Despair - a profile of a Shadow Spirit

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« on: <10-03-12/0317:55> »
Profile – Despair / Spark’s Shade


Somewhere in the darkest depths of the metaplanes is a realm of pure misery.  Spirits from this realm feed on the suffering of physical beings.  Currently, the Sixth World is still new and the distance between the planes of existence are far, beyond measure.  Creatures from this realm struggle the leach life from the living and can only interact with the physical via tenuous links.  Such links, dreamlike in substance, require ripe fruit from our reality, metahumans who are plump with the pain and suffering that feeds these shadowy spectres.
One such creature, a more powerful being in its own realm, has made contact with a mortal, a ‘King of Seattle’ whose greed and desire for power led him to make bargains with other Shadows previously.  In a deal made between devils, this Gaelic ‘Polished Chief’ and the Shadow known as Despair, would aid each other in exchange for mutual benefit.
True to his world, the Polished Chief of Seattle arranged for Despair to make contact with a powerful awakened mortal.  This mortal proved to be the perfect combination of raw mystic power and deep guilt.   Moving quickly, the shadow suckled this ‘Cpt Snart’s dark dreams of anguish and feed them, feeding in turn on the guilt this generated and so the cycle began. Cpt Snart has lost his daughter recently, secretly a shadowrunner, she had fallen in combat to a powerful fire elemental.  Using a mortal agent of the Polished Chief, a Crow Shaman, Cpt Snart fell to Despair’s influence.  However, Despair could not remain in the physical world for any real amount of time and needed a stronger anchor...
Taking the form of his daughter, Despair convinced Snart via dreams to conduct an ancient ritual to summon and bind the ghost of his daughter as an ally spirit. The Crow Shaman acted as mediator in the mortal realm, providing Snart with all the ‘inspiration’ he needed.  Snart recovered his daughter’s burnt remains and took ritual samples of someone responsible for her death (however indirectly).  ‘Finding’ copies of the ritual in the secret library Snart and his circle of mages used, Snart was prepared to conduct the ritual which would anchor Despair to the physical realm.
But then a team of Shadowrunner’s struck!  As Snart and his men prepared for the ritual, the runners interfered as the ‘sacrifice’ which would power the ritual was being transported to the prepared site.  The ‘sacrifice’ was taken and Snart’s circle was temporally broken.  Not the be defeated, Despair influenced Snart to conduct the ritual with the samples taken, Spark’s burnt remains and a personal sacrifice...
Despair willing became Snart’s ally spirit in order to gain traction in the world, but the broken ritual resulted in... mixed results.  Snart managed to bound Despair with his own memories of Sparks, creating a hybrid creature, a mixture of Despair’s shadow essence and Snart’s memories of his daughter.  The result, more horrifying then Snart’s mind could take, should have ended what was left of Snart’s sanity...
But Despair, weaker then desired, has made her/its way into the physical world. Snart, Despair’s main (but perhaps not only) link to the physical world, has returned to his role as head of Lone Star’s Department of Paranormal Investigations.  Under his influence, the number of Lone Star mages which have joined the ‘Brotherhood’ is growing and each of them feeds Despair with their guilt and anguish.  Soon they, and others like them, will go on to commit acts of betrayal and violence against their loved ones, only to be consumed with guilt over their actions... guilt which will feed Despair’s growing hunger and power.
-          Free her/itself from Snart
-          Gain a real anchor separate from any mortal
-          Build an food source army of followers in the mortal realm
-          Create a Domain of Despair over Seattle and claim ‘godhood’ of the city...
-          Oh... and fulfil its bargain with the ‘Polished Chief’ until such time it can break the bond and consume this upstart mortal.

On a primal level, Despair it’s a being which hungers for human anguish, its particular flavour of choice is guilt and grief.  Despair is a dark manipulator, rather than pure evil monster.  Despair has no interest in death or destruction, and takes not pleasure in physical pain.  A dead mortal provides no substance.  That said, an annoying/threatening mortal should be consumed without hesitation...
Despair is a thinker, a planner who uses pawns to make small, harmless moves which then come together into larger tapestry of devastation.    Its request seem harmless,  but ultimately its victims will soon realise that their actions have bought untold harm to innocents and loved ones.
Because Despair is a being which makes deals, it is bound by laws which bind it more strongly than any mortal ‘physics’.  Despair cannot break an oath, and while it is never honest, it is never entirely lies either.  Instead it practices the art of half-truths and misdirection.  Direct questions are turned aside with vague statements and changes in topic.  Despair tends to answer questions that were never asked and never answer to question asked.
Despair is not above threats.  If requesting aid will not work, it can threaten to destroy its target’s friends and family.  Through its own powers and that of its mortal agents, there are many ways that it can fulfil its threat and it will willing make an example of someone’s loved one to make its point. 
Despair will rarely take direct action (even to use its powerful influence effect) unless in self defence.

Despair is not afraid to draw upon its ‘mortal’ half, that is Snart’s memories of Sparks.  Despair can portray itself as the shade of sparks, because it is indeed a shadow of the lost runner.  But its memories are incomplete, as Snart was far from aware of his daughter’s shadowrun adventures.  These memories have been supplemented from information drawn from the runner’s fixer when he was captured, but these in turn are the fixer’s memories of Sparks.
Despair will refer to itself as Spark’s shade or ‘the memory of Sparks’. Few may suspect that it is indeed being completely honest (ignoring its other origin as a creature of shadows from a distant hellish metaplane....)
Despair, as Spark’s Shade, may attempt to request aid and help, particularly claiming that it is incomplete and in pain (both are true...)  and that it/she needs help to gain
Despair will also claim to be punishing the guilty only, and that the pure and innocent have nothing to fear from it.  This is also a half-truth.  It certainly only feeds of people who are feeling guilt, but it has no restraint in creating the circumstances that leads to this feeling.  Whether this results in a previously guilt-free person committing an act which results in guilt and despair, or whether the poor innocent is a victim of someone being ‘influenced’ by a target of Despair,  the creature itself will never directly harm an innocent...  but then, almost everyone has some secret regret....
Failing to negotiate using the above tactics, it will revert to threats.  It will tend to possess a someone whom the target values, so that any physical attacks ultimately only hurt is possessed victim.  This also allows it to commit self-harm as a threat.  It will also threaten loved ones and connections, and can act on these threats through its mortal agents.
Despair can easily make a target’s life a living hell, it’s what is specialises in. It can possess anyone, be anyone.  It can influence anyone, drive friends and family to madness, turn the very world against its target.  And it has no mercy, no human core.  The best most mortals can hope for is to banish it from this realm... but it will be back and it hold grudges...
Burn.  Since bonding with the memories of Sparks, Despair has found a fascination with fire.  This is unusual for Shadow spirits and an unintended side effect of the broken ritual.  Despair will tend to manifest/possess target’s near an open flame.  It will tend to burn its possessed victims and fire is core motif in its powers and language.  Ironically, Despair seems completely unaware of this affliction and tends to act unconsciously regarding this trait (e.g. its possessed victim will ‘warm’ its hands by an open fire to the point of scolding)
“What about me? It isn’t fair? Don’t you care?”
“I’m so cold!  I touch the fire and it freezes me!”
“This is your fault!  Do you feel no responsibility for the pain you cause!”
“Only you can save me.  You failed once before, please don’t fail me again!”
“If you had only acted quicker...”
Perception molds reality
Change perception and reality will follow