Doctor Hraffenwood and the Vinous Twilight
Self-proclaimed “Chief and Greatest Sorcerer of the 21st Century” Doctor Sikandar Hraffenwood, Ph.D., is the only person ever awarded a doctorate in ceremonial magick from the University of San Cipriano. (Though he is not the only person ever degreed by that institution in some form of supernatural studies.) He is the grandmaster of the Poemantic Society of the Vinous Twilight, and resides in a Victorian mansion (Talleskane House) transported to Fitch’s Bluff from the highlands of Scotland, where it was once adjacent to the lands held by Queen Victoria herself. Hraffenwood is globally infamous in academic, artistic, social and supernatural circles; it is said that if one wishes to have a personal feud with Doctor Hraffenwood, one needs only to become known to him and wait.
The only son (his twin brother died in the womb) of eccentric upper-class Welsh landowners fallen on hard times, Doctor Hraffenwood is an outrageous personality that is far larger than life. A living legend that has traveled the world, indulged in copious amounts of perverse omnisexual activities and the full spectrum of illicit drugs, enraged professors at and been expelled from some of the world’s most prestigious schools, Hraffenwood is universally recognized as the single most powerful Adept of his generation. (Though many argue he is not the most powerful Adept of every living generation in the world today.)
Hraffenwood is acidly sarcastic, frequently cruel without the slightest provocation, tearfully charitable at a moment’s notice, and seems somewhat unhinged to those who do not know him or his reputation. He is both an aesthete and a connoisseur of the utterly disgusting, being more than willing to hold forth eloquently on the merits of a wine or the color and texture of a fresh bodily secretion.
It would be impossible to list out all the stories, true and false, associated with Doctor Hraffenwood. He’s fled collapsing dictatorships, attended orgies with presidents and kings, been in gunfights and fistfights and knife fights, insulted great artists and praised utter clowns, carried out grand rituals and hurt innocent and guilty people alike. He is known to be completely legitimate in his powers by every supernatural faction, and his unbelievable ego is considered his most outstanding defense: Only the very worst of the worst can do so much as raise a single hair on the back of Hraffenwood’s neck, for he’s seen it all and done it all… fear is not his companion, even now that he is in his 80s. The Loa Masters made the mistake of attempting to test his mettle once… they have learned better than to ever try that again.
He’s been multiply divorced and widowed from men and women alike, has been arrested on numerous occasions (once for buggering someone in a cage in a zoo and asking for a cup of hot white tea while in mid-thrust), is renowned for his love of openly blaspheming every possible form of religion, and is on watchlists that even the most secret of services don’t know about.
Loved or hated, Doctor Sikandar Hraffenwood is never boring and is always a force to be reckoned with. He doesn’t get involved with everyday matters very often, but if he does, it means things are about to become quite serious indeed.
Hraffenwood is now an elderly man with intense, burning eyes and a grimly set (and exceedingly foul) mouth. He is well known to wear both tailored suits and outrageous ceremonial costumes replete with headdresses, staves, flowing robes or caftans and enormous jewelry. His choice of garb depends less on his setting and more on his mood.
He took over the Vinous Twilight in the 1950s, pushing out the fussy academics and timid wannabe conjurers who had kept it alive since the 1860s. The Vinous Twilight is not a cult, but rather a sort of magickal academic society. Today, it is divided into four branches: Hraffenwood’s Poemantic Society of the Vinous Twilight has the most members and the fewest real Adepts in it; the Pedagogical Circle of the Vinous Twilight has the fewest members but the most real Adepts; the Delphic Circle of the Vinous Twilight has devolved into a debating society for linguists and cryptologists; and the Seraphic Brotherhood of the Vinous Twilight may as well be a spiritualist religious revival meeting. There was also once a fifth branch, the Majestic Conclave of the Vinous Twilight (set up in direct conflict with Hraffenwood), but it collapsed in the 1970s. Every branch of the Vinous Twilight claims to be the original and only legitimate Vinous Twilight, while Hraffenwood disowns all but the Poemantic Society. The media and most authorities cannot discern between them, and frequently mistake one branch for another.
For the record, the name “Poemantic Society of the Vinous Twilight” would more or less mean “Philanthropic Organization of the Crimson-Purple Sunset.” The original founders of the Vinous Twilight chose the name due to a supposedly prophetic dream experienced by one of the founders (an Anglo-Greek poet and ceramicist) after ingesting opium in a flat in Manchester.