Blameless In Your Ways
A prominent and successful Boulder hunter cell which lasted from 1983 to 1996.
The Gatekeepers was originally founded as an insignificant two-man cell in 1983 by Calvin Earl Potter, a motorcycle mechanic, and James Washington, a Vietnam vet, bookseller and father. Two non-experienced souls who took up the Vigil after their loved ones were murdered by supernatural means (for Calvin, his college girlfriend Emma Pollard at the hands of a shapeshifter… for James, his wife and two children were burned alive by a serial arsonist and mage).
They began very humble and small, working out of James’s two door garage most nights. It was a long and brutal slog for the two of them for the first few years. But in the course of their work, they befriended and rescued another Vietnam veteran, Noah Sutton, a former Army field medic who was just finishing medical school at the time. Now stronger as a team, the three of them continued on the Hunt successfully for the next two years until they came across a lone, gun-crazy and extremely well-funded hunter by the name of Ezra Williams. Ezra was sharp, witty and had a penchant for living life like a glam metal rock star.
With Ezra now with them, the cell became an undefeatable and relentless response to most of Boulder’s supernatural threats. They moved out of James’s two story house and claimed the abandoned Sacred Heart of Mary church as their new safehouse, which they nicknamed ‘The Drag Light Chapel’.
Inspired by motorcycle gangs he once rode with and determined to rally the cell behind a single idea, Calvin designed The Gatekeeper logo, based off of his love for horror comics from the 50s and 60s. Each member was given a leather jacket with the cigar-smoking Gatekeeper spread across their backs.
Startup cells from the surrounding areas began coming to The Gatekeepers for training and support. By 1990, the cell had grown to a swollen number of twelve, with a veritable army of partner cells in the Boulder county area.
Unfortunately the victories were soon to be short lived. One night in 1992, The Gatekeepers had put the beatdown on a low-level vampire thrall, a blood junkie that had been a thorn in the cell’s side for months. The thrall, breathing through a broken nose and a mouth full of blood and teeth, tried to squirm away. But James——the de facto leader of the cell, really, with Calvin coming in at a close number two——swore he heard “something” deep down in the man’s throat. He grabbed him with a giant hand (James was built like a concrete gun bunker) and slammed the blubbering blood-slave up against the wall. He wrenched the thrall’s jaw open and peered down into it.
That’s when James saw God, apparently—or, at least, some angelic ember or representative of the divine. The white light radiated from the monster’s throat, and it begged James to let it free. It whispered to him (and him alone) about how the creatures had “stolen God’s fire” and that’s what made them monsters. And James believed it. It’s likely that James simply had reached his breaking point. Truth is, the Gatekeepers saw violence as the ultimate mediator——all problems ended with the swing of a crowbar or the pop of a pistol. Such tireless brutality can have a toll, and it seemed to have done so on James. James did what he felt was necessary: He took his knife and started cutting into the thrall’s neck until he’d reached the spine, which he broke over his knee the way a man might snap a heavy branch. Then he kept cutting through the busted vertebrae until the head came off.
The other members of the cell did not stop him. Some gaped in horror. Others reluctantly nodded in mute assent.
It was only the beginning. James went, in Calvin’s words, “off the reservation.” The killing didn’t end with that vampire’s ghoul. Certainly the cell had killed before, would kill again, but James took to it with a hunger. He proclaimed—loudly, and to any member of the cell that would listen, that he was on a divine mission. It was his task to free these motes of the divine from the bodies of the monsters. Doing so always necessitated the removal of the head. After a few months, James Washington had quite the growing collection.
The cell simply couldn’t take it. Where James was going, they would not and could not follow. Ezra was the first to recognize James’s downward spiral and in 1994 decided he needed to retire from hunting completely. Noah lasted just a little bit longer, but in 1995, finally left The Gatekeepers for good.
Potter, the only core member still remaining, had an epiphany of sorts, and recognized the heart of the matter: violence begets violence. It was an ever-tightening circle, more of a noose than anything. James’ brutality became less about need and more about want. Calvin told the remaining members of The Gatekeepers that he’d not go down that path. And so he, along with the majority of his cellmates, opted to extinguish their candles and leave the Vigil. They’d no longer hunt the monsters. Instead, they’d retreat from the world, leaving the urban rot behind them. It was then that Calvin founded Blackmoon Farm.
First, though, Calvin decided to deal with James. He did so personally, and told no one of his plans. It was easy to get close to James. The two men had come up together in the Vigil. James thought of Calvin as his dearest friend and ally, one who might even join him in his crusade.
Calvin shot him in the head and had the body stored in a remote mountain cave. Days later, he joined the rest of his cell at the rundown farm they’d bought several miles east of the city. And it’s there that they stayed for the next several years, their numbers growing slowly but consistently.