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Harlequin

Harlequin in Shadowrun Returns

Harlequin, aka Har'lea'quinn, Caimbuel, or Quentin 'Quinn' Harlech, is one of the most powerful individuals in the Sixth World. He is an immortal elf who has frequently fought the Horrors, and has so far kept them from prematurely entering the Sixth World. He believes that in another 2,500 years, metahumanity will have developed both the magic and the technology to defend against the Horrors. He has been described as the embodiment of chaos — unpredictable, mercurial, and usually quite detached. He is a reluctant knight, not wanting to save the world, but often knowing he is the only one in a position who can do so. He is a frequent commentator on Shadowland under the moniker "Laughing Man" with the signature "Ha! Fraggin' Ha!". His comments tease by providing enigmatic hints, but never the full truth. He fully believes that people should find out the truth for themselves and never by merely accepting what is told. Under his older Matrix handle of "-H-", he once posted an ominous message about wraiths.

He resides at the Château d'If, off the coast of France.

BackgroundEdit

Harlequin's hair is goldish-brown, but usually dyes it red and keeps it tied in a ponytail. His eyes are green, with gold flecks, but may change depending on his mood. His left ear was cut off in his first duel with Ehran. He has worn a prosthetic ear since then. He is average height for an elf, being a head shorter in height than Ehran. His usual manner of dress is a long black or brown leather coat, with lots of buttons on the lapel. Underneath the coat, he wears blue jeans, a cotton t-shirt, along with anaconda-skin cowboy boots.

His face is usually painted. Sometimes, it is a single diamond over one eye. More frequently, it is full whiteface with diamonds over both eyes and a triangle over his mouth. The colors may vary depending on mood. He has painted himself this way since at least the Renaissance.

Harlequin is temperamental, with his attitude, manner, philosophy, dress, and accent, all subject to change depending on his mood. He is quick-witted, but his jokes may depend on some enigmatic reference that few in the world would understand. Harlequin is quick to anger, but quick to forgive, except in the case of his all-consuming rivalry with Ehran. He is unbelievably vain. He believed himself too important to remain behind to protect Thayla from the Horrors. Though capable of discussing any subject, and he often does so in a rambling manner difficult to follow, he usually reveals little, preferring people to discover for themselves. It is often difficult to tell if he's telling the truth or a farfetched lie, such as when he said the Tunguska blast was him "attempting to whack the rock into orbit".

HistoryEdit

Harlequin was born in the Fourth World. In the Age of Legends, he was a senior Knight of the Crimson Spire of the City of Spires, Sereatha. The Knights of the Crimson Spire were dedicated to the preservation and protection of elven culture and traditions. Harlequin served as Sereatha's ambassador to the Elven Court in the Blood Wood. While ambassador, he loudly condemned the corruption of the elves of the Blood Wood. Queen Alachia ignored all his criticisms, causing others to believe the two were related by family or were on intimate terms. Some unknown tragedy broke Harlequin's spirit, removing all notions of being a noble knight. As the last of his order, Harlequin is also known as the Last Knight of the Crying Spire.

He may have been King Richard the Lion-Hearted. According to Harlequin, King Richard I's armor "still fits," though this may be one of his jokes.

In Renaissance-era France, he fought a chal'han with Ehran the Scribe and lost. In the final physical duel, Ehran cut off Harlequin's left ear.[1]

He has spent much of the Sixth World focused on magical research and his hatred of Ehran. During the early 2050s, he challenged Ehran to another chal'han. After the duel, he took Ehran's daughter, Jane "Frosty" Foster into his care. With the completion of the duel, Harlequin fell into a drunken stupor, having nothing further to drive him on.

In the first quarter of 2054, Harlequin participated in a raid on the Universal Brotherhood chapterhouse in Seattle to eliminate the threat of the insect spirits beneath it.

The Mad Passion Vestrial appeared to Harlequin, spurring him to undertake an astral quest to recover Thayla and her voice to prevent the Horrors from crossing the Spike Point created by the Great Ghost Dance. In 2056, several kahunas opened a gateway and several Horrors did cross. With the aid of Dirk Montgomery, the gate was closed. Soon afterwards, he helped Aina fight the Horror Ysrthgrathe. In August 2057, he and Aina joined with Ryan Mercury to use the Dragon Heart to finally level out the Spike Point.

AbilitiesEdit

Harlequin is self-initiated into the high double-digits, but he usually Masks his aura. He doesn't follow any magical tradition, but he has a strong hermetic bias. He is a swordmaster and wizard adept. He has also demonstrated the Lightbringer ability of Armor of Light and the 15th Circle Lightbearer ability of Astral Walking. He is immune to pathogens, disease, poison, and age, thus rendering him effectively immortal. He is over 7,000 years old, though he told Nadja Daviar he was only over 300 years old.

RelationshipsEdit

Unlike his fellow immortals, Harlequin does not involve himself with politics and intrigue at the international level. He affects the world on a much more personal level. He has spent much of the Sixth World immersed in magical research.

Harlequin has a long, close, and often adversarial relationship with Ehran the Scribe. They both had the same teacher. In Renaissance-era France, Ehran won a duel with Harlequin, cutting off his left ear, earning a long-burning enmity. Harlequin won a chal'han against him in the early 2050s. Since the duel, their relationship has become friendly, though still edgy. They have met online in the Matrix and have had at least one face-to-face meeting. Ehran knows that his daughter is in Harlequin's custody, though he has expressed no concerns for his daughter being under Harlequin's care or tutelage.

Harlequin kidnapped Ehran's daughter, Jane "Frosty" Foster, as part of his recent duel. Since then, he has tutored her in her magical abilities. She is frequently exasperated with Harlequin, since he usually does not explain anything. Foster also has a strong desire for control, an emotion not often experienced in Harlequin's presence. Harlequin has not told Foster of her true parentage and Ehran wishes her not to know, so that she doesn't live in his shadow. Others, including Aina and Dunkelzahn, have insinuated that Harlequin and Foster have a more intimate relationship.

Harlequin had a cordial relationship with Dunkelzahn, who once invited him to be a guest of Wyrm Talk. Even though he acknowledged Dunkelzahn as a friend and recognized that they shared the same goal of stopping the Horrors, Harlequin still recognized him as a dragon, and therefore an enemy of elves. Eventually, he would have to be slain. To Ehran, Harlequin admitted thoughts that he could have unconsciously arranged the death of Dunkelzahn, though he told Ryan Mercury he alone was not strong enough to kill the dragon, and that he had no wish to do so. Dunkelzahn in his last will and testament bequeathed him King Richard the Lion Hearted's suit of armor and the sword Excalibur. The location of Excalibur is currently unknown, though in 2062, a man known as the Pendragon appeared in the United Kingdom. The Pendragon's sword may be Excalibur. He has already claimed the suit of armor from the Draco Foundation.

Hestaby has seemed to replace Dunkelzahn as Harlequin's dragon ally. They frequently post responses to each other on Shadowland.

Harlequin was formerly a lover of Aina Dupree. Until Dupree's 2073 death, they remained on friendly terms, though he would aggravate her just like he grates on everyone else. He saved her from an addiction to absinthe in the 19th century. He was the sole person she could rely on, when she warned the leaders of Tir Tairngire and Tír na nÓg of the impending arrival of the Horrors.

QuotesEdit

"When Fate taps you on the shoulder, you'd best pay attention. Unfortunately, she has the blasted habit of tapping you on the opposite shoulder, so that when you turn around she's actually on your other side, giggling like a deranged schoolgirl. I hate that." [2]

"The lesson is this - the game is rigged. The cards are stacked. The dice are loaded. It's the same as it always was. Every cycle. People in power exert power. Little people cower in their homes, think what they're told to think, and buy whatever product will help them forget how horrible their lives are for another day. And that's why we don't *play* their fragging game. We don't swallow their drek sandwich and politely ask for another. It's why we run the shadows. That's where real life is, kiddo."[3]

CommentsEdit

Harlequin used in a game mechanics exampleEdit

Circa 2050, a mage using the name Harlequin died from the drain associated with summoning a force 8 water elemental. It is unknown what became of the then free elemental; or if the mage’s name was a coincidence, or from a connection to the eponymous immortal elf. -- Shadowrun p. 87 (first edition)

ReferencesEdit

  1. Harlequin pg. 5
  2. Harlequin's Back ?
  3. Shadowrun Returns: Dead Man's Switch

IndexEdit

SourcebooksEdit

NovelsEdit

OtherEdit

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