Corrupted and Content
Rex "The King" Ortiz
Kindred King of Philly
The King is solid and wide, squared off and cut. His face is made up of big features — a wide square nose, a fat chiseled mouth, shadowy cheeks and a jaw trimmed by a sculpted, angular beard. In life, he was mistaken for Creole, though in truth he’s an American-born child of Puerto Rican parents. Naturally large, the King built himself muscle to avoid being simply fat. He used to bench-press his girlfriends.
The King is the gangland leader of an undead empire built on drug money, and he looks the part. Gang tats, gold rings and a wife-beater are his uniform. He holds court in a plush basement crib with polished concrete floors, deep sofas, heavy bags and high, warehouse-style ceilings. In his dress and demeanor, he reflects the philosophy that has made him Prince of the city: excellence above appearance. Be the best and don’t worry about the show. Deliver the goods and everything else falls into place. He doesn’t need a wardrobe to make him look regal. It’s in the way he stands.
He’s been on the Earth for less than 50 years. He’s been a vampire for fewer than 30. And the city is his not because he was born to it, but because he is bolder and more savvy than those who would keep it from him.
Don’t think the Kindred haven’t tried to take him out. Even some of his own in the Invictus have tried to make him a greasy ashen smear. It never works out, obviously, because the King is still walking tall. One story has him and his cronies trapped in a warehouse, all the exits blocked by vans. Molotovs through the window — and the resulting Red Fear — should’ve left him as little more than soot. His boys died, but the King? Cut his way out of the place with a chainsaw (where he got a chainsaw, nobody knows), and then went after the car full of ghouls parked nearby. Left his enemies in bloody gobbets, and the Town Car in a pile of gore- soaked scrap. And he walked away with nary a scratch on him, the ultimate survivor.
The King is a self-made man and vampire. Rumors have him Embraced in prison, having been tossed in the cage for auto theft, and those same rumors always have him getting out of prison and away from his sire all on his own. And that’s the theme of the King: “all on his own.” Nobody handed him any favors, because nobody thought he’d amount to anything more than a thug. What he lacks in learned intelligence, the King makes up in keen intuition and street smarts, and they allowed him to rise the ranks of both the local gangs and his so-called allies within the First Estate. They tried to tame him, sure, put him in a suit, teach him some of their tricks, but he wasn’t going to have it. He didn’t need their dance, and knew he could make it all on his own. Power isn’t about what clothes you’re willing to wear. It’s about what you’re willing to do. And the King is willing to do anything, long as it doesn’t fuck with those who’ve held loyal to him. He makes bold moves, striking hard against enemies. Even those within his own covenant who’ve stood in his path either fell in line, or “fell” in front of the midnight train. The King literally pulled himself through the muck, dragging his ass up the ladder with gritted teeth. And now he’s Prince, newly so, and he intends to hold on to his rung with hard knuckles.
One real fucked-up rumor keeps circulating, though. The story suggests that the King actually has the previous Prince of the city shackled up in a secret room in the King’s haven. Some say that the old Prince — now bound by Blood to the King — is his most valued agent, a subverted authority brought down from power and made to heel. Rex has gone so far as to keep the previous Prince’s Seneshal on as his own, because he recognizes talent when he sees it. Some say that the King still solicits advice from the deposed ruler, which is maybe how the King learned to unite the city’s Kindred with such alarming speed.