Landsoftheblacksea:Main Page/players/gabriel malavielle

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Gabriel's Character Sheet

A rakish young noble from Avis Inia who was sent out of sight and mind to an Academy where he eventually found his calling as an Invoker.


Background[edit]

Scion of the highly respected Dampierre family of Avis Inia, the young Edouard was celebrated as the heir to the family titles and estates upon his birth. His father, Baron Clément Dampierre,II, was a favorite in the Royal Court. He owned a number of small estates in the western-central region of the country, which had rich soil and recently had been found to contain veins of iron and copper in the foothills of the Iron Mountains that lay within them, making him rich as well as flowing vast sums into the Royal Coffers. It was rumored that the King was considering Clément for the title of Vicompte – or, dare it be said, perhaps even Compte?

Clément and his wife Galatea – a daughter of the old and well-respected Laudato House in Tras Veniri – had tried to have a child for years after their marriage, to no avail. They gifted huge sums to the Church, had the estates and bedrooms blessed, but after three years were still childless.

Desperate, Galatea began to secretly visit less reputable sources for help with the problem. Discretely she visited the old women in remote villages, far from the prying eyes and wagging tongues of the city, looking for something – anything – to help her and her husband conceive. But nothing seemed to work.

Just as the situation was seeming hopeless – and with Clément beginning to examine his options to preserve his family’s heritage, much to Galatea’s horror – Galatea was visited by an old woman who asked to speak to her in private. No one knows what was said, but the servants say that the woman brought nothing in with her but her walking stick, and left with nothing more.

Three months later, Galatea announced that she was with child. The family celebrated as had never been seen before, and the Baron rained riches down on the church in gratitude.

Edouard had a normal birth, and for a time, all seemed right within the Dampierre family.

But as he grew older, Edouard grew into a spoiled child, and from there a rather spoiled young man. His father, granted the title Vicompte of the areas surrounding his original holdings, was away managing the estates for long periods of time. Galatea hire the best tutors and teacher’s money could buy, but they were no replacement for his Father. When he was in the City, Clément would try to set Edouard straight, disciplining him and setting him to difficult and sometimes dirty tasks to try to make him appreciate his station and responsibilities, but Edouard would routinely defy his father and slip away with his friends, with whom he began to engage in all manner of unseemly and ignoble activities.

And then, much to everyone’s surprise, Galatea announced she was with child again. She gave birth to a healthy boy – Bruno Dampierre, named after Clément’s grandfather. After this, Clément felt he had more leverage – arguments ended with threats that Edouard could be disowned, that Bruno could be named heir to the family’s estates.

A particularly bad episode that threatened the family with scandal - and was cause for the Lord High Chamberlain to summon Clément for a meeting to discuss it – was the final straw. Clément decided to send Edouard away to an Academe located in the Town of Aven Bentois; far from The White City and the innumerable temptations of the Capital city, The Baron felt that perhaps Edouard would finally learn what is was to be a man. Aven Bentois was much closer to The Baron’s estates, which would let him visit more often. He forbade Galatea from accompanying her son, insisting that too much time with only a Woman to guide him had caused him to stray, and that some time away from family in the strict but fair hands of the Charbonnier Academy was their only hope of changing the boy’s ways. Clément swore that Edouard would come back the noble-born man of his bloodline, or he would not come back at all.

Edouard fully intended on escaping and returning to the City, but his Father had cleverly decided to send him by boat most of the way. Until the ship docked at Belis-ar-Weil, Edouard had no way to escape. And once there, he was trundled onto a horse and ridden out of town West, towards Aven Bentois, under the guard of three large and dour men who were not his father’s retainers. For the first time in his life, Edouard felt fear.

Arriving in Aven Bentois, Edouard could barely restrain his loathing of the setting – the place didn’t even have a proper curtain-wall, and it was so small that the Jhonians mixed with proper Athernians, and the Furfeet mixed with everyone. It practically put him off his food!

He was taken to the Academe – a mid-sized compound of ivy-covered buildings on the outskirts of the town. The Master – an aging man named Boulen Aphier – met him at the door and had the servants take him to his room – which he would generously describe as a hovel, with instructions on class times and conduct.

With no money or access to transport, Edouard was trapped. He decided to bide his time until an escape option presented itself. In the meantime, he took what pleasure he could in tormenting the other students at the Academe – most of who were either from families of lower station, or (fie!) not of noble birth at all. As many of them did various chores and duties in consideration for lower tuitions, Edouard would ensure that they earned every penny – his clothes were always the filthiest, his dishes the dirtiest, his room a sty. And when he was assigned a simple task, such as filling inkpots, he would always turn it into another disaster that would require hours of work from his classmates to restore things to normalcy.

He would get frequent letters from his mother, telling him of the events of the day back in the White City, of the parties and events and galas, of all the girls his age who were blooming and looking for husbands – all the things he was missing – as well as how much she missed him. She always ended by admonishing him to attend to his studies and make his father proud, that he could return to her and get on with the job of being the heir to the family fortune.

He had fully intended to take no part in the instructions at the Academe, hoping a lack of seriousness as a student would get him expelled. But he was competitive by nature, and when he could not dominate those around him with his Families money or titles, showing them up in lessons was the next best thing. He was a good student despite himself, and though he started learning for all the wrong reasons, soon enough he realized that it was actually interesting, and that he enjoyed it. He particularly like learning things that others did not know – that others didn’t even know that there was something to know. Obscure, arcane, lost, or banned forms of knowledge excited him the most.

He was looking for a book on ancient religions of the Tuath people in the library. Finding it, he pulled the thick leatherbound book off it’s place in the shelf – it had obviously not been touched in years – when he noticed something that had been placed behind it. It was a small book, bound in some form of greenish-grey, reptilian hide, scaly and remarkably still glossy once he wiped off the thick dust.

The Tuaths forgotten, he opened it carefully. The yellowed pages showed the age of the book, but remarkably, did not crumble or crack as he gently turned them – they were not parchment, or papyrus, or wood, or skin of any creature he had seen. The pages were covered front and back with writing in a language he had not seen, nor could he understand. Interspersed with this assumed form of text were symbols – diagrams of all kinds, some geometric, some depicting forms of human, animal, and what could only be described as monsters or dieties – as well as complex formulae that made no sense to him despite all he had learned at the school.

Hearing someone, he quickly tucked the book into his cloak, and opened the book on the Tuath, feigning interest.

That night, in his room, he opened the book again under candlelight. It mesmerized him. He must find a way to understand it.

Over the next days, he spent little time in his room – if he wasn’t in class, he was in the library. But he never found anything that would help. Frustrated, he finally started opening the pile of letters from his mother. Most was of little interest, though he laughed at the story his mother told of one of her relatives – the daughter of a cousin, married into a noble family of Veniri – who had apparently fallen in with the Wayward Daughters. Her parents sent agents to rescue her, of course, and bring the poor girl to her senses. But instead, the Daughters and the Veniri mercenaries clashed in the streets of Avis Inia – with the girl fighting alongside the Daughters, no less! When it was over, two of the mercenaries lay dead in the streets. It was the most outrageous scandal, causing political turmoil between the Kingdoms, as well as personal scandal to the Veniri noble family. His mother reported the Daughters had apparently fled the City, taking the girl with them. Her family, left with no other choice, did the only sensible thing, and disavowed her, minimizing the scandal as much as possible to preserve the honor & status they had left.

But such diversions brought him little comfort. He always found his thoughts drifting back to the book. What was it?

The clue he needed for his puzzle fell into his lap in the most unexpected way. He was assigned to clean Master Aphier’s office, and was doing it as quickly as possible. While he had never given it a thought, as his genuine curiosity bloomed and his need for knowledge grew, he spent less of his time in attempts to denigrate his classmate – something that they had all noted, but remained silent about lest it change their good fortune.

Dusting the shelves in the office, Edouard leaned forward to reach a high shelf, and his foot caught on a large footstool near the fireplace. He began to fall forward, cursing, landed with a thump face down on the floor, looking into the fireplace.

And seeing one of the designs from the book scratched into one of the bricks there.

He blinked, thinking the fall had confused him.

No, definitely. Hard to see for sure, but definitely there, and definitely the same design.

What did it mean?

Quickly finishing his work, he made and excuse to skip the mid-day meal, and ran out of the building to his room. Locking the door, he found the book and flipped through it, trying to find the design.

There it was, just as he remembered. Surrounded by the text he could still not understand, and around the geometric design, an image that might have been a wave – or possibly a ghost, or perhaps a flame, or just a crazy squiggle drawn by a madman.

He closed the book.

Confused, he was distracted by this for the next few days. He tried volunteering and trading jobs with other students to get the chance to clean the office again, but it took him two weeks (and a number of demeaning oaths to students who were looking to even up for his past behavior) before he was able to.

This time, he came prepared – he brought the book with him, and, again looking to ensure he was alone, closed the door set down before the fireplace, looking first at the brick, then at the page.

He felt something. He wasn’t sure what.

He concentrated. After ten minutes, he was sweating. Nothing was happening, and yet he knew he was on the cusp of something – something important.

The sweat turned cold instantly when he heard the familiar voice behind him.

“Well, you’ll never get it done like that, will you, Master Dampierre?”

He jumped up, swiftly stuffing the small book into the sleeve of his robe as he turned around. Master Aphier stood in the room – the door still closed. He had not heard it open he was sure. Boulen was looking at him sternly.

He was speechless. His mind raced, trying to think of what to say.

“Don’t bother, young man. There’s nothing you could say I would believe anyway.”

Edouard winced. He anticipated what would happen next – expulsion? Where would his father send him next – a monastery? He shuddred, squeezing his eyes shut.

“Do you want me to show you how it works?”

His eyes opened. Did he hear that right? He blinked.

“Here. No, put the book away, if you study properly, you won’t need it other than as a reminder. Look.”

Boulen faced the fireplace. He drew a deep breath, then began to speak in a low, quiet, guttural voice – somewhat disturbing, to be sure, given how different from his speaking voice it was. The mans hands moved in small gestures as he spoke, and abruptly came together across his chest, snapping his fingers as he did so.

The fireplace immediately erupted into flames – without any logs or kindling or anything to burn ever having been placed into it. Edouard’s jaw dropped as Boulen relaxed, and then extended his hands towards the fire, rubbing them.

“A handy skill, don’t you think?” the man said, looking back over his shoulder at Edouard.

Mezmerized, Edouard listened as Boulen told him of knowledge that had existed since before the First Line of Kings – knowledge that was once used for the good of men, as well as for evil. But since the Restoration of the Line and rise of The Holy Faith, knowledge that had been shunned, banned, and repressed within the Kingdom.

“To our shame and our detriment,” Boulen continued. “This is knowledge that can and should be used to uphold our King and Country – for surely his enemies plan to use it against him.”

Boulen continued. Edouard was a gifted student. He could become a talented scholar and practitioner of this knowledge. But it would come with a price. “Your father can never know, nor can your mother or any of their peers. Were your involvement to be found out, it would be the ruin of your family – your father would be cast down, his titles stripped, and your house would end penniless.”

Boulen looked at the young man eye to eye. “This is not an accident, Edouard; your mother availed herself of these arts in order to conceive you, and this power leaves its mark on those that it touches. No, it is true – I know the woman she employed, a good woman who is discrete and would not speak a word of it to anyone save those that have the best interests of your father and the King at heart. We keep watch over things, gently nudging when needed, but quietly and carefully lest we be discovered.

“You must choose – I will teach you what I can, as well as help you meet others who can teach you more. But you would need to sever your bond with your family – I would need to tell them that you escaped the school, and my men could not track you down. I would have to elaborate about your continued poor behavior and dissolute nature – it will not be a pleasant picture. But it is the only way.”

“What say you?”

Ruffini family tree.png

Notes[edit]

wizard casts his signature spell as if he were 2 levels higher for purposes of damage, duration, area of effect, range, and all other level-based characteristics.

Secondly, the wizard may memorize one casting of his signature spell at no cost in spells available at that level. In other words, the character gains the specialist wizard benefit of memorizing additional spells. For example, a 1st-level mage may normally memorize one 1st-level spell. If the mage has magic missile as a signature spell, he may memorize one 1st-level spell, plus an additional magic missile, for a total of two 1st-level spells. If the character is a specialist invoker, he can memorize three 1st-level spells: magic missile, a second invocation spell, and the 1st-level spell he normally receives as a 1st-level wizard. Note that the character in this example could choose to spend his discretionary spells to memorize a total of three magic missiles, which wouldn’t be a bad move considering that he’s so good at casting it!

Joined Alcquemiste's Guild: Requirements to Join: proficiency/Class as Herbalist, Alchemist, Wizard; must be Nominated by an existing member of sufficient rank; enrollment dues: 100 gp (6-month probationary period, can be ejected for violations w/out recourse during this time) + monthly dues: 20 gp; cannot refuse any reasonable request from higher ranking guild members (typically will be assistance in experiments, requests to obtain materials or research, etc); rank w/in Guild will roughly track with class/proficiency level, but can also be raised by actions or service supporting the guild (e.g., donating books or equipment or magical items, completing tasks from higher-ranking members, etc.; must take an oath of complete secrecy regarding the arcane relationships within the guild - discussions about such topics, as well as magical research and/or experiments, must be held on guild property or other safe locations designated within the city, and may only involve other guild members. Violation of this results in immediate ejection and blacklisting from the guild. It is strongly implied that that will be the least of your worries should this occur, as you would earn the immediate enmity of the entire guild membership, having put their lives and livelihoods at risk. Benefits: allowed open an alcquemiste (chemistry) shoppe that trades in mundane, non-magical preparations only (e.g., solutions used in ornamentation, construction, entertainment, etc.); access to the guild library; free Evening-feast meals at Guild Hall on weekends, fee admission to parties, balls, or galas held by the guild; membership benefits apply to allied guildhalls in other cities (will be city-dependent); ability to network and socialize with guild members (within constraints mentioned above).

Not Joined Apothecaries Guild:

Requirements to Join: Herbalist/Alchemist Proficiency; Must be nominated by an existing member of sufficient rank; enrollment dues 50 gp (6-month probationary period, can be ejected for any reason w/out recourse during this time) + monthly dues of 5 gp/month; oath of loyalty to the guild - will expose anyone practicing the arts of herbalism and associated preparations, with practice within the code of conduct of the guild which forbids the preparation of substances that are soley used as poisons, etc. etc.); cannot refuse reasonable requests of higher-ranking members of guild (e.g., assistance in preparation of materials, requests to obtain materials, etc. etc.); rank w/in guild will track with duration of membership & skill/proficiency in arts, but can be affected by services provided to guild (e.g., donation of materials, books, equipment, service to higher-ranking guild members, etc. etc); Benefits: licensed to practice herbalism and associated arts within the City freely (e.g., can purchase and open a shoppe); discounts on purchase of raw materials from city vendors; access to Guild library; can attend monthly feasts and occasional formal dinners/dances at guildhall; mingling and networking with guild members from across the city.