The character's name is Harold Bageholt. I read a book when I was very young about an evil scarecrow named Harold, and that, combined with Byron's Childe Harold, has caused the name to be with me ever since as the named I give to any aristocratic, slightly disturbing character. I needed an aristocratic last name for him, but didn't want the canned "Wainthorpe" or "Steward" or whatever; there was a book on British history nearby which I scanned through to find "Bagehot". I added the 'l' to make it harder to pronounce: this way Harold can jump on people when they get it wrong. Just for the record, I'm pronouncing it like "beige" "holt".
His code name is Mors Bolge ("mors" means death, and "Bolge" makes his name sound sort of like "Malebolge", one of the levels of Hell if I remember my Dante correctly). The character is male, and was born April 4, 1987, which makes him 16 or so, I believe. He was born in New Delhi to a wealthy british family, and has just recently moved to Gerik Hills. His primary-core is Hades (I'm focusing on the death aspect, not the demonic; I hope that's alright), and he is Psionic-Molecular. Certainly not Hale: he's too much of an aesthete for that.
Harold is at times an interesting individual. He is unfailingly polite, though his "please"s and "thank you"s can drip with disdain. He is very quiet, though his voice carries far. He is kind and gentle almost always, but when he is not, he can be quite a sick bastard.
Essentially, Harold is a cultivator. His actions and demeanour are designed to drain the pleasures of life to their last drop, always to his benefit. He is a creator of relationships par excellence. Everything he sees he sees through rose-coloured glasses as something he has done; everything he does he does so that he may have done it, no one else. As one might expect, he does not take kindly to those whom he does not control.
Harold is a great lover of the arts and is exceptionally intelligent and well-read. He is very subtle in his speech and his point is often missed by the insensitive. He finds it dreadfully wearisome to have to explain things to thick-skulled people. Yes, he is a bit of a jack-ass at times, though his true feelings are almost always well-veiled by civility.
Harold cultivates his appearance no less than his personality: he is immaculate at all times, and quite handsome. There's a picture of him to the left there which will serve as a much better description than I could muster. In short, he is very beautiful, very lacklustre, very refined, and somehow, though it's difficult to say quite why, very disconcerting.
One thing worth noting is that Harold has a supernumerary nipple. He hides it when possible but is not really ashamed of it: it's more that he does not like revealing secrets (his own, of course), just on principle.
He has a very soft voice and a very slight accent. He annunciates very clearly and takes great pains to speak well. He's very fond of idle compliments, both making and receiving them.
Harold's moral sense is a little questionable. His concern is not right and wrong, but beautiful and ugly: and he has a very, very odd sense of the beautiful. Torture, rape, what-have-you, can to him be just as beautiful as anything: it is all a question of how, and who, and what emotions: the "what" is irrelevant. He is not exactly "evil", though: he does self-sacrifice, he does help others. What he looks for is the romantic and exciting in life, not the good and the bad. And it should also be noted that just because he deems something aesthetically pleasing is not to say that he will engage in that activity: he hasn't crossed any lines, as yet, and as yet, he has no intention of doing so. No neighbourhood cats have gone missing, nothing of that ilk: to Harold that would be "vulgar". He is quite content to think, to paint, and to write. Harold is very much on the edge, right now, but he's very good at balancing, and could stay there for quite some time.
As a side note, even if he should tip in favour of bad stuff, I have no interest in playing a "what sick thing should Harold do now" RPG. I'm perfectly fine with leaving details unexposed: I would much rather have it that way, in fact. The point I'm trying to make is that don't worry about myself or Harold turning this into a violent sex-romp. It categorically will not happen, I promise.
Harold does not hold up well under pressure, particularly when he's afraid. When under stress, he tends to intellectualize his emotions, or as he terms it, he "savours" them. Some emotions are easier to savour than others, however, and fear isn't such an easy one: he's prone to seize up catatonically, paralyzed by indecision. Ah, well, we all have our faults.
Harold was born in New Delhi. The first few years of his life were very happy, living at his parents' home and tended by his nanny. He was home-schooled until the age of six, at which point he was sent to a private school with a decided military bent. Harold succeeded marvelously at all academic challenges, and passably at physical ones.
During the summers, Harold would go to his family's cottage on the Indian Ocean, near Bangladesh. He loved it there; it was his escape from all the banalities of life. He still loves the sea.
At eleven, he began attending a new school, Wiltshire Academy. While there he made a new friend, Jake Addams. Jake was an American one year younger than Harold; he was quite an iconoclast, and quite a bad influence. Jake introduced Harold to the seemier side of life, but also to the sublime. Jake was one of the few children Harold had met who was his equal in a battle of wits. They quickly became fast friends.
Jake introduced Harold to drugs, violence, pain, and all that would make Harold's future aesthetic so unique. Jake did things out of perversion, just because he considered them wrong. Harold never went that far; he always did things because of beauty, but as time went on, his sense of beauty began to borrow more and more heavily from Jake's.
Jake's and Harold's friendship ended abruptly towards the end of the school year. Jake had found a dead dog in a ditch out in the country fields, and, ever looking for something more and more outrageous, he brought Harold to it. He told Harold the story of Dr. Anton von Cosel, noted necrophiliac, and other stories besides. "Sex with the dead", he said, "is the greatest rebellion. You aren't shackled by society's norms, are you? You aren't a conformist?" And having said so, he proceeded to mate with the dead beast. But Harold couldn't stand it, it was just too much for him: he threw up in the ditch, and cried for the shame of being a "conformist", for not having the courage of his convictions. He railed at Jake in revenge, called him all manner of bad things, and Jake in return said just as bad things back at him. They haven't spoken to each other since; but that was not the end of their relationship.
Ever since, Harold has been slightly ashamed of himself any time kindness got in the way of art or pleasure. It was the worst moment of his life, and he's never told anyone.
Life went on, and Harold went with it. He began high-school. He mastered his element and was soon a member of all the "in" circles.
One day, Harold came home from school to find a message on his desk. "I need you," was written there simply, and it was signed "Jake". Harold didn't know what the need was, what he could do, or even how the note got there. He went to bed with it on his mind.
The next morning he was ill; he didn't feel well at all. He went to school out of a sense of duty, the fulfilment of social obligations. When he came back there was another note: "Help Me!", with once again at bottom, "Jake".
That morning, Harold was even worse. By evening, he was vomiting a black, greasy substance. He was delirious, speaking in tongues. He was taken to the hospital, where his body was found to be riddled with tumours. The doctors had no explanation. He was to stay overnight for observation.
Harold remembers that night being in his hospital bed. Strange shapes milled into his room; their forms seemed indistinct, but that was likely the fever. "Wake up, Harold," they said. "Repent now," they said. "We are the Horns of Mithrus. Make your peace before you die." Harold struggled to get up, but he was held down. He was terrified.
Then he heard a voice, one that seemed to come from within rather than without. "Help me," it said, "help me help you." "A-alright," Harold stammered out. That is the last he remembers of that night.
The next thing he remembers is moving at obscene speed, but it his recollection of it is blurry and dark. Things whipped past before he could discern them; he had no idea where he was, except that he seemed to be in the belly of some great creature. This seemed to continue for a long period of time.
Then, everything stopped. He could see people walking around, but could not discern their features. It was as if they were made from wisps of smoke. He saw a girl, standing there, and she alone seemed distinct, seemed real. He hung there for quite some time, afraid and wondering what was happening. All of a sudden, he found himself falling, though not far. When he landed, he discovered himself to be surrounded by leaves, in a bush.
Harold did not feel well, he felt like all his insides were running together and losing their form, like he was dying. There was a piece of paper in his hand, he looked at it: "You cannot go back; they will destroy you. You must stay here, you have family here. She will help you. You must help me, Harold. Jake."
Harold is quite the social butterfly, and most of his interests revolve around hosting get-togethers of various types. He is also a bit of a scholar, though not a particularly studious one as they go; still, he's quite smart, so that goes some way.
Harold likes holding parties and such, often at his house or one of his friends', generally disdaining more public alternatives. At his parties, he tends to remain aloof, observing more than participating, though never so much that he would be considered very impolite. He is always the perfect host. Harold is stringent about not imbibing heavily on such occasions ("damages one's clarity", he would say), though he almost always presses strong drinks or various other substances on his guests ("their clarity is not my concern", he would say). He has little to no sense of the value of money and throws it around like it was paper.
One peculiar habit of his is "swapping circles": like almost everyone Harold has his "set" or "circle" in school; but Harold is very fond of all of a sudden joining in in places where he does not belong, sitting down among people to whom he has never said so much as "hello" before. This usually lasts about a day, after which he returns to his old set. He is always polite, of course, and the gesture is never a mockery. Others find this confusing; Harold calls it his "social breadth requirement."
Harold's romantic life is surprisingly low-key. He seems afraid of equal relationships, and contemptuous of unequal ones (as he is sure that he is always the superior partner in any unequal relationship). One might describe Harold as mildly bi-sexual, but it might be better to just call him asexual, as he seems equally uninterested in intercourse with either sex. He would explain this away with a simple "ecstasy cannot be savoured: it is a base emotion", but the truth is more likely that he is afraid of both physical and emotional intimacy.
Harold's tastes are fairly refined: in literature, music, and art, he enjoys the madder, more unruly side of things, particularly with the "classics": he likes Bosch (here's a painting by Bosch, for those who don't know him; he's really quite mad, particularly considering that's 16th century), Liszt, and Dostoevsky. He has more modern tastes, too, but as madness in modern art has become banal, his tastes tend more towards the clinical: Henry James and Isaac Babel in literature, the Sonic Youth in music, etc.
Harold doesn't watch much television, no more than an hour a day on average, probably even less. When he does watch, he favours news (BBC or some other "reputable" coverage), old cartoons from the '60s, "mature" cartoons (by which I do not mean cartoon-porn), and comedy of all flavours. Harold sleeps an inordinate amount, 12 hours a day if he can get away with it, and at least 10 hours.
Harold's dislikes include anything he considers plebeian, vulgar, pedestrian, and so forth. What exactly this entails seems to vary with time of day, weather patterns, and the price of tea in China. Usually, though, you can count on any sort of insincerity, poor manners, or display of outrageous emotion to qualify. He does not become angry, however, only sullen, and even that only when pressed. Usually he is able to shrug most of the things which annoy him off. Basically, though, he's a snob; but he's a snob among snobs, too, and he will recognize brilliance in "common" people if he sees it, just as he will recognize and shy away from "commonness" when found among his own set.
One thing Harold despises is physical activity of any sort more intensive than reclining. He has never attended a P.E. class in his life and doesn't give a damn if he fails; nothing could induce him to go. As a result, he's quite a weakling, obviously.
Harold does passably well in all of his other classes. Much depends on the teacher: if the teacher grades based on intelligence, Harold soars; if based on work, he crashes.
As mentioned, Harold is weak as a kitten. He won't get into a fight if he can possibly, possibly avoid it, and he's a fairly smooth talker so it's usually possible. He carries no weapon, lacks any combative skill, and if he should ever get involved in a very dangerous situation, he'll probably just run.
Should he ever be absolutely forced into fighting, he might try stealing a rifle from his uncle, who's an avid collector (and usually very careful about keeping his guncase locked). But that's only as a last, last resort, and will quite probably never come up.
Note that, even with a rifle, Harold's not a very good shot, even if it weren't for the fact that he's probably urinating in his pants already at the thought of being in a gunfight. The point is that if Harold gets into a fight, it's probably best to ask him to just sit down and not hurt himself (unless, of course, he gets to use one of his cool Red Light techniques.
Harold's powers revolve around death and the dead. He is able to both summon death into his own body, and to interact, to some degree, with those who have already died.
Harold is able to remove all life from his body, to be returned at a later time. Essentially, by will, he can "kill" hisself, but before he does so, he must determine a time in the future when he will be returned to life. This may not seem like much, but it can be quite useful, at times. The most obvious benefit is that it may be used to prevent "normal" death. If Harold is in the path of an incoming train, for example, and he does not have enough time to get out of the way, he can use this power to survive. When he comes to, a minute later, he'll find himself having been flung a fair distance and quite badly manged: he won't be in any very pleasant condition, but he will be alive. Note that this will only work in certain situations: the body must be in a shape to be returned to by the time he does return. Death by just about any concussive means can be averted (short of being squihed into Harold-juice in a car crusher or something else similarly grisly), because with such things the cause of death is usually the immediate shock done to the body, not the lingering damage. By contrast, something so relatively "common" (in RPGs, at least) as a knife-wound to the stomach could easily be fatal. However, even in such a case, death would not be immediate, and if medical attention were rendered before Harold resuscitates, he will be fine (well, not "fine", but not dead, at least). Harold is not in any way conscious during his self-imposed death, nor can he ever break out of it early for any reason. Obviously this can be used against him: I imagine it would be fairly simple for anyone knowing his power to capture him in this way. He does not know exactly where he goes when he invokes this power, though he does perhaps have a sense of a slight remembering of something "beyond the veil". Storyteller's discretion as to where, if anywhere at all, this leads. He also does not decompose while "dead" (thankfully, othiswise, ick). I might also mention that this is a simple device for removing the character from the game, should I ever need to take an extended absence (not that I foresee that happening).
Similarly, Harold can instil death on only a single part of his body. There are minor advantages to this: that part does not feel pain, nor does blood flow through it (this therefore prevents poison and infection from spreading out of or into the area). However, Harold loses all control over that part; it is, for all intents, dead. If so inclined, Harold can hasten its decomposition to the point of rigor mortis, making it very difficult to move the part from its current position. Again, though, the fact that he loses all ability to manoeuvre the affected part makes this a minor talent.
Harold can also, with limited success, communicate with the dead. This only works with "ghosts", i.e., unascended spirits, wanderers, dybbuks, wraiths, lingerers, whatever you want to call them, I'm sure you know what I mean. He cannot force them to help him in any way. The most he can do is entreat, politely, and hope. Often the ghosts will demand some service in return: it's standard fare for them to be wandering the earth because of some "unfulfilled deed" anyway, so Harold can't be expecting too many freebies. At Storyteller's discretion, Harold might be able to convince the ghosts to use some of their ghostly powers for him, if they should have any. Also at Storyteller's discretion, Harold's ability to control ghosts against their will may increase as he grows further into his abilities.
Harold doesn't really know anyone in Gerick Hills, or even the entire U.S. for that matter. Right now he is staying with family, specifically his uncle and aunt, Lucas and Mary Bageholt.
Lucas Bageholt is a retired officer of the British Navy. He had met Mary, an American nurse, during the war. They married and, when Lucas retired, moved to Mary's hometown, Gerick Hills. They have a quaint and happy marriage. Harold doesn't much care for them, considers them a little boorish, but they don't know that, and all told they all get along well enough.
Perhaps the two most important people in Harold's life are his mother and father, Charlotte Constance Bageholt and Senex Bageholt. His father is a cold and aloof man, just as Harold is, but much brusquer and not nearly so soft-voiced. He, too, is a retired army man; Harold's family has a long and distinguished tradition of military service, a tradition which Harold very much and very openly intends to break, a cause of a great deal of friction. His mother, on the other hand, was quite gentle and warm, and indeed babied him a great deal, giving him whatever he cared to ask for (when, that is, he was home; usually, he was off at private school).
Harold sits on the chair with his knee up, his arm resting on it, his fingertips barely grasping a glass of wine. All about him mill guests: his guests, his party. He is at the centre. A yawn escapes his lips, barely, at the conversation around him; suppressed enough to not seem impolite, but obvious enough, he hopes, to reveal his superiority. "Ah, well," he says, getting up, "may I refresh anyone's drinks?"
The girl in the purple dress asks for more coyly, she thinks she's being attractive; that vile country boy wants more too... who invited him, anyway? "My pleasure," Harold replies to their thanks, and threads his way through happy guests into the kitchen.
"Mr. Grey," he addresses his butler, "the skank in the purple dress and the one with a piece of hay between his teeth want some more wine. The '96, I believe, they were drinking."
"Oh, the bumpkin, the one in the blue-jeans. You know."
"Good man," sums up Harold distractedly, already looking out beyond the kitchen, to the balcony, hoping to find someone to pounce on. He loves being out there alone with someone, it's so poetic. Ah, a bit of a shadow, there! Out he goes, into the night.
"Well, hello," he says.
The boy is startled. He looks young, and out of sorts. But he pulls himself together, he has reserves; there's something of interest about him, Harold thinks. "Hello," the boy replies, smiling.
"Is something wrong?" asks Harold, the perfect image of concern.
"No, nothing. Why?" he replies, a little sheepish.
"You don't like my party..." Harold says a little sadly: just a small admonition, a little in jest.
"Oh, no," the boy corrects eagerly. "It's wonderful, great fun."
A little too eager, Harold thinks. What's the matter with him?
Harold takes a step towards him, and the boy breathes in quickly, almost takes a step back, but changes his mind. Ah, thinks Harold, I see. He's gay; and uncomfortable with it, it seems. Well, how sweet. This could be fun.
Harold smiles his broadest: "What's your name?" he asks.
"Well, Stewart," he says, moving over to him by the balcony, jumping up and sitting beside him, "would you like a smoke?"
Harold pulls out a pair of cigarettes, puts both in his mouth, and lights them. He offers one to Stewart.
"Oh, no, I don't smoke. Thanks, anyway." Stewart is nervous. Harold is amused.
"Oh, come on, Stu. Don't be a child, now," and Harold takes his hand, placing the cigarette in it. "Come on," he smiles, "it's good for you."
Stewart looks at the cigarette in his hand; it's obvious that it's represents more than a cigarette to him. "Heh, heh, well..." Harold is beside himself: the whole thing is quite hilarious, he is having a great time. Stewart is sweating as if he'd run a mile, and looks a wreck.
How long can I make him squirm?, Harold wonders. He pictures it to himself: a friendly arm around the shoulder, an accidental brush of the knee, and Stewart ruins those expensive pants of his. Ha, ha! And then Harold would play at being shocked, appalled; he send him from the house, march him through the party, tell everyone what happened; it would be delicious.
Ah, but then, just as Harold leans over, there it is: his conscience. Stewart is so pathetic... pity creeps in. Oh, alright, I'll be nice to him; he looks at the sky: you'd better remember this, he mentally addresses the Almighty, I'm being good today.
"Well, to each his own, Stu. You don't want to smoke that's your right; you want to smoke that's your right too. Do what makes you happy, dear Stu, and never let anyone tell you otherwise." Harold snatches the cigarette from his hand and tosses it off the edge of the balcony. He gives Stewart a simple pat on the back and heads off towards the house, towards the party.
"May I freshen anyone's drinks?" he asks.
In summary, Harold lives his life as if he were writing his autobiography: his concern is always for the aesthetic, for that which would "look good in retrospect".
Just in case it needs to be said, I am decidedly not "playing myself".
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