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Recently returned to London after a still-unexplained century-long absence, London's ancient Prince now rules a metropolis of millions controlling an empire that spans half the globe. He seems to be quietly enjoying the return to the imperial glory days that he last knew under Rome. Insofar as his subjects can judge his moods and feelings, Mithras regards the shrinking world brought about by modern technology as an exciting opportunity to extend his power and influence, not the frightening threat that most elders consider it to be. With his power base in the capital itself secure, much of his attention is devoted to bringing the rest of the British Isles more fully under his personal control. Resistance to his efforts comes not only from the northern fiefs but (very quietly and subtly), from the Inner Circle of the Camarilla. Although London is a nominally Camarilla city, the Inner Circle is uneasily conscious that Mithras' age and personal power far outstrips theirs, and that such authority as the sect has in London exists solely at the Prince's sufferance. They would prefer not to see the ancient attain yet more power at the Camarilla's expense, but neither can they afford to alienate him, leaving them forced to play a delicate game of supporting greater autonomy for the outlying British domains without appearing to do so.
Poised and controlled, the Prince almost never raises his voice; his quiet, clipped tones carry the force of thunder thanks to his tremendous charisma, centuries of leadership experience, and immensely powerful Presence Discipline. Swarthy, dark-haired, compact, and muscular, he's actually a little shorter than average for the nineteenth century, but most of those who meet him perceive him as a giant.
The Cult of Mithras flourishes among the officers of Victoria's Empire. Reinvented as the Taurus Society, it hides behind the facade of a private members' club for the military elite (and those aspiring to one day join that elite). To Mithras, it serves not only as a Herd, but as a key component of his intelligence network and an important source of influence in mortal society, and he protects it ruthlessly from any other Kindred who seeks to infiltrate or control it.
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His real name is Aulus Calpurnius Sorio, but by the closing years of the nineteenth century, only the Jackdaw and the Prince remember that. He's called himself the Jackdaw for so long that it's become more truly his "real" name than the one he was born with, and it accurately describes the nature of his madness. A kleptomaniac, he has an obsession with bright and shiny things. Like his namesake, he doesn't concern himself with the innate value of the objects he collects, only how much they gleam in bright light.
In any other city, the Jackdaw might be Prince. A Roman-era Methuselah, he's the longest continuous Kindred resident of London - even Mithras deserted the city after the fall of Rome, but the Jackdaw still lurked there after the Saxon invasions of the fifth and sith centuries, when the city was reduced to little more than half-abandoned ruins.
His history is known only to Mithras and a few other hoary elders who recall the city as it was during the nights of Rome. The Jackdaw was the bastard son of a native tribesman and the wife of a high Roman official. Unfortunately for his mother, her husband was absent on one of his periodic visits to Rome when he was conceived, so there was no plausible way for her to pass the child off as his. All she could do was plead for mercy when he returned - but as a staunch adherent of the old patrician ethic, mercy was not something that he was inclined to grant, and he packed her off back to her family in Rome in disgrace. Cold but not cruel, he kept the child to raise as his own son.
Unfortunately, the Jackdaw was not the son he would have desired. As he grew into a teenager, he became wild, precocious and uncontrollable, a scandal looking for a place to happen. He became involved with a group of young, wealthy louts who styled themselves siccari, or dagger-men, after the revolutionary brigands of Jerusalem.
One night, a round of drinking and adolescent boasting led to them going out onto the streets to hire themselves a prostitute. They got into a fight with her pimp and a scuffle developed, which ended with the pimp lying dead in a gutter and the prostitute lying beside him, with a knife that had been intended for the pimp buried in her heart.
The other boys screamed and fled when the prostitute calmly got to her feet and pulled the dagger out, but the Jackdaw wasn't even scared. He stared at her, fascinated and compelled by the mix of beauty and inhumanity he saw in her.
She smiled at him, told him he had great potential, and took him into the night.
His sire, the River Maiden, was a Roman elder who remembered the earliest days of the Roman Republic. She'd been watching young Aulus for some time, intrigued by the "potential" that her powerful - if twisted and insane - insight had detected in him. The incident with the pimp was her final test of his worthiness, a proof of his ability to cope with bloodshed and death without flinching.
The River Maiden ruled the city's criminal population during the nights of Rome, with the Jackdaw as her lieutenant. When she left along with the legions in the fifth century, he took her place as crime lord of Londinium, a position he managed to retain - despite occasional challenges from other Kindred and one particularly audacious Mage - ever since. Realizing that mortals tend to discount or under-estimate children, he has built himself a sizable cadre of young ghouls, physically suspended in pre- or early adolescence, although the eldest among them are centuries old by now. Like a dark mirror of Sherlock Holmes' Baker Street irregulars, this elite group of servants are his secret weapon. All are skilled cut-purses, burglars, and - where the situation calls for it - assassins.
After narrowly escaping the Final Death in the Great Fire in 1666, the Jackdaw dropped into torpor for a few decades. When he awoke, he'd changed. A Walker on the Road of Sin during the middle ages, now he seemed to have rediscovered his Humanity, showing a concern for the well-being of his stable of thieves and whores that he'd never displayed before. The change was a gradual one, and he was still amply capable of deviousness and ruthlessness when his own interests were at stake, but he's slowly become a protector of London's criminal community as well as an exploiter of it.