"The biggest fence since the Berlin Wall" - Thomas Wyncham
Caspar Van Lutyens was born in 1948. His mother was a London Uratha who had worked undercover in Europe as a covert intelligence operative during World War Two. His father was a Dutch resistance fighter who had met her while she was working in the Low Countries undercover. The young Caspar grew up in relative poverty in the rougher part of London's East End, learning some hard lessons in survival but also benefitting from the spirit of solidarity and mutual aid which had arisen there during the Blitz and its aftermath.
He drifted into crime from quite an early age, but he maintained a rough sense of honor about it. Take only from those who can afford it; don't hurt women and children, and don't betray your friends and associates. He certainly wasn't some romantic Robin Hood figure, but he did hold fast to a measure of innate decency in his dealings.
He experienced his First Change when he was a few weeks shy of his seventeenth birthday. Taken in and trained by his mother's pack, he proved unusually clever, resourceful and adaptable. His street smarts and intelligence, when married to the supernatural powers of a werewolf, quickly allowed him to carve out a position for himself in London's Underworld as a receiver of stolen goods.
Van Lutyens has more layers than a Russian doll. He's made a great deal of money over the years, enough to establish a cover as a highly respectable importer of antiquities and objects d'art . That persona conceals the Van Lutyens that the mortal underworld think they know, a master fence. Beneath that "public" image lies the respected Uratha elder, leader of a pack known as the Treasure Bearers (the literal meaning of the name "Caspar"), that does a brisk business supplying money, weapons, shelter and more exotic items to their fellow werewolves. Are there more layers beneath that? Only Van Lutyens himself knows.
A huge man (six foot six in his bare feet, and heavily muscled with it), he has a leonine beard, a voice like a megaphone, and a "hail-fellow-well-met" directness which conceals a cunning and subtle mind. He was brought into the Temple in 1977 by its previous Uratha leader, Alice Tanner, who shrewdly judged that his impressive physicality would pander to Mage and Kindred prejudices of werewolves as mere fighting and killing machines, and lead them to underestimate his intelligence. Underestimated ot not, his talent for making advantageous deals seems to work as well on other supernaturals as it does on mortals.
Seamus doesn't talk much about his early life, only to say that he was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and adopted by his mother's sister. The only sibling he talks about is a brother who was nearly the same age as he but who has been missing for over 20 years.
His First Change occurred in the middle of a firefight in Mosul during the hostilities in Iraq. After the change, he was found wandering naked through the desert in a daze. After a medical discharge, he spent several years wandering the American Midwest before a spur of the moment move to London.
He moved to London 4 years ago with his friend and on-again, off-again lover, Jonathon Longknife. Since moving to the city, they have worked to protect the city from environmental mishaps and to thwarting the designs of the Pure. He has not officially joined an established pack, but often goes where he is needed and works well with the other Uratha of London.
When asked why they chose London, Seamus always says that it was to search for his brother. This answer tends to ring as not completely the truth, but it is the only answer that he will give. Jonathon tends to be a little more eloquent with his answer but always cryptic with the exact reason. Either way, they fit in well with the city and have garnered a small amount of respect from the Curia Regis.
Gareth Jones was the archetypal Poor Little Rich Kid. He is one of the unusual Cubs born of two wolf-blooded parents who aren't Uratha themselves - his father is a City stockbroker and his mother is a political journalist. They gave him ever material advantage, but very little attention, with predictable results. He drifted into experimentation with drugs at his exclusive private school, and actually mistook the mind-warping phenomena associated with his first change (at sixteen) with a bad acid trip.
The Storm Lords gave him the sense of purpose and direction which he'd lacked up until that point, and he flourished under their tutelage. He kicked his drug habit, going to the opposite extreme and becoming a poster child for healthy living. His parents, ever willing to substitute signing a cheque for quality time, paid for a personal trainer when they saw that his new enthusiasm was no mere fad. At the same time, Gareth was receiving training of quite a different sort from the Storm Lords - training in politics, in the ways of gaining and holding power.
From this fusion, the Remus Club was born. It's a very exclusive, very expensive private gym and health club, catering to London's political elite - special advisors, Think Tank members, influential columnists, even the occasional MP or minister. Most of the staff are members of Gareth's own pack, the Whisperers. The services it offers are perfectly genuine - Gareth himself is a qualified physiotherapist who works as a personal trainer, and several other Whisperers have medical of physical-fitness training of some kind. But its main purpose is to gather a large number of powerful men and women together in an informal social atmosphere, where they feel comfortable enough to relax and talk about their work.
A lot of the information the Whisperers gain from this is pretty useless, of course. The Uratha as a whole don't really give a damn who's in and who's out in the Westminster village, or the latest method by which the Government will fail to eliminate poverty. But they are interested in knowing about new urban redevelopments which will transform parts of their pack territory from urban wasteland to yuppie apartments, or plans to turn the site of a Wound or haunted house into a new shopping mall, or policing initiatives which will harass their human allies and contacts. Sometimes a whisper in the right ear can abort or modify those kinds of plans before they get started - hence the name of the pack. When more pressure needs to be applied, some of the otherwise useless titbits that the Whisperers overhear - who's sleeping with whom, and who's planning to stab whom in the back - can come in quite handy, if the blackmail can't be traced back to the Remus Club (and Gareth is very careful about that). And if something bad absolutely can't be stopped, at least forewarned is forearmed.
Gareth is in his late twenties, with close-cropped blonde hair and an excellent physique which he likes to show off. (Many of his fellow Uratha call that vanity - he prefers the word "advertising"). He can be very charming, but there's always a subtle hint of danger lurking under the charm that draws prospective paramours like moths to a flame.
Gareth takes what he sees as his responsibilities very seriously. But he can displays a strong streak of manipulative amorality which leads some of his fellow Storm Lords to mutter that he's a secret member of the Lodge of Crows. But as Gareth himself says, if he is, he's hardly going to admit it, now is he?
Diana Gallow is widely acknowledged as the most skilled shaman amongst London's Bone Shadows. Since it's the Bone Shadows who ultimately guide London's Uratha, that makes Diana Gallow arguably the most powerful Uratha in London, both politically and in terms of her occult might. She's often called "Matriarch of the Uratha", especially by the younger People, and although it's not a formal title, it's meant respectfully.
Although she appears to be in her early fifties, that's a function of the People's characteristic longevity; she's actually in her late seventies. Like so much of London's supernatural community, she was shaped into what she is by the Blitz. The child of a poor family in the East End, she was evacuated during the war, and returned to a city that was a bombed-out shell of the one she remembered. She spent a few days crying bitterly over what had been lost, and then she set aside her grief and decided to do something. At the age of fifteen, she resolved to become an architect.
Nothing made her waver from that ambition in the years that followed, not even her First Change, which took place when she was sixteen. If anything, gaining the ability to perceive the ghosts of the dead only redoubled her determination to restore the churches and graveyards which sheltered their mortal remains.
She was very successful, over the years. By the early eighties, she was running her own company, and it was doing well enough that she was able to turn the day-to-day running of it over to a couple of trusted business managers and concentrate on projects that really interested her. One of those was the maintenance and restoration of Highgate Cemetary, long the Bone Shadow Uratha's principal tur and stronghold. She was already the Beta of the Highgate Cemetary pack by that stage. When her Alpha died fighting off an Ivory Claw incursion in the early 1990s, she replaced him without a challenge.
Diana is the middle child of five. Two of her brothers (the ones who turned out fully human), died in the Second World War. The others, both Storm Lords, survived thatnks to their Uratha regenerative abilities, and now lead their own packs. Their mother, Alice Tanner, was a Temple member, but Diana prefers to leave that side of things to Van Lutyens. She has enough responsibilities of her own, thank you.
In person, she's graceful and stylish, with very little trace of her original East End accent in her impeccable BBC English. But there's a force of personality, a directness in her gaze, that many find disconcerting. And a certain otherworldly weirdness and coldness hangs about her like a cloud, slightly intimidating even other Uratha.
Her husband died two years ago and - a remarkable concession - is actually buried at Highgate. They had two sons, both of whom underwent their First Change in their teens. In fact, Alice Tanner's family has been remarkably fecund, by Uratha standards - out of Diana's brothers' seven children, three are also Uratha. One of Diana's sons and one of her nephews also chose the Bone Shadow Tribe, and both now belong to the Highgate pack.
You could sum up Narinder Jalil in a single phrase: look after your own. A member of a large, extended family, he lost his Uratha father to the Ivory Claws in the late 1990s, leaving him as the primary breadwinner for his mother and four younger siblings while he was still a teenager. Narinder's only lucky break was that father had lived long enough to guide Narinder through his own First Change a little over a year before. Aside from that, he had nothing - no money, no pack, no connections. He set out to claim all three with a ferocious determination, that left him the Alpha of a pack consisting mainly of the Uratha children of Bangladeshi and Indian immigrant families by the time he was twenty-two. He was willing to dabble in crime if that was what it took to survive and prosper, but he fought fiercely to see that his family and eventually, his extended community, were never driven to make that choice. He established a gym and sports centre where local kids could channel their energies more productively, and made sure that the hard-core element who would inevitably drift into gangs - including a few of his wolf-blooded relatives - did so under his control and kept their depredations outside his own neighbourhood. In some ways, he does the job of a social worker for his community - but a social worker who is willing to resort to murder if there's no other way to keep "his" streets free of pimps and drug-dealers, and has, so far, done so three times.
Van Lutyens Pack, the Treasure Bearers, already had a presence in the more affluent areas of Spitalfields, and as the Koh-I-Nor expanded the scope of their operations, the territory of the two packs started to overlap. Narinder was under no illusions that he could hope to win any kind of fight with Van Lutyens - financial, political, or physical - but it wasn't in his nature to back down and show Van Lutyens his throat. Ever adept at turning a situation to his own advantage, Van Lutyens offered Narinder an alliance between their two packs, in which the two could share Spitalfields between them. The deal benefited both of them - Van Lutyens' resources and underworld connections made it a lot easier for the Koh-I-Nor to defend their mortal protectorate from criminal low-lifes, and the Koh-I-Nor provided Van Lutyens with a strong right arm that boasted its own, street-level web of allies and influence. The alliance has held firm for four years now, and shows no sign of weakening.