Vampire The Masquerade: Washington D.C. By Night
Newly awoken from a long torpor, John Shaw is fascinated by the modern world. With his original face lost to him, he is forced to wear a human guise he sculpted himself – as his true face is inhuman.
tl;dr at bottom, cause dat wall o’text
With his father a decorated British officer serving in the Seven Years’ War, Shaw inevitably found himself pressured into following his father’s achievements – family tradition overruling his attempts to become a practicing physician. Beginning his career as a young Lieutenant several years into the rebellion of the American colonies, he struggled to maintain his idealistic views of honour and the world as he faced horrors on and off the battlefield. He would be disgraced after he failed in his first combat command, seizing up under fire after being ambushed, with a veteran sergeant saving the situation by ordering a counter attack. It was a failure that he would never live down or forgive himself for.
He would later earn a reputation among the soldiery as both selfless and a man possessed – leading charges and assaults with little show of fear, somehow emerging after every battle battered, bloodied, but very much alive. His reputation and reckless crusade to restore his honour did not go unnoticed.
Fortune inevitably failed him. During a winter skirmish, he was cut down by musket fire, falling to the welcoming embrace of the frozen ground, where his wounds quickly overcame him. So ended the life of Lt. John Shaw, for what was resurrected by undivine intervention was not the man, but a tormented monsters imitation of its once mortal self. Shaw returned to conciseness, pain wracking his body as the ancient curse took hold; crouched beside him the vampire named Florian Beaumont, who, with a flourish of theatrics, welcomed him to his new existence as a denizen of the night. The vampire revealed an intrigued fascination with Shaw, watching him from the shadows – his courage, determination and struggles with morality; seeing in him a reminder of his own past. Florian couldn’t let his potential protégé pass from the world, instead retrieving his body and embracing him to the ranks of the kindred.
Unlike many mortals newly turned, Shaw did not initially struggle with his new existence; on the contrary, he found renewed life in his unlife, savouring his new powers and thankful to be amongst the living – if not technically one of them. Florian revealed to him a world behind a world; he was of the Tzimisce clan and spoke of times in the old world where he fought for the Sabbat, retreating to the new world after being used as a pawn by estranged elders too concerned with pointless plays for power for powers own sake. He was disillusioned from the ideals of the Sabbat and the colonies offered freedom; where the laws and traditions of old carried little weight – except that was quickly changing.
Florian considered himself an artisan of martial prowess, skilled in many forms of combat, considering the refinement of knowledge and skills, even the vampiric powers themselves, to masterful levels a much nobler pursuit and use of ones immortality than the endless political intrigue he despised. Shaw grew to admire Florian; he had emerged from an indulgence in his vampirism to a level of self control and honour few humans could even match – although he could not match his sire’s ways. As they watched the Revolution come to a close and the dawn of a new century, the initial wonderment at the curse faded; Shaw lost control and drained a lover of life, cut down half a dozen men while enthralled in frenzy, bled the ground with innocent lives – the true nature of his existence became clear. Ever there was the guiding hand of his mentor and friend, showing him the road back to humanity while seeming detached from it himself.
This time came to an end a year into the new century. Vampire society had its roots deep in the heart of the newly born nation, and it was only going to spread. A Sabbat pack were the first vampires to forcefully make themselves known, claiming dominion over the town Shaw and Florian were staying in, and causing terror amongst its mortal inhabitants. There was soon a confrontation. The Sabbat elder recognised Florian after a few moments of tense talk, cursing him in a language unknown to Shaw, and a vicious fight broke out. Florian moved with supreme grace and speed, dancing a dance of blades; Shaw was not as agile or nearly as skilled and was easily outclassed by a pack member who gravely wounded him. Bloodied and defeated, he watched Florian duel the elder and the pack, firmly holding his ground and permanently putting down several vampires before he was overwhelmed and torn asunder by the remainder of the pack. With his sire dead, Shaw was helpless as the pack caught him and mockingly hammered a stake into the fledgling’s chest and threw him to a grave.
A Third Life
The pain was excruciating, his mind was numb, but he was not sleeping anymore. Shaw was awoken from his disturbing slumber by another vampire, who had resurrected him after being made aware of a strange staked corpse that was unearthed at a construction site. Shaw was ravenous, in shock, delirious and for accounts an animated dried corpse when he awoke harnessed to the bed; but the man that carried out his resurrection saw that he had blood enough to restore him. The room was sterile white and metallic – when Shaw was able to ask where he was, the man told him it was a morgue, and that he should be more concerned about how long he was in torpor. Shaw was shocked when he was told it was no longer the beginning of the 18th century, but the closing of the 19th, near 200 years beneath the ground. The vampire informed him that he was instructed by the local Camarilla Prince to investigate who Shaw was, and that they were to attend an audience immediately.
Shaws memories began to return to him as he explained himself. There was some murmuring in the hall, disgruntled voices, and a few open questions of the legitimacy of a story told by an unknown Tzimisce who just happened to appear from the ground. The prince quieted them, and explained in private that even if he believed Shaw’s tale, he could not give domain to such a suspicious individual who was already increasingly suspected of Sabbat affiliation – instead offering to ask other princes if they would allow such a vampire under their domain. Prince Marcus Vittel of Washington D.C agreed quicker than other Princes could decline.
John Shaw found himself in D.C; in a world that was as unknown and alien to him as the politics he found himself a part of – the 20th century fascinated him, and he was keen to learn the knowledge of this new world. He has some status in this vampiric society, mainly as an interesting curiosity (although many distrusted him), and desired a true domain of his own.
A secret he rarely shares is his real face, which never fully healed after his torpor. To his horror he realised he had forgotten what it truly looked like when trying to correct it with fleshcraft – a side effect of his explorations in Vicissitude. He is now forced to wear the faces of others and guises he sculpted himself, as his true face is unrecognisable and inhuman.
Still fresh in his mind was the demise of his sire and his own painful torpor. He felt true hatred for the first time; those responsible would meet their grim ends at his hands. But all things in time.
British officer John Shaw dies during the American Revolution. He is embraced shortly after death by the solitary vampire Florien Beaumont who is a loose member of the Tzimisce clan and a former soldier of the sabbat. Shaw and Florien become close friends. A Sabbat pack kills Florien and stakes Shaw after a territory dispute. Shaw comes out of torpor when he is unearthed, and is brought to the local Camarilla Prince. He cannot offer him sanctuary but the Prince of D.C can. Shaw’s face does not fully heal after torpor, he is unable to correct it as he has forgotten its true form. Shaw is fascinated by the new world, and awaits the day he can enact vengeance on those who slew his sire and staked him.