In the dingy alleys of the working-class slums of old London, the darkness clung to everything like a second skin. In this shadowy world, Mavis McBride, a newly embraced Kindred of the tenth generation, struggles to maintain her humanity as the insidious cravings of the beast claw at the edges of her mind.
Mavis is a Lasombra with the Bahari lore sheet and has a much lower humanity rating than most vampires her age – thanks mainly to growing up obsessed with vampires and the occult, her willingness to do whatever it takes to acquire knowledge and power, and the length of time she spent serving her vampiric overlords before she was embraced.
Mavis had been obsessed with vampires and the occult from the tender age of eight, ever since becoming separated from her father on a cold winter night and sneaking into a picture house for warmth, safety, and shelter from the stinging rain.
Hiding at the back of the theatre, she watched most of the sensational new release, Nosferatu, before the usher found her and whisked her away to the manager’s office, much to her chagrin. One might think that such a young child would be terrified beyond belief at seeing the terrible creeping monster come to life on screen, but Mavis was not scared at all; in fact, she was mesmerised, and even after being reunited with her family, she could not get what she had seen out of her head.
As a child, Mavis would try to recreate the scenes she had witnessed during her unintended exposure to the on-screen presence of the monstrous Count Orlok by practising on her cousins and family pets, and, as she got older, she began to dive deep into occult texts to learn how she could become a vampire herself.
Her studies eventually brought her to the doors of The Byzantine Brotherhood, a secret society of vampire worshipers, servants and blood dolls – finally, she had found her people. By proving her loyalty to the brotherhood and finding a master to sponsor her membership, she was allowed to join. Mavis spent the next few years offering up her blood to her sponsor turned master, Provost Parfew, as his blood doll, hoping to rise up the ranks so she could access the vast libraries of occult knowledge lining every wall. Eventually, she was given to Seymour Cadell as payment for a minor boon that he granted to Parfew, and she soon found her chance to become more than just food when her new master offered to make her into a ghoul.
Mavis served Seymour faithfully for many decades while studying the occult texts that the brotherhood stored and maintained. Seymour became quite fond of Mavis, granting her significant amounts of freedom to do as she pleased, provided she continued to serve him whenever her talents were required. Though what those services were, was never specified. In truth, he likely simply enjoyed her ephemeral beauty and valued her academic abilities – seeming to relish debating her on various topics.
After a lifetime spent as a servant of her vampiric overlords, as a blood doll, and then as a ghoul, Mavis earned the embrace and ascended into the ranks of the immortals after being taken under the wing of the terrifying Mistress Delilah, who promised her power and immortality if she helped her to silence the voice of her former master – a bargain that Mavis eagerly accepted and, despite how difficult it was for her to harm Seymour, willingly carried out. This was what she had wanted for many decades, ever since she was a little girl; it is what she had spent all those years working towards, sacrificed for, bled for, and now that she was so close to achieving the power that she had long craved, she could not refuse no matter how high the price – and the price she paid was high indeed, for every night, the thirst for blood grows more potent, and she feels herself falling further into the darkness; abandoned by her humanity as if it were the rats and she the sinking ship.
As Mavis walked through the dimly lit streets, she could feel the eyes of the other inhabitants upon her, watching her with a mix of fear and wonder. She was an outsider in their world, and they knew it, although none of them could quite figure out why.
On this particular night, as Mavis made her way to the docks, hoping to find a beggar or two, maybe a prostitute, upon which she could satiate her hunger, the beast within her began to stir. It was a low growling, like a trapped animal straining against the bars of its cage, that filled her with a deep foreboding dread, for she knew what was coming as she had experienced this all too frequently as of late; the thirst for blood was growing stronger each night, and Mavis had begun to fear that she was fighting a losing battle to stop herself from sinking to the darkness.
As she stumbled into an abandoned building, seeking refuge from the increasingly persistent voices urging her to give in to the hunger, Mavis clutched her ears and began to hum the tune to – Goodnight Mr Moon – the only lullaby that she could remember from her childhood, in an almost desperate attempt to banish the crawling beast from her mind, only for it to grow louder and more insistent, as it elevated her senses to supernatural levels, and drove her towards a frenzy. Then, just as the snarling song of the beast reached its crescendo, she heard a soft rustling sound that her mortal hearing had almost missed.
In a flash, Mavis turned toward the source of the sound to see a tiny figure in the shadows, watching her with unblinking eyes. It was a child, a little, scruffy waif of a girl who looked to be no more than six or seven years old.
As her eyes washed over the little wretch, drinking in the child’s bedraggled form, a sudden flash of hunger coursed like waves through Mavis’ soul as the beast began to rage, almost beyond control, trying to force itself into her thoughts, urging her to give in to its desires – but beyond the beast, there was something else as well, a distant echo of humanity, to which Mavis clung with a desperate determination, her very own guardian angel, encouraging her to resist, to say no, to let this unfortunate urchin live another night.
Closing her eyes, Mavis took a deep breath and planted her feet on the ground, setting her will against the marauding monstrosity of her raging beast, and when she opened them again, the child was gone.
Mavis made a mental note to tell her sire about the girl, as Delilah was always looking for new indoctrinates into the Church of Lilith – and such a young child, especially one who almost avoided detection, would make a perfect convert. Then she sighed a sigh of relief; the beast might one day snuff out the last remnants of her soul – no – it would happen, it was only a matter of time, but she had retained control this time; she had let the child go, and, in so doing, had saved herself from becoming a monster for another night. The road ahead would be long and fraught with danger – but Mavis knew that as long as she held onto even the slightest glimmer of her humanity, there was hope for her, so, as she walked through the streets of the working-class slums, her head held high, Mavis knew that she was a creature of the night, but also a human being with a conscience.
The beast was the price she had to pay for knowledge and power, and at times, it hardly seemed worth the cost, but if the truth were told, she had entered this bargain, as Faustian as it may be, with her eyes wide open – she had chosen this unlife, and if given the option, she would choose it again. Besides, the beast might be a part of her, but that doesn’t mean it has to define her.
With a stoic determination, Mavis stepped from the abandoned building and back into the bracing chill of the night air, ready to hunt something that was not a child.
A PDF, downloadable character sheet for Mavis McBride is coming soon.
When she is on the tube, Mavis listens to this playlist with the volume turned to the max to distract herself from wanting to eat everybody. Her music tastes might not be what you’d expect for someone so old.
Let’s Get Social
You can use these links to follow Mavis and chat with her on her various profiles.