The nobles of Malleus are obsessed with the purity of their bloodlines – in terms of both literal genetic inheritance from parent to child and in metaphorical inheritance from master vampire to servitor. It is not enough to simply be a vampire; one must also be physically descended from the right people.
The mortal descendants of the vampire lords are expected to produce the next generation of children before they are given the gift of immortality.
Noblewomen live practically cloistered lives before their marriages; many actually are placed in nunneries where they are taught nothing but prayer and music. Even as the Illuminated champion for equal rights for women and middle-class maids and matrons debate the latest in philosophy and science, the daughters of the vampires are used as pretty pawns to secure allegiances amongst the king’s sons and their descendants. Rare is the lady of the blood who is given the blessing of unlife before she has whelped and reared a half-dozen aristocratic brats.
Yet More Secret Societies of Malleus
The Balefire Club
A gathering of libertines run as a mock occult society, the Balefire Club appears to outsiders as simply yet another of the putrid excesses of the nobility. The truth is that it is a honey trap for disaffected still-living nobles, a means of both discovering their secrets and seducing the few worthy ones to the Glorious Revolt. The Balefire Club mocks Sathaniel with white masses where the communion is drunk in wine instead of blood, bread is shared instead of flesh, and it all ends orgies of that most life-affirming of physical acts. The club welcomes men and women of all ranks, daring adventurous noblewomen to sneak out of their cloisters, shocking decadent noblemen out of their self-satisfied ruts, and enabling poor seditionists to seduce the nobility into paying for their own destruction.
Archetypes: adventurer, atheist, imposter, poet, rakehell, seducer.
The Sorority of Belquis
Named for an ancient queen of the Morgenland who worshipped the deified sun and tamed ifreet and jinn, the Sorority of Belquis is dedicated to spreading the message of empowerment amongst women of all classes. The society neither preaches nor desires that men become subject to women, but it does demand that women make their own choices and that their voices be heard. Sisters of the Sorority have infiltrated nunneries, practiced back-alley abortions, and helped battered wives emigrate to the Colonies. The Sorority is naturally the target of suspicion and misogyny; even some male members of the Illuminated recoil from what they misperceive as a message of women’s dominance. Surprisingly, one of the most prominent members of the Sorority of Belquis is technically male – the transvestite spy Ritter von Noe – but the Sorority refuses to discriminate.