By: firstname.lastname@example.org (Redneck Gaijin)
The fires burn on in the Amazon, plants and animals strike back against the lonely substinence farmers on the edge of the wilds, and creatures of the night roam the wide empty places...
Rio de Janeiro is a fairly typical example of the 'city-state'- a city capable of defending the ground it sits on, maybe a little bit of farmland beyond, but no more. It answers to no authority but its own (Brazil's central government disintegrating in the short, bloody civil war which was its part of Armageddeon). It only remains viable through its importance as a manufacturing and shipping center- it imports scant raw materials or attains them from the few courageous or desperate people who still live in the South American interior, and it churns out pollution, poverty, and low-quality manufactured goods for the Southern Hemisphere.
Only a fraction of the population of the city- as few as 20%- have city services aside from the self-defense force's protection. Despite the still vast petroleum resources and refineries at hand, electricity and fuel are scant commodities, only for the elite and powerful and the military. Most of the older, smoky cars and outboard-motor boats are being cannibalized for raw materials, since fuel is being rationed for the small military, the sea-dock facilities, the factories, and the wealthy. Similar things are happening with televisions and radioes; instead of one or both in a household, only those with electricity keep them; most of the restraunts, saloons, and stores which still have electricity keep three or four running for their customers.
What public transport there is is more and more animal-powered, and even that doesn't go past the city limits. The trains are wrecked and without fuel, the remaining trucks only travel sporadically to the interior to those few farms and mines still producing commodities. Air traffic is strictly limited to official business- none of the tiny commercial fliers run the thousands of miles away from friendly airports to serve Rio regularly. For the vast majority of travelers, ocean traffic is the only way in and out of Rio. Fortunately, Rio has free borders for travelers, but heavy tariffs for import goods.
The port at Rio is becoming truly eclectic. Giant supertankers are now mixing with museum-relic sailing ships, and small yachts are growing as important as huge freighters in shipping goods in and out of the city. Somehow, the docks handle it all, from the enormous freight vessels to the ships carrying live animals on deck, commerce enough to keep the hundreds of thousands of people in the city alive.
Rio's military forces can barely hold an area a few miles inland from the seaport, a couple of ridges inland from the inland outskirts of the city, and the farmers and fishermen who live farther than that away from the city are totally on their own. Monsters of various shapes and sizes, including carnivorous plants, prey on lone or isolated Brazilians. There's nothing left to conquer, as far as human settlements go, for hundreds of miles... the war and the beasts have seen to that... so the army serves as a police and defense force, their chief concern not enforcing law but exterminating those horrors which decide to try city food.
Rio is special in that it contains one of the five claimants of the title of Pope in the Roman Catholic Church. (Rome's radioactive crater has been buried under lava and ash from the volcanoes still erupting up and down the Appenine mountain range.) Pope Paolo (Paul) of Brazil was a political-minded Archbishop who found himself totally cut off from the Vatican and the highest-ranking surviving Church official on the continent. When Rome's destruction was confirmed, he named himself Pope...
... and as his first act, he publicly confessed his sins of greed, sloth, lust, envy, pledging his total devotion to God in the highest. Rather than lose the respect of the people, he became the common man's Pope, his personable manner and apparent outreach to the poor and refugees making him adored not just in Rio, but all across South America, as word and videotape of his crusade to aid the weak and spread faith among the helpless worked their way around the world.
Within a month, the old corrupt Rio city government was forced from office by mobs demanding Pope Paolo's election as both temporal and spiritual leader of Rio. He accepted the move with great grace... and once in power, began a subtle balancing act, playing the very wealthy off against the very poor, using both to keep his support universal in the city.
Paolo's chief advisor is a Servitor of Fate, a relatively young unWorded Habbalite of Fate named Araxes, who in infiltrating the Archdioscese in Rio had discovered this young priest with an incredibly bright Destiny, and an equally dark Fate; he would either save Rio in its darkest hour, or lead it through a guilded time of prosperity into a ruin of destruction, death and famine. Paolo has no idea that his faithful secretary Father Julio is really a demon, but his advice always seems sound, and whenever he talks to the old Father he comes away with a much clearer mind...
|CORPOREAL FORCES - 2||Strength 2||Agility 6|
|ETHERIAL FORCES - 3||Intelligence 6||Precision 6|
|CELESTIAL FORCES - 4||Will 10||Perception 6|
Vessel: Human/1 (elderly male Brazilian)
Role: Priest/5, Status/2 (respected but uncelebrated minor priest)
Attunements: Habbalite of Fate, Fated Future
Discord: Damaged Sense (hearing)/1
Father Julio appears to the few who see him as an elderly, slightly deaf man, weak but still fairly sound, who skulks around the darker halls of Rio's grandest Cathederal, poring forgotten books and records of the Church in Brazil. In reality, he is an experienced demon, a Habbalite of Kronos, who infiltrated Brazil's Catholic Church sixty years ago as a young priest from the backcountry. He met the young man now called Paolo eighteen years ago as a novice priest, divined his Destiny and Fate, and set him on the road to the latter, encouraging his unwitting pupil into politics, wicked backstabbing schemes, occasional blackmail and even, on one occasion, a poisoning.
Julio is neither especially favored nor especially ignored by Kronos, who is content for the moment to allow Paolo to enjoy his moment in the sun, before Julio sends him down the final steps into self-destruction, carrying himself and his entire city, and the hopes of virtually all the humans remaining in South America, into the Abyss. Julio is already anticipating a Distinction to swagger with when he returns to Hell, with the darkness of a hundred million souls to his credit...
|CORPOREAL FORCES- 2||Strength 4||Agility 4|
|ETHERIAL FORCES- 2||Intelligence 3||Precision 5|
|CELESTIAL FORCES- 2||Will 4||Perception 4|
Human body, Toughness/1
Status: 6 (world religious leader)
The Pope of Latin America is a strong, handsome man in the prime of his life- he just turned 40- handsome in a darkly European way. He has just a hint of the swarthy Latinoamericano blood about him, darkening his skin and sable hair and giving him a warm, friendly appearance.
In fact, this Pope worked his way up through the Church in Brazil on the backs of his unknowing rivals, guided every step of the way by 'Father Julio.' His soul is as dark as the most cutthroat gangster's, and his cunning better than average. His lone failing is his relatively average intelligence, which he overcomes through Julio's kindly 'advice.'
In reality, each time he seeks Julio for counsel, he leaves the demon significantly altered emotionally, the Habbalite resonance played specifically to calm or inflame Paolo's ambitions at the appropriate times. His clever political strategems are really Julio's, and the demon is setting him up to be dead in the middle when, not long down the road, Rio's tenuous grip on civilization and prosperity finally breaks down...
Kris Overstreet, web pages beyond belief
http://www.txdirect.net/users/redneck - Redneck Gaijin Online
http://www.jurai.net/~redneck/wlp/ - White Lightning Productions
http://www.antarctic-press.com/ - Antarctic Press Web Site
http://www.jurai.net/~redneck/acupunct/ - Anatomical Acupuncture
http://www.jurai.net/~redneck/dvpbem/ - In Nomine: Dark Victory PBEM
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