Being mortal, and already in a position of great vulnerability, we often ask ourselves, “Why?” Why must we constantly fight to protect our already endangered lives? Why are we so often called to protect others? Why must we sacrifice on each and every step we take toward our destination? Why so much pain?
Molly’s brush with Death may not have been as unnecessary as we would like to think. Upon looking back at the events of this tale, I must admit that what happened that night and what Thomas was forced to do were necessary in the greater design of things. I can’t imagine how differently things would be now if Thomas hadn’t bitten Molly.
Barbados, as fate would have it, is where Tom would face his “mildest of trials” as Gabriel Vasquez put it—confronting his brother, Harlan. At the time, the Black Coat Society was attempting to establish a safe and strong brotherhood far away from the interference of English authorities at home. Times were difficult, and most cults in London were suffering greatly. Disappearances, betrayals and inter-cult violence were common. Good relations with Parliament were weakening. As the population of the world grew, half-humans increasingly competed for room. The new Black Coat Society had an answer to this: amass a new cult of vampires, dominate the Caribbean isles, remove problematic clan settlements in Europe, and then reclaim territory one major city at a time. I suppose the Black Coats surmised they could win back the favor of civil mortals by doing these things, simultaneously removing the obstructing werewolf population as well, just to ensure that competition for space would never again damage vampire relations with humankind.
Sometime during the development of these goals, something else was suggested: hybridizing the half-human populations. Initially rejected and ill-received, the idea gained popularity when a charismatic young werewolf began to advocate hybridization to young Black Coats in Barbados. His name was Harlan Crowe. In order to demonstrate his loyalty to the Black Coat purpose, he voluntarily became the first werewolf in history to receive the vampire curse. It made him into something terrible and great. He would be the new patriarch of the Black Coat Society, and an unforgotten symbol of the times.
May 17, 1833