So, as I was thinking about Charleston this morning, I realized that I had forgotten a key element in the War of Ages—the anarchs! How could I possibly have a teeming, violent city on the verge of all-out war and NOT have a group of desperate young Kindred just waiting for the chance to burn the place down? Truly, this was a terrible oversight on my part.
Now, I’m not generally a fan of the later treatments of the anarchs as a global “sect” struggling against the Camarilla and the Sabbat. I prefer my anarchs more locally focused—those who are fighting to save THIS city or take down THIS prince. So, I’m going to ignore most of the works on the anarchs, and instead focus on those solely from Charleston, and how they fit into the great drama that is unfolding.
The majority of Kindred political leanings are divided between the two great factions, the Prince and the Lords Proprietors. Depending on which side one falls, one either believes the city needs a strong central leader to handle the changing chaos of the city, or believe that local control is best. Around the Prince and each Lord are a core group of followers and allies, their individual “courts.” Most Vampires aren't part of these courts, and instead must tolerate these elites as they go about trying to live their own unlives.
Some however see the entire system as being the problem, and feel that it needs to be replaced in total. They are generally the young or others who have been shut out of positions of privilege and power, though there are those who are true believers. Many of them felt that Vesey was “one of us” 20 years ago, and fully supported his war against Robert. Indeed, for the most part, the various Lords sat out the war.
Many had great hope for Vesey, and supported his rule during those first few awkward years. However, a city like Charleston is difficult to preside over, and tensions began piling up. Vesey seemed unwilling or unable to break the rule of the Lords, and his followers began to take increasing independent action. It was all the Prince could do to keep the minor “poaching” and infringements from escalating to a war. Eventually, there were too many violations of both tradition and the Traditions, and Vesey was forced to act against his own followers, lest he lose the Princedom altogether.
One young Kindred named Amelia had embraced without permission, an occurrence that had become disturbingly regular. The Prince held her and her childe up as an example, and had them summarily executed in a public show trial. Many of the anarchs believe that Amelia was setup, as Damien and his crew seized her within hours of the supposed embrace. The anarchs did not respond well to the show of force and law.
A week late, a particularly fanatic group of anarchs set an ambush for the prince, detonating a car bomb near where he sat in front of a group of mortal businessmen, then charging forward in full view of the kine with automatic weapons. The Prince fought them savagely until Damien and Annabelle could come to his rescue. The Prince declared a Blood Hunt on any and all anarchs, and the Month of Blood began.
The anarchs were unprepared for the war, and divided amongst themselves. The brutality with which the Prince stuck took them by surprise, and dozens of anarchs met Final Death during that horrible month. The war ended when the dominant members of the anarch cause were brought forward to the Prince. Some were forced to drink his blood, a few were exiled from the city, while the rest were executed in public.
Now, a handful of dedicated anarchs still survive, hiding among the warrens of North Charleston, seeking allies and an attempt at revenge against the Prince, who many still believe orchestrated the entire thing. They survive only by placating the “Pretend Lord” Lavinia, whom Damien has propped up to keep some semblance of stability in the area.
There is another faction, though, and one that is perhaps even more dangerous. To the south is James Island, ruled by the Toreador Trent Richards. Trent has little interest in being a Lord, and is more content to play his music, and spend his nights engaged in petty games of one-upmanship with Annabelle. Into this vacuum has stepped his childe, Haywire. His Brotherhood of Struggle is not only a multi-ethnic gang, but he has also drawn a number of anarchs and would be anarchs to his banner. His message is different than those of the past. While they were happy to argue that the war most be won first, with the details of the new Utopia to be determined later, Haywire preaches living without a Prince in the here and now. He believes, truly, that once the rest of the city sees that Kindred do not need a Prince or Lords to maintain the Traditions that the system will change on its own.
It’s been a surprisingly effecting message, and his followers have grown in number. The Prince and his court are aware of this neonate and what he’s up to, but so long as he keeps the peace in James Island, Vesey could care less. He has greater problems to deal with, such as the remaining anarchs of North Charleston, the Lupine attacks along Daniel Island, and the looming threat of a coup launched by his clan mate, Michael King. Not to mention the near endless quarrels and violence that mark a city full of undead.
This “hands off approach” will most likely come back to haunt the Prince. Not only is Haywire’s message taking hold among those who wish to “drop” of Kindred society, but the flaws in his theory are starting to come to light. So far, he has been able to restrict such major violations as Embrace to those clever enough to get away with, and targeting the Destruction on those who truly deserved it. But now his followers are clamoring for more freedom, and when they vote for a mass embrace, where each can be a sire, Haywire will be forced to go along with it.
If a single unauthorized embrace made public could result in the Month of Blood, one shudders to think what such a demonstration could cause.