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The Player
Name/nickname: Kathryn
Age: 27
Pronouns: Female
Contact: see existing player contact info or PM one of my character accounts
Experience: I've been RPing online for over five years and I'm one of your ace brigade mods.
Currently played characters: Aglet Bottlerack, Andrew Noble, Peter Vincent, Yuri Kostoglodov

The Character
DW account: [personal profile] omnomnom_feels
Name: Rashad Durant
Alias: His true name is Nhodd, but he has not used it for centuries. He's utilized a number of pseudonyms as needed, but has been Rashad for a while now and favors that name.
Age/Birthdate: Ancient
Species: Peregrine (also known as an Eloim, Grigori, or Wanderer)
Canon: Original (mostly based on the Victoriana RPG setting, with just a little bit of Dogma flavor)
Canon point: 1857
Played By: Sendhil Ramamurthy


Magical powers:
Formerly a powerful soldier in the service of Order, Rashad is now what the theologically informed would recognize as a fallen angel. He is tethered to the Earth by a permanent, physical body patterned after that of a human; his true form (including his wings) is a thing of distant memory. While he has lost many of the powers he possessed as an angel he possesses powers from several of the schools of magic studied by the mortals of his universe.

His thaumaturgical powers include sensing the presence of magic as an active process, temporarily making himself invisible, magically grooming himself, generating aetheric fire, animating objects, temporarily enchanting his pockets to be bigger on the inside, and magically healing others. Performing any thaumaturgical act takes a significant degree of energy and mental effort, with some tasks being more difficult than others. He can only perform a handful of these magical acts each day before he must replenish his energy by feeding (see 'attributes' below).

He is also versed in the old magic of the faiths that came before Aluminat; this "folk magic" concerns knowledge of herbs and rituals necessary to creating a variety of enchanted objects. Despite being an angel of the Aluminat pantheon he does not attach the same stigma to folk magic as mortal followers of Aluminat; all the same it is not his preferred approach to magic and he is unlikely to bother using it when his other powers give him quicker, more direct results.

Finally, Rashad possesses a high degree of knowledge about demonology along with several powers usually associated with that branch of study. He can make himself incorporeal, create barriers demons find difficult to cross, and cast demons out of possessed mortals. While he knows perfectly well how to summon a variety of imps and demons, he will not willingly do so. The same goes for the ability to curse mortals with insanity and deformity, as that is an entropy-inducing action and goes against his core nature. Unlike with other types of magic, Rashad can sense the presence of angels and demons without making an active effort.

While Rashad's body is very much physical, it is not mortal. While it might theoretically be possible to kill one of his kind, no one has yet discovered a truly permanent method for doing so. He can be injured and incapacitated and he does feel pain, but given the opportunity to feed he can and will recover from even the most cataclysmic attempts to destroy his body (no one has yet tried cutting him into tiny pieces and burning them or vaporizing him with a bomb, and he would really rather they didn't start now -- there's too high a chance he would survive it).

Rashad does not regain his energy or heal from his wounds in the manner of a human. In order to heal and refresh himself, he must feed off of the emotions of another being, which he can only do when he is near someone in a state of heightened emotion. He silently draws energy from such a person into himself, replenishing himself and undergoing the same state of emotion from which he is drawing his energy. This is the only time Rashad can feel emotions at all; his own feelings are nonexistent compared to the emotions he borrows from others. Unless his 'victim' (not that he thinks of them as victims) has some kind of special ability that will allow them to sense what's happening, they will notice only that they feel tired unexpectedly. Rashad is able to sense the emotions of those around him; the stronger the emotion is the more easily he will detect it and be drawn to it.

It is possible for Rashad to kill a person by taking too much emotional energy while feeding. Fortunately, feeding is a voluntary action he can turn on and off. Unfortunately, should he go more than a day without feeding or become very severely injured, he will lose his self control and do whatever is possible to provoke and take whatever emotional energy is available, regardless of the consequences.

Rashad's final earthly form is that of a man of Indian descent in the prime of his life. He is of average human height and slim build, with a strong jaw and a full head of curly black hair. Upon his entrance to the game he will speak with an English accent of the sort learned at boarding schools in the nineteenth century. Being a polyglot, however, he will very quickly pick up a General American accent.

While Rashad does not feel emotions on his own, he is very good at faking appropriate emotional reactions in most situations. His facial expressions (apart from those rare occasions when he forgets to make them) are very convincing, and he presents a friendly demeanor only another empath would recognize as a sham. When the facade occasionally falls he is liable to revert to an unnervingly blank, calculating look, but this does not happen so long as he is capable of devoting the minimum of mental effort necessary to maintaining the illusion of full humanity.

Conversely, when Rashad is experiencing emotion for real, he is often very demonstrative whether he means to be or not. He does not have the self control while feeding to suppress any urge to laugh, shout, or cry openly. When he takes only enough energy to heal himself the emotions fade rapidly after feeding, but when he takes a surfeit of energy those feelings linger in proportion to how heavily he glutted himself. Under normal circumstances he will not eat enough to last more than half an hour even when indulging himself.

Should one get his pants off (which he is extremely unlikely to allow), one would find a key difference between Rashad and a human man. Eloim/Peregrines do not possess sexual organs, having no need for them in their basic manifestation and no capability to alter their form to include them.

An unkind person could describe Rashad as a sort of celestial automaton. In his natural state he is incapable of experiencing emotion, instead operating purely on the principles he was created to serve. His being an Orderly mind, he is somewhat lacking in creativity and initiative. From the beginning, though, he chose his actions based on what would bring Order and peace to the earth and to living things in particular, wanting all mortal sapients to have the opportunity to be safe and free to live their lives.

Since his fall, however, Rashad has experienced a long, slow degradation of his mind thanks to being an aetheric being trapped in a physical body that can't quite completely contain him. Chief among the symptoms is the shift in his approach to feeding on emotions. Where originally he would feed as little as he could in order to maintain himself and not become a danger to the mortals around him, Rashad now feeds at nearly every opportunity. He seeks out both positive and negative emotions, often not caring what he feels as long as he can feel something. He would deny that he had an addiction if accused of it, but the fact of the matter is that the one thing he can feel most clearly when he's alone in his head is emptiness waiting to be filled again.

Being emotionless does not mean Rashad is incapable of responding to stimuli. His body produces adrenaline in response to danger and he is programmed to avoid pain as much as possible, but neither of these things produces a true emotional response. Instead he reacts calmly and rationally to danger and to injury, his behavior untainted by fear or anger. Under the influence of mortal emotions it is a completely different story, and Rashad may then react to similar stimuli in extreme, irrational ways. He is also capable of showing impaired judgment when his head is injured or when he is under the influence of drugs, as the functioning of even a purely rational brain is somewhat limited under such circumstances, and he reacts to extreme hunger for emotion with behavior that has every appearance of being born of real desperation.

Another unkind term for Rashad would be "leech." Everything about him apart from his core adherence to the cause of Good and Order has been stolen from mortals, whether through appropriation of their culture or through the way in which he survives by literally leeching off of the experiences of others. Rashad sees no moral quandary in appropriating and discarding human cultural identities as the need arises, and feeds at his leisure off of unwitting, unconsenting people. He justifies his actions to himself through his need to do so in order to survive, but it takes some dedicated double-thinking to justify glutting himself on more emotional energy than he can use. Through his powers and his charming facade he is generally able to obtain what he wants, and as the centuries have passed and left him skewed further away from true Order he has become more and more indulgent with his desires.

Rashad hails from a world where magic can be found alongside fantastic steam-powered technology, and where many subspecies of sapient beings intermingle throughout most societies. Halflings, elves, and dwarves share the world with humans, among others, and all are capable of interbreeding freely. Subspecies, race, and ethnicity are interconnecting but not identical concepts, and subspecies tends to be more important than race. Race does still play a role, but the stratified society in which Rashad has lived in recent years would place higher value on a black elf than on a white orc. Racism, classism, and sexism do still exist in his world outside of perceptions based on subspecies; Rashad only came to truly understand this once he could no longer alter his form to please whatever race among which he found himself.

Originally a being of pure Order and Good, Rashad -- originally Nhodd -- began eternal life in complete obedience to the twelve commandments of the Aluminat. With the other members of the Heavenly Host he did his best to guide mortals to peace and to slow the spread of Entropy. As an angel he would have worked through indirect means such as sending visions and dreams to certain mortals, though all of his kind were more than capable of fierce combat should the need arise.

Other archons had come before the angels, and some angels were simply old archons under new names. Together they combatted the demons of the Pale and guided mortals through the use of prophets and miracles. The first religion of Order, that of the Yehudi, was created by mortals out of their own need for order in their lives. The next, the Aluminat, was built on the teachings of the Yehudi through prophets given direct instruction; Aluminat soon spread northward from Jerusalem through Europe and became the dominant religion in much of the "civilized" world. Unfortunately, by the time it came time to spread Order to the deserts of the Middle East, the forces of Heaven had already begun to splinter. The angels in charge of disseminating visions to the eight prophets of the Arabian Peninsula did their job well in that they united warring tribes and slowed entropy, but the "corrections" they had made to the similar teachings given to the Aluminat resulted in the Aluminat and the Followers of the Word declaring each other heretics and going to war rather than uniting the religions as the dogmatic Host had intended.

As the relationship between Good and Order became less clear, Nhodd began to doubt his place and purpose. Angels parted ways to align themselves with mortal religious factions or claimed goodness in Entropy, and the ranks of the demons of the Pale and other proponents of Entropy swelled with new recruits. All around Nhodd, alliances shifted, and all the while the tensions in Heaven and in the Pale tore at the Earth and its denizens. Indirect action was no longer enough, and Order had become Dogma among too many of his compatriots. Unable to justify continued participation, Nhodd joined a few others in refuting Dogma and demanding that their brethren reunite and return to true Order. They were received coldly on all sides and were cast out of Heaven, but because none of them had truly given themselves over to Entropy or Evil, the other angels could not cast them into the pit as demons. Instead they were exiled to Earth in a permanent form of half-mortality, there to spend the long centuries awaiting the end of the world, unable to effectively combat the forces of either side.

Nhodd took on the human form of his most recent manifestation, a form that he would keep for the rest of his immortal life. That he had most recently taken form as a human in India to perform a few small miracles for a discouraged Aluminat minority was mere chance. His attitude toward his permanent form was and is one of indifferent resignation; the indignities and dangers born of caste and racial prejudice were only one more layer added to the all-encompassing entrapment of mortal form. He held no particular attachment to any one human culture beyond continuing to follow (more or less) the commandments of the Aluminat faith. He arrived on Earth as a semi-mortal a few decades after the East India Trading Company completed its chokehold on the country to which he appeared to belong, and Nhodd soon adopted a mixed heritage name, presenting himself as a man of mixed English and Indian heritage named Rashad Durant. Pretending to be the educated son of a colonist eased his ability to travel, and in the months since his fall Rashad has wandered aimlessly, keeping himself fed and marking time until the apocalypse.

Writing Sample:
CW: Torture; NPC death

Everything is pain. It overloads his body's systems until it is the only thing coming from any of his sensory organs, until so much of his brain is overloaded with the signals that his mind buzzes, thoughts running in erratic circuits. There is no room for thought or solutions, though he'd known since a couple Daughters of Paline caught him that there would be no way out, not until they got bored of him and perhaps not even then.

Demons do have such robust senses of humor.

Even when he could think clearly he wasn't able to entirely convince himself that keeping them busy with a toy they can't permanently break is a hit worth taking for the mortals they would otherwise harass…or that torture for the sake of torture was truly their end goal, though it seemed likely enough. Now, though, there is no attempt to rationalize. There is not even dogged endurance against torture. He is alive because he cannot be other than alive, here because he cannot be other than here. It will end when his torturers tire of it, or it will not end at all.

His body lets out a long, low moan as strong hands grip his flayed, burned arms and haul him upright. How long has it been since he fed? The few brain cells not occupied with his body's pointless attempts to shut itself down spark with the need to fill the void that has grown inside him. He opens his remaining eye to meet the gaze of his current tormentor.

"It doesn't have to be like this," says the faceless demon for the third time in…a while. Time has lost meaning for him. "You are fun, but don't you think this has gone on long enough, honey?" Blood bubbles out from between his lips as he opens his mouth to reply, and she tuts at him in disgust. Dropping him, she sneers and gives his sprawling form a casual, half-hearted kick. "I hear peregrines can become archons by eating each other," she comments, sounding amused at the thought. "And if you won't, another one will. I'll be back, babycakes, don't go anywhere."

Blowing a kiss at him, she turns to depart. Rashad watches her go, his breathing ragged. She's broken two more of his bones this time, and nothing is healing. It won't heal until he can feed, and wherever they've taken him, it's far away from any mortals -- from their joy, their laughter…their fear….

He does't realize he's drooling until he gives a convulsive jerk as if to leap to his shattered feet and seek out the sustenance he needs. The pain remains, but it is old pain now, a constant he can start to set aside again. The hunger he can't ignore, though, and thoughts that should be going toward escape instead circle back to needy visions of lovers and of riots. Darkness begins to set in again along with shock, consciousness slipping away from him.

And then, a scream and the sound of running. It's not the sound that awakens him, nor the sudden freshness of the air. It's fear. Nearby, coming nearer, yes, a human full to the brim with fright and pity. His eye snaps open to see a man dropping to his knees, reaching with trembling hands for Rashad's torn body. There's no thought, no moment of consideration or of remembering that the being above him is fragile and precious. There is only sensing the source of emotion and immediately drawing it into himself, taking everything the man who came to help him can give and more. The mortal's body collapses to the pavement beside him as Rashad's own begins knitting itself back together and as he breaks into racking sobs. It's like drinking from an oasis in the desert only to be filled with acid. His body is healing but the pain is infinitely worse now that he processes it as cause for fear. That's when he remembers the man, too, and he turns his head to look at his would-be rescuer, his turn now to tremble and reach for the other.

"Please," he gasps. "Please, no."

It's too late now, too late again. The man's body is still, an emptied vessel. Rashad turns his face to the pavement and weeps with the man's pity for him, now his pity for the man. It's already fading away, though, the damage to his body too extensive to allow him to do anything with the energy but heal some of the hurt. His breathing slows as fear and sadness fade. He's still hungry, so hungry, but some semblance of rationality is back now. He looks at the dead man again, this time impassively assessing the extent of the damage he's done before flicking his gaze up and around. Trees. Sky. Paved walkway.

More mortals coming.

He drags himself first to his hands and knees, then to his feet. It doesn't quite register that he's as conspicuous now as he's ever been in his life, drenched as he is in his own blood. He wavers a moment, imagining himself turning toward the sound of approaching people and taking them as well, but then lurches away instead into the trees. In his malfunctioning mind it seems reasonable to suppose he can get out of sight and not be found.


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Rashad Durant

June 2014

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