J. B. Stalker Character in Laminarum | World Anvil

J. B. Stalker

Jacques Benoit Stalker (a.k.a. The Skinbrandt)

"The rembrandts concern themselves with knowledge for the sake of financial gain but refuse to broaden their capabilities beyond the common score. They lambaste me for my open arms to the estranged and controversial, perhaps out of jealousy for my lack of cowardice. Perhaps controversy has limited my quarry of employers, yet I reap more reward than any of my compatriats."
— -J.B. Stalker, Rembrandt
The Start of a Controversial Career
Jacques Benoit Stalker, a Rembrandt from the nation of Fjordstrond, was hardly renowned during his early career. Choosing to focus mostly on the study of avian life and the dynamics of flight for his final thesis, most of the funding had to be attained himself since his organization had little interest in such knowledge. After his thesis was complete, a wealthy individual by the name of Karim Osman  requested his presence for a new project, which would involve Jacques leading a surgical team from the Orovical border. The surgery in question came from Karim's desire to command the power of flight, which Jacques originally said would be impossible; regardless, the money poured in and Jacques knew he could at least lead his client on by performing measurements and further research.   Before long, 'leading on' became genuine intrigue. Jacques would begin making anatomical comparisons between ravens and Karim, figuring out how one may design a biosynthetic wing, with most of his design inspiration coming from Odina, Boralia, and Efainen. Perhaps this comparison was his first misstep, as many reasonably presumed he was trying to play god through the power of dark arts by making a being in the image of the Ohdaufeen. After merely two years of research, designing, and testing with synthetic wings, the surgical team would perform the surgery. With a combination of healing and disease-warding magic, Jacques would make all necessary incisions into skin and muscle, attaching the wings at the scapula. After 30 hours of surgery and grafting, Karim would awake with white, feathered wings. Jacques recommended taking at least six months to practice the art of flight, but Karim would dive into the Fjords two weeks later, bursting against the slopes near the waterline. While Jacques considered this a failure and an embarrassment, it bloomed into controversy, which proved more beneficial than any success would have been.

Perhaps Immortal

Jacques, often called the Skinbrandt, gained his title for the rumor regarding his ever-increasing age. Though he may be human, he has lived since long before the Silence. As of 1947 NG, he is 292 years old, leading many to believe he possesses skin-changing capabilities. No validating evidence has been put forward yet, but many believe that the stewards he hires from the big cities are put under dark spells to sap their vitality. Others claim he performs eldritch communions using the Waters of Taev to gain vitality from extradimensional beings (perhaps even Heien himself). While Rembrandts never become trained in the arts of magic, Jacques holds no such qualms, though his biological knowledge alone may give precedence for him to prolong his own life; after all, even nonmagic Eldur Monks have been able to extend their lives as long as 130 years.  

A Life of Solitude

With controversy often comes trouble, and Jacques desires it no more than any other mortal. His place of residence is unknown and contacting him is nearly impossible. Much of his life is spent on the road or in temporary lodgings as he follows intriguing work and research. The extent of his personal relationships is unknown. Still, in his work he often mentions anecdotes with traveling griots, implying that most of his relationships are fleeting (though their regular mention may also indicate that he appreciates their interactions). While his works are in high demand from the shadows, it is generally Stalker that will approach you, rather than the other way around, leading many to believe that he governs some degree of Augury and divination.  

An Outcast

Given the rumors surrounding his age, use of eldritch power, and highly lethal work, those who don't actively want his services treat Jacques as an outcast. This doesn't seem to offend the Skinbrandt, who knows ostracism comes with his work, though the treatment even extends to his own organization of scholars. Perhaps his appreciation of the griots comes from their lack of knowledge regarding his identity, as it allows him to act with some degree of normalcy. It is believed he lives somewhere in Eldurgrund at present since most of his work takes him to the region, but most people don't wish to uncover his rock regardless.  

Areas of Expertise

The Skinbrandt, like other Rembrandts, is a master of several fields. His specialty was biology and aviation but he has broadened his horizons over 290 years of unnatural life. He is a master of surgical operations, particularly grafts. He has a wide understanding of aviation in organisms and the various ways it has been achieved as well. Much of his work in Eldurgrund has led him to master an understanding of several half-folk species with the exception of the violent minotaurs.    As no Rembrandt is satisfied with incomplete knowledge, one can assume he has achieved mastery over divination magic. Other rumors lend themselves to his mastery of obscure mystic rituals and transmutation as well. Interestingly, he has shown little interest in the mechanisms behind The Silence, and claims that his focus has always been the "Sphere of Laminarum." He has shown some inclination toward researching The Mountainfold and Arniel Kane's aberrations themselves. Unlike members of the world's religions are scholarly organizations, Stalker believes taboo to be an unavoidable mark of knowledge; regardless of knowledge's source, be it Milin Orphi or the Uthuquate, Stalker believes it deserves uncovering. Jacques considers himself a record keeper of information that would otherwise go lost to history without his input, and he's at least partially correct. While such substantial information may be found and kept by others, Jacques is one of the Laminarum's more responsible keepers of the taboo.   Lastly, Stalker is uniquely interested in the Aufalten and their budded spawns. Many rumors about his murders are related to the mortal spawns of Epithet and Ghattadon. Their unique healing properties and physiology bring up questions for all of Laminarum, but Stalker reportedly treats them like cattle for prodding and dissection. Regardless, his work with various "specimens" has greatly improved our understanding of the budding phenomenon (as well as the self-mutating capabilities of the Aufalten.
Date of Birth
11th of Naiber, 1655 MD
Year of Birth
1655
Circumstances of Birth
Unremarkable
Birthplace
Fjordstrond
Children

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