Emerald City Blues

And how might I help you? Hmmm… from your facial expression you wuz ‘spectin’ me to talk like dis. Dem trollz is stoopid, eh? Come now. If you wanted dumb muscle you’d have gone elsewhere. I sir, am a specialist. Or perhaps it was yae were expectin’ the accent tae appear, yae skeegit? Part of my image, yes, but one I can dispense with at will.

But it’s real enough. I was born, after all, a McCleod—yes, of Clan McCleod… you must be a classic film buff—in the highlands of Scotland. I showed talent as a magician early on; not surprising since The Sight ran strong in my family even in the Fifth World. As a pre-teen, I was fostered out to a Druid family, and when old enough entered the great academy at Glastonbury.

The druidism practiced and taught at Glastonbury is somewhat foreign to what you’re used to with your hermetic mages and native shamans. We follow a different path, although there are elements shared with both the traditions of this land. Land, for that matter, is central to us, though in a different way than your shamans.

Speaking of different, my final year was spent abroad. The headmaster of the academy thought highly of broadening the mental horizons of his students, and one method he mandated was a year spent immersed in radically different cultures. So, I split my year between the Bushmen of southern Africa, the mandarins of what had been China, and the Salish tribes of western North America. I finished up in 2064, and was headed to the Seattle airport, having just cleared the NAN-UCAS border when the Crash happened.

In mere seconds, my identity was wiped from the world’s databases along with millions of others. Worse, whether through some perverse coincidence or bizarre resonance with the Matrix, I underwent Goblinization in the chaotic days following the Crash. So no, I wasn’t always this way. You can imagine my difficulty in finding a kilt that fit. Unfortunately, the change once and for all closed the door on reclaiming my former identity. I had my arcane equipment—gifts from relatives that likely think me dead in some of the aircraft accidents accompanying the Crash—my clothing (which no longer fit), and my training. Nothing more.

Fortunately, a skilled mage—and I am that—is always in demand, and lack of a SIN was no barrier in the underworld of Seattle. My lessons were hard, sometimes brutal, as I learned to crawl, walk, and then run the shadows. But I lived. That’s more than many can say.

I eventually adopted a new identity, suitable for the Shadows. I turned my musical talents—a minor area of study required of druids—into a steady if low-paying job as a drummer. On my off time, however, I found that a magician of rare talent—there aren’t many with the Gift among trolls—could make a lot more nuyen if he wasn’t picky about employers.

It was early on that I met Maria. Yeah, she’s an elf. I’ll now pause for the obligatory jokes.

No? Wise of you.

Anyway, I met Maria as I cycled through a variety of bands. I had found that most tend to be fairly homogenous as far as race went, and my tastes didn’t run to the same brand of “music” that the local trolls liked. I guess Maria must have had a similar experience, although she’d made it bigger than I did in a solo capacity. Fortunately, neither one of us has much in the way of racial bias.

Unfortunately, there are quite a few pieces of human drek that do. Yeah, human, as in Humanis Policlub. We ran into a bunch of them one evening after a gig. I was forced to sling some spells as they say—which up until then, I had refrained from doing around Maria. You think people don’t like trolls, you ought to see what they think of trolls that use magic.

I figured I could handle them, but a good number got taken down by my partner. Turns out Maria was not only an accomplished martial artist, but an adept to boot. We left the humans on the asphalt for the locals to… do whatever. I think a few actually survived.

I found out Maria had a side business as well, so we started to work together where it made sense. We didn’t make a lot in either job, but we made more together than on our own, and better yet, we were making names for ourselves. Street cred turns into bank cred, as they say.

Kenni. Funny thing that we met Kenni through the band as well. We were looking for a third so that we could take our act into a more independant mode. We got a lot more than we bargained for, that’s for certain. The three of us—Latino-Chinese Elf, Scottish Troll, and Israeli Dwarf—sound like the opening for a bad joke, but the joke is never on us or our employers. Kenni is our tactical girl, much like Maria is our face. I’m the wiz-power.

So why am I talking to you so openly, and more to the point, why are you listening? Well, chummer, you’ve got a rather weak will and I found it easy to distract you while Kenni took out the bully boys you had outside and Maria kept bystanders away. Yes, that cold feeling behind your ear is Kenni’s Ares Predator.

Oh, and the oyabun said to tell you that he’s disappointed that you valued your corporate ties more than his friendship.

Very disappointed.

Shadowrun: Emerald City Blues

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