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Montreal, also known to vampires as the "City of Black Miracles", is the second-largest city in all of Canada and the largest city in the province of Quebec. The city is home to several Cainite packs, and is considered the spiritual heart of the Sabbat and the anvil by which the hammer of Mexico City quashes the Camarilla.
|“||Welcome to Montreal, City of Black Miracles and unhallowed shrine of our most glorious Sabbat. Yes, we're so glad you came, n'est ce pas? Walk our catacombs in search of blasphemous knowledge, enjoy all manner of titillating diversions with our deliciously putrescent "Toy". And forget that language-barrier nonsense; we'd be delighted to hear you scream for mercy in English or French.||”|
Montreal is a city of enigmas, an onion of almost infinite layers, if you will. Peel away one skin and several more await, seductive in what they hide. It has received the name "City of Black Miracles" because of the dark faith of its nocturnal inhabitants. Those who live within its island confines, whether mortal or immortal, feel as some terrible force looms just beyond the senses.
Montreal is also a city of contrasts, where modern skyscraper towers over old churches and cathedrals. The new and the old world clash, not only for mortals, but for the undead. Mention of the Sabbat conjures images of the crime infested streets of New York, the despair-gripped population of Detroit, the black heart of Mexico City and the moral debauchery of Amsterdam. These modern interpretations of the Sabbat apply to Montreal, but the Cainites also make Montreal a city of knowledge and faith.
New York and Mexico City attract the bloodthirsty, Detroit appeals to the downtrodden, Amsterdam lures the abusive and Montreal draws the scholarly and educated among the Sabbat.
Although the city is one of the world's most modern, its past defines it. Most of the buildings were built in the 19th century - or even earlier - and, to this day, cast their long shadows from the past into the present.
First discovered in 1535 by Jacques Cartier, Mount Royale became a colony for Catholic missionaries from France some 70 years later. On Cartier's ship was a Gangrel antitribu named Louis Drapeau, who became a sort of leader and liaison for French Sabbat who sought relief from Camarilla oppression in the New World. Using Catholic missionaries as a major source of food, the Sabbat encouraged the nascent settlement of Ville-Marie to grow and thrive. Louis became the ductus of the first Montreal coven, "Les Acadiens".
Louis died after natives attacked the village because of the monsters they knew who lurked in it. The only major Sabbat left in the city was a Tzimisce named Connaught, plus his Bratovitch attendants. Connaught used Koldunic Sorcery to keep himself safe, but found the overwhelming surges of Faith in Montreal harmful to his spells. Nevertheless, Les Acadiens reformed, with Connaught as the leader sometime later, but instead of egging Natives on, from that point the Sabbat used native attacks as a cover for their own depredations on the city. The white man struck back at the Iroquois, but it had been the Sabbat who came in the night to attack the good people of Ville-Marie.
These attacks became too severe, and the Camarilla in France stepped up military dominance of the colony, and during the attacks of the Iroquois, a regimen of French military took over the country. They really did it in the name of the Camarilla, and the Sabbat was pushed back. The Liber Defuctorum was created as a list of those Sabbat who died valiantly. It would eventually become the Litany of Blood. Though the Camarilla officially took over Montreal, the Sabbat was now two packs strong, Les Acadiens and Les Capots-Bleus. These marauding packs continued to attack disguised as Natives, and spread the rumours of Iroquois and Huron viciousness. Two more packs soon joined their ranks: Les Miserables and the Shepherds of Caine.
As French-Toreador control over Montreal weaned, the British Ventrue pushed Britain to take over the colony. They made Kyle Strathcona "Prince" of Montreal, but in time he was corrupted by the Shepherds of Caine to their side. Though he continued to lead the Camarilla on to believe he kept the Black Hand in check, he really just helped them plot complete takeover of New France. Any other Camarilla in the city quickly became enticed with the brothel maintained by another pack, The Widows. Using French uprising against the British as cover, Strathcona uprooted what was left, and the Sabbat proclaimed Montreal fully there's again. Despite the October Crisis, another attempt at Camarilla dominance in Montreal, the Sabbat has yet to be pushed back.
During the Eucharist Congress, one of the greatest meetings of religious minded individuals in the world, the Shepherds and the Librarians, another pack, staged the Conference of Caine, which was seen as the end to the Sabbat Civil War. A great time of learning was declared for the Sabbat, and the Litany of Blood became the official record-book of the sect's deeds and fallen warriors.
Despite their celebrations, the Sabbat knew Montreal didn't completely belong to them. The Shepherds warned all that demons lurked in the City of Black Miracles, and the Mountain was seen as a locus of that dark energy. No Creation Rites succeeded on the mountain, shovelheads were sometimes seen being pulled back into their graves as they had finally pulled their way out. The tunnel underneath the mountain has caused the disappearances of no less the six Sabbat, and is generally thought as off limits. The Shepherds helped form the Sabbat Inquisition to find those who worshipped the dark creature(s) in Montreal, and they regularly found small cells. The Shepherds continued to push that more were out there. Cedilia the Tongue, a Malkavian from the pack Les Miserables, was found guilty of infernalism, and though her Dark Thaumaturgy was strong enough to turn vampires into black trees, she was taken down.
Soon after World War I, Archbishop Strathcona was finally given the title of Cardinal of Canada, and the only surviving Widow, Veronique La Cruelle, became Archbishop of the city. She established "The Tradition", a belief that every feeding should be something showy and ostentatious. Montreal Sabbat, without the constant threat of war in other Sabbat cities, took to "The Tradition" and it became a trademark of the city. Pubic feedings, horrible mutilations, anything that could out-do your rivals would be great. No-one ever beat Veronique though.
When Setites from Haiti flooded into the city with Haitian immigrants in the 1970s, Shepherds began to find Setite blood cults throughout the city. Seeing them as a threat both politically and religiously, the Setites were to be rooted out and destroyed at all costs. But, the Setites wormed themselves into the structure of the city, and it became hard to cleanse it of their presence. Sangris, a Haitian Serpent of the Light, came to lead the city to a full-out war with his hated father-clan. He organized Snake-Hunters, had important politicians Dominated for the Sabbat before the Setites could get to them, and used powerful magic to quell the vodun used by the Sand-Snakes.
Veronique turned a Setite master named Moise into a leather jacket, and was never seen without it again.
Then one night, during a Blood Feast, everyone passed out mysteriously, except for Sangris, the ductus of the pack Les Orphelins, Pierre Bellemare, Elias the Whale of the Wretched, and the nomadic Road Wolves. Sangris declared the Setites responsible, and tracked mysterious diseased pawns back to a major Setite temple. In one big fiery battle, the last Setites in the city were killed. When they returned from the battle, most of the city's Sabbat had reawakened, though many had mysteriously disappeared. Veronique La Cruelle was one of them, and Sangris became the new Archbishop. Those who had a chance to oppose him for some reason had lingering effects of the poisoned blood.
Sangris ruled for 20-some glorious years with the Shepherds' support. He pushed back Camarilla control in Quebec City, and carefully avoided what could have been a war with the Lupines during the Oka Crisis. But, soon after that, two Inquisitors found evidence of Sangris the Serpent's infernalism, and a tribunal was called. Santiago DeSoto, a former Montreal resident and Judge-Inquisitor, led the tribunal, and a three month long trial ensued. Though many stood up for the Serpent, he flatly admitted his guilt, and was killed under a wash of Thaumaturgical flame by Santiago deSoto. The Inquisitor retired soon after, and went back to his childe's pack The Navigators for a life on the water.
Strathcona appointed Carolina Valez of the Lost Angels from LA an interim Archbishop until the city could calm down. This was in 1995. Two years later, Sangris' childe Ezekiel came back to Montreal, planning to reclaim the title of Archbishop. He was prevented by the Shepherds of Caine who found the idea of the Black Hand-dominated pack Ezekiel lead to be unsavory for their little pearl of scholarship. Two years later, in 1999, the players for the throne, the Lost Angels, with the Widows and the Navigators behind them, The Shepherds of Caine, with The Librarians and The Queens of Mercy behind them, and Ezekiel's 25:17 with The Wretched and Les Orphelins behind him, are all very close to becoming it.
Though none will be Archbishop until the others are all out of the way. Sabbat politics is harsh, and it's just about to get it's harshest. In a city known for it's safety and it's religious tolerance and education, a bloody feud of vampire-politics is about to happen.
An overview description of Montreal's supernatural inhabitants.
The coven is a Sabbat member's family, home, circle of friends and parents all rolled into one. While individual vampires have their own feelings about the conditions in Montreal, their covens have factionalized based on the three vampires who are vying for power: Archbishop Carolina Valez, Alfred Benezri and Ezekiel. The most prominent packs currently active in the city include:
- The Lost Angels - pack of former Archbishop, Carolina Valez. The pack is originally from Mexico, and all of the surviving pack members who have been in existence for over twenty years were active in Los Angeles. Known members: Carolina Valez, Tobias Smith, Gharston Roland, Marie-Helene Dutoit.
- The Widows - a prominent coven in the city, and the most devout Catharists of the Sabbat. Led by The Rose, the Widows share control of the sex industry in Montreal, primarily the S&M/bondage aspect. Known members: The Rose, Creamy Jade, Black Lotus.
- 25:17 - a Black Hand coven led by Ezekiel. Before Sangris’ trial, 25:17 was nomadic and was very active in New York City and Chicago. All of the members have always been Black Hand members in good standing. Known members: Ezekiel, Soldat, Reza Fatir, Yasmin the Black.
- The Shepherds of Caine - one of the oldest Sabbat covens in the western hemisphere, and the oldest coven in North America. Led by Alfred Benezri, the Shepherds were instrumental in the creation of the Sabbat Inquisition, and the senior coven members are the founders of the philosophy of Nocturnal Redemption. Known members: Alfred Benezri, Yitzhak, Frere Marc, Raphael Catarari, Cherubim, Sabrina.
- The Librarians - Noddist Sabbat scholars. They are responsible for the keeping and safeguarding of the Litany of Blood. Many of their members died fighting Sangris during his assault on the Temple of Eternal Whispers. Known members: Beatrice L'Angou, Jacob the Glitch, Marie-Ange Gagnon, Molly 8, Christanius Lionel, Santiago DeSoto.
- The Navigators - a nomadic pack that recently settled in Montreal due to the recent events during the Nights of Blood and Fire. Their numbers are low due to the losses they suffered recently. The Navigators are the core of the Loyalist movement in Montreal. Known members: Miguel Santo Domingo, Célèste Lamontagne, Erinyi, Sangris the Serpent.
- Les Orphelins - a pack that adopted a biker gang style. Having adopted a biker gang style long ago, they have always been linked to Montreal’s most violent elements, and are responsible for a continent-wide war between the mortal Hell’s Angels and Rock Machine gangs. Known members: Pierre Bellemare, Cairo the Lost Knight, Sister Evelyn.
- The Queens of Mercy - a coven that is attached to the sexual aspects of mortality. They control the sex community of Montreal, both heterosexual and homosexual. They are instrumental in maintaining Sabbat control of the mortal administration of the city, especially considering the fact that important mortals in the city who happen to be sexually "active" are much more easily blackmailed than most. The coven is frequently criticized by other Sabbat for their continued attachment to mortal sexuality, but they continue to prove they worth to the Sabbat. Known members: Sebastien Goulet, Caroline Bishops, Alex Camille.
- Zarnovich's Circus - a semi-nomadic circus of horrors style pack led by the Tzimisce Maciej Zarnovich. The pack is a childish nightmare come true. Most of Zarnovich’s packmates have been fleshcrafted to some extreme or another, and many who undergo Zarnovich's experiments end up as part of one of Zarnovich’s circus sideshows, held in a city controlled by the Camarilla, of course. Known members: Maciej Zarnovich, Midget, Tears.
- The Wretched - a pack that revels in their vile monstrosities. Together, they explore the limits of vampiric inhumanity. Known members: Stephanie L'Heureux, Elias the Whale, Spider.
- Les Miserables - a pack comprised of the most insane members of the city, they have always primarily consisted of Malkavian antitribu. Known members: Skin, Toy, Muse
- The Talons - a pack of Sabbat Inquisitors that recently arrived at Montreal. Known Members: Mercy, Kervos, Fexia, Carlos.
The demon MetathiaxEdit
The Hochelaga Huron tribe maintained several thousands natives at the base of Mount Royal - in a forest of oak trees - when Jacques Cartier first landed on the island. No remnants of the community and any of the oak trees have ever been discovered, and many attribute this to inaccurate mapping of the region, but the Sabbat believe otherwise. The Hurons were killed during their battle with Metathiax, and the demon was trapped.
As a result, only a handful of Creation Rites have ever worked on the slopes of Mount Royal. Buried Sabbat either vanish or are found dead in their graves. In one case, an emerging vampire who survived the rite was pulled back into to the ground by an unseen force - his grave was found empty. Metathiax is able to take those Cainites who are put into the ground and drag them down to the bowels of the mountain. He often spends years torturing them far below the city, dissolving their bodies with disease and eventually reforming them into grotesque mockeries of humanity. Most of the creatures that survive the torment are allowed to wander through the city's sewers.
Metathiax's presence is causing the formation of a tiny pinprick in the Shroud between the world of the living and the dead. People have reported a glowing opening in the city's forest. They say it project darkness like a frame of film's negative image. A few Necromancers have called it a Nihil.
Montreal is an island city located on the Saint Lawrence River and is home to just over three million people (although only about one million live in the island itself). It is also the second largest french-speaking city in the world. The city's shores are home to the largest inland ports in the world, and Montreal is a port of call for many Canadian and American vessels.
The climate is characterized by long winters which typically last from December to April. Temperatures vary from 32º to -40ºF, making Cainites susceptible to freezing if they stay outdoors for extended periods of time. In summer, temperatures can climb as high as 90º - 110º. In the winter the sun sets approximately 4 P.M. and rises around 7 A.M., and during summer, it sets well after 9 P.M. and rises around 5 A.M.
Temple of Eternal Whispers
- Main article: Temple of Eternal Whispers
The Communal Haven of the Montreal Sabbat. It was originally built as a small necropolis inside the cemetery, but today the area around and above the communal haven became a park called Dorchester Square.
Although the Lachine Canal once served as the gateway between Great Lakes and the rest of the world, it has fallen into disuse since the Saint Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959. Today, the canal is dotted with abandoned and crumbling factories and docks. The structures are used by homeless and runaways who seek shelter from the elements, their parents, or even their pasts. The Sabbat usually raid these factories when “stocking up” for blood feasts.
The Underground City
Covering 30 kilometers, right under the downtown core, there is a network of tunnels, malls, metro stations and government offices known as The Underground City. By day it is safe, but by night it becomes the domain of the Sabbat. Poorly patrolled and gloomy, the Sabbat finds it the perfect place for feeding on confused shoppers and playing Games of Instinct. Some Sabbat keep secondary havens in closed-for-the-night malls.
Saint James United Church
A long-run-down cathedral in the downtown core. They only people who wanted to buy it would destroy it, so it was left to rot and became a haven for the homeless to sleep and the prostitutes to ply their trade. For 8 years now, the Sabbat has used the church’s basement to dispose of the remains of blood-feast victims. To date, the pieces of over 500 corpses lie in the darkness, in various states of decomposition, including a number of staked Cainites who failed their Creation Rites. Surrounded by rotting bodies, these vampires have slowly lost their sanity. On rare occasions, a bloodcurdling scream can be heard from the bowels of the church. A few homeless mortals, desperate and hungry, have resorted to eating the decaying corpses, which as resulted in the spread of infectious diseases. The Sabbat just thinks it’s funny how stupid mortals really are.
Sheltered by a 12-foot high wall and thick trees is the abandoned mansion of Ravenscrag, which once served as a mental hospital during the 1950's. The home was vacant until 25:17 moved in, and Ezekiel opened a club called Angel’s Fall. The club’s dark, brooding atmosphere and location makes it a hit among Sabbat, especially members of the young packs. Angel’s Fall is open to both mortals and Cainites, though many mortals do not survive the night. The mansion’s ballroom became the main dancefloor, and the wooden floor originally built was overlayed with gray linoleum for the asylum, stained from years of use. Secret passages lead to the house chapel that serves as the pack’s communal haven as well as a dumping ground for past inmates and recent victims.
Very few know of the small secluded fetish club called The Heart. Those who do are members of Montreal’s fetish and S&M elite. It’s also a common hangout for average Sabbat, and it’s the communal haven of The Widows. The Heart is located in the red light district of Montreal, and it’s discreet entrance is marked by small red leather door that seems to pulse in synch with the music inside. Catering to those who live on the wild side, the club is a labyrinth of corriders and small rooms when patrons engage in any number of activities, including the dancing, heated discussions, art shows, photo shoots, and of course, sexual acts. At The Heart, anything is possible for the right price. Everything is made of red leather, and the lighting is soft red. The inner sanctum of the heart, where the Widows reside, are marked by two double-doors with human bodies, one male, one female, fleshcrafted into place. The room inside is shaped like a seven pointed star, with each corner a small shrine to one of the Seven Deadly Sins. The Rose and Creamy Jade consider the fleshcrafted works of living art forever acting out a sin their greatest works of art. In the center lies a pool of blood that feeds the living walls and statues.
The biggest gay club right now in Montreal, it serves as the lair for the Queens of Mercy Coven. It’s three floors are all beautifully decorated in a celestial motif, with hanging dance floors that resemble huge clouds. Heaven’s funky atmosphere and cutting edge music attracts Montreal’s hip homosexuals.
One of the original and most famous of Montreal’s churches, it has been a bane to the Sabbat for decades. The church’s aura of faith is simply too great to overcome, and no vampire has ever set foot in it, not even a Shepherd.
At the center of the island is the mountain for which the city is named. Mount Royal’s old thick trees and secluded paths contrast with the nearby downtown core. Though it is a tourist attraction during the day, most people avoid it during the night. The twisted gnarled trees block out moonlight, and an eerie silence pervades the place. The Sabbat rarely go near the mountain, since so many Cainites have been lost travelling through it, never to be seen again. Though there’s no rule saying you can’t go near, very few Sabbat ever do, and no Creation Rites are performed if you want them to succeed on the Mountain.
Montreal’s skyline is overlooked by a massive lit cross, an illuminated testament to the religious foundation of the city. The original crucifix was placed on Mount Royal on Epiphany (January 6th) of 1612 by Paul de Chomeday de Maisonneuve. It was finally replaced in 1642, and on 1924 a steel cross with electric lights was placed on the site. Though the old cross radiated powerful faith, the new cross is not dangerous and all, and many Sabbat use it as an overlook point of the whole city.