City of the Sun
Name: Grigory Ivanovich
Title(s): Old man / Diplomat / Pacifist (will think of better ones)
Embraced: 47 years old
Age: 64 years old
Specialties: Forceful (Charisma), Well-reasoned (Manipulation), Oratory (Leadership)
Birth (1892): Grigori Ivanovich is born on the 12th of December 1892 in Saint Petersburg. He is the firstborn son of Andrei and Maria Ivanovich. The child is the legitimate heir of his line’s noble title; as such, he is born into a life of privilege and wealth.
Childhood and early adolescence (1892-1906): As a child, Grigori is obedient and remarkably aware of the weight of responsibility that hangs upon his shoulders. He serves as guardian, teacher and mentor to his younger siblings, eager to follow his father’s example. Even as a young adolescent, Grigori is anything but rebellious.
Late adolescence (1906-1912): Grigori continues leading an idle life, like much of the young aristocracy at the time. He remains blissfully unaware of the troubles that plague his fellow countrymen. He develops an interest in fencing, philosophy and the works of Dostoyevsky and establishes a small circle of like-minded young men.
World War I (1914-1917): Despite his eagerness to join the war effort, Grigori’s father ensures that his firstborn is exempt from military service. Instead, Andrei enlists the Imperial Russian Army as a cavalry officer. He leaves his firstborn behind to look after the family.
Andrei sends letters from the Eastern Front to Grigori, recounting the horrors he has bared witness to. Grigori hardly recognizes the author as his father, but keeps the letters nonetheless, not showing them to his mother. The last letter arrives in the middle of 1916; four months later, news of Andrei’s death arrive.
Russian Revolution and counterrevolution (1917-1921): Before Grigori has time to adjust himself to his new role as family leader, the Russian Revolution erupts. The family is unaffected by the largely bloodless coup of October. Regardless, Maria grows concerned with the situation, an effect exacerbated by the revolutionaries’ proclamations. Secretly, she begins preparations to transfer the entire family and their property to the United States.
Emigration to the States (1921): Back in Russia, the war between the Reds and the Whites rages on. By now, the Ivanovich family has lost much of its holdings to the Bolsheviks.
Early in 1921, Grigori and his youngest sibling, Mikael, travel to the United States with nothing but a bag of clothes with them. The two sons are to live with a distant and eccentric uncle, a multimillionaire by the name of Sergei Borodin. The uncle, who made his fortune by running a colossal automobile industry, lives up to his reputation. Although wealthy beyond imagination, he lives as a recluse in his giant mansion, refusing to come out during the day and only rarely interacting with his two relatives from Russia.
Grigori receives a few letters from his mother, who prepares the relocation of the rest of the family. The letters stop abruptly. Grigori never hears from his mother or any other member of his family again. He assumes the worst.
Life with Sergei (1921-1929): The two young men receive no special treatment from their strange uncle, despite being family. They start from the bottom in his automobile industry but gradually work their way up. Sergei encourages this, firmly believing that hard work will turn the boys into real men. He appears in their lives infrequently, most of the time to patronize them or to remind them how much they owe him.
Grigori works on the processing of metal surfaces, picking up the relevant background in chemistry as he goes along. His efforts are met with success, and his procedures are eventually applied on an industrial scale. After that, he rapidly ascends the company’s hierarchy, assuming an administrative role. He is an important shareholder of his uncle’s company right before the crash of 1929.
The Great Depression (1929-1939): Grigori loses everything shortly after the crash of 1929. His uncle disappears into thin air, after liquidizing many of the company’s assets and embezzling the investors’ funds. What remains of the company is eventually sold off to a competitor at a bargain price.
Grigori’s brother, Mikael, suffers a fate similar to his brother’s. In 1932, he ends his life by jumping off the Empire State building. Grigori becomes the only surviving member of the Ivanovich family. By now, he is almost 40 years old. He sinks into depression, wandering the country and doing odd jobs to survive.
By 1934, Grigori recovers somewhat. He keeps taking whatever job he can find, but starts becoming active in labor unionization. His charisma, coupled with his brief exposure to socialist rhetoric, make him an effective union leader. By 1937, he is the workers’ representative in the textile factory he is working at and a perceived threat to the management.
On the 23rd of June, Grigori does not show up to work. All attempts to locate him and to find what happened to him fail. The mystery of his disappearance is never solved.
The Embrace (1939): Although captured, Grigori is not killed. His tormentors keep him at an undisclosed location and spend a month tormenting him with food, sleep and water deprivation. They never explain to Grigori the reason behind all of this. Grigori has a brush with madness, and ultimately resigns to his fate.
Grigori’s captor eventually becomes tired of the game and reveals his identity. He is none other than Sergei Borodin, Grigori’s uncle and former employer. Sergei explains that Grigori has come a long way, and even expresses respect for his niece’s tenacity. For the next week, he continues to torment Grigori by having discussions on a multitude of philosophical subjects, including religion, morality and the nature of humanity. The “discussions” are actually monologues, endless rants of a depraved madman. He recites from the Grand Inquisitor of the Brothers Karamazov every night.
Sergei reveals himself as a vampire shortly afterwards, by draining one of his own henchmen to death. He doesn’t bother explaining the nature of his affliction, leaving a terrified Grigori mad with fear for a day.
On the night of the 4th of August 1939 Sergei drinks from Grigori. Grigori prepares for the end, closing his eyes… But instead of dying, he is transformed into the very creature his uncle is.
Years as a fledgling / World War II (1939-1948): Unlike others of his kind, Grigori receives no formal tutelage from his sire. Grigori views unlife with Sergei as a torment, and his sire as a cruel and sadistic tyrant. More than a decade later, he would realize that his sire thought of his patronage a successful application of the Socratic Method. Needless to say, Grigori never accepted such claims.
World War II is very lucrative for Sergei. In earlier years, the Ventrue Elder had become an important player in the aviation industry. Using his embezzled billions and extensive network of contacts, he becomes the real puppet master behind Boeing Airplane Company in 1934. After Grigori’s embrace, the childe oversees the production of B-17s for the United States Army Air Forces. Grigori starts to see his embrace as a practical decision: his “uncle” needs competent underlings to run his businesses and oversee his schemes, as he overextends to maximize profits and influence. Consistent with this interpretation, Sergei embraces two more mortals in 1940 and 1942: James Lawson, an expert in airplane design and manufacture, and Alexander Smith, a wealthy, well-connected banker. Sergei makes sure to keep his childer separate from one another, save for the rare, compulsory Camarilla meetings.
More to come…
- Find a prince worth serving: Gregory has long sought an enlightened Prince, one who shares his ideals. Although he is quite aware of his own leadership abilities, he does not aspire to be Prince himself. He knows that ruling also brings difficult decisions, and that to be an effective Prince, one needs to get his hands dirty. He clearly has no desire to do so, preferring to distance himself from all the violence and death that accompanies change, but he would gladly serve as said Prince’s advisor.
- Spread his ideals: Gregory believes that the existence of Vampirekind is inexorably linked to the survival and prosperity of humanity. As such, he is a firm believer in the Camarilla ideal and understands the necessity of upholding the traditions. Nevertheless, he sees the flaws in the sect and thus considers it an imperfect, transitional condition towards a higher ideal (see below).
- Learn more about the True Brujah and the ancient city of Carthage: Although Gregory is generally dismissive (or, at best, skeptical) of most vampiric lore, the story of the city of Carthage resonates with him. Gregory knows very little about ancient Carthage-he has never met a True Brujah, after all. Still, he’s managed to find bits and pieces of information. If these sources are to be believed, Carthage was a benevolent oligarchy, where Vampires ruled as the philosopher-kings of Plato’s Republic over a number of willing mortals. Whether these rumors are true or not remains unclear, but these ideals closely match Gregory’s.
- Tare his sire into tiny little pieces, let him heal. Repeat to satisfaction. Then (and only then) grant him the Final Death: Gregory despises his sire, whom he views as a despicable tormentor and the epitomy of everything wrong with vampirekind. Although he generally dislikes violence, finding such barbaric practices distasteful, in the case of his so-called uncle he is more than happy to make an exception. He frequently has violent revenge fantasies about destroying his uncle, especially when dreaming. Nevertheless, he knows that his sire is far more powerful and influential than he is, and he is unwilling to risk everything for a cause as lowly as vengeance.