"That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die."
– H.P. Lovecraft
Vampires or Vetostryx as they call themselves are immortal predators, at least in theory, many meet their despise at the hands of others of their kind.
For as long as humans have lived, they have died and for as long as they have died some have come back from the dead, Revived and maintained by Umbrates, daemons of Vespertine the primordial darkness. For each new Cerement, vampiric bloodline, the curse begins anew. Feeding off oblates (humans) in order to sustain themselves into the centuries.
CLOAK AND DAGGER
Modern vampiric society is dominated by three huge international monolithic organisations known as Commonwealths; Draco Invictus, the Society of Masks and the Stygian Brotherhood. Each of these groups has a multitude of subgroups known as Estates. Set up during the age of the British Empire, they have fought for dominance ever since.
Outsiders are known as peregrines, many of them are drifters, travelling from place to place and owing fealty to no one though there are a few isolated pales that are controlled by peregrines.
Before the Commonwealths there were a multitude of other institutions across the centuries of varying sizes and power.
MASKS AND SHADOWS
"Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are."
– Niccolò Machiavelli
Draco Invictus are the followers of tradition which while severe and rigid have protected their kind for centuries, and they revere their almost mythical founder who they refer to as the Dragon.
The Society of Masks are the masters of pantomime and pretence; known for their masked balls and their backstage clubs, vampiric hellfire clubs that participate in great debauchery behind closed doors while keeping up a shallow façade elsewhere.
The Stygian Brotherhood are the bogeymen’s bogeymen, who seek power and control through fear and animalistic brutality.
WARLORDS AND MASTERS
A pale is a portion of land, often an urban area, that is controlled by a vanguard. A vanguard is neither formally elected or given the land by right, instead a Vetostryx aiming for the position must claim the title and will only be formally granted it if there are no other claimants. Should there be multiple claimants they must have a duel to the death and the survivor will become the vanguard. The ability to have a claim relies not on position per say, though it is generally held by someone of high rank in both their Commonwealth and Estate, it relies more on their influence and support they have in vampiric society and among the oblate populace.
Vanguards are generally speaking either of Draconists (members of Draco Invictus) or Maskers (members of the Society of Masks), rarely do you see a peregrine vanguard though it’s not entirely unknown. All Vetostryx regardless of Commonwealth are expected to give their fealty to the vanguard of their particular pale. That is not to say that they will not play politics and try to have them replaced, they just won't openly attack them, be seen to disobey them or publicly seek to have them removed.
The Stygian Brotherhood reject the idea of vanguards and their apparent authority, instead they follow apexes, vampiric warlords who keep power not through fealty and decorum but fear and brutality. The domain of an apex is not referred to as a pale instead it is known as a tract, these tend to be more rural locations and poorer areas.