Many thanks to bubby for accepting me as the new Fire Elemental. I've already posted his sheet over in the Character Thread, but for completism's sake I'll put it here as well:The Fire Elemental
(delighted to be joining the game!)(The DeviantArtist ~ofelia who made this image has a really good gallery, BTW.)Name:
Alazais of Cernon, a.k.a. "Bird"Physical Description:
A gaunt, sinewy youth with dusky skin, a wild tangle of dark greasy hair, large dark eyes and a ready grin. Handsome of feature under his accustomed coating of sweat and grime. Typically attired in a mish-mash of colourful rags and cast-offs, the two items he never parts with are his trusty dagger and a ragged length of red-dyed homespun cloth that he wears tied around his midsection underneath his outer clothing, almost like a prayer shawl.Affiliation/Title:
Associate and informal second-in-command of the "Quayside Almisters," a neighbourhood gang of beggars, thieves and pickpockets in the port city of Cernon. Fire Elemental.History:
A famine that devastated the ancestral province of Alazais' family forced them to follow swarms of other country folk into the cities of Glavnon when he was just a boy of six or seven. Hoping to find some prosperity in dock-work, Alazais' father gambled on the port city of Cernon -- where indeed he proved able to keep food in his family's mouths as a casual labourer, a line of work Alazais' elder brother had followed him into by the age of twelve. His mother supplemented the family income by work as a soothsayer and midwife, and Alazais himself ran the streets, sometimes as a beggar but more often experimenting at casual pickpocketing, burglarly and pranksterism with other boys from their Quayside neighbourhood. His father disapproved of this behaviour -- and in particular of Alazais' enjoyment of the comedic effects of stolen fireworks on crowded public spaces -- but grudgingly tolerated it for the sake of the occasional coins the young boy's exploits brought to the family purse. Every sou was needed; for a poor family, complete uprightness and propriety were luxuries of more prosperous times.
Six years ago, though, it all changed. The times had grown steadily harder, the price of bread going up, riots sweeping repeatedly through the marketplaces, foreign commerce growing sparser and sparser and the demand for casual labourers steadily drying up. Hostilities and feuds begun to multiply among the indigent families of Quayside, drunkenness and despair running riot amongst the men, vicious gossip and petty plotting eating away at the wives. As more and more women turned, to their shame and that of their menfolk, to the last resort of prostitution, envious eyes burned into those wives who even in such hard times were able to keep their virtue. Like Alazais' midwife and soothsayer mother. Voices began to whisper, hard stares to follow her everywhere she went. Isn't she really a sorceress?
some of the gossips said. She'd better keep a sharp eye out. Her Majesty don't brook no rivals.Keeping a sharp tongue out is what she's doing,
others replied. Got opinions about everyone and everything. Thinks she's better than us. That whole family does.I heard she's really one of them Rebels,
other voices embroidered eagerly. Keeps truck with demons, so they say. Says the foul things will make her powerful, prophecies Her Majesty's downfall to them what'll listen. "Keeps truck with"?
exclaimed yet others. You mean "whores herself to"! That's what she does! I known someone who heard it straight from one of their neighbours! All manner of racket from that poor little shack! On her back with her legs spread and a different fiend between them every night, her husband watching on and all!A low thing,
would come the answering mutters, heads shaking. Whoring for sailors and soldiers is bad enough... but doing it for the powers of Darkness... what an awful thing. And all to be able to pretend virtue and hightiness out in the light... what an irony!One can't help but pity those boys,
another might murmur. Those poor boys. They're sweet enough and all.Hah!
others would rejoin. Sweet as rot on a pork rind! That younger one damned near burned down three stalls in the fish market a fortnight ago! Probably got on his mum by some mischief-demon, mark my words!
And so it would go, the rumours swirling thicker and more poisonous by the day. But Alazais lived out his life, oblivious, chasing through the streets with the gang of thieves and beggars that had already been nicknamed the Quayside Almisters. Rough and tumble as his world was, he never dreamed of the malice brewing in his neighbourhood against his family, against his mother. He never knew that someone had eventually denounced his mother as a Rebel sympathizer and occultist; when he came back from his adventures in the streets one day -- after a particularly satisfying fireworks prank played on a procession of holy men -- and found the Queen's Hunters rousting his family in chains from their burning shack, he'd thought it was on account of what he'd just done.
He'd been on the point of rushing forward to try to explain to the hard-eyed Hunters, try to get them to take him instead of them, to tell them his family was innocent... but a last, desperate look of warning from his brother froze him in his tracks, trapped his voice in his throat. It was as if he'd been cast in wax as he watched his family led away. When Alazais finally moved again, it was to dart forward into that smouldering shack, finally emerging -- covered in soot and almost miraculously unburned -- with a scrap of one of his mother's dresses.
The family were never seen or heard from again. No-one in the neighbourhood knows what happened to them, nor speaks of that day. Partly this is because there isn't much time for dwelling on the past; times are only getting harder. Alazais has since reinvented himself as "Bird," the name everyone now knows him by, a charming and hard-bitten cutthroat, burglar and ruffian, his ready wit and glib tongue covering for the hollow anguish that shows every once in a while through his eyes. The innocence of the Quayside Almisters' old escapades has faded. They've long since turned to pimping the girls who'd once accompanied them on their adventures, to luring in the unsuspecting marks before stabbing and robbing them, to breaking in to shops and storehouses and stealing whatever they can carry.
It can't go on forever. The Queen's troops care more about disloyalty than criminality, but eventually they'll stir themselves to roust the Almisters, and the thieves will wind up in the stocks or swinging from a gibbet. All of them know it, and as Quayside rots and each day grows bleaker, Bird seems more and more resigned to his fate. Still... once a while, he can be seen toying with that ragged length of red cloth rescued half a dozen years ago from the ashes of his childhood, his face pensive. As if thinking about, and hoping, for something more.Strengths:
Bird is nicknamed both for his light physique and for his extraordinary swiftness and agility, the way he has of fleeing from a pursuer with such tricky resourcefulness as to seem almost like he's "flying." Sinewy and tough, he's stronger than he looks, but his real assets are his dexterity, his wit, the glib charm and underlying ruthlessness he's learned over his years haunting the streets of Quayside, and his handiness with the trusty dagger that's sliced a few hamstrings, opened a few throats and deterred more than one would-be pederast in its day. He's a sure and nimble climber, a stealthy footpad, and can pick a lock or a pocket with the best of them.Weaknesses:
A child of the streets, Bird is -- to put it mildly -- lacking in the finer social graces. He's fascinated by women but has little experience with anything other than whores, and even that much is limited. The torment and trauma of his family's loss, and his own guilt over it, continues to eat at him, and notwithstanding the old adage "time heals all wounds" it's actually getting worse instead of better: he's plagued by horrible nightmares, and even more worryingly has developed a habit of sleepwalking, waking in strange places with no idea of how he's gotten there or what he's done. Despite his delinquent habits, he was never totally insensible of his father's ideas of decency, and a sense of shame and remorse at what he and his friends have become has driven him toward hopelessness and the taking of increasingly crazy risks.