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Old 02-14-2020, 06:58 AM   #24
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Devil's Advocate

Fernando 'Nando' Acevedo Allende (b. December 14, 1978; Arica, Chile), is ranked roughly last in terms of final authority among the 5-6 leaders of the cultists of the Keepers of the Last Hearth who have traveled to Texas. This is not because Nando is necessarily held in low esteem by the mysterious Hidden Masters of the Keepers of the Last Hearth, but rather because he does not have the raw magical power and indomitable will of Sister Maria Teresa; the fearsome reputation and vast organizational support of 'Father Dragon'; the supernatural ferocity of the pishtaco; or the numbers or social capital of the California faction.

Acevedo represents a fairly minor criminal organization, at least in comparison to the Consortium or the 'Red Dragon', and while he's successful, wealthy, well-connected and competent, he's not as scary as any of the other leaders. Without him and his contacts, however, it's unlikely that the cultists could have handled the loss of their logistical support from the Consortium and managed to reroute to another potential ritual space. This is especially ironic in light of the fact that Acavedo argued for aborting the mission entirely; to find another time and place where the ebb and flow of the invisible tides were right.

Nando Acevedo was born to what had been a reasonably prosperous middle class family in Arica, Chile. His part-Aymara mother was a teacher with moderate leftist and humanist sympathies while his father was a mid-level administrator for the General Motors plant in Arica and a strong Pinochet partisan. When Nando was born, however, his mother had been detained for subversion on three occasions, a brief period in 1973, a period of several months in 1975 and over a year 1976-1977, and was barred from teaching.

The household was acrimonous and deeply unhappy through Nando's early childhood, culminating in a fire that claimed the lives of both his parents when Nando was five. Officially, it was ruled an accident, though Nando later found out that the arson investigators believed that it had probably been a suicide pact or a murder suicide, but were not certain which of Nando's parents had set the fire or whether both of them had deliberately consumed barbiturates mixed with the considerable quantity of alcohol they had drunk.

Nando grew up with various relatives, aunts and uncles, and with his Aymara grandmother on his mother's side. His father left some savings to pay for an education and Nando graduated from the Universidad de Tarapacá with a degree in commercial law in 2002, albeit slightly in debt. By the time Nando had set up as an abogado, he eagerly grasped at any client, no matter how dubious. In 2003 Nando began representing the cover business of an organized crime syndicate concerned with importing drug precursor chemicals from Asia.

Intelligent, amoral and inventive, Nando quickly grasped the true purpose of the cover business and was only too willing to help cover up smuggling. Nando became a valued member of the criminal organization over time and for the past fifteen years, can be said to have been self-employed as a professional criminal lawyer (emphasis on 'criminal'), drug precursor importer and occasional organizer behind human trafficking.

The underworld that Nando Acevedo made his living around was in that time becoming ever more superstitious. On real Earth, belief in withcraft, herbal remedies and curses is almost as widespread in the Andean countries as the Roman Catholic religion and in the setting, by the 2000s, paranormal phenomena, while still rare, were happening at an increased pace. And it seemed that those on the margins of modern, secular society were far more likely to encounter the inexplicable, with many rising criminal figures claiming supernatural powers to bolster their reputations.

Acevedo had grown up around people who believed in brujeria and various Aymara traditions about the supernatural. While not inordinately superstitious by nature, he had already started to suspect the existence of deeper natural laws than conventional science while he was at university, and through contact with various underworld figures who fancied themselves occultists or magicians, Acevedo learned enough to become utterly convinced. Indeed, by the year 2008, Nando Acevedo had discovered that he himself possessed some talent for ritual magic and he started to study the occult in earnest.

Not devoted to any religious worldview or bound by a specific cultural tradition of shamanism or witchcraft, Nando adopts anything he can learn into an idiosyncratic mixture of approaches. He generally uses his grandmother's Aymara as a ritual language and tends to contextualize things according to Chilean or Aymara folk beliefs, but he's also took some Anthropology classes and reads a lot of scholarly research on religions and ritual magic.

Even before joining the Keepers of the Last Hearth, Nando had already learned some nifty magical tricks with indigenous Americas origins, Afro-American roots, Hispanic origins and even a few from some Chinese allies. His favorite Charms and rituals are subtle and modest in effect, usually Path of Chance or Path of Mind, and generally serve to improve his odds to accomplish something that could theoretically have been done without magic, but not as consistently.

Acevedo's motivations for performing a potentially world-ending ritual and belonging to an apocalyptic cult at all are somewhat unclear. Acevedo has clearly benefitted a lot from his association with the cult, but why he has made the jump from 'associate unaware of their ultimate goals' to 'true believer trusted as part of the inner circle' is a mystery. All the other cultists know is that two years ago, in 2016, Acevedo traveled away from his home for an extended period, remaining away for six months (allegedly taking a rest cure) and in that time, is said to have met the Hidden Master in South America.

Now, Acevedo has five of his most trusted men with him (at least, five of his most trusted men without criminal records or warrants that would prevent them from visiting the US). They are his driver/bodyguard, two of his best lieutenants (also minor ritual magicians) and two enforcer types. All are initiated into the Keepers of the Last Hearth, but some of them might have accepted this for other reasons than purity of faith, such as perceived social and wordly advantage or loyalty to Nando.

I don't want them all to be Chilean. Acevedo's illegal activities are not confined to Chile, he also has interests in the ports of Callao, Peru and Guayaquil, Ecuado; as well as Lima and several smaller cities in Peru. His import-export interests extend further, to Bolivia and Panama as well, but he deals with middle-men for that.

Does anyone have suggestions for nationalities and backgrounds for his retinue?
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

Last edited by Icelander; 02-14-2020 at 02:35 PM.
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