The dead walk the streets of New Orleans. They could be called many things, and across the world the dead are known by many names, but in the Crescent City they are the Loa, those who straddle the border between this world and the Other, and can be both spiritual guide and celebrant trickster.
As much as they can be, the Loa exist in secret, seeping into society as myths and legends, and capitalizing on this undercurrent of incredulity and superstition to both make their lives easier, and to avoid drawing the eyes of the Other. Once mortal, the Loa have shed that life for something more lasting, using the life of others to perform rituals and to make trade with both each other, and with the truly Dead.
In recent years, many Loa have taken to calling themselves Vampires among “polite society,” a condescending term for the still living. While this is a misnomer and considered unsettling and inappropriate by many of the Loa, it seems to make acquiring blood and other signs of life easier.
Among the living, the Loa often exist in a state of celebrity and excess, indulging their own interests and curiosities with their overabundance of time. Among the Dead, the Loa inhabit an entirely different place in the order of things.
The Other World
is a place of chaos and despair, where many of the Dead pass into without understanding why or how. It is a bleak and unpleasant place, a wasted and blasted reflection of the world as it is now. Buildings are in ruin, as if at the heart of a war zone. The greatest danger in the Other World, however, are those that know they have died.
At first, many Loa attempt to ignore the Other World. They have no requirement to venture there, and while there may be great gains to be garnered from those sojourns, the dangers considerably outweigh these to many. However, unwatched, the Other begins to seep into the living world, and the angry and maddened Dead begin to mingle with polite society.
By travelling in the Other World, by maintaining a presence there and dealing with the dangers in that place, the Loa ensure that the Other stays in Beyond where it belongs.
Living between two worlds, the Loa have little interest in monetary concerns by and large. Of course they use money when needed, but most Loa quickly learn to use their abilities to avoid needing to. The Loa, however, are masters of secrets, and place a great weight on secret knowledge and hidden words.
Beyond that, however, the Loa trade in Life
. Not an energy or ectoplasm, such as that left behind by the passing of the Dead, but the physical Sign of Life: blood, semen, flesh. The kindest Loa take little and only that freely, if not knowingly, given. The cruelest are no strangers to murder, rape, or torture to get what they want. Some cultivate small followings of the Living who offer their Life knowingly, but there is a danger in giving too much Life to the Other.