"I like to tell myself that if I had known then what I know now, I never would have made such a Faustian bargain, but the truth is that I probably would have done it anyway."
Joseph Nasatir is man haunted by the loss of his daughter Lara who was inexplicably kidnapped from his home while he had been in the family garage working on the car. Without witnesses or evidence of struggle and no clues the police investigation had turned up nothing. After months of nothing conclusive, the authorities turned their attention to him as the prime suspect. Eventually they dropped the charges for the same reason. There was no evidence. He had told them the absolute truth time and again. His 7 year old daughter had disappeared without a trace.
His obsessive search to find his missing daughter eventually cost him his job, his reputation, and his marriage. His desperation to find his daughter had even begun to take him into researching obscure and occult lore in a vain attempt to come up with any lead, no matter how small or how slim, looking into rituals and spells to locate people and things, ultimately and unfortunately to no avail.
One of the Forgotten, Joseph died as part of a freak accident when a car he was underneath that he had up on a hydraulic jack slipped off the lift plate causing it to fall on him literally crushing his chest. Unable to scream for help, he was ready to go over to whatever Oblivion awaited him. That was the Geist appeared, the one he has since come to simply call ‘The Longshoreman’.
He can still remember feeling that Cold Wind the first time the Geist had appeared to him. It was the kind of bitter cold so deep it penetrated down to his very soul. There was the salty smell of sea spray that seemed to hang in the air with it. There was also a feeling, an emotion that Joseph could sense... It was a feeling he knew all too intimately. It was the feeling, the sense of loss, hopelessness, and desperation. That feeling only a parent could know. It was the horrid, bitter taste that comes from someone who lost their child and never finding them, or even knowing what happened to them. It was the desire for revenge against an unknown enemy that never appears, wanting to lash out with no one to lash out against. It was the anger of dying too soon before they could find out the truth of what happened to their child. It was the heat of anger, and frustration, and the utter unwillingness to let go.
In its hand, the spirit held out a cold iron Longshoreman’s Hook and offered it handle first to Joseph. He hesitated for moment, and then he thought of his daughter. It was a second chance
and it was his only chance. He reached for the Longshoreman’s Hook.
It’s been a little over a year now and Joseph continues to search for the truth about his daughter, as well as look for clues as to the true identity of the Longshoreman. He knows he was a father like him who lost his child, although he doesn’t know the circumstances involved in what happened. It was the emotion of that bond that bound him and the Geist together. But so far it hasn’t given him anything else to go on. He wonders sometimes if it even remembers who it was, and that maybe only the anger and emotion, and the unwillingness to give up the search is the only thing that remains of the Longshoreman’s identity. He knows if he could find that out, he might be able to find out what happened to him, and maybe even find out what happened to the Longshoreman’s child as well. Or at the very least he has to try. Because deep down inside he’s afraid that the fate of the Longshoreman right now may very well be his own.
He is currently unaffiliated with any Krewe or any organization at this time, but only because he’s never been approached by any other Sin-Eaters before, and doesn’t even know if others like him exist. He’s still very new to the world of the supernatural in the grander scheme of things, and is still learning how to interact with his Geist. His research into Occult literature in his efforts to locate his daughter did lead him to learn a very basic ghost exorcism ceremony which has found actually works, and since his binding with the Longshoreman, Joseph has been attracting more situations of hauntings and spirits.
After doing one successful ghost exorcism, he found people started coming to him asking if he could help them with their ghost problem, and how much he charged. That was the beginning of what he calls him becoming an ‘accidental exorcist’. He didn’t seek to become a Gatekeeper, so much as the job just kind of fell in his lap. People found him through word of mouth in ways he couldn’t fathom, and he could never quite figure out why. Never the less, he needed funds to continue the search for his daughter, and people were either willing or desperate enough to pay him for his services, and so he takes on side exorcisms in addition to working on cars for sources of income.
The Longshoreman appears as a huge figure of a man, standing over 2 meters tall, with broad shoulders and huge hands that are almost disproportionate in their size, and the sense that the man likely could have taken a sledge hammer to the chest and it still wouldn’t have phased him. Its face is amorphic, with dark sockets of blackness filled where the things eyes and mouth should be. A frozen mist drifts from its mouth like breath in winter, and it wears overalls like some sort of heavy laborer or stevedore of mid to late 19th Century London.
The Premium Krewe takes its name from its founder, Justin Glebe, or more precisely from his former profession - an insurance assessor. It formed only a few years ago, more or less by chance, when its members individually ran afoul of a mortal sorcerer whom they dubbed "Fagin". The sorcerer - a necromancer of some skill - had hit on an ingenious money-making scam. He called ghosts back into the world of the living and arranged for them to possess mortal hosts, in exchange for their compelling the hosts to steal and defraud large sums of money from their employers. The newly formed Krewe broke the back of Fagin's operation, although Fagin himself managed to escape.
Justin Grebe spent forty-five years as an insurance investigator, and the experience left its mark on him. He's the observer, the analyser, the one who puts all the pieces together and never, ever believes what he's told. Years and years of being lied to - sometimes in highly inventive ways - have left him a case-hardened cynic about human (and inhuman) nature, but he's also seen plenty of genuine hard-luck cases who actually deserved his help - enough that he doesn't always automatically assume the worst
One of the Stricken, he died from lung cancer brought about by his thirty-a-day cigarette habit. His sense of order, of justice, of the need for rules and structures to protect society, led him early on the the Gatekeeper's calling, At first, he worked alone - as had always been his preference. After the Fagin incident, he realized that his life had been lonely for a very long time. Never married, socially inept, and with most of his family dead, he'd isolated himself without ever making a conscious decision to do so. The Krewe have since become his surrogate "family", and he watches over them as devotedly as the Victorian paterfamilias that they sometimes accuse him of resembling.
His Geist is an entity he calls the Smog. Justin believes that it was originally a victim of the Great London Sog of 1952. It now appears as an indistinct figure shrouded in sulphorous yellow smog - the figure is too indistinct to make out whether it's skeletal or merely emaciated
What is this "conscience" thing you speak of?
Josh Cebrian's family have always been proud of his open, honest face and direct, trustworthy gaze. As professional con-artists, they keenly appreciate PT Barnum's dictum regarding total sincerity - once you can fake it, everything else is easy. Josh himself has always preferred to take his cue from one of Sandra Bullock's observations: "Women can fake orgasms. But men can fake entire relationships". Josh is very, very good at faking it.
Not that he's a bad guy, exactly. He draws the line at hurting anyone, or stealing from anyone who can't afford it. He prefers to see his scams and cons as a form of wealth redistribution through private enterprise rather than government diktat.
One of the Forgotten, he died from a bad batch of E on the dance floor of the Crimson Fetter nightclub, while visiting London on "business" - for which read, an elaborate fraud perpetrated on a group of international businessmen by his father and uncle. His nature naturally made him a Celebrant, but since his second life began, he's started to develop what he calls "this weird mental condition" and what the rest of the Krewe calls "a sense of right and wrong".
He's the Krewe's front-man, their public face and negotiator. Justin doesn't always like his methods, but sometimes results count for more
He calls his Geist the Lord of the Dance. It manifests as an androgynous-looking young man, naked to the waist, with its entire upper body covered with writhing scarlet tattoos in abstract patters, and its eyes perpetually glazed as though on an endless drug high. Justin has never found out who it was in life, although he suspects that it, like he, might once have been a patron of the Crimson Fetter
Natalie Briggs was born into a family of status, power, and privilege in the fall of 1990. Her family held a viscounty in Southern England, but struggled to maintain its ancestral holdings after a series of bad investments by the previous Viscount, Natalie's father.
After her father died, Natalie's mother remarried a wealthy industrialist who had managed to purchase a title of his own through political and humanitarian work. Each family had something the other needed, whether it was the funds to rescue one's holdings or breeding and connections with London's high society: the marriage was purely a business transaction.
When Natalie was in high school her mother died in a traffic accident. Though foul play was suspected, police quickly closed the case, concluding that Mrs. Briggs had been drinking and lost control of the car. Her daughter never believed the stories.
Natalie's life changed in early 2010. Her stepfather, hoping to acquire a tool that would allow him to expand his financial empire, began maneuvering a small Krewe of Sin-Eaters to do his bidding. The ultimate goal was to have his stepdaughter reborn into a Sin-Eater herself, someone he could control and force to bend ghosts to his will.
The plan had been simple. Briggs had located an unbound Geist imprisoned somewhere in London. The woman had been his first wife, whom he murdered on their honeymoon to gain the seed money for his empire. The Krewe was sent to free her and bring her to him.
When they completed their task, they were all killed, along with his own daughter. The Sin-Eaters were revived in a local cemetery, and the Geist bound itself to Natalie.
However, Lord Briggs did not anticipate an outside consultant being called in, Jason Cash. The Private Investigator was familiar with the spirit world had had demonstrated time and time again that he was difficult to kill.
The PI resurrected on the spot and killed Lord Briggs before rushing Natalie to safety and putting her in touch with Justin Grebe and Premium.
Today, Natalie has inherited her mother's title and a significant portion of her stepfather's wealth. Her rebirth has forced her to reassess her life, and she's become obsessed with learning more about death and the shadow world around her; understanding her place within it. She likes the Krewe she works with and considers them family. She continues to stay friendly with Jason Cash, and her feelings for him are growing stronger. The strange American who acts older than he looks has not pushed her away, but he's also ignored her advance, something she's never encountered before.
She doesn't know why, but she has no intention of giving up.