Forsaken: The Edge of Everything
(GGG) Elias Winterborn
California King, whereabouts unknown
“I make this offer once: Give me your loyalty and courage, or else flee my reach. Answer before I stand.”
Elias came to San Francisco in 2005, having traveled on foot from his birthplace in Virginia. None of his remembered kin were Uratha or even Wolf-Blooded. But he Changed at fourteen and spent the next four years running with an Iminir pack. Then he challenged for leadership, failed badly, and was banished.
He found little welcome among the Bay Area packs, focused as they were on territorial squabbles and struggling to meet the demands of the powerful local spirit courts. Sleeping on a bench in Golden Gate Park, he struck a bargain with its powerful but reclusive spirit. Golden-Eyed Jorst would guide Elias to the next Uratha of each auspice to Change within 50 miles, in trade for the Storm Lord’s new pack making Jorst their totem.
Within the next few days, Elias recruited Ronny, Zamir, Stretch, and Smoking Mirror’s Daughter and formed the Golden Gate Guardians. Together, they hunted down Hrulalir the Zodiac Chorus, an Idigam who’d been plaguing San Francisco with serial killers since the late 1960s. Then they conquered the widest swathe of territory in San Francisco and allied with several key packs to cull and reorganize the corrupt Spirit Courts, sparing San Francisco the mysterious spiritual desolation which wracked the California coast at the turn of the decade. It was at Scarpa’s suggestion Elias forged his Silver Crown and declared himself King of California, but it was Elias who led his kingdom to defeat the God of the San Andreas Fault, followed by three waves of Pure.
The Ivory Claws were the final Pure attackers, far more insidious than their Fire-Touched and Predator King vanguard. Most wolves believe the final battle with the Tzuumfin alpha Twisted Nerve changed something in the King, enough that he could no longer face his pack and People. He set Twisted Nerve’s head on a pike at the border of what had been Ivory Claw territory, and has not been seen again. The Golden Gate Guardians have done well without him, but it goes without saying they miss their alpha in this time of the rising tide.
Less than five years after his departure, Elias Winterborn is about as mythical and mysterious a figure as Genghis Khan. Everyone knows the broad strokes of his career and achievements, but few can speak to his personality. This is in large part because he was a fiercely private wolf. None but his packmates can recall a casual conversation, and they honor his wishes by never discussing those with outsiders. Even Scarpa, who could safely be called Elias’s closest ally, cannot recall sharing a laugh with the man.
Elias is known to have never broken a promise, but all his promises were threats of violence and retribution. He relied on Stretch to make political agreements, and would honor those as it suited him, relying on his pack’s influence and power to justify commitments broken for the good of the People. He was also public about his distaste for spirits as a whole, declaring them little more than opportunistic predators unworthy of a wolf’s regard. Still, he maintained several long and fruitful alliances with cooperative spirits, so this may have been posturing to keep the Shadow-dwellers at a disadvantage.
This pragmatism defined Elias as a leader and warrior. In battle, he had absolutely no sense of fair play, relying on ambushes, deceit, psychology, and dirty tactics when disadvantaged, overwhelming assault when in control. He also believed in keeping hold of his faculties for as long as possible, and would avoid Gauru form until circumstances were truly dire, preferring Dalu or his enormous Urshul, enlarged by a rare Gift. Elias won more fights than he lost, but never lost without making sure his enemy regretted their victory.
When leading his People, he always chose the most efficient strategy over the most dramatic. “What good is glory when you’re dead?” he said. “Will honor keep your family from your killers’ claws? Fight to win. Fight to kill. Fight to end the fight.”