Alistair Innova Jan 6, 2019 9:05:26 GMT
Post by Alistair Innova on Jan 6, 2019 9:05:26 GMT
|Birthday||Jan 4th, 1993|
|Occupation||Tea & Potions Shopkeep|
|Face Claim||[b]The Arcana[/b] - Julian Devorak as [i]Alistair Innova[/i]|
|An unfeathered biped. Unremarkable, mostly harmless (?)|
Height: 5' 8"(168 cm) | Build: Shortish, thin, minor muscle tone
Overall, Alistair's build is compact. He's a bit short, on the thin side, and has just enough muscle and fat to not look like a beanpole to the unbiased eye.
Curly, semi-coarse red hair covers most of his head, with a notable shock of white at his left temple. These days, he keeps the bangs on his right side long enough to mostly hide that side of his face, covering up the burn scars there, around the eyepatch. Truth be told, they're not that noticeable, given his heavy freckling and somewhat ruddy complexion, but all the same that's how Alistair keeps his hair.
Speaking of -- Alistair's skin is mostly pale with a definite coolish pink undertone. When he's been out gathering herbs and such, he doesn't tan. He gets even more freckles, and the rest burns a blushing pink. The thin body hair he has doesn't seem to help him avoid such a fate.
Alistair's visible eye is a bold green, bright with intelligence and sarcasm. The lid is often lightly dusted with a slightly shimmering neutral eyeshadow, mostly to cover the deep circles beneath it.
His other eye is also green, but dulled with scar tissue, and quite blind. At no point since he fully reentered society after the accident that caused the scarring has Alistair left his private quarters (or his best approximation thereof) without some kind of covering over his eye; he has gone through a few leather eyepatches due to this daily grind.
Alistair's back is covered with pretty extensive burn scars as well. While his hands do have a decent amount of scar tissue, it's less even than either his face or back -- the product of repeated minor accidents, rather than one large one.
His chest is naturally mostly flat, an A cup at most, but Alistair still tends to bind his chest with tight-fitting garments or sometimes just taping the breast tissue to either side under his shirt.
Clothing wise, Alistair never exactly left his teenage goth stage. Now that he's an adult and living on his own, he has mostly just updated his look to be more classy. Lounging wear is loose-fitting shirts, as fine a material as he can afford at whatever point he's purchasing. Outerwear typically consists of a black doublet and his Fancy Cape -- fine black leather, treated to be weatherproofed to a certain extent, with a bright red silk lining. He'll wear it as often as the weather permits, whether or not it's really called for. The same goes with his black leather gloves and thigh-high boots; he cuts a dramatic figure like that, which he argues to himself is good for business.
Adding to that image is the fact that, very often, a large raven is perching on or near Alistair. This does sometimes backfire, however, when it tries to perch on Alistair's shoulder despite it clearly being too large for this to be feasible.
Alistair walks with a purposeful stride when in public, standing as straight and tall as he can, trying to play up that tall, dark, and mysterious image as much as he can. Behind closed doors, though, he slumps terribly.
Alistair is a misanthrope and confirmed bachelor. It's not exactly that he hates everyone, so much as he's constantly on high alert and assumes the worst explanation is the most likely.
Anxiety and depression largely rule his life, though Alistair has long since learned how to mask his emotions, to an extent. Sometimes he can pretend to be at least content, but if the negativity gets too intense he just stops emoting entirely. His anxiety revolves around not believing the good intentions of the people around him, and of not being Good Enough, especially when he is called upon to do something.
The main respite Alistair gets from his mental issues is his passion: potionry. Making routine potions, experimenting with different preparations or ingredients or amounts thereof, collecting the ingredients he can, thinking of new things to try to make -- it's endlessly interesting for him. Unfortunately, it's also exhausting, both physically and mentally.
He has nearly as much interest in tea. There isn't as many variable elements and much less that can be done with it, but it's not half as exhausting, at least.
Years ago, he used to tinker with mechanical projects as well. He's grown rusty in the intervening years, though.
History specifically and study in a more general sense both tend to keep his attention for a while, though he doesn't manage to stick to anything in particular for very long. He enjoys the learning and problem-solving, puzzle-like aspect to it, but trying to put his thoughts into words for homework, or even just remembering to do the damn thing, was always his downfall in school.
Alistair was born into a world a lot less open and a lot less accepting than the world of Synthesis. His home country of Novencia was ruled by King Percy III, and the left hand of the king was Royal Enchantress Fuamnach Dagda Innova, Alistair's mother. While the position of Royal Enchanter was hereditary, it was also traditionally male -- that Fuamnach had bested her older brother for it was no mean feat.
It follows, then, that both Fuamnach and her husband Odell wanted a son. The firstborn, Lisbeth, was a daughter, which was unfortunate; the second born was also a daughter, Mæja, which was damning. There was no official law that nobles could only have two children, but it was the traditional practice -- the heir and the spare, and enough to keep the families going without stretching the material means of the class any thinner than absolutely necessary. More children had the connotation of peasantry, of inability to afford the various birth control methods and a lack of faith that the children would survive to adulthood.
Without a male, though, there would be no one to carry on the family name to the next generation. It was bad enough that the Dagda name was no longer attached to Royal Enchanters, but Innova was both a noble and Noble name, with ties to the country's founding. To change again after just a single generation, though, was nigh unheard of. So they tried a third time.
Aine, their third daughter, was a round disappointment.
That all is to say: at birth, Alistair was named Lisbeth, and "she" was assigned female.
Alistair never quite got along with his sisters, and his mother never quite forgave him for being "a girl" -- but also refused to acknowledge that he wasn't a girl, once he figured that out and told his family. At least he could look forward to taking over her position someday; with no male children, the hierarchy was based on age, unless he was terrible at magic and one of his sisters was much better than him.
The boarding school his mother chose was, unsurprisingly, also old-fashioned and straight-laced, and didn't really believe Alistair was a guy, either, once he came out. At first, they just left him in the mid-quality girls' dorm, where he shared his room with a female classmate. His roommate wasn't the only girl to make a fuss about this situation -- which only got louder once Alistair's masculinizing potions began to make noticeable changes to his appearance.
Single-occupant rooms were a privilege of the very rich, though, and the school also didn't want to be seen rewarding what they considered "deviant" behavior to be rewarded. Their problem was solved for them, however, when a male student -- a boy named Wolf who was a year behind Alistair -- made a big to-do when he came out to the whole school as gay.
Two students no one wanted to room with, who would on paper be the same gender but ""not really,"" which worked since the one was gay. No philandering would happen, and the undesirables weren't expelled or punished in any provable way, but were definitively Dealt With. The management shook hands on a job well done.
Unsurprisingly to nearly anyone else, the two eventually became boyfriends. It took years longer than it should have because Alistair is and always has been absolutely terrible at reading people and situations, as well as communicating his own wants and fears, or even general intentions.
The two had their issues, but for the most part, they were happy together.
The rest of Alistair's school life was significantly less rosy, though. While he excelled at potions, every other course was an absolute mess. He struggled with doing and turning in his coursework and procrastinated on large projects until the last moment every single time. By the time he'd made it through the traditional years of education, he'd failed enough credits that he was actually held back a year, humiliating as that was.
Worse, though, was at the end of Alistair's second senior year, his mother told Alistair very loudly at his graduation ceremony that he was a failure, she wouldn't pay for university, that he'd been written out of the will, and that the position of Royal Enchanter. Mæja was a physically-focused Mage Hunter type spellsword, and Aine only seemed to care about art, so Fuamnach was giving the position to a totally unrelated girl, the daughter of King Percy's second wife.
"You're dead to me, Lisbeth," Fuamnach had said. "You have been for years."
Enraged, humiliated, and unable to do anything to properly vent, Alistair went to his room -- only his for another day or so -- and started to brew a potion. At first, he wasn't sure whether it was for himself or his mother, but as his anger festered, it consumed his self-pity. Once he lost this room, he'd have nowhere to call home. Fuamnach, who Alistair now refused to call 'Mother,' had made that clear enough; the least he could do was return the favor.
Wolf hadn't heard Alistair's dressing down, busy with his own graduation and pushy, but supportive, family. The rumor mill passed it on to him hours after the event, and by the time he thought to look for Alistair in their room, Al had had a lot of time to stew.
They had an argument, and it came to magical blows. Wolf forced himself between it and Alistair, saying you're better than this and you're not alone.
Alistair didn't listen. He tried to snatch back the potion, and in jerking it sloshed it onto the right side of his face. In his sudden pain, the bottle slipped from his hands and he stumbled backward.
Wolf barely caught it in time, but Alistair had aimed another spell at him. The potion was caught in the blast and exploded right in Wolf's hands. Alistair barely had time to turn around and shield himself.
Wolf had no such luck.
When he recovered enough to take stock of his surroundings, he saw a hole in the wall and a very, very still Wolf on the other side of the room.
Alistair fled. He couldn't think, couldn't talk. He just knew he'd-- ruined the only really good thing he had. "You can always come back from mistakes," was something Wolf loved to say. ...Had loved. But he wasn't around to say it anymore. Alistair couldn't come back from this.
Wolf certainly couldn't, anyway.
So he fled. Without direction or purpose, he went. Once he left civilization he should have been easy prey for bears or bandits, or at least vulnerable to the elements, but he survived. Alistair even managed to gather the herbs for minor health potions, which were applied much too late to prevent scarring but at least he didn't have weeping wounds, anymore.
In a foggy glade, a small pond and a tree stood apart from the rest of the forest. The tree was old, very old. Much of the soil at its base had been washed away by decades of rain, leaving much of the roots exposed; additionally, while the tree still looked alive, part of the base had been broken or rotted away. This all added up to a hollow quite large enough for Alistair to climb into and rest for a while.
Alistair woke up in Sequoidae, Silvaria -- though of course, he didn't know this at the time. Suddenly, he was back in civilization, but his natural white streak and scarred face were hardly worth mentioning. All manner of creature quite as sapient as he himself, or any human he'd met, from elves he'd read of in fairy stories to things he couldn't describe, let alone relate to anything he knew.
It took a while to learn what the differences in potion making here were, but thankfully the principles were largely the same.
He managed to find or steal the ingredients for basic healing potions, the easiest and most useful potion from school. Once he felt like a real human being again -- well, okay, like a functioning facsimile of one, at least -- he started making what potions he could and selling them. On the street at first, though he was kicked out of the nicer areas and had to set up in the slums. By chance, a new adventuring group didn't have the cash to stay in the nicer parts of town, and needed supplies; at the end of their conversation, Alistair had purchased safe travel out of Sequoidae with the group, in return for not charging for any of his potions. It was... less than ideal, for Alistair, but the tales of monsters kept him from wandering into the wilderness of this new world alone.
He stopped in Caeluma. Though he was selling his potions on the street again, not to mention stealing his ingredients, he was still doing much better business than he ever had in Sequoidae. Each bit of markup was reinvested into making better potions for better profit until he could afford a stall. Sure, he wasn't eating as much as he should, but the gaunt, ragged, eyepatch-wearing dude fit the Creepy Potion Seller image, and he even started getting Real adventurers buying his wares. (Once he'd seen more experienced groups, he couldn't help but think how amateur his escort group had been, but that was neither here nor there.)
In about a year and a half, Alistair had enough profit coming in to buy a small storefront. With a stable roof over his head, Alistair was happy to stay here and just sleep in the broom closet. He ate better, got healthier, and even had time to gather ingredients himself from the various places that Caeluma stopped.
He had time to even start a garden in the alley beside his shop, as well as a nice tea collection. Neat little jars, labeled and sorted by type and flavor, lined the shelf just outside the door to the workshop. Wouldn't want to contaminate them with magical residue, after all.
A customer asked about them, and at first, Alistair dismissed them as nothing, but the customer persisted. After Alistair bought the storefront, his sales had actually started to diminish somewhat, so Alistair relented -- and actually found the customer quite interesting to talk to. The two sat down and had a cup of tea together.
The next afternoon, another customer asked about the tea. "Catriona sent me, she said it was quite good yesterday."
Rebranding the shop as Witch's Brew: Tea and Potion Shoppe gave it the same lively color that had been creeping into Alistair's features.
Doing everything on his own, Alistair was never quite successful enough to make the kind of percentage profits he had the last month or so of working from a stall, but he was kind of starting to feel like all of this might have actually been worth it.