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Clan Toreador

 

A Female Toreador

The Atlanta Toreador Home Page

The Toreador Viewpoint

"When old age shall this generation waste?
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to thou say'st
Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty, - that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."
      - John Keats

The government is a noble endeavor. Social justice, a grand thing. The necessities of dealing with humanity, other Kindred and so on are all very important. But to what end do we do these things? Why do we bother building our society? The answer is simple: to allow for the highest pursuits for beings such as ourselves. This pursuit is Art.

This is truth: as Kindred, we are and should be above the pettiness that enraptured so many of us in life, and instead be enraptured in the splendour and wonder that can be achieved by the artistic mind. This is power: to understand the world, the universe, as the setting for the diamond of Art. This is Beauty: in Art, you hold the hand of God in Creation and appreciate the wider world because you know what it means to be a Creator as well. This is what it means to be Toreador.

Perspectives

"For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?"
      - Jane Austen

Camarilla - The Great Society which simultaneously assures stability and restrains decadence. Our vision, in part, and we benefit from it almost as much as it benefits from us.

Brujah - They understand some aspects of progress, but without the grace which ought to mark our kind. The civilization that we represent and they despise is the very thing that allows for their cries of oppression.

Gangrel - If they so desire to be animals, then by all means let them! Nature is a beautiful and dangerous place, but I'd rather be without fleas.

Malkavians - The music of hysteria and psychosis can include beauty, but art should be the active working of talent, not the random beating of raindrops on the window.

Nosferatu - They skulk about in their shadows and that is very well where they ought to stay! The antithesis of our being and their faces are a sketch of what they hide in their hearts.

Tremere - Our allies, but always watch them. They represent much of the stability that allows for our work to take place. I would question their trustworthiness on a personal level, but respect their devotion to the Camarilla.

Ventrue - Fellows in civilization, but what is business without pleasure? Though they can rarely do more than be a patron of the arts, their refinement is a welcome difference from the majority of our kind.

Caitiff - If you don't have a home, you can't apppreciate the finer things in life. How much more so when you don't have a Clan?

When conversation moves beyond mere unpleasantness to hostility, you might have come across those who would defile the beauty we have made:

Sabbat - We are supposed to be both Man and Beast, but these monsters would have us all give in completely to our inhuman sides. We spent ages escaping that...why would we wish to regress?

Toreador antitribu - Where we would mold beauty, they would create perversion. We seek to glorify our higher selves, not debase it. They blaspheme the Muse...what worse crime is there?

Setites - Never accept their offers, no matter how tempting. True art is to control pleasure, not let pleasure control you. They are called Snakes for a reason besides their iconography.

Werewolves - While I've been told that death is the ultimate experience, I'm not anxious to experience it just yet.

The Scene

"I want to hear raucous music, to see faces, to brush against bodies, to drink fiery Benedictine. Beautiful women and handsome men arouse fierce desires in me. I want to dance. I want drugs. I want to know perverse people, to be intimate with them. I never look at naive faces. I want to bite into life, and to be torn by it."
      - Ana's Nin

The Toreador are potentially one of the most influential clans in the world. The divergence in attitude and worldview are what keep them from becoming a unified and pervasive force. Their interior workings are a reflection of, and are reflected in the mortal artists and their scene.

The main rift between Toreador is the distinction between Artiste and Poseur. Artistes are the ones who produce art in and of itself. This is the way they gain prestige and affect the mortal world. Artistes feel a great deal of contempt for Poseurs, as they see the point of their existence is to create, not simply throw a party or look pretty. The majority of the clan is made up of Artistes, but not an overwhelming amount. The Artiste is more likely to be the suffering painter than the aristocratic collector.

Poseurs, on the other hand, are just as disdainful of the Artistes as the Artistes are of them. While many Poseurs were Embraced for their appearance, affluence or social ability, they also carry much of the business and organizational savvy sometimes lacking in Artistes. It is noteworthy that the Poseurs are often the most socially adept in Camarilla society, and can make artists stand or fall, influence policy or make someone persona non gratis. Many Poseurs wish to be or consider themselves Artistes, while others recognize the role they play and accept it wholeheartedly.

While the differences do keep the Toreador from being as influential as they could be, the strengths of the different groups enables the Artistes to retain their individuality and the Poseurs provide the cohesion the clan might otherwise lack.

The Pecking Order:

"Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon."
      - Susan Ertz

Elders - If they can hold onto their vision, then they are legends. If not, they are simply burnouts. The legends have changed the course of Art and Culture, and therefore civilization. The burnouts have given decadence a bad name.

Ancillae - The backbone of the Clan, where artists and poseurs alike are well-established in their respective and respected roles. Still in touch enough to remain vibrant and avant-garde; proper enough to guide the way for those who would follow.

Neonates - The promise of new ideas and art coming into our tragic existences. Blank canvases on which the masterpieces of tomorrow shall be painted.

So where are we felt the most?

The Toreador are wherever artists can be found, and wherever higher society meets. In numbers and collective strength, the Toreador are most intensely felt in North America, and their presence is felt only slightly less than the Ventrue. However, Toreador consider Paris, France to be the hub of the universe, and they are the most numerous and influential clan by an enormous margin. Elsewhere, the best gauge of Toreador influence is to watch the progression, or lack thereof, of art and culture in a particular society.

How has history shown our colours?

"The Poet binds together by passion and knowledge the vast empire of human society, as it is spread over the whole earth, and over all time."
      - William Wordsworth

The Toreador Clan's first concentration of power was in Athens, Greece during the Hellenistic period. However, other forces conspired to keep the city from becoming overly powerful, which led to a dissipation of Toreador influence. They also had a significant role in the rise and fall of Carthage and Rome, although their exact role is up to debate, even by the elders who were there. This trend of manipulation and intrigue continued when the center of Toreador power moved to Byzantium after the fall of Rome. When the Byzantine empire fell from their hands due conflicts with competing Brujah, Italy came to the forefront and the climax came about in the Renaissance. This represented a return to power for the Toreador unparalleled since the fall of Rome.

There is a progression of Toreador power that can be traced through the Reformation, the Enlightenment and into the Modern era, but it is sometimes said that the Toreador have lost their overall drive to manipulate and wield power, even if they still possess it. On the other hand, the works of mortal artists continue in many veins, and this would seem to indicate the continued influence of the Toreador as well.

Down which avenues shall we walk?

I'd better be a poet
Or lay down dead.
      - Jack Kerouac, "42nd Chorus"

Some say a new Renaissance is upon us. Others, a new Dark Ages. Toreadors play a key role in this. Remember this. You're not simply someone who likes to doodle or paint. You're not simply snotty. You're crafting society, culture and principles. The other clans usually overlook this fact, but as art is the pinnacle of self-actualization, the Clan of Artists is the pinnacle of Kindred-kind.

From the Most Refined Gathering to the Wildest Debauchery

They come to see; they come that they themselves may be seen.
      - Ovid, The Art of Love.

When Toreador gather, it is always an event of extremes. In some cases, the highest level of etiquette and propriety are called for, while other times it can be a drunken fest that would turn Caligula's stomach. In either case, there is an intense protocol, and even if it does not seem so, everyone is being watched closely. Status is gained and lost by performance and action at these social events, and this even extends to non-Toreador who are invited. Displays of wit, fashion and artistic skill also factor in, even when they are not the focus. This methodology is another factor which perhaps keeps the Toreador from moving into a more openly political power, but that seems to be the way most prefer it on either side.

Propriety and Pushing the Envelope

"Hypocrisy is the lubricant of society."
      - David Hull

It is the assumed role that we, the Toreador, will uphold the Traditions. In certain cases, I must note, the edges may be tested in the name of one's individualism and art.

The Masquerade: All the world's a stage, and now you have the opportunity to truly be a player. If you fail this aspect, how can you be regarded as an artist at all? We sometimes flirt with our imagery in the eyes of humanity, but understand that the trick lies in making them believe the truth is art.

The Domain: Respect the Prince, at least in Title. Respect others' and yours will be respected. Propriety dictates.

The Progeny: As Toreador ought to be the most selective Clan bar none, this should not be a problem.

The Accounting: Make sure your brood knows their limitations and the protocol of our society. It is demeaning to have children who do not know their place.

Hospitality: Invitation only is a social more that is well worth preserving. Now if only the Nosferatu would learn to wipe their feet.

Destruction: It is simply tacky to murder. This duty and obligation lies in the hands of the elders and the Prince only. But at least clean up after yourself.

Showing One's Plumage

"It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious."
      - Oscar Wilde

Status within the clan is achieved in a number of ways, the most obvious being the creative process. We are the heartbeat, if you'll pardon my usage, of a city's creative circulation and for the artists who draw from it. It must be acknowledged that some Toreador are not necessarily artists in and of themselves, and therefore other merits of esteem are just as worthwhile- supporting the arts by funding or schooling, hosting social galas, one's wit, defending the Clan from external threats and sometimes by being the subject of art itself: beauty.

Whose names shall live forever?

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus - The consummate Toreador, epitomizing both artistic brilliance and decadence, and then he was Embraced. With his new perspective on life and unlife, Mozart has been many efforts to bring order within the clan, as he sees the potential for something even greater should all Toreador work together. However, he also has supposedly lost some of his good nature through the years, and is rumoured to have retained a number of his former rival composers from life as ghoul servants upon whom he takes out his aggressions.

Plubius Ovidius Naso - The infamous poet continued to work long after the long assumed death. The reemergence of Ovid's popularity suggests that this ancient has regained the desire to influence mortal's efforts in creating new perspectives in poetry and eroticism. It is rumoured that Ovid has been the player behind numerous human rights activist groups, but the increased aggresiveness of these groups in addition to Ovid's self-imposed seclusion from many former friends and allies worries some that the Greek poet has gone quite mad through the centuries.

Wilde, Oscar - While an artist in his own right, Wilde has always been a keen socialite. Many older Toreador sought to emulate his control of the social sphere, and so it was only natural (so to speak) that he was brought over when the time was right. Even with his relatively short unlife, some say that he is the social force in Kindred society of London. Of course, the older and more established Toreador, not to mention the Ventrue, find this concept annoying at best, enraging at worst. With that in mind, one could say that Wilde's circumstances have changed very little since his death.


Clanbook: Toreador
If you are interested in learning more about the Toreador Clan, go straight to the source with White Wolf's Clanbook: Toreador.
Toreador Clan Novel
The Toreador Clan Novel is the first book in a series that will profile all 13 of the vampiric clans. The Toreador novel provides excellent insight into the planning, plotting, manipulation and politics of the Camarilla kindred in the city of Atlanta.

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