Thomas Crowe created a lifestyle of anonymity for himself, and perhaps it was because he did that he was not captured or discovered as easily as the English authorities would have liked. In London, he was the upright businessman and gentleman, Charles Walsh; in Barcelona, he was the secretive lady-charmer, Señor Garcia. As far as I know, he may have had a hundred other identities and homes scattered across Europe, but those in London and Barcelona were the ones he most enjoyed. I knew many other werewolves who chose a life of secrecy in order to avoid conflict with the authorities during times of lupomorph persecution. In this sense, Tom was nothing out of the ordinary.

In Spain at the time, Thomas would not have had to try to blend in with the crowds as much as in England. The Spanish Catholic Church was much more concerned about the sinful abuse of magic. The Church also despised the Spanish cults much more than the clans, so a werewolf like Thomas need not have kept his head down too often. He wasn’t a prime concern of the government’s or God’s wrath. Ironically, the largest magic trade in Europe at the time was in Spain. Italy was second. Molly Bishop’s father, a Spanish gentleman, had attempted to keep his daughter far from Spain. He knew a life lived in and around the magic business was no environment in which to grow up. He dealt with the lowest and evilest men at times, and every time war reared its head in Europe, the shadowy customers came pouring into his shop, looking to procure the most potent and deadly varieties of magical artifacts. Even a few priests came to him looking for ways to protect their churches. They had given in and were ready to fight fire with fire, and sometimes in the most literal sense.

Spain has long been home to a number of clans and cults. The origins of its werewolf population are uncertain, but I believe lupomorphs migrated from France into northern Spain; they have never been seen in the south of Spain. There are only a handful of Spanish clans, including the Luna Nueva Clan—a rather quiet bunch—and Los Podencos de Seville. The latter clan is a rather bitter lot. They are often thought of as the Spanish equivalent of the British Grey-Reivers—a temperamental clan that has no objections to being a nuisance to civilization if they feel justified.

Spanish cults are more numerous and varied. Historically, they’ve maintained a very bitter relationship with the Spanish churches. The Catholic Church considers La Familia—a fierce and extensive cult—to be its foremost antagonist. Virgenes de Muerte, an all-female cult, is looked upon with scorn, but compared to La Familia, they are merely “unholy miscreants.” The Virgenes did sometimes associate with La Familia, but its members often preferred a safe and silent existence to a public, unstable one. They, like only a few cults and even fewer clans before them, tried to appease society by integrating themselves into it. It was rumored that one of the young Virgenes, a girl of fifteen years, was, at one time, a member of a local choir in Valencia, but when she was discovered she was excommunicated and banished from the church.

Unknown to Thomas, an associate of the Black Coats had an eye set on Molly Bishop, and though Spain was not at that time Black Coat territory, it was not far enough away to evade the interests of the Black Coats if they wanted someone badly enough.