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Gareth

"Power is often a simple matter of appearances, nothing more."

0 · 338 views · located in Baekoth

a character in “Revolution of the Heretical”, originally authored by AugustArria, as played by RolePlayGateway

Description

Gareth

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"I am no one, and I am everyone."



Appearance
"Power is often a simple matter of appearances, nothing more."



Description
Gareth is an extremely difficult man to describe, simply because his description changes on a day-to-day basis, sometimes even by the hour, if he needs to be careful. Gareth could be anyone you’ve ever met, living or dead. He is always someone, and he is rarely himself. He does, however, have two forms that are most meaningful to him, and thus most useful to describe.

His “public face” as he refers to it, is that of a handsome man in his late twenties, with strong, proud features, with red-brown hair and soft blue eyes. It is the face of a kind man, a brave man, a noble man, and these are traits that Gareth has learned how to replicate very well, even if he doesn’t truly possess any of them himself. His public face is always covered with light stubble, as though he hasn’t shaved for a day or two, and it never, ever, changes in appearance.

His “private face” is a twisted thing, marred by terrible burns along the right side of his gaunt face, burns that extend well down his neck to cover much of his chest. His hair is a typically unkempt mop of shaggy yellow-brown, the color of his mother’s, and his eyes are dark as well, a very dark brown. This face has seen a good deal of wear; his nose looks to have been broken a number of times, as well as several other bones in his face. He despises being seen this way, and will only reveal himself to someone who has earned his trust, or otherwise needs to see it for his own gain.




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Appearance
Hair: Shaggy yellow-brown, or short, well-kept red-brown.
Facial Hair: Clean shaven, or light red-brown stubble.
Eyes: Very dark, almost black shade of brown, or a bright, clear blue.
Build: Wiry and lean, but not unhealthily so. There’s a decent amount of strength in him.
Skin Tone: Deathly pale, hardly better than a corpse, or a more healthy fair shade.
Height: 5’10”, or 5’11”.
Weight: 160 lbs., or 175 lbs.
Voice: Hushed, whispered, strained tones, or a clear, solid, commanding baritone.
Handed: Left.
Body Markings: His body is disfigured enough, he does nothing to add to this.
Scar Tissue: The right side of his face bears severe burn damage, as well as most of his neck and chest, and several other places hidden beneath his clothes. He’s suffered numerous other minor injuries.



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Name
Gareth.

Nickname
He’s never had any endearing ones. Gareth the Burned was what he was called as a kid, if more than his name was needed. He’s just Gareth now, though. No reason to add unnecessary embellishments.

Title
Titles are for men with reputations. Gareth prides himself on his lack of one.

Race
Human.

Visual Age
Mid to late twenties.

Factual Age
27.

Gender
Male.

Sexual Orientation
Heterosexual. Too timid to try anything, though. His public face helps his confidence, but typically there’s too much touching involved for him to feel remotely comfortable.

Mage Ranking
Dur’hest, the Zealous. Untrained, however, save for his one ability.

Class
Rebel. In practice, he’s more of a spy, or assassin.




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Personality
"We are who we choose to be. For some, that applies more literally."



It is said that a man can more easily be brave when standing behind a castle wall.

Gareth drags his walls around with him, wherever he goes. He wears the face of the man he always wanted to be: a strong, proud, capable man, well-respected and liked by his peers. From behind his walls, Gareth is capable of seeming fearless, charismatic, charming even. He’s a handsome man, a wanted man, though he always plays the dutiful soldier, or if that fails, hard-to-get. Merely a front for his insecurities, of course.

He is capable of assuming others personas as well, and every day his craft grows more finely honed. He’s a simple drink away from transforming into a beautiful sea captain’s daughter from Red Harbor, a mere hair from a drunken man-at-arms from Citha. Acting is one of his most cherished skills, and it’s one that is much easier to perform when the appearances have all been taken care of already. All he needs to do is move the way they do, behave the way they do, speak using their stolen voices. He derives a significant amount of enjoyment in being someone, anyone other than who he really is.

That is because what Gareth really is, behind his castle walls, in his core, is a wretched creature. With nothing to protect him, he is cowardly, timid, self-serving, greedy, jealous, and often cruel. The world has always hated him and he has always been more than happy to hate it back. He has no real friends, only temporary allies, other actors playing their parts in the great traveling sideshow that is his life. He feels close to no one, because no one is capable of growing close to him, the real person that he is.

Gareth is devoid of any real morals, willing to do whatever he feels is necessary to advance himself. Thievery, sabotage, espionage, intimidation, physical violence and murder, all are tools that he gladly will put to use, wearing any one of a dozen faces that can take the blame for his crimes. As for where he wishes to advance himself? A strange question, with no real answer as of yet. He has found a sort of calling with the rebels, but he is always on the lookout for another way, for a better way.

He wears many faces, each with their own personalities to go with them, but they all serve his whims in the end.



Moral Alignment
  • True Neutral || Gareth does almost nothing that does not serve his purposes in some way. He will not go out of his way to wreak havoc, as he is interested in maintaining a low profile, but if necessary, no course of action is too low for him to undertake.

Quirks
  • Uncomfortable with Touching || It messes with his illusions, for one, particularly if he is trying to appear as someone who isn’t roughly his size or shape. He’s also just… not a very touchy-feely person.
  • Struggles to Speak || Interestingly, this only comes up when he wears his true face in the presence of another. He often stutters, loses track of his words, or otherwise fails to properly convey what he is thinking.

Fears
  • The World || At his core, Gareth’s hatred for much of the world is born out of a deep-rooted fear of it, from his days before he could change his face. The world is an unkind place to those who look like monsters, especially when they lack the strength and conviction to defend themselves.
  • Fire || Unsurprisingly, a near death experience involving a roaring flame early in his life has made Gareth supremely afraid of any fire larger than a candle-flame. He can control himself, to a certain degree, but waving a torch around in his face is not advised.

Goal
  • Rebirth || He carries magic within him, but his means have always been pitifully small. There must be some way out there to completely, permanently remake himself. He can make the whole world see him as someone else, but when he looks in the mirror, it is always the same face staring back.

Virtue/Creed
"Power is always multiplied when the world has no knowledge of it."

Motivation
  • Fear || Truly, fear is a powerful motivator. He fears the life he “escaped” from, and will do just about anything to ensure that he never returns to such a pathetic level again.

Likes
  • Acting || He’s always had a knack for drama, and a passion for the art of playing a role in a greater scheme. Gareth delights in watching plays, and seeing professionals at their craft, as well as performing the act himself.
  • Witches || His experiences with them isn’t exactly widespread, but the one witch he did encounter was perhaps the only person in his life who did not judge or condemn him for his outward appearance or his faltering personality.
  • Subterfuge || Gareth cannot deny that he feels a certain satisfaction in the things he does while under a mask. Fooling someone into thinking he is a lifelong friend gives him a kind of sick satisfaction.
  • Revenge || It is best served cold, and Gareth loves to do the serving. What could more satisfying than an enemy dying, thinking that someone close to them was their murderer?

Dislikes
  • Inquisitors || Anyone who insists on burning those that deny their will deserves a death more painful than Gareth is capable of delivering. He despises the Inquisitors, and they are the primary reason for his seeking out the rebellion. He doesn’t deny their god, but why do they have to burn people?
  • The Superior || Gareth has a soft spot in his heart for broken things, and broken people. Those who would trod on the weak simply because of their inability to retaliate deserve nothing but contempt.
  • Forwardness || Some people have no idea what the word ‘subtlety’ means. Gareth couldn’t spell it for you, but he knows what it is, and can’t stand those that wield their words and their actions like blunt instruments.
  • Crowds || Privacy has always been the time when Gareth has been most comfortable. Large crowds of people tend to fluster him, especially when everyone is in motion, such as in a marketplace.

Strengths
Stealth, cunning, and ruthlessness are Gareth’s greatest strengths. He is a master of misdirection, of placing the blame for his misdeeds at the feet of another, and manipulating the lives of those around him as he sees fit.

Weaknesses
He’s a coward at heart, and has become nearly incapable of functioning when people see him the way he truly is. Without his illusions, his castle walls, he’s just a frightened wreck of a man.




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Skills & Equipment
"Soldiers come in many forms. Battles are won in many ways."



Skill & Combat Rating


[Perfect] - [Excellent] - [Good] - [Above Average] - [Average] - [Below Average] - [Poor] - [Very Poor]


General Combat

Weaponry
[Average] Rebels get their fair share of weaponry, Gareth doesn’t really know from where, but he’s not interested in most of it. He’s got a solid collection of daggers, his preferred weapon type, as well as a crossbow. He knows the basics of sword, spear, and shield work, but prefers to avoid such direct means of confrontation if he can.

Clothing/Armor
[Average] Gareth likes to remain light on his feet, especially when he appears to be wearing a great deal of armor. Furs and some leather make up his actual armor, though he often goes without even these, when he wants to move quietly.

Hand to Hand Combat
[Average] He isn’t fond of fighting enemies with his bare hands, but he won’t avoid it if it seems necessary, or the best way to proceed. He relies on surprise and speed to get the upper hand in these cases, attacking from behind. He’ll likely flee in a straight up fight against a trained opponent.

Melee Combat
[Good] Gareth’s quick with a dagger, and getting pretty damn good at hitting the sweet spots on targets that think themselves protected. Since he’s pretending to be a soldier, he figures it couldn’t hurt to learn how to fight a little better, and he’s become quite passable in a sword or knife fight. He still counts on surprise to gain the advantage, however.

Ranged Combat
[Good] Any fool peasant can operate a crossbow, but Gareth has had several years to practice with the weapon, and he’s gotten quite good. He hunted his own food with it for a while, and finds that hunting men and women with it isn’t so different, and actually quite a bit easier.

Magic Combat
[Below Average] The effect of his disguises in gaining the advantage of surprise can’t be counted out, but Gareth doesn’t actually know any other magic that’s useful in combat.

Mounted Combat
[Poor] Poor people from city slums don’t own horses, and Gareth was no exception. He barely knows how to ride, let alone kill something while he’s riding.



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Natural Talent

Acting
[Excellent] His passion, and the means through which he is most often able to succeed. The one time Gareth is truly able to free himself of his shell is when he is pretending to be something he’s not. Give him a day to watch a mark, and he can accurately replicate their personality with a frightening degree of authenticity.

Ruthlessness
[Excellent] If he sees benefit in something, there is little that can stop Gareth from doing it. He has become accustomed to laying blame in any location other than at his own feet, and thus, he rarely develops moral qualms about his misdeeds.

Poison-making
[Good] He’s no master of the art, and he can’t make some tasteless, odorless substance that leaves no trace in its victim, but Gareth is more than capable of concocting something that will put even a strong man down for good. It’ll be obvious what the cause of death was, but that doesn’t change the death itself.

Class Skills

Spying
[Excellent] He can interrogate an enemy without them even knowing they’re being questioned. He can walk through guard posts with his head held high, knowing that the guards see the man who owns the place. He can infiltrate an army camp as one of the actual soldiers in that army.

Stealth
[Excellent] When hiding in plain sight isn’t an option, Gareth also knows how to disappear from sight entirely. He is an expert at picking locks, bypassing guards, moving quietly and remaining unseen in both urban environments, and in the wilderness.

Murder
[Good] Gareth has a habit of being a bit… messy, but that is often because he enjoys being seen after performing his work, and causing the blame to fall on another. Regardless, he knows just where to slash, just where to stab, and he never hesitates.

Spells and Powers

Faceshifting
[Excellent] The one magical ability Gareth has learned has no true name, but he refers to it as Faceshifting. His power can be executed in two forms: the first, a temporary switch, typically lasting one to four hours, can be performed by consuming a draught that contains some part of a subject, be it a hair, fingernail clipping, anything, and letting the magic do the rest. From there, Gareth will temporarily assume the appearance, voice, smell, everything, of that person for a limited time. This is, however, just an illusion. Gareth still sees himself as the person he is, and hears his voice as though it was normal. Others merely perceive him differently.

The second form is darker, and more powerful, a nearly indefinite change in appearance that can last as long as Gareth is conscious. This can be achieved for a specific person’s image by taking that person’s life, and using their body and organs in a specific ritual of witchcraft. From then on, Gareth can switch to that person’s appearance at will, though it remains still an illusion.

Azanthiel are unaffected by Gareth’s illusions, though he has never encountered one, and does not know this.




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History
"The past is easy enough to discard. Wish it was that easy to forget."



Group Affiliation
Gareth is loosely aligned with rebels near Silibard Forest, though he is a new addition in their ranks.

Marital Status
Single. Woefully Single.

Relatives
  • Father || Edrick – Deceased. Gareth knew him for six years. He was a drunkard, and a terrible father. Died in a fire. Gareth wishes he didn’t go in after him.
  • Mother || Yara – Deceased. Gareth also knew her for six years. She was a decent mother, but that didn’t count for much when her husband was around. She died in the fire.
  • Brother || Robert – Deceased. He lives on, in a way, through Gareth, though he seriously doubts his shining knight of an elder brother would approve. They had a complicated relationship, one that ended six years ago.

Residence
Rebels camps don’t stay in one place for long, and neither does Gareth. Bad things happen that way.

Social Rank
For being a rebel, Gareth is a criminal and wanted by the Crown. If they knew the full extent of his crimes… well, he doubted anyone would want him then.

Occupation
He scouts and spies for the rebels, and takes more than a few lives along the way, because he likes to.



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Gareth’s story is about two brothers, and how they eventually became one.

It started with the fire. Gareth was six years old at the time, and his older brother Robert was eleven. As children of the impoverished in Baekoth’s largest cities (Citha, in his case) are wont to do, the two brothers were out late at night, escaping from miserable lives at home and seeking something more fulfilling in the dirty city streets. Gareth’s father was a drunk and commonly smacked around his mother, and the boy quickly learned that attempting to intervene would only earn both of them bruises and broken bones, and spare no one any pain.

Gareth never found out how the fire started, likely the result of another fight that had gone too far, but when he returned home slightly before Robert, he found the place had gone up in a giant blaze. In what was perhaps the one legitimately brave moment of his life, six-year-old Gareth charged through the smoke and fire and into the crumbling wreckage of the house in search of his parents. He only found his father, crushed under far too much wreckage for Gareth to move on his own. Nevertheless he tried, but it was only a few seconds before fire and smoke overwhelmed him. His clothes caught and scorched nearly half his body before he fell.

Robert arrived soon after, and was able to save only Gareth before there was nothing left but ashes. Gareth barely survived his injuries, and was left with severe scarring along the side of his face, neck, and upper body. Children can occasionally overcome the stigma of disfiguring injuries and mold themselves into functional individuals… but these people are almost always either extremely strong of will, or have access to an excellent support network. Gareth was an orphan of the slums of Citha, and had neither of these.

A timid child to begin with, growing up looking like a monster severely harmed his social skills before they could ever grow, and steadily demolished his mental health. He had no one to care for him save for his brother, and Robert had his hands full trying to carve a path for himself already. Most of the people Gareth encountered were penniless, illiterate, uneducated commoners who actively sought to drive him off for the state of his face. He received no small amount of beatings, some that he was lucky to survive, and soon began to practice means of avoiding human contact altogether.

Part of that meant living the city behind altogether. Robert had become a blacksmith’s apprentice, a valuable position for one of such meaningless birth as he. To learn a valuable trade was his path to a better life. Gareth, meanwhile, took to exploring the woods and forests outside of Citha, finding the trees far more hospitable than the slums. It was here that he found the ramshackle cabin of an old crone living in the woods, an ancient woman who went only by the name of Mag. Feeling as though he’d stumbled into a dream, Gareth listened as Mag explained how she had guided him to her, and how there was a font of magic within him, just waiting to be unlocked. She promised to teach him one thing, and one thing alone, before she died, and allowed Gareth to choose.

Above all, he wanted to wear a different face, be a different person.

She could not change who he was, she said, but wearing another man’s face? That could be done. A woman’s even, or a daemon, if he was feeling adventurous. She vowed to show him the way, and over the next several years, he became her student, leaving Citha for weeks at a time to learn. It was a difficult skill to acquire, and it required all of the magical power within him, but he was dedicated to seeing it through. Robert, in the meantime, became a city guard in the wake of the Queen’s coup, distancing himself from his former master after he had been burned for heretical behavior. As in everything he did, Robert was skilled, well-respected, and successful as a guard. Truly, he was an example of what a lost son of the city could accomplish.

Gareth was sixteen when he wore his first face. It was that of Mallio, an orphan boy like him, a drunkard in the making. He took several of his hairs while the teen was passed out in the street, and Mag brewed the draught for him to consume. He returned to Citha and spent three hours as the boy, marveling at the way people he had known all his life looked at him and saw something else. The crone was pleased with his work, and continued to hone his skills.

It was not long before Gareth’s goals turned to revenge, and the old witch supported him in this as well. He turned into the best friend of a girl who had once spat in his face, led the girl to a rooftop, and pushed her off. Those that had beaten him soon found themselves receiving much worse in return. Murder ran rampant throughout the slums, an outbreak in violence that was seemingly random, with reports citing numerous killers responsible. Arrests were made against people who fervently denied killing anyone. His operation ran nearly without a hiccup until Robert witnessed one of the murders, and recognized Gareth for who he was.

After escaping, the crone informed Gareth that blood family likely had a special connection with him that could break the illusion. What that meant was that the only person left in the world that could see his true face was his brother, at least until he could grow stronger, and find a way around. With the knowledge that Gareth was a murderer, the guard was on the lookout for a young man with a terribly burned face, but Gareth knew he only needed to avoid one of them. He laid low for some time, honing his craft with the witch, until she was confident that his magic was strong enough to fool even eyes that knew him, like his brother’s.

Gareth had never held any great love for his brother. In fact, the emotion that drove him to do what he did was almost entirely jealousy. Both brothers had been born from the same worthless stock, but Robert was able to elevate himself to a position of respect. He was charismatic and strong, adored by nearly everyone he met. Meanwhile, Gareth had only one person in the world that did not disdain him, either for his appearance or his actions, and Mag finally passed from the world shortly after Gareth’s twenty-first winter. But not before she taught him his most important power.

Strong enough to fool Robert, Gareth transformed into a guard-captain he’d pulled a hair from while fondling him as a whore he’d murdered and taken pieces from. Posing as the captain, he ordered Robert to accompany him into the woods, to investigate the home of the witch, and evidence of his brother. Gareth suspected that his brother was about to uncover his plot, but regardless, he was too slow, and allowed the apparent guard-captain to get behind him. Gareth opened his brother’s throat and watched him choke to death in front of him. A dark ritual involving Robert’s body and organs later, and Gareth had permanently stolen the illusion of his brother’s appearance.

Six years later, Gareth is twenty-seven, and a new member of the loosely organized rebel groups near Silibard Forest. He scouts and spies for them, though his work is more of a contractor nature. He remains near the rebels, but has yet to truly become one of them. Gareth doubts he will ever belong to a group. For the moment, he is content to hone his craft by antagonizing those that would see him burn again.

So begins...

Gareth's Story