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Demeanor: Bon vivant
Embrace: 1551 A.D. (born 1519 A.D.)
Physical Strength 3, Dexterity 3, Stamina 3
Social: Charisma 3, Manipulation 4, Appearance 3
Mental: Perception 4, Intelligence 4, Wits 5
Talents: Alertness 3, Awareness 3, Athletics 3, Empathy 3, Intimidation 3, Leadership 3, Streetwise 4, Subterfuge 4
Skills: Drive 2, Etiquette (Camarilla) 3, Firearms 3, Larceny 4, Stealth 3, Survival 3
Knowledges: Academics 2, Computer 1, Investigation 4, Medicine 1, Occult 2, Politics (Camarilla) 3
Backgrounds: Allies (Professional criminals) 4, Contacts (Police, Organized Crime, Journalism) 5, Generation 5, Herd (Soho clubbers) 4, Influence (Criminal Gangs) 4, Resources 5, Retainers 5, Status (Camarilla) 3
Virtues: Conscience 3, Self-Control 4, Courage 5
Morality: Humanity 5
Disciplines: Animalism 4, Auspex 2, Celerity 3, Fortitude 5, Obfuscate 3, Potence 3, Protean 5
Simon Trenante was an unlikely choice for Sheriff of London after the former holder of the post perished in Coven's rebellion. Granted, he was a fairly potent elder, but he was also widely seen as a self-absorbed dilettante, lacking the self-discipline or attention to detail to keep order among the city's Kindred. Some cynics suspect that resistance to his appointment was muted precisely because most of London's vampires preferred him to a (perhaps) more effective and activist candidate.
And it's true that he hasn't displayed any great diligence since taking office, preferring to devote himself to his own domain of Soho and his connections with the city's drug trade. Yet, more perceptive observers note, Kindred society in London seems to run suspiciously smoothly considering that it has a mad Prince and an indolent Sheriff.
He first appeared in London, as far as most of its Kindred know, in the wake of the Great Fire in 1666. He was sponsored by the then Gangrel Primogen, the ancient Chalice of Mercia, and was widely suspected to be her childe. He used the nickname "the Black Friar" from his earliest nights in London, although he never explained why. He rapidly established himself among the city's criminal population, especially its more transient elements - the smugglers who worked out of its docks, the highwaymen who haunted the roads around, the vagrants and beggars who roamed its streets, and some of its more disreputable troupes of itinerant actors. As Mithras had almost certainly intended, that brought him into conflict with the Jackdaw, who as always saw London's criminal element as his own exclusive domain. The Jackdaw almost pushed Trenante out of the city altogether after Mithras disappeared in 1798, but the victory was a relatively fleeting one, as the Prince was quick to re-instate the Gangrel on his return. After the Jackdaw fell into torpor in 1937, Trenante expanded his influence into city's burgeoning drugs trade, which gave him a connection to the moneyed elite of London's financial district as well. By the time of Coven's attempted coup, he was powerful enough to command a measure of respect, but seen as largely apolitical, with few allies, and crucially, no significant enemies. As such, he made a plausible compromise candidate for Sheriff, someone who was unlikely to use his power to prosecute old feuds or promote favorites.
Needless to say, the truth is a little more complicated. Simon Trenante is almost a century older than most of London's Kindred believe. He really was a Black Friar, one of the last generation of Dominican Friars to live at Blackfriars Priory before Henry VIII closed it down.
Although, truth be told, he was never really cut out to be a monk. When he joined the Priory at fourteen as a novice, it was because his aristocratic family saw it as a suitable career for their unwanted spare son, not because he had any true religious vocation.
He was already well-known to London's more disreputable element when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1538. Cast out by his family and his former brethren alike for his scandalous behaviour, he was streetwise enough to find himself a comfortable and profitable niche as the brains behind a gang of highway robbers who preyed - an ironic piece of poetic justice, Simon thought - on many of the "new men" who'd grown rich from the monastic properties confiscated in the Dissolution.
He unwittingly impressed the Gangrel Caradoc with his intelligence and resourcefulness. Caradoc ghouled him in 1541, intending to use his gang as spies, couriers, and occasional muscle. The arrangement worked well for a decade, until Simon contracted Sweating Sickness in 1551, and Caradoc was forced to Embrace him to save his life.
Knowing that Mithras would have destroyed them both for the unsanctioned Embrace, Caradoc sent Simon away from London. Adaptable as ever, Simon spent the next century and a half as a nomadic bandit leader, ambushing wealthy travelers on the roads, using information supplied by networks of local allies - mostly tavern keepers.
In 1666, Caradoc recalled him to London. The Great Fire had destroyed a significant percentage of the city's Kindred population, leaving Mithras with a need for competent new vassals, and Caradoc with an opportunity to insert one of his own into the city's Kindred hierarchy.