The Gods of Arrowhead Highway
Jolie St. Cyr
New Orleans born fortune teller
Calling: Fortune Teller
Pantheon/God: Loa/Baron Samedi
Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 4, Stamina 3, Charisma 4, Manipulation 4, Appearance 3, Perception 3, Intelligence 3, Wits 2
Abilities: Academics1, Art (vévé, dance) 2, Athletics 2, Awareness 3, Brawl 1, Command 2, Control (Car) 1, Empathy 3, Fortitude 3, Integrity 2, Melee 3, Occult 3, Presence 4, Survival 1, Thrown 1
Birthrights: Relic 1 (necklace of bones: Death), Relic 1 (voodoo doll: Cheval), Relic 1 (tarot deck: Psychopomp), Followers 2 (4 zombies). Guide 1 (Mr. Lansky's ghost)
Epic Attributes: Epic Dexterity 1, Epic Stamina 1, Epic Charisma 2, Epic Manipulation 2
Boons/Knacks: God's Honest (Manipulation), Takes One to Know One (Manipulation), Blessing of Importance (Charisma), Untouchable Opponent (Dexterity), Self-Healing (Stamina), Never Say Die (Charisma)
Virtues: Harmony 3, Order 1, Piety 3, Vengeance 2
Legend/Legend Points: 4/16
Her color is purple. No literature jokes.
I am twenty-two years old, pretty like my Mama, good with people, and of mixed race. When I say "mixed," I mean Black, White, Indian, and god. That last one's new to me, though. I come from New Orleans and grew up a right little French Quarter cliché with a single mama who danced naked for the men to pay the bills. Sometimes she maybe did a little more than danced. I don't know if my Papa paid her. She never said.
Papa came around every couple of years when I was a little girl. All I could remember was an ink-black face with the whitest teeth. I called him "Piano Man" and he laughed. He brought me candy. Whenever he left, Mama had money for a few days. She'd buy me a new dress from Wal-Mart, get her hair done and new set of nails, and we'd go out to eat at a real restaurant where we didn't have to throw away our own trash when we were done. Then the money would be gone and we'd go back to life as it was most of the time, just the two of us plus a steady trickle of men.
When I was sixteen, I quit school and went to classes for my GED. By the time I was seventeen, I was dancing on the stage with my Mama. Nobody even mentioned that it was illegal. Simon paid the local police off every week. Besides, they liked me. I started dancing because we needed the money. When Mama suggested it, I didn't think anything about it. More fun than waiting tables or running a cash drawer at the local Rite Aid. In my family we didn't talk about me going on to something bigger, like all the poor kids in the movies. But Mama wasn't a bad woman. She just didn't know anything else. That was her world and she was happy in it.
Every dancer had to have a specialty and since the Voodoo Queen had gotten married and quit just before I started, they gave me that one. I didn't know anything about it; Mama was Catholic as far as that went. So I figured I'd go and get myself an education. After trying a couple of stores that cater to the tourist trade, I stumbled on a shop that had no sign out front. It smelled of stale incense and blackened red snapper. The old woman who sat reading in a rocking chair by a small counter had skin of leathery pumpernickel. She glanced up at me and then gave a dismissive grunt.
"Marie Laveau's House o' Voodoo is on Bourbon, chere. Dey make you a gris-gris bag."
Now, I wasn't used to being ignored. I also knew that this woman wasn't going to take well to the real story behind my visit. So smiled humbly and told her a tale of my beloved great-aunt Eulalie who had – I had only just discovered – been a priestess. Her own children left behind Voodoo, but I wanted to learn so I could preserve her memory. She listened in silence and when I was done, she merrily showed me a mouth full of yellow teeth.
"You full o' shit," she said, "but you sure is a charmer. Now get outta here."
I wouldn't leave without at least a primer, though. Eventually, she gave in. Afterwards, she told me not to come back. She said the same thing most every week for almost two years. That was Olivia's way.
While she was teaching me the basics of Voudou, Olivia often meandered onto other magics, other gods, other faiths. She taught me to name the saints and to read the tarot. She showed me which bits of her practice came from Africa, from Haiti, from Catholic New Orleans, from Wicca. When explaining the intricate mixes, she liked to call it recipes from her cookbook.
"Some people doan like my recipes," she'd say, meaning local priests and priestesses of Voudou, "but the Lwa, they ain't never complained yet 'bout my cookin'."
In the meantime, work was work. I learned my routines and how to come onto the men without it going anywhere I didn't want it to. Some men didn't take no well, so I also learned how to stop them cold – with a sharp object if they insisted a bit too much. Nothing for cooling passion like a big knife pointed at your crotch. Well, for most, at least. There were more than a few fights backstage, too. Girls will be girls. And never mind the screaming disputes I'd get into with the manager – like when I wanted to get a tattoo. Simon had a strict policy: no ink on his girls. Some fetish of his, really, but he used to say it was because it could get out of hand too easily. I wanted to get one, though, and I didn't take no so well myself. He promised to fire me if I got inked. I swore he wouldn't dare. But I wasn't quite bold enough to cut off my income. What I found instead was UV tattoos.
Telling Simon and Mama that I was going out of town, I took two weeks off for the healing, got a motel room, and got my whole back done. It's a funny place to get a tattoo. Since I can't see it, I almost forget sometimes that, under blacklight, a glowing copy of my spine and ribs appears on my back. Defiantly, I announced my deception upon my return. Simon was pissed, but I argued that it would never be seen if he didn't want it to be. I also said, though, that it might make a great addition to my routine. Flash the blacklights at the climax of the dance and wow the crowd. After some heated discussion, he let me try it one night. Let's just say it was well-received. I was gracious enough, having gotten my way, not to lord it over him when it become a standard part of my bit.
(Work in Progress)