Mr. Vasquez participated in the magic trade for most of his life. He lived in Spain where, as I have said, the magic trade was everywhere, but well hidden. He’d sold his share of magical goods to both noble and untrustworthy men and beings, and once, after a sour deal between himself and some non-European traders (rumored to have been a shaman of some kind), Mr. Vasquez began to practice much more selectivity. After the Highland Wars, Mr. Vasquez vowed to never again sell to werewolves or vampires. At that time clans and cults were far too numerous, volatile and ambitious to trust with magic.
The Grey-Reivers in Britain were a particularly abrasive group of lupomorphs, responsible for creating a sore tension between mortals and non-mortals in the Isles. The clan was composed of the descendants of early reivers, mostly human Scottish families, who, during the late thirteenth century, joined numerous other families (some English) in stealing cattle as a preferred livelihood. They had to be quickly and violently dealt with a few decades ago after they nearly burned down a large English town using particulary potent fire-based magic. The clan had consulted a small community of Welsh druids sympathetic to the Grey-Reivers, and with their help, called forth a helldog–a fiery hound spirit—over which they soon lost control, thus beginning a war.
The Grey-Reivers’ actions were foolish. Mr. Vasquez was particularly fortunate that the magic he had sold the Grey-Reivers was all spent during the creation of the helldog. Otherwise he would have been discovered and most likely blamed for some of the havoc. Mr. Vasquez was certainly aware of his buyers’ plans when he sold them the magic they requested. It was so specific that anyone with any degree of magical knowledge would have spotted the intent to summon an archaic being-–a practice that has for so long been taboo practice that the idea of anyone’s attempting it now is almost too difficult to believe. Mr. Vasquez just saw the opportunity to make a strong profit, and most likely assumed the Grey-Reivers would never be able to achieve a summoning.
The locket Vasquez gave Thomas was an incredible artifact that would eventually affect the lives of more than one person—indeed, thousands, if we consider the greatest and farthest-reaching effects. Thomas did not know exactly what the truth behind the locket was, but his assumptions were close enough to lead him to use the locket in such a way that its purpose was served as intended. But the locket must wait for now. There is much that is important to tell before we come to that.
It is an interesting coincidence that Thomas gave La Flor to Molly shortly before Vasquez handed Thomas the locket created by John Crowe. The two items would join together to greatly affect the events of this tale. La Flor was a soul well, something Thomas had failed to tell Molly. Thomas had knicked it from Henry Bardow after killing him in the Caribbean. Bardow, like many lost lupomorphs, had intended to find and kill his infector, but he never got the chance.
This reminds me of something Thomas once said to me during one of our many conversations: “That’s what all people have in common—each of us is out to kill something, whether it be a man, a moment or a memory.”
May 3, 1833