Werewolves, Claimed, and Other Shapeshifters

Maddie Wishthound
Madeline Archer, Wishbone

Type: Werewolf
Pack: Brick & Bone
Tribe: Ghost Wolf (Formerly Fire-Touched)

Virtue: Prudent
Vice: Pessimistic

Background: Maddie's parents separated when she was four, and she has vivid memories of a messy divorce that left her mother clutching the neck of a gin bottle. Fostered away to the home of an abusive mother and an uncaring father, Maddie was taunted about her family life at school whenever the subject came up. She dropped out of school early, and spent her time in libraries learning a little about a lot of subjects. If ever she came across someone who had really studied a subject she’d be in trouble, but to Maddie's mind that didn’t matter. She wasn’t looking for other intellectuals to woo; her goal was just to find a group to impress. Maybe then people would look to her as something other than a problem and an out-of-towner — and if they happened to look up to her, then so much the better.

Maddie did her best to fit into any social group she finds herself in, and that didn't change just because she found out about her Uratha heritage. The Pure found her before anyone else did, and Maddie still has a broad burn scar on her left arm from her initiation. Let No Untrue Statement Lie. It's burned onto her very skin, in elegant cursive script. In the months that followed, Maddie meandered through life, still looking for a group to fit into. Finding herself near Stoke-on-Trent, she heard that the Ivory Claw Lucas King was setting up a pack of his own. He was going to go to London and take the fight to the Moon-Born. Maddie offered to follow him.

Maddie was exactly what the Cold River needed. Her skills run the gamut from computer programming to classical music; she speaks four languages, holds two degrees and can make men do what she wants with a few well-placed words. She’s a polymath, skilled in any field that she puts her mind to. She can't fight very well, but that's the least of her concerns. In her own mind, she's living a lie, breaking Rabid Wolf's oath with every breath she draws.

Maddie is a werewolf being run ragged. She knows she's not really as smart as she pretends to be. She knows she's not as educated, or as clever, or as strong as everyone thinks she is. If her pack weren't a bunch of thugs, they'd realize that. The pressure to perform is starting to get to her. She does her best to keep everyone aware of everything they need. She aids the pack on hunts and journeys into the Shadow, but recently she’s been spending more and more time on her own. None of her packmates have followed her to the small apartment that she rents, but if they did, they’d see Maddie drowning her fears in cheap whisky and worthless men.

Away from her pack, she plays to others’ expectations, building herself around what they know of her and what they expect her to be. Although that’s an advantage in many social situations, being all things to all people means that it’s more and more likely that someone will catch her out. She’s guilty about the lies and half-truths she tells, but there are so many of them, and even Maddie doesn’t really know if some of them are true or not. In the small hours around dawn, she wonders if she really has any truth left in her, or if even her memories are just another patchwork of falsehoods.

Then came the events of Halloween, 2009, when Lucas King tried to blow up an entire pleasure-boat full of tourists as a sacrifice to Jenny Greenteeth. Maddie had gone part of the way along, telling herself that the explosives were to destroy some large commercial freighter, that it was going to be all property damage. When she could deceive herself no more, she snapped and fled her pack, and after the dust had settled, Maddie joined Brick & Bone -- she knew Jake and Moxie, and they were thrilled to have her. Of course, now her new pack thinks of her as a moral bastion as well as a brilliant werewolf -- Maddie finds it kind of darkly hilarious. She thought of joining the Forsaken, but she's not quite ready to make such a leap.

A tall and attractive woman in her late 20s, Maddie has long, dark hair that frames her face. Her brown eyes sparkle behind the glasses she wears to aid her intellectual look. She typically wears long skirts along with long-sleeved shirts that allow her to show off her figure while hiding the branded letters on her left arm. She often wears tasteful golden jewelry, and her fingers always sport a multitude of rings. In Urhan form, she’s a slim wolf with an unearthly white coat.

Rank: 2
Mental 5; Physical 1; Social 3
Willpower: 1
Primal Urge: 3
Notable Powers: Jury-Rig; Genre Savvy; "I don't know how to do it, but I can find out."


Type: Werewolf
Pack: Brick & Bone
Auspice: Cahalith
Tribe: Hunters in Darkness
Born: 1948

Virtue: Honest
Vice: Fussy

Background: There is a joke around Brick & Bone, "Don't do drugs, kid, because if you do, you'll end up like Moonbeam. He took drugs once and now he's a werewolf!" This joke is not actually funny (it's Brick & Bone). It is, however partially accurate.

Moonbeam doesn't remember an awful lot of his early life (the drugs may have had something to do with that). He was a literature major in the late 60s, reading a lot of Chaucer and writing a lot of bad poetry, and he was deep into the hippie subculture. Peace, love, brotherhood, natural fibers, and more drugs than most pharmacy majors dealt with. Marijuana, LSD, peyote, that was old hat. Salvia, he tried. Heroin, he flirted with. There was probably not a chemical on the market that Moonbeam didn't stick into his body at some point. So when someone at a party gave him a recipe for a werewolf salve (monkshod, henbane, devil's cherries, poppy flowers, sweet flag, water parsnip, moon's allure, boiled in the fat of a human child and cooled with the blood of a bat), he tried it. Admittedly, he did use pig fat as a substitute. It worked. It also sent Moonbeam into a trip that lasted for months (most of those plants are heavy-duty hallucinogens, even before magic is added).

The next, oh, four decades are pretty much a blur in Moonbeam's brain. He dropped out of society, did even more drugs, wrote even more bad poetry, and tried to be a werewolf. He kind of sucked at it. He had Changed under the Gibbous Moon, the Storyteller's Moon, he was a literature major, it should have been natural. Unfortunately for Moonbeam, he was far better at critiquing creative output than he was at putting it together (between being a fundamentally honest person, being regularly zonked out of his brain, and having his social skills atrophy, Moonbeam's never quite grasped that one should not call one's pack leader a 'controlling bully-boy with delusions of grandeur,' even if it is the truth).

So, Moonbeam got kicked out of one pack. A while later, he got kicked out of another pack. This was also the trajectory of Moonbeam's halfhearted efforts to get a job. Still, he could chase squirrels and the occasional cat that didn't run away fast enough, and he pretty soon perfected the art of quoting poetry at people until they gave him money (after all, if the dirty tramp is yelling some incomprehensible gibberish at you, wouldn't you give him money to go away?)

Eventually, Moonbeam hooked up with Brick & Bone, the only pack in London desperate enough to take him in. Sozzled, weird, and perpetually high Moonbeam may have been, but he was a Cahalith, and he'd picked up a decent bit of spirit lore over the decades. Spirits, who rarely understand the human mindset anyway, don't much care if the person they are dealing with are tripping out of their brain during negotiations. Indeed, the openness to spiritual logic is sometimes an asset. Not often, but it has been known to happen.

As befits a member of Brick & Bone, Moonbeam's a misfit. Decades of living rough and doing whatever drugs he can get his hands on have left Moonbeam with more than a few oddities, even if werewolf regeneration means that the aging hippie is in surprisingly good shape.

Most notably, Moonbeam considers himself to be a great writer and storyteller, just one that the world isn't quite ready to appreciate yet. Others cloak their words in velvet lies and insinuations, but Moonbeam tells it like it is, describes the world as he sees it. Everyone else is either a sell-out, or someone who just didn't try hard enough. The werewolf's the worst kind of fussy, judgmental perfectionist, which tends to make him hard to live with.

Moonbeam's also... not very good at people skills. Decades of living rough (half the time as a wolf) have resulted in his social skills atrophying away. He does not have a good grasp of the concept of 'little white lies', nor that it is not always appropriate to spout his own poetry at people. Since he's also got a perpetual slur in his voice, the full unnerving nature of the Uratha, and only a limited concept of volume control, this tends to make people think that the scary hobo is yelling at them as opposed to serenading them.

Now is also an appropriate place to note that Moonbeam's greatest inspiration for poetry is roadkill. At some point in the 80s, the old werewolf decided that he can get the best, most truthful, most raw poetry if he listens to dead animals. Drugs may have been involved in this realization. All the same, Moonbeam's held to it. He collects dead animals from around London, usually off the street or from dumpsters, and then he cleans them and stores their bones. Most, he promptly throws away when they tell him dumb stories, but a few he keeps and cherishes as his most favored muses. The rest of Brick & Bone has insisted that he keep his cleaning efforts away from the squat that the rest of the pack inhabits, on pain of being dunked in the Thames.

Still, if you can get past the ruthlessly critical personality, the tendency to yell bad poetry at people, and the fact that he smells like a week-old dead rabbit and talks to skulls, Moonbeam's not actually a bad person. He still believes deeply in the ideals of peace and equality and universal brotherhood (he tends to call people Brother and Sister a lot). He's a peaceful fellow, thoroughly nonviolent despite being a werewolf, and he wouldn't hurt a fly if he could help it. His near obsessive honesty, while discomfiting, can also be occasionally useful (Moonbeam is no one's idea of a genius, but one does not get to his age without picking up at least a few nuggets of wisdom).

To those that see him shambling around, Moonbeam looks like a sixty-something hobo. He has lightly bronzed skin (his father was originally from Hyderabad in southern India, his mother was an Englishwoman), a shiny bald pate, heavy brows, and a bushy beard that is regularly dyed in odd colors and braided with tiny animal skulls. Moonbeam is extremely proud of his beard. He usually wears multiple layers of coats and jackets, as well as a faded, tie-dye headband, and he keeps his worldly possessions in a shopping cart (lots of dead things). He also, not to put too fine a point on it, smells of dead animals and marijuana.

Rank: 2
Mental 4; Physical 3; Social 2
Willpower: 1
Primal Urge: 3
Notable Powers: Ritualist; Uncomfortable Hobo; All the Drugs; Bad Poetry

Colin Barrett
Gregory Watson, Michael Jones, Bernie Moore

Type: Water-Horse
Affiliation: People's Republic
Clan: Ceffyl Dŵr
Born: 1976

Virtue: Confident
Vice: Violent & Hasty

Background: Colin Barrett was, in the delicate parlance of the small Irish town he grew up in, a 'handful'. He'd walk up to other children and talk to them, and he always knew exactly what to say to make them feel so bad that they cried. At school he was a compulsive thief, and despite being a dumpy, freckled redhead, he was also the ringleader of a small gang of hooligans. Catching him was next to impossible, since he could lie with the best of them, and even when it did, detentions, groundings, even suspensions were met with a blasť shrug. The local pastor said that Colin had the devil in him, the school guidance counselor muttered about lack of empathy, his parents simply despaired. They had two other children, and so when Colin hit eighteen, he was out the door and off to the university, never to see his family again. Not that he really cared. Colin didn't care about much.

He went to the University of Manchester for schooling, and eventually fell in with the programmers and engineers there. The University of Manchester was where they'd discovered the nucleus of the atom and where the world's first programmable computer was invented, and it had always had a steady supply of boffins and eggheads. Something about computers appealed to Colin -- they were so nice and clean and straightforward -- and in short order Colin became involved in computer engineering.

Now Colin was only an indifferent computer engineer, but he had some rather notable talents. First, unlike the greater percentage of computer geeks, Colin had charisma, at least in the short term. He was charming and personable and always told people what they wanted to hear, and people always liked him at first. Later on they might have noticed the utter lack of empathy, or his capricious, random behavior, but that was later. Secondly, Colin was very good at looking at what the boffins were doing and understanding the practical ramifications of it. Since this was in the mid-90s, this put Colin in a rather nice position.

Colin rode the tech-bubble for all it was worth. He gave a lot of tech demos, talked to a lot of venture capitalists, and helped set up several websites towards the end of the nineties that promised to revolutionize this or that thing -- he was involved in a website for rapid vegetable delivery, an early dating website, and a project to provide digital legal consultation to people, among other things. He bounced around a few companies, never quite settling down, mostly since Colin had a distressing habit of getting fired for this or that shady activity (bald lies in the tech demos, selling source-code to competitors, etc), though he never got arrested for anything. He always had a ready excuse and a bright, cheery smile, and so Colin just kind of glided on through... that and he killed a man to avoid being revealed once.

His name was... Walter something-or-other. Colin only vaguely remembers or cares now. He was a software developer who had a peanut allergy, and was annoyingly persistent in trying to figure out who had sent the basic code for their digital-lawyer project to another company. So Colin ground up a few peanuts, slipped them into his coffee, and watched him choke to death as his throat close up late one night. Then Colin replaced the coffee cup with a normal one, edited the security camera footage (he may have been an indifferent computer engineer but he was perfectly capable of doing this), and got away scot-free. The police suspected him, certainly, but he breezed through questioning without any problem and found a new job later that paid him more.

Colin made quite a lot of money in the dot-com bubble, but he was never all that good at keeping it. While a masterful and charismatic liar, he was abysmal at any sort of long-term planning, and so would spend money on the most random things, whatever crossed his mind. A trip to South Africa, an indoor waterfall for his London home, a massive donation to an animal shelter, whatever seemed like fun. He made a string of very bad investments, and more often than not ended up having to steal just to make ends meet.

Then the bubble burst. All of a sudden, there wasn't enough money in the dot-com world for Colin to make his way through charm and deceit, and people started paying attention to things quite a lot more. Suddenly, a lot of chickens were coming home to roost... and one of those chickens ended up killing him. To this day Colin doesn't know which of the people he managed to cheat broke into his house and held his face under his own, ornamental waterfall until he drowned. Truthfully, Colin doesn't care all that much.

He woke up a few hours later, lying next to his own drowned corpse. This was just a bit weird. Still, Colin handled the problem in his own classic, calm fashion. He chopped his own body into small pieces, stuffed them into plastic bags loaded with rocks and dumped them into the Thames. He was planning to change his name and move out, but for some reason, it hurt to leave his waterfall -- so he was still there when the Bard arrived a few months later to initiate Colin into the society of the water-horses. The murderer never tried again, possibly freaked out by his or her failure the first time around.

For the next few years, Colin lay low – he changed his name, moved to Wales for a while, studied the occult, and did a lot of thinking, about occult principles and next-gen computing and the machinery of murder cults. He’d visited a few of the old-school Eleusinian Mysteries in Wales (some of which now have some very advanced servers), and he’d always been good at getting people to do what he wanted. So in 2006, Colin return to London and star started his own cult, Intelligent Mysteries, a tech-startup focused on pushing the limits of artificial intelligence, using good old fashioned human sacrifice.

Intelligent Mysteries (IMYS on the London Stock Exchange) is a small, publically traded web-firm with an office in London’s Tech City, a growing tech-hub in the East End. It employs about thirty people, of whom a little over half (and some of the investors) are also members of Colin’s budding mystery cult. Recruiting cultists proved to be pretty similar to sweet-talking venture capitalists, and Colin’s designed his cult to appeal to the young, tech-savvy, and immoral. In part, it’s a hedge against punishment in the afterlife – his cultists help him out, and in exchange they can lie, cheat, and swindle to their hearts content, knowing that they’re in the good books of the gods of the afterlife. But the cult’s also a key to more worldly power as well, because not all the human sacrifices go down into the river. Some of them feed other spirits, particularly the growing brood of computer- and information-spirits that Colin, in a burst of marketing inspiration, calls the Data-Nymphs.

Here’s how it goes. First, the new recruit just gets told about the “spooky s***” going on after hours. Then they see some of the meetings, first just the ones where Colin talks about the future of supernatural computing, and then the ones where one of the Data-Nymphs makes an appearance, or Colin spreads his wings. Then before they know it, they’re driving through the cities of Britain, chloroforming drunks and prostitutes and teenage runaways and then stuffing them into the trunk of the car, back to the cult’s yacht. There’s a ritual and a prayer to Persephone and Demeter Aganippe and a whole lot of drugs and drink, and then they’re chained and wrapped in a whole lot of chicken mesh and sunk to the bottom of the Thames. Sure, some of the new recruits balk around this point, but Colin tends to dispose of conscientious objectors pretty thoroughly – after watching a hideous horse-fish monster slurping on someone’s entrails, most of Colin’s tech-cultists keep any qualms to themselves.

Besides, the perks are awesome. For the first time in his life, Colin has a product that he doesn’t have to lie to sell – though he lies anyway, because it never occurs to him not to. He’s got a few people thinking that Intelligent Mysteries is going to be the group that develops true Artificial Intelligence, and they want to be on the ground floor of that. Truth is, Colin’s actually downplaying the abilities of his software, because spirit-possessed computers really are self-aware. So far, Colin’s company hasn’t actually produced all that much, but there’s a couple of corporations and banks that have his pet Data-Nymphs nesting in their servers, which given how easily bored Colin gets, is a recipe for disaster.

Actually, Intelligent Mysteries is a disaster waiting to happen. The cult lurches forward more by accident by design, because Colin is horrible at long-term planning. He’s constantly improvising, always keeping the cult running for just one more month, never really looking ahead – which wouldn’t be such a problem if Colin’s go-to problem-solving technique wasn’t to simply lie to people and tell them what they want to hear, storing up trouble for later. A few of his savvier cultists are starting to realize that Intelligent Mysteries is the Titanic and there’s an iceberg dead ahead, but Colin’s managed to rope them into helping keep the cult going. The threat of disembowelment concentrates the mind wonderfully.

It’s in order to keep Intelligent Mysteries going that Colin’s started to sell his services to other supernatural creatures in London. He’s charismatic enough to pose as a very competent trouble-shooter, and he has just enough skill at deceit, magic, and murder to actually be quite good at making short-term problems go away. His true talent is at selling himself, however, and so it’s only a matter of time before he turns his mercenary activities into the same disaster as the rest of his life, and then the entire house of cards will come crashing down. When that happens, assuming he survives, Colin will just walk away, because he doesn’t really care about any of this.

People who just meet Colin Barrett find him enormously likeable and pleasant. He’s a vivacious, good-looking redhead who seems genuinely interested in other people, and who has a near-endless supply of interesting stories and jokes. There’s an attractive confidence about him, a casual certainty that people react to without really being able to help themselves. It’s only on closer acquaintance that the realization dawns that something isn’t quite right about Colin in the head – that everything about him is only an act, how nothing is quite real to him.

Colin’s grasp on reality is actually highly tenuous. He gives the impression of not really taking anything very seriously, as though everything in existence, even his own life, is no more real than a book or television show. This enables him to do some truly horrible things, because even the most vicious crime has no more effect on him than a gory movie has on most people.

This also means that Colin is constantly, horribly bored. Very few things are able to hold his interest for any length of time, which means that he tends to be impulsive and capricious in the extreme. He’ll do something right now because it interests him, without any real consideration for how it will affect him later on. He has enough self-preservation that he does make an effort to avoid getting arrested or killed, but that just means he’s careful not to get caught.

Together, his considerable charisma, weak handle on reality, and extreme boredom combine to render Colin into what is basically a serial killer. Colin mouths platitudes about the coming Singularity, spirit-interfaced computing, and the sacred duty to Demeter Aganippe, but at heart, Colin kills people because it feels nice and he can’t think of any reason not to, so long as he can dodge any repercussions.

That said, crazy does not necessarily mean stupid, and Colin has learned quite a lot about covering his tracks. In Intelligent Mysteries, he’s not the CEO or founder or any such thing, but rather the head of sales, the better to deflect attention. When dealing with other supernaturals, he always gives the impression that he’s working for someone else, that he’s only the messenger or secretary. He’s learned to shapeshift, and uses that ability frequently, maintains several aliases, several hideouts, and has a bag with a fake passport and plenty of cash in a locker in Heathrow.

In his natural form, Colin Barrett is a boyish, good-looking man who looks noticeably younger than his actual age. Before his transformation into a water-horse, Colin had been decidedly on the pudgy side, but apparently drowning is great for one’s figure, as he’s lost thirty pounds since then, though he still looks a little on the rounded side, as though he hasn’t lost all his baby fat. He has curly, dark red hair that always looks a little damp, copious freckles, a cherubic smile, and amber-colored eyes. He usually dresses in a pair of slacks and a dress shirt with the top button left undone, and a variety of silly ties with computers or question marks all over them. His water-horse form is pure white, with glowing yellow-red eyes. His wings are rather like those of an eagle, white with flecks of grey in them, and give him an unexpectedly angelic look when he manifests them in his human form.

Rank: 3
Mental 3; Physical 5; Social 4
Willpower: 1
Primal Urge: 5
Notable Powers: Superficial Charm, Murderous Violence

Katie Sinclair
Katherine Mary Sinclair, Kit Kat

Type: Selkie
Born: 1990

Virtue: Honest
Vice: Shy

Background: Growing up, Katie Sinclair was the terror of the North Ronaldsay Primary School in Kirkwall. Raised by her father after her mother's supposed drowning, Katie was prickly, stand-offish, too smart for her own good, and "a hellion". She was a latchkey kid, coming home from school to while away the hours alone until her dad's fishing boat came back, and she was always very bright for her age, actually skipping a year once.

This meant two things. First, Katie had a long, miserable list of disciplinary problems at school -- she got into fights, she was bored with the schoolwork, she talked back to her teachers. More often than not, she was in detention until her father, Adam Sinclair, got back to Kirkwall. Her attitude problems won her few friends among the other children, which only made her disciplinary problems worse. Secondly, Katie kind of raised herself. Adam tried to be a good father, but he himself suffered from depression, and in any case commercial fishing was an occupation with long, long hours. Katie spent most of her time alone, and she grew both self-sufficient and socially awkward.

The highlight of her days was when Adam Sinclair's boat, the Mermaid was docked, and Katie was able to explore the machinery on-board (how she didn't have a fatal accident is anyone's guess). There were so many noises and engines and whirring things, which were on the whole much more interesting than anything going on at school. Uncle Richard, who had inherited the brains of the family, quickly learned to buy constructor sets for Christmas and Katie's birthday. By the time she was twelve, then, Katie was a scrappy, self-sufficient tomboy with a penchant for the mechanical and a distinct distrust of anyone who wasn't family.

Then her mother came and took her away.

With puberty came the dreams of the sea, the urge to swim in the cold waters, the darkening of her eyes and hair. These were signs that the selkie knew, and so they brought Katie Sinclair to their Shadow-Isle of Finfolkaheem, and she swam in the spirit-seas, and transformed into a seal for the first time in the waters. When she changed back, she had a seal-skin wrapped about her, and was a selkie.

For the next six years, from 2002 to 2008, Katie lived in Finfolkaheem with her mother and her other uncle, the impetuous, beautiful, and erratic Effie Towrie and her brother, Patrick Towrie. She had a huge, extended family now, including a mess of cousins and second-cousins, and she was taught by an old selkie woman the ways of the sea and the Shadow, and more practical things by Mr. Lairn, who was a secondary school teacher in his mortal life.

Sometimes, she missed her father, but there was always so much to do... and then Effie said that he'd died, and that was all. To this day, Katie feels guilty about never going back to see him, never explaining what was happening. But she was only thirteen when he died. Finfolkaheem was always so very interesting -- there were Shadow-seas to swim in, strange islands to explore, old spirits to talk to, spirits of Gull and Wave and Storm, and cousins (Victor and Vicky Barclay) to hang out with. After her lonely childhood, it was a paradise.

Still, Katie grew up, and the selkie wanderlust set in, and a desire to further her passion -- machinery. The entire selkie community pitched in together, and they produced fake IDs, altered records, and in short order, Katie was accepted into the Imperial College, London, to study mechanical engineering. Her uncle Richard was teaching at a sister-college, and so she went to meet him. That was not a pleasant conversation, by any stretch of the imagination.

Still, in the summer of 2008, Katie and a her cousins Victor and Victoria, moved into a huge flat in uncle Richard's building, and Katie started attending the mechanical engineering program at Imperial. All of a sudden she had to deal a lot more strangers than she'd been used to, but Katie coped, and she had a stack of introductions from various older selkies to the supernatural denizens of London.

Today, Katie is still a tomboy, still prickly, and still way-too-smart for her own good. She's a proud, self-identified geek, though she's a geek in the Mythbusters vein -- how can she make things move faster and/or blow up. Her seal-skin, turned into a hoodie, is stained with machine oil, and Katie is never happier than when she's messing around the guts of some huge engine. What's more, she's good at it, having easily inherited her uncle's brainpower, but where Richard Sinclair uses it to understand the internal structure of Mithraic mystery cults, Katie uses it to build motorboats -- she's already built and sold one, and is working on her second, the Mermaid III.

Katie's selkie heritage and her natural standoffishness mix together in strange ways. On the one hand, selkies are renowned as seductive lovers and smooth-talking charmers. On the other hand, Katie's a suspicious-minded girl who takes offense easily and has a mean left hook (one does not spend that much time working with heavy machinery without developing some muscle). Still, Katie's not as antisocial as she used to be, and she mellows significantly when surrounded by friends (her cousins call her Kit Kat, because she's sweet when she gives people a break. So far, threats of violence have not stopped them from doing this.)

Katie is a good-looking, well-muscled young woman with short, unruly hair of a dark-brown color, and dark-blue eyes that are nearly black. She's on the short side, about 5'4'', and sensitive about her height, but aside from that projects a sort of vigorous, Amazonian allure, especially when she lets her selkie-side shine through. She usually wears ragged jeans and oil-stained t-shirts, with her seal-skin hoodie either thrown over her shoulders or wrapped around her waist. Her seal form is that of a grey seal, with a mottled grey-brown coat.

Rank: 2
Mental 4; Physical 3; Social 2
Willpower: 3
Primal Urge: 3
Notable Powers: Mechanics

Victor Barclay

Type: Selkie
Born: 1987

Virtue: Generous
Vice: Vain

Background: It was a story as old as time. Alan Barclay was a minor business executive for BAE Systems, involved in Glasgow's shipbuilding business. This took him out of the city for weeks on end, travelling to this or that or the third conference, and leaving his young wife, Lucy Barclay, alone and bored out of her skull as a housewife. Enter Patrick Towrie, a good-looking, charming fellow with a touch of mischief about him, who worked as the Barclay's gardener. One thing led to another thing nine months later, and Lucy was the mother of a pair of energetic twins. If Alan Barclay ever noticed that the two little hellions (sharp-featured and raven-haired) looked nothing like their father (rounded, light-brown-haired), he kept his mouth shut.

Victor and Victoria Barclay were nightmarish children in the finest tradition of a certain kind of British children's book, the one where the kids drive away one nanny after another until eventually Mary Poppins or Nanny McPhee comes along to set them straight. The twins played practical jokes, terrorized the adults, ran away about twice a year to go exploring Glasgow's shady side, and drove the school's guidance counselor to the bottle after he realized how neatly they were playing him. This not being a certain kind of British children's book, instead of getting a magical governess the twins were put on medication.

Victor was always the creative force behind the trouble. He was a dreamer as a boy, a starry-eyed thinker who was always the first to ask 'what if...', which wouldn't be quite such a problem if the rest of the phrase didn't so often end with something along the lines of '...we put whipped cream in Dad's toothpaste?' He was the kid who came up with the games -- Victor had a limitless imagination for roleplaying, and by the time he was thirteen, he'd been a cop, a robber, an astronaut, a cowboy, an indian, a tax collector (long story), a high inquisitor, a pirate, and a meerkat (also a long story).

If Victor had turned his powers of creativity and roleplay to good, he probably could've become an excellent character actor. But Victor's creativity was equaled only by his disdain for any kind of hard labor, so he mostly used his skills to turn in virtuoso performances of 'the dog ate my homework.' He was a skilled malingerer and a master wheedler.

When the dreams and strange, aquatic urges came, Victor mostly responded by planning out great pirate heists -- up until his real father came to collect him and his sister. The Shadow-Isle of Finfolkaheem was paradise for an overly imaginative and too-curious-by-half boy. There was so much to explore -- though Victor was rather chagrined to find out that his usual tricks and pranks didn't actually work on the older selkies, who'd invented half of them.

On the island, Victor grew up out of a lanky, imaginative boy, to a creative, charming young man. But soon enough, even the wonders of Finfolkaheem began to pale. Quite honestly, even a Shadow island begins to grow a little boring when it's all there is for several years, and trips to Scotland or the Orkneys with his father and sister could only mollify Victor so long.

So when the twins' kid cousin Katie announced in 2008 that she was going to London to study, Victor leaped at the opportunity. London! The big city! Here was the chance to move from an island of about a hundred-odd selkies to a city with over ten million people. It took a bit of wheedling, but Victor was old enough to be self-sufficient, and selkies understand wanderlust quite well, and so when Victor was twenty he and Victoria accompanied their cousin to London.

London has proven to be everything Victor could want for. There was enough going on here that the young selkie would never get bored. Here were theaters, here were nightclubs, here were ruins to explore, here were parties, here were people. So many people, so many pretty girls and pretty boys, in all their infinite combinations, each and every one enticing in their own unique way.

Victor's taken to the urban life like a duck (or seal) to water. Gleefully unemployed (he claims to be allergic to work), Victor supports himself by a wide range of petty con-games and robbery, by mooching off a string of mortal girlfriends and boyfriends (Victor can usually juggle two or three at a time), and a certain amount of leeching off his cousin Katie and her long-suffering uncle Richard. That said, Victor does have a strong sense of family-loyalty, and is shaping up to be a quite competent con-man or actor, the latter of which tendencies Richard Sinclair is feverishly trying to encourage, for his own peace of mind.

Left to his own devices, Victor comes across as a dreamy young man, head lost in the clouds. He's enormously creative and surprisingly well-read (no one would ever mistake Victor for a studious youth, but he likes to read fiction and he reads quickly). He often claims to be a poet, and can actually pull out a verse with a bit of effort, though the truth is that Victor is more fond of the pose of the poet than the act of poetry -- Victor is perfectly aware that to a certain class of impressionable youth, the artist is irresistible.

There's a certain undercurrent of artifice to Victor, really. His relatives are convinced that he must be smarter than he looks, and to an extent they're right -- Victor has considerable social intelligence, always knowing what to say to disarm people or make them like him. He's simply too lazy to actually put effort into anything not related to his own self-centered desires. This does mean that Victor is an absolutely marvelous actor, however. With a flip of a switch, he can rearrange his entire demeanor, behavior, and body language to such an extent that other people have a hard time recognizing him. It's a game to him, and one he's good at.

Physically, Victor looks like a Romantic poet right before the tuberculosis really sets in. He's a lean, pale young man with dark-blue eyes and curly, pitch-black hair. He has delicate cheekbones, a sharp nose, and a distinctly V-shaped face, and he periodically experiments with little mustaches and goatees, but has yet to find something that doesn't look silly. He usually dressed in greys and blacks, with dark jeans that look like they're painted on and open shirts that reveal an expanse of creamy skin. He likes to accent with various bits of club or fetish-wear, either a neon-glowstick around his wrist or a spiky collar around his throat. His seal-form is that of a harbor seal, and his seal-skin is a mottled grey jacket that he always keeps nearby.

Rank: 2
Mental 3; Physical 1; Social 5
Willpower: 1
Primal Urge: 3
Notable Powers: Social Chameleon

Victoria "Vicky" Barclay

Type: Selkie
Born: 1987

Virtue: Trustworthy
Vice: Stubborn
Long-Term Aspiration: To have a close friend of every major supernatural type

Background: The idea that Victoria and Victor Barclay were not really the children of the genial, mild-mannered Alan Barclay would have surprised no one. To start with, the twins looked nothing like their father and only a little like their mother, with their pale features and dark hair and eyes. Then there was the fact that both the twins were essentially small-scale demons of destruction and death (or at least annoyance and aggravation). They were unmanageable and impossible, and even a regimen of Ritalin only modulated their troublesome nature.

Blessed or cursed with a fabulist brother, Vicky (as everyone called her) rapidly became a keen connoisseur of various forms of b***-s***. There was the fresh, imaginative BS that Victor produced for his teachers, the bored lies her teachers gave them, the rather more subtle deceptions flying around her parents tossed around as they navigated their thorny marriage. Like most children, Vicky watched a lot of television, and unlike most children, Vicky read a lot of books, but she did more than merely consume entertainment -- she was given to analyze the threads around her. With as much enjoyment as Victor wove his threads of fantasy, Victoria picked them apart.

People who knew the twins, on the occasions they could tell them apart (which is harder than one might think, when dealing with near-identical pre-pubescent troublemakers), generally thought Vicky the more stable member of the pair. This was... imperfectly accurate. While Victor was the creative mind, Vicky was the one who put all of their schemes into action. She was the practical one, basically.

She also had a distressing love of maths. No one was quite sure what to make of that.

When puberty and the dreams of the sea came, Vicky dismissed them. When their real father, Patrick Towrie, arrived with the story of the twins' real heritage, Vicky couldn't dismiss it anymore. She was a bit more leery of the Shadow-Isle of Finfolkaheem than her brother was, but after that first swim through the spirit-seas, she became a convert. In a way, Finfolkaheem is an adolescent's paradise -- an eternally warm, green place full of adventure and places to explore, yet kept safe by a hundred generations of selkie cultivation of the surrounding Shadow-scape. When their baby cousin Katie Sinclair showed up, Vicky liked it even more, because now the girls had Victor outnumbered. Raised by the selkie community, and by her father Patrick and aunt Effie, Vicky grew into a self-possessed, confident woman, but like her brother she too was starting to find Finfolkaheem too small when Katie announced she was going to London.

London was worth the effort of talking Katie around, and putting up with sardonic Uncle Richard. One thing that Finfolkaheem was definitely missing was television, and pretty soon Vicky was neck deep back in all the television programmes and book series she'd missed while in the Shadow. Not that Vicky was a homebody by any stretch of the imagination. Slightly more go-getting than her brother, Vicky started taking night-classes in accounting and statistics (again, there was that incomprehensible love of maths). And of course, there were parties -- selkie parties are awesome, but everyone's related, so there's never an opportunity to drag someone to bed. Once in London, Vicky set about making up for lost time with due haste.

While not quite as intellectual as her cousin Katie (whom Vicky considers slightly worrisome in her enthusiasm for things that go whirr-CLICK), Vicky has a definite geeky streak to her. She worships Dr. Who, Sherlock, and Being Human, listens to Abney Park and Dresden Dolls, and is an avid video-gamer (favorite game: Portal). Vicky has a slight tech-fetish as well, and her brother tends to joke that she values her iPhone more than her seal-skin. While this is not actually true, it's a close-run thing. That said, Vicky's tastes are fickle, and liable to change at the drop of a hat, as more than one luckless suitor has discovered.

Fan-girlish enthusiasm aside, Vicky is probably the most pragmatic member of the selkie pod in London. She has a certain penchant for taking control of a situation, and is the one most likely to ask questions like 'Alright, now how do we do this?' -- not to say that she at all objects to insane, reckless schemes, she just is interested in figuring out how to carry them out. She's also the one most thoughtful about interpersonal relations, and the one most likely to actually think through the ramifications of events.

At first glance, people tend to mix the twins up, which the twins have cheerfully exploited all their lives. Vicky has the same pale skin, fine cheekbones, and sharp nose and chin as her brother, and her midnight-black curls tends to be cropped fairly short. She is, alas, rather flat-chested, which only makes the mix-up easier, and given that the twins to this day sometimes finish one another's sentences, the confusion is understandable. At home or informally, Vicky tends to wear dark jeans much like her brother, and a variety of tight, long-sleeved Dr. Who t-shirts. When she wants to impress, she has corsets and long, black dresses, which invariably produce an impact -- she has the same taste for club or fetish trinkets as her brother, and the twins often try to match. Her seal-form is that of a harbor seal, and her seal-skin is a short bomber jacket that she's never far from.

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 3, Wits 3, Resolve 3
Physical Attributes: Strength 2 (2/2/4/2), Dexterity 2 (2/2/4/3), Stamina 4 (4/6/6/6)
Social Attributes: Presence 4 (5/7/4/4), Manipulation 5 (6/8/5/5), Composure 2

Mental Skills: Academics 1, Computer 1, Medicine 1, Occult 2, Science (Mathematics) 2
Physical Skills: Athletics (Swimming) 3, Survival 3
Social Skills: Empathy 3, Expression 1, Intimidation (Dominance Gifts) 4, Persuasion (Make a Deal x2; +1 to Make a Deal) 5, Socialize 2, Subterfuge (-1 to Disguise) 3

Merits: Hunting Ground (Nightclubs) 3, Resources 2, Status (
Glamorous; Well-Fed; Marked
Border Reivers) 1, Striking Looks (Alt Stunner) 1, Sympathetic 2
Lair: Bloomsbury Flat (shared with Victor and Katie); Security 3, Warding 3

Willpower: 5
Harmony: 6
Universal Banes:
Unlike almost all other shapeshifters, the Selkie do not take aggravated damage from silver. However, to a one, they have a compulsion to gather silver that is borderline supernatural. Any Selkie that sees silver must roll Harmony to avoid trying to get it (through theft, barter, seduction, violence, however the Selkie prefers), and they take a -5 penalty to that roll if the silver is somehow 'free' for the taking. They can also spend 1 WP to automatically resist their obsession. In either case, the Selkie cannot be provoked by silver more than once per scene.
Silver Obsession,
The Finfolk use an enchanted seal-skin in order to transform (most sew the skin into some kind of coat for convenience). When the Selkie is in human-form, the seal-skin coat is just that, a coat, but when the Selkie takes any other form, the coat merges with their body. Selkies must be touching their seal-skin in order to use any supernatural powers such as Gifts, Rites, or Shapeshifting.

A Selkie that loses his or her seal-coat becomes, for all intents and purposes, a human. They cannot transform, they cannot use their Gifts, cannot enter the Shadow, and so forth. A Selkie that loses its seal-coat will spare no effort to get it back, and losing it is enough to cause spontaneous derangement to manifest. That said, destroying a seal-coat is viciously hard -- they have a Durability equal to the Selkie's Primal Urge.
Sealskin, Frenzy
Personal Banes: Chronological Trigger – Seal (Spring Tide)

Initiative: 4 (4/4/6/5)
Defense: 2 (2/2/4/3)
Mental Shield: 5 (Beyond Reproach)
Health: 8 (8/11/12/10)
Size: 5 (5/5/6/4)
Speed: 9 (9/9/(6 land/39 water)/(5 land/30 water))

Primal Urge: 4
Renown: Cunning ●, Honor ●●●●●, Purity ●●●
1st: Call the Breeze (Weather), Warning Growl (Dominance), Instant Measure (Honor), The Right Words (Inspiration)
2nd: Silent Fog (Weather), Luna’s Dictum (Dominance), Beyond Reproach (Honor)
3rd: Deluge (Weather), Voice of Command (Dominance)
4th: Killing Frost (Weather), Break the Defiant (Dominance), Spirit-Skin (Inspiration)
5th: Thunderbolt (Weather)
Essence: 13/4; +4 to Starting (Hunting Ground 3 + Well Fed 1)
Totem Boons: Staff (Crafts, Academics, Medicine) 3

Attacks.......................................Damage.....Dice Pool.....Special
Bite (Great Seal)…………………………..2L…………….5…………9-Again

Curses................Cost...............Dice Pool...........Resisted/Opposed..............Effect
Instant Measure......None..............
10...................-Composure............................9-again for (Successes) Emp, Per, or Soc roll vs. Target
Silent Fog............None..................
13...................None............................-2 to Ranged and Perception (-3 on ES)
13...................None............................-2 to Ranged and Perception (create eye of storm on ES)
Killing Frost..........1E....................
13...................None............................-2 to Str & Dex rolls, roll Stamina or take 2B (3B on ES)
13...................-Stamina............................Target takes (Successes+2) Lethal
Warning Growl.......None..............
12...................vs. Comp+PU……...............Target takes -2 to rolls vs. Selkie
Luna's Dictum..........1E..................
12...................vs. Comp+PU……...............Mind Control
Voice of Command...1E..................
13.................. vs. Resolve+PU.................Mantle of Authority
Break the Defiant.....1E..................
12...................-Resolve............................Target loses (Successes) WP

Avinash Kaur Rana

Type: Werewolf
Pack: The Iron Soldiers
Tribe: Predator King
Born: 1981

Virtue: Righteous
Vice: Stubborn

Background: Avinash immigrated to England when she was fifteen years old, and what she left behind was a squalid, corrupt, crime-riddled hovel that was overrun by military oppression. After that, her newer home in the suburbs of England seemed like a breath of fresh air. Like many immigrants, Avinash embraced her adopted country and strove to become a proud citizen of it. She wasn't the best student - she'd come over too late in life to fully overcome the language barrier - but she was a hard worker and had a strong sense of ethics. At eighteen, she started helping with her parents' tailoring business full-time. At twenty-one, she was married to Carter Singh Rana, a Sikh man from the local gurdwara. At twenty-three, the couple moved to Bethnal Green to start their own branch of the tailoring store. At twenty-five, Avinash became a werewolf.

In the grand scheme of things, it seemed so minor. Some young thugs were harassing and groping a woman who was trying to walk home. Avinash came out to put a stop to it, and the thugs turned on her too. One of them pulled a switchblade and got violent, and when Avinash came to, the alleyway was painted red. She found Carter cowering in the back of the shop, the only time she'd seen her cheerful and outgoing husband completely broken. There was a great deal of quiet discussion when he finally came to his senses, and the pair eventually decided to call the police. That was when the Forsaken arrived. The pack leader was a rather canny sort, and he could read the writing on the wall. He managed to convince Avinash that she hadn't been responsible for the bloody aftermath - Avinash, whose memory was a blank until she'd woken up splattered with blood, couldn't contradict him. A compromise was reached, the police were called, but the evidence was neatly swept under the rug, and the murder wound up shoved away in an unsolved case file. And that, it seemed, was that.

But in spite of this, or maybe because of this, the world of the Forsaken did not sit very well with Avinash. She did not agree with keeping her condition from her husband. She did not want anything to do with Mother Luna or Father Wolf. Avinash was a Sikh, and a proud one, and she already had a god. She was fine with helping to keep spirits down, but she refused to swear the Oath of the Moon or join a tribe. She had been a leader of some sorts in her community, and she refused to help cover up various Urathra dealings. This began to cause strain between her and the Forsaken, and some Pure, sensing an opportunity, began to sniff around the edges.

Avinash turned to her religion to give her strength through this troubling time. God had given her this power, this body, for a reason. It was not a curse, but a responsibility. Avinash used her power to hunt monsters, to keep the peace, to fight criminals and protect her community. This should have made her an asset to the Forsaken, but Avinash refused to accept her new role as one of the Urathra. The Forsaken kept shoving and arguing, and Avinash - who was as passionate and stubborn as any werewolf - shoved back. More than one time, other packs started getting personal, and Avinash asked her husband to start carrying a kirpan of silver. The last straw came when a Forsaken slaughtered a group of young men who Avinish knew personally - they had been out with video cameras, attempting to unveil the Masquerade. Avinash pinned the other werewolf down and savaged him. A meeting was quickly called by the offended pack, to pass judgment on Avinash. When she discovered that the murder of humans wasn't a crime, but offending another werewolf was, she knew she was done with the Forsaken.

The Predator Kings weren't her ideal choice, but the alliance was the alternative to having herself and her husband slaughtered. She knew they were monsters, but they offered her something the other Uratha wouldn't - respect. They were born to hunt, and hunt the strongest, and they didn't care how Avinash did it. If she believed in God and rejected Luna, that was fine by them. If she refused to hunt the innocent, so be it, the innocent were weak and unworthy foes. If she hunted human murderers, the corrupt and powerful and unjust, that was good. If she hunted the monsters, the spirits and demons of the night, that was better. If she hunted the Forsaken, that was a boon to the Pure. If she hunted and killed other Pure, they were weak and deserved it. What she hunted didn't matter, what mattered was she was strong. The respect was what won her over, in the end. Many of her brethren know Avinash will one day try to kill them, but none of them will deny she is a Predator King.

Avinash herself does not think of herself as Urathra at all. She is a woman who God made as a werewolf, and she will use that power to fight the virtuous fight. She has little love for the supernatural overlords of her adopted city, seeing in them the same military brutes who tormented her youth, and she fights them with a passion. She does not hate blindly - her husband managed to check her from going down that path, reminding her she was a werewolf and yet still a good woman - but she is far more suspicious of the supernatural than of humans. Avinash patrols Bethnal Green with her pack, and she does not tolerate anyone harming her people. She accepts the Masquerade only because she knows all supernatural nations will descend to protect it, and she wishes to see no more innocents burned. But she does not excuse the deaths that so many overlook. When the judge and jury are run by the culprits, then vigilante justice is just as legitimate.

Avinash is a 5'5" Indian woman, with her long, uncut hair pulled into a single braid down her back. Her features are rounded and her skin is a dark tanned color. As a practicing Sikh, she does not have any piercings or tattoos, nor does she wear makeup, shave, or otherwise modify her body. She wears plain black and white business clothes, though as a tailor she makes sure to remain well-dressed. Avinash always wears a silver bangle around her right wrist, and carries a small blade openly on her person. She has recently become rather wasted and frail after a vicious encounter with a ghostly-pale vampire, whom Avinash found standing over seven dead bodies arranged in a circle. In the ensuing battle, the vampire summoned a Lune, which left Avinash a physical wreck. The skin on her arms and around her lips is pale and discolored - werewolves and others with the proper sight can see that they still burn silver from the Lune's touch. This has slowed Avinash down, causing her to focus more on her own community, but it hasn't stopped her. She just finds other ways to fight.

Avinash is a woman of great passions, and has a personality as unyielding as an iron wall. She will not compromise and look the other way in the name of peace and stability. But she really does believe she is fighting for a just cause, and that she can leave behind a legacy that will make the world better. It is important to remember that Avinash is a very good woman. But to those vampires and werewolves and others who have bodies swept under the rug, a good woman is a very bad thing indeed.
Totem: Irongrass, a spirit of Verbena
Rank: 3
Mental 4; Physical 3; Social 5
Willpower: 1
Primal Urge: 5
Notable Powers: Iron Willpower

Priya Adani

Type: Werewolf
Pack: The Iron Soldiers
Tribe: Ivory Claw
Born: 1984

Virtue: Kind
Vice: Greedy

Background: The first word anyone would likely choose on meeting Priya is "bizarre". She's insanely superstitious, refusing to use the number thirteen and steering clear of black cats. She wears the traditional hijab, sometimes, which is offset by her hair being dyed purple and turquoise. If she wears Western clothes, it's usually offset with an elaborate gold nose chain. If she wears traditional Indian garb, it is made out of silk covered in cartoon duck prints. She's not trying to buck the system or make a statement, she just really likes adorable ducks. She has a collection of rubber duckies up in her flat, and a pair of tiny duck earrings she likes to wear.

The second word people would likely choose is "fiery". Priya doesn't care what anyone thinks, she's not afraid of anyone, and she'll fight for her opinions. She's also as strong as a draft horse, as a very few unfortunate souls have been unlucky to find out. She's a passionate woman, and she demands that she be treated well. When combined with the adorable ducks, this can lead to trouble.

The third word, which less people would choose until they got to know her, would be "kind." Priya might be demanding and proud, but she extends these qualities to others. She deserves to be treated right, and so do other people. She'll fight to be treated right, and she'll stand up for other people too. Those who can get over her fierce personality can find a very generous and loving soul beneath it all - it's not that she's arrogant, but that she has high standards for everyone, and she demands that they be met. While this can be very intimidating when she is demanding to be well-treated, it can be very comforting when she's on your side.

Priya grew up as a second generation immigrant from Bangladesh. Her parents had been modestly wealthy (hence their ability to leave the country), and though they were barely middle-class when they reached London, they impressed their superior breeding and deserving nature upon their daughter. Priya took this all to heart, but she also had a strong kind streak in her, always wanting to help our people less advantaged than her. Her parents encouraged this, feeling it proved everything they'd been saying about their child's obvious superiority.

When the First Change set in, the Pure found her first. They also espoused her superior lineage and how the Earth was hers by right, and Priya just smiled and nodded. And she still kept her kind streak and sense of noblisse oblige, and the Pure... weren't quite sure what to do with that. More than one Ivory Claw that bothered her about it got a punch that rattled their teeth, and there was more than one bloody row over a stray human. It was likely that Priya would have gotten herself killed in time, save for a fateful meeting. There had been rumors of a Predator King in Bethnal Green who had gone completely over the edge, and Priya went spying to see if she couldn't take care of it. What she found was a one-wolf crusader who was defending her people from anyone and everyone. And Priya found she liked that. here was someone who was giving back. A week later, Priya had angrily stormed out of her old pack and was on her way to forming a new one.

Priya does not act like a terribly good Forsaken or Pure. What she acts like is a feudal lord - she is obviously the superior race, and as such she demands the best treatment for her subjects. Most Ivory Claws look upon this with a mixture of confusion and contempt, but Silver Wolf hasn't abandoned her yet, and so she is still an Ivory Claw. There have been attacks by Forsaken and Pure, but they have so far been driven back. Priya cannot touch silver, but she has a tight knit community of mortals who are quite able and willing to. She is more likely to be found patrolling the ground than Avinash, and has taken over a lot of day to day affairs in Bethnal Green. In exchange, Avinash does all of Priya's tailoring. Priya has never been happier.

Rank: 2
Mental 2; Physical 5; Social 2
Willpower: 1
Primal Urge: 3
Notable Powers: Local Knowledge

Oswin Sharrow

Type: Werewolf
Pack: The Iron Soldiers
Tribe: Fire Touched
Born: 1973

Virtue: Loving
Vice: Indecisive (Overly analytical)

Background: Oswin only ever wanted to be a family man. A middle aged mechanic with his own, modest, shop, he'd gotten married to a woman just as wholesome and sweet as he was. They'd settled down and tried to have children, and tried... and after many long years, and doctor's visits and heartfelt discussions, they'd decided to adopt. Oswin wanted an older child, someone who wasn't likely to find a home anywhere else. After signing into the British foster care system, they took in a South Asian teenager, Ravi. No one was quite sure about Ravi's past, and it was obvious the child was hiding something, but his foster parents didn't care. Oswin loved the boy like he was his own flesh and blood, teaching Ravi all the tricks of his mechanic's trade, and moving his shop to Bethnal Green to help Ravi feel more at home. The boy himself was cautious and untrusting at first, but the Sharrows were kind and without guile. It took over a year, but Ravi finally opened up to accept his new family. Within the next year, they had officially adopted him, and Oswin couldn't have been prouder.

Something went wrong. The monsters came for Ravi, and Oswin still doesn't know why. It haunts him to this day, that he never pressed his son about what he was hiding - that maybe if he'd known, he could have done something to stop what happened. He remembers running to help his son, and the horrible, wolf-headed things, and the scream of metal and a lot of pain. And that was likely where his story would have ended, crushed under the weight of his own hydraulic lift. Except that, driven by an agony and rage that no parent should ever have to face, he Changed.

When a man has been a staunch deist all his life, a sort of man who prides himself on being rational and driven by the evidence - and this man is also a very kindly sort who has very rarely had a malicious thought in his life, and mostly petty ones if he has - and this man wakes up naked and caked in blood, his teeth shifting between that of man and wolf, over the dead body of his own son, this does certain things to a man's mind. Oswin gathered his mind together and did what he felt any responsible citizen would do under the circumstances. He found someone in a reasonable position of medical authority, and showed them his new-found and upsetting ability to turn into a wolf. He also called the police, with the intent of doing the same, and the hope of bringing the monsters that killed Ravi to justice.

Oswin quickly discovered this was the Wost Possible Thing he could have done. That level of Masquerade breach was the equivalent of sending up an air raid siren to the entire supernatural community, and Oswin found himself running from nearly every supernatural nation in London. Some of the Forsaken tried to run him down and explain Urathra society before he did more harm, but Oswin, still grieving, politely told them all to go to hell. Avinash managed to find him before he got killed - he did live in Bethnal Green, and she'd been investigating the attack on her turf - and put the newly Changed werewolf into hiding. After a few months, the hunt died down. The cost of the cover-up had been one dead body, a few bribes, and some burned paperwork, and the event quickly faded from memory.

But Oswin hasn't forgotten. He hates the monsters that took his Ravi from him, and when Avinash extended an offer to protect others from the same sort of tragedy, he shook her hand before she even finished speaking. His induction into the Fire Touched was the ultimate expression of self-loathing, and his horror over the monster he'd become. At the same time, the spirits and his new packmates have given him a semblance of inner peace. He's still a bit of a wreck, still grasping and chasing after something he can't quite reach, but he's more like his old self again. He's not quite mad enough to make a great Fire Touched, but he listens to the spirits, and if they're not unobjectionable he helps them out. He's not mad with hate, but if the Urathra or anyone else seek to rip apart families and cause more pain, he'll be there to fight back. He doesn't know much about Luna or Father Wolf, or the world of the Forsaken.

All he knows is that they killed his son.

Oswin does not look like a werewolf, to anyone. He's a middle aged, portly man with neatly combed brown hair and unfortunately old-fashioned mutton chops. He wears glasses. He wears neatly pressed work-shirts and nice slacks. He helps his wife in the kitchen and takes out the trash without being asked twice. He's nice. When left to his own devices, Oswin is one of the most genial, good-natured people that anyone is likely to meet. He's cheerful and always tries to keep his spirits lifted, while at the same time being prudent and practical in covering all his bases. He does, on occasion, Try Too Hard. Despite being white as wonderbread in the middle of one of the largest immigrant populations in London, he is always ready to smile and treat everyone like his neighbor. The fact he does not know any language beyond English sometimes hampers him, but this is okay. He has a phrasebook. Watching him try to use it is a source of endless amusement for his packmates.

Rank: 2
Mental 6; Physical 2; Social 1
Willpower: 1
Primal Urge: 3
Notable Powers: Trivia by the Truckload

Balaraja "the Black" Hazare

Type: Werewolf
Pack: Blue Spiral
Auspice: Rahu
Tribe: Bone Shadow

Virtue: Loyal
Vice: Cold

Background: Balaraja the Black is an old wolf, and he has many stories, but the one he lives today started years after he'd retired. He'd put in his time as a spirit guardian, lost his wife to an enemy's revenge - lived to see his son Malkiat grow up, take Balaraja's mantle, and get married. At fifty-one years of age, he saw his granddaughter born, and took it as a sign it was time for him to sheathe his claws. When his son's family moved to London in search of a better life for their daughter, Balaraja followed them, having nothing to keep him in India. Within a decade, Balaraja would lose his granddaughter, strain his family to the breaking point, and cause the high profile deaths of two formerly allied mages.

Both his son and daughter-in-law worked upon their arrival in England, struggling to secure a stable future for an immigrant family. So it was Balaraja who took care of his granddaughter, little Nimi, and it was Balaraja who grew closest to her. It wasn't the easiest for the old warrior to give up on war, but he soldiered through it for her sake. She was a delight, the light of his life, all curiosity and bright eyes. He was well-practiced in raising children, having raised his son, and Nimi's parents knew she was in good hands. He told her stories from a different time, while she listened with rapt attention. Bit by bit, made his peace with peace.

When his happiness was shattered, it was in less than an instant. One moment, he was reading the paper, having given Nimi his old watch to play with. He noticed something "off" in the air, and went over to investigate it. The next moment, there was a rip in the fabric of the world, and Nimi was gone. Some esoteric, incomprehensible trigger had occurred - given the final push it needed by his own dual nature - and it had let something into this world that didn't belong. And that something had stolen his joy.

There was yelling. There were recriminations. There was a lot of crying, of which Balaraja did his fair share. Then came the search. The werewolves didn't recognize what this wound was, only that it didn't belong in this world, and it had taken something it shouldn't have. That meant it was their duty to kill it. The only problem was, they were going to need help.

The family found two mages, a Mysterium agent called Greyfield and a Guardian of the Veil named Alvanna, both of whom were interested enough in the rift to help: Greyfield to study it, Alvanna just to shut it down. Trying to get a Guardian and a Mysterium to work together without sabotaging each other was an exercise in teeth-grinding frustration, and Balaraja's daughter-in-law, Indra, spent most of her time trying to wrangle them. When that failed, the threat of two Rahu werewolves going into death-rage tended to get things moving quickly. Eventually, the two devised a plan to shut the wound, with one small catch: they needed someone to go in and get a suitable focus for the ritual. Balaraja was the first of the pack to learn this, and went in before his son and daughter-in-law had a chance to come home and find out. When they showed up, he hadn't come back yet, and they went into the rift after him.

Malkiat and Indra returned with their father, unscathed themselves. Balaraja the Black came back with his leg twisted, his face scarred and unhealing, his right eye fogged and a shock of unnaturally white hair through his black curls. He was carrying the focus the mages needed, and he was carrying a tiny little creature with him. He explained it was their pack totem, helped the mages complete their ritual, and then asked them politely to leave. His family had a lot to think about.

That night, the little spirit called him grandfather, and asked him to tell her a story. Just like old times.

The problem with mages is that once they know about something, they're hard pressed to leave it alone. The first problem came with Greyfield, who became convinced the rift in the world had been a ruin of Atlantis (which are not always ruins in a traditional sense). That meant the little spirit was something priceless in the mage world - a supernal creature. Cursing himself for allowing the rift to be closed before further studying it, Greyfield turned his attention on the spirit. After asking repeatedly to do research on the creature, and being told repeatedly to go to hell, Greyfield turned to trying to take the spirit by subterfuge and force. He quickly discovered that it is a terrible idea to try and steal from a pack of angry werewolves, although this lesson did not get a chance to sink in, because two Rahu went straight into death rage and painted the walls with the offending mages.

This caused something of a supernatural affair, in which Civitas came down on the side of the werewolves, and that was that. He might have later had cause to regret this decision. Alvanna, his agent, found out the werewolves believed the spirit to be their lost Nimi, and became convinced of a different conclusion: that the rift had been Abyssal, that the stolen child had been warped by Abyssal powers, and that all three werewolves were slowly becoming corrupted by the Abyss. And it was certainly true that Balaraja had become very strange in the aftermath of closing the rift. The problem came in convincing anyone of this fact. There was no hard proof the spirit was Abyssal, or anything except a slightly odd spirit. There was no proof Balaraja was anything but an old wolf driven slightly batty by grief, and who had picked up a few strange Gifts during his life. On the side of the mages, it would have looked bad for the GotV to declare the wolves Abyssal after having ruled for them against the Mysterium, and in any case, Civitas was not the sort of man who ordered people killed on glorified hunches. On the side of the werewolves, they were disorganized, and while Corrupted werewolves are traditionally killed, none of the packs were convinced enough to take any action. Balaraja and his family didn't raise the hackles like the Corrupted usually did, and most werewolves took umbrage at mages butting into their sovereignty anyway.

Ignoring her orders to simply observe and investigate, Alvanna made three critical errors. The first was heavily underestimating Malkiat's loyalty to his family, and trying to talk some sense into him: this meant the pack was on guard and prepared. The second was heavily underestimating the wolf-blood, Indra, which meant she caught the mages off-guard at a crucial moment. The third was, in a panicked state, using magic in the presence of the wyrm-spirit: Alvanna discovered the hard way that this only made it more powerful.

This triggered a second supernatural affair, and one that left the pack hostile to all mages for a long time. The Consilium was also none-too-pleased, although Civitas denied he had any involvement in the attack. After a few years, Balaraja decided this was most likely the truth. After all, Civitas had his own official assassin. Had he really been behind it, it should have been Binary knocking at the door.

One might expect that the pack would avoid mages after all of this history, and yet Balaraja tends to get himself involved in mage politics fairly often. He tends to be a cautious supporter of the Mysterium, dancing the line between hostility and alliance, although he also is known to get involved with the Guardians. With the formation of the People's Republic, he's carefully circling around, seeing what he thinks of them before moving to engage.

There is no denying that Balaraja the Black is a singularly uncanny werewolf, even by London's generous standards. He doesn't feel like a man, but he doesn't feel much like a beast, either. He feels like something deeper, something that doesn't quite work in reality. His wolfish form doesn't look like a wolf, so much as some kind of power forced into a wolfish shape. Looking into his blind eye tends to leave people shaken. Back in India, when he was younger, he was a seething ball of passion, a fiery crusader - now he's always quietly observing, his mind running through hundreds of possibilities before most people even get through one. He's something magical, in the oldest sense of the word, something as mystic as an old archmage and yet far less human. He has powers that most werewolves have never seen, but it doesn't feel like something he's learned. It feels like something he is.

He is utterly, completely devoted to his little Nimi, his wyrm-spirit, his granddaughter. The idea that it might not be her isn't one he's ever seriously entertained: whatever he saw in that rift removed any doubts he had. Nimi grows from absorbing excess energies from Awakened magic, which means Balaraja encourages excess Awakened magic. He also defends her from anyone or anything that might ever harm her or take her away. It's one of the few human emotions he can cling to, one of the last unadulterated joys left in his life, as he tries to run a strained and broken family that he's slowly losing the ability to relate to.

Balaraja is an older man in his early sixties, his well-trimmed beard and dark curls shot through with natural grey and a a streak of unnatural white. His face is lean and sharp, his right eye scarred and fogged, though it doesn't seem to affect his vision. He wears non-prescription glasses to distract people from his disfigurement. His left leg is twisted and he walks with a cane, although this doesn't seem to carry over into war-form or wolf-form. He speaks very good English, albeit with an accent. He has a slight preference for wearing traditional Indian clothing, but has an array of Western outfits as well. In his werewolf forms his fur is as black as night, the tips seeming lit with an unearthly indigo glow. It does not look anything like a natural wolf at all, seeming more like a spell construct or some manner of magical beast.

Rank: 4
Mental 6; Physical 6; Social 3
Willpower: 1
Primal Urge: 7
Notable Powers: Being of Magic; Old Warrior; Inhumanly Analytical


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