The Undead First Estate
In most cities the Invictus has an iron grip on the workings of Kindred government. In most cities. Not so in Knoxville. Although the previous Prince of the city, Lawrence Lord, counted himself as among the Invictus, with his destruction at the end of the 1982 World’s Fair the reins of power fell not to presumed successor Richard Io, but to Jeremiah Coalridge and the Lancea Sanctum. The Invictus have never forgotten this.
Although Richard Io is not Prince, he is far too powerful to be ignored. He has been placated with a seat on the Primogen Council, and with the Regency of Sevierville. The opportunities presented by the tourist trade in Pigeon Forge has made Sevierville the center of Invictus power in the Knoxville area. The Knoxville Invictus tend to be more businesslike than aristocratic, but they still hold many ceremonies. Since losing the Princedom to the Lancea Sanctum thirty years ago there has been an upswell in support for traditional Invictus ceremonies, oaths, and titles.
Knoxville Invictus Titles
The Invictus were the creators of most of the titles used by Kindred today, such as Prince, Sheriff, and Harpy. Beyond these, however, they do have a few titles of their own. They do not expect those outside the covenant to address them properly, for the most part, but within the Invictus failing to address another member properly is a serious faux pas. Invictus titles can grow quite elaborate on formal occasions, such as The Right Honorable Alder Richard Io, Marquis of Sevierville.
The title given to a neonate who has not yet earned their first dot of Invictus status.
The title given to a full member of the Invictus.
The title given to an Invictus elder.
A title bestowed upon a Kindred who has performed honorable service for the Invictus.
Bestowed upon a Lord or Lady who has distinguished themselves on many different occasions.
Bestowed upon a Kindred given permanent territory within a domain. They are referred to as “The Good”, as in “The Good Mister Archibald Jackson, Viscount of Market Square.”
If a Kindred conquered a domain, rather than being granted it, then they gain the title of Earl instead of Viscount. They are referred to as “The Honorable”, as in “The Honorable Mister Simon Proops, Earl of Farragut”.
This title is bestowed upon a Kinred who has a permanent place in the Inner Circle of a city. They are referred to as “The Right Honorable”, as in “The Right Honorable Alder Richard Io, Marquis of Sevierville and Advisor”.
This title is granted only to a Kindred responsible for conquering a city and establishing a strong base of power for the Invictus. They are referred to as “His Grace” or “Her Grace”, as in “His Grace, Alder Lawrence Lord, Duke of Knoxville”. There is currently no Duke of Knoxville, but many Invictus have their eye on the title.
There are also a variety of titles that describe function, such as Advisor for a member of the Primogen Council (allowing Richard Io to be called, informally, “Alder Advisor”), Councilor for a member of the Inner Circle, Judex for a judge and settler of disputes, Meister for an acknowledged expert and Guild instructor, and Notary for professional witness to oathswearing.
A Word about Address
The Invictus put great stock in titles. While they do not expect other covenants to understand their complicated etiquette, any Invictus Kindred would do well to learn the methods of addressing others.
The submissive voice is used when one wishes to be ingratiating. To use the submissive voice, append “The Most” and then a flattering adjective to the title. Such as “The Most Magnificent Marquis of Sevierville” or “The Most Eloquent Prince Lord”. When addressing someone personally remove the “The”, as in “Most Magnificent Marquis, I beg of you”. The submissive tone marks you as an inferior, which may indicate that you owe fealty to the other party, or that you are afraid of them, or that you are begging their charity.
The formal voice is a simple combination of titles of esteem and function. For instance, “Alder Marquise”. If they do not have a title of function their last name suffices, such as “Mister McGinty”. This is the default form of address among the Invictus.
The familiar voice is used only with relatives (that one likes), coterie-mates, and other close friends. It is very much like the formal voice, except that the subject’s first name is used, such as “Alder Richard” or “Mister Jeffrey”.
The intimate voice involves merely the subject’s first name. “Richard” or “Jeffrey”. The intimate voice is only used between those who are, or have been, lovers. One would be wise to ensure that the other party acknowledges the relationship before daring to use the intimate voice. Among the Invictus the casual use of only the first name of another is tantamount to announcing a romantic affair.
The disparaging voice is used when you wish to make known your disdain for the subject. It is used by prefixing “My” to the familiar title. Such as “My Marquis Richard”, or “My Mister Jeffrey”. Be warned that using this voice is considered a grave insult, and is used only to assert one’s superiority over the subject, or call them out for a challenge.
The Invictus have many rules for etiquette which are almost unknown outside the covenant. This, of course, is because those outside the Invictus are uncivilized barbarians.
No superior should ever wait for an inferior. For any reason. Superiors may always speak before inferiors, always receive first portions before inferiors, and hosts of parties are expected to hold the party until their most superior guest arrives. To do otherwise is considered a challenge for their authority and position.
The Invictus give gifts all the time. These gifts are almost always carefully chosen for their significance. The very act of giving a gift is significant, as it implies the gifting Kindred acknowledges the giftee. Gifts are often given publicly as a sign of support, affection, or deference. Gifts are often exchanged at the signing of important documents and treaties, or as a sign that two feuding Kindred are ending their feud. Gifts can always be refused, but to do so is a grave insult. Displaying a gift that has been given is yet another symbol of etiquette, declaring to the world that the Kindred wishes to be associated with the giver.
How one stands is also important. Standing at the shoulder of another Kindred indicates support, while taking their arm indicates affection. Facing the Kindred without bowing of the head indicates formal indifference, while bowing the head in that pose indicates subjugation.
Carrying a weapon has no special significance, but touching the hilt of the weapon, even casually, indicates a wish to do battle with whomever one is facing. If confronted with such a gesture, Kindred are expected to either rise to the challenge, or respond with submission.
The Kindred of the Invictus will not always get along, but they will always show respect to one another. In public or in private, respect is king. Even when calling out another Kindred in a duel to the death, an Invictus must never be disrespectful or crass. To the other covenants, this is the most admirable trait about the Invictus.
Out of Character Note…
The Invictus have a level of courtly behavior and discipline that is all but unknown in America. While every Invictus player is encouraged to try to follow these rules strictly in playing their character, be considerate of the fact that not everyone will have these rules memorized. If they commit a faux pas, ensure that it was due to their character’s mistake, not the player’s ignorance. If the player is the one at fault, be forgiving.
Known Members of the Invictus
General Attitudes Toward Other Covenants
Carthians: The fact that the rabble have gained such power in Knoxville is proof of the Prince’s weakness.
Circle of the Crone: Are they still here?
Lancea Sanctum: We owe much to the church, but they should stay out of politics. They should rule the soul, not the domain.
Ordo Dracul: They seem not to have political ambition, but they are so mysterious it is hard to tell.