Moonlight over Madness
Concept: Grifting Crusader.
Teodora Lombardi (aka “Teo”, “Teddi”, and various other aliases, including Inez Fuentes, which she is currently using at the start of the game)
Description: When not in disguise, she’s a young Monica Bellucci—very Italian features (see pic).
Init Mod: 6
Attributes: (Power) Int 2, Str 1, Pres 2
(Finesse) Wits 3, Dex 3, Manip 3
(Resistance) Res 2, Sta 2, Comp 3
(Mental) Academics: 1, Computer: 2, Investigation: 1, Politics: 1
(Physical) Athletics: 1, Brawl: 1, Drive: 1, Larceny (pick-pocketing): 2, Stealth: 2
(Social) Empathy: 1, Expression: 2, Persuasion (fast-talking): 3, Socialize: 1, Streetwise: 2, Subterfuge (con jobs): 2
Eidetic Memory (2pts)
Teodora Lombardi was born July 28th 1986. She was two years old when she entered Child Services, so she has no memory of her biological mother or father. Her records contend that her father abandoned her and her mother, and her mother was rendered homeless and that was why Teodora was entered into CS. Whether that is true or not, Teodora doesn’t know. All she knows is that eventually the courts severed her parent’s parental rights and she never once met them or saw them, not even in court. She spent her early youth in foster care with behavior issues which today would probably land her with an Oppositional Defiant Disorder diagnosis, though she wasn’t defiant and resentful of adults, just the rules and walls keeping her in. She consistently was testing boundaries, pushing the envelope whenever she could, trying to figure out the weak points and how to get around the rules. As a result, she would quickly turn off any potential adopting family. She eventually ran away from the group home when she was 14 and lived on the streets, finding and being “adopted” by a street family of other misfits. This is where she met Jeremy Kline who was nineteen and treated her like a kid sister, showing her the ropes and working with her on occasion, depending on what needed stealing or conning. She bonded with him more closely than she did with anyone else.
While it was a very transient life with a lot of uncertainties, the freedom she had living on the street had a real calming affect on her otherwise defiant behavior. She gained self-esteem and confidence on the streets and urban survival skills. But it wasn’t long before she was yearning for more, envying the material wealth she would see displayed on a lot of the people she would beg or con money or food from, but she didn’t want to be a slave to society’s expectations (like maintaining a corporate job) in order to get it. Just before her 16th’s birthday, she met Guy Dempsey.
Guy spotted her successfully pick-pocketing outside of a pool hall and allowed her to make him her next mark, catching her in the act. He was careful in handling her, not proposing a partnership right away. He taught her what she did wrong, and a few new tricks of the trade. He watched her work, saw her potential, and a week later when the time was right and he felt he had gained her trust, he suggested she come with him, promising her a lot of the material things and a life of excitement and freedom that he knew she wanted.
And so she left with him and they made their way to L.A., working on their partnership polish along the way. He was good to her. Sure, he used her for his grifts, but never did he touch her beyond a pat on the back or an affectionate mussing of the hair, and he always negotiated what she felt was a fair deal on their cuts of the takes. Eventually, she would let him actually hug her and she began to see him as the father figure she never had before, the father figure she needed. They had a good run for several years, even into her adulthood. For obvious reasons, she was not put in school, and being that she was 16 she could get away with it. But he knew better than to not let her educate herself at her own pace, so he made sure she got frequent trips to the public library and even managed to get a few older high school textbooks for her to go through at home. Obviously, she wasn’t as well educated as she would have been had she actually attended school and gotten her diploma, but she could hold her own. TV and movies and Guy, himself, filled in a lot of the rest of it.
As an adult, she still often took on the role of his daughter or niece for various con jobs, and they developed a good rhythm in their work, moving around when they needed to, but largely staying on the west coast. When she was 21, she ran into Jeremy in San Francisco and was so thrilled to see him she spent the entire afternoon with him getting caught up. She learned that he straightened himself out after a few unfortunate incidents with the cops and became a bounty hunter, putting his street savvy skills to work to try and help clean up the town. He was in town, he explained, to look for an FTA he believed was there. She was glad to see he was okay and doing well for himself and was just as eager to tell Guy.
Guy was definitely interested in the news and felt they could use Jeremy’s hunt for the FTA on their next con, giving him a red herring that would set him on the path of someone they needed intimidated and chased around for their next job. She didn’t go for it. Jeremy was off-limits. There had to be a better alternative, and she could find it. They argued heatedly for awhile until she realized it was no use and he would not see reason. She pretended to relent and eventually agreed, looking like she was unhappy with it but going along with it anyway. Guy appeared not to catch on to the act, and they continued their usual routine for the rest of the day. Hours later when he stepped out onto the hotel balcony to smoke a cigar and put together some new plans in a moment of solitude, she waited until he had fallen asleep for his usual afternoon nap in one of the chairs, put the cigar out in the ash tray, and quietly closed and locked the balcony door so he couldn’t get to the phone should he wake up before she got back.
She then went to track down Jeremy who had told her which hotel he was staying at. It was nearby, she knew, and she thought she could go warn Jeremy and get some fast food to bring back for her and Guy as an excuse, and not be gone long. Perhaps he wouldn’t even be awake yet. She didn’t get much past a block away from the hotel, though, before she heard a scream of anguish and looked back and up at a man on fire, falling from one of the upper story balconies. Her stomach clenched and she ran back, hearing more screams at what she knew had to have been impact with the pool patio. When she arrived on the scene, her worst fears were confirmed. Surrounded by a small crowd growing larger as hotel security and staff came on the scene was the charred, mangled body of her mentor, Guy Dempsey. In all the chaos, she slipped away, not even going back for her belongings, knowing it would be a crime scene now, and his death was all her fault. She was sure she had put out his cigar… but now she was filled with doubt and guilt. She may not have agreed with Guy on this score, but he didn’t deserve a death like that. No one did.
She ran until tired and hungry and now lost, ending up in a church. They mistook her for a homeless person and she adopted the part. She stayed in the homeless shelter they ran for a few days, long enough to find out they were about to be taken for a ride by a mysterious “donor”. The grifter obviously dismissed her as not being a threat and she watched him closely, even following him and getting a feel for the probable angle he was after with the church’s shelter. In an odd way, after the tragedy with Guy, this helped her to focus and distract her from the pain of her guilt and grief. She thought this new grifter was lower than low to be conning a church shelter and her anger fueled some of her drive to do something about it. She did, twisting the grift around so he would get nothing and the shelter would get everything.
Since then, she’s been traveling the continental U.S., seeking out grifters like him, following rumors and gossip on the streets, going after the ones who don’t have a lot of discerning taste in who they con and who gets hurt. It’s not just the righting of wrongs crusade she enjoys; there is a certain rush she gets from successfully playing a player and taking them for all their worth. All the while, putting as much distance between her and what happened that day in San Francisco.
Now she is in Boston, following the lead of an embezzler in insurance-salesman’s clothing (some grifts just never get old). All she has is an address of where he was last known to have set up an office, and she intends to go there as soon as she gets settled in her hotel room and do some in-person looking around and investigating. Later, she’ll hook her laptop up to the internet in the hotel and do some online checking, too. If all goes well, before the week is out she’ll be a half a million dollars richer, minus the cut she would give the elderly couple who were duped out of their money by this guy to begin with…