Baptism by Fire

The Story So Far: A Vampiric History of the Twin Cities

Despite the “Twin” moniker, the two cities are independent municipalities with defined borders and are quite distinct from each other. Minneapolis is somewhat newer, with modern skyscrapers and broad streets. St. Paul has been likened to a European city with more quaint neighborhoods, and a vast collection of well preserved late-Victorian architecture.

St. Paul was founded near Dakota Sioux Indian settlements as a trading and transportation center. Following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, a U.S. Army officer named Zebulon Pike negotiated approximately 100,000 acres of land from the local Dakota tribes in order to establish a fort. The negotiated territory was located on both banks of the Mississippi River. A U>S. Army fort, Fort Snelling, was built in the territory in 1819. After a 1837 Treaty with the Sioux ceded all local tribal land east of the Mississippi to the U.S. Government, fur traders, explorers, and missionaries came to the area for the fort’s protection. By the early 1840s, the community had become important as a trading center and a destination for settlers heading west. Along with these settlers came the first vampires, a small coterie led by an unaligned Gangrel named Everit Drake.

In 1841, Father Lucien Galtier was sent to minister to the Catholic French-Canadians and established a chapel named for his favorite saint, Paul the Apostle, on the bluffs above Lambert’s Landing. Galtier intended for the settlement to adopt the name Saint Paul in honor of the new chapel. This brought the Lancea Sanctum to the area, as the covenant was spreading across the Americas along with the Catholic Church.

The Minnesota Territory was formalized in 1849 and Saint Paul named as its capital. The Minnesota Territorial Legislature authorized present day Minneapolis as a town on the Mississippi’s west bank in 1856. Minneapolis incorporated as a city in 1867, the year rail service began between Minneapolis and Chicago. By 1871, the west river bank had twenty-three businesses including flour mills, woolen mills, iron works, a railroad machine shop, and mills for cotton, paper, sashes, and planing wood.

On May 11, 1858, Minnesota was admitted to the union as the thirty-second state, with Saint Paul as the capital. That same year more than 1,000 steamboats were in service at Saint Paul, making the city a gateway for settlers to the Minnesota frontier or Dakota Territory. Along with the influx of settlers and political activity came increasing numbers of vampires, most notably the covenant of the Invictus. The Invictus immediately challenged the dominance of the Lancea Sanctum in the region, sparking a conflict that would last for 110 years.

During the Great Depression, the Twin Cities saw the violent Teamsters Strike of 1934. The strike began on May 16, 1934, in the Market District (the modern day Warehouse District) and the ensuing violence lasted periodically throughout the summer. Though the strikes and the riots which accompanied them had mortal political causes, they were exacerbated and used by the vampire power structure. Under cover of mortal violence what had been a cold war between the Lancea Sanctum and the Invictus erupted into hot bloodshed. Throughout the summer the battles raged, until an Invictus vampire by the name of Granger made an uneasy peace between the covenants and was named Prince. Tensions continued to simmer, however.

In the 1960s, during urban renewal, St. Paul razed western neighborhoods close to downtown. During the 1950s and 1960s, Minneapolis razed about two hundred buildings across twenty-five city blocks — roughly 40% of downtown. The city also contended with the creation of the interstate freeway system in a fully built landscape.

In the same period tensions between the Invictus and Lancea Sanctum leaderships threatened once again to break out into open conflict. A group of bold ancillae (Kindred too old to be considered neonates, but not yet elders) hatched an ambitious plan. Forging an alliance between the younger members of the warring covenants, they orchestrated the death of almost the entire Primogen Circle and the Prince, Granger; the only two elders who survived what has come to known as “The Purge” fled the Cities.

The leaders of this rebellion were a Lancea Sanctum Mekhet vampire named Rebecca Lovelace and an Invictus Nosferatu named Isaac Kerr. In 1968 Rebecca became Archbishop. Isaac took power as the Priscus of the Nosferatu and a ranking member of the Primogen Circle. As a sign and guarantee of their bond Rebecca named a Lancea Sanctum Nosferatu named Caius to be Inquisitor — as both Nosferatu and Lancea Sanctum he has ties to both Rebecca and Isaac.

This state of affairs has proven stable for the past 4 decades. Though the Primogen Circle has seen some changes, Rebecca, Isaac, and Caius have remained the anchors of political power in the Twin Cities, balancing the ambitions of the Invictus and the Lancea Sanctum … right up until tonight, the summer of 2011.

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