Author Topic: Overview: Clan Toreador  (Read 639 times)

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Overview: Clan Toreador
« on: April 28, 2018, 03:38:36 PM »
OVERVIEW: CLAN TOREADOR
AESTHETE UNVELIED
As told by Goddard.

Greetings. I was told you were coming. I've been asked to explain a few things to you. Most particularly, what it means to be what we are. What it means to be Toreador. Take a look at this picture. Nice? No, it's not a photograph. Look closer. I painted it, pointillist style, using single horsehairs as brushes. There is more details than the average photograph, more than on a magazine cover or a TV screen certainly. It took me two months. You can have it if you want.

In terms of technique, it's a masterpiece. Few humans have the patience for such painstaking work. I've shown it, and similar work, to humans who own galleries. Most dismiss it as some sort of fraud or trick. None have been particularly interested. I can sell them, but if I need money I can make more by doing portraits of the self-indulgent rich. It certainly takes less time and effort. Artistically, it's shit. I've been making worthless tripe since before monet. I've tried, and mechanically mastered, the techniques of cubism, abstract expressionism, surrealism, impressionism - name your poison. In each instance, the technical challenge held my attention for years, the technical challenges held my attention for years, until I became too capable with them. Then, like upended jars, their meaning and importance drained out onto the floor of eternity.

Here is my best painting. I did it when I, like you, was a neonate. It's a bit clumsy, but it has heart, emotion, intensity. It commemorates my first lethal feeding, the first time I lost control to the Beast. See the onlooker, smudged in the shadows? The wide eyes and mouth, the horror? That used to be me.
Since that time, there have been many deaths, many paintings to remember them. The killings became more brutal as my "dark side" grew more insistent. The paintings were executed with far more grace and balance. And yet there is something vital in the sophomore effort that is lacking in all my works since.
That's the ultimate horror in our existence, you see. Not that we kill, or enjoy killing, or any such claptrap. The true horror lies beyond immediate horror, beyond the blood and frenzy. True horror is boredom. On the other side of terror is a tired acceptance.

You see, after you first few unchanging decades, you've seen it all. Not literally, of course. You see things that are arguably more hideous, or more beautiful, or more inhuman, or more seraphic. But by that point, a Cainite has endured so many shocks and reversals that the reactions are firmly established. The first time I saw a child murdered, it was horrible - it made me nauseous. I tried to put a stop to it. By the time Auschwitz rolled around. By the time a thousand, or a million children were murdered, it was not a million times more horrible. It was merely the same horror for the millionth time, and the repetition of any suffering a million times begins to wear out one's sensibility. Murder became banal.

Do you not wonder why so few of the great artists, painters and composes of history have been preserved by Toreador? We are, after all, the great archivists of human expression, are we not? I'll let you in on a secret: For all our centuries of practice, we are no better than mortals at recognizing living genius. Time truly is the test of greatness. During Picasso's heyday, I was granted the right to take a childe, and I chose another instead - a nobody. Picasso's work looked cartoonish and absurd me/ Perhaps I'd gone too long without seeing by sunlight... But more than that, I'd seen so many fads, schools and manifestos come and go. The sensory battering of constant change can drown even something truly revolutionary. How many rock-and-roll bands are on-hit wonders? Even a terribly popular group like the Beatles may well be swept under history's rug in a hundred year. In even fifty years, who will know George Gerswhin? He'll fade, forgotten. Who was the greatest harpsichord player of the 1800s? No one knows. No one cares. A hundred years is about as long as you can exist before your feelings, your consciousness, become surfeited. I have nothing new to report about the last few centuries. With no new tale to tell, I am reduced to repeating the same stale story, painting the same pale impression, over and over and over. My style changes or improves, but the substance gradually erodes under inexorable familiarity. Some nights make me cry, Some nights it makes me sick. On most nights, though, I just can't feel a thing. And that is my greatest failing - and that of all Toreador.

BEING VAMPIRE

You're what, a poet? Yes. I can tell. Don't be embarrassed by your transparency. The first time you come out of frenzy and realize you're grunting and rubbing some unidentified but blood-rich organ against your stiffening nipples, they can you be embarrassed. I can also tell what right now you're thinking. "Surely. I shall never commit an act so heinous and distasteful I'm refined, a young lady of culture!" You will.

Your "Embrace", as we so laughably call it, has either instilled or awakened within you something called the Beast. It's an apt name for a set of urges that calls out to you from within, calling for blood. The hungrier you become, the sharper the Beast's call. But it's more than hunger. I believe that the Beast is your frustrate death. Even now, you do not breath, your heart is still, and your cells remain in stasis only through the grossest violation of the natural order. You should be dead, but you're not - and the Beast is nature's rage at being thwarted, expressed through the remnants of your natural self.

Some kindred try to quell their Beast, to starve it into submission by living ascetic lives. They take only what they need to avoid hunger's frenzy, and at all other times strive to hold on to the values of their human life. But this approach is dangerous, for remaining blood-starved is only an intellectual solution. While one is cognitively sure one is acting ethnically, the hunger of the Beast grows until the intellect is swept away like a twig in a downpour. Then it's time for the nipple-stiffening I mentioned earlier. Other Kindred try to make peace with their Beast by pampering it. Regular, full meals can dull its howls into grumbles, but there is an inexorable downside to this strategy as well. The act of feeing loses its horror through constant repetition, and once the act of stealing blood from a human is no longer horrible, but actually pleasurable and essential - well, then resisting the Beast becomes much less of a priority. Once succumbs to one's deadliest nature, not out of weakness, but simply because it no longer matters. Decency is no longer a priority. We are, it seems, damned if we eat and damned if we starve. What is a moral vampire to do?

The conundrum is brutal and has driven many of our kind into the sun's merciful annihilation. There is, however, an escape clause. It's not easy, but it's there.

BEING HUMAN

The Beast is our thwarted death, lashing out by seeking the destruction of everything worldwide. What, then, can we say of this strange urge that holds us transfixed by the most common of sights? What is it that shows us the beauty that was hidden before? Human kind has been called a compound creature - half angel, half clay. This chimerical contradiction is doubly true of us Toreador, for we are half corpse, but half vibrant, aching soul.

Most vampires deny their living part, so much so that there is no name for it, other than the "ego" of the Freudians or the "soul" of those who've carried their faith through the monstrous parody of the resurrection. We alone seem to experience a sharpening of it, and this is what holds our Beast in check. Every moment we spend engaged in the stuff of life - making something that lasts, learning something unknown, opening ourselves to the touch of another's art - makes our human element stronger. This element can hold back the Beast. Have you felt the rapture already? Good. Every time you feel rapture is one more night you can retain your will and agency, free of the Beast's clutches. Do not make the most common neonate mistake, however. Do not assume that the enemy of your enemy is your friend, even when that enemy is you. After all, we are often our own worst enemies.

To be plain: Humanity is not perfect. Mythical Caine was human before he was cursed, human when he invented a nasty new way to sin. Humans invented torture, genocide and bland phrases like "ethnic cleansing" to conceal their perversion. The Beast craves destruction, annihilation, entropy. But our humanity craves stimulation, aggrandizement, the satisfaction of selfish demands. This can be good or bad, depending on a great many variables. But in the larger scheme of things, it does not matter if it is objectively right or wrong. It is necessary.

Artists are told to "obey your muse" or "follow your bliss", always by those who assume that our maze of bliss leads our inevitably to fragrant meadows and not to some den of morbid self-abasement. But how many artists are pure? Coleridge, the laudanum addict? The incestuous Mr Shelley? Sappho the lesbian? Holy David, the psalmist, the philanderer? Ginsberg, Whitman, de Sade, Baudelaire? Devians to a man. That's merely within your own discipline. In painting, we have our share of sadists and drunkards and drug addicts, and the annals of music are rife with pederasts, perverts and fetishists. To be human is to be a contradiction, angel and animal tied in one flesh. We long to be part of the tribe, so we agree that those who are different are bad, naughty, sick, twisted, impure, damned. But at the same time, our pride demands that we be individuals. These desires are the foundation for art, by giving us the different perspective that allows us to see something old as if it's new, to understand it in another way, to take us back to the wonder of our first perceptions.

Listen to your urges, neonate. Your leftover human lusts can strengthen you against the Beast, no matter how degraded they may seem to you. Most mortals limit their humanity to what is "acceptable". That is a luxury we cannot afford, either as artists or monsters. Let me give you a metaphor.

I knew a mortal. I'll call her "Polly" though her name is unimportant. Polly liked nothing so much as being fucked by a vampire who was drinking her blood. Among those warm kine who've learned the pleasures of the Kiss, this conjunction is not altogether uncommon. Polly took it farther. She liked being drained past the point of ecstasy, past the point of safety, right to the edge of unconsciousness. Like those who practice erotic asphyxiation, Polly found that as her brain became blood-starved, her body's sensations became lengthened and intensified. She had hallucinations, ecstasies, incoherent experience that drew her back to the same dangerous practice. She told me it was like being a single molecule at the mingling point where God and the devil made love. Sounds like a fellow poet, no? Unable to separate the experience from the pretense of being known for it?

The point of this story if that we, like Polly, play a dangerous game and must strike a dangerous balance. Like her, we are on the cusp of life-holding and life-taking. Like her, we must play our urges against one another. And like her, most of us lose control sooner or later and wind up dead. In the best case, these dead souls cease movement. In the worst, they proceed onward to share their condition with others.

BEING HUMAN
As told by Mira Seghir.

The Toreador as a whole remain closer to mortals than perhaps any other clan, with the possible exception of the raucous Brujah. What we are and what we do inherently involves the kine - what would civilization be without them? How could we partake of the best in humanity without remaining close to it, aware of it? We walk the fine line between Kindred and kine, removed from significant portions of both worlds, indulging in the best and worst of either.

Many of us prefer the company of mortals to Kindred. Some Kindred even indulge ourselves by keeping a mortal identity or a mortal family. So few other Kindred can say they know what it feels like to come home to a loving spouse and children. So few Kindred can say they know what it feels like to love. Unfortunately, the highs make the lows all more horrifying. Some Toreador never recover from killing a loved one in a frenzy or even from outliving them "naturally". Our closeness to humanity makes it all the more terrible to witness mortality. Some say that we the Toreador are skilled manipulators who adore intrigue and backstabbing. Understanding and cultivating relationships with mortals is, after all, what we do best, and this often leads to using others to have our way - some claim that every emotional interaction with a mortal is, in its own way, manipulation. but I disagree.

I once spoke with a Toreador who claimed he understood mortals so well that he could read what was really being said in a letter if he knew the person. He showed me a note from his stepdaughter's father that he'd intercepted. It spoke of how sad the man was that his daughter didn't show him "the love of a daughter for a father". He laughed. "What he's really saying is, "Why are you making me look bad in front of my sisters when they're paying me rent?". I asked him if he was going to change the letter at all and give it back, or just hide it from her. He said neither. "She knows him even better than I do, and I've taught her well. She'll know exactly what he's saying. She's been loath to cut off connections with him until now, even though he's treated her like shit. This will be the final straw". He grinned at me then pulled out a fresh envelope.

Intrigue is a complex thing. It's hardly a clanwide pastime - some of us have more important things to do with our unlives. But some of us certainly find that it springs naturally from an unlife of gossip and prestation.

TOREADOR AND GHOULS

Of all the Clans, Toreador vampires maintain the closest relationship with their ghouls, with a rare few even going as so far as to marry them under false pretenses. While some Toreador ghouls suspect that their masters are inhuman, they often fall prey to the elaborate and inventive lies their domitors tell, and buy into the illusion that they are loved by a real person. The Toreador Clan surrounds themselves with mortals, and blends in by designing families that either remind themselves of the one they had prior to their Embrace, or fit a romantic ideal. They tend to create ghouls then stop feeding them, knowing that they’ll age but still be Bound to their domitor. Some younger Toreador go to great lengths to maintain an illusion of normalcy by creating false identities for themselves and their family members, and occasionally abduct children to solidify their deception. As the years pass, however, there are only so many people domitors can lie to, so many mortals that are impressed with their plastic surgery and cold beauty. Sooner or later, the dream begins to fall apart, as the master finds she cannot control every word, every movement, every decision of those around her. While every web of lies ends in tragedy, these obsessive Toreador domitors take a different, more brutal approach to the concept of family. Instead of attempting to blend in, they isolate themselves and draw victims to their side from the shadows, slowly feeding and luring them back to a place of their choosing. The domitor visits his “family” from time to time, acting the part of a beloved parent who is keeping an eye on his children. When he grows tired or angry with them, he disposes of them and starts over again. Even if they don’t go to such extreme lengths to fit in, most Toreador domitors carry on a twisted relationship with their ghouls in some fashion. Some domitors pretend to be their best friend or lover, while others take on the role of a mentor, patron, or doting aunt. Thus, when they recruit candidates, they seek mortals they admire for some tangible reason. While beauty is a factor, Toreador domitors are not hedonists who only care about physical appearances. Many of their ghouls have unique attributes, talents, or resources, some of which are useful to maintain appearances and certain lifestyles. Examples of candidates include dancers, artisans, museum curators, socialites, nouveau riche, musicians, and trust fund babies. Since the Toreador are more than likely to reward their ghouls with dazzling gifts, their servants mistakenly believe these trappings are a sign of their affection. The vast majority of Toreador ghouls are created to serve their masters in some fashion, and are expected to do so without complaint, without question. Provided they not only show their devotion but also perform well, Toreador ghouls live side-by-side next to their domitors. At the first sign of disloyalty, however, the Toreador turn on their ghouls, and their displeasure could result in petty or cruel punishments. For Toreador domitors that lack wealth, they may seek ghouls who are disgustingly rich. In these relationships, the masters encourage their ghouls to spend money on them instead, and return their affections with extra feedings. Candidates include investors, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs.

Toreador rarely ghoul people they truly care about, but we often have a larger number of ghouls than most other Kindred. We have many reasons for this. For one, we prefer to surround ourselves with beauty, and most of our ghouls are beautiful people. For another, the sort of lifestyle most Toreador enjoy requires money, and one of the easiest ways to get money is by associating the people who know how to make it. And, of course, we require people to protect us and run our errands. Someone's got to walk the dogs. It is widely considered foolish to blood-bond an artist, for we believe it saps his creativity or at least makes him dependent upon us. This can present us with a difficult choice at times: either we must Embrace the artist if we believe him to be worthy, or we must allow him to die of old age and remove his gift from this world. It may seem easy in this circumstance to Embrace every artist we see, but not everyone is suited for the unlife of a Toreador. It requires a certain perspective that many lack. More than one creator has crackled after he was Embraced - it can be difficult to discover that you, who were so sensitive in life, are now a predator who must drink blood to survive. We also prefer not to Embrace somewhat talented artist who comes along, for it dilutes the worth of the clan as a whole. Also, an artist preserved forever, quite frankly, never sees the value of her art increase - she becomes a commodity, an artisan rather than a true artist.

It is considered cruel to blood-bond one's family or friends, for it takes a great deal of their free will. What is the satisfaction when your daughter hands you a finger-painted picture with a whisper "I love you mommy" if you know she's forced to love you? Besides, ghouling a child keeps her forever young, which is cruel on its own right. Some Toreador blood-bond their family and friends, but we regard this practice with a certain amount of distrust. It's poor form.

Unsurprisingly, Toreador seem to employ more ghouls than the rest of their Clan. However, they also liberally use Presence to impress their servants, and some even go so far as to form roving cults of devoted followers, who worship them as a god and pay tribute. Additionally, the Toreador also find candidates to help them with maintaining their security and covering up potential breaches of the Masquerade. Some domitors might select reporters, bodyguards, or investigators, while others might stick to high profile bloggers, local politicians, or minor celebrities. With the right amount of pressure, loyal Toreador ghouls can do considerable damage to the Clan’s enemies by swaying public opinion against them.

Whether they have been recruited for their good looks or not, Toreador ghouls are expected to maintain their “look” in any way they can. Since many Toreador ghouls cannot afford an extravagant lifestyle, their domitors often gift them with cutting-edge fashions and jewellery. Most, if not all, Toreador ghouls do stand out in some way, as we pride ourselves on associating with the unique.

KEEPING A MORTAL IDENTITY

Some of us choose to hold onto a mortal identity. Usually Toreador establish themselves as cions of their local community - pardon me, society - and then do their best to fin in. Obviously this can be difficult, since we can't go out during the daytime. There are ways around this. Most rely on the archetypal "socialite's eccentricity" to explain their behavior. Those with enough money add to it the stereotype of the peculiar rich person (stereotypes can be so useful when misused correctly). Still, it isn't easy. We're bound to irritate people when we continue to refuse their invitations to dinner. Of course, there are ways around this as well - so many mortals today have unusual and varied food allergies that it's easy to say we don't want to be a burden. We Toreador are also more adept than most other clans at passing ourselves off as mortal. Many of us know how to use our blood to appear flush and warm. Some of us even know how to eat, although we rarely display this ability in front of other Kindred - how vulgar the very idea! Other clans tend to view these proclivities as signs of how decadent we've become.

If we maintain a certain identity for too long, of course, someone eventually notices that we aren't aging. We can put this off for a little while with simple mannerisms or by using wigs, hair coloring and stage makeup - I've done so before - but it gets tiring to do it night after night. And all it takes is one slip of the wig or one accidental swipe at the makeup, and one's deception is unmasked. Truly, the keeping of a mortal identity is a tedious undertaking. The worst part is that in tonight's world of television, international news and airplanes, we can't just travel a hundred miles and be assured no one will ever recognize us. Some settle for eking out unremarkable, largely unnoticed mortal lives and use pseudonyms when they wish to make public appearances. This all seems very counterproductive to me, for what is unlife for if not to be enjoyed? Why make things worse for yourself?

KEEPING A MORTAL FAMILY AND FALLING IN LOVE

Keeping a mortal family is even more difficult. Not only must we face all of the dangers inherent in maintaining a mortal identity, but we must also deal with the relations themselves. Relationships with mortals are discouraged, for they also too often end in disaster. If the family involves children then the hard questions arise - Do you tell them what you are and risk revealing the secret to their friends or teachers? Do you leave them in the dark and field their questions every time they ask you only wake at night, or why your room has no windows, or why you feel so cold when you kiss them goodnight?

To keep a mortal family is truly the most terrible and most wonderful of things. It can make us feel alive again, or it can point out to us just how far we've strayed from the path. Other dangers come with it as well - like the possibility of frenzy. More than one Toreador has come out of frenzy to find her stepson or stepdaughter, or even her husband, torn apart at her feet. Some Toreador find lovers who aren't mortal. Toreador have been known to fall in love with each other, with the other creatures that prowl the night (how gauche!), or even with Kindred of other clans. Love is one of the most prized and precious possessions; it keeps us close to humanity and allows us to understand mortals better than any other Kindred. It can renew one's will to continue when everything seems cold. It is also our greatest weakness. Through love we go mad with grief when our enemies target our families. Through love we experience loss in a way no other Kindred can. And after all is said and done, we are already dead - love between Kindred can only end in tragedy.

THE KISS

Toreador are of two minds when it comes to feeding. Many believe that feeding upon or near one's mortal friends devalues them, and of course, most also worry about what sort of impression it leaves. Consider the incredible difference between having a wife who knows, in the abstract, that you're Kindred, and having your wise see you with your teeth in someone's neck. It tends to bring a fuzzy concept home with a hell of a punch and has ruined more than a few Toreador relationships. Those Toreador who refuse to feed from their loved ones claim it would be treating them as cattle. What's the point of trying to remain close to humanity by interacting with them if you're just going to treat the nearest to you as prey?

Other claim the pleasure of the Kiss is simply another way to express one's love to a caring spouse/ Still others claim frustration at the inability to make use of a ready source of blood in a time when safe blood supplies can be scarce. The majority of Toreador, of course, see this from the rationalization it is. Some say that feeding from one's family is the first sign that a Toreador has lost touch with humanity. Most of those who indulge in this sort of do so behind closed doors.

THE MASQUERADE

The Masquerade is a very tricky thing for Toreador. Many members of the Camarilla see us as the keepers of the Masquerade, and not without reason. We spend so much time with mortals that breaches of the Masquerade tend to come to our attention very quickly, and we can very easily pass undetected among the kine. Through us, problems come to the attention of other members of the Camarilla, when we believe this to be appropriate. Then we make use of our mortal contacts to take care of the situation. After dealing with such breaches, we come out heroes to some, whistleblowers to others. Most important of all, we come out looking squeaky-clean.

You see, the Masquerade is a thin, thin line, and we walk it right down the middle. In order to enforce the Masquerade and remain close to humanity, we must move among the kine. More Toreador have revealed their secret to mortals than probably any other clan in the Camarilla - and yet we suffer no blame. It is precisely the fact that we interact so well with humanity that makes us able to identify and clean up the messes of the other clans. Anyone creating the obvious threat to the Masquerade will likely find himself the object of punishment - our society has no place for those who would have us destroyed in the name of their own laziness, stupidity or greed.

Regardless, it remains a thin line. We have simply learned to repair cracks of the Masquerade's façade ourselves, before anyone else finds out. We may also have a better sense of which mortals can be trusted not to spill our secrets. And because we remain in touch with out humanity, most of our violations of the Masquerade are not as flagrant as those of the other clans. Although we are not generally capable of clanwide, or even citywide, movement - the Toreador are too selfish and cliquish to be team players - we do our best to maintain the Masquerade. I mean our Masquerade, not the Camarilla's. If we break the Camarilla's Masquerade we lost a great deal of face among our Toreador peers, but those peers never repeat the stories to the other of Caine's get. Well, almost never. A few Toreador have been known to carefully let such secrets fall into the hands of the Camarilla in order to ruin a rival. Still, the clan claims no few spin doctors, socialites, media types and more traditional artists who can sway the popular opinion from, "Vampires!", to "What a weirdo! He really though he was a vampire?".

BOWING TO PRESSURES

I'm sure I don't need to tell you that not all Toreador are sweetness and light. I've presented the best of us so far - wink, wink, smirk, smirk - but undoubtedly you noticed the little things here and there. We indulge our humanity, our human emotions. But human emotions are terrible as often as they are wonderful. Humans love, but they also hate. They commit great acts of heroism and horrible acts of violence. They achieve great things, but they also waste their lives in the pursuit of hedonistic pleasures. I suppose we aren't the trendsetters we like to think we are after all. As go the mortals, so go we.

BURNOUT AND HEDONISMA

It's difficult to keep up with kine. The vampiric condition isn't suited for it. It takes so much effort to think on their time scale and feel (or emulate) their emotions. Most of us go through periods of feeling burned out. More than other Kindred. Toreador weather periods when we become immersed in the pleasures that mortality has to offer - food, parties, drugs, flesh. and our won food, drink, and drug all in one: vitae. It can be difficult, when faced with such pleasures, to remember staying in touch with its pains as well as its pleasures.

When Toreador burn out, most of them have the sense to withdraw from mortal society. When you can't easily think in terms of "days" any more, it becomes difficult to perceive the minitae of mortal existence. Many tired Kindred become involved instead in the machinations and petty Jyhad of our kind. In some ways it's good that these are the Toreador who most often represent us among the other Kindred. It keeps the others from seeing just how close we are to the mortals. However, when these Toreador even bother to claim to by keeping the "best interests of clan" in mind, those interests are rarely anyone else's. These Toreador are perhaps the most likely to Embrace people purely for their usefulness in whatever agenda that particular Toreador currently pursues. This is most prevalent among elders, such as primogen who have no common ground with the rest of the clan and isolate themselves with their own incestuous broods, or degenerate Kindred who have grown jaded and cold.

Toreador are prone to succumbing to ennui. I believe it to be inevitable. After all, we're immortal beings who operate on the time scale of a world that rejects us. We feel the passing of the decades and centuries far more acutely than other Kindred. Remember all the times you felt bored as a human. Now imagine what that would feel like if you had not just an afternoon to kill, but a year.

Listless Toreador do almost anything to occupy themselves - the more fun the better. These are the Toreador who hold wild parties overflowing with drugs, sex and kine. These are the Toreador who are most likely to ghoul their friends, feed from their families, and Embrace people purely for their good looks or skills in bed. Particularly bored Toreador have been known to create blood cults. They gather a flock with themselves as preacher, god, angel, spirit or other figure of religious authority and feed their blood to their followers, sometimes they even Embrace a few. They often abuse their flocks, physically or emotionally. They feed from them, screw them, make them take drugs so the Toreador can get high, and sometimes even torture them. It takes a Toreador with a great deal of ego to be willing to do such a thing, but then there's no shortage of ego among the Toreador. Cults became a particular problem in the late 1980s; a few Toreador had to be quietly removed from the public eye, before the private investigators, police, and concerned parents found out too much for their own good. I'm given to understand that the phenomenon is nothing new - surely blood cults have existed since the Kindred have walked the Earth - but the new resurgence worries many of the race of Caine.

It usually takes decades, or at least, before a Toreador feels the weight of her years. Young Toreador do exist, however, who find their unlives so exciting that they become immersed in pleasures and refuse to face the pain. It can be difficult to tell the difference between these Toreador and the older, more jaded hedonists. I have also known some Toreador who find unlive so deplorable that they remove themselves from humanity as much as possible. There's little practical difference between these neonates and those elder Toreador who have withdrawn utterly.

THE SINS OF HUMANITY

Because we spend so much time with mortals, we sometimes succumb to their temptations. We do drugs vicariously. We sleep around - not that we enjoy it, but sometimes it's difficult to avoid "going through the motions". We fall prey to jealousy, rage and self-pity. A number of Toreador involve themselves in the black market - originally as a means to obtain art of illicit thrill. I'm sure, but once you've involved it's hart to stop. To some it's a game to pass the time and to others it's just a means of making money. Who can resist the opportunity to get their hands on artwork that would otherwise end up in the hands of a private collector, never to be seen again? Some Toreador operate on the other side of the deal, acting as thieves, fixers, pimps and procurers. It takes all kinds to make the Toreador go 'round.

Some Toreador become involved in the skin trade. The pleasures of the flesh have a certain attraction to us, even if we cannot truly enjoy them. Some use sex as a way to feel close to people. Others have sex because it makes them feel alive in a way that few other things can - it helps them to pretend, for just a little while. A few even believe they're actually enjoying it in the way a mortal does. I believe these poor bastards are deluding themselves, that they just don't want to face the face that they're not mortal anymore. Every now and then an infamous Toreador becomes involved with prostitution, pornography, slavery - even snuff films and other depravity. Others do it because they like having power over other people. Still others enjoy titillating the mortals around them, spurring them on to greater grades of sin.

Some dare call it art.

Although sex is one of the most popular sins, humanity has others. Some Toreador take an interest in gambling. Others lust after political power. One or two operate highpriced fighting circuits - I once knew a lady who loved to get off on the expressions of mixed revulsion and ecstasy on the faces of her guests at these events. Other Toreador murder over anger and envy just as mortals do. Although it certainly doesn't fit our image, Toreador serial killers have existed. One claimed he did it because it "felt like what 'alive' was". Another alleged she did it because you could never truly understand mortals unless you killed as they killed rather than as a vampire for inhuman reasons. Certainly, the clan has its ugly side.

RIVALRIES

Many Toreador carry our rivalries with other members of the Damned. To some it's a way of passing time, of staving off the boredom: a game. To others it can be a way of gaining prestige, assuming they actually best their rivals. Other Toreador indulge in these competitions because of some slight, real or imagined that they received. There are as many reasons to carry on a rivalry as there are for any two Kindred to argue. If this sounds familiar, that's because ti is - the Jyhad in a nutshell. That all sounds very cut and dried, of course. And sometimes that's true. But sometimes rivals carry it much farther than that. Toreador embarrass their rivals, harry them, ruin their reputations and sometimes even arrange their Final Deaths. To carry a rivalry so far, of course, is the height of cruelty, but such is all that remains of some Toreador. The clan, in its infinite wisdom and patience, had devised myriad ways to hurt a rival: Sabotage her art showing. Use your connection to make sure that someone with a great deal of prestige publicly shames her or her protégé. Spawn a rumor that will result in her humiliating herself or placing herself in a dangerous (possibly deadly) situation. Cause the local Camarilla to believe that she has done something to endanger it, such as break the Masquerade or undermine a prince. Incite Lupines or Sabbath to overrun her haven (or arrange a fire when she's absent that destroys precious belongings). Drain her favorite ghoul or have for her mortal husband killed by muggers or, even worse, Embraced by Malkavians or Sabbat. The tactics are dizzyingly diverse as the participants in the Jyhad itself.

REVENGE AS AN ART FORM

Some Toreador turn revenge into an art form (those with mortals try to call it justice). They don't just plan the most efficient way to take revenge upon someone, or the most elaborate, or the most appropriate. They turn the objects of their "affection" into special projects of their own, on which they spend just as much time and effort as upon my masterpiece. This is particularly likely to happen among those Toreador who have burned out, who have lost light of the beauty in life, and have a greater sense of the expanses of time waiting at their fingertips. In some ways these Toreador are useful to us. They keep us from stepping too far out of line. After all, the last thing you want is to become the object of the affections of a vicious Toreador with too much time on his hands. For this reason (among others), we often step lightly around our elders.

One or two Toreador have been known, for a time, to call themselves "revenge artists" and spend their time planning and enacting the most beautiful "justices". Their targets might be Kindred or kine who have wronged them, who have wronged someone else and caught their attention or simply caught them in a bad mood. Their plans often involve not just the object of their twisted affections, but also that person's friends, allies, family, and lovers. They make revenge last. When they take on a Kindred, that revenge can last for years, decades or even centuries.

UNWANTED PRESERVATION

As I said some time ago, Toreador often make it their personal crusade to preserve art. Sometimes art doesn't want to be preserved, however. Not all artists want to live forever. Not all artists want to give up their masterpieces so that someone else can enjoy themselves. Some say this is shortsighted. Certainly a number of Toreador believe that the preservation of their idea of art takes precedence over anyone else's wishes. After all, the mortals can't see the big picture, right? They don't know how important their work is.

Trying to preserve a piece of artwork that someone doesn't want preserved can range from mildly difficulty to disaster. Usually the sheft of a painting, in the long run, doesn't have terrible consequences. But despite what the other Kindred believe, painting are in the minority of what we consider to be art. Photographs are similar to paintings in their vulnerability to theft. Food is more difficult - you can't just layer shellac on top of a cake and put it in a gallery for a hundred years (and shellac doesn't taste very good).

It is likewise difficult to hijack a handful of dances and force them to perform over and over for you for years, although some Toreador have done such things. You might use a video or digital camera to capture a dance (although not the taste of a culinary masterpiece), but many Toreador still refuse to use such things, and almost everyone agrees that a reproduction is never quite as good as the original. Architecture is usually a little easier. It's difficult to protect against lighting and floods, but you can make use of historical societies to keep old buildings from being destroyed. This can be difficult if the owner wants it flattened, but it isn't impossible.

What is more difficult is to preserve an artist who doesn't want to be preserved. Embracing someone against his will is a tricky thing. Certainly it's been done before, but it presents all sorts of dangers. A Toreador who doesn't want to be a Toreador isn't guaranteed to be discrete. We can't keep our neonate in the dark about practices forever, and he might decide to spill the knowledge of our Masquerade violations to some prince. He might even be believed, if that prince is looking for an excuse to thin our rank. If we're lucky, the neonate just sits out in the sun and we're out one artist who might have produced good work for decades more if left alone. If we're not lucky, he runs to the mortal authorities and tries to prove them what he is. Of all clans, we're the best equipped to clean up after this sort of thing, but if such a neonate were to fall into the hands of the Inquisition - and I'm not convinced it hasn't happened before - we could all be in trouble. The whole prospect makes the entirety of earning the right to Embrace a gamble, at best. Unlife makes no promises. Despite the dangers, a number of Toreador do these sorts of things. After all, it is our duty to cultivate what is best in man. Most Toreador are careful enough that it doesn't become a problem. Some are not.

Recently a belief has sprung up among some Toreador neonates that art must be ephemeral. Nothing that is truly art can be withstand the passage of the centuries. They prize the least lasting of art forms of most - food, performance art, dance, and other more inventive creations. One recent neonate used short-lived chemical reactions to create the most stunning light show that only lasted two minutes and fourteen seconds - almost the entire room of viewers sat entranced for an hour and a half after that show and many stayed longer. Another put on a brief piece of performance art that consisted of dipping roses in liquid nitrogen. This produced the most incredibly lovely, absolutely perfect frost-covered roses, which he promptly shattered against a wall. Most of these neonates eschew traditional arts. A number of them have become involved in the electronic world, especially the World Wide Web, where expressions of all kinds can be put on display and rearranged night after night.

RELATIVITY AND ART

The whole "our mission" things makes us sounds so wonderfully united, doesn't it? Unfortunately art is the most subjective thing on the face of the earth. What I believe to be art you might throw on your compost heap. This results in all sorts of arguments and grief. Imagine that you've been Embraced the most chef you've ever met/ Her puff pastry melts in your mouth. The icing on her cakes looks like lilies. She can make a butterscotch tart that leaves you rapt for hours from the smell alone, and a Darjeeling granita that has won awards on three continents. You're incredibly proud of your new childe, and you bring her to the latest party only to be told that she isn't welcome. "She isn't a true artist", you're told, "Come back when you've found yourself sculptor or an architect."

Toreador destroy each other's students over the issue of whether the students are artists. We ruin what artists believe to be their best works in a pit of pique because the work just offended us at the moment. We close down museums because they show works we don't like. We blackball galleries for the same reason. Toreador commit some of their worst crimes in the same of preserving what is art.

After all, everything is relative.

CLAN HIERARCHY

...
« Last Edit: April 29, 2018, 10:05:03 AM by virus »

Offline C. White

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Re: Overview: Clan Toreador
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2018, 04:09:10 PM »
hey, this is pretty good

i like the helper application boosters
Quote from: Jhin
“Art requires a certain cruelty.”
“THERE IS NO DRAMA IN A PEACEFUL DEATH!”
“YOU WILL PERFORM!”


Offline K3im4

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Re: Overview: Clan Toreador
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2018, 07:16:13 PM »
I really love it, thank you.
<<Tout ce que vous regardez est pas ce qui se prétend être, la réalité est aveuglé par l'altération de la nature, telle est la question subjective découvrir la vérité de ce qui est vraiment propre.>>


Offline Fahim

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Re: Overview: Clan Toreador
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2018, 07:26:32 PM »
cool...

fuck toreadors tho XD

Offline Lirbo

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Re: Overview: Clan Toreador
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2018, 08:01:06 PM »
cool...

fuck toreadors tho XD
meh toreadors are dope
HUB

Natalia_Aqua
Hayato_Frei_Katara
Tommy_White
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Offline C. White

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Re: Overview: Clan Toreador
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2018, 08:09:46 PM »
cool...

fuck toreadors tho XD
meh toreadors are dope
just like natalia
Quote from: Jhin
“Art requires a certain cruelty.”
“THERE IS NO DRAMA IN A PEACEFUL DEATH!”
“YOU WILL PERFORM!”


Offline Jeffrey Gain

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Re: Overview: Clan Toreador
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2018, 08:18:31 PM »
[22:52:01] Male_1802_4246 says [Radio]: Drink from glass bottles, people, don't let those femminist jews take you down!

[22:53:01] Male_1802_4246 says [Radio]: Stick to your masculinity, don't turn soft on me! Don't turn soft on AMERICA!

[22:53:28] Male_1802_4246 says [Radio]: Well I'm not even fucking american but patriotism is usually the fastest way to make most of you actually listen to me.

Offline K3im4

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Re: Overview: Clan Toreador
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2018, 02:30:22 AM »
cool...

fuck toreadors tho XD
meh toreadors are dope
just like natalia

what, natalia aqua is a brujah  ???
<<Tout ce que vous regardez est pas ce qui se prétend être, la réalité est aveuglé par l'altération de la nature, telle est la question subjective découvrir la vérité de ce qui est vraiment propre.>>


Offline Hades

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Re: Overview: Clan Toreador
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2018, 03:23:45 AM »