In the shadow of the Smokeys…
Founded in 1786, Knoxville is the largest city in East Tennessee. At the time of its founding Tennessee was the frontier, and Knoxville was the premiere frontier town. The frontier moved on, but even in modern nights there remains a rough, frontier spirit to Knoxville. Nestled in the shadow of the Smokey Mountains, Knoxville attracts all sorts, from college kids to artisans to big-shot businessmen to toothless survivalists. And that is just the Mortals.
Knoxville by Night
Technically the Vampires claim Knoxville itself. Prince Jeremiah Coalridge claims Praxis. The Mages don’t dispute things so long as the bloodsuckers stay out of Oak Ridge. The Werewolves care little for the city, or seem to, but they hold on to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park like it was sacred or something. And who knows what’s up with the Changelings. Promethians, and Geists.
Prince Coalridge rules Knoxville, and because of his rule his covenant, the Lancea Sanctum, enjoys a premiere position in the city. Although there are some in the Lancea Sanctum who believe the Prince should be more overt in his religious ties, adopting the title of Bishop and running certain undesirables and blasphemers out of the city, Prince Coalridge has made it clear that he is a secular authority. Albiet one with a deep and abiding spirituality.
This attitude has kept the Circle of the Crone and the Ordo Dracul, those most likely to be labeled as heretics against the Lancea’s gospel, on the Prince’s side. However, those hoping to find the Prince sympathetic are sorely disappointed. This suits the Ordo Dracul well enough, for as long as the Prince stays out of their way they are more than content to stay out of everyone else’s way. The Circle of the Crone, on the other hand, knows all too well the pain of persecution, and remains the city’s weakest order, a state that they hope to soon change.
In Knoxville the Civil War caused a rift in the usual alliance between the Invictus and the Lancea Sanctum, a rift that has not fully healed. While these two covenants are normally staunch allies, Knoxville Invictus Vampires tend to oppose Prince Coalridge’s isolationist policies, calling them little more than xenophobia. They long for a free and open market, where business, rather than any outdated ideas of city solidarity, rule the night.
In such an environment the Carthians might think the Lancea Sanctum would be sympathetic to them, and to a certain extent they are right. The Prince and the Lancea Sanctum find the Carthians a very useful counterbalance to the powerful Invictus. Beyond this, however, the Carthians are out of luck, for the Lancea Sanctum and the Prince have no intention on changing Knoxville’s traditional feudal hierarchy, even if such a hierarchy was established by the Invictus.
The threads of rivalry and bad blood between the covenants has led to an odd sort of balance in Knoxville. The Circle of the Crone may be somewhat weaker, and the Lancea Sanctum somewhat stronger than the other covenants, but no one covenant or alliance of covenants has the power and the will to oust the others. Of course, as Vampires know well, a balance of power is the most unstable of institutions.
Knoxville was the frontier, and to the frontier came the Gangrel. Most of the oldest Vampires in Knoxville are Gangrel, including the Prince himself, and this has given the bestial clan a measure of respect so often lacking in more civilized cities.
The Daeva are close allies with the Prince and the Lancea Sanctum, based mostly on the Prince’s efforts (with Daeva guidance, of course) at revitalizing downtown Knoxville and encouraging the arts movement. While some Daeva might cynically believe this is just the Prince’s effort to undermine the Invictus’s business plans, most at least pay lip service to the Prince.
The Mekhet tend to shy away from Kindred politics in Knoxville. This is certainly not universal, but it is the trend. The Mekhet have far greater questions than which covenant is ascendant. Questions such as just what happened at the World’s Fair 30 years ago.
The Nosferatu were, until recently, a very diverse clan, spread out among the covenants and not seeming to take any particular stance on anything. That changed with the recent revitalization of the 100 block of Gay Street. A large coterie of Nosferatu had long dwelled in Underground Gay Street, making it their warren, and connecting it to Knoxville’s underground cave system. When Gay Street was renovated the underground was dynamited. The Nosferatu were forced to leave their havens, and those that refused from stubbornness were destroyed. The new underground Gay Street has been remodeled for mortals, and is completely unsuited to Nosferatu havens. Despite the Prince’s insistence that the renovation was an entirely mortal project that he was helpless to stop, the Nosferatu have placed the blame squarely on him, and many Nosferatu are now among the Prince’s deadliest enemies.
The Ventrue too are, by and large, enemies of the Prince, but for reasons of economy rather than vendetta. Prince Coalridge arrested the business development of Knoxville in the 80s, instead turning the city inward. Many Ventrue saw their fortunes and power fail in the aftermath of that event, and they resent what they see as the Prince’s anti-business policies. There is a tendency in Knoxville to see Ventrue and the Invictus as the same entity, and it is true that many powerful Ventrue are also powerful Invictus, but there are always exceptions.