Lost in the Shadows
Year of the Comet
Though Halley’s Comet was only around for approximately a year, it too brought forth a raft of changes to our world, Some called it a second Awakening due to the mainly magical upheavals that followed in its wake. Between SURGE, comet cults, natural orichalcum and other strangeness, it certainly seemed to be.. but none of really stuck around. What did, however, were the political and economic changes as well a new Great Dragon to contend with. Even the probe race, designed to see who could land an effective probe on the comet and bring back samples and other data, eventually got swallowed up in the fever.
Beginning in August of 2061, places all over the world experienced natural and magical storms of varying strength. First, typhoons battered the Philippines, the first storms in a long string of disasters that helped prepare the way for the island nation’s eventual liberation from Imperial Japan. Mana storms swept a few nations around the world. Then, in October of the same year, thye Ring of Fire erupted, afflicting Japan with volcanic eruptions and tidal waves. The Bay Area suffered earthquakes, the Philippines were hit with volcanic eruptions and an earthquake and many other locations around the Pacific Rim were beset by smaller disasters that nevertheless disturbed or destroyed lives. In December, another earthquake hit – this time in Los Angeles, demolishing the carefully built walls that kept the rabble out and setting people free to riot and loot in the previously shielded city.
Shakeup in Japan
Once the Ring of Fire’s fury was spent in Imperial Japan, its people began the task of cleaning up. Once problem: the Emperor and all of his family had been killed, except for one young man. This meant a new Emperor and a new era for Japan.
Meanwhile, the Japanese Diet ordered the withdrawal of troops from foreign soil in order to help rebuild Japan. Once general refused to comply – with San Francisco and the Central under his control, General Saito quickly became not only a worrisome irritant to the Diet and the Emperor, but a royal pain to the people of CalFree. No one expected this, especially not the metahumans, whom Saito wasted no time in oppressing. Ares Macrotechnology, feeling Silicon Valley was threatened, moved in troops to defend it and ended up being instrumental (along with Mothers Of Metahumans and various pirates and shadowrunners) in eventually liberating the area in the late 2060’s.
Once the new Emperor rescinded the Yomi Island decree in February of 2062, rebel forces (called the Huk) in the Philippines made their move to liberate their nation from Japanese control. After decades of foreign occupation, many Filipinos felt that it was past time to take back control of their own destiny and did so with the backing of the Great Dragon Masaru.
We should have known something was going to happened as early as September of 2061 because that’s when Dunkelzahn’s Rift began fluctuating and acting more strangely than anyone was used to seeing. We think that’s also when powerful shedim (“The dead” various ancestor spirits called them) had begun breaking through the Rift to plague us. One of these may in fact have reanimated Ibn Eisa, leader of the Islamic Unity Movement and one of the most influential men in the Middle East and the Muslim world, shortly after his assassination (the impostor wasn’t unmasked wasn’t unmasked until 2064 but by then the damage to the Islamic world had been done).
It wasn’t until Christmas Eve (December 24) of 2061 that the astral form of a previously unknown Great Dragon – dubbed ‘Ghostwalker’ by the media – broke through the Rift. It’s been said that he flew directly to Denver, picked up his physical body somewhere along the way, and then began a rampage that ended up with Aztlan kicked out of the city and the CAS inheriting that sector.
It was a tense couple of days, with people thinking that the Treaty of Denver might be nullified, and we’d have war between the NAN, the UCAS and the CAS. Ghostwalker sorted things out in a meeting, reshuffling Denver’s organization, making himself the prime authority of the region and giving essential daily management powers to the Council that had previously handled everything with varying degrees of competency. The new Treaty of Denver also called for the creation of the Zone Defense Force (or ‘Zonies’ as the t-bird jammers and smugglers call them) from military personnel from all sectors. This granted Denver the ability to defend itself in care of attack without requiring any sector to raise its own armies (a violation of the treaty).
Draconian Maneuvers in the Dark
Though the public at large wasn’t terribly aware that this was going on, anyone clued in to the power behind the scenes of the world knew that something was not quire right between the Great Dragons. Many of them had appeared in the skies over Dunkelzahn’s Rift in the FDC a some sort of tribute, but that didn’t mean they were entirely happy with the late President’s decision to distribute his wealth via a metahuman invention rather than according to dragon convention. (That much some of us picked up. Chatty bunch, dragons, when they choose to be.) This meant a reckoning on their terms, of course, and Ghostwalker’s appearance on the scene meant that it was about to arrive.
A New Dragon in Town
Something many had noted about Ghostwalker was his almost uncanny resemblance, at least in draconic form, to the late Dunkelzahn. The resemblance was strong enough that some theorized that was Dunkelzahn returned, or perhaps a sibling. Either way, Gostwalker hadn’t seemed to like what had been done with Dunkelzahn’s will, the items within and what it boded for dragons. He clearly wanted a reckoning. What that really means for the rest of us is anyone’s guess, but I can tell you a few things: the dust has settled and the world is still here; Hestaby is now a Prince in Tir Tairngire instead of Lofwyr; the other wyrms seem as satisfied as they’re ever going to be; Lofwyr retained as much power if not more than he previously had; and many shadowrunners were employed in very lucrative endeavors.
Slash and Burn
Smarting from being kicked out of Denver, Aztlan wasted no time in attempting to prove itself elsewhere. Ever since the 2050’s or so, when the Campeche district of Aztlan rose up in rebellion, the bloody-minded country had been aching to retake control of the Yucatan and assert its authority. With plenty of recalled troops at hand, the government sent them into the Yucatan to slash and burn everything they encountered, which they did until the environment began fighting back. March 15, 2062 saw an earthquake, tidal waves and storms hitting the Yucatan, pushing the Aztlan offensive back and touching off warfare between nature and toxic spirits. The Azzies have been squatting and waiting for things to die down until they can go back in, but I have a feeling it’s never going to stop until one side or the other is defeated… and I hope for everyone’s sake that it’ll be the toxics.