Danika "Dani" Astor
|Sect Faction||Ivory Masks|
|Lineage||House of the Griffon|
|Social club||The Garden|
|Position(s)||Primogen Of Clan Ventrue, New York City|
- Courteous by Claude De Bourbon, Harpy of New York City
- Loyal by Prince Nissim Melamed of New York City
- Noble (in New York only)
A tall, well muscled and pleasant but intense transgender woman who appears to be approaching her 40’s, Danika “Dani” Astor is a neonate of Clan Ventrue and The House of the Griffon and the childe of Prince Christian Whitechapel of Boston, former Seneschal of London, New York, and Boston. Like her sire, Danika is openly queer and does not hide the fact that she is transgender. Her features are sharp and her eyes are probing, and her nose is slightly crooked as if broken, healed, and expertly reset several times over the decades. She tends to dress in practical but smart black business-wear with colorful accents and eclectic accessories, or well tailored, practical, tactical-chic gear when she ventures out "into the field." Her bearing is that of a trusted major-domo, an ambitious but minor lord, or long-serving knight; eager to serve those she finds worthy and hungry for glory but more discerning and considered than she lets on. When conducting business outside of Elysium, Danika generally carries her well loved and well used silver-handled black sword-cane, which few have seen her drawn steel from and to most mortals appears to be the affectation of an prematurely aging queen. When the occasion calls for subtlety and violence, she instead carries the silver stiletto that is usually in her walking stick in a sheath built into her jackets. Danika carries herself with a practiced ease and aire of relaxed confidence, but when this laconic air is dropped she can easily shift into back into the well-practiced role of a ruthlessly efficient enforcer or dutiful bodyguard.
- 1946: Born in Yonkers, New York to middle class Irish-American parents: Danny and Katherine Kelly. She was known then as “Danny Jr” after her father. Her father claims that their lineage stretches back to the O’Kelly kings of the Irish petty kingdom of Brega, but Dani privately doubts these claims.
- 1961: At age 15, Dani visits her “spinster” aunt on her mother’s side in Greenwich Village during the summer, working at a cafe by day and attending beatnik poetry readings and sneaking into dive bars at night. Her aunt all but encourages Dani’s evening adventures and first experiments with more “flamboyant” fashion, particularly after seeing the way Dani could handle herself when accosted for that fashion. Dani returns home to Yonkers for her sophomore year of highschool, scheming a way to return to the Village permanently.
- 1961-1975: Vietnam War
- 1964: Dani’s scheme succeeds and she attends NYU on a scholarship, but drops out after one semester and begins working as a barback and doorman at several semi-clandestine gay bars, making a name for herself as a young, femme, bisexual man who can nevertheless still handle herself in a fight and is willing to protect her community out of genuine care, but fights even harder when motivated by profit. She begins going by “Dani Astor,” abandoning her family name so that her parents can’t find her. She is still somewhat shocked when they don’t even try. She takes her namesake both from one of the places where she found her true self and one of New York's most prominent families, an act that is both a challenge to the establishment and a sign of her ambitions to one day be part of it. Adopting the air of a streetwise dandy, Dani takes to carrying a walking stick when leaving for her shifts and grows proficient at defending herself and her community with it (as well as breaking the occasional leg for the mob.)
- June, 1969: The Stonewall Riots. Dani, now on the payroll as security at several mafia owned gay venues, is working the door at a club where Maypop Sickle (then performing as Violet) is performing. Before the Riots begin, Maypop notices from the stage the rapt awe, wonder, and admiration of the feminine young bouncer watching her from the crowd. Privately, Dani admits to herself that she wishes she could be as beautiful and wondrous a creature as "Violet", but comforts herself by privately swearing that she will at least protect such beauty if she can't have it. She is given a chance to put that oath into action when the Riots begin, and while the club's other bouncers desperately flush drugs and contraband and try to bar the door, Dani is seen by a fleeing "Violet" fighting back cops at the door and ushering fleeing queens inside. Following the Riots, Dani attends a handful of other marches and early meetings of the Gay Liberation Front, but is kept at a distance by both many of the more “respectable” activists and many of the “street queens” excluded from the mafia-owned gay bars where Dani worked. Despite this, she cultivates relationships with open-minded, practical and useful low level mafiosos and members Gay Liberation Front, and privately she resolves to find an employer whose motives for creating gay community included making a buck but were focused on providing actual safety and community instead of exploitation, blackmail, and danger at the hands of organized crime.
- December, 1969: Vietnam War draft begins.
- 1970: Dani finds the employer she is looking for in Christian Whitechapel when a recommendation from Maypop Sickle leads to a position as head bouncer at one of Christian’s gay clubs in Lower Manhattan. Choosing to fight for someone who accepts her, she publicly burns her draft card after refusing to hide her queerness during her draft board meeting and being deemed ineligible to serve due to her “homosexuality."
- 1971: Following one year of excellent performance, displaying her aptitude as both a negotiator and a fighter when necessary, Christian reveals what he is to Dani and offers to make her his ghoul, with the eventual possibility of the Embrace after a decade of stellar service and rigorous education. Dani feels that this is her moment to seize her fate, and inspired by the stories she heard of Christine Jorgensen growing up in the 1950’s, the handful of drag queens, trans women, and other gender-nonconforming people she encountered over the years in the Village (especially seeing Maypop Sickle perform before the Stonewall Riots), and her employer’s honesty in “coming out” to her as a vampire, she reveals to Christian that she is transgender, and offers to serve him loyally and with distinction if he will finance her transition in addition to granting her this chance at immortality. He accepts and she begins her service as Christian’s ghoul.
- 1971-1980: Danika takes over running the daytime side of Christian's businesses. Her education is as extensive as it is exacting, but she proves herself more than competent in his service. She also begins physically transitioning and using the name Danika and she/her pronouns more often, doing so consistently by 1980. During the beginning of her service to Christian, she also becomes friends with the then still-mortal Dr. Marcel Trevisani, keeping a protective eye on him during his more wanton club nights while he supported her during the day by helping her access hormones and transition care "on the low" with Christian's financial support. By the late 70's the two drifted apart as Marcel was increasingly consumed by his research into HIV and Dani devoted herself to managing her domitor's assets and business empire in anticipation of her pending Embrace. By this point, referring to her as “Danny” instead of Danika or Dani is a quick way to meet the business end of her walking stick.
1979: At the urging of Claude De Bourbon and with her sire's encouragement, Dani takes a one year sabbatical from her duties to travel the world. Claude encourages Dani to seek experiences that she won't be able access with the power of her will as a Ventrue. To eat fine foods, and feel the sun on her skin, and the warmth of another body next to her in bed. To experience the mortal world with her new body before accepting the Embrace. ((Seeking ties with kindred, mortals, or ghouls she could have encountered on her journeys and search for novel, mortal experiences. Could have been anywhere on the globe an experienced Ventrue ghoul could relatively safely travel, especially looking for aesthetes, adventurers, artists, nightlife or vice-connected figures or those highly connected to high or low mortal society.))
- December 1980: Marcel hears Dani is back in New York and tries to resume their friendship after a few years of largely discussing business. Dani says she is interested in meeting socially again, but soon declines Marcel's invitations and eventually entirely cuts off non-business related contact, and even that only through intermediaries. Unknown to Marcel, this sudden severing of contact was due to her Embrace and a need to focus on mastering her new hunger to protect her friend. This betrayal by a friend who he had supported and been supported by further hardens Marcel and contributes to his becoming a firebrand activist in the coming years.
- 1981: After a decade of loyal service, Christian seeks permission from the Mad Prince to Embrace Danika and does so.
- 1981-1987: Dani begins her Agoge and works directly under Christian in New York, learning essential knowledge of Clan, sect, and lineage for an ambitious young Ventrue and getting lessons of a different sort during her occasional night of fun out on the town with Maypop.
- 1987-2010: Danika continues her Agoge and is sent by her sire to study under members of the House of the Griffon while furthering Christian's interests and continuing to develop her skills. Wanting to prove herself worthy of the embrace and deeply curious about the world of monsters and magic she now operated within, she throws herself into her study and duties for her sire and his allies. While acting as a consulting diplomat, messenger, courtier, and negotiator for her House, Clan, and sire, she also busies herself poring over archives and speaking with the kindred she served about their experiences negotiating with or warring against other supernatural beings. Other than minor encounters with spirits and the walking dead controlled by some of her sire's more "eclectic" allies she studied under, she does not actually manage to put any of her accumulated knowledge to the test before she is forced to rapidly and clandestinely return to New York. ((Seeking ties with Camarilla or Camarilla-friendly Independent ancillae or elders she could have studied and served under, or the childre and associates of those Kindred she encountered in her travels. Teachers of lore, melee, security, potence, or the Ventrue in-clan disciplines especially sought.))
- 2010-2012: Warned about FIRSTLIGHT by Christian, Danika returns to New York to lay low. Satisfied with her ability to use what she learned over the years to safely navigate her way back to New York and help mitigate the threat of FIRSTLIGHT, Christian releases Danika from her Accounting and allows her to pursue her own studies and interests. While she is released from Accounting, Danika immediately voluntarily swears Fealty to Christian. She spends the time studying Project Twilight and surreptitiously reconnecting with some of her underworld contacts and making strategic under the table investments. Inspired by Maypop's encouragement during the celebration of her Release that she would "have all of this in time if she returned to New York," Dani begins paving the way for her eventual, permanent return by reconnecting with trustworthy old contacts, greasing the right palms, and bending the will of the occasional minor official or mid-level mook in order to establish a foothold. ((Seeking ties with NYC kindred she could have met or begun negotiations with in this time, especially any neighbors in the East Village, anyone countering the Hunter threat, kindred involved with Manhattan nightlife, and Christian's associates or their childre.))
- 2012: The Second Inquisition begins. Danika wholly focuses herself on studying and subverting the multi-headed hydra that is the Inquisition. She continues to travel between cities on her sire’s behalf in search of new intel on the Hunter threat.
- 2015: Increasingly stymied by her inability to use the internet or advanced data analytics to continue learning about the Inquisition for fear of breaking the Camarilla’s prohibition on technology, Dani offers a young, queer “grey hat” hacker, corporate spy for hire, and unlicensed PI, Nadia (She/They), the opportunity to become her ghoul after using the mortal as a consultant on several jobs against minor SI front organizations and off the record bank accounts. Danika tells the young operator that they remind her of herself in her younger days, and Nadia accepts her offer and becomes Danika’s ghoul, personal assistant, bodyguard, aide, and sole companion in her travels.
- 2015-2021: Dani, with her ghoul in tow, continues traveling between domains, with Dani promoting herself to her sire's allies as a “risk management consultant” and security professional against exterior threats (particularly the Inquisition.)
- Spring 2022: Danika receives permission from her sire to permanently return to NYC and work on behalf of his interests, but also to build her own base of power with which to serve her Clan and Lineage and protect the Camarilla and Masquerade. With the assistance of her sire, she purchases a townhome between her namesake landmark and Tompkins Square Park and sends Nadia with her security detail to prepare her haven and begin reconnecting with her old contacts, establish useful new ones, and scout the neighborhood. Danika also reconnects with Maypop to announce her return and request the proper introductions to the Court.
- July, 2022: Danika returns to New York, eager to put her knowledge and influence to use. She rapidly receives her chance, going from being Accepted into the domain by Prince Melamed to being appointed to the Primogen Council for Clan Ventrue within the span of an evening during her first night at Court.
August 19th, 2022: Danika attends the Toreador Grand Ball and plays an unfinished game of croquet with Justicar Diana Iadanza alongside an eclectic group of other Kindred. She and Dr. Reynaldo also share a fascinating conversation while watching the battle against the possessed Baali Elder mere feet away.
August 20th, 2022: Danika takes part in the battle against the 7-headed abyssal dragon that clan Lasombra managed to contain on an oil rig off the coast of Mississippi. Along with two other kindred ((if you were one of these other two Kindred, please let me know so I can link to your page and give proper credit, I don't remember your names)) and their Lasombra escorts, Danika steps through The Shroud and does battle with three of the dragon's heads at the edge of the Shroud while her Elders and mightier combatants battle the beast's primary heads on the oil rig itself. Danika delivers the deathblow to the aspect of the creature she fights by shoving the pointed end of her walking stick through its central head and claims one of the beast's talons as a trophy. She affixes this claw to a necklace and wears it proudly to Elysium with the Prince's permission.
October 8th, 2022: Danika travels to Trenton in order to meet her grandsire Charles Hakstege, MD at his newest club and accompanies a war party of local kindred into the abyss to battle another monstrosity, this one in the shape of a massive octopus combined with a spider. With the destruction of the arch-predator in the abyss, the flood of abyssal spiders being pushed into our world ceases. She is bitten by one of the creature's mouths during the battle and is haunted by nightmares of the abyss.
October 15th, 2022: Danika helps lead an operation to shut down a hot dog seller selling human meat to the public in NYC and captures and interrogates a strange and inhuman spirit-being riding a hollowed out human body, a "fomori." As best Danika can tell, the human meat is being used in order to create more of these "fomori."
November 5th, 2022: While visiting Trenton to celebrate the opening of its newest Elysium, Danika accompanies a party which investigates a former Sabbat safehouse after it had been raided by soldiers from PROJECT: Twilight. Following the investigation, she enjoys a long and fascinating conversation about their very different pasts with Declan.
- Letty Cottin Pogrebin, founding editor of Ms. Magazine
Danika “Dani” Astor is a neonate of Clan Ventrue and The House of the Griffon and the childe of Prince Christian Whitechapel of Boston, former Seneschal of London, New York, and Boston.
She has acted as a traveling consultant and student to allies of her sire for over four decades, occasionally returning to New York or Boston to report-in to her sire but generally staying in the domains she visited for only a few months or years at a time. Since being given permission by her sire to permanently settle in New York she has rapidly built a small but dense influence web amidst the street and nightlife professionals of the East Village.
In Kindred politics, Danika traditionally has not demanded the spotlight and generally worked behind the scenes (or behind the throne) as a trusted courtier. This position allowed her to gain knowledge, power, and respect for her competence in building and operating a brighter and more sustainable spotlight for her clients, mentors, patrons, and sire. However, she has been forced closer to the spotlight in her new role as Ventrue Primogen of New York, and while she continues to act as a supporting player to more powerful and ancient kindred, she seeks prominence amongst those of similar age and station. As primogen, she is more direct and outwardly confident than she was in her consulting days,and has proven to be ambitious and driven in her efforts to step out of her sire’s shadow in this domain while still advancing his interests and the interests of her Clan and lineage. Despite her laconic air and academic curiosity, she is an enforcer by trade and remains brutally efficient with a knife or club and incredibly stubborn in a fight, calling upon years of experience as a bouncer and occasional freelance legbreaker honed by the eclectic training of her sire's contacts.
While she can be understated, Danika is not withdrawn, and is attentive for any new opportunity to gain tantalizing knowledge, glory for her accomplishments, useful connections, or leverage that can be exploited. She is also not afraid to get her hands dirty as long as they appear clean after. Like her sire, Danika seeks to surround herself with influential Kindred of various social classes and Sects, particularly other driven neonates with whom she might form a mutually beneficial coterie which can provide both company and advancement like her sire’s Green Carnation Club.
- "Primogen Astor is a welcome and timely addition to our city." - Beatrix
- “Do you wish to know the very worst thing about Primogen Astor? She’s far too capable and clever by half. By consistently meeting and exceeding our expectations, she will raise the bar for all her clan. What a disappointment her peers will be in comparison.” — Claude
- "There is nobody I would rather have fighting by my side." - Dr. Almeda Reynaldo