Shadows of The City
The story of the White Court in San Francisco is really the story of House Valetta and particularly its current patriarch, Demetrios Valetta. In the early 1800s, Demetrios owned massive estates in modern-day Thessaly. His family’s good standing with the Ottoman Empire, and his distance from Constantinople, allowed him essentially autonomous rule. And he was a rising power in, and a serious contender for control of, the White Court. However, in 1821, disaster struck. A group of revolutionaries called the Filiki Eteria (“Society of Friends”) started what became known as the Greek War of Independence. It was an attempt to overthrow Ottoman rule and establish a free Greek state.
Demetrios, whose lands and position depended on Ottoman rule, sided with the empire and was instrumental in many of the initial defeats suffered by the revolutionaries. However, the movement was larger, better equipped, and more determined than Demetrios (or the Ottoman Empire) realized. Over the next nine years, and against all odds, the revolution grew and eventually succeeded.
Demetrios found himself on the losing side. His lands were confiscated, and he was forced to flee along with his two children, Antonia and Murad, to escape the political cleansing that typically follows revolution. He spent some time in Europe and the Middle East, trying to drum up support, but the stain of his defeat made him unwelcome. This was particularly true within the White Court, where his former supporters scrambled to distance themselves from him and realign with others. However, he was able to call in a few final favors to learn that the Filiki Eteria were, in part, financed by House Raith.
Demetrios swore revenge on House Raith, but he needed a new base of operations from which to pursue it. Hearing of the Gold Rush and the Red Court’s difficulties in California, he saw an opportunity. Demetrios moved himself and his children to San Francisco. He kept an extremely low profile, blending in with the local immigrant population. Slowly, over the next fifty years, he developed a network of contacts that he used to feed information to the local resistance. His efforts bore fruit when, aided by White Council wizards, they broke the Red Court’s power in San Francisco. On that day, House Valetta was reborn, rising from the ashes of its defeat through the defeat of the Red Court. House Raith recognized the achievements of House Valetta, and Lord Raith reinstated Demetrios to the rank of Duke within the White Court.
Demetrios has four children, all of whom live in San Francisco. Demetrios’ oldest child, Antonia (a.k.a. “Toni”), runs Pandora. His next child, Murad, also works at Pandora as Antonia’s head of security. Marc Jacobson, his next child, owns an adult movie production company, Velvet Rope Studios. His youngest child, Daphne Essex, runs the Angel Island Association, a nonprofit organization that owns and administers Angel Island.