In some ways, Derek Aldhelm was a disappointment to both his parents. His father, a wealthy City stockbroker, doesn't like it that Derek chose to join the Health and Safety Executive, a comparitively poorly-paid government bureaucracy, rather than get a well-paid job in the financial sector. His mother, a respected Storm Lord Cahalith, disapproves of his choice to join the Hunters in Darkness, a Tribe that suffers a subtle but pervasive prejudice in London's Uratha society as dangerously unstable and liable to snap as a result of their inability to cope with urban living. But Derek is proud of the choices he's made and the responsibilities he's accepted.
A hundred years ago, London suffered from two deadly forces - cholera and the polluted, sulpher-choked fogs known as "London Particulars". In the material realm, both menaces have long since been banished, but in the shadow, echoes of them remain. Echoes, and sometimes worse. Derek's pack, the London Particulars, are Hunters in Darkness who have taken responsibility for containing and, wherever possible, cleansing, those old malignancies. Derek's "day job" as a member of the Health and Safety Executive gets him into companies that deal with industrial chemicals or medical waste, both of which seem to attract the corruption.
Derek Aldhelm is a man at peace with the knowledge of his own limitations. He knows he doesn't have the force of charisma or the quick wits to be an effective leader, which is why he's always been content to leave his wife to run the farm and the business, and his Alpha to run his pack. He is, however, very smart, perceptive, good at figuring things out by piecing seemingly random bits of information together, and above all, he never gives up once he's caught a scent.
He had one great sorrow in his life - that he couldn't share the truth of what he was with his wife, who he loves with all the intense passion that an Uratha is capable of. Her Awakening as a Mage was a blessing, but a slightly mixed one, for he could easily see how both their kinds would now automatically distrust them both.
When Van Lutyens stood before the Gathering at Highgate Cemetary and asked the assembled Uratha to accept him as a member of a Temple, Derek had no illusions as to why; the Temple didn't want any contact between Mages and Uratha taking place under its own radar. He assumed that his position would be a mere formality - as a pack omega, he would naturally defer to Van Lutyens and Gareth Jones, both archetypal alphas. The vampires, however, knew nothing of the Uratha pecking order, and treated him with respect from day one. The other Mage in the group, Dygvvi, was likewise interested in what he had to say. The biggest surprise, though, was the way that Van Lutyens and Gareth Jones seemed willing to listen to him, too. After about six months, he finally asked Gareth why
"One", Gareth said, "We need to show a united front to the others, especially the leeches. Two, a lot of the usual rules are kind of - fuzzier - in the Temple. It's hard to stand on ceremony when you have three totally different sets of Hammer House of Horror bad guys, all with totally different ideas about what the ceremonial crap should be. Three, respect cuts both ways - the Oath of the Moon's always said that. Four, if you've spent the last few months thinking you got into the club because of your wife, think again. A couple of times already, the Particulars have dealt with shit that was affecting the leeches and the wizards as well, stuff they were on our case to deal with at Temple meetings. And we both know that you're the one in your pack who figures out how to handle the stuff you go after, even if it's the rest of your pack who do most of the heavy lifting and arse-kicking. We - Van Lutyens and I - we've wanted you in the Temple for a while. When the wizards nominated your wife, they made it easy for us to bring you in, because the rest of the People will make the same mistake you did - that we want you here to keep an eye on you. But that's not why. Clear?".
Surprising, but clear.
August's First Change came when he was 20 when he and his fiance, Cheryl, were rock climbing and became caught in a landslide deep in the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Buried beneath several feet of rubble and far from any form of help, he began digging desperately to find her calling out her name. He didn't even realize the change that was taking place within him even he as began to toss rocks that should have been beyond the capability of a human being to lift. All he knew was that the woman he loved was trapped and he had to find a way to get to her.
But it was too late. By the time he had reached her, she was already dead. Her rib cage had been crushed. As he held her tenderly in his arms, the Rage overtook him completely, and he Howled. Underneath a waning Gibbous Moon, a howl of mourning and tragedy echoed across the mountains. Another Cahalith Uratha was born.
Little to August's knowledge, he had been watched by a Cahalith Bone Shadow with the Silver Syndicate, a woman by the name of Andrea Waters. She had been waiting for the time when August would come into his true self. She had not seen how it would come about, but as a fellow Cahalith, she had foreseen in a vision that it would come by the death of someone close to him. After August's initial Rage had burned itself out, she approached him, explaining to him what had happened, and who he really was. It was not long afterwards, he was given his Rite of Initiation into the Iron Masters, and August began his own induction into the ways of the Uratha.
During those first weeks after his First Change, August was still coming to terms with Cheryl's death. All he could see were the stones that took his love from him. All he wanted was to strike back at the very element that stole her from him. But rather than give into the Rage, he focused it. Channeled it. Began chipping away at it. Little by little... with a hammer and chisel. And from the stone he formed the face of his love that was torn from him by the avalanche in every intricate detail, every line... her smile... her eyes... recalling each feature of her from memory.
Now, 20 years later he no longer rages against the stone, but rather has come to embrace it. Known among the tribes 'Howling Stone', August Podin lives in Marble, Colorado making a living as a well known stone sculptor in his own private studio. His works have become known to many, both human and Uratha, across the United States and even in other countries for his uncanny detail and skilled worksmanship in the shaping of the unforgiving earth element.
August's renown grew quickly over the years among the Tribes and Lodges of the Uratha. He is frequently commissioned to glorify recognized individuals for their own acts of renown, or give form to Tribal Totems, or to preserve the legends and stories of the Uratha, and honor those lost to them by forever immortalizing them in stone.
Over time, gaining such personal insights on so many diverse points of view from all the Tribes and collecting their stories, August personally chose to undergo the Rite of Renunciation. Not because he no longer held allegiance to his Tribe the Iron Masters. Quite the contrary actually. Instead rather over the years he gained perspective on the Merits of All of Luna's Tribes and how each play their own role. He is considered a Ghost Wolf among the Uratha Tribes of the Rocky Mountains, but has gained respect and renown in his own right. His allegiances go beyond tribes or lodges. His allegiance is to the preservation of the Uratha as a whole.
Wesley Hart is a Detroit Police Department detective, however, he is also a Uratha Blood Talon Irraka and a member of the Belle Isle loci in the Secundus reality.
Having lost his Wolf-Blooded mother, Amanda, at childbirth, Wesley was raised by his Uratha father, Aaron, and his Uratha Uncle Arthur. His bond with his remaining family was strong. Then in one summer night in 1985, Aaron was slain at the hands of a powerful solitary Azlu. After learning of his father's death from Uncle Arthur, Wesley swore to honor the man's memory by serving and protecting the citizens of Detroit. He graduated from Detroit City High School and immediately joined the Detroit Police Department's Police Academy.
But, unlike his father, Wesley quickly earned high-marks and was fast-tracked through the department by his superiors to become a detective very early in his career. He also refused offers from Uncle Arthur to join his father's old pack or integrate himself into any others. While he had no problem working with a team, Welsey preferred to be a lone wolf.
While Uncle Arthur and the Elders of the Belle Isle loci frowned upon his lone wolf standing, they held their tongues. Wesley was a valuable asset. He was able to provide information to his fellow werewolves and help spread disinformation to the media and other investigators about crime scenes left by others.
As a second year detective, Wesley met and later married his one true love, Nisha Chandrakanta. Living in a residence within a quiet neighborhood in Sterling Heights, one of Detroit's core suburbs and the second largest in the city, Wesley and Nisha lived in bliss. Both going to work everyday and coming home to quiet evenings together, only separating when tribal duties required Wesley to make an appearance at the loci.
So when he returned home one day to find their house ransacked and evidence that Nisha had been kidnapped, he vowed to find her and get her back at all costs.
NPCs (In Alphabetical order)
Aaron Wyatt Hart
Aaron Hart, now deceased, was Wesley Hart's father and a Uratha Blood Talon Rahu. Amongst mortals, Aaron was a beat patrol officer with the Detroit Police Department. His death was attributed to being gunned down after responding to a liquor store robbery. The truth was that Aaron died while battling a powerful solitary Azlu with his brother, Arthur, and the rest of their pack.
Amanda Hart, now deceased, was Wesley Hart's mother who died in childbirth. With the kidnapping of Wesley's wife, Nisha Chandrakanta, Amanda's spirit materialized to her son and revealed to him clues that have set Wesley on the path to finding his wife.
Arthur Hart is the uncle of Wesley Hart and a Uratha Elder. The Blood Talon Cahalith brought Wesley's father, Aaron, through his First Change. He was also there to explain Aaron's death at the hands of a solitary Azlu to his nephew and later participate in Wesley's wedding to Nisha Chandrakanta. Amongst mortals, Arthur is seen only as a retired postman. But, amongst the Detroit Uratha, he is the Belle Isle loci historian and apprentice to Master Sefu.
Helen Flowers is Wesley Hart's partner and fellow Detroit Police Department detective for the past ten-years. While Wolf-Blooded, she is also one of Wesley's closest friends.
Sefu is one of the oldest living werewolves at the Belle Isle loci. An African-American and a Bone Shadow Ithaeur, Sefu is the loci's Rite Master who due to his age rarely leaves the heart of the loci anymore.
Mohinder Chandrakanta is the older brother of Nisha Chandrakanta and a Uratha descendant of the ancient Rajput bloodline from India. Amongst mortals, Mohinder is seen only as a community organizer. But, amongst the Detroit Uratha he is a Blood Talon Rahu and the Alpha of the Sons of the Wolverine Pack.
Nisha Chandrakanta is the Wolf-Blooded wife of Wesley Hart, sister to Mohinder Chandrakanta and a descendant of the ancient Rajput bloodline from India. Working as an emergency room nurse at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Nisha was attacked and kidnapped in her home while Wesley was at work.
The "Sons of the Wolverine" Pack
This is one of the Belle Isle loci packs. This seven-member, all male, all Blood Talon pack's totem is "Guardian-of-the-People," a greater Gaffling Wolverine spirit. The pack Alpha is Mohinder Chandrakanta. While pack leadership is Indian, the rest of the pack is a mixture of Caucasian, African-American, Native-American and Arabic members.
Svana Svanhildur could be best described as a Nordic Amazon. A Storm Lord Rahu, she is the Belle Isle loci's Warder and in charge of the Bawn Guards.
The most recent addition to the Treasure Bearers pack, Jamie Arden has the distinction of being London's greatest expert - or at least, the London's Uratha's greatest expert - on a single subject, the river Thames. He knows almost everything about it - its history, its quirks, the names and purposes of most of the buildings which line its shores. London born and bred, he grew up along its banks. At times, it almost seemed that its spirit was calling to him. Now, of course, with his eyes opened to the Hisil, he understands that it was
Before his First Change, five years ago, he earned good money as a tour guide. The instinctive fear engendered amongst the herd by his Uratha nature put an end to that, which is something he still sometimes resents
The Treasure Bearers, however, were more than ready to find a place for someone who knew all there was to know about the great river. Someone who was familiar with every nook and cranny along its length was a true asset for a group of smugglers.
Jamie has adapted well to his new life. He's earning more money than he ever did before, and he can't deny that being able to experience the spiritual as well as the physical side of his beloved river is a thrill that has yet to wear off after half a decade
Jamie is still very much the Omega of the Treasure Bearers, but he doesn't mind that. He's comfortable with his role as the innocent but eager little brother of the pack, and he knows he'll never have the natural leadership gifts of a Van Lutyens or Gareth Jones. Far better, in his mind, to concentrate on what he's good at, and try to enjoy the hand which Fate has dealt him
The Midnight Garden are both a pack and a house band for the Wyvern pub in the Old Town mall in the East End. They formed only a few months ago at the gentle prompting of the Uratha leadership, as part of their deal with Tom Wyncham to supply him with blood donors in exchange for giving up the Durfield Estate.
The Uratha leaders introduced the Midnight Garden to each other with a lot of different balancing acts in mind. Diana and Jake both come from totally mundane backgrounds and benefit from Conall's greater familiarity with the supernatural world. Conall was already close to Tom Wyncham, perhaps too close, and gained perspective from Diana's more detached attitude. Jake is in many ways more centered than either of his packmates; neither fascinated by the supernatural (like Diana) or already immersed in it (like Conall), he treats it with a caution that they sometimes lack
As the daughter of an accountant and a dentist, Diana considers her background embarrassingly mundane for an Uratha. Nonetheless, even from childhood, she had a nagging sense that there was a world beyond the mundane; she kept catching glimpses of spirits and the spirit world from the corner of her eye, and it drove her crazy
As a child of the modern era, she took to the internet in search of answers. She didn't find what she was looking for, but by the time she was sixteen, she was an expert on pretty much every conspiracy theory on the World Wide Web
Her First Change was almost a relief; the Temple Guardian pack had spotted her on the Tube and alerted the rest of London's Forsaken, so she didn't hurt anyone when she transformed. Finally, she knew what had been wrong with her for all these years
She retained her interest in the strange, the occult, and the spiritual, and was naturally drawn to the Bone Shadows. When the Midnight Garden pack was formed, both Jake and Conall agreed that her intelligence and judgement made her the best choice as their Alpha
She is presently reading for a degree in journalism
Image by Ulysses0302. Please do not use without permission
With wolf blood on one side of his family and Mage blood on the other, an uncle who could do magic and prepared him for his Change years in advance, and a first-name relationship with one of London's vampire elders, Conall is almost more immersed in the shadow world than the mundane. If he has a fault, it's that he sometimes has a rather patronizing attitude to "normal mortals" for their ignorance
He has a good heart, though. Politically very aware from an early age, he was involved in student activism from his early teens, championing the rights of racial and sexual minorities He has the same open-minded attitude to other supernaturals, not all of whom appreciate his willingness to form friendships outside his own Polis
He first met Tom Wyncham when he was eighteen and recently started at University. Tom helped him out of a nasty situation with a wealthy and influential cult of spirit-Claimed. He was the first choice of the Uratha leadership as a potential blood donor for Tom. Caspar suspected - correctly, as it happened - that Conall had already allowed Tom to feed from him, out of curiosity
He is presently working as a political researcher for a left-wing think-tank
Like Diana Clifford, Jake comes from a strictly mundane background. A young student, reading Music, his first brush with the supernatural came when he tried to protect a friend and fellow student from some thugs working for the alchemist, Caspian. His second came moments later, when the two thugs tried to beat him u and found themselves facing a newly Changed werewolf
Fortunately for Jake, this was the night that Caspian died, and the Temple were rushing to his warehouse at the time. They found Jake, freshly transformed and frenzied, managed to calm him down, and led him away before anyone else could get hurt
Jake had a difficult adjustment. The Midnight Garden was as much a support group, at first, as a pack for him.
Of the three Uratha in the pack, Jake is the most wistful about the loss of his "normal" life, but between Diana and Nick Owen, he's slowly adjusting to the idea that being an Uratha can be something wondrous rather than horrific