Rachel walked into her apartment to find a boy sprawled
on the couch, asleep.
As this was not an uncommon sight, she simply dropped off
her gear by the door and headed into the bathroom to take
a shower. When she finished, she found Rook awake, watching
the trid and oiling her shotgun.
"Hey, thanks, omae," Rae said, taking a seat.
"No prob. Mom and Mandy went out and I was bored.
Mind if I hang out here?"
"Thanks. There's really nothing on," he gestured
to the screen, where a well-dressed orc was demonstrating
the use of a vibro kitchen knife while a lovely female elf
hung on his every word. Rook looked at Rachel, sprawled
in a chair with her eyes closed. "Rough day?"
"Rough few days. Pretty nasty run we just finished.
I won't be telling this one to Amanda. Too grim."
"Yeah, they should be, though a few hours ago I wasn't
"Titus get shot again?"
"Nope, this time it was the other two guys. Boomer
got poisoned, or something, and Kozmo almost got geeked
by the shaman."
"No - not OUR shaman. The guy we were after. Wait...
let me start at the beginning..."
"So, we got the job through Kosmo's connections. This
pimp had been having problems - a bunch of his prostitutes
were turning up dead, and the Russian mob hired us to put
a stop to it. This was more than your average serial killer
- seemed like some ritualistic drek going on."
"Well, we started looking into it - snuck or scammed
our way in to some of the crime scenes. Titus hadn't answered
our calls, so Fifi was doing all the mojo by herself. She
could see a trace of writing on the wall, only in astral
"The remnants of a ritual?" Rook the aspiring
shaman suggested, intrigued.
"Yeah, that's what she thought. She copied down what
she could, and we kept looking around. We figured out that
the guy seemed to have a pattern. Looked like the victims
were a male and female of each race. He'd done humans and
elves, a female ork, and a male dwarf. And the murders were
getting closer together, so we figured the next one would
"Fifi went to the library and did some research on
the writing. With her research and a visit to a friend of
mine for some consultation, we figured out that the murders
were being done by a corrupted shaman."
"From what I understand, it's a shaman who has made
a deal with a twisted spirit. He gets a bunch of power from
the spirit, and does stuff for it in return. Well, he was
killing these people and giving the power to his spirit,
which in turn made him more powerful." She decided
not to mention that the shaman was keeping the victims alive
magically and torturing them to enhance their suffering.
She preferred to forget that part.
"So we figured the next murder might be as soon as
the next night, and the victim would probably be a female
dwarf or male ork, simply because he might want to be as
strong as possible before trying to take out a troll."
"There were five prostitutes in the area that fit
those categories - two male orks and three female dwarves.
Five of them, and four of us. We decided to play the odds,
and each keep an eye on one potential victim throughout
the night. So, we staked them out, but didn't see anything
unusual before getting a call about 3am from the pimp, telling
us that there had been another murder. The dwarf we weren't
watching was dead."
"That's when I got worried, because I figured it meant
the guy was onto us, and I knew that would make him a lot
harder to catch. Besides, it's a pretty awful feeling knowing
that someone got geeked 'cause you weren't quick enough
to catch the bad guy. Anyway, we made it to the crime scene,
this hotel, before Lone Star was called, and convinced the
guy to let us look around. It was more of the same - dead
body, invisible writing on the wall... and I picked up the
scent of a cologne that I thought might be the murderer's."
"Well, the next day Titus joined us and we started
some surveilance. Fifi and I were watching this orc when
we got a call from Kosmo saying that Boomer was missing.
We met up to look for him, and unfortunately Titus found
Boomer just in time to get clocked. Apparently our shaman-guy
was using Boomer like he was some kinda huge fraggin' puppet.
We found Boomer, but not until he'd been poisoned or diseased
or something. Anyway, he was in really bad shape, so we
couldn't do much more than drop him off at the hospital
and continue hunting for this guy."
"Well, we managed to track the guy to the buiding
the pimp operates out of. We couldn't find the orc Fifi
and I'd been watching, and that has us worried. We ended
up tracking him to the highly-secured top floor of the building.
We had to get through some guards and a huge hearth spirit,
but we convinced the spirit's master, a shaman who works
for the pimp, that it would be in his best interest to let
"So, Rocko, this shaman guy, followed us to into an
apartment, where we finally came face to face with the toxic
shaman dude. God, that was a horrific sight! He had two
vicitims in there, the orc and a troll, and was in the middle
of writing runes on the walls with their blood. Us busting
in the door sorta put a stop to the ritual, and he tried
to level us all with a spell. Didn't work. We attacked him,
but he had some defensive spells on so it didn't do a whole
lot. He made a break for it and flew out the window."
"Well, levitated or some drek like that. We made our
way down and tracked him into the sewers." Here Rachel
paused a moment, remembering the ghouls the shaman had run
into. That had brought back some bad memories of losing
her partner, Rook's dad, to a pack of ghouls a few years
before, and she wasn't about to mention that to Rook.
"Anyway, he was invisible, but we pretty much had
him cornered. Kosmo got pretty beaten up, but one of Titus'
elementals managed to take out the guy's defensive spells,
so we sorta kept shooting blindly in his direction, hoping
to hit something. Only Titus could see him, so in the end
he got the killing shot, I think, which was pretty funny
considering on our first run he barely knew how to hold
a gun, much less use it."
"Wow, so Titus saved the day by shooting someone?"
"Yeah. Go figure, huh? We got ourselves out of the
sewers and took Kosmo to the hospital. He should be ok,
and it looks like Boomer will be, too."
"Man. That's a pretty fragged up story. Glad you got
"Yeah. Me too. Just wish we could have gotten to him
"You did what you could."
"Yeah." She was quiet a moment. "Hey, chummer,
you're gonna be a shaman, so you have to promise me something.
If some creepy spirit says he'll give you power if you do
bad stuff for him, just say no, ok?"
Rook gave her a mischevious smile, "Isn't that a lot
like what you do for a living?"
Rachel shot him a killer look. "You know there's a
difference." Then she smiled. "Besides, I do it
Rook laughed, then looked at her seriously. "Don't
worry - I'll stick with Raven. I'm sure he'll keep me clean.
I'm not gonna mess with that kinda drek ever."
"Good," she said, sitting back with a sigh.