Character's Secret (For DMs' eyes only):
This character's true name is Drew (Andrew) Graves.
Drew is not really a priest. While fleeing from the wages of sin (after having robbed a military supply depot), he decided the south was too hot for him, so he travelled northwest. Somewhere in Colorado, he was camping out and heard a fight happening close by. He discovered four thugs murdering a priest for his car. He couldn't get there in time to save the man, and 4:1 odds against these particular thugs looked nonsurvivable, anyway. However, the thugs tossed out of the car everything they didn't want before they roared off.
The priest was only barely alive by the time Drew got to him and began administering primitive first aid. He tried to get the priest to rest, but the fellow insisted on telling Drew where he was going and who he was and muttering something about the will of God and "I understand now." before he bled out and died.
Drew buried the priest and considered going after the thugs. But, since they were in a car, and he was on foot, he abandoned that idea. Instead, he decided to take on the priest's identity as a cover. Drew had been raised Catholic, so he figured this wouldn't be too difficult--that is, until he discovered that the priest had been a follower of the newer form of Catholicism, the one that was into magic. Drew almost gave up the idea, right there. But he looked at his meager belongings, and he looked at the priest's belongings, and he realized something.
The priest was going toward a life, while he himself was running away from one. Drew decided that 30 was a pitiful age to still be r8unning away from life, constantly in hiding from the law, and he didn't want that life, anymore. He would take his chance with the magic-using Catholics. Maybe, if they found him out, they would at least hear him out before they turned him over to the authorities.
Besides, he just wanted to see if he could pull it off.
02.17.9041: Born at Fort Hood, Texas, to Lt. Jeremy Graves and Lt. Suzanne Graves, RN, at the Air Force base there.
09.01.2047: Begins first grade.
09.18.2052: The Ruining happens; his father is killed in action.
xx.04.2054: His mother dies. Though more orderly than the surrounding area, the base is still mostly in chaos, and Drew decides he doesn't like the ultra-authoritarian types who are taking over the place. After his mother is buried, Drew runs off. He begins stealing to survive.
xx.06.2054: Falls in with a gang of local boys, mostly orphaned. They continue stealing and other criminal activities.
xx.xx.2056: By now, the gang has chosen a name for itself--the Bowie Knives, since their leader owns one. They leave the Ft. Hood/Killeen area for Dallas, as the military types at the base are being vigorous about imposing order. The Knives head for Dallas.
xx.xx.2057: Dallas is in total chaos, with several criminal gangs and citizens' groups fighting against each other to control different parts of the city. The Knives observe and select the weakest of these. With rather startling efficiency, they overthrow that gang and move in. Within a year, they establish themselves as the center of power in their part of Dallas.
xx.xx.2058: A period of relative peace begins.
xx.xx.2060: Being competent and one of the few earliest gang members who is still alive, Drew moves up in the gang hierarchy, becoming the gang leader's second.
xx.01.2063: A virulent form of flu hits Dallas, destroying the tenuous veneer of order that had grown in the city. Drew becomes leader of the Bowie Knives when the previous leader dies, but by the time the flu has burnt itself out, there is not much left in Dallas to hold sway over. Drew concludes that Dallas is too dangerous to live in. Because of the epidemic, people are far more violent and paranoid than they were, before, fearing that this might be a return of the influenza-W. The Knives head for Tulsa, where the grandparents of one of them had a farm.
xx.05.2063: Squatters have taken over the farm, the Knives discover. They fight for the place, rather bloodily. In the end, they gain control of the farm, but with several casualties. They start working the farm.
xx.06.2063: Within a month, dissension foments, as some of the Knives decide that they don't want to be farmers; they would rather return to Dallas and take their chances. Drew tells them they're idiots, that, having abandoned the place, they'll have to fight hard to get it back. The dissenters don't want to listen, and the Knives split into two groups.
xx.xx.2068: The remaining Bowie Knives work the farm with relative success for several years, until a drought and tornadoes strike, destroying the farmhouse. They rebuild.
xx.xx.2070: The drought continues. It proves disheartening to even the most loyal of the Knives, so Drew calls a meeting. Either they can disband and break up into smaller groups who can blend in with townspeople and perhaps survive more easily among them, or they can stick together, maintain group strength, and return to crime, using the farm as a base. The group decides to return to crime, because it's a lot more exciting than scrabbling around in the dirt day after day. And if they're going to die anyway, they'd rather go out in a blaze of glory, and so forth. They decide to raid a nearby Army supply depot for ammunition and food.
04.12.2070: The supply depot turns out to have better security than the gang's research had suggested. Drew gives the order for everyone to escape the best way they can and to scatter; if they return to the farm, they can be too easily rounded up. He decides to get ut of the Southern Commonwealth entirely and heads northwest, into Colorado.
01.23.2071: Drew encounters a dying priest, Father William Ratheleigh, and assumes the priest's identity.