Once upon a time there was a red haired dwarf who ran the New Albion mafia. He was a bit of an eccentric type and stories about him are for another place and another time.
He had two sons. The first son assumed control of the criminal organization but was eventually disposed and replaced by his brother. The brother abdicated the throne and the organization suffered a catastrophic setback. That brother had a son and daughter before he disappeared. His son grew up convinced that the mantle of mafia leadership was his by right and resolved to win back the crown. He spent years organizing a take over, but it failed miserably and he was killed.
His sister had a son, passing down the red haired gene, and this son had some connections to the New Albion underworld, although rather petty. This son had very little ambition beyond good times, an easy life and some thrills, and when the police crackdown came he all but gave up and became a drug addict. He and his very sketchy girlfriend did have a son, however, although it’s rather safe to say they were utterly terrible parents and this youth’s childhood was not a good one. This child is the Red Haired Lad.
His parents’ parenting style wobbled between apathetic and violent and as the Red Haired Lad grew a bit he gradually tried to spend as much time out of the house as possible. However, spending an early childhood constantly trying to keep situations from becoming explosive and thus harmful to him made him sharp where others may have cracked. He also gained a deep distrust of drugs while at the same time recognizing the power the more addictive ones could have. His desire to be in control of his addicted parents’ drug fueled moods instead of at their mercy is directly responsible for his later obsessions with finding and controlling the Albino’s new Rust Drug that is popular at the time of the Dieselpunk Opera.
The Red Haired Lad spent a part of his childhood preparing to leave his home and by the time he did around 12 he was well verse in the street and minor criminal culture of New Albion during the long civil war. Once out on the streets he survived quite well but it became clear that his youth and vulnerability once again put him at a distinct disadvantage and at the mercy of stronger street thugs. He became deeply reflective upon the concept of power, control and justice.
Since he lived in a war torn city, he started to run across other children who found themselves suddenly out on the streets, often orphaned unexpectedly. Unlike the Red Haired Lad, they had no familiarity with street survival. Some were all but doomed while others became basically feral and roamed in wild packs.
The Red Haired Lad finally saw how power could be achieved using the powerless. The Red Haired Lad took these orphaned children of the war and collected them. He built a home for them in an abandoned building with access to the underground tunnels where they could escape. They taught each other skills for stealing and the procurement of food and necessary items. Food allowed him to attract the more feral children who were key to defense and more dangerous activities.
Within a few years he had built himself a formidable gang.
To make money he and his gang of fellow children would offer to perform services for the more adult mobs, a key one being the delivering of packages across a city with all sorts of roadblocks and impromptu security gates. Children could bypass these things with much greater ease and the child gang became a regularly used service for the delivery of small items of contraband by adult mobs.
Since they were a gang consisting of many rescued and orphaned children, they were of course particularly interested in rescuing other children, not simply to expand their own numbers but out of honest sympathy. A series of shells destroyed some run down tenements by the docks and no help was sent as the area was mostly abandoned or populated by derelicts and those too poor to warrant much attention.
The tenement area was actually purposefully kept as an underdeveloped area of the city. It was owned by the underground Albinos and was a key access point to both the aboveground and the waterfront area, where goods came in and out for them.
The Red Haired Lad and his gang of feral youth were the ones who showed up to search for survivors, particularly children. They rescued quite a few and brought them back to the abandoned building that served as their well fortified home. They fed and cared for the new kids who were all albino and seemed quite strange and foreign. Some children had heard rumors of the Albino tribe living underground, but no older child actually believed these fairy tales.
A few nights later the gang received visitors through their tunnel doorways.
The Red Haired Lad found himself surrounded by a group of scary looking Albinos and assumed a nasty stand off was about to begin, but in fact the Albinos were overjoyed that their children were safe and had come to not only collect them but to thank the Red Haired Lad’s Gang.
Thus it was that the agreement was reached whereby the Lad could access underground tunnels normally off limits to surface dwellers. This allowed the smuggling service to boom and now they could deliver contraband across lines that were in fact completely impossible by everyone else.
The last thing worth mentioning is that the Red Haired Lad has recently become obsessed with finding out where this new rust colored drug that everybody suddenly wants is coming from. He is going to grow out of his teens soon and his ambition is big and his talents, abilities and resources formidable. Control of this drug in some way could rocket him and his gang to a whole new level, a level he believes he is ready for.
What he does not know is that this drug is provided to the city of New Albion by three Albino brothers. The Red Haired Lad is not the only one searching desperately for this information and others searching are even more ruthless in their methods. What will happen is anyone’s guess. One thing is sure: The Red Haired Lad’s good relationship with the Albinos does not extend to the drug. Even he is not welcome to it or knowledge of it. There are dark days coming as the search intensifies.