Augustine (Left Hook)
Independent Gangrel of South American descent... with catlike mannerisms and a tendency to talk to the spirits of the locale...his manner is distant, making mortals feel disturbed and ambivalent towards him.
Five foot four inches, a square Peruvian face, with slightly long black hair that is a little wild. He wears a dust coat (He HATES getting wet unless he has to) and a wide brimmed black hat (very much like in the film Once in the West)… Combats or battered jeans, boots and a simple dark coloured shirt.
His distant, non animated face tends to spook people out, and yet he is not ominous per sae- think Harmonica, played by Charles Bronson.
Augustine is commonly seen with his drum, which he uses in his Samba troops rehearsals and performances.
Prelude of Augustine, “Left hook” to his ganrel Brethren.
Born in Santa Fe, Argentina 1864, Augustine was part of a fishing family one generation from a Jungle tribe. He was a short, swarthy, not particularly handsome man, who never really came to grips with interpersonal skills. However, the sense of being part of a tribe, even if he didn’t particularly fit in, was a strong part of his identity.
Always venturing out into the Jungle in what spare time he had, paying little attention to the schooling of the Catholic mission- he preferred to talk to his ancestors and local spirits, than to people. By the age of 21, he was told by his family and tribe that his destiny lied away from Santa Fe… was this because he was a little too distant to the others? Was the secret Shaman of Santa Fe testing him? Or was there another influence at work?
Certainly his awareness of Shapeshifters, spirits and “others” was disconcerting to the locals, although his hunting and fishing skills provided for many of them at some time or another.
He believed his family and tribal community that his destiny did indeed, lie elsewhere- and so he took a small boat and headed towards Buenos Aries. He journeyed mainly at night, as it was cooler, and avoided potential pirate attacks. Strange things were noticed by Augustine on this journey… an inexplicable and LARGE claw mark on the boat, small items of his meagre belongings missing… fish, and even a leg of an indeterminate animal laid at his feet, or in the boat. There was even a glimpse one night of a silhouette of a jaguar leaping from on side of the river to another.
Augustine knew he was being stalked…but by whom? At first, he thought it was part of an initiation ceremony from his tribe… then gifts from local or even rogue Spirits… But that glimpse of a feline shadow pushed Augustine’s thoughts towards a darker path. This was a dangerous game. One that he may not survive, if he didn’t play it just right.
Why wasn’t he suitably afraid? Who can tell? Perhaps Augustine understood the game on an instinctual level… and fear would mean death. A healthy respect, however, certainly seemed prudent. Augustine had always respected the way of the jungle- he knew he was as easily prey as he was the hunter.
The game ended suddenly one night nearing Buenos Aries. Augustine thought he had failed, as his Embrace was brutal and savage. His Sire attacked as soon as Augustine broke camp from the riverside and headed for his little fishing boat. Augustine found himself catapulted into the river, drowning on mud and water, and finally tasting something altogether metallic and damning.
Mauled by a massive black jaguar, buried and dying in the silt of the riverbed, Augustine could not surface in the day, he pushed into the silt, ejecting bodily fluids of all sorts, from all ends… This was not a Romantic Toreador Embrace. If he did not survive this process, he didn’t deserve it. This much was clear.
Although this was as much of a Shamanic trial as Augustine would have understood- he entered the city slums of Buenos Aries half alive, half dead, consumed with a murderous thirst, and yet with a natural cunning. He did not know he was under the watchful eye of his Sire, who witnessed the indiscriminate killing of a family in a shack.
The hunger and the hunt satisfied, Augustine comes out of Frenzy, and realises that this was not an otherworldly, drug induced dreaming… this was real. The Sire’s presence – Alpha presence – calms the horrified Augustine, as he surveys the blood arcs and splatters that cover the small shack… He tries not to look at the bodies of the family, the children as he absent mindedly licks his hands and arms clean.
“Tell me what to do” is all that Augustine can say- a cry for help, for understanding. His Sire merely makes a tiny gesture with his chin towards the wrecked door. Augustine heads out of the shack, starting his apprenticeship…
The year was 1885, and a fifty year apprenticeship followed. His Sire took him all over South America, teaching him how to hunt, how to survive in an environment even some fellow Gangrel would think twice before entering. His apprenticeship always held danger- his Sire pushing his abilities and instincts, learning of his Sire’s beliefs, customs and ways… But his Sire was heading towards the Path of the Feral Heart, and very close to losing his Humanity.
Although Augustine was instructed on the ways of the world of darkness, and the traditions therewith, his apprenticeship saw little real contact with other Kindred… His main contact was Gangrel gatherings, and the etiquette required to not get yourself killed in attending such events.
His Sire did not want his Childe to be ignorant, but it was clear that social isolation was a key aspect to the elder’s experience… one shared by Augustine…
Towards the end of Augustine’s apprenticeship, he noticed that this isolation was actually causing a dilemma…His Sire- “Descending”(?) into the path of the feral heart meant that although they were perfectly suited for the jungle environment- they didn’t have any wants or needs- no connection to others- the clan, and soon, to each other.
Augustine suspected that his Sire made a Childe in an attempt to find a connection to something once more- forcing himself to attend Clan gatherings, reminding himself what he is- Kindred- connecting once more to the spirits of the Jungle, if not, his ancestors, through Augustine’s sensitivities and youth.
Finally, in 1935, his Sire stopped calling him “Gatito"– “Kitten”, and called him Augustine. His apprenticeship was over. It was time to move out into the world on his own. At first, he stuck to what he knew- idly travelling around South America, skirting around the cities, and staying mainly to the slums when he hunted in them. Even other Ganrel would nod in respect at his familiarity with the Lupine infested edges of Jungle that touched the Slums of the South American Cities…
Eventually, after WWII, he ventured over to North America, crossing the border by simply ambushing a patrol, feeding off them and scaling the fence. He took advantage of the fact that there were plenty of drifters at the time- He stayed clear of Mexico and it’s Sabbat inhabitants, His political allegiance was simple- independent. What possible interest did he have in politics? He most certainly was not presented to any Prince after his apprenticeship… merely introduced in a perfunctory manner at a gathering that seemed no different to any other in the past… He remembered THAT night- he had to fight for a place to sit at the Gathering- no longer under the protection of his Sire. His jaw ached thinking about it… but he didn’t do too bad, and he smiled as he knew other Gangrel had similar memories of aching jaws too… he got the name “Left Hook” for that night.
Texas held no interest for left Hook, and the Spirits were either not around, or were no longer talking to him of late… He needed to feel part of something again. He needed to connect to a Tribe of his choosing… whether that was Clan or not remained to be seen… but how to find… friends… when he has been a solitary hunter for so long?
After his apprenticeship
Augustine certainly found himself looking back at the Spiritual side of things when he realised that he had lost connection with any sort of Tribe. He started to pay attention to the mortals and what they were doing in their lives… to stop Ennui… to stop himself giving in completely to the Beast.
And so, Augustine started to participate in the night parties and celebrations of the Kine, he drummed with the other drummers, to help mortals dance themselves into a frenzy, to hit that place of Spiritual connection that he once could so easily make. Also, this celebration of life, of being connected not just to the Spirits, but also to the community, the tribe of the Dance made Augustine feel alive again. THIS is what Augustine started to “live” for. He would feed on people that would destroy the community of his feeding grounds… namely drug dealers, Pimps, gang bangers… If he was to be a hunter, then hunting mortals who were not contributing to their own race were certainly fair game… possibly a lesson to those who could be dissuaded from their own destructive paths… He sees it as culling; a productive way to feed the Beast within.
His celebrant Nature therefore became his Spiritual anchor, and his Traditionalist Demeanour, his keel. He never saw his Sire again, who he suspects has either completed his transformation onto the Path of the Feral Hear, or given himself up to the Beast.
How he met the Coterie
Augustine was in Corpus Christi, in the 1990’s. In 1996, Israel Stoughton took his ghoul to a Samba dance evening in a bar. he noticed Augustine… but not before Augustine noticed him, due to his Spiritual awareness- Someting about him, a combination of not smelling right, intuition, perhaps in his movements, gave away that he was a vampire. Augustine did not attack immediately- why would he? Apparently, this was a major step for Israel Stoughton, and so, slowly, an accord was formed, and evenings discussing Spiritual matters and perspectives ensued.
The fact that Israel Stoughton is quite mad is not an obstacle in friendship for Augustine- to be touched by the spirits in this way is a valid form of spritual connection… His tribe certainly took mind altering toxins in his mortal life, and a twisted sense of reality is just the way to access the Spirit’s understanding…
And so, A place for Augustine to leave his drum, and to have some companionship without worrying about “pecking” orders, was at least a start of their aquaintance.
Meeting (Fluffy’s Character)
Augustine was watching a midnight soup kitchen, in order to better understand the community that he both fed from and protected. He selects drug dealers and pimps, and those who seem to be cancer to the local community… this takes time, to ensure a full picture of the situation can be acheived. His tendancy to watch from a vantage point, on a roof. (Fluffy’s character) was watching the church that happens to be the charity organising the soup kitchen, and so the two vampire’s found themselves on the same roof. The lack of breathing on the cold night was the main give away for their natures, although Augustine, again had listened to his intuitive senses that something “other” was standing twenty foot away.
After a few nights of both watching in mutual silence, and respectful distance, (fluffy’s character) approached Augustine, and as is his habit, he asked if there was any work that he knew about. Augustine said that he knew I guy who might be able to help…
And so, the coterie was formed… As all character’s are watchers of one form or another- A companiable silence as (Fluffy’s character) and Augustine watch from the rooftops, sometimes he helps Augustine with a gang problem- for the good of the community- even taking on Sabbat packs…
Whilst Augustine’s relationship with Israel Stoughton is based on an intellectual swapping of perspectives of social situations, spiritual notions and ideas of what is real and what is not…
The coterie had decided to move to New Orleans, as Israel Stoughton’s Ghoul had suggested that real estate in the area would be very cheap at this time. Augustine and (Fluffy’s character) wanted to go and see if they could help the local community- a place where Augustine was thinking of going anyway at some point, due to the highly Spiritual nature of New Orleans.
Not long after settling in, Augustine found a Samba troop that excited his interest: Called the @@@@@@@@@@@ and led by a charasmatic, tall Black ma by the name of Pappa D. Pappa D was part of a fairly successful Troop of performers of the Madi Gras- but Augustine felt that the wide cross-section of people in the troop not only provided an interesting mix to the troop, but some quality of Life’s celebration that he could be part of.
Ghouling Pappa D was a fairly easy accomplishment, as he was dying of cancer- The arrangment was fairly simple- Pappa D was the figure head of the troop, whilst Augustine financed the troop(by periodically stealing / killing pimps, drug dealers and the like- hence a resource level of 2), and developed the musical and overall “heart” of the troop with regular practices.
It is not lost on Augustine that he drums the pulse, the beating heart of the Troop, whilst he himself doesn’t have one. This is as close as he can get to the reverie he provides for his Troop members- THAT is what he remembers from his mortal time, and this is what he endeavours to recreate.
He looks after the Samba community that he is in contact with, dealing with trouble as he only knows how…. violently… if a woman in the troop has a partner who is a little heavy handed…. he would wait until the woman beater has his pre-sleep cigarette outside, and beat him up…. after three successsive nights, said abuser would get the point…. and Augustine’s dancer, drummer, costumer designer, whatever, would be able to continue their role in the Troop…
Augustine also is part of the Capoeria scene in New Orleans, as the Samba culture is entwined with them- Capoeria, comin from South America, obvioulsy has cultural roots that Augustine is intimate with- inddedd, it is how he fights, mixed with a feline grace and ferocity…
The samba and capoeria scenes are very family orientated, fitting Augustine’s tribal outlook on life, and sense of community- This is shown in his one pip in “contacts”
Augustine feels that he is on the verge of Spiritual development, which will take him to a new level of understanding… How he knows is up to conjecture….