(For information only. Not required reading for the setting)
The story of supernatural involvement in the crafting of the history of this alternative Britain goes back to ancient times. The Romans, unabashedly influenced by vampires and political intrigue. Ancient Egypt, ruled by animal headed gods and the ancestors of the werewolves, so dispersed and prolific they emerge early in European folklore. The ancient Greeks and their obsession with human perfection and generally xenophobic attitude – altogether anti-supernatural.
But most important to this story, how did a tiny island called Britain manage to conquer an empire?
Frustrated by the constraints of the Catholic Church, and lack of military and political success, Henry VIII appointed Sir Thomas Cromwell his chief minister in 1532, on the understanding of a change in fortune for the monarchy.
What historians now acknowledge to be one of the most elaborate and successful cover-ups in medieval history saw the Throne of England breaking with Rome as the act of an apparently frustrated monarch who, above all else, desired a wife capable of giving him a son to inherit his throne. The real reasons were far less banal.
In the background, the foundations were being laid for one little island nation to become an empire. The first Shadow Council was, in keeping with it’s name, completely clandestine. It’s existence was known only to Henry and Cromwell, and comprised two members. A vampire political advisor and a werewolf military advisor.
The atmosphere of Henry’s reign began to take on a matured political acumen that many nobles fell woefully foul of as they stumbled to catch up, while vampires of noble rank , who had spent lifetimes carefully crafting normalised human behaviours, slipped quickly into positions of power. In addition, the gradual evolution of the regimental system based on werewolf pack dynamics delivered the King’s desire for cohesive military successes as well as a certain freedom for werewolves to engage in military campaigns.
With the ascension of Elizabeth I to the throne in 1558, strongly supported by many of the most powerful noble houses in the country, the charter of the Shadow Council was formally ratified, and it’s members officially recognised as royal advisors by the Crown. One of Elizabeth’s first Acts of Parliament in 1559 was to recognise the legality of the state of supernatural beings to hold hereditary rank and political office, own and inherit property, earn wages and engage in business practices.
The establishment, or rather emergence, of Elizabethan era werewolf packs and vampire hives across England integrated into society rapidly, spreading as the British Empire expanded.