AKA The Elder Spirit of California, Circa 2112

Comments: I’m skipping a character sheet for this NPC, as she never had one during the actual campaign itself. In fact, Alice is the kind of NPC that would never really be found on any conventional battlefield – she’s a behind-the-scenes worker. Her role in the campaign was to spur the story forward and to provide information. I would compare her to Dunkelzahn or Lofwyr from the Shadowrun universe, an entity that exists to push the game into motion, not as any kind of antagonist to be dealt with after Phase 12. However, I can certainly talk about who she was and how she impacted the campaign.

Alice Cadbury, Director

Background/History: Alice Cadbury was “born” before the beginning of recorded history. She, along with many others, formed the first “awakening” of Elder Spirits. Each Elder Spirit represented either a fundamental concept, or more often, a geographical region. These spirits guided the various tribes of mankind through the ages of civilization – some helpful, some inimical. During these ancient times, the level of magic in the world would fluctuate between levels high enough to sustain almost any spirit as a god-like creature and so low that the Elder Spirits would barely be able to manifest at all.

In the early days of man’s climb, the civilization of Atlantis learned to manipulate sorcery and produced many powerful magic items and formulae. However, the Atlantean’s pride was their downfall, and their island sank beneath the waves into legend. After the fall of Atlantis, magic began to decline, and many centuries later, there was very little of it left in the world.

During those lean times, Alice Cadbury had become known as “The Great Spirit” to the Native American tribes on the western coast of North America. The Karouk tribe particularly revered her, and the lessons she taught were painted onto cavern walls or carved into medicine wheels. Later, as the Native Americans gave way to the settlers from Europe, Alice Cadbury began to become more curious about the affairs of humankind. Her role as The Great Spirit had become stifling, wrapped in layer upon layer of tradition. She longed for something new, a sense of purpose that would help her decide once and for all, how she was defined.

Drifting, the spirit took the form of a human woman and walked among the people. She watched the great railroad cross the continent, watched the great cities being built and teeming with life and new opportunities. Here and there, she would choose one human and follow him around to learn more, but it was not until 1850 that she would meet the most interesting human she had ever seen – Joshua Norton. In San Francisco, Alice encountered the man who would one day declare himself Emperor of America, and she became entranced. Norton influenced Alice in ways nothing else ever had – his sheer zest for life and love of principle infused her every fiber. Alice had fallen in love. She and Norton were close friends for his entire life, and it is from him that Alice chose to define her nature as a guardian spirit, the protector of all California.

Things were quiet for Alice up until the greatest earthquake the world has ever known struck along the San Andreas fault line in 2032. California effectively ceased to exist, and the earthquake caused a world-wide cataclysm of weather and seismological events. In the aftermath, a new city arose over the ruins – Angelus. Alice chose to make her stand there to defend and protect the “last Californians.” She knew that there were darker things beyond this world that watched the devastation of the earthquake…and hungered for more.

Then, in 2093, the “Van Goren Incident” opened a doorway between our reality and the Black World of the Entities. Horrific demons poured through, tearing a swath of destruction. Alice Cadbury was instrumental in welding together various disparate groups of emergency response personnel and volunteers into a single force. With her aid, the outbreak was contained. Alice founded XSWAT directly afterwards, overseeing the new agency and directing its efforts towards protecting Angelus from all threats. Although Van Goren’s efforts raised the magic level in the world, Alice found herself forced to devote a vast portion of her elder spirit powers towards keeping the rift between worlds to a manageable level. This was quite a challenge – extremely powerful Entities such as Gurzorath and the King of Shadows himself constantly tested her vigilance. Alice knew that she would not be able to protect Angelus alone. She set several schemes into motion, including working alongside the Order of Enoch before that group began to splinter. She rescued clades from the Enochian’s island base, acting on a hunch that a kindness now would be repaid in full at a later date.

In 2112, Directory Cadbury hand-picked a group of promising young recruits to form a new 9th Squad operating out of Beta Sector in Angelus. Cadbury selected these individuals with an eye towards the future, and her trust was rewarded. The new 9th squad performed extremely well at all tasks, and the Director gave them more latitude and guidance with every accomplished mission. During the course of their investigations, the 9th Squad began to discover bits of Alice Cadbury’s past and hints of her true nature. Eventually, the 9th Squad put their knowledge to the test and demanded answers – answers that the Director was not yet ready to give. Alice realized too late that she had taken her role as protector too far. In effect, Alice was protecting humanity from itself, and thus, restricting mankind’s ability to grow, to learn, to evolve.

The 9th Squad’s investigations led them into battle with some of the most dangerous Entities, among them a pair of Soul-stealers. When Jamadigni Renuka became grievously wounded, she called out to Alice, asking for a portion of the elder spirit’s power. Cadbury granted that request, knowing that even a small siphon of her abilities to help Jama would let the door to the Black World crack just a tiny bit more…and the amount of magic in the world increased along with the number of Entities slipping through into our reality.

Finally, the door could be held no longer. The Entities made a final push, and a greater Entity named Gurzorath passed into Angelus – it was clear the final battle for the city’s fate had come. In a desperate act, Cadbury led the defenders of the city at Rutger Bridge while Jamadigni Renuka frantically searched for a solution. In the end, Jama discovered that only one thing could seal the rift – the Ordinus Seal. However, such a powerful spell required a powerful sacrifice. Leaving behind one last gift (a “moment of perfect grace” to each member of the 9th Squad), Alice Cadbury and the other elder spirits sacrificed themselves to form the Ordinus Seal. The time had come for the elder spirits to step aside and let humanity’s destiny take its course.

Personality/Motivation: Alice Cadbury began as an explorer, one who wanted to experience every pleasure known throughout the world. As the centuries went by, she matured, and became the guardian spirit of North America’s West Coast. However, acting as the Great Spirit for the Native American tribes had its own difficulties. She became frustrated with the tribal traditions that enwrapped her role. Luckily, she discovered Joshua Norton, and everything changed. Cadbury patterned her human self on Norton’s outlook – he believed that all people deserved something great, and he believed in the basic human decency of mankind. Cadbury took those elements to heart, and redefined herself as a protector for the people of California.

After the destruction of 2032, she was devastated – all her people had died, and she could not save them. The power of magic was simply too weak in the world. Yet, she sensed that her time had not yet come…and she was right. After the founding of Angelus, Alice became the city’s fiercest guardian. She went to great lengths to ensure Angelus’ survival, as the last vestige of her former protectorate. Yet in doing so, she became over-focused. She began to lose trust in mankind, preferring stricter methods and keeping no one’s counsel but her own. Only after Nathan Carpenter and the rest of 9th Squad were able to make Alice realize her mistake, and she sacrificed herself to create the Ordinus Seal with a clear heart and a fond farewell.

Quote: “Councilor, let me remind you that XSWAT falls under my control. Only I will decide how to respond to this attack.”

Powers/Tactics: As an elder spirit, Alice Cadbury had incredible power. The level of access she had to her abilities depended greatly upon the current level of magical power suffusing the Earth. At times when magic was more common, her powers were nearly limitless. When magic began to decline, so too did her abilities fade. Alice commonly was able to project images of herself to nearly anyone she had met before. She was able to divine the future, though dimly and without explicit information. She spent most of her time in Angelus wielding light against the dark powers of the Entities, holding shut the rift between Earth and the Black World. She could, at times, lend fractions of her power to others, but doing was dangerous and strained her concentration.

As a person, Alice Cadbury exuded power and the indescribable spark of a natural commander. Where she led, people would follow. Her interpersonal skills were nearly flawless, and she was able to navigate the complicated political landscape of Angelus with ease. As one would expect from a being who had existed since before written history, Alice’s knowledge base and skills were simply staggering in breadth and depth. In addition, her position as Director of XSWAT gave her a great deal of political power, including many kinds of secret clearances and access to military equipment.

Appearance: Alice could have chosen nearly any appearance for her mortal shell, from the blindingly beautiful to the hideously ugly. The countenance that she settled upon called to mind a combination of the glamorous movie stars of Hollywood’s early years. Her face and form reminded one of Marilyn Monroe or Jane Reynolds, while her lustrous platinum hair resembled the style of Veronica Lake. Her eyes were a clear violet, and the combination of her looks and grace produced an unforgettable effect upon the eye.

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