The Melancholic

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Go to Current Incarnation

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Current Name
James Thistle

Current Occupation
High School Senior

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For the Director Only!

 


Overview

She dwells with Beauty—Beauty that must die;
xxxxxAnd Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips
Bidding adieu; and aching Pleasure nigh,
xxxxxTurning to poison while the bee-mouth sips:
Ay, in the very temple of Delight
xxxxxVeil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
xxxxxxxxxxThough seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
xxxxxCan burst Joy's grape against his palate fine;
His soul shalt taste the sadness of her might,
xxxxxAnd be among her cloudy trophies hung.

- John Keats, Ode on Melancholy

Jaded. Cynical. Tortured. Pessimistic. Or perhaps he's simply a realist.

The Melancholic sees joy, beauty, and delight as fleeting veils; ephemeral pleasures that only serve to distract from looming and inevitable sorrow. Melancholy is sovereign, and all else fades before her.

While the Melancholic might take what joy there is to be found in the moment, may appreciate what beauty there is in the world, it's at best bittersweet, and more oft than not, joy and beauty turn to ash the instant they touch his lips.

There won't be any happy endings for him; how could an ending ever be a happy thing?


Does any of this even matter? There's a strange freedom in ennui, in knowing that none of this may be real or important in the end. It can be liberating to not hold on to sentimentality.


Current Role

The kid's always been weird, even by Thistle standards.

He hardly has any friends, and the ones he has -- save one -- are tenuous at best; he spends more time talking to himself than to other students, barely says a word in classes, eats by himself, and spends hours scribbling in that creepy journal he's always carrying. He keeps his grades high, but daydreams through classes. His participation is nonexistent, and getting a word out of him is harder than prying teeth -- except in English class.

He's not much better with his family. After his twin brother's death, he's always felt out of place -- and for years, he'd insist his brother was still alive, that he could see him and speak to him. For most kids, imaginary friends are a phase, but they've never disappeared for James; he's just learned better than to talk to them in public, when he can avoid it. Besides... they're not exactly imaginary.

Previous Roles

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Jonah Hargreave (Prosperity's Price)

The sickly second son -- at least where legitimate sons are concerned -- Jonah Hargreave was never quite what his father wanted, nor what was expected. Afflicted since childhood, Jonah was never expected to live past the age of eighteen, and his illness afforded him little opportunity to ever become the robust and capable heir that his family required. Instead, and to his father's chagrin, Jonah turned to literature to keep his mind sharp, while his body rotted from the inside out. As the years came and went, however, the doom hanging over him never quite came, and by the time he turned eighteen -- the age at which he'd been meant to have long been dead by -- Jonah was well enough to leave his family home and Prosperity behind to pursue his education in Chicago.

Returned, after several years abroad, Jonah is no longer the sickly youth that had spent most of his childhood confined to the family home. Grown more like his father by the year, the young man is charming, clever, and -- more often than not -- drunk; but, despite having defied the odds, the years have done little to ease the dark, sorrowful, sense of doom that Jonah carries. He has become a tortured artist, penning pain into poetry... at least, when he isn't neck deep in a bottle.

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Jonathan Hawkins (Slasher)

Jon was a good cop. He came from a good family - they weren't rich, but they were honest and hard working. Blue collar, salt-of-the-Earth types. He enlisted in the Army after graduating high school and became an MP. When his enlistment was over, he went home and married his high school sweetheart, went to college, and became a cop. He took pride in providing not only for his wife, but his parents as they got older and developed health issues. He worked hard but had a good life.

Then it all collapsed.

The Savings and Loan scandals decimated his family, from savings and mortgages to medical bills. In the span of two years he lost his house, his parents' house, and then his parents and his marriage. The worst part was that the crooks behind it all weren't going to jail for it. Deregulation, they called it. He called it robbery and manslaughter. That's when he decided to steal from the rich and take something back. The bank executive responsible for his losses had a Renoir original thought to be lost or destroyed all safe and cozy in a safe deposit box, and Jon knew a master artist that could make a flawless duplicate. Said artist also had a buyer in France, ready to pay $5 million for the original.

To throw everyone off their tracks, he put together a heist team to do quick-hits on a string of banks, establishing a pattern and MO, then intentionally bungled one to use those expectations against the police and bank. While negotiating hostage releases, the team broke into the safe deposit box undetected, replaced the original Renoir with the master forgery, then escaped with one last 'hostage', the bank branch manager, who was their inside man. With a hostage for cover, they disappeared with money and the art, which no one even knows was stolen. Now they're laying low so the heat dies down for a trip to Paris.

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Hypnos (Carnival)

Coming To America

Narváez

The Narváez expedition brought the first Greek to the shores of America in 1528. Shortly after the sailor, a young man and devout Orthodox by the name of Don Theodoro, set foot on the Florida coast he fell gravely ill.

Out of fear that whatever sickness had afflicted the young sailor might spread fast as flame in the cramped confines of the vessel, Don Theodoro's comrades left him behind on the strange shores with naught but a blanket, a week's rations, a Bible, and a matchlock pistol.

Shivering and sweating as he watched his ship sail into the horizon, the young sailor spent the next week praying and waiting to die. His prayers were answered; though, not by his chosen Christian God. The young man found his thoughts turning to the gods of his ancestors, the old pantheon his grandmother had told him fables of.

And so, Don Theodoro's passing was eased by two companions who bore his likeness: Hypnos, who held the man's hand and lulled him into a gentle sleep as the sickness slew him, and Thanatos, who took his hand and led his spirit away once his quaking and trembling slowed to a halt.

While Don Theodoro died and his comrades returned home to tell the sailor's mother and young wife a comforting fiction of how the brave sailor had died aboard ship during the return voyage, those two ancient beings remained behind.

Bearing the name of that ill-fated Greek sailor that had first brought him and his twin to the shores of America, the personification of sleep walked those strange shores and was waiting, when the first settlement of five hundred Greeks settled at New Smyrna Beach, Florida in 1768.

New Smyrna

In 1768, the Scottish Dr. Andrew Turnbull established the East Florida colony of New Smyrna, named after the hometown of his Greek wife. With a population of thirteen hundred, of whom five hundred were Greek immigrants, it constituted one of the largest one town settlements in North America and the largest Greek population to find its way to the New World.

After centuries of wandering the eastern coast of North America, a land devoid of the belief and believers that nourish them, Hypnos and Thanatos -- and many other mythical beings with Greek roots -- were drawn to the fledgling colony like moths to a candle.

Though the settlement was successful for its first few years of operation, harvesting a significant crop of indigo, that success didn't last for long -- a combination of illnesses, Native American raids, and mismanagement by Turnbull decimated the colony by 1783.

In the wake of a particularly deadly sleeping sickness, the six hundred surviving colonists fled and marched seventy miles north to settle in St. Augustine. Tension in the settlement had reached the breaking point, largely as a result of Turnbull and his overseers' mistreatment and abuse of the colonists, and when word reached the governor, Turnbull abandoned the settlement and retired in South Carolina.

While Hypnos and Thanatos had arrived in New Smyrna desperate, on the verge of extinction, and thoroughly withered away to a husk of what they had once been, by the time they left the colony in 1783 they were thoroughly satiated.

New Orleans

The decades following the civil war were quiet for the brothers, who spent much of that time traveling and familiarizing themselves with the fledgling United States -- and its many smallpox outbreaks, which tided the pair over until the horrors of the American Civil War.

After serving through the war as battlefield medics, Hypnos and Thanatos finally settled into New Orleans in 1865, as its growing Greek community reached its peak and finally culminated in a Greek Consulate in 1866.

Here, the pair reunited with their sister, Nemesis, and thrived for a time, until the allure of war -- and the dying -- drew them into the First World War.

First World War

Renewing their masquerade as battlefield medics, lending aid and solace to the dying and ensuring some measure of peace before an inevitably death, the Great War drew the siblings across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe: so close to the homeland of Greece for which both longed but that neither had yet seen.

As bloody as the Civil War had been, the trench warfare of the Great War dwarfed it in brutality and danger, and though the pair had nourished themselves through the comfort of the many, many casualties of the "War to End All Wars" both returned shaken. The selfless duty with which they'd seen to the dying had become a curse.

Spanish Flu

In the wake of the war, and with the advent of an illness that cost far more lives than the war itself, the twins returned to their sacred duty -- albeit with grudging cynicism and none of the dignity with which they'd once approached the task -- and put themselves to work in the sick camps that cropped up in the wake of the Spanish Flu. In one such camp, they made the acquaintance of Mèng Pó, a mysterious goddess of Chinese mythology on an oddly parallel track.

When the worst of the disease had raged across the world, the pair finally abandoned their mission and made their way to the West Coast, where they rejected their duties and turned to opium and alcohol.

Carnival of Wonders

The Hypnotist

After having been found in a San Francisco opium den and recruited to join the Carnival of Wonders by Áine in late 1931, Hypnos and Thanatos -- desperate to be empowered by belief -- reluctantly embraced new roles as performers: Hypnos as a hypnotist and Thanatos as a medium. While both thrived in their new occupations, with the god of sleep finding his way to the Big Top and the god of death finding an endless supply of grieving clientele, neither found any semblance of happiness.

Convinced that they were cursed to bring grief and misery down on the people around them, and long since having lost sight of their sacred duty to bring peace to the dying, the twins' relative success was short-lived, and by the second year of their tenure on the carnival circuit, both of their acts had diminished substantially. By the third, Thanatos mysteriously disappeared.

The Apothecary

In the year since his twin's disappearance, it's become incredibly rare for Hypnos to perform as he once had. On those scarce occasions he does schedule a show, he seldom bothers to show up, at least not in any state to perform, and instead has devoted himself to a new purpose as co-proprietor of the Carnival's apothecary -- though, it may be more accurate to call the operation an ad-hoc opium den than to dignify it with the already dubious title of apothecary.

The sizable tent, attached to the trailer he travels in between shows, is furnished and decorated with a queer mixture of styles. Lush and colorful rugs, archaic and shoddy furniture, and a mixture of genuine and authentic elements of Asian decor stand alongside blatantly inauthentic pretenses towards the so-called "Oriental decadence" to be expected of such an abode.

Convinced that, with his brother's disappearance, his own fade from existence is an inevitability, Hypnos has embraced hedonistic excess and an apathetic resignation to his supposed fate. In so doing, he has accumulated a devoted cadre of followers, believers, and patrons who either work the carnival or follow it from town to town, and who have attained an ignominious reputation for spending a great deal of time in his smoke-filled tent and for walking around with a dazed, listless, and placid gait that acutely resembles sleepwalking. Fame may have faded, but he's not without his supplicants.

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Jeremiah Jonas (Project Icarus)

Some miners get by with brute force, superhuman endurance, or incredible work ethic; Jeremiah's knack is making the most out of the tools he has at hand, regardless of how dated, run-down, or outright broken they happen to be. He's a natural problem solver, the guy who finds workarounds to keep equipment running by virtue of chewing gum, paperclips, elbow grease, and the occasional smack -- it's only natural given that problems seem to follow him everywhere he goes.

Sooner or later, something is going to go wrong; it's a dangerous job, and it's only a matter of time until a mission goes ass-up. It happens to everybody, if they work for long enough. There's not a veteran on a crew who doesn't have a horror story or three. Jeremiah hasn't had a job that didn't end in tragedy, that wasn't the victim of some calamity. He doesn't know what normal is; it's the exception, not the rule. But for everybody else, there's a clear common denominator: Him.

Most people don't like working with him, let alone sharing meals or conversation. Why do things always go to shit when he's around? Why does he come out unscathed? Is he incompetent? Cursed? Is he just plain bad luck? In a job as dangerous as theirs, superstition matters. With life on the line, who wants to work alongside the walking jinx? The poor bastard whose very presence practically guarantees that things are going to go badly?

He's quiet, and he keeps to himself; he works hard, perhaps harder than most. The exclusion keeps him safe from having to care about the people he may later see hurt or killed, he's embraced it. And when there's a job that needs doing that's particularly dangerous? He's one of the first to volunteer; he's seen worse, and come out unscathed. Maybe this time things will be different.

Previous Incarnations

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The Melancholic (1)

Does any of this even matter? There's a strange freedom in ennui, in knowing that none of this may be real or important in the end. It can be liberating to not hold on to sentimentality.

The one thing you really need to know is that it's all bullshit, top to bottom. You can let that get you down, or you can something something. The Melancholic doesn't know much about that second option.

Sometimes a chillingly upfront pessimist, sometimes a weirdly charismatic but offputting seeker after cheap pleasures, The Melancholic is always lost and very seldom doing much to look for the path.

Roles

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Hitch (Isle of Dread)

Once upon a time, you loved music. It was your reason for being. Maybe you've just been doing this shit too long, or maybe seeing how most of these rock stars really are has jaded you and ruined the music. Maybe you never got over your divorce and losing the kids ten years ago because you were always on the road doing this shit. Who knows? Now you're just going through the motions.

You currently work for Arthur McShane, and he's a decent guy to work for as rock stars go. He's old school, older than you, and he's moved past the prima donna stage long ago. Still, your heart's no longer in it. You do your job, and do it well, but that's about it. Get up, go to work, drink, work late, drink, crash, repeat.

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The Melancholic (2)

To the Melancholic, the worst outcome to any situation is also the most likely; something they tend to mention right when the group needs a morale boost the most.

They can be cold and nihilistic, or moping and depressed, but they can also be the ones to point out when someones lying to themselves about the reality of a bad situation -- which, now and then, can open eyes and spur better decision making. They can be the cynic, the depressive, the realist, or the pensive existentialist... but they're always one thing for sure: Sick of it all.

Roles

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Violet "The Kid" Zane (Alien Mutation)

You're getting tired of this shit. The long hauls, the fights and arguments, The skin-of-your-teeth living. Maybe cashing out and taking a corporate job would be best. But then you try to picture yourself working for The Man, with dress codes and psych evaluations. What company is going to hire a mopey kid with attitude problems? You've only been working on the Heph a few years now, and it was hard getting THEM to hire you. You had to lie about your age and the fact you were a runaway and delinquent. Now you're old enough that no longer matters, and you've proved your worth to the rest of the crew with some quick fixes and lots of hard work. Maybe you should stay. What else is there? You'll have decisions to make, soon.