Blood + Chrome: Philly 2066
SCULLY MACILDUFF (Gaelic: SCOLAIGH MAC GIOLLA DHUIBH)
While, as a centuries-old vampire, Scully finds that his memories of his mortal life have grown dim, he recalls that he was born in Ireland in the 17th century. While he lived, he was a poet and scholar, and made his living as a tutor for a noble family in England.
During his service to said family, Scully fell in love and entered into a clandestine relationship with their eldest son, Philip.
Through a series of unfortunate circumstances, Scully’s illicit romance came to the attention of Walter Saewin, an archbishop of the Church of England. Rather than report the young couple to the authorities, who would certainly convict them on charges of buggery and sentence them to be hanged, Saewin, a man of perverse and sadistic appetites, chose to blackmail Scully and his aristocratic young lover, subjecting them to a range of cruel and humiliating torments for his own amusement.
After months of appeasing the archbishop’s barbarous whims, Philip, unable to tolerate further degradations, conspired to have his blackmailer killed. But his plot failed, and Saewin went to the authorities with the couple’s secret. Philip and Scully were executed in a public ceremony, over which Saewin himself presided, with great enthusiasm.
After the light faded from Scully’s vision for what he thought would be the last time, the young tutor awoke to find himself in the care of a longtime friend and admirer from the intellectual community—who, as it just so happened, was a vampire. Scully’s vampiric benefactor had been quick to abscond with his body after the execution and had found that the young man remained just barely alive. He had proceeded to turn the dying convict, reanimating Scully’s faltering flesh with the dubious gift of unlife.
Philip, who had been less fortunate, was lost to the ages.
Now a bereaved monster with a thirst for blood, Scully sought revenge against the man who had destroyed his life and his love—Walter Saewin. After months of fruitless pursuit, Scully finally tracked down and cornered the archbishop at midnight in the sanctuary of an Anglican cathedral—and learned that Saewin, too, had joined the ranks of the Kindred.
The two vampires battled for hours, striking blow after merciless blow, until the rising sun compelled them both to flee the scene, gravely wounded. Scully never recovered from the fight, and eventually succumbed to torpor. For centuries, he slumbered beneath the earth, mired in dreams of grief and vengeance.
It was in the year 2061 that Scully finally awakened, in North America, to a world greatly changed. He had been exhumed and revived by an organization called Shiawase, who wished to employ him to help carry out some of their less savory dealings.
Scully, ever the idealist, even after his very death and the centuries of suffering that had followed, refused the offer and struck out on his own. He took in the wonders and learned the ways of this manic new world, and, while he found some facets of this time preferable to the one in which he’d lived—such as freedom to love whomever he might choose—others dismayed him: the lawlessness, the greed, the rampant violence; the plundering of nature that had taken place in the past couple of centuries. In this society, Scully wasn’t afforded the comforts and protections of life among the elite, as he had been in his lifetime. He found himself struggling to survive alongside those on whose backs the megacorps’ fortunes had been built; who, by and large, didn’t enjoy the luxuries of leisure, scholarly pursuits, or artistic expression.
Scully continued to make his way on the North American continent for the next few years, surviving on his looks and charm, which he leveraged into liaisons with folk who were willing to offer a taste of their blood in exchange for his affections.
It was roughly two years ago, in 2064, Los Angeles, that Scully first met Esteban.
Esteban Rojas was only eighteen years old, a vagrant musician; orphaned and poor as dirt, but with a seemingly irrepressible spirit. He wasn’t just lovely to look at. He was generous and sensitive, and sanguine, and fell deeply, sincerely in love with everyone he met. Scully was only one of the many.
Esteban, Scully learned, had grown up under the fierce protection of a mother who had taught him always to be kind, because the dreams and sufferings of other people were unknowable; that there were still things in this broken world worth fighting for; that, as long as one could find a way to bring a little beauty into the lives of others, one’s existence had purpose. Even after—some years before—his mother had succumbed to an infection for which she couldn’t afford treatment, Esteban still wholeheartedly believed her.
Though Scully knew he could never possess Esteban, and wouldn’t have dared to try, he felt a desperate yearning to protect the young man from a world that would surely conspire to devour someone of his trusting and vulnerable temperament. So he followed and watched over Esteban, intervening whenever he perceived dangers to his young friend. The two eventually became intimate and started to travel together, though by mutual agreement they continued to have other lovers, and Esteban repeatedly expressed his worry that Scully was “too in love” with him. Esteban loved Scully, but he wasn’t interested in an exclusive relationship. Scully, as a masculine man, wasn’t even his “type,” he claimed—although there was an undeniable magnetism between them.
The defining moment of Scully’s life in the modern era came about a year later, in 2065, when, for a fateful moment, he wavered in his vigil—and Esteban was snatched out from under him.
Scully tore up the West Coast sprawl searching for his friend and lover. The search took months—and, by then, the damage had been done. Esteban, Scully learned, had been captured by human traffickers and sold into prostitution. The vampire finally found his friend, battered, diseased, and all but starved, in a sleazy brothel in Nevada.
Scully whisked Esteban away to a safe place and nursed him back to health, promising he would never let anyone hurt him again. But it wasn’t enough. After months of abuse, Esteban’s spirit was broken. He was now anxious, even suicidal; prone to rages and bouts of self-destructive behavior. Scully patiently stuck by his side, caring for him with never a complaint—even as the change in Esteban drove a wedge ever deeper into their once-intimate friendship.
Finally, one day, Scully awoke to a message: Esteban had gone, and he wasn’t coming back. “All you do is take care of me, Scully,” he’d written. “And all I do is hurt you. You deserve better.”
Scully couldn’t accept this.
Once more he found himself combing every last darkened corner of the sprawl for his friend … but he could find neither hide nor hair.
He journeyed to every city they’d ever visited together, inquiring at all of Esteban’s old favorite haunts—but found no trace.
… Until, that is, a month ago, when a rumor reached Scully’s ears … that Esteban had taken the bunraku implant, and was last seen in Philadelphia.
So Scully took to the road once more, cross-continent, and now finds himself in the so-called City of Brotherly Love.
Somewhere in this teeming metropolis, the vampire can only hope, is the love of his afterlife.
And he will not rest until he finds him.