Brynn's Background for Shadowrun Denver
New Orleans' power comes at night as well, and I am her daughter.
I say these things first so that you might understand me, that is why you're
here, is it not? I am a daughter of the night, the bastard offspring of a city
with no soul, and the child of a totem who has never called to me.
No, Owl did not choose me. I chose her, and while she has never responded to my
honoring her name, neither has she refused me.
New Orleans did not choose me either. Nor did she want me, but I remained,
changing from the mouse cowering in the grasses into the silent hunter on
wings above. I changed, and with new talons I carved my own place out of the
dessicated husk of a body that my city is. In doing so I became part of the
spirit which animates her corpse still. My city is a zombie, host to a
thousand zombies each with zombies of their own. The voodoun are not the only
ones there who can keep the dead alive.
Who my parents were is unimportant now. I don't remember them, and I don't care
to. 'Je suis seule' were the words that kept me alive as a child. 'I am
alone'. The castoffs of the rich were the salvation of the urchins; beggars
and scavengers every one of us, and we were many. The back streets of the
Crescent City provide their own education. Even among the lowest class, there
are classes. There are victims and there are survivors. One child alone can do
nothing to feed herself but beg. Ten children can intimidate. Twenty can beat
drunken corporate suits and rob them blind. Fifty children can disperse across
Bourbon Street and pull in thousands in a night of pickpocketing. This was my
arithmetic. I was not alone in this math. Older dwellers of New Orleans'
streets offered her strays shelter, food, and safety. We just had to be
willing to work.
Among the highest class there are classes too. The kind, the political, and the
depraved. One would look upon a starved waif of a girl, dressed in her
threadbare clothes, and take pity and offer charity. One would look upon me
and see a cause, offering his charity only to please an audience. One would
look upon me and see my virginity, as a thing to be taken and violated and
used. To survive we had to learn to know which of these a person was. This was
my reading. I was not alone in this either. Those with more power knew how to
read people as well, and the page of that book containing pretty twelve
year-old girls also shows a figure followed by many zeros.
I was 'recruited'. I was promised nice clothing, warm food, and a home. I was
well cared for, at least by the madame and the other girls there. The jaded,
callous men who paid to have me were not kind at all. I was a tool. A toy, to
be broken and discarded like any child would do. The details of my time there
are not important either, except to say that those things stripped away any
innocence that the streets did not, and that my time there was mercifully
short. Something inside me Awakened on one hot Lousisiana night, and that term
describes exactly how that moment feels, bringing all of my shame and fury out
in a quicksilver strike against that faceless man who was heaving himself on
top of me.
He lived, naturally. I wish that he hadn't, but those with money always find
ways to escape the consequences of their dishonor, and a crushed windpipe is
repaired easily enough if attended to in time.
My new talents saved me from that life of disgraces and corruption commited in
the night, and led me down a new path. I was a danger to the men who once
lusted for the chance to abuse my body, but that lust remained. New Orleans
offers a flavor for every taste, from the weak to the wicked, from the
innocent to the depraved. Everything is available to those willing to pay for
it, and for some, the only thing better than abusing the body of a beautiful
young girl is to watch two beautiful young girls abuse one another. My own
shame served me well during these 'performances', as I strove to humiliate as
I had been humiliated, to hurt as I had been hurt. The details of these
performances are unimportant as well, except to say that many of the talents I
now possess were learned there. Most of my audience were men, but many were
'La Belle Araignee de la Nuit' had heard of our performances, and had heard of
me, and came October 13, 2053 to see me for herself. I remember that date like
no other. I have no idea of my biological birthdate, so I use this one. It was
the night on which this child you speak with now was born.
The Beautiful Spider of the Night was what those in New Orleans' underbelly had
named her, and it fit her so well. She must have been elven, for she always
towered over her subordinates. A pale, immacculate goddess to be worshipped
and feared. I never saw her face, and it was rumored that she only showed it
to those she was about to kill. A harsh, black mask with orange, faceted eyes
is the only visage I know for her, but the memory of her still leaves me
panting at night with the desire that she never would fulfill.
But these things are none of your business. She was a shamaness of Spider, as
every bit silent and cunning as her patron. She led the Dog Star Krewe, a band
of men and women involved deeply in the organlegging market and the
underground bloodsports of Crescent City. She had heard of my last night as a
prostitute, and had heard the whisperings of my aura. She had come to measure
my potential, and my worth to be a part of her web.
I remember seeing her in my audience that night, that mask tilted just so, her
perfect hands patiently folded in her inviting lap. She held a power over the
men in that room by her mere presence. No word spoken, no action made, yet
they all would have been willing to swear their lives to her in exchange for
a merest touch. I would have done the same, and at that night's end, I did. In
me she saw potential, and bought me from my theater to educate and mold in the
image she desired.
The Dog Star Krewe kept a stable of pit fighters and gladiators as a part of
their number, the rest being composed of smugglers, ripperdocs and thugs.
While not powerful in the grand scheme of things, we handled our share of our
chosen market and did well. There was a joke in New Orleans' shadows, that the
Dog Star Krewe were too Sirius, but it contained an element of truth. Our
mistress kept us all focused at all times. That was her power over us. To
please her was the only goal worth pursuing, and pleasing her meant a
single-minded determination to accomplish what she ordered we do.
In this way, my power was unleashed, harnessed and brought to bear upon my
world. The night gives me my strength, and it was through the night that the
Dog Star burned brightly. I did not see the beautiful spider for three months
after that night she came for me. Cloistered away with the decrepit
voodounista Babafille and a warrior-monk from Japan who called himself Masa
Mune, my magical spirits were roused and bound to my body.
Mune instructed me in the arts of the warrior. He helped hone my body as the
edge of a katana, to channel my magic back in upon myself, to become swifter,
stronger, and sharper. He taught me of the Way of the Samurai, the philosophy
of death in service to one's master. In the teachings of Bushido, I regained
my honor, and my purpose. Mune would later disgrace himself with cowardice in
our lady's service. He committed seppuku the following week, in a dismal hotel
overlooking the Mississipi. In this way, he died a samurai's death, and I
still give honor to him.
Babafille served more as a spiritual advisor during this time. She showed me of
the loa and the spirits that governed the hidden world, she told me of the
totems more native to America, and helped me to choose one whom I could call
upon for guidance. I chose Owl to give me my strength against the night I had
once feared. I do not think Babafille approved of my choice, but she accepted
In time, I was passed along to Ramiro, the orkish taskmaster for the
professional fighters of the Krewe. He was the toughest of us. The most
grizzled. The one who had spilt the most blood. Ork or not, it was as
impossible to not respect him as it was not to worship our Belle Araignee.
Ramiro was a brutal instructor. I had been forced to learn to handle myself in
a scrap in my childhood. Violence is as much a fact of the street as
starvation, and they are closely linked more often than not. It was his job,
as instructed by our Lady herself, that he take this child and turn her into a
fighter. He bristled at the request, this much was apparent from the start. I
was beaten, patched together with Babafille's magics, and beaten again while I
learned to defend myself and use my talents against others. My training was
intensive in those early months. Oftentimes the only sleep I found was the
relief of unconsciousness upon the unforgiving concrete floor of our
warehouse. The training never got easier over the years, but even now, those
early days seem as a nightmare. But their purpose was served, and I became an
accomplished little brawler in her own right.
Fights pitting underage girls against one another were popular with the
Japanese suits who came to my city to fill their sickest urges. The costumes
we were made to wear were ridiculous, as were the ceremonies we were forced to
attend beforehand. But my lady wished it of me, and for her, I would do
A few of these girls were adepts, like me. Most had been broken in the bunraku
parlors and fitted with second-hand cyber, girls with personalities only on
chip, hollow shells wasted and wasted again to squeeze out one final bit of
yen before meeting their death. Against these, I was always merciful. A body
with no soul is an abomination, a dishonor to the spirit that was murdered
within. I freed these girls where I could, swiftly when possible, and though
short fights upset the paying clientele, the fatality always made up for it.
Most of our fights were not to the death.
You think it odd that I was so casual about killing at the age of thirteen?
Those girls were dead long before they came to me. As I said at the start of
this, the voodoun are not the only ones in New Orleans who know the secrets to
The years passed as they do for all of us. I won many fights, and I lost many
as well. When I was hurt, Babafille tended to me, her medicines picking up
when her magic was not enough. When I lost my will to continue, my Beautiful
Spider would come and stroke my arm with her fingers. A whispered word from
behind her mask, and I was hers all over again. When I questioned my own
actions, I turned to the lessons of Mune, and Bushido. In time, my adolescence
was left behind me, and I grew into a woman. No longer suited for the
schoolgirl-fantasy bloodsports, I was stepped up to the real thing.
Ramiro expressed concerns about my speed and strength. Against girls, he said,
I was fine, but against fully grown cybersoldiers, I had no edge. Discussions
between him, Babafille and the Spider herself were held, discussing my future.
At first, despite Babafille's protestations, the krewe's surgeons implanted
muscle enhancers within me. Stronger and quicker, yes, and tough enough to
hold my own most times as well. But the Pits are a breeding ground like no
other. Those who survive there for decades do so with good reason. A sixteen
year-old girl cannot hope to win against a man who's last twenty years have
life have revolved around this one, brutal act. Away from the schoolhouse
fantasies, there was no interest in watching a young woman be destroyed. My
reputation sagged, my earnings dropped, and the bioware was removed again,
giving my body the chance to heal and able to direct my own powers naturally
once more. Much of Dog Star feared for my future, but none of them more than
There were still the 'specialty' matches, which I participated in up until the
day I left New Orleans. These were strictly non-lethal, entirely girl-on-girl,
and designed more as a display of T&A and suggestive wrestling than actual
combat. I found these fights distasteful, even insulting to my position as one
of my Lady's favored retainers. She wished it of me, so I did, and thankfully,
she did not ask this of me too frequently.
In the main, I was shifted to more external affairs for the krewe. Serving as
an enforcer, a body guard, and a contact for Dog Star's other business
interests. Outside of the Pits, I realized myself lacking. The streets and the
shadows are filled with guns. A girl can only do so much with only her hands,
in an environment that is always changing, always shifting, and never
predictable. These links in my hands are the result of that lack. To me, they
represent a final violation of my body in the name of survival. You will not
convince me to do this to myself again.
The night following the implantation of these... things... that was the night
that the Belle Araignee came to me in my bed. To this day, I don't know her
reasons, though I can only guess that she pitied me for what I had done to
myself in service to her. We never spoke of what happened, nor repeated it.
Silently blindfolded, my years of pleasing her were rewarded in kind. Her mask
was removed before me, on that I'm certain. I wish even still that she'd
allowed me to kiss her lips, which I never saw, but the memory of them on my
body is burned forever into my mind.
My loyalty ensured by my mistress' affections, I only doubled my efforts to
continue pleasing her. On the streets, I became known as 'La Petite
Araignee', the little spider, in respect to the mask of my own which I began
to wear. I took honor in that name, and made sure to earn it when acing in our
Dog Star were cruel, make no doubts about that. The organlegging business is
ruthless, and we could not afford to go easy on anyone. Bodies were smugged in
for harvesting, turned around and sold, empty of their valuable innards, to
the voodoun, who made zombies of them and smuggled them back out to places I
never cared to ask about. Sometimes the bodies came from New Orleans herself.
Sometimes the organs were harvested and the rest of the body was allowed to
We had a share of the pie and we fought hard to maintain it. Without the
Mafia's interference, we at least had a chance, and for a long time, the Dog
Star Krewe did good for themselves. Les bon temps were rouler'ing right up
until last November. That's when the Long Tongue Krewe came up and out of
nowhere, seemingly overnight, and started making big strides into the organ
trade. The Beautiful Spider wasn't worried. That was her way, and we all were
confident beneath her calm confidence. She wanted to wait, to watch, to study
the Long Tongues before we made any move against them. The word passed along
in the darkened spaces far from the tourist-grabbing lights of the French
Quarter was that the Family had finally decided they wanted some of th share
of the organlegging business. They'd always stayed out of it. I guess the
Italians were above ghouling people for spare parts, and to keep their hands
clean, the rumor was that they'd arranged a deal with the Long Tongue,
equipment and backing in exchange for a cut on the action.
Dog Star wasn't about to go up against the Mafia. You don't do that in New
Orleans. So we waited, watching our little empire get torn down one kidney at
a time, and straining on our leashes while our mistress calmly held the other
end. It took her months to dig deep enough to be sure, but by the end of
March, 2061, after the fires of Mardi Gras had died down, we were sure that
the Long Tongue were getting their backing from Aztlan, not the Mob. La Belle
Araignee let slip us dogs of war, and the shadows of New Orleans, my beloved,
dead husk of a city, pulsed with the thob of war.
A dark warehouse on Rue D'Allemandes was where I killed Ramiro. The entire raid
has been messed up from the beginning, and no one seemed sure if we were
supposed to stay or run. The inside of the building was dark, lit only by the
occasional flash from a gun and the beams of laser sights dancing between the
cryocrates. You get used to things being always lit in a city like New
Orleans. Way out there, though, it was a lot darker. I didn't know who the ork
was until I'd already put four slugs into his chest and he was on his way
We took the warehouse, but we lost a lot of the krewe. No one knew that I'd
done Ramiro, but it would have been a great dishonor to have not confessed. I
went to my Belle Araignee and confessed. Her mask, terrifying and alluring,
merely nodded as I told my story, and then I was sent away. I had been ready
to kill myself for her, as Mune had done. Instead, she sent a message the
following day that I was being sent here. To Denver. Nothing else was given,
no explanation, no reason. I think of it as an exile, but my mistress
commands, so I obey.
If my city is a zombie, then yours is like Frankenstein's creation, pieced
together from the limbs of a half-dozen nations and jolted back to life with
The night still falls here. Things won't be so different.
Background Copyright 2001 by Brynn's Player. Used with permission.
|This page Copyright ©2001 by Joel E. Ricketts and Craig G. Rickel. All Rights Reserved. Some information and content Copyright ©1999 by FASA Corporation and/or Wizkids, LLC, and its use or reference here is not intended as any sort of challenge to those Copyrights. Shadowrun is a Registered Trademark of FASA Corporation.|