Jerome Dubois aka “Gravekeeper”
Jerome is a slender, bald black man with a chocolate complexion and a broad, winning smile. He has taken care of himself, though one could not say he regularly worked out. He is educated, though has never really seen anything through to completion. He attended Loyola for a couple of years, studying Sociology and Psychology until he washed out, unwilling to invest the time needed. He is charming and witty and conducts himself in the Southern Gentleman attitude.
Jerome is almost always seen in a crisp, clean suit; often blue or indigo in colour. He couples that with a top hat and cane. When out as Gravekeeper, he wears a black suit with tails and forgoes the hat and cane, opting instead for white skull face paint. His gris-gris is a gold chain with a locket around his neck with his mother’s ashes inside. His fingers are often adorned in varied rings marking him as a “Baron” of the Ghede Loa (spirits of the dead).
Jerome grew up spoiled as the only child of Mary Dubois. He never met or knew his father and his mother was tight-lipped about him, but his mother was the block hero in East Riverside, New Orleans… her door was always open and she welcomed every kid on the block into her home. To everyone for a mile around, she was simply Mama Dubois.
Jerome became self-reliant at an early age after his grandmother passed away. His carefree youth vanished when his mother suddenly had to take on a second job, working nights at a local truck stop and he had to look after himself far more often in her absence. In those years, he had unprecedented freedom and he very quickly learned how to use his looks and charm to get what he wanted from people.
With his mother working two jobs, she was able to save up enough money to get him a head start in university and with application (and a little manipulation), he was accepted into Loyola University. He enjoyed understanding people and chose to pursue Sociology and Psychology. In his second year though, he very quickly discovered that this was a lot like work and decided that Academia was not for him.
Instead, he found his way to Harrah’s Casino and put his social manipulation skills to the test at the card tables. He often found that his bluff game was far better than his understanding of odds and probability, which worked well on tourists, but less so on pros.
As he rose in prominence as a gambler and his reputation among the ladies mirrored his success, his world was turned upside down. Mama Dubois had died. The idea that she was gone struck him at his core… when he went to see her to prepare for the funeral, her skin was nearly white, which given her dark black complexion had Jerome questioning what had happened. All doctors said that everything pointed to natural causes, as they couldn’t find anything unusual, aside from the near absence of melanin. In accordance with his mother’s will, she would be cremated and Jerome, as her only living kin, was asked to perform a ritual to see her spirit escorted to the afterlife.
Jerome had never paid much attention to his mother’s beliefs, though he knew it was steeped in voodoo. After reading the instructions to ensure he wasn’t going to have to kill a goat or something, he honored his mother’s wishes. He locked a portion of his mother’s ashes in a locket that he had to carry with him (for protection) and he had to mix a nasty cocktail of rum, hot chilis and drippings from blackened cajun catfish. As he gasped for air after chugging the nasty, spicy booze he felt an electric spark from his locket and the world seemed to slow down and dim.
Before him stood the spirit of his mother, her kind smile on her lips. She explained to him that he had a legacy to carry on. The women in her family have had a role in New Orleans… protectors. When her mother died, she took on her second job, not to make extra money, but to protect the citizens of the city from those things that go bump in the night. Creatures of myth and legend were real and those who could pierce the veil to the land of the dead were keenly aware of those creatures. Because she hadn’t been gifted with a daughter, she had to alter the rites so that it would work with him. Since it had worked, he now had a sacred duty to protect people from the unsleeping dead.
Jerome did the only thing he could think of, armed with this information… he ran. He wanted no part of this legacy. It became increasingly clear that no matter where he ran, the dead would seek him out. Most were lost and confused, unsure they were truly dead. Others wanted help for themselves (bringing their killers to justice) or their loved ones (relaying messages to the survivors).
Then there are the monsters… most of the dead are spirits. Hostile ones have limited means available to them (usually), but can be troublesome and annoying. Occasionally, those that make it to the land of the dead find a way to return and when they do, they take on the form they appear as in the land of the dead. Serial killers appear as massive golems, made of the bodies of their victims, arsonists appear as eternally burning creatures… their forms are as varied as the types of insanity.
In the face of these horrors, Jerome has vowed to keep his smile. He can’t escape his destiny, so he will make his mother proud and do his best, in his own way.
Jerome is a charming man, skilled in negotiation, etiquette and leaving a good first impression. He is an accomplished con man as well, having hustled many at the poker tables. He has some knowledge in Sociology and Psychology, which he uses to his advantage to play people as well as he plays cards.
He is an amateur pickpocket and sleight of hand magician. He speaks fluent English and Creole (Cajun French).
Soul Blast – Can conjure up astral energies and unleash them in a flickering blue-green ball of force that can harm both beings possessing a life force as well as supernatural constructs and beings, but is of little use against technological devices such as androids or other machines.
Mother’s Mercy – A barrier of energy can protect Jerome from harm
Roll the Bones – A pair of dice made from human knuckle bones. Rolling them can impart luck on him on a good roll. On a bad roll…
Luck of the Draw – An old and faded Tarot deck that belonged to Mama Dubois. Drawing a card can summon power from the land of the dead. The suit of the card determines the ability (swords = offense, cups = regeneration, coins = luck and skulls = fate) while the number determines the potency. Major Arcana cards allow him to summon and manifest a spirit from the land of the dead to aid him.
Eyes of Fate – A small crystal ball that belonged to Mama Dubois. Peering into the ball (often while blitzed on rum) allows Jerome to see other places (Clairvoyance) or other times (Retrovoyance/Prevoyance). Seeing the past is often simple (if maybe muddled), but Prevoyance, or looking to the future, often comes at a price (unable to change it, or if you change fate to save a life, another must be given in exchange sort of stuff)
Gifts of the Loa – Mama Dubois left a “cookbook” of sorts. It details all of the offerings, rituals and practices of a houngan (voodoo priest). Healing poultices, offerings for spiritual services, spirit possession and exorcism, even raising the dead. Jerome prefers to not use the darker arts his mother documented…
Several suits with matching top hats
Raven skull cane
Pair of well-worn dice
Leatherbound journal full of dog-eared pages
A crystal ball (grapefruit sized) with stand
Palm-sized tarot deck