Middle Ranks

The Mages

"Antonia": Dr Stella Grey - Mysterium

Former Herald to the Temple

Dr Stella Grey was originally from a parallel reality, where she held a post as a senior archivist at the British Museum for 8 years. She had special responsibility for researching and cataloguing historical artefacts associated with mystical and religious practice. Dr Grey studied History at Pembroke College and then, under the mentorship of pioneering Classical archaeologist, Dr Simeon Kent, pursued field work and research resulting in a PhD in archaeology. Dr Grey worked as Dr Kent's associate for several years until his untimely death in 1998. Dr Grey has published a book (The Silver Path: Culture, Art and Mysticism in the Early and Middle Minoan Era) and numerous articles on the relationship between Art and Mystery in Ancient Civilisations. While Dr Grey retains her interest in Classical civilisations; before her unplanned transition to Alterna, she was working on a series of research projects centred on London, working with the British Museum to identify historical sites of mystical importance within the city and to recover and restore artefacts of religious and mystical significance.

Dr. Grey's Shadow self reflects her public and professional persona very neatly. She Awakened in 1990 during a field trip to the ruins of Knossos in Crete, no surprise to her Mentor, Simeon Kent, controversial archaeologist and Mage of the Mysterium Order. As Master and Acolyte, they spent the next few years in extensive field work, travelling around Europe and the Middle East. After Kent's death ten years ago, Stella's relationship with her own Order has been somewhat distant. On moving to London to take up her post at the British Museum, she was approached by a representative of the House of Ariadne as a candidate for induction into their mysteries. While Dr Grey remains a member of the Mysterium Order, her first loyalty is to the Metropolitans.

Stella Grey is in her early 40s with dark curling hair, usually strictly confined by pins and clips. She has grey eyes and a rather diffident, distant manner. She is usually plainly but rather elegantly dressed and almost always has her favourite accessory with her - an antique silver quizzing glass with ornate handle set with a powerful jeweller's lens.

Her shadow name refers to the patron saint of those seeking lost items, St. Anthony of Padua.

Ten years ago, Stella tried to use an ancient Atlantean artefact, the Device, the re-write history and restore her lover to life. The attempt backfired spectacularly, ultimately leaving her stranded in the Alterna reality. The counterpart of her lover in Alterna is "Lucifer", the Head of the Mysterium, with whom she has an... interesting relationship

"Shayde": Faye Wolfendale - Head of the Guardians of the Veil

Faye Wolfendale grew up as a military brat. Her father was a Brigadier who worked in various Continental postings in the wake of the Soviet War, and Faye had lived in a dozen different countries, mostly in Eastern Europe, before her sixteenth birthday.

Her father reputedly had something to do with Intelligence. Faye, after her graduation from various exclusive Finishing Schools, went into a somewhat related field; she became an industrial spy. Her Awakening occurred fairly late - when she was in her mid to late twenties - but her natural adaptability allowed her to "catch up" without too much difficulty and she swiftly rose through the ranks of the Guardians of the Veil - sometimes through slightly questionable methods. She became its leader in 2002, after her predecessor voluntarily retired from both the Guardians and the Curia Regis.

The vacancy in the Curia Regis created a political crisis. The favourite for the vacancy was Lewis Vaughn, head of the Silver Ladder, but the Kindred and Uratha had concerns about him. There was some indication - inconclusive, but highly suggestive - that Vaughn wanted to move aggressively to make the Mage Polis the dominant power on the Curia Regis, through totally unscrupulous means. A political sandal erupted when an Uratha Kinfolk was murdered, apparently by a Kindred. Prince Hugh Marlowe suspected that Vaughn was the real perpetrator, in an effort to set Uratha against Kindred in a fight that would weaken both, leaving the Mages in de facto control. Lucifer and the Hierarch agreed with Marlowe, but Vaughn was popular, especially amongst the younger Mages, and they had no proof.

Shayde was the only real alternative candidate - well-liked, but too low-profile to have any real enemies. Lucifer and Marlowe applied a heavy dose of emotional blackmail to make her accept the post. In 2006, Vaughn was caught red-handed trying to set up another fake Kindred attack; his panicked attempts to defend himself against the Uratha who discovered him saved the Curia Regis an embarrassing trial when a massive Paradox backlash killed him.

In 2008, Shayde disappeared, one of the first people in Alterna to cross over to the other reality. The Countess, who had replaced Vaughn as Head of the Silver Ladder, stepped forward to fill the vacancy on the Curia Regis.

When Shayde found her way back to her own reality, many expected that the Countess would step down from the Curia Regis to allow Shayde to resume her seat. Shayde, however, declined to do so; the rumour mill is churning with theories about why. The word "blackmail" comes up quite a lot in discussions, but nobody knows for sure - at least, nobody who'' admit to it.

The Uratha

Beth McKellen

Storm Lord Ithaeur and Uratha Trouble-shooter

Beth McKellan was born of wolf-blooded circus folk. Her father was a ringmaster, her mother a daring young woman on the flying trapeze. Beth inherited the best qualities of them both - from her father, a keen eye for business and a natural air of authority, and from her mother, an innate daring and athleticism. Her talent for showmanship could come from either or both of them

Her First Change took place in Eastern Europe; the circus had been touring there as part of a cultural exchange programme with the former satellite states of the former Soviet Union. There was no traumatic trigger for the event; she simply awoke one night after a week of nightmares, mysterious accidents, and inexplicable events all around her, and felt herself irresistibly drawn to the surrounding forest.

She narrowly escaped death at the ivory claws of a Pure pack who claimed the forest as its own. The only thing that saved her was that the Circus fortune-teller, Madame Blavatska (real name, Sarah Jones, but don't tell the punters that), was an Acanthus Mage. The Space portal which she opened in front of the enraged pack of charging Pure dumped them twenty miles away, right in the middle of the territory claimed by a rival pack. The ensuing battle gave the circus the breathing space it needed to get to safety.

After "Madame Blavatska" got her back to England and introduced her to the shadow world and her Uratha kin, Beth rapidly established herself as one of the up-and-comers of werewolf society. Now, more than twenty years later, she's the Alpha of the Dogs of War pack. Despite its martial name, the pack isn't focussed primarily on battle. The Shakesperean reference is quite intentional; the Dogs of War is't just a pack, but also a noted company of stuntmen and stuntwomen who do work for most of the major film and TV studios. They'll do everything from jousting, to gunplay, to falls from high buildings, to explosions. In short, they have the perfect mix of kills - physical prowess, technical expertise, and outright trickery and illusion - to make them the Uratha's "troubleshooter pack" of choice. Beth is the head of the company, but she prefers to keep her hand in, and remains a performing stuntwoman.

The Kindred

Susanna Thane

Crone Skald, Sheriff, and Kindred Primogen

Second of the Norns (Verdandi, the Mother)

Susanna Thane was born in 1204. A noblewoman, married at fifteen, she set aside by her husband and sent to a nunnery when she proved unable to bear him any children. A few of the nuns, however, were more than they seemed; ghouls and agents of the Seer who acted as "recruiters" of a sort. The ancient Mekhet was after strong, intelligent women, with a substantial capacity for faith, but who lacked - or had lost - their faith in Christianity.

Susanna displayed all of those qualities - so much so, in fact, that the Seer chose to sire the young noblewoman herself, and train her as the Circle's agent and spy. In the seventeenth century, it was Susanna who the Seer initially sent to aid the Temple conspiracy

The position of Skald - a storyteller and poet - is normally a minor one in the Circle, but Susanna deftly combines it with the roles of Sheriff, Primogen and unofficial harpy, to make herself the second most powerful Acolyte in London after her sire.

Her combined posts of Sheriff and Primogen member are part of a deft political balancing act by Marlowe, a way to keep the Acolytes roughly aligned with the Invictus and not working against them. Some of the slower-witted and more arrogant members of the First Estate are concerned and resentful of this concentration of powers into Susanna's hands, not seeing the subtle range of measures - like Wyncham and his "lads" - which Marlowe has engineered to act as a check on the Sheriff's power

In person, Susanna is calm, sympathetic, and humourous, at least on the surface. Much of this, however, isn't true compassion, but rather a consequence of her role in her Covenant; she's the second of the three Norns who rule the Circle of the Crone, the one who embodies the Mother archetype - the nurturer, the uniter, the persuader. Viewed from a less mystical viewpoint, she's the Covenant's primary politician and emissary to the other Covenants and supernatural factions