It could be said that writing any sort of memoir is an exercise in vanity; for it presupposes that some other persons might be interested in the comings and goings of the writer’s life. I do not know if I am guilty of said vanity, for even as I write, I am fully aware that the very existence of this narrative could pose a great threat to those portrayed herein, should the content ever come to light. Even committing such information to paper, outside the confines of the Library of the order to which I belong is expressly forbidden, for fear it should fall into the wrong hands. And yet, I feel the need to tell this tale, for all that it could lead to my expulsion from the order and worse. Perhaps some day, God willing, circumstances will be such that no harm can come of it any more. Then, maybe this, my extreme folly, vain or otherwise, shall come to be known by others.
Allow me to introduce myself. I shall not reveal the name my mother gave me, but for want of a better pseudonym, call me Brother James. That is not the name I am known as within the order, but it will suffice. The name of the order should also remain unknown, but among ourselves, we nickname ourselves the Black Friars. That might give you the impression that we are a religious order, but we are far from monastic. The name reflects, rather, the location of our main offices, but do not go trying to find us there. With so many businesses and offices and institutions, we are not easy to find, if we do not want to be found. You might think of us as observers and recorders. Whom do we observe and recall? Our business is those who walk among us who are not entirely human; those creatures that form part of our nightmares and dreams, creatures from folklore, myth and legend; the werewolf, the vampire, the beast in the sewers and other such beings. In truth, we do more than observe; for it is our purpose and duty to ensure that such beings remain in the province of fairy tales and legends, by minimising their imprint upon the everyday world. We assist those that do more good than ill, as best we can and for those that do more ill than harm, we try to mitigate what harm we cannot prevent. Sometimes, we remain the man behind the curtain, but often we are known, as individuals anyway, to the targets of our endeavours, as employees or friends, so that we can be close without ever revealing our true purpose. And, on top of that, we make sure that we know enough of the affairs of others, enough to ensure that we always have friends in high places, should official records need a little cosmetic adjustment or news stories to remain unprinted. It is what we do, and we do it well.