once thriving area and caused a population decline of nearly 80 percent.
In the spring and summer of 1972, an unsuccessful attempt was made on the life of Seneschal Joshua Bowen. When one of the culprits was linked to the Circle of the Crone, the covenant as a whole was blamed and faced backlash. The local Hierophant was taken into custody by the court and a declaration made that those responsible were to present themselves before the Prince. When no one came forward the Hierophant was publicly executed, further upping the stakes.
In August of 1972, resorting to the old play book that brought them to power Mason, Bowen and their allies declared open season on any Acolytes within the city, using the race riots among mortals as cover for this murderous activity. Many were reduced to ash and those who survived quickly fled to surrounding domains. This forced exile stood for nearly two decades after the brutal massacre, referred to by the local Crones as the Season of Ash.
September 1989 after more than 6 decades it is announced to the court by joshua Bowen that the prince has succumb to torpor. No further details are made publicly available, some even suspect that Bowen had killed the prince in some kind of power grab. Sensing a moment of opportunity or weakness on the part of the ruling Invictus anarchy began to break out. Many crones who had been exiled from miami previously returned with the backing of a large contingent of carthians with backing of the court of Havana (A Carthian Stronghold since Castro came to Power) and began violently taking back the territories which had previously been taken from them. Dozens of kindred on both sides met final death over the next three months as this vendetta raged on each night.
January 1990, the chaos that followed the loss of the prince had begun to threaten the masquerade itself. Violence and armed conflict between indred was a nightly occurrence, and supernatural feats were regularly displayed in public. Fearing the consequences of continuing the feud within the city Joshua Bowen was able to pull together the leaders of each covenant in addition to the eldest member of each clan to hammer out an agreement and settle things for the good of the kindred community, and in doing so secured a position for himself as the main power broker at the table once the details of the board were hammered out.
On the surface there is relative peace, the board system works. The Board president Tyrus Alexander a carthian chosen from the board members to lead the city has done an admirable job juggling all the competing interests within the court. Beneath the surface though there is a feeling that things are about to change. Old enemies maneuver behind the scenes and new outside influences flow into Mimai each night threatening to upend the carefully balanced agreements which hold the fragile peace together. Then there is the matter of the old prince it’s been nearly 40 years since he disappeared yet still the stories of his coming return have never gone away, if anything they have grown in scope and frequency. Some say he walks among the kindred of Miami already waiting for the moment to reveal himself, Others claim Bowen is hiding him away some kind of nuclear option to unleash if anything would ever threaten his power behind the scenes….
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