Talley, born as Edmund Fitzhenry, but famously known as "the Hound", is a Lasombra elder of great renown. He was educated by his great-grand sire, the methuselah Boukephos, and was described as a powerful, determined, and efficient individual.
Born in England, 1324 CE, he was a Kinfolk to a family of aberrant and foul werewolves dedicated to despoilment and savagery. But as he never developed the first change, he seems to have been shunned and was adopted by his human family as the bastard Edmund Fitzhenry, in a cadet house in service to King Edward II.
He was to become a knight, to be taught the language of battle, of noble service, and the art of diplomacy. In time he developed a reputation as a loyal warrior and accomplished hunter - while not at war, Edmund hunted fierce game, purportedly including Lupines, which he trapped and slew with relish. He served with distinction during the Hundred Years' War against France and was recorded in history books as one of the most tactically brilliant soldiers of his age (who had supposedly died in French soil, a victim of the Black Death whose body was never recovered).
In reality, his sire, Valdemar, gave him the embrace ruthlessly and treated him as little more than a tool to be wielded. From that point on, the vampire that would be known as Talley acted as bodyguard to many notable Lasombra, including his ancient ancestor Boukephos. He followed the clan in its journey to the Sabbat, and even served Archbishops and Cardinals in whichever vile and inhumane ways they directed.
When his sire Valdemar died in a grab of power, Talley was content to serve another patron and, after some time, adopted the nickname “the Hound” as a sneer at those who underestimated him. The reason behind Talley’s centuries of servitude was one of pragmatism: he saw what happened when vampires claimed thrones - within months or years, someone inevitably came to steal their position, while by serving, he could also have anything he wanted, with the perk of not having a target on his back. He dodged positions of power and influence for as long as he could, but given his brilliant work record, the Amici Noctis pressed him into the role of a Sabbat Templar in order to root out all failures and embarrassments from within the clan.
At the end of the 20th century, the Hound was still under orders of Cardinal Monçada, who had already commanded him in several assignments. Lucita recalls having met Talley in 1920 in the city of New York, when Monçada sent him to rid the night of a troublesome vampire named Karl who had been noisily disrupting a few of the archbishop's long-range plans. Unfortunately, Karl was also the kindred responsible for much of Lucita's amusement at the time, and she took exception to the attempt to remove him before she was finished.
Their duel was long and bloody, sparking a brawl in the tenements and speakeasies to rival the infamous Dead Rabbit Riot. At the heart of it, the two ancient children of shadow had torn at each other with unimaginable fury, cloaking an entire city block in impenetrable darkness. The newspaper reports talked of broken power lines as an explanation, but in truth, it had been Lucita and Talley hunting each other in the dark, fueling themselves with the lives of the hundreds trapped within their battlefield.
Lucita won, barely. Karl had been wounded but slipped away during the fury of her counterattack. She had later learned that he had fled the country, and had been destroyed by Talley in Vancouver, in 1934. By that time, of course, she had long since ceased to care. Talley himself had left the scene exhausted but relatively unscathed, leaving her with a mocking bow and an expression of regards for her sire. And she had stumbled out of the tenements, weary but more or less triumphant, and thoroughly convinced that Talley was, if not her equal, then at least one of the more frightening opponents she had ever faced.
In 1999, Cardinal Monçada once again commanded Talley on a mission, but this time to protect Sascha Vykos, Borges, and Francisco Domingo de Polonia from an assassination attempt to be performed by his own childe, Lucita de Aragón, as well as protect them from each other during the siege of the East Coast of America. In fact, Talley was not there to safeguard the unlives of the Archbishops, but to search for the traitor who was pulling those strings – he was not supposed to destroy Lucita, but the Cardinal said nothing about a beating.
At that opportunity, Talley took the exact opposite role – a bodyguard, while Lucita would play the assassin. The childe of Monçada eventually succeeded in her attempt against Archbishop Borges, after taking advantage of a little opening created by Sascha Vykos. However, despite Talley himself being ashamed of his performance, Cardinal Monçada considered that the Templar's mission goals had been completely fulfilled. Most of the Lasombra do not know enough about the encounter to assess it, but they conclude that circumstances of which they are unaware of kept Talley from being a sufficient challenge for Lucita, since the elder still holds a position of honor and the Amici Noctis find his conduct satisfactory.
After Monçada's Final Death, Talley appears to have had a temporary crisis of faith, wondering why he put up with serving those he despised instead of using his power for personal gain. To ask for insights on this matter, he sought out Camarilla archon Theo Bell, whom he believed to be in a similar situation due to his hatred for his own superior, Justicar Jaroslav Pascek. Bell told Talley that he simply did his job because he had decided, for himself, that it was worth doing. Talley, dissatisfied with the answer, deliberately broke the Masquerade to test Bell. He was impressed when Bell decided to put his personal desire to strike Talley down aside in favor of preserving the Masquerade by chasing after a witness. Later, Talley appeared once more to Bell to admit that Bell had been right. Afterwards, the Hound soon returned to service, becoming a Bishop of the Sabbat.
In the early 21st century, Talley entered the service of Marcus Vitel, the Lasombra ruler of Washington, D.C. who wasn’t interested in the Gehenna Crusade and cautioned Talley to remain aloof from Sabbat politics. Under the Amici Noctis instructions, Talley defended a select few Lasombra powerbases around the world, and furthered his clan's more arcane plans while many of his clanmates fell to slaughter in North Africa and the Middle East. Only in 2018 did Talley receive a new assignment from the Friends of the Night: selecting Lasombra delegates to parley with the Camarilla and negotiate the clan's entry into that sect.
Steady despite the enormous task before him, Talley followed his instructions to the latter by handpicking his childer, Sierra and Malenkov, for the task in Chicago, and also choosing a dozen other Magisters for domains including L.A., Seattle, Houston, and Philadelphia.
Bony and angular, Talley has a face like a hound that has just seen the fox vanish once and for all. His hair is white, though his features make him seem no older than thirty. His hands are his most remarkable feature: long and slender, with the fourth finger on each longer than the middle one. In his living days in England, Talley was once accused of being a werewolf because of those remarkable hands; having dealt with any number of Lupines in his time, he now finds the recollection amusing.
Talley still considers himself nobility on some level, and so always dresses to impress. One of his rare indulgences comes in the form of designer suits, shoes, and watches. He has a tailor on retainer, but has yet to summon this ghoul to Chicago. Talley’s a slender, white male appearing in his early 30s. His short, thin white-gray hair complements his pale skin and blue eyes. The most striking thing about Talley is the tattoo on the top of his head, visible through his hair. This spiraling sigil is in fact a brand. Soot was rubbed into the wound to make it scar and turn a vivid black. Talley speaks in a cultured British accent, which is affected. He often laces sentences with warm familiarities, such as “old boy” or “dear woman,” just to offset his cold appearance. His general manner is one of charm and sarcasm, concealing his ability to kill with just about any apparatus. Talley’s sense of humor leads him to don several Masks made from the identities of deceased serial killers. He’s used identities such as Herman Mudgett, Carl Panzram, and Fred West. His current epithet is Hawley Crippen, pharmacist, and he carries a case of drug samples to back it up.
- Talley is older than Francisco Domingo de Polonia, the former Archbishop of New York.
- The Hound likes to hunt Lupines in the Black Forest during his vacations.
- It is said that even Fatima al-Faqadi respects Talley's abilities, and Fatima had little respect for any Franj (as Crusaders were known in Arabia).
- Talley regularly expresses his distaste for intrigue and his frustration at the Sabbat's disunity. Combined with his apparently high self-control and dedication to duty, it is possible that he once followed the Path of Honorable Accord, especially considering his final encounter with Bell.
Talley, the Hound
Sire: Leopold Valdemar
Embraced: 1355 (Born 1324)
Blood Potency: 6
Ambition: Shepherd the Lasombra transition into the Camarilla
Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 4, Stamina 4; Charisma 3, Manipulation 5, Composure 5; Intelligence 4, Wits 5, Resolve 4;
Skills: Athletics 4, Brawl (Dirty Fighting, Weak Spots) 5, Drive 3, Firearms 4, Melee (Daggers, Swords) 5, Stealth (Shadows) 4, Survival 4; Etiquette (Court) 4, Insight 3, Intimidation 3, Leadership 2, Persuasion 3, Subterfuge 1; Academics (History) 3, Awareness 4, Finance 1, Investigation 4, Medicine 2, Occult (Oblivion) 2, Politics (Amici Noctis) 3, Technology 2;
Disciplines: Celerity 2, Dominate 4, Fortitude 3, Obfuscate 1, Oblivion 5, Potence 4
Morality: Humanity 4