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Izzie Haniya

Known by the stage name of Cynic, singer and one of two lead guitarists and founders of the technical death metal band Killjoy

0 · 268 views · located in Tampa, Florida

a character in “Clashing Chords”, as played by :Nagato:



Birth Name: Her birth name is Isabelle Helene Alexander...but then she never much seemed to like that name, ostensibly because it was far too feminine and girly for her tastes; in addition, she had no like for the Anglicised name ‘Alexander’ that her father’s family had taken up, abandoning their ancestral Mohawk name.

Pseudonyms or Stage Names: She had her name legally changed to Izzie Haniya upon coming of age; Haniya being the ancestral surname of her Mohawk grandfather, and Izzie being a nickname she had always gone by from her childhood. Her brother is one of few people aware that her birth name is actually Alexander. Izzie goes by the stage name of ‘Cynic’, however, as both a reference to one of her favourite bands and also to her own personality.

Birthdate [they should be over eighteen at least]: October 13, 1988; thus, she is twenty four years old, though some will say she could (and has in the past been able to) pass for a number of years older due to her facial features.

Role: Cynic is the singer and one of two lead guitarists for the technical death metal band Killjoy. She never received formal training for her singing voice, and in terms of guitar for the most part taught herself through various means--she used to scrape together what money she could to buy self-teaching books, and she would go to concerts and memorise the way a guitarist played or made a certain effect. Then she'd go back home, grab her guitar, and try to replicate it; she would also learn from her brother as he learnt the guitar alongside her, as well as helping him in turn. It was a hard, trial-and-error process, but it paid off, and she was able to learn on her own and create her own personal style of playing. She also recently took up the Chapman Stick, and has begun to achieve some proficiency with it, though it has yet to make an appearance in Killjoy's music. As a guitarist, she has some skill with the bass as well.


Appearance: Izzie's appearance is, for the most part, the utter antithesis of everything stereotypically feminine for most people. Most of her physical characteristics are almost unilaterally inherited from her mother, though her Native American heritage does show through in some places. At full height, Izzie stands at about 6'1, or a little more than six feet even, which is rather tall for a woman her age; a fact that used to cause a bit of insecurity to her, because she was always taller than most people her age, even in youth. Her strong and firm body build is similarly atypical for a woman--lean muscles are clearly visible in her arms and abdomen, indicative of a considerable measure of upper body strength; this has been built up through years of physical activity and sports in her youth, as well as, more recently, actual exercise and work-outs. In terms of facial features, when she isn't wearing the stage make-up she seems so fond of, Cynic possesses sharp, attractive features, with high, prominent cheekbones (a clear indication of her Mohawk heritage), a small, sloping nose, and thin dark lips, though the signs of stress and cigarette abuse are quite evident on her features as well. Her eyes, when she dons the stage make-up around them, can seem to be just as pitch black as the darkening around them, but will proven in fact, upon closer examination, to be a dark brown colour. Her hair in its natural state is a lustrous black sheen, entirely straight and falling as far down as her chest--but Cynic never really let her hair remain in its natural state. Instead, she has long since taken to dreadlocking her hair, and also highlighting it with varying shades of red and orange. As a result, the lustrous sheen of her hair has become a faded black tone. Various scars can be found on her body--some from fights she got into, others from accidents; Izzie doesn't go into much detail, merely muttering about 'stupid decisions' when asked about them.

Cynic possesses a number of tattoos on her body as well as piercings (these are not visible in the images given). A faint, coiling pair of cobras are tattooed running up both hands and arms, while, tattooed over the snakes on her left bicep is a large, flaming ankh; on the right bicep, an Uraeus. Across her collarbone are tattooed thorned, coiling vines; directly above them, in the centre, is a tyet, directly below her throat. On the very back of her neck, where the spine ends, the symbol of a wedja, symbolising wholeness, is found; under it, in arcing, faded letters, her stage name, 'CYNIC'. Finally, tattooed on the back of each hand is an Eye of Horus; across the knuckles of her left hand, the letters IZZY, and across the knuckles of the right, the letters ZOSO, the sigil of Jimmy Page. Her lip is pierced with a single lip ring, she has two studs pierced into her left eyebrow and a ring around the right; from each ear hangs a single ankh earring. Some of these tattoos she's had for years--the 'IZZY' tattoo she actually did herself, when she was fourteen years old.

Izzie is a stickler for all the stereotypical, traditional clothing of metal. She can most often be seen with a tight tanktop or t-shirt, usually showcasing any of her favourite bands, from Judas Priest to Motörhead to Atheist, to the t-shirts of her own band, Killjoy. This is followed by a pair of regular-fit, often slightly torn jeans, and finally, the outfit is topped off by a pair of knee-high leather harness boots, adorned with metal buckles on either side that make a metallic clink as she walks. She will often don her beloved black leather jacket as well. Izzie typically wears a number of accessories to top the image off; she will often wear a belt fashioned like an ammunition belt (which can be seen in one of the above pictures), as well as various spiked bands and gauntlets around her wrists and forearms. She loathes girly clothing, especially anything 'cute' or frilly, and has literally never worn a dress in her life--and that's not an exaggeration.

Cynic seems to love stage make-up, and dons it every time before she performs, and just as often even in casual settings, just because she enjoys the way she looks with it. It really consists of little more than heavy shadowing around the eyes and darkening of the face, but besides this she is rarely, if ever, seen to wear make-up such as lipstick and so on.


Personality: 'Izzie' and 'Cynic' are two very different personas--two very different sides to the same person. Izzie is in person an on the whole down-to-earth, solemn figure, reserved in terms of expression of her feelings--what draws a hearty laugh from most people gets from Izzie her own little sort of smile--a tiny upturning of the corners of her lips that seems an insignificant, minute gesture but at the same time seems to convey all the emotion of a full grin. At the same time, it's impossible to tell when she's sad because when she feels melancholia getting her down Izzie's expression on the outside remains quite unreadable; she has long since been determined to make sure those emotions don't manage to make it to the surface. Consequently, she has come to instinctively close herself off, keeping herself from blatant expressions of emotion for reasons that will be discussed below.

This is not to say that Izzie is not friendly, or that she is cold and emotionless. In fact, it would be more accurate to say that in a minute gesture, the smallest of indications, Izzie expresses such feelings as joy, sadness, amusement, and anger just as much as you would by laughing, sobbing, grinning, or angrily shouting; she simply has her own way of doing it, which is subtle and difficult to notice for those who don't know her as well. And Izzie is an on the whole friendly woman, if only in a quiet manner, though she can get easily angered where her band is concerned and downright enraged where her brother is concerned--the thought of threat to her brother's safety, the thought of harm to the life of the one person she feels she has left whom she can truly love and care for, is just about the only thing that drives Izzie to the emotional extremes she tries so hard to steer clear of.

She is known to possess about her a quiet sort of wisdom, a penchant for clarity and thoughtfulness; between herself and Jesse, she is the one who often tries to get her brother to think things through before he acts on his whims, because she is highly protective of him and fearful of losing him. Despite this, Izzie is also known to be quite addicted to cigarette use, and never seems to be anywhere without one or two packs on her and a lighter; it is the one glaring flaw apparent in her otherwise seemingly well-thought scheme for living. Izzie also seems somewhat spiritual at times, trying to remain 'attuned' in a way to nature, and trying to keep herself from being lost within the industrial maze of mankind's own creations.

Under these layers of spiritualism, quiet wisdom, and apparent confidence, however, is Izzie as she truly is--a far more vulnerable and conflicted person than she would like for anyone else to see. She is crippled by a fear of losing those whom she cares about and cherishes, and as a result has subconsciously tried to wall herself away from everyone else for fear of building an inadvertent connection to them that could be broken like a twig. In other words, she chose to keep others at arm's distance so that she wouldn't risk the possibility of attachment, so that she wouldn't have to feel the pain and grief of their, in her mind, inevitable departure--a line of thinking the experiences she and her brother met in their lives has long since taught her to use. Izzie is a woman plagued with fears, sorrows, despairs and anger exacerbated by her use of cigarettes, and lack of true connection to others. They turn inward, making her only more reserved and quieted, and all the more fearful of true friendship and companionship with others, and the seemingly inevitable severance of those connections. Her elder brother Jesse is perhaps the only person left with whom she retains that last true personal connection to, the last person with whom she feels she can be open--and she grows every more fearful that someday he too will leave her, whether of his own accord--or otherwise.

Just as her stage name of Cynic implies, Izzie approaches life from a very philosophical, specific point of view, viewing the world with a sort of jaded negativity. She is a pessimist at heart, always expecting the worst is coming--as evidenced by the fact that she believes anyone she tries to connect with will someday abandon or leave her, and her fear that her own brother might abandon her in turn.

When she steps onto the stage and begins to sing and play, however, when she leaves behind the person that is Isabelle Helene Alexander and becomes Cynic, all those problems are gone, at least for a little while. Cynic is, on stage, wild and passionate, giving herself fully into the music in a way nobody who knows Izzie would think she was capable of. For a few precious moments, while the music is playing, she can feel truly happy. And when it comes to Killjoy itself, Cynic can be just as fierce--she sees Killjoy as property of her and her brother, their band, their music, and their struggle, and she does not take kindly to what she perceives as attempts to change that. They set out with a clear idea of what kind of music they were going to play--the lyrical content, the style, and the musicianship, and Killjoy, as a way of releasing herself and truly showing herself to the world, is a thing almost sacred to Cynic.

Likes and Dislikes: Cynic prides herself on an extensive taste in music--especially for someone who looks at first glance like she listens exclusively to extreme metal that would make most people shit their pants. Classic rock, heavy metal, thrash, technical death metal, power metal, groove metal, crust punk--and then it goes straight to jazz, funk, and blues. She'll listen to it all. Her favourite bands include, of course, her namesake Cynic, Celtic Frost, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Motörhead, Atheist, Death, Jimi Hendrix, Weather Report (yes, Weather Report), Megadeth, Sleep, Anthrax, Gallhammer, Amebix, Rush...the list goes on and on and on. For a really long time. There are, however, a number of musical genres Cynic will avoid--namely, pop, rap, and 'pop-rock' (which she sees as just pop attempting to masquerade as rock music). She also isn't a big fan of genres such as metalcore and nu metal, though she isn't as closed off to such genres as she is to rap or pop.

Izzie is a stickler for all things metal and punk--leather jackets, boots, bullet belts, studs and spikes, muscle cars--she owns a '68 Chevy Camaro of which she is extremely fond. She also has quite an apparent inclination for cigarettes and smoking.

Cynic doesn't have much she outright hates, but there are things she...doesn't really like. First and foremost, anyone who threatens her brother or her band will see a furious side of Izzie normally reserved for Cynic while on stage. She doesn't like people who disparage either of her cultures, Japanese or Native American--despite her experiences in youth, she is still very proud of both her heritages, and regards those who blindly criticise a culture as ignorant, or at worst racists. She is also known to possess a specific dislike for sexists, and for homophobes, because she herself is bisexual.

Playing Style: Cynic is a surprisingly technical player, relying less on shredding and speed in her playing than on using various different techniques such as pinch harmonics, tremolo and hybrid picking (which she has adapted to a heavier, more rock-like sound than it is usually used for), as well as sweep picking, and pick tapping. In terms of musical style, Cynic often employs a very harsh, overdriven guitar sound, enabling each note to be heard clearly while maintaining a hardcore, metal sound. Her style often utilises chromatic, atonal scale soloing, changes in time signature that can be either abrupt or very subtle, high-speed, palm-muted chord progressions, and minor-key shredding; at times, she will also break this norm by leading into a jazz-like jam or a blues-style scale progression.

This is not, however, to say Cynic is a purely technical player whose playing, while intricate and masterful, is empty and devoid of feeling. Au contraire. Cynic can make her guitar cry, laugh, shriek, sigh, moan, cackle and weep, express the darkest of emotions and the lightest of emotions, she can use the instrument to channel whatever image or invocation she wants it to...she just does it with a lot more techniques than most would :v

In terms of vocals, Cynic's normally raspy, scratchy, husky voice seems to disappear in favour of a smooth, smoky, almost silvery tone, adopting at first a style of lilting, hypnotic vocals. However, she does not use this style often--switching quite frequently to adopting a vicious snarl, a sound driven by pain and rage; when singing like this, Cynic completely lets go of herself, giving herself fully to the music and the lyrics and feeling everything she sings of. For a reference point in terms of the smoother vocals, look here. The more visceral vocals are reminiscent of Human-era Chuck Schuldiner (and not much higher in tone either, considering how low her voice can be)--being one of her role models in musicianship, she sought to take inspiration from his style of playing and vocals. Oh look, a reference.

History: Just like her brother, Izzie prefers to keep her history to herself, skirting the question when anyone asks about it. All she will ever seem to say about herself is that she is half-Japanese and half-Mohawk Native American, and that her last name, the ancestral surname of her Mohawk grandfather, means 'Spirit Warrior', a name one of her ancestors gained for himself.

Instrument: Cynic plays a grey-black BC-Rich Beast through a Marshall JVM410H fullstack cabinet amplifier, utilising various Metal Zone pedals and effects. Her Chapman Stick is....well, it doesn't look any different from any other one.

Other: Izzie speaks Japanese fluently, as well as possessing a proficient command of the Mohawk dialect.


So begins...

Izzie Haniya's Story