Player: Jacob Williamson (9802-157) firstname.lastname@example.org
Name: Corwyn Hali
Garou Name: Sartael (after a Talmudic evil archangel in charge of hidden things)
Tribe: Silent Striders
Renown (gained through Rite of Passage: no stories, they're just expansions on his personality traits at this point. Corwyn hasn't done anything--that's why he's still a Cliath!)
Wisdom: Inspired, Scholarly
Linguistics (Arabic) ("freebie")
Garou Lore ("freebie")
Silent Strider Lore ("freebie")
Fetish 3 (The Guide)
Pure Breed 4
Sense Magic (Out of Tribe: 4)
Vast occult library, The Guide (fetish), notebook and paper, Occult bookshop (The Raven)
Fetish: The Guide (Fetish 3, Gnosis 4, Affinity: Knowledge)
This fetish appears as a weighty tome wrapped in a simple book cover. Its frontispiece bears the legend, The Spirit Guide of John Tobin. By activating this fetish and spending ten minutes studying its contents, the bearer gains a single level of any Lore. He must specify what this Lore is when he is studying the book. The trait gained from this book lasts up to a single day, after which all knowledge learned is forgotten. If the character has written down the information gained, he will find that the notes he took are garbled and incoherent. He is unable to express the book’s contents to any others, and merely sounds insane if he tries.
"Lore" gained in this matter comes in the form of a high-powered intuition--it cannot be transferred or remembered.
Yes, this is a potentially powerful effect. However, remember: Simply knowing that, say, the Settites exist is nearly he equivalent of Settite Lore 1, and the bearer of the book must be consciously studying Settite Lore to draw on the Guide’s power for that purpose. The book is somewhat self-limiting. You cannot browse it for information on a subject if you do not already know something about the subject, and the information is effectively limited to the reader.
Merits and Flaws:
Weaver’s Child (Glass Walker Tribal Advantage: req. regional approval) +5
Limited Affinity to Gaia (Cannot regain Gnosis in the wilderness) -3
Quirk: Mood Swings -3
Occult Aptitude +1
Tribal Advantage: Omen of Doom
Tribal Drawback: Haunted
XP: CCP x3=15 (While I have 4 CCP, this character is a homebody and wouldn’t have made it to Fostern)
3 XP: Acting Ordeal
Obvious problems: Out-of-tribe Tribal Merit (GW), combined with the GW flaw. Non-standard Fetish. A Silent Strider Influence-mogul. There is a sort of precedence for his character type in the Silent Strider handbook, the "Haunted Soul" template--another homebody Silent Strider.
BRIEF character summary:
The last survivor of and first skin-changer born to a family of extremely disturbed and highly inbred Silent Strider kinfolk--think "The Addams Family" and you’re close, if you haven’t read any H.P. Lovecraft. Hali’s family has been settled in Austin for over 150 years--unlike most Silent Striders, Corwyn isn’t a traveller. He’s as strongly tied to the city and the land as any Glass Walker could be. Historically his family has tended a library for Silent Striders, and Corwyn now has sole possession of that library (Occult Influence 4). For a while, they served the general lot in life of all Kinfolk--breeding stock--but after a while, the Striders found the Hali family distasteful, and their genetics stagnated. Basic character concept: creepy librarian loremaster.
Personality: Aristocratic, idolizes Edgar Allen Poe.
Bone Gnawers: "How quaint. Bone Gnawers. Excuse me, I have an urgent appointment elsewhere."
Appearance: Human--favorite clothing is a black trenchcoat, dark button-down shirt, black slacks, black shoes, and occasionally a bolo tie when he's bored. Lupus/Crinos: The supermajority of Hali's DNA came from the 1650s, before the Ethiopian wolf had been all but destroyed--his lupus form resembles that creature, and his jackal blood is minimal.
Corwyn looked at the bookshelf, scanning the titles, almost lovingly. His mouth quirked in a dreamy smile as, spine after spine, he remembered his treasures and the lore contained within. At last he reached a delicate hand in a sterile glove to a tome near decay: The History and Peoples of New England. The leatherbound book was crumbling at its corners--over the years, the book had served less as an informational resource than as a place to store still more information. Newspaper clippings, locks of hair, and the memorabilia of a hundred years. Two scrapbooks stood beside it; the library’s master stretched as high as he could to catch them, and rubbed the small of his back while bringing the books to his oaken table.
"Old blood and old money. That’s what my family had always been, until we moved south." He opened the History, and took a scrap of parchment carefully from the book with gloved fingers. "Copy of a copy, no true value. December 12, 1644: ‘I stood upon a mighty vessel, a longboat as once the Saxon raiders used in travel, moored at the mouth of the Tamar river. The wizard John Lowes Hali, kin and mate to Tuamutef Runs by Night, had gilded the ship’s mast, wheel and rudder in strange signs of leafed silver, and cried in a tongue I know not of. Around me a cold wind caught at my shirt, and the family of Tuamutef huddled together for fear of the strange wind, yet Hali called all the louder.’ He goes on for a while at this point, listing the faces on the boat--a good sixty names, I recall, but I think I’ll gloss over that. ‘A blackness overcame me, and I fell. When I again opened my eyes, the longboat was transported to the world of the spirit, and John Lowes Hali, alone among the Garou and kin, had not fallen. He stood at the ship’s helm, and looked into the tempest that was the Umbral sea, and feared it not.’"
"Somehow John Lowes brought his ship across the ocean to land in what is now yclept Massachusetts. I can only guess that the barrier separating this world and the next was more permeable then, or that he had a powerful bit of sorcery in his robes. If you will recall, England at the time was not civil to practitioners of dark magic. The Garou still remember the Burning Times there. We--the Halis, that is--settled in Boston when we arrived. How were we to know that the Burning Times would find their way to the New World, as we did?
"Sixteen Sixty, the Salem Witch Trials. Many of my line fell, John Lowes Hali first among them, for he was not, as they say, subtle. Though he was quick to anger, and the judge who first called him to trial was himself burned a fortnight later--" Hali thumbed through the book --"Ah, yes, he was possessed by demons. Very accurate assessment for the day.
"Some forty of us survived those dark years, and we did so in great style. My grandmother Anna Berrye, some fourteen times removed, was the star of the New England gentry--no, that was her married name. Her cadet branch joined the main root some two generations later, at the wedding of, ah, Martha Lucia Berrye and Arthur Boram Hali, 1740--I suspect that wouldn’t be legal these days.
"I’ve not found another mention of the family until 1860. We were much fewer then, only thirty surviving. The occasional Silent Strider would take a mate from the family, but that was a rare thing indeed--I believe we made them nervous. The werewolves came to us for the books, for our ancestral library." He waved his hand absently in the air, taking in three, four rooms heavy with dust, years…and the writing of those long dead.
"July 22, 1861." He pulled a long newsprint column from the middle of his History. "Some reporter must have made his career with this story--in the yards around the ancestral mance, some overly inquisitive children uncovered the bones in the earth. They were marked by human teeth, the remains of twenty, perhaps thirty individuals. Some of the bones were strangely distorted, bent in a most unnatural manner. I can honestly say that I do not know the circumstances behind that mass grave. Though it would be diverting to learn.
"We moved to the South, and the initial throes of the War between the States covered our tracks. We arrived in Houston some time later--was it called Houston then? I don’t recall--and travelled to Austin in 1868. My family has been dying here ever since. Their blood became stagnant. Only the occasional Garou would be welcome in their arms, and even the Striders, lonely as they are, were loathe to take a lover from my line. Though simple biology would indicate that they must have brought fresh blood into the family, I’d be hard put to find a name, and I assure you, I have excellent records.
By 1970, there were but five of my family left. In the year that I was given life, only my father, Joseph, and my mother, Jessica, still lived, and she died in labor. For the first many years of my existence my father saw to my every need. He taught me to read, by these old tomes. He told me of the family, and of the tribe that gave us birth so many centuries before, and of the ancient lore that we kept. That before I was eight. In 1984--" Hali looked down, and shuddered, a moment of dangerous anger. "Nine years old I was. I had known naught but my father’s company. He was my life, and I was his. And they took me from him. I’m sure their intent was benevolent--Social Services, the government--but it did me no good. They gave me to a kind and gentle family, Samuel and Martha Friede, and that couple raised me as best as they could, though I was not an infant. A fine pair, but they were not to me what my father was, they were not my mentors.
"1989, I was 14 years of age. I have talked to some few Garou, and many have had more traumatic experiences than I, but I found it quite, quite horrifying, I assure you. I had left my house to walk the streets (a mild case of insomnia, or insomnabula for the want of an actual term, it comes and goes), and gazed upon the moon, and caught fire. My bones twisted, throwing me to the ground, tearing at my tendons and sinew. Most terrifying was the burning and warping of my cranium, my face, though the pure anger surging within me was alien enough. I ran from the suburbs to a nearby greenbelt, where my whines of terror became human sobs. Thankfully it was dark night, perhaps two in the morning, well past the witching hour, and nobody saw me in my altogether as I went home.
"Three days later, I learned that my father died. The coroner reported that the cause of death was coronary arrest, a heart attack. He died at two in the morning. Three days before."
Corwyn fell silent. He seemed unsure of where to go next. At last, he brushed his short cropped hair as if to clean it from his eyes. "I was made heir to the estates of my ancestors that day, though through legal means it would be kept from my hands until my eighteenth birthday. I bade my adoptive and well-meaning mother and father farewell, and wandered for a time to find my true family, my tribe. I met them, oddly enough, in Memphis. Tennessee, if you were wondering. No, I’ve never been away from this continent.
"I had all of a month to learn the lore of my kind, and that was not enough. With three cubs, dark of fur and long of leg, I quested the spirit world for a lost fetish, an ancient relic sacred to the Scarab Beetle. Its Jagglings called to the leader of the sept, asking for the fetish’s return. I don’t believe the bauble, a small amulet of lapis, actually did anything, but it meant a great deal to the spirits."
"We returned, triumphant. All of us. Silent Striders are a resourceful lot, and not ones to die easily. In the Sept of Owl’s Blindness, deep in a cavern in the Blueridge mountains, I learned, and I learned much."
"And in 1993, on the day of my eighteenth birthday, I went home."
"No, this is not my ancestral mansion. There were far too many memories in that building--the echoes of a hundred, a hundred fifty years of death and loss. I sold that beautiful manor, though it pained me to do so it pained me more to see the spirits of the dead--not all, sadly, of my family. This is a five-bedroom, two-bathroom house in what was once a suburb of this fair city. At least I can walk to Central Market from here, a pleasant enough journey, though they close far too early for my tastes. I lived rightly enough on the funds from that sale. Last year, I purchased a small business. It’s very pleasant--with the funds left by my family, I can keep hours…as I see fit. And in dealing with esoterica, your clientele are more dependent on you than you are on them.
"At any rate, friend, that is all I am inclined to divulge this night. Are we even? No? Fair enough. Then I suppose I will see you another night."
Corwyn Hali nodded a farewell to the empty chair in his study, and settled back with a good book.