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Marlow Brown

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We've come too far to let you interfere!
~ Marlow Brown

Marlow Brown is a character in the video-game Shadow Hearts: From the New World. Finding Marlow is the initial motivation of main protagonist Johnny Garland, however meeting Marlow will plunge Johnny into the world of the supernatural and horrors that haunt his own past.

Initial Contact

The game starts with New York junior detective Johnny Garland being contacted by a man called Gilbert, a professor from Arkham University. Gilbert had come to Johnny seeking Marlow Brown an old friend and college of his. Marlow had gotten into trouble with the law while in the midst of some research for Gilbert and was sent to jail, Gilbert had helped him get out of jail on bail, so when Brown escaped his parole without paying any bail money Gilbert became liable as bond guarantor. Gilbert had heard Marlow was seen somewhere around Manhattan and needed Johnny to find his friend quickly before he had to come up with Marlow's bail money. Johnny, who up until then had only been hired for neighborhood odd jobs leaped at the chance to under-take a real case and agreed to take Gilbert as a client.

Johnny did an investigation, asking around and heard that the man fitting Marlow's description had been seen in an abandon theater in Chelsea. Further investigation of locals confirmed the sightings and Johnny went into the theater to find Marlow. The theater was a haven for squatters and filled with many, criminals and gang members, despite the dangerous characters attracted to the place no one dared go to the top floor, where a man lived. Even the hardened criminals considered the "Crazy Man on the top floor" to be extraordinarily dangerous and psychotic.

After a dangerous trek upstairs through the criminal infested building Johnny found a studio living quarters that emanated a grained operatic recording. The apartment was dark and dilapidated but Johnny journeyed further in asking for Gilbert's friend. Through the gloom slunk a man who appeared to be either drunk or mentally ill. Disheveled as the man was he was clearly the man from Gilbert's photo, Marlow Brown. When Johnny announced his name Marlow began to laugh belligerently but his laughter soon gave way to panic as he began to gasp and back away from Johnny in horror. Johnny told Marlow he was not there to report him, just to bring him back to his friend but Marlow appeared to be thinking on an entirely different level and kept backing away from Johnny in fear. All of a sudden, cornered, Marlow began to cry out in terror. Without warning a portal opened behind Marlow and out of it an eldrich monster came, devouring Marlow where he stood.

Nom nom nom, Marlow

Marlow Brown gets eaten

Once the creature finished with Marlow in continued to advance towards Johnny but was intercepted by a celestial looking winged woman. The winged woman helped Johnny fight and defeat the monster but in the excitement of the situation Johnny passed out. Johnny awoke the next morning back at his agency. The winged woman now looked much more human and had a man beside her, both of them Native American. Johnny's butler, Lenny told him they had brought him in the previous night. The woman introduced herself as Shania and her companion was named Natan, both had been looking for a strange creature they called "Lady" and the trail had lead them to Marlow. With Marlow dead, Johnny had to report into Gilbert, curious to follow any links they could Shania and Natan decided to join him on his trip to Arkham University.

At the University Johnny Shania and Natan would meet a strange man called Frank, who was also searching for Gilbert, hearing he was a dangerous man. In Marlow's off Campus lab Johnny, Shania, Natan and Frank found a variety of inhuman creatures all of which had characteristic similar to what had eaten Marlow. Once they encountered Gilbert he casually admitted to creating the monsters roaming his lab. Johnny, appalled at the man he had gotten involved with, accused Gilbert of arranging Marlow's death when he found him; Gilbert corrected the accusation saying he had nothing to do with the phenomena but had suspected it would turn out the way it did and was using Johnny less to find Marlow and more as a guinea-pig for an experiment of his. Gilbert opened another portal, or "Window" as he and Shania called it, and summoned a man-eating creature to attack the party while he went off to conduct some more experiments. As the creature came out Johnny inadvertently displayed the power to project Malice from his knife. Gilbert seemed to half except the result and considered it even further confirmation of his theories, but simply opened a larger Window to keep the team occupied as he escaped.

Johnny's past

The bulk of the game is spent either following Gilbert to find out about Johnny's relation with Malice and how his experiments had triggered Johnny's power to project it, or tracking down Lady for Shania and Natan's vendetta. Late in the game Johnny accidentally turns into a monster similar to Lady, though he eventually returns to normal the team starts searching for the source of the demonic transformation. On advice from Lenny, Johnny travels to his late father's manor, there he discovers a secret underground lab. In the lab he finds strange devices, two larger apparatuses and a family photo, the photo showed Johnny his father and a photo of his sister, the last of whom was a dead ringer for the woman they had come to know as Lady. Johnny had a hard time picturing his sister because of a car crash they both were in as children but the photo had triggered the memory, he was certain that Lady was his sister, though he was still clueless on how such a thing could be. Johnny goes to check with an old acquaintance of Lenny's named Roger Bacon, a wise scientist and mystic, to make sense of the situation as Johnny had brief flashes of Roger standing in the lab with Marlow and his father Graham.

Graham and Marlow

Graham and Marlow research the Émigré Manuscript.

Roger told Johnny it was not the first time he encountered him, and told Johnny the miraculous story of his father and a researcher whose name Johnny instantly recognized, Marlow Brown. Johnny and Grace had both died in the car-crash Johnny remembered, Graham was beside himself with grief and fell into a deep depression. Graham was approached by Marlow Brown, a researcher who was looking for a way to become a full fledged black magician. Marlow had heard of Graham's loss and since Graham was substantially wealthy Marlow saw a great opportunity. Marlow had heard tell of a book called the Émigré Manuscript that had many rites and formulas recorded in it that could raise the dead. Once Marlow had convinced Graham the Émigré Manuscript might actually exist Graham agreed not only sponsor Marlow's research but help him with it. The two spent a long time researching and following up on rumors, lore and eye witnesses to events that were linked to the Émigré's use and eventually they found where it's creator, Roger Bacon, had hidden it away.

By the time Roger found out his tome was missing from his hiding place and tracked down it's location Graham and Marlow were already undertaking the ritual. Bacon tried to stop the rite but Marlow restrained him and went on with the rite. Roger noted that Graham's use of the rite was inspired for it used both Malice and the counter force known as Will for the ritual, where previously only Malice was used as the more easily applied of the two forces. Malice was used to form the physical bodies and restore life to them but Will was used to anchor their souls back into them, ensuring both would not just be alive but actually have their original souls attached, a detail all previous users had not counted on. Alas Graham lacked the emotional discipline and stopped midway through the rite when his daughter Grace awoke from her sleep. Marlow let Roger go to get a closer look himself but where the two magicians stalled Roger's warning about doing the rite turned to frantic cries not to stop midway through for fear of disastrous results, cries that fell on deaf ears as Graham was lost in joy and Marlow was lost in fascination. Grace had awoken but not Johnny, who was starting to die again due to Graham's delay and the Will drained from his apparatus. Grace could not stand to see he brother die again and at the rite's zenith was able to will her brother alive, expending her own Will to do so; The Malice overwhelmed Grace and blew apart her apparatus. Grace had a dead expression on her face and began wandering out of the lab, as Graham tried to greet her she ignored him then when Graham tried to stop "Grace" she killed him. Once she was clear Marlow ran off screaming and Roger was left to clean up the lab and get Johnny to a hospital.


Marlow Brown SHFTNW

Marlow Brown, first encountered

Originally Marlow is made out to be an opportunist with the single-minded focus of acquiring real magical powers. Marlow plays on Graham's grief but is not made out to be a master manipulator as much as Graham was implied desperate enough to try anything; Furthermore Marlow is ultimately played as a pawn for Gilbert. In the five years since the creation of Lady, Marlow seems to have suffered major mental deterioration, it is unknown if he began drinking to deal with what he had witnessed or if the trauma itself induced a form of mental illness. Gilbert seems to have gleaned many useful secrets on what Malice was and how to use it from Marlow and it seems that where Marlow did not have the skill or clarity to continue his research Gilbert continued it for him. Based on the description of Marlow's crimes and what he had been doing in the time he escaped the authorities, it is indicated Marlow was still trying to complete his research through human sacrifice but with his mind impeded, was unable to focus his efforts and apply his knowledge. Since Gilbert says he did not open the first Window that took Marlow, the connection of Marlow and Johnny likely triggered on it's own from the Malice in Johnny's body combined with Marlow's presence at his resurrection, this factor seems to have been the major breakthrough for Gilbert's research, confirming the theories he had picked from Marlow. Marlow for all his ambitions was weak-willed and not only suffered a major mental breakdown but also a massive blow to any sense of security he had, leaving him a completely broken man.

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