“I’m always curious when it comes to people. Occupational hazard.” — Mab
As odd as the city-state of Manhattan has grown become beneath the Black Moon, its residents are odder still.
Mabyoronya Konstantineva Tayrakova
Heroes and cowards, petty crooks and murderers, saints and sinners–trace a Manhattan intersection and they say you can find ’em all.
In this case, they’re all the same person.
The orphaned daughter of a Russian sailor and a Mulberry Street whore, Mab was raised by the nuns of the Belladonna Covenant in Brooklyn. A student of the Lower East Side streets, Mab developed a wide range of disreputable habits (lucrative and pleasurable in equal measure) that shocked the nuns and enraged her sister, Tanya. By the age of 16, Mab was breaking the hearts of every sharp, fence and blue belly south of 14th Street. At 18, she was spurning them all for her true love: the bright lights of the Manhattan stage.
Unfortunately, her enthusiasm never quite overcome her dramatic skills, and Mab regrettably slipped back into the wayward, quasi-legal ways of her youth. If you need a sister found or a brother threatened, Mab is your woman. Loan sharking, homes burgled, shops vandalized, an escort to the Met … Mab is immensely popular among all the wrong people. Unfortunately, she’s as adept at making enemies as she is friends, and she is currently being tracked by Ion, an ex-lover with a razor and a plan.
And Mab’s life is about to get a whole lot more interesting …
The rising of the Moon in 1867 shattered the cornerstones of natural law and science. Physics, biology, chemistry, astronomy: everything changed, practically overnight. Into this chaotic void stepped fearless men and women, birthing a new scientific era.
Balthazar is one of those pioneers. It’s a shame he’s a goddamn lunatic.
A professor in the Princeton’s Applied Sciences department on the New Campus, Balthazar began exploring the post-Moon concept of reanimation–bringing the dead back to life. Following in the footsteps of Professor Nimrod and other madmen, Balthazar began a series of unsavory experiments that typically began with the bribing of guards at Manhattan-area mortuaries. The scion of an industrialist, Balthazar parlayed his wealth into a laboratory that blended cutting-edge science and heretical witchcraft to force life back into dead tissue.
His arrogance would be his undoing. The Princeton campus newspaper caught wind of his nocturnal activities in 1887. Rather than denying his dalliances with reanimation, Balthazar published an essay entitled “God is Dead and the Moon is His Corpse.” Given the rise of the Church & State throughout New York, Balthazar was fortunate to escape the lightning chair. Instead, he was censured and eventually expelled.
Embittered toward academia, Balthazar retreated to privately-owned warehouse in Lower Manhattan. Accompanied by his lab assistant Zafirah, his faithful clerk, David, and a small group of German mercenaries, he soon reconstituted his Princeton laboratory and began experimenting once more. Only this time, there would be no mistakes …
The Self-Made Man. Big Apple Taffy. Mr. Manhattan.
How can one describe Charles Taffy? The son of Brooklyn grocers, Charles Taffy parlayed his keen mind and folksy charm into a real estate empire that stretched across Manhattan. A irresistible combination of new blood and old money, he rose to the highest levels of the 5th Avenue social strata, with newspapers assigning entire desks merely to track the man’s penthouse apartments, glittering mistresses and uncountable awards. His signature creation, the gleaming New Exposition Building known throughout Manhattan as the ‘Teapot,’ serves as the city’s financial and commercial heart.
While slanderous whispers have continued to circulate regarding some of Taffy’s lesser known dealings–the term ‘slumlord’ has been invoked more than once–the man himself has proved invincible on the courtroom. Indeed, at least two complainants have found themselves brought up on charges, while others have simply disappeared.
But for all of these accomplishments, it is unquestionably Taffy’s philanthropic work that has defined the man. He has poured millions into the research of malignant Hectaplasm–commonly known as the Mark–and the Taffy Institute remains one of the few options for New Yorkers without the means for private treatment.
This generosity stems from the death of Charles’ twin, Thaddeus Taffy, who died in a Long Island hunting lodge after the Mark bloomed inside his skull. Rumor places Charles in the shack with Thad when the boy died, and he swore that Manhattan would change.
Decades later, the Self-Made Man patiently awaits the fulfillment of that prophecy.
More to come!