Concept: Former addict and burglar/ trainee journalist
Primary Virtue: Mercy
Physical Strength 2, Dexterity 2, Stamina 2
Social: Charisma 3, Manipulation 4, Appearance 3
Mental: Perception 2, Intelligence 4, Wits 2
Talents: Dodge 1, Empathy 3, Intuition 2, Streetwise 3, Subterfuge 4
Skills: Drive 1, Security 3, Stealth 2, Technology 1
Knowledges: Academics 3, Computer 2, Research 3
Backgrounds: Allies 3, Contacts 1, Resources 4
Virtues: Mercy 3
Edges: Bluster, Insinuate
My Mummy and Daddy loved one another very much, so I was born.
Actually, I'm not sure that's strictly true. I've never seen any evidence that either of my parents loved anything, apart from their own careers. I wasn't so much a bundle of joy as a career break.
To give them their due, they only paid the very best people to take care of me while I was growing up, and on the rare occasions I saw either of them, they always asked if I was okay. But they preferred it if I kept the answer down to two minutes or less, because they had a call coming in from Tokyo, or LA, or New York.
Would it surprise you to learn that they sent me to boarding school? Didn't think so. My public school education followed a fairly traditional path - first alcohol, then pot, then Ecstasy, then cocaine. My parents, needless to say, never noticed I was turning into a cokehead, and the school either didn't know or didn't care. To be fair to them, like most addicts, I got very good at lying to everyone, not least myself. And when my habit got too expensive, I turned to B&E to support it. I was a rank amateur at first, but when I took my first haul to a dodgy electronics shop, the proprietor there took pity on a green-as-grass kid, and hooked me up with someone who was willing to teach me how to do it properly... in exchange for selling out my school friends by letting him know the layout of their houses. I did it, of course. Addicts will do anything to get their fix. It's a rule I try to bear in mind when dealing with rots. It also gives me a bit of fellow-feeling for them.
And talking about rots leads me to what happened next. I managed - God knows how - to get into Cambridge University, where I found myself doing a history course under this really terrifying old girl called Professor Amelia Rutherford. At that point, though, the coke was really starting to get to me. I probably would have dropped out and wound up dead in a gutter - my parents would have hated that, the funeral would have disrupted their schedules for at least a day - except that I met a guy at a disco.
He was East European exchange student, or so he said. He told me he was a dealer... said he could get me some dynamite shit. So I went outside with him, and the next thing I knew, I woke up in some sort of jail cell with no windows and a bar across the door. I don't know how long he kept me there, but he used vampire mind whammy to ease the withdrawal until I was through the worst of it. I kept seeing weird messages in the cracks on the ceiling... stuff like FROM THE DARKNESS COMES YOUR SALVATION. I thought I was just hallucinating at the time. Now, of course, I know that the cold turkey somehow triggered off my Imbuing. I wasn't thinking very straight, so when he came in to see me one time, just before he let me go, I told him that I knew. Knew he was a vampire.
He just got this really sad, puppy-dog look and asked me what I meant to do about him. I just kind of shrugged, and he told me to go to sleep, and the next thing I knew, I was waking up in my own bed. I never saw him again.
As you might imagine, that gave me a bit of a... different perspective than most Hunters. It was hard to think of rots as irredeemably evil when I owed my life to one. When I eventually found Hunter-Net, I was amazed by the whole kill-the-monsters shtick that seemed to be going on there.
I hooked up with a group in Cambridge who broadly agreed with me - Innocents and Redeemers, with a couple of Defenders to stiffen our spines - and we had a few successes. I found that there were rots who were true monsters, and we eventually ashed a couple of them, but at least I can put my hand over my heart and say we did it with a sense of defeat.
Then someone put a post on Hunter-Net. A girl had disappeared at the Glastonbury Festival, and the group up there were pretty sure a rot was responsible. They wanted someone to help burgle his flat in Cambridge. I volunteered for the job.
Ironically, the rot they were investigating didn't have anything to do with the girl's disappearance. He was actually trying to help. But there were rots responsible, led by an eccentric Victorian antiquarian named Sir Matthew Grey.
Grey was one of those nuts who love the stories about Glastonbury being the Isle of Avalon of Arthurian myth, only he was a vampire nut, and he had a different agenda from the crystal waving types. He believed that Glastonbury Tor was a weak spot in the barrier between the realms of the living and the dead, and if he could rip a hole in the barrier there, the tear would gradually expand to take in the whole world.
His ideas worked, up to a point. The barrier around Glastonbury started to weaken, and ghosts began to appear in the real world, triggering a rush of stories in the papers and a big spike in Glastonbury's tourist trade. Only Grey screwed up. He was a necromancer, and he wanted the barrier down because he thought it would be easier to enslave ghosts if it wasn't there. What he found instead was that the weaker the barrier got, the harder it was to control the ghosts. Eventually, I was able to persuade them (the ghosts) to ally with the Glastonbury Hunter group, a couple of rots who'd joined forces with us (including the one with the pad in Cambridge), and a local cancer hospice nurse called Randy Fitz,(who I thought only got involved by chance, silly me), to stop Grey.
We succeeded, and the barrier came back up. Grey fled. Game over, victory for the good guys.
Two weeks later, someone put a bullet through the side window of my car, and my parents house burned down (fortunately, while they were out). And Randy Fitz came to see me.
I hadn't thought to check him out with the Sight before, and I felt a right prat when I finally did. He was some kind of witch, but not a kind I'd ever seen before. Which isn't surprising, because according to him there were only two others like him in the entire world. The kicker was that Amelia Rutherford was one of them, and she was the one who'd told the vampire to break my drug addiction.
Randy Fitz had an American accent. That's why I didn't think there was anything funny about his name. See, in British English, "randy" means the same thing as "horny", in American English. And Fitz? Historically, it's a name prefix denoting a bastard son. Yup, that's right, "Randy Fitz" means "Horny Bastard". I just didn't realize that Randy was in on the joke, until he dropped the accent, and the act.
His real name was Ranulf Fitz Rufus, and he'd been born in 1082 AD. He was an immortal sorcerer and a priest of the old pagan faith. His responsibilities had to do with what he called Winter - death and dying - which is why he was a nurse in that cancer hospice, giving comfort to the terminally ill. Bur he also had a duty to keep the worlds of the living and the dead apart. And he owed me for helping him to do that.
He told me that Grey was part of a bunch of vampires called the Giovanni, and that he was really, really pissed about my part in his defeat. Fortunately for me, if word of what happened at Glastonbury got out, he'd be a laughing stock with all the other Giovanni world-wide, but as long as I stayed in England - as long as my family stayed - Grey's agents could reach us.
Randy - Ranulf - offered me an alternative. He could arrange a cover story to make my parents think that they'd stumbled on a Mafia money-laundering plot in the course of their City financial jobs. They could be relocated to another country under new identities - he suggested Australia - none the wiser as to the real cause of their move. And he'd be willing to set me up in New York, as a trainee journalist working on a web-based magazine. My boss would know the real score, so if I got mixed up in anything - unusual - he'd be willing to cover for me.
That tripped my alarm bells, of course. Did he think I was likely to get involved in anything "unusual", I asked. He just smiled and said that I'd just have to make my own choices and learn to live with the consequences.
Somehow, I wasn't reassured.
Randy Fitz is the present name of an immortal mage of the pagan Old Faith, the precursors to the Verbena. He's based in England, so he's not in a position to offer much practical help, and he doesn't know a great deal about the specific happenings in New York, but he has centuries of experience of the supernatural world in general and the Kindred in particular, so he can sometimes offer useful advice.
An expatriate Englishwoman living in New York, Isobel is a normal mortal, albeit one with a colourful past. Looking much younger than her thirty years, she served in the British Army for seven of them, and is as cool in a tight spot as that might lead someone to expect. She was recruited by Randy Fitz to be his eyes and ears in New York, after an encounter with a Sabbat pack opened her eyes to the wiser supernatural world. Her cover identity is as a journalist working for LiveWire, an internet news webcast based in New York.
Greg's parents are millionaire City whiz-kids. His family has money. A lot of money, some of which he can still access even though Randy Fitz shuffled most of their assets around as part of his "witness protection programme"
He also works for LiveWire, and is paid a salary far beyond what his meagre journalistic abilities would warrant. He's essentially well paid for his supernatural prowess, because Randy is convinced that he'll eventually find trouble that needs to be dealt with, and deal with it.
LiveWire itself is part of a much larger financial empire, including a major international charity called the Tiranul Foundation, which specializes in getting vulnerable innocents - especially children - safely out of war zones and hot spots. The entire thing is controlled by Randy and a number of his Kindred allies, including Lady Gabriella Grey, a London Toreador, and Lord Raguel Viteazul, a non-Sabbat Tzimisce elder based in Constantinople. LiveWire is only a very small cog in the larger machine, and almost autonomous, so Greg remains completely unaware of this bigger picture (indeed, it's unlikely that it will ever affect him)