Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood & Bourbon
Ex-Marine reformed hoodlum
Skin the color of milk chocolate and piercing black eyes. Too calm eyes. Eyes that have seen things. Wrapped around them high cheekbones and a strong jaw… firm, uncompromising. Close-cropped hair—that high and tight. The hint of a beard—god, he hated the Corps’ policy on shaving. Just over average height and built like a brick shit house. He always had muscle, even as a teen, but a decade in the Marine Corps gave him every reason and opportunity to add to it and he maintained his habits when he return to civilian life. Working out helped give him clarity, it gave him focus. It’s how he started most days when he was still alive. By the time of his death, he was a monster of a man.
Tattoos on both arms, across his chest, dark ink fighting to stand out against dark skin. They circle nasty puckered scars, bullet and shrapnel wounds that tell a tale of a history of violence. The tattoos begin benign—the oldest, in the most obvious places, are street trash. Then come the armbands and Marine Corps enthusiasm that a whole tribe is known for. Finally, across his chest, through his back, his forearms they become professions of his faith—a scene of Christ on the Cross, the names of saints, and biblical verses woven into art. The evolution of art that maps the evolution of the man.
In life, after his time in the military, Furnie was most commonly seen in either gym clothes or respectable suits. Following his Embrace, with the loss of his beloved workout time, he’s defaulted to the latter. If asked about it he’s happy to volunteer that the only Negros that ever managed to affect much change wore them—from Frederick Douglas to Martin Luther King—but that’s only half the truth. The other half is more benign: Furnie is a creature of habit, of discipline, and his structured wardrobe appeals to his meticulous nature. That he looks damn good in his tailored suits doesn’t hurt. One small benefit of not going to the gym anymore—he doesn’t have to keep re-tailoring his suits.
Name: Furnie Templeton Jacobs
Date of Birth: October 11th, 1985 (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Date of Ghouling: July 10th, 2013 (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Date of Embrace: March 23rd, 2016 (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Apparent Age: Late 20s
Real Age: Approx. 40
Weight: 220 lbs
Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Black
Education: B.A. Theology (Xavier University, 2012—2013, degree unfinished)
Occupation: Blackwatch mercenary (2012—2013), U.S. Marine Corps (2002—2012)
Religion: Monachal Sanctified
Furnie was born in New Orleans, raised in it. Its poison seeped into his bones like the crack his teenage mother smoked when he was in the womb. She didn’t give him a father and wasn’t around to give him love, but she gave him an addiction to fight from birth. Nominally raised by his ‘grandmother’ in Tremé (the matriarch of a sprawling family), Furnie floated between relatives throughout his childhood, often living with an aunt, great-aunt, or great-uncle for years at a time. The rotation, and relatively tightly-knit family, helped him escape the worst of the birthright his mother left him into his teens.
After the last shuffle in high school, he fell in among an increasingly violent and criminal crowd that were quick to capitalize on his quick wits, largely intact education, and bulky frame for their own ends. Furnie came to identify with them in a city ravaged by racial violence and poverty, by the haves and the have-nots. He embraced violence, hatred of authority, and the independence his criminal enterprises presented him. They gave him a means of overcoming his conflicted emotions regarding his absent parents, broken childhood, and feelings of inferiority associated with his dependence on his array of relatives. He flaunted his newfound ‘success’ at first, but his activities eventually drove a wedge between him and most of his family, especially when he dropped out of high school in his senior year.
Arrested when he was seventeen along with several others as part of a larger investigation, he was given the choice of prison time or (if he could pass the GED) enlistment. To the chagrin of his friends, he chose the latter. The enlistment term was shorter than the jail sentence they threatened him with. It was the early days of the Afghanistan War, prior to the Iraq War, and post-9/11 enlistments were starting to fall off—the only ‘waiver’ he required was for his arrests. His trip to Parris Island was by bus in 2002. He remembers it as a humid, rotting, decaying hellhole full of violent young men: in many ways, it reminded him of home.
He’s never talked much about his experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, but they shaped him, molded him. Forced him to grow, to develop both independence and interdependence. To trust others and let go of his hatred for authority, for ‘the man’. The experience convinced him to reenlist, once, and then again. In that time he saw himself become ‘the man’. He grew into his responsibilities—first to his peers and superiors, then to his subordinates. He learned the difference between taking care of your people and coddling them. He learned what was important and what wasn’t, where discipline had to be iron and where it could bend. He saw men die and he ordered them to their deaths when required. The experiences humbled him.
He was humbled by the faith he discovered, too. His childhood has been surrounded by the mambos and convoluted faiths of New Orleans, but in the Corps he had an assigned chaplain with his units—men of quiet faith. At first he’d scoffed at the idea. Give him another rifleman, not some preacher. But after the first time he pulled his brothers’ badly mangled bodies from an IED-ruined Humvee, he found himself weeping before a chaplain. He found an understanding, calm, and reassuring man of quiet faith who listened to his profane fury without judgement. They didn’t force their faith on him—they didn’t have to. He came to them, drawn like a moth to the flame, as soldiers have been across history. He was baptized in 2005. By 2008 he was a lay faith leader, filling in when a chaplain wasn’t available. It was rewarding work—as rewarding as being an NCO and leading men into battle. Ultimately, it was that faith that helped drive him from the Corps.
By 2012 he was back at Parris Island as a drill instructor. The wars were largely over and he’d decided it was time to reinvent himself. To become something more than a soldier—and to return home. Two years of turning enlistees into Marines, young boys into hard men, convinced him he could do more back home. That he should do more back home. If the wars were still going, he’d have stayed: he couldn’t have left. Without them though, his skills could be put into other uses. Perhaps better ones. He took his honorable discharge and left to use that G.I. Bill that had been sitting there, intending to attend seminary school.
His return to New Orleans was unheralded, his plans unremarkable. He had an ‘in’ with Blackwatch—easy work without anyone shooting at him. He could work around his schedule and desire to build on the associate’s degree he picked up in his later years in the Corps. He enrolled at Xavier University using his GI Bill and started his new job. The former was everything he expected. The latter was not.
Disgusted by the rejects, lack of discipline, the borderline personalities that gravitated to the mercenary company, and the racially tinged violence that so colored so many of their activities in New Orleans, he quit in favor of more humble work while he went to school. He wanted that part of his life behind him. He did not get what he wished.
Conditions in the city were worse than they’d ever been. The neighborhoods he’d grown up in were rotten shitholes full of addicts, dealers, and the worst kind of predatory trash. Schools were in shambles. Kids, especially kids that looked like him, were increasingly turning to the streets—to any hustle to get by. Too many of them were ending up in prison or dead.
So did those that tried to step in. In 2013, after repeatedly running off a group of dealers near his niece’s house, Furnie was shot four times in the street while walking home from the girl’s 11th birthday party. As he lay there, bleeding out, death came for him. Just not as he’d expected. A creature of darkness stood over him, cursed him with its blood, and made him its slave.
How long Furnie might have served as a ghoul to Alexander Wright, none can say—his actual service was something less than three years. Brought to bear in the Battle of Mt. Carmel by his domitor, Furnie died on the end of a shapely blonde’s sword. Only after the battle, vitae still burning in his veins, did he rise as something else.
2016 was an important year for New Orleans: it was the year the Lasombra arrived, the year the prince took a childe, the year the barbarians at the gates made their first push in decades against the prince, and the Guard de Ville was nearly wiped out. Furnie’s postmortem Embrace by Alexander Wright was perhaps a reaction to all of these.
Furnie would learn later that the hound had kept his eye on Furnie since his return to the city. His near-murder in the street, Wright suspected, was as much a reaction to that as it was to his actions trying to clean up his neighborhood—an attempt to pluck an arrow from the prince’s quiver before it could be strung.
An attempt that failed.
Since his Embrace, Furnie has fought ferociously against the growing influence of the Baron, his unclean faith, and the twisted and cruel Nosferatu that have made inroads into domains once loyal to the prince. He fights that influence along multiple axes. First in funding faith outreach in minority communities. That’s a losing battle against the Baron’s street-level influence. The war continues in the underbelly of those communities, where church-going (but no less brutal for it) gangs battle against Vodoun-supported groups for street corners to sling drugs and run gambling rings. Furnie reluctantly backs the former while siphoning their funding to support his other causes.
More directly, Furnie ferociously opposes Kindred expansion in those domains, fighting against them directly and working to root out their influence in its many forms.
Furnie is soft-spoken until he isn’t able to be and prefers to resolve confrontations with words rather than violence. He is slow to give or take offense and quick to forgive—though not forget. Some have mistaken his easy demeanor for weakness or cowardice. That mistake is typically fatal. In truth Furnie is both supremely confident in himself, having led men into battles across three continents, and at peace with God. He trusts in the divine. He has nothing to prove and doesn’t seek to. When action is required he simply acts decisively. That transition from tranquility to terrifying violence has shocked more than one that mistook him for easy prey.
Though raised among different faiths, in adulthood Furnie found a bedrock in Christian faith that has ‘mostly’ survived the transition to the Lancea et Sanctum. Ultimately, he remains more interested in helping others—especially in the increasingly impoverished and Vodouisant communities of his youth—find their way to God than he is in punishing and making an example of the sinner. Still, he finds some release in dispensing righteous punishment to the wicked that have feasted upon ‘his’ people.
• Alexander Wright: Furnie’s former domitor, inadvertent sire, and sometimes mentor.
• Becky Lynne Adler: Furnie’s association with Adler comes mostly through the Low Table. One of the many arrangements coordinated through it has been the laundering of not inconsiderable sums of money raised through his street-level enterprises through Adler’s and her brother Hurst’s many legitimate sources.
• Caroline Malveaux-Devillers: Furnie’s relationship with the prince’s childe is complex. It was always going to be: it was her blade that pierced his heart as a ghoul. That blow resulted in his Embrace, his domitor’s vitae fresh in his veins. He hasn’t held it against her—he was trying to kill her, after all. He still enjoys ribbing her about it. It amuses him how uncomfortable the topic makes her.
Since his Embrace, his association with Malveaux-Devillers has flown from three paths. First, through the Table, to which she recruited him in 2017 as he began to establish his many street-level enterprises. Though less established than some, he recalls her advocating for his inclusion as a valuable source of street-level connections that were otherwise lacking amid the Ventrue- and Lasombra-heavy group.
They have further association as fellow hounds on the Guard de Ville, though their focuses are quite different. Most of their collaboration has been associated with her pet project to bring wayward sires to justice—a two-pronged effort that seeks to simultaneously pull arrows from the quivers of their rivals and add to their own.
More personally, he’s a not infrequent visitor to her ‘White Room’ as a sparring partner, following a remark from him about how much he missed the gym. A few have whispered that such violent play might result in as much blood being swapped as spilled, but if there is anything more to their relationship they’ve kept it very quiet.
Furnie’s ghouls usually take two forms:
The first is the disposable gang leaders and drug dealers he uses to fight the obvious war against the Baron’s and the Mamanem Anarchs’ mortal influence. For these men and (rarely) women he has little mercy or concern—they’re sinful, deserving of their fates. He throws them into the teeth of the tiger without due regard for their safety. It’s part of his duty as one of the Sanctified to punish the wicked, after all.
The second is the more permanent and straitlaced kind—the faithful type, the ‘mostly’ honest.
Status: Ghouls •
Willy has had Furnie’s back almost since his Embrace. The huge Haitian ghoul is a magnificent physical specimen, standing almost 7’ tall and built like a tank, with arms larger than most men’s thighs. He considers Furnie to be his savior, having brought him to Christianity in life, and would happily lay down his life for the Brujah. Not that dying is in the plan.
His faith is a deep and abiding well that exceeds even that of his domitor, and on more than one occasion he’s stepped in on his domitor’s behalf to restrain him from choices he might regret. For all his physical might and barely contained violence, he’s a moral man who favors talking to fighting, much like his domitor. He piously attends church every Sunday.
(Brujah Status •, Camarilla Status 0, Guard de Ville Status ••, Hardline Sanctified Status •)
• 9. Unknown sire
• 10. Doc Xola (e. mid 20th century)
• 11. Alexander Wright (e. late 20th century)
Hezekiah “Hez” Santana (e. early 21st century, d. 2016)
• 12. Furnie Jacobs (e. early 21st century)
Hez is the childe of Alexander Wright, a former gangster who serves as one of the hounds under Sheriff Donovan. Wright is childe to Doc Xola, a bokor and back-alley surgeon who serves as Baron Cimitière’s chief enforcer and is renowned for his cruelty. Doc Xola’s sire is unknown but believed to have belonged to one of the marauding Sabbat packs that menace the city during Mardi Gras.
Furnie’s elder broodmate Hezekiah Santana was a preacher and former boxer who was banished in 2011 for trying to sabotage the prince’s thin-blooded pogrom. He continued to hide out in the city and was destroyed during the 2016 Battle of Mid-City.