Among The Dragon Lines
陆秀兰 (Lu Xiùlán)
Lu Xiùlán aka BMW (the Black Moth Witch 黑蛾女巫) has not been seen in the Hong Kong / Macao area since the events surrounding the conclusion of Overkill.
Lu Xiùlán was born in Guilin to relatively normal middle-class parents. Her parents toiled at day jobs during her formative years, her mother a blue-collar worker at a local tire factory and her father a moderately successful dealer in silks and perfumes, and Xiùlán expected to do the same for the most part. Xiùlán’s teenage years changed her plans, however. Her mother died from cancer, probably earned from years of breathing in toxic rubber fumes, and around the same time, Xiùlán displayed signs of magical aptitude. Determined to leave the past behind and find a better life for herself, she operated her father’s social network and was able to get a job with a local A company, Wang Microsystems (汪太阳微系统公司). Her father lived on until Xiùlán was 24, at which point he died abruptly in his sleep.
Guilin was nice and scenic, but Xiùlán felt stifled by the environment, and she began looking for a way out. She began talking with some of the contacts that she had made over the last six years and ended up settling on a job in Macao by one of Wang Microsystems’ contractors, another A company with the rather bland name Proper Consulting (允洽商, pronounced Yǔn Xiá Shāng).
After a period of training from Proper to hone her skills (her magical abilities had been used much more cautiously at Wang Microsystems), she was officially granted ‘independent contractor" status, meaning that she isn’t an official employee as far as the books are concerned, so she is able to resolve delicate situations with a maximum amount of deniability for the company in the event that things go horribly awry.
The last two years as a shadowrunner for Proper have made her a few good friends and contacts, including the members of the party who are now unofficially her normal “crew” for pulling off whatever jobs Proper gives her, a friendly and helpful executive at Wuxing, as well as their place of work/residence.
Xiùlán has a solid work ethic, something inherited from her parents endless insistence that she do everything better than her peers, no doubt. She will do a job until it is finished, regardless of the amount of time and effort it requires. When she says something will be done, she means it. While she’s no longer worried about pleasing her parents (her father especially would have been embarrassed by her departure from Wang Microsystems), she does still hear their voices from time to time chiding her when something is unfinished.
Xiùlán chose to be a shadowrunner as a way to live a fuller life. After the death of her mother, Xiùlán knew that she didn’t want to toil in some meaningless job or simply raise a family (her dream as a child, btw), and she thought that climbing the corporate ladder would be the best way to escape the middle class, but she felt stifled by the strictures of a typical office, and so when the opportunity to be a shadowrunner with a reputable outfit backing her presented itself, she jumped. After all, when she gets a little older, maybe this could be her way to nab a job doing corporate security consulting for one of the big corps, or maybe even a company of her own if things really shake out in her favor.
Her street name, the Black Moth Witch (黑蛾女巫, sometimes just Black Moth or oftentimes BMW, depending on whose company the group is keeping) comes from her power focus, a small pendant that looks like a black moth stuck in a circle of fossilized amber. Because of the negative connotations a black moth possesses in China, no one wanted the piece when her mother died except for Xiùlán. Since then, Xiùlán has been happy to have the pendant, and it’s one of her favorites, a constant reminder of how hard her mother worked to provide for Xiùlán and an accessory that she is rarely without. As an added bonus, being associated with a black moth gives her even more of an edge when dealing with superstitious Chinese as they believe Xiùlán is the embodiment of death.