Augustín Expósito

The name “Exposito” means “the exposed one,” and it’s a name given to children that were “exposed” or abandoned by their parents. Exposito’s parents are unknown; he was left with the sisters of the Hospital de Nuestra Señora de Loreto shortly after he was born.

The Sisters of Nuestra Señora de Loreto taught trades to their young charges as well as instilling in them a fierce sense of Catholic discipline. Exposito was trained as a carpenter and joiner, and used the opportunity and access to tools to secretly train himself to fight, as well. He was admonished several times for incorporating animal bones, skins, and other unorthodox decorations, and especially admonished for collecting them.

When he was still a very young man, Exposito was able to use his carpentry skills to mend a river skiff belonging to a local official that had foundered on the river Antigua. This attracted the official’s notice, and Exposito was subsequently apprenticed to a builder in town. He distinguished himself in supplying ships in port, and was able to secure himself an appointment aboard one of the cargo ships plying the harbor as a carpenter.

When war broke out, the ship and everyone aboard were impressed into the Spanish Navy at Cadiz. In the battles that followed, Exposito distinguished himself but also used his position to undermine officers immediately senior to him. The various mates found that their handiwork was often subtly undone, and Exposito’s repairs earned him their rank and pay. Eventually, he sawed through a lieutenant’s lifeline during a gale and took his position as an officer. The captain of the ship was soon promoted, leaving Exposito in command.

He contrived to be the ship that transported Viceroy Balthazar from Spain to Veracruz, using the long voyage to gain the older man’s confidence. Thanks to his new and powerful patron, Exposito son found himself the Corrigador of Veracruz, effectively governor of the town. It was in this positon that he first came to know of the experimentation with crystal skulls and the draining of powers from alux or duende.

Despite his high rank, Exposito takes a personal hand in his administration and commands in person. He is an experienced soldier and hand-to-hand combatant, and though he values and cultivates loyal subordinates, his true loyalty is always to himself.

Expositio suspects that he was the child of someone of high station, but has deliberately never pursued the issue, believing that knowing the truth would deprive him of the drive that has defined his life. Several people have claimed to be a birth parent since he ascended to power; Expositio has had all of them executed as frauds. He believes that his true parents would not try to profit from his station.

He is also, secretly, a student of history and a closet millenarian. Exposito has read the Aztec story of the Five Suns and the Mayan Popol Vuh, and has been quietly comparing them to the Book of Revelation that he was brought up with. With his exposure to Balthazar’s experiments, Exposito is increasingly convinced that Revelation lines up with the Sixth Sun, and that he is fated to bring about the great earthquakes that will destroy our world and our people to make way for a more perfect creation.

Physical Description
Exposito is quite tall, with very thin angular features. He prefers to keep his hair slicked back, and is clean-shaven.

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Lone parking lot beer
Unlike those who cut it loose
It’s never been drunk

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Ebenezer “Ben” Cooke
The Cookes are a large family from Ednam in Roxburghshire, Scotland, and Cooke’s grandfather traveled to the New World as an indentured laborer to find his fortune. He was successful enough that his son, Cooke’s father, inherited a large plantation with slaves.

Mrs. Cooke died in childbirth giving birth to Elizabeth “Bess” Cooke, Cooke’s older half-sister. Lonely, the elder Cooke fell in love with one of his slaves, Belinda. Though they could never marry, they lived together as husband and wife to the great scandal of their neighbors, and the remaining slaves were freed and rehired as laborers at her urging.

Cooke was Belinda’s only child and recieved a thorough education from his bibliophile father and mother. The elder Cooke rewrote his will to legitimize Cooke as his heir, effectively disinheriting Bess, who had in the meantime married a wealthy local doctor.

When both Belinda and the elder Cooke died in a yellow fever epidemic, Bess and her husband used the opportunity to take Cooke’s inheritence. They hired local bushwhackers to kidnap Cooke and the other workers and had them taken to the slave markets of the Caribbean to be sold. Cooke was 13 at the time.

On the way to the market, the ship was stopped and boarded by pirates (or privateers) led by Captain Roxburgh. Cooke led the pirates to the hidden valuables aboard in exchange for putting the others ashore unharmed as free men. Impressed by Cooke’s acumen, Roxburgh took him aboard as a cabin boy. It was aboard that ship that Cooke had is apprenticeship as a seaman.

When the pirates captured a Dutch Indiaman some years later, Cooke, as mate, was given the prize to sail himself. Christening it the Fancy Rat, he was able to escape the destruction of Roxburgh’s flotilla later that year. Since then, Cooke has continually upgraded and modified his ship and engaged in piracy largely based out of Jolly Port.

The one thing that sets him apart from his fellow ruffians is his refusal to sell slaves on captured ships – he will instead put them safely ashore. He also loathes his given name, dismissing it as a ridiculously trendy appellation, and prefers to go by simply “Cooke” or, if pressed, “Ben Cooke.”

Physical Description
Cooke describes himself as having “his father’s nose after it was smashed flat against his face.” His hair is wildly curly and often barely kept under control with ribbons or hats; he wears it long out of vanity. He had strikingly-colored eyes, a “blunderbuss of dark freckles to the cheeks;” these features plus his darker skin make his mixed ancestry very clear.

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The highwayman pushed Father Dunwich back. “Dun need yer prayers,” he snapped. “Jus’ yer money or yer life.”

“I’ve no money, my son, as I told you,” replied Father Dunwich. He leaned in again, but this time, he slipped the highwayman’s dagger from its sheath and plunged it three times, quick as lightning, into the chinks between plates of boiled leather armor.

“Ere now, what are ya-” The other robber made to swing his sword, but Father Dunwich had already closed the distance between them and the thug’s sword arm bounced harmlessly off the good priest’s shoulder. The dagger was deep between his ribs before anything else could slip out of his lips.

“Wh…wha…how…?” The first highwayman had sunk to his knees, each breath forcing more air from his punctured and deflated lung into his chest cavity.

“I tolja, I’s a sin-eater,” growled Father Dunwich. “Yer bleedin’ out cuz I’s taken yer sins upon m’self. The sin o’ how to stab folks afore they know what poked em, fer instance.”

Father Dunwich knelt over the fallen men, saying the Obeisances in their ragged patois as their life ebbed away.

“Gonna jaw an’ think like ya for a spell,” he said, “but it’s no thing. Yer absolved an’ I was damned afore.”

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“Ah ches,” said the Inspector. “Just zo. But we muzt azk ourzelvez, muzt we not, how the victim came to be found on zhe train?”

“I hate to interrupt, Inspector,” cried the engineer, “But we’re on the roof of a cargo train and a tunnel is coming. Perhaps the investigation can wait?”

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Sun, jealous at his lover Moon’s newfound dalliance with Earth, took up a great obsidian knife and stabbed her. She was swollen with eggs, and they spilled forth upon Earth. The eggs were every thing that runs upon Earth, swims within Earth, soars above earth.

Moon, her energy spent, grew silent and cold. Earth, mourning his love, cared for her children in the distant way of a stepfather. Sun grew hot with jealousy but respected Moon and her children and allowed her half the sky.

But the time will soon come, children, when Moon will reawaken, when Earth will woo her once more, when Sun will grow jealous anew. The obsidian blade that is the night remains, and Moon has once again grown full of new children.

When Sun slices her again, what will become of her old children when the new spill down upon us?

They may brefriend us.

They may devour us.

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Magicists have long since concluded that a very particular type of hex, the hexus malificus, was responsible for most curses. This curse, widely known as the Common Hex, Merlin’s Hex, or less politically correctly as the Gypsy Hex, afflicts millions every year but is easily treated by commercially available and safe counter-curses and counter-hexes.

However, newly discovered documents from notable hex researcher Jumbicus the Magnificent indicate that many occurances of what are presumes to be the Common Hex may actually be a much rarer and more serious curse, which may also occur alongside and worsen the Common Hex. Named the Swiss Curse after the first cases were catalogued near Chur in Grisons, it may explain why some otherwise normal Common Hexes last for years with debilitating results.

If a Common Hex curse is actually the Swiss Curse, or is inflicted alongside it by natural magic or by design, it may explain why normal counter-curses are sometimes ineffective as well.

The American Magical Association has declined to comment, but many fringe elements have declared this new research a victory and validation.

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