Appendix #4: Quincunx Invasion of California (1997 – 2000)
|1997||The First Rain of the Storm.|
Camarilla diplomats negotiate an ‘honorable’ withdrawal from Hong Kong. This collapses into a rout when the outgoing Prince (or ‘Tai-pan’) Robert Pedder is unexpectedly assassinated by the Cathayans as he prepares to depart the city he ruled for nearly two centuries. The Regent of the Tremere Chantry, Oliver Thrace, shocks the Inner Circle by defecting to the Quincunx.
A hardline faction within the Quincunx justifies the Camarilla weakness in defending Hong Kong as evidence that the time is ripe to seize the West Coast of the United States as well. Others argue that Tokyo should be the next objective.
|1998 – Jan||The Quincunx identifies Los Angeles as a weakly held ‘bandit kingdom’ riven with dissent. They determine that if they can establish a beachhead there with acceptable losses, they would preserve the option to strike at either San Francisco or San Diego in the following year.|
On New Year’s Day, 1998, the first Quincunx scout strolled quietly off a plane in Los Angeles just before dawn. The invasion of California had begun.
|1998 – Apr||In a surprisingly short amount of time, the Quincunx succeeds in seeding Los Angeles with a network of intelligence cells, safe houses and front companies. They are enormously helped in this by the efforts of Hao ‘Monkey Trip’ Wei-Lang.|
The unprepared Anarchs of Los Angeles are taken completely by surprise by an ‘avalanche’ of Quincunx soldiers and infiltrators lead by Ancestor Ch’ang. Many independent Cainites and smaller gangs are wiped out completely or driven from the city in what is described as a ‘well-directed walkover’. Baron Steve Booth is driven out of Long Beach, and Baron David Geduld of Palos Verdes & Torrance is soon on the ropes. Louis Fortier is forced to retreat from Santa Monica to a large, fortified mansion in Bel Air, though not before his ‘army’ of ghouls inflict severe losses on the elite war-wu sent to destroy him, thus earning the Quincunx’ respect.
Alarmed by reports of Cathayan scouting activity in the Baja California port of Ensenada, Bishop Cicatriz of Tijuana is alleged to have made secret contact with Mohammad al-Muthlim and agreed to smuggle arms to him from Mexico.
|1998 – Jul||As the Summer wears on, Anarch resistance solidifies around the efforts of Jeremy MacNeil, Salvador Garcia, Crispus Attucks, Marguerite Foccart, Louis Fortier and Isaac Abrams. Mohammed al-Muthlim refuses to cooperate, waging his own highly effective guerilla war against the Cathayan invaders. The campaign for Los Angeles begins to resemble what one Quincunx commander refers to as an ‘elephant trap’.|
In an attempt to break the deadlock, the Quincunx launches a pre-emptive invasion of San Francisco and San Diego. Their efforts fail in San Diego, where Tara Kearney uses the chaos (and the Cathayan attacks upon her Anarch rivals) to declare herself Prince. With the Camarilla’s help, she is able to drive back the Quincunx invaders. Meanwhile, almost half of San Francisco’s vampires are either driven off or sent to their Final Death.
|1998 – Nov||The Sons of the Crypt, lead by Mohammed al-Muthlim begin to advance on all fronts, their success against both the Quincunx and Jeremy MacNeil’s embattled Anarchs fueled by a strategy of blatant mass Embraces that would embarrass even the Sabbat. This greatly alarms Mohammed’s fiercest rivals, Louis Fortier and Salvador Garcia.|
Ming Xiao and Jiejie Li arrives in Los Angeles from China, with orders to prepare diplomatic and propagandistic initiatives to supplement the ‘military’ campaign lead by Ch’ang and Chiu Bao. Other Quincunx leaders include Hao ‘Monkey Trip’ Wei-Lang’s Chinatown lieutenants, Fun Toy and Cao Bai.
Nosferatu Justicar Petrodon and his archon Cock Robin utilize the secret Nosferatu presence in the Warrens beneath Hollywood to initiate secret Camarilla negotiations with Jeremy MacNeil, facilitated by Isaac Abrams. Simultaneously, Toreador Justicar Madame Guil and her chief archon, the Ventrue Sebastian LaCroix, begin a ‘grand tour’ of the West, intended to descend upon San Francisco with overwhelming force in the coming year.
|1998 – Dec||Ming Xiao and Jiejie Li are thought to have secretly approached Louis Fortier at this time. Louis Fortier had a known weakness for beautiful women, as well as several decades experience of investing in French Indochina before arriving in Los Angeles a century ago. He was also increasingly concerned at Jeremy MacNeil’s inability to contain Mohammad al-Muthlim’s ambitions. Louis Fortier is eventually convinced to side with the Quincunx.|
|1999 – Jan||Salvador Garcia learns of Jeremy MacNeil’s secret negotiations with the Camarilla. His last shred of faith in the Free States is shattered. He rails at his former compatriots and storms off into the night. He is followed into the darkness by Louis Fortier, who promises to return him to reason. He appears to succeed in this endeavor, as after a few nights of sulking, Salvador Garcia returns to MacNeil’s war councils, though is never quite the same. He seems imbued with a terrible determination from this night forward, even sending away his chief East LA lieutenant, Nines Rodriguez.|
|1999 – Feb||More than a year into the conflict, Jeremy MacNeil and his closest allies, along with the Nosferatu, plan and carry out a counterattack against Long Beach. They are treacherously betrayed by Salvador Garcia. Assailed on all sides, Jeremy MacNeil, Marguerite Foccart and Crispus Attucks retreat to Signal Hill in the center of Long Beach where they are surrounded and destroyed in an event known as The Battle of Signal Hill.|
Some Anarch leaders, including David Geduld, Amethyst and Marguerite’s childe, Steve Booth, barely escape with their unlives and go into hiding. Other Anarch leaders, such as Louis Fortier, Isaac Abrams and Nines Rodriguez had remained behind to keep the coalition’s core territories secure.
|1999 – Mar||The Baron of West Los Angeles, Louis Fortier, declares himself the Prince of Los Angeles as well. He promises an end to conflict and a union of purpose with the Quincunx invaders, forming a new coalition with them called the ‘New Promise Mandarinate‘.|
With Louis Fortier and Salvador Garcia‘s advice, the Quincunx begin to portray themselves as not conquerors but as mediators and law bringers. Their presence promises not an autocracy but a new social contract – the very realization of the Free States’ egalitarian dreams. To a city of vampires weary from decades of internecine strife and pushed to the edge by the Wan Kuei invasion, the idea of a real and genuine peace seems extraordinarily appealing.
In this chaotic time, the remnants of the slain Jeremy MacNeil’s followers found themselves disorganized, and the New Promise Mandarinate carried forward on a wave of enthusiasm (not least owing to initially successful efforts to paint Isaac Abrams and the Camarilla as the architects of MacNeil’s demise).
|1999 – April||Hao ‘Monkey Trip’ Wei-Lang, Fun Toy and Cao Bai strike into DTLA and East LA, seeking to capture or kill Nines Rodriguez. He eludes them and carries on a campaign of resistance.|
Louis Fortier – Baron, Prince and now Western Minister of the New Promise Mandarinate – goes from strength to strength. He is supported by allies such as his loyal lieutenant, the Persian Cyrus ‘Khan’ Hatami and his childe Sheriff, Catherine du Bois. Alongside the Quincunx and Salvador Garcia’s El Hermandad, Fortier vows to completely wipe out Mohammad al-Muthlim’s Sons of the Crypt by the Summer.
|1999 – Jul||Cyrus ‘Khan’ Hatami, Catherine du Bois, Chiu Bao, and Salvador Garcia’s childe, Gloria Martinez, among others, are credited with finally cornering and killing Mohammad al-Muthlim in a safehouse in Crenshaw.|
Louis Fortier’s brief ascendancy has been described as either a ‘golden age’ or as a ‘reign of terror’. He is known to have authorized one atrocity during this time – a massacre of a coterie of Brujah Idealists in Laurel Canyon with Countess Andrea Visconti as the only survivor.
Salvador Garcia secures control over East Los Angeles all the way down to Anaheim during this time.
Isaac Abrams, Arnie Costa and Nosferatu agents of Justicar Petrodon, along with the enclave of old, reclusive Camarilla loyalists in Hancock Park, manage to halt Louis Fortier’s advance on the borders of Hollywood.
|1999 – Aug||Having been somewhat delayed by the Sabbat’s ongoing East Coast Crusade (which results in the transfer of Cock Robin and numerous other Nosferatu assets back east), Toreador Justicar Madame Guil finally descends on San Francisco with at least 25 vampires and twice as many ghouls, recruited from across the Western United States with promises of both territorial and financial incentives. She demotes Prince Jochen Van Nuys to Seneschal, despite his miraculous defense of the city, and replaces him with the elder Sara Anne Winder, on account of his ancilla youth.|
An impetuous and dashing creature, seeming to act with the energy of a vampire a quarter her age. Many believe she was offered the Princedom of San Francisco to distract her from trying to claim New York instead.
There is something of a scandal at this time, during which Jochen Van Nuys is alleged to have bribed Sebastian LaCroix with nearly $300 million in securities to agitate for an advance upon Los Angeles. Subsequent circumstances made it impossible to fully investigate. In any case, it’s clear that the two Ventrue found considerable common ground together.
Prince Sara Anne Winder advocates for an offensive to remove the Quincunx from San Francisco’s Chinatown with Madame Guil’s support.
|1999 – Sep||The Toreador Justicar, Madame Guil, is forced to mysteriously depart San Francisco almost as quickly as she arrived. There are dark rumors for years afterwards of some intrigue or rupture with the Inner Circle that lead to her loyalty being questioned over events decades in the past, and her fleeing to Mexico rather than defending her honor while simultaneously fighting the Quincunx. |
The Nosferatu Justicar Petrodon is forced to journey to Seattle, where the ‘Seattle Committee‘, an Anarch Free State modeled off Los Angeles, is under intense pressure from the Quincunx and seeking help from the Camarilla. With Cock Robin already recalled to the East Coast, Madame Guil’s archon, Sebastian LaCroix, is left in charge.
Maximillian Strauss arrives in Los Angeles, seemingly pursuing (never truly substantiated) rumors of Oliver Thrace’s renegade Chinese childe Wan Zhu being seen in the city. He destroys the Chinatown lieutenant known as Fun Toy, yet never finds Wan Zhu.
Sebastian LaCroix, along with his gigantic and mysterious African enforcer, intrigues with Jochen Van Nuys to launch an attack against Downtown Los Angeles instead of following Madame Guil’s plan, leaving Prince Sara Anna Winder infuriated and lacking the strength to reclaim half her city.
|1999 – Oct||Through a complicated series of events, Sebastian LaCroix, Maximillian Strauss and Nines Rodriguez combine forces to clear Downtown Los Angeles of Fortier and the Mandarinate’s agents. |
The Tremere place a terrible curse on Cao Bai which supposedly reduces him to an animate, yet increasingly rotting corpse. His fate afterwards remains unknown.
The ‘Baron of Chinatown‘, Hao ‘Monkey Trip’ Wei-Lang is killed by Sebastian LaCroix’s mysterious enforcer after being lured to a diplomatic meeting in DTLA. Sebastian declares it as ‘vengeance for Signal Hill’, earning a sudden, emotional wave of plaudits from the still reeling Anarchs of Los Angeles. An alliance with Isaac Abrams of Hollywood is soon brokered with help from the Nosferatu.
Nines Rodriguez commences a celebrated campaign to rally the Anarchs of East LA and revive the Free States. He is aided by his companions who joined him on the run, including Skelter, Damsel, Smiling Jack and many others.
Anarch leaders such as Amethyst of Anaheim, David Geduld of Torrance, Steve Booth of Long Beach and others emerge from hiding to inspire resistance.
|1999 – Nov||Despite having been disliked and distrusted by Jeremy MacNeil and excluded from his counsels in past years, Smiling Jack embarks on a legendary rampage to avenge the martyred Baron of the City of Angels. He lets everyone know that he intends to personally hunt down Salvador Garcia and Louis Fortier. |
Subsequently, several of Garcia and Fortier’s top lieutenants, including Cyrus ‘Khan’ Hatami, and two of Fortier’s beloved childer (Elena Gutierrez and Mariel St. John) are destroyed during Smiling Jack’s killing spree. He even manages to assassinate the Quincunx high official Chiu Bao in a particularly shocking fashion!
Salvador Garcia loses an immense amount of credibility when he is presumed to flee the city to escape Smiling Jack’s wrath. Garcia leaves his childe Gloria Martinez in charge of El Hermandad with orders to hunt down Nines Rodriguez. Instead, she joins him.
Jiejie Li and Ancestor Ch’ang abruptly depart Los Angeles, returning to San Francisco, leaving Ming Xiao in charge of a badly deteriorating situation.
|1999 – Dec||Two of Louis Fortier’s remaining lieutenants, Therese Voerman and his only remaining childe, Catherine du Bois, enter into secret negotiations with Sebastian LaCroix to betray their master.|
Louis Fortier is assassinated on Christmas Day, when Catherine du Bois secretly compromises the security of the renegade Prince’s fortified Bel Air estate. The exact details of Louis Fortier’s destruction are never fully revealed. The only known survivors of that night are Catherine du Bois and Fortier’s notorious dwarf ghoul, Hayk. There are many theories as to the culprits, ranging from Smiling Jack’s vengeance to Maximillian Strauss’s sorcery, to a Nosferatu wetwork team or Assamite assassin.
Therese Voerman seizes Santa Monica and declares herself Baron the same night. Catherine du Bois goes into hiding (eventually surfacing alongside David Geduld in Torrance, with whom she had enjoyed some brief dalliance in the 80s).
Hayk isn’t seen again for many years, by which time few remember or care about the details of Louis Fortier’s brief, incandescent reign.
|Early 2000||Sebastian LaCroix enters into negotiations with Ming Xiao. The Quincunx are allowed to keep Chinatown, yet Long Beach is returned – with much regret and after much wrangling – to Steve Booth. He is the slain Marguerite Foccart’s only surviving childe and the most unobjectionable candidate, as the Camarilla is initially barely strong enough to secure Central Los Angeles.|
Sebastian LaCroix is gratified to be acclaimed as Prince of Los Angeles, enjoying widespread popularity for the last time in what would turn out to be an increasingly tyrannical rule.
Maximillian Strauss takes formal possession of the Los Angeles Chantry as Regent and Tremere Primogen. He soon clashes with Sebastian LaCroix on multiple matters.
Armando ‘Nines’ Rodriguez initially respects Sebastian LaCroix and seeks to work with him towards the greater good of LA. He is soon disillusioned, yet (unlike LaCroix) keeps his word in the years to come.
Isaac Abrams allows himself to be declared the Toreador Primogen, even as he fiercely guards Hollywood’s autonomy. Therese Voerman is recognized as Baron of Santa Monica.
Countess Andrea Visconti, survivor of the Laurel Canyon Massacre eventually resurfaces in Culver City. The last surviving lieutenant of the Sons of the Crypt, Clarence Carver, claims the Barony of Inglewood. The Ghost Town Anarchs of Venice’s Oakwood neighborhood break away under Antwon ‘Antman’ Manners.
David Geduld begins to rebuild his powerbase in Torrance and Palos Verdes.
Baron Amethyst secures her control of Santa Ana and Anaheim after a brief, sad attempt by her lieutenant, Tom Weaver, to overthrow her. He eventually ends up working for David Geduld.
The Giovanni known as Luis Rossi enters into a deal with Sebastian LaCroix to help ensure his San Pedro powerbase.
Back in San Francisco, Jochen Van Nuys (now the Camarilla’s official Quincunx liaison) helps negotiate a lasting ceasefire and diplomatic détente with Jiejie Li of the New Promise Mandarinate. Prince Sara Anne Winder is forced to reluctantly accede to it, as the Inner Circle demands peace to focus on reclaiming New York from the Sabbat.
Ancestor Ch’ang is recalled to China in disgrace. He is said to have ‘thrown himself into the Mouth of Yomi‘ rather than return to face formal censure.