Lost in the Shadows
Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law…
Short Description: Magic-seeking ritual transgressors.
Dress: It’s shorter to list what the Ergi don’t wear than what they do. They don’t wear anything that is directly linked to what role they were born into in this world, gender, metatype, orientation. Most of them wear clothes and make-up that obscure the details of their identities. There’s no pattern to their clothes, or possible lack thereof (my favorite kind!), as they put a lot of effort into being more shocking, more flash than each other. The one thing they do generally wear in common is some kind of mystical talisman or symbol, unique (much, much worse than being caught wearing the same dress as the hostess’ husband, and honey, the Vu knows that). Some even have it tattooed, so it’ll be with them when they’re naked. Of course, the hippest of the hip magic-loving hipsters wear the feywear, unique pieces made by free spirits, but you KNOW what that costs. Although, with anything THAT fantastic, there’s always enough imitators to stop traffic. Another thing the Vu knows from first-hand experience.
Symbols: The Sacred Chao, a yin/yang with a golden apple in one half and a pentagon in the other. A pink teacup. The Flying Spaghetti Monster. The transsexual peace sign, with a male arrow, a female cross and a hermaphrodite crossed arrow coming out of a peace sign.(Oh yeah, tell it!) Other symbols of uncertainty and liminal spaces.
Lingo: The Ergi like to be cryptic. No, I take that back, they love to be cryptic. The Ergi is a bit of an exclusive club and they like nothing better than to confuse the ‘muggles’, ‘greyfaces’ or ‘goronit’ or whatever they’re calling everybody else this week. They talk in riddles and in-jokes and pepper their speech with Sperethiel and or’zet and any dead or, even better, imaginary languages they can dredge up, like Volapuk or Klingon. They even play a game where they test each other to see if they can guess if its a real word or one they just made up on the spot. In fact, about the only thing they don’t speak is the Hmong Daw. Apparently too many of us khwv khwv can paub the hais lus.
- Styles: WizPunk, and old-school Elf Rock
- What’s on Their Playlists?: Psychedelic Phlegm, Astral Lightning, DNA, Shield Wall, Bad Talesma
- Local bands: Berdache Dreams, Goronagit , Amadeus Nazca, Maximum Twinkle
Words are important, you ask the Ergi themselves, they’ll tell you that. So, let’s start to explain my favorite little Hogwarts drop-outs with the name they’ve got for themselves, shall we? Professor Vu’s class is in session. Now, the word “Ergi” originally comes out of the whole Ascomanni Norse revival culture. Back when the Ergi was still just scattered wiz-groupies, the Ascomanni used to revile them as Ergi, which is what they called those they thought guilty of Argr or “unmanliness”, which includes, among other things, the practice and adoration of magic (covers several other things, some of my personal favorite things, but those are stories the Vu will tell you lovely, attentive chittlins when you’re older, hmm?). In a move almost designed to get the Vu on their side, the precocious little mage-nerds took the label and made it their own, and started calling each other Egri, even before the Scene really emerged.
Magic’s always been a little suspect up here in the GWN, especially after the way the Two Thorps got, let’s call it ‘embarrassed’, by the Ghost Dance during the Awakening. By the 30’s, glorifying mages and magic was a fantastic way for wayward adolescents to piss off their parents, without engaging in anything too risk (there’s many an embarrassing yearbook photo from that era of many a respectable banker or corporate officer with the pony-tale and spirit-catcher earrings, back then, Indian = Magic exclusively).
But the Ergi scene didn’t really coalesce until the Comet Scare in ‘62. What had been a label, at best a high school clique, suddenly became a full-fledged Scene. It gave all these magic-crazed kids, mystics and cultists (there were several perfectly respectable and perfectly mad comet cults under he banner of the Ergi) some place to come together, a social place to share their experiences and concerns, with a growing awareness in a generation that hadn’t known the Awakening of the power of magic in a world that they thought so solid.
Well, that and take a lot of weird drugs and have a lot of ill-thought-out inadvisable sex. Spirits bless their hormonal little hearts.
After the Comet, the Scene provided a place to belong for a lot of those changed by the SURGE and for those who could just sympathize with what it feels like to be a freak.
The Scene has gone strong since then, built around gender acceptance, a love of magic and the Awakened and the always-popular ‘worrying the grown-ups’. It is definitely an adolescent scene, often a phase, or something that one only does on weekends. A life lived entirely in liminal space is not for everyone. And why should it be, it’s what makes them special, and auntie/uncle Vu loves them for it.
There are, it should be noted for completeness, very few actual mages in the ranks of the Ergi. Unrequited love features very strongly in a lot of the music the scene gravitates to, because the scene is mostly made up of those whose love for magic is unrequited, a few adepts here and there or an untrained caster but for the most part, interested mundanes.
Now, a personal point. I’ve noticed over the last few years, the worrying spread of Tempo use in the Scene. Now anyone who knows the Vu (and who doesn’t?) knows that the Vu is no prude, if it can be smoked, snorted, injected, dropped, eaten or chipped, the Vu has probably done it. The Vu is a big believer in moderation, and moderation implies use. The Vu knows drugs. But this Tempo is something else. I’ve seen it change kids, they become totally different people, and then they change back. Even chips don’t change people that fast. Never one to tell people how to live their lives… but mark the Vu as concerned.
It must be some draw, bring those pale little kab thaws up to the West Side. They make an awfully funny sight down among the Maya. Of course, a lot of them don’t come out again, but whatcha gonna do, amigo?
Not a lot of mages, huh? I call lus cuav qaub on that. Ran afoul of couple of these weird, made-up little tsis tham lus on a run a few months ago. Ate a face full of Power bolts. I would have been an autopsy report if it wasn’t for our team’s txiv neeb. Unrequited huh? Seems they got the damn hook-up.
That would be the Tempo, man, I’m telling you.
Oh good, and here come the Tempo conspiracy theories, right on schedule…
Theories? You asking me if I’ve got theories?