The Blood-Dimmed Tide
A covenant is an organization or religious establishment consisting mostly of Kindred, though human servants and ghouls are often present at covenant meetings and are sometimes members themselves. There are five major covenants; others do exist, but the vast majority of Kindred are members of the major five, who often disregard the others. In addition, some bloodlines form tightly knit groups based on political or spiritual belief, as well as blood ties; these bloodlines may also be considered minor covenants.
Unlike clans, which may be thought of as families, a covenant is chosen by the vampire according to his or her beliefs. A vampire's sire's allegiance nearly always plays a large role in their decision. A vampire may choose not to join a covenant at all; such Kindred are known as the "Unbound".
While covenants span the globe, they are not truly global organizations; their power is localized. While their practices and beliefs come from a common source, a covenant group in Brittany may differ wildly from their counterparts in New Orleans, for example. In general, though, covenant members are accepted by their comrades wherever they travel, but since vampires do not generally stray far from their chosen cities, status in one city's covenants may mean considerably less elsewhere.
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