Forsaken: The Edge of Everything
“Let me sing this one to ya now, it’s called Killing Floor. I been on some, laid others on some. You wanna do the former more’n the latter if you can, here we go. A-one, a-two…”
Billy came out of the heyday of Delta Blues, but nowhere near the delta. Instead he was born in California’s central valley, where his parents were farmers. Billy left home at a young age and headed to Mississippi, where he learned to play and wail just like any southern boy. And then he Changed.
His first pack was a mix of African-American Iron Masters and Storm Lords who went by Smokestack Lightning. While reformers fought for equal rights under the law, the Smokestacks helped beat back the staggering bane infestation plaguing the segregated South until the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968. A malaise fell over the pack, so Billy — who’d earned the name Braggart for his boastful blues style — took fellow Iron Master Caroline Danforth and moved back to California, to Fort Bragg on the coast.
Together, they formed Howlin’ Fort Bragg, and flew mostly under the radar, mostly ignoring meat-side affairs to police and prod things from the Hisil. The Howlers flew under the radar so well it was a surprise to all the NorCal packs when Braggart joined Papa Sabakov in supporting Elias Winterborn’s bid for a Silver Crown. Thereafter Braggart served as one of the Storm King’s advisors and confidantes, and this may have led to his downfall.
Howlin’ Fort Bragg lost four members at the battle of Point Bonita, soon after which, King Elias disappeared. Over the next few years, the Howlers refilled their ranks with young wolves who’d changed during the depression, and who had no time for talk of missing kings, and shaky respect for an alpha whose support of such cost three Uratha lives.
Chief among these young turks was Graham Keong, who goaded Braggart nonstop. “What do we care about San Francisco’s problems?” “Why’d you let yourself get used?” “When’s the King paying us back for the wolves you wasted?” Finally, at his wits’ end, Billy Braggart challenged Keong, who called for a test of agility and stealth. It took Braggart less than thirty seconds to lose, and Keong’s new act as alpha was to banish the Cahalith from Fort Bragg and forbade the others from talking to him. “Efficiency,” he said. “We’ve already got a Gibbous.”
Since then Braggart has been a lone wolf, if not a ghost wolf, traveling up and down the west coast playing the blues in dives and at festivals. Sociable as he is, he’s amassed a network of fellow ghost wolves and outcasts, and it’s rumored he’s had dealings with faeries, wizards, and even vampires, though these are likely rumors spread by Keong to discredit his predecessor.
Gregarious and folksy, but with something always obviously brewing behind his eyes, Billy Braggart is easier to like than to trust. He’s a nicknamer and a back-slapper, a raconteur and a killer bluesman, but he believes forgiveness trumps permission with his whole heart — when something’s right to do, he’ll do it, and you can forgive him or come at him.
Friends and allies tolerate his wily ways, as his heart seems set on following the Oath and spreading glory, but like any reformer, he’s a hell of a self-promoter, and he makes sure to save some glory for himself. Never know when you might need some!