A lot more to come as Tov, Jase, Kat, and I bounce ideas around.
Player Name: James
Character Name: Gil Agathos of the Awakened
Gilbert is starting to reach that stage where the human body begins the slow wind-down to deterioration and death. It's not immediately obvious because he is generally well-groomed and chooses clothes which, whilst not expensive, do suit his figure. He's not fat, per se, nor gaunt. And yet he cannot deny that it has been years since his stomach was without the unflattering pudge of middle age, while the softness in his arm muscles put him out of the arm-wrestling scene in general.
It doesn't bother Gil though, and hasn't had much of an impact upon his dalliances. He is blessed with hair which tends to fall naturally into a slightly tousled 'just got out of bed' look when kept short. Piercing blue eyes contain a hint of the man's intellect through the sharpness of his gaze. A crooked half-smile perpetually adorns the man's features as if the world is a joke which only he can understand.
But one day, he'll make people understand, in a language which doesn't require words. The passion for his life's work, too, shows through in the perpetual aura of vigor and energy with which Gil goes about his daily efforts.
---House in Marn---
Once, the purchase of this building in the industrial district was the pinnacle of Gil's ambition. For a lad from Old City to make good and own his own house? It was proof that intelligence and hard work could get a man places.
When Gil bumped into the glass ceiling his heritage had created for him, he saw through the thin veneer of 'opportunity' to the cracked soul of Marn, the building became a reminder of everything wrong with the city and its society.
Gil has worked on his house extensively over the years, especially the laboratory facilities beneath. For now, Gil and his premises have remained above suspicion, but that can only last for so long. But Gil has contingency plans.
==Paragon Old Guard==
Gil was one of the academics at Marn University who would secretly assist the original paper with articles and donations to keep the paper in print. The paper was a good start, he believed, but only a start. When the Paragon began its change of direction, Gil approved.
There is a certain amount of respect within the Paragon leaders for Gil's tenacity and dedication to the cause. Although his cell has been cut loose, and the man himself considered a little bit unhinged, none can deny the strength of his passion and hatred of the Marn Government.
He still has friends and contacts within the Propaganda section, which occasionally provides the Awakened with helpful information for their cause.
"Out with the Old, In with the New" seems to have been part of the ethos of the previous five years as the Paragon's new leaders reshaped the nature and direction of their activities. The Propaganda section aside, most of the other Paragon leaders consider Gil an antique remnant of the old Paragon's ethos and are mostly happy with the notion that he's destined to go out with a bang.
Not to brag, but Gil's mind is sharp enough to cut through a sewer's worth of bullshit. Born with an excellent ability to retain and analyse information, Gil's intelligence allowed him to escape poverty through study at the university after successfully applying for a grant.
With access to the university libraries, and contacts with bibliophiles in Keltaris and beyond, Gil's years have filled his head with an immense amount of knowledge in his pet subjects.
If his priorities hadn't become so twisted with time, and he'd left Marn to pursue his research in a more gentle direction, he might have become one of the brightest intellectual lights of Eyropa.
On the topics of alchemy and chemistry, Gil is probably the most knowledgeable man on the topic anywhere in the Thars. His contacts with other skilled and knowledgeable alchemists in Eyropa have allowed him over the years to smuggle in books which would have been otherwise unavailable to him.
He has a sound knowledge of non-magical physics and engineering, and can read in several languages (though if he tried to speak them, he'd probably butcher the pronunciation).
He's a dab hand with basic carpentry, glass blowing, and metalwork, though he lacks the strength to make anything other than the small pieces of metalwork he needs for laboratory equipment.
The thing about spending all your time reading, and tinkering with alchemical equipment, and so forth? You don't get out a lot. If it were not for Remmeke and Trick, his lectures at the University, and dalliances with younger women, Gil probably wouldn't have a social life at all. He definitely has nothing in the way of social support or benefactors who could bail him out of trouble. If things go badly, Gil has no ace up his sleeve to fall back on.
The long hours he keeps tends to keep Gil in a state of permanent sleep deprivation. This, in tandem with his obsessive nature, is slowly warping his priorities even further. It is almost to the point that he is starting to lose sight of the long-term goals he once had for the reconstruction of Marn's society into a liberal utopia free of magical oppression. Instead, he feverishly researches the chemical formulae needed to make his demolitions effective enough to bring down the wall and Marn's false sense of security with it.
Gil is possessed of a minor magical talent. His ability is, quite simply, a magical sensitivity to the 'taste' of a chemical reaction. This affinity for chemical reactions directly led to his choice of studies.
It is entirely subconscious but the result of it is that Gil has never bollocksed up a chemical experiment yet, and likely never will unless he performs an experiment with his powers suppressed and no access to his notes.
Although it has not happened yet, were Gil to be exposed to Breath of Teodinus, he would experience an allergic reaction at a level similar to strong hayfever.
=The principal of transformation=
Gilbert was born to fisherfolk in Marn's old city, the third generation of the small family. His grandmother had been one of those who'd immigrated to Marn in the early days. She had, however, made the mistake of not testing the waters first: her minor magical talents made her an outcast among the principally puradyne community, and she ended up in the shantytown. Nature took its course, and eventually there was a husband, children, and then a grandchild in the form of Gil.
Fortunately, by Gil's birth, the magical traits had withered away to almost nothing and the boy was spared the stigma which had been attached to his grandmother. Gil was a bright boy. Good at counting, good at retaining knowledge and ideas, and if he had any rebellious tendencies it was that he liked putting things into the firepit that he shouldn't have. He'd collect small bits of rock and metal from an intuition for how they'd react when burning, entertaining his friends with the different shades of burning objects, like little fireworks.
It could have turned out that Gil followed his family in the net-making, net-mending, and fishing lifestyle. But a catalyst was introduced into the mixture which highlightet\d the refined properties of the youth: Professor Ignacio of Marn University, principle lecturer for the Natural Sciences. Ignacio visited the shanty-towns occasionally to barter for bits and pieces which could serve as reagents to his chemical experiments.
=The first reagent: education=
For all that Marn might be xenophobic, its approach to health and education are more enlightened than most cities in Eyropa - if not all - and Gil was given the same chance to excel in his studies as the other children did. Gil's talent for numbers and memory took him far, though At the same time, Gil had also had to learn how to mend nets. The life of a poor child was not particularly enjoyable in its practicalities.
When Gil completed the free schooling available to Marn's children, he successfully applied for higher learning at Marn's university, expressing his goal to become a professor of the natural sciences like his mentor Ignacio (and thereby never have to mend a net again if at all possible)
At the conclusion of his education, Gil achieved his goal, becoming Ignacio's assistant.
=The second reagent: curiosity=
One of the greatest contradictions to Gil's academic life was the difference between 'reliable' human science, and the bizarre and frequently counter-intuitive creations of the gnomes.
Gil could reliably create the same results each time from a set process containing identical materials. A gnome would come up with something different each time. It was a source of frustration, and none of the books in the university held any answers. Gil became convinced that the answers had to be somewhere.
Ignacio, whose family had left the Eyropan city of Qadis after some undisclosed scandal, had recalled his puradyne father talking about the alchemical guilds in that city and their works. Although Ignacio's father had told those stories as moral fables on why Marn was a better place to live, Ignacio had always wondered what those libraries might contain. And Gil, now, wanted to know as well.
This led to Gil starting to frequent less up-scale bars, slowly feeling his way towards contact with smugglers out of Keltaris. He made it known he was interested in purchasing Eyropan books on sciences. However, nothing much came of that approach. The books were too few and far between.
Eventually, an opportunity presented itself. A cleaner managed to accidentally damage a row of books when their mop overturned a bucket near the bookcases. Gil volunteered to visit the book sellers in Keltaris to replace them. After much pleading, the request was approved, and Gil travelled out with the next merchant returning to Keltaris.
=The third reagent: knowledge=
Gil found more than he hoped for or expected in Keltaris. A seller of books and curios was able to order in the books the university needed - and on a separate order some books which Gil had read of in the bibliographies of other scientific texts - crossreferenced in the university's list of works banned on the basis of containing materials pertaining to magic. In some eyes, Gil supposed, alchemy might seem like magic - but he was convinced it could be made into a science to render Marn's reliance on gnomish technology unnecessary.
Gil struck up a friendship with the bookseller, Filippio, and from that point on used his smuggler connections to obtain orders through Filippio. Over time, the reasons for his research changed. And rather than being determined to render gnomish technology irrelevant, Gi's curiosity led him to ask if humans could somehow achieve similar results.
=The catalyst: The Fresh Prints of Vitiable Paragon=
Gil and Fior met at a bar one night, and got arguing on some academic topoc or other - though what started it all is now a source of debate between the pair of them. However, after the debate was drowned by ale, it turned out the pair of them had much in common. Both had started on the streets, both had pulled themselves out of the muck with their own two hands. Although very different in some regards, they became good friends. Fior was a persuasive orator, and convinced Gil of many of his arguments.
When Fior began publishing the Vitiable Paragon in the earliest days of its history, Gil acted as a ghostwriter for a lot of articles, becoming a respected affiliate of the Vitiable Paragon. It was, perhaps, Gil's friendship with Balut which had the most effect on Gil's relation to the Paragon. When Balut lost his hand, Gil felt an anger on behalf of his friend he'd never thought possible. It was Balut who once asked Gil, before his drunkenness frayed the edges of their friendship, if Science could express itself in violence. Since then, Gil decided the answer was 'yes'.
=The chemical reaction: lit by a slow fuse=
Gil's exposure to the unhappy truths behind Marn's stability - the disappearances, and occasionally disproportionate punishments meted out to dissenters, led to Gil throwing in his full support to the Paragon while maintaining the facade of University educator.
His private studies turned to the use of alchemical processes in demolitions and engineering. Eventually, he was approached by Paragon organisers to be part of a group who would light the signal fires of the Paragon's crusade. It was then that he was introduced to Remmeke and Trick. Gil's passion for the cause is an occasional anchor for the group, and his scientific approach to their tasks gives a vestige of order to the chaos they plan to incite. Overall, the three work well together, even if Gil occasionally wants to throw a bucket of cold water over Trick when Remmeke is around.
=The explosion: coming soon=
No, really, get a rubble-proof umbrella. There shall be an earth-shattering kaboom.