Old Town Astoria Shadow

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The Shadow of Old Town is a strange place deeply affected by the twin resonances that are strongest here: Water and Nostalgia. It is a place of constant gray skies and showers, and the Columbia River has escaped its banks. Instead of streets, it has water ways, with water varying between ankle-deep up to waist-deep in some places nearer the river. The buildings themselves are a fanciful version of pioneer-era Astoria, with too-bright colors amid the watery gray.

[edit] Common Spirits

Two main factors influence the spiritual landscape of Old Town: its proximity to the Columbia and open ocean, and its history.

  • Nature Spirits: Seagull spirits are very common here, as are the spirits of a variety of fish (many of which, due to the area's history of fishing, are normally only found out in the deep ocean). The animals that one might typically find in a township can be found here as well: cat and dog spirits, rats and pigeons. Douglas Fir tree spirits do not hold quite the sway here they do in other parts of town, but there are a handful of them, along with patches of Blackberry Bramble spirits.
    • The Owl of Old Town, a prophetic owl-spirit, referred to as an Omen Bird.
  • Artificial Spirits: Aside from the typical car, street and building spirits ubiquitous to nearly all settled areas, there are a handful of ship spirits in the river, too. Many places in Old Town Astoria are wired, so there are plenty of data spirits to be found as well.
  • Elementals: Water elementals predominate here, mingling with the drizzly rain and cloud weather elementals. The old cannery area also has a strong population of old aluminum and tin spirits, from the work that used to go on there as well.
  • Conceptuals: Though there is the normal population of conceptuals that cut across the human experience, there are a few noteworthy majorities. Spirits of despair and apathy are very strong here, as are spirits of drug abuse, alcoholism and other addictions - Astoria's prosperity years are in the past, and its population is still trying to figure out what to do, and these spirits flock to it.
  • Celestial Spirits: Celestial spirits are rare here (as they tend to be everywhere), though a few do have a noteworthy presence. Lunar spirits, in particular, can be found here, primarily associated with the tides, and the reflection of the moon on the water. Likewise, Mercurial spirits are drawn to the shipping industry that still runs through here, and Saturnine spirits to the despair and slow decay of the town of Astoria.

[edit] Unique Spirits

The following spirits are unique entities that define Old Town.

  • The Inevitable Tsunami (Rank 5 Water Elemental/Disaster Conceptual): Out just at the edge of sight, in the ocean, where the sky meets the horizon, slumbers the Inevitable Tsunami. People of the Pacific Northwest know that their home lies in the Ring of Fire, and everyone is drilled what to do in the case of a tsunami. Coastal towns like Astoria all know that should a tsunami come and strike their home - as it inevitably must - their town will be all but destroyed.
  • The Columbia Maiden (Rank 4 Water Elemental): Though only seen rarely, the Columbia Maiden can occasionally be seen moving up and down the length of the Columbia in Shadow. She has the beautiful bronze skin of a Native American woman, and her barge is crafted of cedar planks, with old, nearly-banished iconography of the tribes. She is wrapped in chains, however, the links of which are emblazoned with symbols for money from the world over, and her body is wrapped in packing tape, save for her sorrowful brown eyes. She is chained to the barge, and various packing crates are piled around her.
  • The Westernmost Pioneer (Rank 4 Conceptual): Looking like nothing so much as a twenty-foot tall man in pioneer-era clothing, the Westernmost Pioneer tends to spend most of his time in the hills of Astoria, outside of Old Town. Occasionally, however, he ventures down into Old Town, following the Elemental Ley, until he reaches the Furthest Post. There, he crouches and waits; within twenty-four hours, the Columbia Maiden makes an appearance, and the two simply sit and watch one another, until she disappears up the river again, and he returns to the hills.
  • Eternal Haze (Rank 4 Weather Elemental): Over the city floats Eternal Haze, a weather elemental that is the perpetual cloud-cover that seems to dominate Astoria. Only on the brightest of days does he retreat, sinking down into the hills to slumber there as a misty or foggy area, until the sun hides once more.
  • The Riverboat Captain (Rank 3 Artificial Spirit): The Riverboat Captain is not just the spirit of Old Town - he is also the spirit of the Flavel House Museum. For generations, Old Town has been defined by the legend of George Flavel, who founded Astoria, and this legend is magnified through his house and extends out to Old Town in its entirety. This spirit, which looks like a gruff, 1890s riverboat captain with large white beard and long blue coat, looks out from the highest point of the town at the river, as though he longs to once again return there.
  • The Mandarin (Rank 2 Conceptual): The Mandarin is the community spirit of the Chinese-American population of Astoria. Though once more powerful than it is now, because of the necessity of a strong community in less enlightened times, it has begun to fade. The Mandarin is an inscrutable figure, with long Imperial-style nails made of the aluminum used in the canneries, and railroad spikes driven through its arms and torso like so much decoration. In many ways, it is all but invisible to non-Chinese people who are capable of viewing the denizens of Shadow.
  • Cedar Promenade (Rank 2 Artificial Spirit): The spirit of Astoria's boardwalk appears as a child balanced atop a sea lion, its fist full of saltwater taffy, and wearing a necklace of shells. It is a very cheerful spirit, but constantly demands money (Essence) for its attention and aid.
  • The Jarl (Rank 2 Conceptual): Once the strong, enduring spirit of the Scandinavian settlers that eventually became the spirit of the local fishing industry as well, times have been hard on the Jarl. Now, he is an old man with more white hair than golden. He mopes about among the old, rusting fishing vessels and abandoned canneries, wearing a chainmail hauberk, breeks and fisherman's galoshes.
  • River Coach (Rank 2 Artificial Spirit): A massive serpent with greenish-gray scales and a gleaming silver underbelly, the River Coach is the only-barely sentient spirit of the Boardwalk Express, the light rail that travels up and down the waterfront of Astoria, from Old Town to Dockside.
  • The Asphalt Gentleman (Rank 2 Artificial Spirit): The spirit of Duane Street in Old Town, which has supped heavily on the Nostalgia- and Commerce-heavy Essence of the two ley lines in its area.
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