The Blood-Dimmed Tide
The Court is the social system of a city's Kindred, and is modeled upon the feudal system of mortals. At the top of this hierarchy is the Prince, who technically rules over all vampires within his or her domain (female rulers almost always refer to themselves as Princes rather than a feminine appellation like Princess or Queen).
Below the Prince are the Seneschal and the Primogen. The Seneschal is the Prince's "right-hand man" and, according to tradition, rules the city when the Prince is otherwise indisposed. The Primogen are usually made up of one of each of the five clans — the term comes from Primogeniture, the rights of the "eldest son". Hence the Primogen is usually populated by the eldest member of each clan, and they serve as an advisory board, representing their clans and giving them a voice within court.
Directly below the Primogen are the Whips and the Prisci. Again they are typically composed of one of each clan and, like a political party, they are charged with enforcing clan policy (such as it is).
Somewhat removed are the Harpies and the Keeper of Elysium. Harpies are professional gossips and are arbiters of status within the court. Most Kindred who are concerned with such things exist in fear of the Harpies, as an unkind word from one of them can dash any aspirations one might have — or worse, they might elevate a rival above them. Keepers of Elysium are responsible for both managing the locations where Kindred meet, and ensuring that all attendees abide by the rules set down by the Prince — this involves upkeep and maintenance of the Elysia and providing adequate security, both mortal and Kindred.
The Sheriff and the Scourge are responsible for "law enforcement" within a domain. While they wield little political clout, they report directly to the Prince. The Sheriff acts much like his mortal namesake, arbitrating disputes between aggrieved parties, bringing criminals to justice and ensuring the security of the Court. The Scourge's job is different and perhaps more sinister. Usually the toughest and most lethal of all the Kindred within a domain, the Scourge is the Prince's personal bodyguard, assassin, and leg-breaker. Few members of the Court like the Scourge, but few would disrespect one to her face unless they had a death wish.
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