NAME → Robin Redbreast
SPECIES → Demigod
AGE → 3000 (4000)
BIRTHDAY → Animus 18th
HEIGHT → 5'11"
WEIGHT → 180lbs.
EYES → Brown
HAIR → Black (sort of)
NATIONALITY → European
SEXUALITY → Complicated
THEME → Fly Little Bird by Seanan McGuire
For all intents and purposes, Robin usually appears human. He appears in his mid-twenties, with an average height and pretty good build. He's an albino, so his skin is paler than anything. His hair is dyed black, with a few white stripes kept in his bangs. His eyes are a nondescript brown color, but they gain a red glint whenever he feels intense emotion. He tends to wear long-sleeves shirts and thin gloves, leaving little skin exposed. He hates wearing shoes, however, and will often wander around barefoot. In general, one could say that he is ridiculously handsome, if not a little creepy looking.
The problem is that, before you even start talking to him, Robin feels... unsettling. Something about him is just not right. Part of it is in the way he moves--it's too perfect, too precise, too calculated. He moves his eyes before he remembers that he can move his head. He crouches and climbs on things and has a bizarre understanding of personal space. Furthermore, his body builds up a sort of energy that's conducted and released out into the world through other people. If you touch his skin, there's a chance that you'll feel a strange shudder, like there's a draft in the room. It'll go away in a minute, once his energy has leveled out, but it's still enough to clue people in to the idea that he's not quite what he appears to be.
Robin hates showing his true form to other people. He assumes that most people would find him too hideous to ever like him--which is a whole can of worms in itself. There's also the problem that, unless contained in a warded room, his true form practically oozes magical energy, so anyone would be able to find him. It's difficult for him to maintain the human illusion for longer than a week because of the physical and mental strain it puts on him, and sometimes using magic in his human form causes it to flicker in and out a bit; unfortunately for him, he has to let it down sometime.
When he shifts from one form to another, his body changes under a thin veil of static. He gets a little taller, like he's been stretched up a couple of inches. His joints all become sharper, his limbs become thinner. His fingers stretch and turn to claws, thin and spider-like. His face turns gaunt and shallow-cheeked, longer and bonier than a normal human's. His hair turns ghost white and his eyes turn completely red--no whites or pupils. Unsurprisingly, they are the exact color of blood. His teeth become sharp, small, and pointed. A symmetrical design appears across his forehead in a darker shade than his skin. The design constantly (albeit slowly) changes. His unusual movements in his human form make much more sense in this one. He's often hunched over and has been known to skitter around on all fours. One can see how he might have been human once, but those days are long gone.
The first part of his personality, the one everyone sees, is Robin. He's a smooth talker, kind of a joker. He likes to poke fun at other people and trick them. He is also pretty blunt, not at all ashamed of things that are usually rude, crude, or socially unacceptable. Essentially a bully, he likes having fun at the expense of others, and his highest priority seems to be to have a good time. He can be irresponsible, controlling, or even cruel if he gets enough gratification out of it. He's also got a healthy sense of adventure, a love of fighting, and a thirst for knowledge. He loves getting involved in other people's business, and likes to have a little input in almost everything. He appears as a wildcard, his moods shifting constantly and his motions unpredictable. He's "morally grey" at its finest, and seems to make up the rules to life as he goes. You never know whether he's going to take you seriously, invade your personal space, or just skip to making you miserable.
Underneath that personality is what he considers his true self, or the part of him known as "Riem". Robin's very existence is tied to serving his God, and he holds dominion over all pain. As such, he embodies it. He causes it in others, yes, and he drinks up agony wherever he can find it. He also knows that pain makes people stronger, and uses it to try and get the people around him to overcome what hurts them. He lives in a delicate balance between causing pain and taking it away. However, his powers are dependent on how much pain he can surround himself with, and because he's terrified of being powerless if something like Crow were to happen again, he compensates by causing pain within himself. He intentionally creates situations of conflict and unhappiness in everything that he does. His life unintentionally lends to this as well; four-thousand years of wandering has made his heart cold. He's bitter at the world and at people and he wants to keep most of them far away from him. He is lonely, angry, and tells himself he prefers it that way. In his mind, there is no other way he could possibly have it. This is his fate, and denying this would be denying his God and his purpose for being, just like Crow denied his purpose and brought their wonderful world to ruin.
There's a third aspect to him that he keeps hidden away--in part, he may not even realize it's there. This is "Alex", a part of himself that is both at his core and hiding right underneath his guise of "everything is fine". This is, perhaps, the true Robin, one from before his destiny was thrust upon him and everything he loved was taken away from him. Though he knows his fate and he understands his duty, he secretly hates it as much as he loves it. He doesn't want to be alone anymore. He desperately wants affection and comfort. He is horribly starved of positive attention, presuming that anything anyone could say about him is a lie or a misguided statement because they could not possibly know how horrible a person he is. He is terribly insecure about his albinism, but is downright terrified of letting anyone he likes see his true form. He clings to people who are kind to him and does genuinely want to make some of them happy. But he confuses what would make people happy, often relying more on physical gestures than emotional ones. He stumbles into friendship like an awkward child, at once both shy and unforgivably blunt. He's haunted by terrible nightmares and is afraid that he'll be left all alone again. He's so tired of being miserable that he wants desperately to die, barely able to see the genuine, worthwhile good in other people anymore. But more than that, at the bottom of everything, what he wants the most is just to be able to curl up next to someone warm and have them hold him and let him sleep and know, without a doubt, that they won't ever leave him no matter what.
These things all exist in the same head, three parts to a whole that both feed and tear at each other. He knows that if one becomes too unbalanced, his already shaky ability to function would just cease--he would break down, and he doesn't know whether or not he would ever be able to pick up the pieces again.
Once, in a world known as Gratia, there were nine Gods. They held dominion over all existence, in all the worlds in all the stars. Gratia and the beings within it showed promise, so they gave them a chance--nine humans were turned into the Nine Kings, tasked with ruling over their respective domains and maintaining balance in their lands.
For centuries, people prospered. Gratia's landscape flourished into beautiful kingdoms, and its citizens were happy. Many say that what happened next was no one's fault but their own, as the Nine Kings were, after all, turned from the selfish flesh and hearts of mere mortals. One of the Nine was not satisfied with what he had, and began to take land from the others through trickery and open warfare. The other Kings were swallowed up by the conflict and forced to either fight for or against him. Their battles took from the people's lives carelessly, and so in the end, it was common men that finally rose up against their Kings and brought an end to the fighting. Each of the Kings were captured or killed, and in just a decade, none of them were left alive.
People continued on with their lives as best they could. Mortals took the places of the Kings and their territories were divided up over a long thousand years. Life never returned to its previous splendor, but the lesson of the Nine Kings was passed down and minded from generation to generation. They did not want their world to fall into shadow again.
But there was a prophecy; it was delivered by a half-crazed hag in a remote village, but her word slowly spread from mouth to mouth, from town to town, from the lowlands to the highest mountains. Soon everyone on the Eastern continent was talking about it, and news traveled quickly by ship to the West. The Nine Kings would be born again. Their spirits were too strong to stay dead forever.
Rumor fed fear, and people's anxieties rose into a panic. In the midst of the chaos, a small religious sect known as "the priesthood" stepped up and began to take charge. They said that their Gods would not create beings meant to torture them, and that the Nine could be saved and brought to a peaceful salvation before their hearts could turn cold. They ordered that all children who showed any signs of strangeness--deformities, discolorations, strange behavior, odd mannerisms--be brought forth and tested for signs of godly magic within them. The priesthood began what turned into a world-wide search for the Kings, and many children in the following five years were sent off, even kidnapped under suspicion of being a reincarnation. Many children were wounded or died, because the only way to test if they were one of the Nine was to cause them pain until they showed some sign of otherworldly power.
One by one, reincarnations were found and locked away, far from the eyes of anyone but the priesthood. They were silent for several years, and people felt uneasy relief... but these children grew into young adults and came to hate the ones that locked them up. The priesthood's plan failed miserably when they escaped, killing hundreds and eventually climbing their way back towards a point of power. However, just like the ones before them, the Nine Kings were not without greed. One of them started to take from the others, having found a way to steal their very souls for himself. There was a battle in the ruins of Saltus city, and there they destroyed each other, their deaths bringing an unholy sickness that blighted the kingdom for years to come.
But the Nine Kings brought about their own ends--or so the people were more than willing to think. Humans lived on for another two-thousand years, building and advancing, the priesthood and their old gods remaining as the only relics of the last world. Eventually, Gratia was a technological marvel, a splendid spiraling world of tall buildings and machines, and people began to live in excess. They took too much, lived too quickly. The world around them slowly started to cave in on itself, until one day everything collapsed. Cities sank into the ocean, crops were eaten by locusts, plagues wiped out entire populations. Hurricanes and earthquakes opened up the earth and strange monsters began to pour out of the openings--twisted beings and shadows of things that had previously only lived in nightmares. The trees whispered in agony, and humanity's greed threatened to swallow them whole. As the people of Gratia fled underground, the priesthood preached that this was their punishment. They had grown too high, too mighty, too gluttonous, just as the Nine Kings had before them.
The few survivors lived in the earth for a very long time, digging out caves for themselves. They lost everything, their splendor cast aside in the hopes of mere survival. They lived this way for a millennium, adapting to the harsh world but forever confined by the very stone they needed for protection. Eventually, the surface was calm and clean enough that they could emerge, but they did so with hesitation.
In current times, there are many small villages and cities established on the surface world. Most still live underground, however, often put into the position of having to work for the "progress" of the world above them. Science is in its youth again--people are more concerned with simply making a living for themselves, and no one remembers how to use the technology of long ago. There are still monsters, yes, but there are also those select few who devote themselves to keeping the people safe from them. People rarely live without fear, but at least they are able to live.
Alex was born during a time of suspicion and fear, back when searches were still being made for the reincarnations. He lived in a pretty big city, which helped keep his existence hidden. He had only his mother around, and while she would much rather be rid of him, she kept him busy and out of sight as much as she could. It wouldn't be long until he started wandering off on his own, though. His albinism made him stick out like a sore thumb, and as he got older, he got into more and more trouble. At age ten, he was finally snatched up off the streets and carted off under the claim that he might be one of the dangerous children everyone was talking about--one of the reincarnations of one of the Nine Kings.
He doesn't remember the torture very well. He was prodded a lot, cut and burned until he started healing up faster than he should. From there he was shipped away to a "sanctuary" and locked up, on-and-off, for two years. This sanctuary was where all the other reincarnations were being kept by a few members of the priesthood. Their goal was to educate the nine children in their ways, partly assuring their docility, and partly assuring that the most powerful beings in the world would be under their thumbs. Alex spent a lot of his time chained up in the dungeon as punishment for stints of violence and, on better days, delinquency. He never took very kindly to any of it, filled with rage more than he was filled with any divine guidance. He eventually grew to prefer hiding alone in the dungeon more than listening to the priesthood talk and chant and forcefully discipline the others. He hated it, and wanted so badly to leave--but he had no power. The will of the Gods that they spoke of meant nothing to him, save for his strange ability to withstand and heal from even the most severe of punishments.
One day, he was sitting around in his cell, waiting with dull irritation for someone to let him out, when one of the other children came running down the stone steps and into the dim light in front of the bars. "Hey, ghost boy!" The older child called into his cell (that was the nickname many of the other children had for him because of his white hair), "You want to get out of here?" The boy was grinning, had a spark in his eye. He was clutching a ring of keys and his fingers were slicked with blood.
He emerged from the cell to find that the older child had killed several of the priests, and then convinced a few of the other children to do the same. Nearly fifteen, he had authority over all of them them. What's more, his powers had just awakened and he had dominion over souls; he was strong and fast and could command like no other. Every other priesthood member there was murdered, and since they were so far from civilization... no one on the outside realized for years. The children claimed the place as their own. Some of them knew nothing else than the priesthood and the stone walls, but the older boy was quickly able to convince them to follow him. Forced to work together for survival, the Nine quickly became like a family, with the eldest boy in charge.
The eldest boy trusted Alex right away, but the others didn't. The same thing the eldest saw as useful, the others saw as frightening. Alex was known for being violent and always getting in trouble, and preferred to stick to himself. Soon after all of the Nine had been found and brought up, however, he met Sandria and Callista. They were twins, conjoined from the shoulders down. Their bizarre appearance had always isolated them from the other children, but since Alex was in a similar situation... he ended up staying close to them and making sure that they could keep up with the rest of the group. Both Sandria and Callista of them were incredibly kind, despite everything, and eventually they came to think of each other as brother and sisters. Sandria figured they were all family, and Callista decided they should have new names to show that all nine of them belonged together. They picked the names of birds, and Alex reluctantly played along. The twins became Finch, and Alex became Robin.
Their attitudes eventually passed along to the rest of the children. They picked Blackbird, Woodpecker, Sparrow, Linnet, Nightingale, and Falcon. The eldest picked the name Crow, to show that he was a part of it too--but he was becoming wary of the sway that Finch and Robin were starting to hold over the rest of the group. While Crow held the children out of authority, Finch held them out of love. Robin, himself, over the three years they spent free together, developed into an intelligent, clever, and dependable young man. The other six looked to them for guidance as much as they looked to Crow.
One day, when Alex was fifteen years old, Crow decided it was time they started moving. He rallied them up, calling for them, as brothers and sisters, to reclaim what they had lost. They were all old enough to make the journey, and those who's powers had awakened agreed that this was their purpose. Finch had recently awakened themselves, holding dominion over life. They assured Robin that this course of action was what their ancestors had done, but he held some doubts. He was alone in this, and the others assumed it was because he just hadn't awakened yet himself. While the others were all changing--starting to look more slender an pointed and inhuman, he remained the same.
They traveled, making their way towards the ancient, ruined city of Saltus. Crow said they would make their proper stand there. On the way, people started to realize what had happened, and members of the priesthood were sent to retrieve them. The Crow commanded that they be destroyed. Then kings started to send assassins after them--Crow commanded that these, too, should die. Eventually, small armies were being sent in the hopes that they would fall, and Crow himself delighted in the slaughter. By the time they got to Saltus, they had the world's attention--but some of them were starting to waver. They didn't like this life; not one of killing and warfare. They wanted to go back to living peacefully, when they were just a family living peacefully in the woods.
Robin was the first to say anything, having felt this from the start. He confronted Crow in front of all of them, arguing with him, saying they shouldn't be doing this. He didn't care about what the humans did--they were barely above trash in his eyes--but his family was unhappy. His brothers were hurt, his sisters were scared. They doubted Crow's ability to lead, and he was tired of them following Crow if all they would do is kill. That, he knew, was not what they were supposed to do. To the shock of everyone, he called him out on his mad venture for power, and Crow was absolutely livid. No one ever went against Crow's orders, no one had ever disobeyed him before. Crow found silent agreement in the others' eyes and stormed out in a rage, disappearing into the night.
Suddenly, Robin was left with all of them looking at him expectantly. A little shaken by what he'd just done, he called that they all camp out, and wait for Crow to come back in the morning. Surely, he would find his sense again and return to them, and they could re-think this plan. They could find their destinies, and find them the right way. Finch, who had been feeling strangely anxious for several days, told him that they were worried about Crow, and about the others. Robin did his best to assure them that things would be all right in the end, and they hesitantly agreed with him. Eventually all the children fell asleep, the silence of the city covering them in an uneasy slumber.
Robin awoke in the middle of the night from a nightmare, but the feeling of dread didn't leave him even as his awareness returned. Finch, already awake, told him that the others had gotten up and wandered off, one by one, but she was too scared to follow them. Knowing that something was wrong, they went together to the main temple in the middle of the city, tracing their instincts to the source. When they reached the inner chamber, they found Crow standing in the middle, bathed in moonlight, the bodies of their brothers and sisters scattered around him. There was blood everywhere. They were all dead, torn apart.
Crow was laughing. "Hello, brother. I've figured out the most marvelous thing." He had discovered how to steal away the souls of the living and use them to make himself even stronger. They were all going to turn on him eventually, he explained, because they were weak. They were afraid--but no longer. "Now they have nothing to be afraid of."
Crow would have killed Robin too if Finch hadn't protected him--they shoved him out of the way, taking the worst of the blow instead. Robin was badly injured, his chest torn open by magic. He was frozen in horror--but something inside of him clicked when he saw Finch fall to the ground, covered in blood. He stood there, staring unseeingly down as Callista agonizingly sobbed at the death of her other half.
Robin's blood started to pick itself up off the floor.
As Crow was about to try one last time, Robin felt his own blood as an extension of himself and threw it at his brother, the edge turning as sharp as a knife. Crow's hand was severed before he could even realize it. In a rush of sudden awareness Robin reached out towards Crow's blood and twisted it, crushing him from the inside and bending him like a broken puppet. Crow crumpled, falling to the floor in a heap, the souls of his family escaping back into the world as ghosts, never to reincarnate again. Against his own volition, Robin's blood seeped back into his wounds and stitched them up as if they'd never been there.
Callista was calling for him. She begged him to let her die like this and not to bury her. She wanted her spirit to continue on as a ghost so that she could be with Sandria forever. Robin granted her last wish, crouched over her body and holding what was left of her as her life slipped away. He heard a steady whisper in his head, like a heartbeat, speaking his true name--even as he wished there were someone left to turn him into a ghost too.
Awaken, Riem, seer for the Gods. We give you the gift of dominion over pain.
Alone and heartbroken, he left the ruins, the horror of the massacre looming over the stones and seeping between the cracks. It rose as a plague that haunted the kingdom for many years, as if the land could not let go of the terrible things that had happened there.
The last of the Nine Kings, he wandered around for thousands of years. He watched civilizations rise and fall, watched humans try to explain away religion and magic. He watched history become warped, ending as a sad imitation of itself. He watched society crumble and retreat underground, and he's watched their slow struggle up towards the surface. He did what he was destined to do--he lived in pain and brought it to those who deserved it. His blood would not let him die, but he wished it would, and he slipped further and further into cracks of bitterness and loathing. His judgement started to fade until he eventually realized it was all pointless. Humans would bring about pain all on their own. They didn't even need him. Not really.
As of late, he'd settled into Skeleton City, undisguised and creeping around the darker parts of the town in his true form. It wasn't long until trouble found him, and he let himself get captured by a group of police who dealt with monsters in the city. When the small group of special operatives saw him live even after they tried to burn him to death (something that should have worked on most monsters), he was locked up again. The desperate chief left Robin in the hands of an equally desperate ex-soldier, hoping that they would both benefit from figuring out how to kill or control him. While Robin was initially cruel to him, they eventually started to see eye-to-eye. They were both alone, both fighters. They were both chasing after things they knew they could never have. Eventually, Robin saved the man's life, earning his trust. He disguised himself as a human again and both he and Vincent (that was the man's name) were able to convince the chief to let them work together for their mutual benefit. Somehow it worked out, and they started something called the Stray Dog. Half of the day it was a nightclub--the other half was devoted to the collection of information, hunting down monsters, solving crimes, taking down criminals the law couldn't quickly reach, and collecting up 'strays' from around town who could help them out.
Robin treated them largely as pawns--the whole thing is another game to him. He'd hoped to use the whole thing to his advantage one way or another, but he'd found that his goals were, strangely enough, starting to shift toward's Vincent's hopes and ideals. From here, he was suddenly dragged to the wonderful world(s) of Accord, where he spends his time pretending that most of this never happened.
All magic users on his world have something called a "limiter", which determines the conditions under which they can use magic. His limiter is blood, so he can essentially do anything he wants so long as he uses blood to do it. This can be as simple as controlling someone's blood and immobilizing them to drawing a casting circle with his own blood to create an impassible barrier. His blood also heals him very quickly to the point of never letting him die, which is unfortunate for everyone, really.
On top of this, his demigod nature gives him control over pain. He can give it or take it away, though he often does this subconsciously. He is literally fueled by pain--if he is not experiencing enough of it in himself or in others, his abilities will weaken. His not-human-ness also gives him the ability to communicate telepathically and share his experiences with other people through a mind-meld of sorts, but this connection only works through him touching his forehead to someone else's (where the symbols would be if he were in his true form).
ODDS & ENDS
- Years in his world are 450 days long. So if he says he's 3000 years old, he's really closer to 4000.
- It is a little known fact that Robin enjoys sweets, but even less known is the fact waffles are his favorite food.
- He's got some sort of inhuman knack for music, and it's pretty much one of his favorite things ever.