A Wandering Were-Coyote
Tucson is a wandering coyote-kin, drawn to the San Francisco area by Raven spirits and various omens. He has no idea what he's supposed to be doing here or why, but that's par for the course when dealing with Coyote.
The usual first impression people have of him is 'Bad-boy vagrant who's a little too charming for his own good', and that's a good way of describing him. He has a very casual attitude towards anything resembling a normal life, knowing he can never lead one. He's loyal to a fault. He's lonely - there are very, very few of his own kind out there. He's likely the only one in the entire region. He's brave but knows when to cut his losses.
He knows the common tasks done behind a bar well enough to make a good living at it.
A well-chosen word and a charming confident smile go a long way to smoothing things over or getting him what he wants.
His usual go-to job since being out on his own is bartending or fry cook -- he's gotten quite good at it.
Pistol and small arms training, refined through basic military training.
He can run simple short con games, on the order of "Find The Queen" or cheat at cards/dice. Enough to get enough cash to move on to the next town, until now.
He won't be cracking safes but most common locks don't stand a chance.
He spent four years in the army. He can walk the walk and talk the talk, enough to sound convincing or finagle his way into a military discount here and there.
Very good driver, on-road and off-road.
He has light fingers and a deft way of distracting people's attention. Picking pockets in normal circumstances is almost easy, and doing things like hiding a gun from a pat-down search are moderately hard instead of impossible. This is just his natural learned skill -- when enhanced by his natural magic, it makes him a pretty remarkable thief.
Grew up in a bad neighborhood, learned to "read" an area as a survival tactic. Can find the nearest bar with almost supernatural accuracy.
Basic military training, plus the school of hard knocks.
He can assume the shape of a coyote at will, but he has none of the "in-between" shapes a werewolf has. It takes almost no time, and his clothes and items shift with him.
He can see moderately well in total darkness, perfectly well if there is even a little bit of light.
Like most shapeshifters, he has the ability to rapidly heal wounds. His level of healing is less than that of a werewolf, but significantly better than a baseline human. At the same time, he doesn't have any particular weaknesses either, like silver or wolfsbane.
Any lie he tells is boosted by magic, to the point that even highly suspicious stuff can be plausible, for a little bit. This power cannot boost the truth in any way.
He can see spirits -- ghosts and place/animal spirits, mainly, but he might well be able to detect the undead presence of a vampire. He can usually communicate with them, but that's chancy at best.
He has the enhanced scent and hearing of a coyote in human form.
In coyote form, he has canine teeth. Pretty normal strength, but they are still better than human teeth for biting through things or causing damage to normal people.
He can walk into the spirit world that exists alongside our own. It's difficult to get into and sometimes out of, and you can run into various supernatural spirits and monsters there, but nothing beats it for travelling long distances in a short time. It's not something you do to keep from missing your favorite show, though. He can take other people with him as long as they are all connected in some way while entering and leaving.
Tucson's brand of coyote is not strong or tough, but they are sneaky. Shadows, tricks of light, and other environmental factors mean he's not seen unless he wants to be seen in either human or animal form. This is a form of illusion magic, so anything that sees through illusions will pinpoint him.
He's a really attractive young man, to the point that he could easily be cast as a CW pretty-boy trying to be more rugged, though he actually come across more as adorably scruffy. He knows this, too, and strives to enhance his appearance by various means.
Have you ever known anyone you instantly felt comfortable with, and felt they had your best interests at heart, and would really listen to you? He can make you feel like that more often than not. Even when he's not trying, he comes across as kind of broody, and that attracts almost as many people.
A Pretty Face
Fact is, coyotes like Tucson are horny little guys with little in the way of restraint. He's done a lot of stupid, stupid stuff because some pretty girl or handsome dude asked him to, and backed it up with some sack time. He always says next time is different.
The reason he never made a great con man was that he likes people too much to screw with them very badly. He can't say no to an honest request for help, despite how much it might cost him.
Sometimes the trickster god Coyote comes to town to check on his kids, and Tucson's type of were-coyote is believed to have ties to Coyote. This can be good but usually not -- Coyote is far more likely to drink all your liquor, sleep with your boyfriend, and drive off in a stolen car after having left your wallet behind at the scene. (Note that any appearances by Coyote will be approved by staff in advance as plot events.)
The dead show up to make requests. Ghosts demand he solve their murder. Raven spirits demand he trick the snake spirits infesting the old underpass so they leave.
Technically, he's a deserter from the US military and faces a series of federal charges if the authorities ever catch up to him. And there was that time they caught him leaning over a dude with a bloody knife and... Yeah, like they have the time to check every crappy bar in the world...
Despite growing up knowing he could turn into coyote, most of Santiago's life was fairly normal childhood spent on the streets of San Diego and Tijuana, depending on where his parents were living at the time. They were illegal migrants who were constantly going back and forth across the border -- his father was a "coyote" in that he helped people cross, his mother constantly running spiritualism cons on the side to make money. He was set up for the life of a gangbanger or petty crook -- a short, hard life -- until he got mixed up in a plot by a Mexican bruja to raise an army of the dead to work his fields and put him at the top of the cartel game. In the ensuing bloodbath, his mother was killed and his father enslaved.
At 16, he fled San Diego under the protection of a werewolf buddy, Diego. His friend had some interesting connections, who were able to supply Santiago with legal papers and a background good enough to fly under moderate investigation. He used that to enroll in the US Army, so he could at least put his skills with a gun to some good use. He served his first four years with only a few small incidents brought on by his ability to see and talk with the spirits, but he finally ran into real trouble when he had to desert his post to go help Diego out of a tight spot. That made him a deserter, and he's been living on the down-low ever since, moving around a lot under a series of assumed identities.
He's been on his own for the last two years, living the life of a spiritual vagabond, going where the raven spirits gossip about. Those places usually are the best...
Logs featuring Tucson Cortez:
Old Logs featuring Tucson Cortez:
- 2015.09.27 - Gathering: The Showdown
- 2015.09.27 - Gathering: Rescue Mission
- 2015.09.27 - Gathering: A Pre-Open Party at K9's
- 2015.09.27 - Gathering: A Little Sting
- 2015.09.26 - Gathering: Morning Run and Family Lunch
- 2015.09.26 - Gathering: Inter-Pack Bonding in a Hot Tub
- 2015.09.26 - Gathering: A Family Reunion, Courtesy of the Winter Queen
- 2015.09.20 - Gathering: The Calm Before the Storm
- 2015.09.20 - Gathering: Awakening the Watchman
- 2015.09.16 - Tucson's Not in Arizona Anymore