Dr Bwaa
Quote Originally Posted by Dr Bwaa View Post
I did get that; I think it's more the dash itself that bothers me. It works earlier when she literally cuts herself off mid-word, but here I think I'd prefer an ellipsis. I think the sentence itself is okay.
Good point. I think you're right about the ellipsis working better...

Quote Originally Posted by Dr Bwaa View Post
Glad to know my impressions of Tanc over your last however-many snippets haven't been totally off-base then!
He'd never hit a girl. Unless she's a succubus.

Or she really really deserved it (Tanc is Lawful Good, but he's lawful to his own set of morals)

Quote Originally Posted by Dr Bwaa View Post
Paladins are so hilariously Power of Friendship // Evildoers Must Die it makes my eyes bleed. They are my favorites, and I love that Lester is such a big part of your campaign because I love reading him. There's a scene in my long campaign where we throw a great moral-quandary at Charlize's paladin-older-brother (execute your sister (sole living family member) and all her friends on the spot for being heretics, or allow them to escape). I'm looking forward so much to writing it. Actually every time that character shows up, OOC hilarity at the expense of Paladins ensues.
Ooh, I look forward to that

We're all very fond of Lester - and he's loosened up a lot since he started travelling with us. None of us were very happy about the fact that he did the 'evildoers must die' thing and smashed the (admittedly evil) black sphere that was summoning Shadows and got us stuck on the Shadow Plane for three months. He started loosening up not long after that. It's to the point that even though Nera hates Lester, Nera's player has frequently said how much she personally loves him.

Quote Originally Posted by Dr Bwaa View Post
Was this helpful? Comments on anything I could do to make it better?
It was, yes. Thanks

Quote Originally Posted by Dr Bwaa View Post
Oh hush I can actually spell that, I just had a broken moment.

Quote Originally Posted by SleepyShadow View Post
Frank drew in a long breath, seeming to compose himself. He wiped the dribble from his wrinkled face and slicked back his long grey hair. He removed the long black overcoat he wore, revealing the long white shirt and loose black trousers he wore.
I quite like this transformation from dribbly old (and harmless) carpenter to 'I'm about to kick your ass' mode. Though I'd take out the second 'he wore' and replace it with 'underneath' - we know he's wearing them after all

Quote Originally Posted by SleepyShadow View Post
Lupin fired his pistol, the sharp noise reverberating throughout the room. However, Frank was already on the move, effortlessly stepping to the side before the halfling shot.
The action here doesn't quite flow properly to my mind. You've got Lupin firing, and then all of a sudden we find out Frank moved before Lupin got the shot off. I think the dodging and the firing need to happen at the same time (it's not like a monk isn't capable of doing exactly that).

Quote Originally Posted by SleepyShadow View Post
He struck with his short sword, the blade bursting into flame as he attacked, Frank narrowly avoided Derive's thrust, and he counterattacked with blinding speed, hammering his knee into the young man's stomach. Derive staggered backward, the wind knocked out of him. Frank pressed the advantage and spun through the air as he slammed his heel into the side of Derive's head. The young man flew across the room and smashed into the wall, then slumped to the floor.
I liked this part. A lot It's consice, you used good descriptive words and we get to see very clearly just what Frank is capable of.

Quote Originally Posted by SleepyShadow View Post
"I find your lack of faith in monks disturbing," Frank chuckled darkly.

I love me a Star Wars reference. Bonus points for this one.

Quote Originally Posted by SleepyShadow View Post
"No fair!" Lucy shouted, stomping her foot.
I love Lucy... she's so adorable and this is perfectly in character for her.

Quote Originally Posted by SleepyShadow View Post
Frank leaped through the air, his gray hair fluttering behind him like the tail of a comet.
That's... an interesting image... I like it, and I can easily picture it in my mind, having seen pictures of comet tails before. I'm just not sure it works here. It's a bit - poetic.

Quote Originally Posted by SleepyShadow View Post
Lucy took a panicked step away from Frank and fired her bow at his back.
This is just making me think that she's literally firing her bow (rather than an arrow) at his back. Especially as you then say that the arrow grazed him. I know 'firing a bow' is the normal way to describe such an action and as far as I know it's correct... I would just - have written it another way in this instance.

Quote Originally Posted by SleepyShadow View Post
The old man hurtled through the air like a gray projectile, but Lucy proved faster and rolled out of the path of his attack. She landed on her feet and nimbly sprang into the air, firing her bow once more. Frank caught the arrow just before it could strike his head. He sprang into the air to meet Lucy, but the nimble cat girl kicked off from the ceiling, hurtling to the ground to avoid the old man's kick. She landed on the back of a chair as Frank came to rest atop the rotting chandelier hanging from the ceiling.
Is Lucy firing her bow while she's in midair? That's quite a neat trick? if so, it needs to be clearer that's what's happening. It kind of reads now that she jumped into the air for no reason, then fired when she landed again. And for that matter - Frank jumping into the air to meet Lucy - there's a timing problem with this. It reads like Lucy jumped, then Frank jumped and Lucy was just hanging suspended in midair for a while waiting for him to join her. Obviously, that's not what happened... the action needs to move not faster, just - more together.

Shoot, I'm not making any sense am I? It feels like there's a lot of time between each person's actions. I think it needs to be written in such a way as to remove that illusion.

Quote Originally Posted by SleepyShadow View Post
The arrow struck above Frank's head, severing the rope that held the chandelier aloft. The old man cried out in alarm as the heavy fixture came crashing to the ground and burst asunder as it slammed into the cold stone floor. Lucy sighed in relief and slid down into the chair once she saw that Frank lay very still atop the ruined chandelier
Teehee, sucks to be Frank. Though I find myself wondering, if he's been so quick to avoid everything thus far, why did he get caught by surprise by this action? Not that he couldn't have been, I'd just like to see more of an explanation for it.

Quote Originally Posted by Dr Bwaa View Post
Also, he's gotta be someone's father at this point.
Yes please!

In the meantime, have some backstory for a new character I've just started playing. This is my first foray into the Shadowrun setting, so some of the minor details might not match up properly. Also, be warned, I had a vague idea of where this one was meant to go and then it ran away and went somewhere else entirely. Contains mention of a sensitive topic. You have been warned.

Leonora's Backstory
Don’t you judge me, for judgement belongs to God alone. Just remember – we aren’t all sinless.

I was born March 3, 2049, daughter of Alvaro Calderón Vélez and Jenny Carter. Illegitimate, unwanted, and SINless. In fact, the only thing I had going for me, right from birth, was my twin brother – Lukas. Even when we were kids, right up to the point our parents kicked us out – he looked after me, protected me. I’ve heard the snide comments, seen the sly looks, ignored the innuendo – when people hear that I live in an apartment with my brother… If you’d lived the life I’ve lived, knowing your brother was the only person you could rely on, could trust… the only person who loved you… Well, you wouldn’t be so quick to laugh.

Growing up was – different. And difficult. Different and difficult. Because most families consist of parents who love each other and love their children. Who want their children. And because that was harder than you might think. They weren’t neglectful, they weren’t abusive, they were simply – uninterested. We always had food, but once Lukas and I were old enough to feed ourselves – that’s what we did. It was either that or go hungry. Love – parental love – was in short supply in that house.

And yet, it wasn’t so bad. I wasn’t alone, I had my brother. I think our parents’ indifference is the reason Lukas and I are so close. When it’s you and him against the world, you get close fast. And you stay that way. Our parents were SINners – and I only know that because Mom told me once in a drunken ramble, after a visit from someone I later found out was my maternal grandmother. I don’t know how she found us, and I don’t really care. I learned two lessons from that visit. The first – I can’t live without my brother. The second – if we wanted to stay together, we had to at least look like a happy family. I was five years old.

Apparently Grandmother Carter (and yes, I know Carter wasn’t my mother’s real name, but it was the only name I had, so I used it. I was five.) noticed that we didn’t seem as happy and healthy as perhaps we might have. I can’t imagine why – it’s not like we weren’t wearing clothes two sizes too small. Mother and Father had been a clichéd forbidden love, determined to throw off the parental bonds and marry anyway. I can only assume this is how they ended up living in a too-small apartment under fake SINs. Grandmother Carter though, had a soft spot. Kids. And she was canny, I’ll give her that. The old broad took one look at Luka and me and knew something wasn’t right. So she threatened to take us away, split us up – unless our parents got their act together. Alvaro and Jenny didn’t care. Lukas and I did.

I never saw Grandmother Carter again, but I’ve never been one to take chances. We made a promise that day, Luka and I. A promise that we’d look out for each other, look after each other. That we’d never leave each other. And if I one day broke that promise – just remember – all of us here are SINless, but as I said earlier, none of us are sinless.

And we stuck together for years. I made sure we ate and Lukas made sure we had clothes that fit and shoes that had soles. I scrounged us an education – as best I could; and Lukas scrounged us protection – as best he could. He was eight the first time he got into a fight to protect me, 14 the first time he used a knife, and 16 the first time he shot a man – again, to protect me.

He wasn’t the only precocious member of our little family. I believe I was seven the first time I realised big eyes and a shy smile could divert suspicion. I was 13 the first time I got us out of trouble with a flirty smile and a suggestive pose. I was 15 when I found that words alone could defuse a situation and save a life. And I was just in time, because it was when we turned 16 our parents decided they’d finally had enough and we were old enough to fend for ourselves – and they kicked us out of home. We did okay. Lukas was well on his way to being the biggest guy on the block and I was already notorious for being someone you didn’t want to cross if it wasn’t your fault, it would be by the time I was done talking.

At 17, I learned what a valuable commodity negotiation was, and I learned to use it. I would talk, cheat, swindle and broker my way through deals. I became proficient – or semi-proficient in as many languages as I could find someone to teach me. It was all for the benefit of others, but ultimately, it was for the benefit of me and my brother. The more nuyen we could get, the better off we’d be. And that, ultimately, is how I ended up there.

At 18, I learned that there is one thing a pretty girl has that is more valuable than her ability to broker a deal or arrange a truce. And at 19, I learned it was a price I was willing to pay. For Lukas. Always for Lukas.

We were careful with our nuyen. Saved it, hoarded it, kept it safe – so we could get off the streets. Then a new gang moved into our area. And of course, our gangs started screaming bloody murder, foul play, and no fair. So the new lot agreed to negotiate, why I don’t know, since they could easily have wiped out our gangs and simply set up shop unhindered. But of course, they demanded a neutral negotiator – and all that effort I’d put in to stay out of gangs came back to bite me in the ass. I knew Luka had done some work here and there for the gangs in our area. He’d done everything from club bouncer, to bully-boy, to warehouse heavy lifting – and I was known to most of them. So when the newcomers said they wanted an unaffiliated mediator, all eyes turned to me. And times were hard and we needed the money (desperately needed the money), so I said yes.

It just so happened, that the leader of this new gang was Spanish – or something close to it. And he took one look at me, with my dark hair and dark eyes and obvious Latina heritage – and he never looked back. I did my best, but my Spanish wasn’t so good in those days and I had a hard time keeping up. Eventually though, everything was settled to his satisfaction – and I began to understand. He didn’t use force if he could get what he wanted by other means. I only wish I’d realised that didn’t mean he wouldn’t use force.

A week after the turf deal was done, he sent Marco Salmeri to our little corner of home. His boss had been impressed by me, by my looks and my obvious skill at negotiation. He wanted to make me an offer to come and work for him. He’d love to see what other talents I possessed. I’m not a complete idiot, I knew what he was asking. So I did was any self-respecting Catholic girl would do… I told him to take his offer and stick it where the sun don’t shine. And Marco left, looking unhappy, and as I stood in our doorway, arm wrapped around Lukas’s waist, and his heavy arm over my shoulder – I wondered why he looked so worried. It didn’t take long to find out.

Nothing happened for two weeks, we had almost enough nuyen to pay for an apartment, and we’d both forgotten about Marco and his lascivious boss. Then I learned why the patient ones are always the worst. One of the smaller gangs still eking out an existence in the neighbourhood came to Luka. They had a shipment to move and would he please help them out. They were buddies, so Luka said yes. Five hours later, Este near pounded the door down. His head was dripping blood and his hand was wrapped in a blood-soaked and dirty rag – masquerading as a bandage. He was the sole survivor – they were all dead. Except Lukas. Este was distraught and kept switching languages, but I finally got the point.

The whole thing had been a trap. Everyone killed, but Lukas was taken. Everyone dead, but Este left alive – as a messenger. And at 19, I learned patience could be terrifying; patience could kill; and patience could save a life.

I read between lines I doubt Este even knew were there. Wait. Be patient. Someone will come to you.

So I wasn’t all that surprised when Marco Salmeri knocked on our door a week after the attack. And I wasn’t surprised by the offer he gave me. I went with him, went willingly to his boss – and Luka would go free. I refused, my big brother would be killed and – once I had no protector any more, Marco and his boys would be back. No much of a choice after all.

I’d always known I loved my brother, more than anyone. I’d always known that his needs came before anyone else’s, mine included. And I’d always known I couldn’t live without him. When I was 19, I learned I was going to have to learn how. And I learned the price I was willing to pay to keep him alive. Myself.

Myself. My spirit, my soul. My immortal essence. That part of me I had faith would one day join with the angels and see the face of God. Not any more. I was pretty sure what I was about to do meant I’d never see heaven – or purgatory. Nope – straight to hell for sinners like me.

And the hardest part about the whole thing was that look on Luka’s face when they brought him out of the van I’d not noticed and let him go. I never thought a single look could cause so much pain. Lukas looked awful, he’d been beaten, had rudimentary bandages around his head, arm and leg – and those were only the ones I could see. To this day I’ve not been able to work up the nerve to ask him what they did to him. But it was the look on his swollen, bruised, beaten-up face that hurt the worst. Hurt, horror, betrayal. Failure and guilt. Nobody knows guilt like a Catholic, and Lukas had it in spades. His purpose in life was to protect me and he’d failed. And now he had to live with the guilt.

I couldn’t look at him after that. I closed my eyes; turned away and let Marco put his arm around me and led me to the van. By the time I turned back to look, Lukas was gone. It was the last time I saw him for over a year.

At 19, I learned there was no price I wouldn’t pay if it meant my brother would be safe. At 20, I learned that some debts can be paid in full. Oddly enough, it was Marco Salmeri who taught me that. Marco and a Native American shaman named Ayelen.

I needn’t tell you what went on during that year, right? I belonged exclusively to him which gave me a measure of protection, especially as he liked to keep my ‘hide’ intact for negotiation and mediation. But I was also a prize, a reward, for those who had pleased him. And they were not always so gentle. Suffice to say, during that year, I learned that virtue is cheap and purity is not the priceless gift the priests would have us believe. Oh, and I learned that it really is easier if you just relax.

Ayelen had been called in because his first lieutenant was sick. I didn’t know, or care, what caused it – poison, toxin or regular bug – but conventional medicine wasn’t working. He demanded more drastic measures and apparently, that meant a Native American shaman with a reverence bordering on obsession for the sanctity of life. Oh, and she was also trying to survive in the city, and that means nuyen.

But who am I to judge?

Ayelen told me later that she saw hovering in the shadows the same spirit who guided her – the Dog – loyal and defensive – and that is why she acted as she did. Immediately, she informed him that she required help and that I had steady hands, a calm manner, and was clearly not needed for anything else. I will never forget the secretive smile she gave me once he left us alone in the room. She whispered a few words in her native tongue, then looked, not at me, but at a spot just to one side of me. I automatically followed her eyes – and there was a Dog – looking just like the floppy-eared spaniel puppy who’d lived down the street when Luka and I were kids. Ayelen just smiled at me, told me I too was a Dog, and bent down over the sick man. Then she said, in a voice so soft I barely heard her, “Puppy, don’t you think the debt has been paid?”

I didn’t have to be a genius to figure out what she meant.

I know what you’re thinking – how could Ayelen possibly have had enough influence to get me out of there? Truth is – she didn’t. But there is usually a way to get things done – if you look hard enough. And in this instance, she didn’t have to look far. Marco Salmeri. Marco who hadn’t been able to look me in the eye since I’d arrived. Marco who refused to speak to me unless I spoke to him first. Marco who had indirectly been responsible for separating me from my brother. Marco who clearly felt as guilty as sin.

The funny thing is – I didn’t even blame him. Much.

Ayelen and Marco refused to tell me what their plan was – and since what I didn’t know, I couldn’t divulge, I didn’t argue – I was simply told to be ready to move. You’re probably expecting some exciting tail of sneaking and running and shooting, but truth to tell, it was remarkably boring – even anticlimactic. Marco forged some orders that got me past the guards. Ayelen kept him distracted and we simply snuck out. Marco delivered me straight to Este, with a warning to get the hell out of the neighbourhood – like I needed to be told. Este was to take me to Lukas – except he couldn’t look me in the eye either. Apparently everyone was harbouring some degree of guilt over this one. That is, until I caught him glancing at the crucifix I was still stubbornly wearing. Then I realised why Este wouldn’t look at me – he knew what happened to girl like me when they came to the attention of gang bosses like him – and he knew I didn’t deserve to wear that emblem any more. As long as he kept his mouth shut and didn’t tell Lukas, I didn’t really care what he thought it wasn’t like we were going to be hanging around.

As you might expect – I forgot all that the moment I saw Luka again. He was standing outside some run-down hovel, next to a massive Harley-Davidson I’d never seen before. None of which I cared about, not when the big brother I’d sacrificed everything for was standing there – alive. I saw relief mixed with fury on his face – and in that instant, even as I ran forward and threw myself into his arms – I vowed that I would never tell him the truth. If I’d thought he was over-protective before – that would be nothing compared to what he’d do if he’d found out the truth. And I knew there would be no second chances from him. So to keep my brother alive, I lied to him. Even as he swung me onto his Harley and nodded his thanks to Este, I promised myself that I would never tell him I was no longer the innocent, virtuous little sister he remembered.

That was – oh, three years ago now. Things moved pretty fast after we ran. The Dog spirit lead me straight back to Ayelen. From her I learned some measure of peace – and the crucifix I could no longer stand to wear, but couldn’t bring myself to get rid of, became part of my first magical focus.

I was restless – as you might expect, coming out of a year of bondage. I tried my hand at climbing the corporate ladder – hated it, but it got me some useful contacts. Saved the life of an idiotic Lone Star cop, got drunk a lot, had the tables turned when someone tried to use me to get to my brother. And now I have to spend half my time trying to convince Lukas he doesn’t have to resort to performance-enhancing drugs every time I someone takes a shot at me. Yes, I am exaggerating. But not by much.

I still see Ayelen as often as I can – and she continues to call me ‘Puppy’. I stay in touch with Marco – he’s too scared of him to do much, but he lets me know where the gang is, what they’re up to, what areas to avoid. I even stayed for a time with an old Catholic priest – of course, I’d been shot in the stomach and I was delirious with fever the entire time – but I returned later to thank him.

I’m 23 now, and I’ve lived more life than most. I’ve seen the best and the worst. I’ve tried living in the light of the megas and I hated it. By nature and by nurture, I belong in the shadows.

I have learned that to run in the shadows is better than walking in the light. I have learned that there is nothing I won’t do for my brother.

And strangely – I have learned that I am content.

Can the same be said for you?