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The Showman

(Any, though they and them are preferred)

Physical Description

Identifying Characteristics

The hair upon their head is electric blue, vibrant and lively. It is completely natural as they have never dyed it, nor does it fade when they wash it. The rest of their hair (eyebrows, moustache, goatee, body hair) is a medium dark brown. They have what appears to be permanent black eyeliner and eyeshadow smeared around their eyes. They have gold ring earrings in their ears - proper pirate earrings - and a gold tooth for a molar where one was knocked out just before they died.

Physical quirks

There is a mechanical device lodged in their throat that allows them to speak/sing. When afraid, their voice gets a bit of a tinny quality, like a bad recording. When angry, their voice can crackle and pop. Due to this peculiar mechanism, they cannot perform throat-singing of any variety. It sends them into a coughing fit.

Special abilities

Their clothes do not dirty, nor does their hat fall. They seem to be protected by some narrative force in that they can only get dirty, sick, properly hurt, and suffer other ill effects when it fits the "story." This proper pisses off the crew that will get sea-soaked and salt-crusted while The Showman stalks about, clean as a whistle. They can also summon and vanish, like the rest of the crew, their primary instrument - the fiddle.

Apparel & Accessories

They wear an informal Victorian dandy/steampunk get-up, with brown leather buckled boots, tan trousers, white dress shirt, dark red waistcoat, red cravate, and black top hat with red ribbon, rose, and spinning gears. From time to time they don a monocle and wine-red coat to dress up rather than down.   Their clothes are interesting in that while they can get dirty, they do not remain so. They clean themselves without The Showman needing to do so, and clean when no one is paying attention to them. Their hat does not come off unless they choose to remove it, typically when bowing. The rose upon their hat is open when they are awake and closed when they are asleep. The gears, they once thought, spin constantly. But they in fact only spin when The Showman is acting, which is constantly. On very rare occasions have they slowed at all, and even rarer have they stopped completely.

Mental characteristics

Personal history

The Showman was not always The Showman. They were a poor sailor's child, their mother an eternal resident on some ship's deck or another. They grew up always underfoot. They had a hard time of it, being eternally out of place in a world that understood neither who nor what they were, and learned to perform normality like any other performance. They learned to sing and to act and to play any instrument they could get their grubby little hands on before it was snatched away. The captain loved that they could weasel into small spaces to listen in on conversations on other ships, and that was they only thing they loved about them.   As soon as they were old enough, The Showman jumped ship and ran into the nearest tavern, swearing never to come out. Of course they did, when they could not make enough money singing songs of the sea on tables and yelling at any sailor within earshot to put up their fists. So they went to work aboard the next ship that would take them - not before thoroughly scanning the crew to make sure their mother was not aboard.   They spent the next few years off and on ships, in and out of taverns, desperately learning as much as they could and trying ever so hard to make a life on the land. They stole clothes and accessories and dressed themselves as finely as they could to build the persona of The Showman. But money always ran out from song and they returned to the sea. In between song and the sea, they learned of secrets. They had been good at finding them before, and now they got better.   One ship dumped them off in a port city - a proper city this time, not a ramshackle town - and they got to really stretch their legs. They wandered the streets methodically, making note of the pubs and taverns and which seemed the most likely to actually be worth their time. But it was as they were beginning to feel the cobbles weary their feet that something else caught their eye. There were no windows to the place. Only the glowing red lamps gave indication that there was life to be found inside.   Everyone knew about the red lamp buildings, obviously. Those were the fun ones. At least, they were fun for different people in different ways. This one looked much unlike brothel The Showman had ever seen. Where were the workers? It was late enough, they should have been about. They knocked on the door, a panel on it slid open, and before they could get a word out, it slid shut again. Damn.   They wandered back to port with their head teeming with ideas on what that place was. A few days passing did not quiet the storm of thoughts but it did bring answers. They were strolling in their finery, the clothes and hat they tucked away when onboard ships so no one could find them. A waif of a girl appeared at their elbow and asked if they were a person of taste, to which The Showman replied that it depended on what they were tasting. That seemed to be the right answer and she shoved something in their pocket before doing her best to melt back into the crowd.   They dug the scrap of paper out to find a ticket to a show clutched in their hand. The address was on a street they had been several times before, they knew it well... hang on, this was the place! The locked place with red lights! Oh, this was class.   This time, they flashed the ticket at the door and it whispered open. They were practically vibrating with excitement and had to restrain their hands from flapping as they strode in.   It was a club!   Not just any club, a dance-and-music club. Tables with dim candles, cheap strong alcohol and heavy food, dark velvet curtains lining the place, and that stage. The light from the stage, glinting off the thousand bits of glitter and metal on the dancers' outfits struck The Showman with the strength of a physical blow. It was everything they had dreamed of, that stage. Standing above the haze of smoke with everyone watching, everyone listening as they performed.   They sat alone at a table that night, drinking it all in. It was beautiful. The spectacle of it enraptured them, inviting them to dance in its presence, to sing like they never had before and be rewarded with the crowd's raucous approval. Half the night passed in a swirl of multicoloured daydreams punctuated with applause, the other half enraptured by what was happening on the stage. To be able to wear those outfits, to be able to perform like that...   In barely the blink of an eye The Showman was the only one left in the club. The person in the satin waistcoat that had let them in came by to let them know it was time to head off, that the sun would be rising soon. But they had no intention of leaving.   It took a fair bit of arguing and negotiating with the club workers and owners, as well as everyone sleeping off the night, before an agreement was struck. The Showman would join the waif girl in drawing in new club goers in exchange for room and board. They might even get to audition later, if they did what they were told. It was small, but it was something. They were in the place, quite literally through the door, and now they just had to hang on for dear life.   It was difficult, yes. The club was an illicit place, that was known, and they had to stay several steps ahead of the port authorities or get tossed in the gaol for a few nights, which was several nights lost of revenue and a displeased look when they returned. But by god it was worth it. They got to watch a good portion of the performances every night, after the crowds had been swept and tickets had been dropped in suspecting pockets. They would sit backstage, perched on a barrel, or perhaps stand unnoticed against the back wall of the club enshrouded in velvet. Anything just to watch them.   The performers were the first people The Showman ever met that were like them. It was something they had never thought would happen, meeting people that felt similarly about themselves, and turning those feelings - good or bad - into fuel for the stage. It was a magic unlike anything they had ever seen. Within a month, they were begging the club owner to let them onstage, just once, even, just once to get to perform. They got their chance a few days later. The owner let them audition - in the middle of the night's shows. No better way to see how they would do in front of a crowd than to actually put them up there.   The stress nearly killed them, and then the curtain rose, and with it, their fear vanished. They had been begging for this, wriggling their whole life from one dirt hole town to the next, desperately looking for somewhere that would finally give them space to stand up. Here it was. They were not going to lose this chance.   Pure magic.   It was like being born again onstage. They had never felt their heart beat louder or their voice sound so clear. The audience applause was no match for the blood in their ears.   They bought new clothes, a lovely new hat, even a watch chain for when they would someday own one. But old habits die hard. They were always looking sideways, thinking about when the spell of this place would break and they would be out on their own again. In between song and the stage, they learned of secrets. They had been good at finding them before, and now they got better.   This place was full of them. An illicit club, filled with fancy folks desperate to look more well off than they were? A breeding ground for the filth that put a shine in The Showman's pocket. Listening, acting as serving staff for the night, lingering in the curtains longer than they should have it all paid off quite a bit. They made a fair bit of coin in trading secrets that no one wanted to be found out. But they eventually ran out of luck. Caught alone in an empty street, they had no one to protect them when a gang came a-hunting them one dark and drizzly night.   There were too many of them and not enough of The Showman. The gang beat them to the ground, hog-tying them far too tightly for comfort and dragged them to the edge of the docks. The leader tucked a calling card from whichever powerful person The Showman had managed to piss off into their waistcoat, then whistled to the gang. A cinderblock was lashed to their feet and The Showman knew fear. They had felt it all evening, had felt it all their life, but the low simmer erupted into a boil and they screamed. They screamed like they never had.   They could never leave well enough alone, and now they were going to die here, and it was their own stupid fault.    The gang leader punched them squarely in the jaw; The Showman's eyes watered and they felt blood and a tooth ooze out of their mouth. They struggled to hold onto the consciousness that was slammed back into them when they hit the water. They did not hear the splash - still too dazed from the punch - but they felt the freezing water sucking them down, down, down- not that far, actually, probably only thirty or so feet. They could see the moon and the faint orange glow of the shop lights spilling over the wooden edge of the docks if they craned their neck back. Then it was blotted out by a dark shape drifting down to meet them, the gang leader tossing The Showman's precious hat into the sea.   They screamed, they cried, and then they stopped.  
When The Showman awoke, it was in fitful bursts, only for seconds at a time. The searing burn in their lungs and throat never cooled; it was as if they were still drowning. In fact, they were unsure whether or not they were even out of the water, it was so damn cold. But the sharp smell of metal told them otherwise. That, and blood.  
They blinked. Cobblestones under their feet. A hat atop their head. Clothes on their body, warmth in their throat. Air in their lungs. Why was that such a relief?   They did not know who they were. They knew nothing of where they were, or what they were doing there. They simply knew their name - The Showman. They knew what they could do. So they strode out of the dark alleyway and down the lane and into the nearest tavern, choking down as much fear as they could. Fear made their voice rather... tinny. Something they would later learn was thanks to the mechanical device lodged in their throat that provided their voice. Perhaps the machine was their throat. Either way, they learned.   They sang and danced and acted and played and found this place to be frightfully accommodating. The people were rude on the surface, but this was entirely performance; none hesitated a moment to give something they thought another might need.   They played every tavern in this sprawling dockside town within a month. There was even a lovely burlesque club they were eyeing up. But in all that time, no memory ever crawled its way out of the gaping hole of their mind. They still knew nothing and worked desperately hard to keep it a secret. They knew that secrets were important, but not why, and that secrets could get them killed. So they plastered a grin wider than they thought possible on their face and sang all the louder.   Then, to their enormous surprise, two of the hill-folk came into the tavern they were playing that night. Two badger-like things, one certainly more so than the other. One was a badger with all the decorum of a member of Parliament and the other a humanoid with badger-marked fur and antlers. When The Showman and the badger-person locked eyes, both felt something click into place. The badger-person's eyes grew wide and, had any skin been visible, it would have paled considerably.   At the end of their set, The Showman strode across a few table tops and dropped down in front of the pair. Their eyes never left the badger-person. A simple question was asked, and the badger person - Diarmuid - complied. The fur melted back into pale skin and a human nose reintroduced itself. Bar hair colour, the two stared at their mirror image. They were even the same height, hat and antlers included.   They talked long into the night, the three of them; The Showman, Diarmuid, and Badger Bonn. They spoke of history and memory and lack thereof. They spoke of means of retrieval. They spoke of song. When the two hill-folk left the next morning, The Showman was revitalised in their thoughts of reclaiming what was lost. They straightened their hat upon their head and went to buy themself a tea to mull it all over with.   It took a fair number of years for The Showman to come up with a plan. Not much of a plan, really. Mostly just to gather up the courage to propose it to Diarmuid and Badger Bonn, who had become good friends over this time. Diarmuid and The Showman had even declared each other cousins. The Showman proposed they simply grab a boat and sail off the edge of the world.   Diarmuid, in the end, agreed. Bonn stayed behind to attend to the House of the Setting Sun. They said their goodbyes and chartered a small sailboat named Mionsheol and set off into the fading light. They spent nearly two years at sea, running into all sorts of unsavoury folk (and rather having the time of their life) and finally running ashore on the world The Showman came from. Of course, they were quite the different person from when they left. Broader in shoulder, deeper in voice, and larger in confidence, not to mention all of the frankly supernatural traits about them. Diarmuid had to hide the majority of themself, as antlers and a permanently furry arm were less than welcome here.   But they found out. They found it all out. They tracked down the gang that had killed The Showman. They weaselled the gang's employer out of them. They got a mob set on them, and burned down the majority of the town. They paid a visit to The Showman's old club. They killed a fair few people. The Showman led the hunt, Diarmuid following as simply a facilitator of The Showman's wishes. They eventually stole a much larger ship - aptly named The Saving Grace - and set sail for home. Mionsheol had sadly long since settled at the bottom of some sea or another.   They arrived back in Tírsí to an incredible reception. The Showman, with Diarmuid, were the only people to ever have left Tírsí for another world and make it back.   The Showman was sick of being alone and longed for the sea again. They commission the proud Sunset Amphitheatre and held auditions for the crew. Seven sailors joined, totalling eight aboard. The crew of The Sunset Amphitheatre set sail and became the most famous ship in the world.

Mental Trauma

They have an intense fear of drowning, though they seem to have lost much fear of any other kind of dying. They also have terrible imposter syndrome, desperately trying to get people to believe their skills. This stems largely from their previous life where they were constantly reinventing themselves and putting on false names and building fake histories and, of course, learning secrets they should not. This has all fallen away in Tírsí but the fear still remains - they take control of any social situation they are in, consciously or unconsciously, in an attempt to direct attention towards what they want people to see.

Personality Characteristics

Savvies & Ineptitudes

Voice range: Baritone, Bass 1   Instrument: Fiddle

Social

Family Ties

Cousins with Diarmuid.

Social Aptitude

They are incredibly socially adept, a complete change from their childhood. They spent an inordinate amount of time learning how people function and act to replicate it and manipulate. They have noticed that it has also gotten a deal easier in Tírsí - they do not know whether this is because they themself have gotten better, the people in Tírsí are easier to work, or if the people allow them to have social control. They fear it is the third. It is in fact a combination of the first and second.

Speech

Obnoxiously posh British accent - think every accent you hear in a period piece drama. They are regularly accused of faking it. They are not.
Currently Boarded Vehicle
Age
22
Birthplace
Alternate Steampunk Earth
Children
Gender Identity
Dandy
Eyes
Hazel
Hair
Electric blue hair, dark brown elsewhere
Skin Tone/Pigmentation
Tanned white
Height
175cm (5' 9") without hat, 190cm (6' 3") with
Weight
75kg (165lbs)

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