Mars City Shadowrun
Troll guard at the Temple of Hathor
He’s on the tall side for a troll, perhaps a touch over 3 meters tall. Also, he’s not as ridiculously massive as some of them can be, as I didn’t max out body or strength, but he’s in really good shape for a troll (a combination of Thutmose’s intense physical training and the fact that, living out in Heliopolis, he’s not prone to the typical troll diet, ie “Troll-sizing it” at the Stuffer Shack.
His horns are shorter than most, and grow straight up and back (which fit snugly in the ear section of the jackal mask) and he keeps them polished and smooth. He’s fairly dark-skinned, as most metahumans living in Heliopolis probably are. He tries to keep his skin in really good condition, too, as the Schismatics tend to value physical beauty. (he can’t help it that he goblinized, and he always really did want to work in the temple of Hathor.) He keeps his head cleanly-shaven, except for a 12-inch ponytail on the back. He wears kohl around his eyes, like most Schismatics. He’s overly self-conscious about his massive lower teeth, and so he generally tries to keep his mouth closed, or to talk with his hand casually in front of his face. He’s not the only troll in town, naturally, but he tries harder than the others to match the standards of beauty of Heliopolis.
I never really wanted to be a temple guard. I really wanted to be a priest at the temple of Hathor. It’s so pretty there, and relaxed, and they’ve got beautiful music and fountains and a garden. I really wanted to help tend the gardens and be glamorous like all the other priests and priestesses there. A lot of the other boys in the training school liked fighting, and wanted to be guards. They wanted to fight. I didn’t. There was plenty of people who could do that. Besides, the teachings say that providing companionship and beauty was more important than just being able to kill someone. Besides, the temple of Hathor brings in a lot of Nuyen for the community, and I wanted to do what I could to make all of our lives more beautiful.
I was really small when I was growing up, and so I was destined to become a priest of Hathor. My dream was finally coming true. When I turned twelve, I started my apprenticeship at the temple, and I was learning how to paint, and to sing the beautiful traditional songs, and to prepare the rituals for the greeting of the morning, and soon enough I would learn how to properly provide comfort to the donors of the temple. I was really happy, then.
It all changed about six weeks into my training. I had a most terrible fever, and my body hurt all over. The priestesses were so nice to me, but they couldn’t really help with what was going on. My skin became tougher, I grew. Fast. I went through three sizes of clothing in two days once. Why did that have to happen to me? By the time I was thirteen, I was no longer the skinny little kid. I was nearly twice as tall as the other children in my classes, when I could actually go. They still knew that I had a gentle soul, and they didn’t shun me (thanks to the teachings of the priests and preistesses!) but they taught me how to polish my horns, and to hold my mouth so I didn’t drool as much when I talked. I think growing these big teeth was the worst of it. I couldn’t sing anymore. But again, they were nice.
That’s when Thutmose pulled me out of my classes. “No one wants to slot a troll,” he said, “you wouldn’t bring in any money for the temple.” He never understood what it takes to be a priest at the temple of Hathor! He was only concerned with death. And he had a special school for me.
There were other boys and girls from my childhood there. They’d all become orks and trolls. They were all really excited. They all really quickly learned how to shoot, how to fight with their hands. All I learned was how to throw a baseball (much to my surprise! I’d never been any good at sports before!) and how to perform the elegant ritualistic fighting styles of the ancients, with sword and buckler. The other kids laughed at my inability to grasp the art of the gun, or the traditional halberd.
Thutmose singled me out one day. He said that I’d never learn how to do anything that required technology. He wasn’t mad, though I expected him to be. He said I was special, and that different gods smiled on me. I wasn’t going to be an avatar of Thoth or Anubis, my direction lied elsewhere. He took me deep within the temple of Thoth and made me do a ceremony that I’d never seen before. I was stripped naked, and given a drink of something. It was bitter, but intoxicating. I wanted more, but the priests had all fled the chamber. It was dark in there, and cold. All I could see was the writings about Thoth on the walls, but not very well. I waited around for what seemed like days, crying out to Thutmose to let me out and try to learn to shoot again. But my pleas fell on deaf ears.
I started to see things, then. The edges of the walls pulled around and ripped and suddenly I was back home, on Earth. But it looked nothing like it does now. It was barren, with a few monuments that I recognized from my history lessons in the background. As I drew closer to them, I could see that they were two temples, somehow being both two and one at the same time. I cried out in confusion, and then two voices, speaking simultaneously, spoke to me. They told me…things. Things that I cannot repeat. Things about Mars, and about the Black Pharoah, things about ALL the pharoahs, and ancient journeys and destiny. One of the voices was sweet, like honey. The other voice was cold and dusty, but not malicious. They said that I had no hate, and that I was a gentle soul, but that there would come a time when I would have to fight. I would have to find hate to do that, but more importantly, that my Ka would understand when it was time. My Ka would do what is necessary. Also, that they had a gift for me. They could make it so that I would not be injured. They could make it so that I could do more with my sword and shield than a thousand of my brethren with their guns. I could withstand the bullets of the enemies. I could leap across wide chasms, and close quickly with my enemies, giving them no chance to escape. In essence, I was to be not the Avatar of Thoth, nor that of Hathor, but to be the two in one. I would create beauty with my sword, and I would derive death from the plants that I grew. I was to be a guard, and I would guard the temple of Hathor.
I awoke sometime later, and my muscles were hard but sleek. My skin was thick, but smooth. My horns were large, but not twisted. I had none of the marring, nor the nodules or pock-marks of my fellow trolls and orks. I was an avatar both of beauty and of death.
Thutmose gave me the finest equipment. Flexible, sleek armor. A mask of a jackal, with electronic modifications that would be simple to use. That’s when I began my training in earnest.
I met Sunny (well, Ra. That’s what he preferred to be called, though.) He was the friend that I needed at the temple of Thoth. He understood that I needed to be more subtle than my classmates. He’s the one that developed the poisons for me to use. It was more traditional that way. He understood what I saw, though he never asked me about it.
So here I am. I guard the temple of Hathor. I go after those who mistreat the priests and priestesses. I run raids on rival temples. I protect the most sacred and most important temple, and I am willing to lay down my life for it.
Well, that’s the story, at least. I’m still really uncomfortable about fighting, and I still prefer to spend my time with the priests and priestesses, listening to music and gossip, feeling the cool spray of the fountain, and seeing the beautiful art. Thutmose says that he’s sure that, when it comes down to it, he’s sure that my Ka will know what to do. I sure hope so. I mean, I’ve never actually had to fight anyone yet. It’s only my second day here.
-private diary of Ramose-Hotep, 12 Dec. 2069
killed in 2077 on Deimos Prison Moon, in an explosion triggered by his teammate Asp in an attempt to save the team from certain death at the hands of a mech. he ascended to the realm of the Neteru successfully, having been judged to have lived a worthy life.