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Vampire History of Oxford


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    The beginning of Oxford's recent history is perhaps the death of the Tremere Prince Jeremiah Buxton, in early 1997. Under his rule, Oxford had been for five hundred years a relatively stable city, a firm part of the Camarilla. His death was just part of the cataclysm that hit the city, though. The root cause was the being hidden under Christchurch: an ancient vampire of godlike power by the name of Job, manipulating events in Oxford through his followers even before he was fully awoken.
     For two months Oxford was completely sealed off from the outside world by Job's power. When the barrier was lifted, it was found that the handful of surviving Camarilla vampires had managed to defeat Job, apparently destroying him, though most of the city lay in ruins, and the Chevalier Marc-Antoine, appointed as Prince following Buxton, was missing presumed dead. Later events revealed that, although Job seemed to be dead, his power at least still tainted the city.
     The newly-appointed Toreador Justicar Charles Gregor, having to some extent cleaned up the city over the summer, re-opened Oxford a year ago, leaving immediately after the first Conclave had been held. In the wake of his departure, a number of problems appeared. The most obvious of these was the fugitive Richard Walker, a resident of Oxford bloodhunted for the diablerie of the childe of Lady Anne, then Prince of London. Walker had allied with the cult of Kali, a group of mortals sent mad by Job, and a number of Black Spiral Dancers, one of the more dangerous of the tribes of Garou (werewolves). Initial attempts to hunt him down were disastrous.
     It was also rapidly found that the sewers were lethally dangerous, now inhabited by a Nexus Crawler and many lesser monstrosities. Remnants of the armed gangs prevalent prior to Job resurfaced with new leadership. And the city had been left spiritually violently unstable, suffused with Job's influence, and attack from spirits was a frequent danger.
     The allegedly most dangerous part of the city, the location where Christchurch once stood, was guarded and tamed by the Inconnu Oliver, a vampire of great age and power, but like all of his sect sworn to non-interference. Far less powerful, but more active, was Lorenzo Giovanni, a non-Camarilla financier and (it was discovered) necromancer, supposedly sent by his clan to help rebuild Oxford.
     On the 22nd November the Camarilla arranged a celebration known as the Dia de los Muertes in a number of key cities, including Oxford. The purpose of this was kept secret at the time but later revealed to be to the power to prevent a ancient vampire, comparable to Job, rising in Berlin. A number of events occurred that evening. The missing Prince of Oxford, Marc-Antoine, reclaimed his position. His triumphant return was slightly marred, however, by the disorder of the celebration, partially due to the incursion of a group of Sabbat and (unfounded) fears that this signalled a full-scale invasion. Far worse followed. A contentious series of events led to the celebration not being correctly observed, and moreover, to the power supplied to the ritual being tainted with the power of Job. The backlash completely obliterated Berlin and all of its inhabitants.
     Oxford was expelled from the Camarilla. Marc-Antoine left for London to defend their actions on the Dia. Meanwhile, it was discovered that Richard Walker planned an attack on the werewolf caern at Blenheim Palace; a force was hastily sent to prevent this. Walker proved even more dangerous than expected, apparently almost impervious to damage. The fate of the caern seemed sealed when the Nexus Crawler appeared and began to drain its power. However, Walker pursued the Kindred back to the city, where Oliver's intervention kept him from killing them and laying waste to the city, and in the meantime two of the party, Ezekiel and Patricia, somehow managed to prevent the caern from being corrupted.
     Oliver, though, had broken his oath of non-interference, both then and (more significantly) on the night of the Dia, and retribution followed swiftly. A group of Inconnu arrived and attempted to remove or destroy him. Although he was too strong for them, in the aftermath he was killed and his power stolen by Lily, who had appeared up till then to be an inconsequential Ventrue ghoul.
     At a meeting of the Camarilla Inner Council, Marc-Antoine was judged. Oxford was restored to the Camarilla, but Marc-Antoine was no longer to be Prince; instead, and somewhat surprisingly, Lily was made Prince. The Archon Nicholas Hyatt, an Oxford resident in the days of Buxton, was dispatched to aid the city. The Camarilla had many other troubles, though: on the night of the Dia, not only had Berlin been destroyed, apparently taking Karl Shreck, most powerful of the Justicars, with it, but there had also been disasters in Los Angeles and New Mexico, reducing the total number of Justicars from seven to three. The reappearance of Shreck alleviated this considerably. However, the situation shortly afterward took a sharp turn for the worse. The Head of the Inner Council was assassinated, apparently by an Assamite, beginning a war against the clan of assassins. At much the same time, a meeting involving the Gangrel Justicar, most of his Archons, and almost every high-ranking in Britain ended in a massacre, killing all present bar a couple of observers. This began another war against the werewolf tribes, particularly the warlike Get of Fenris.
     In Oxford, Richard Walker had vanished after the fight at the caern; although he reappeared some months later he was almost immediately dispatched by a twisted creature apparently formed through the power of Job. The resultant calm was broken by a series of attacks on the Kindred of the city. A number of vampires died, their havens firebombed in daytime, during February and the beginning of March. The culprit or culprits have not been found, although theories abounded. Possibilities included the Assamite known as Raven, believed to still be in the city somewhere, the vampire priest Matthew, a hit squad of werewolves, and a squad under the command of Prince Lily.
     In early March Oxford, along with many other major cities in England, came under attack from the Garou. The defense was a remarkable success, despite the deaths of two vampires and the accidental destruction of the Radcliffe Camera; Oxford was, along with the Sabbat city of Birmingham, one of the only two cities to completely repulse the attack. London also remained whole, shielded from attack by the Tremere John Dee.
     The Camarilla as a whole seemed in difficulty, though. Not only had they lost many of their Justicars and the Head of the Inner Council, but Assamite attacks had killed most Archons of any note and the werewolf war had badly reduced their power in England. Clan Gangrel had particularly suffered. Fortunately the Sabbat seemed also weakened, after the troubles in New Mexico and Los Angeles. The war with the Assamites ended, however, as the assassination turned out to have been set up by the Sabbat rather than the Assamites.
     The next set of troubles to hit Oxford began with the disappearance of the Prince, Lily. The Archon Nicholas Hyatt took control as Regent to stabilize the situation. Shortly after the werewolf attack, an attempt had been made to clear the sewers of Oxford; this had been largely successful, but perhaps as a result there was increased activity from the Nexus Crawler. Further trouble came from a mysterious epidemic and worsening trouble with spirits. The disruptive influence of Job's power was if anything getting worse. Political intrigue resulted in Isobel Wren, Toreador Primogen, making an unsuccessful attempt to dispose Hyatt and seize the Princedom; an extremely reclusive, manipulative Nosferatu was revealed to have been behind this. However, a new Prince was clearly necessary, and Hyatt appointed the Ventrue Philip Philips. Since Buxton's reign ended, Oxford has been regarded within the Camarilla as being dangerously close to anarchy; Philips appears to be a decisive and, at least with the backing of Hyatt, strong Prince, and perhaps represents a return to Camarilla stability after the troubles.
     His appointment was only shortly after the werewolves launched a mass attack on London. Dee's shield collapsed and they swept in. The massed Garou army slaughtered almost every vampire in London; only Lady Anne and a handful from Oxford are believed to have escaped. The werewolves, though, badly weakened, were in turn destroyed by a third army, sent by the Technocracy, who briefly took control of the city. It briefly seemed as if the Camarilla were on the point of losing control of Britain.
     At this point Mithras, historic Prince of London, emerged, retaking London. A retributive air attack was ordered, bombing every Garou caern in the country and eliminating almost every Garou in England.
     The destruction of the powerful caern at Blenheim backlashed in Oxford, feeding massive power to the spirits of the city. The Kindred, led by the newly-appointed Prince Philips, sheltered under Lorenzo Giovanni's protection; every Kindred in the city outside his Chantry is believed to have been destroyed. It was then that it was revealed what Lorenzo had been working on for months; he began a ritual that gathered the raging power of Job and banished it utterly, repairing the situation outside and removing Job's taint from the city, though completing the ritual cost Lorenzo his life (an extra bonus, some in the city would say).
     With the retaking of London, the Camarilla's power has surged back from its recent troubles. The missing Justicars have returned, and, united, have swept across Northern America. New York is back under Camarilla control for the first time in seventy years. The anarch rebellion in Los Angeles has been crushed. The war with the Assamites is over; the war with the Garou has ended with the almost complete extermination of the werewolves in England. London is secure under Mithras once more. And in Oxford, Job's power has finally been exorcised, the political situation seems stable, and there is a new and promising Prince. What could possibly go wrong?