Name: Ethan Cuskley
Skin: Fair, with freckles
Build: Thin, Gangly. Starting to put on muscle as he's growing out of his awkward teen phase.
Ethan has six fingers – (complete extra digit – mid-ray duplication) on his left hand. ((He is also left handed.))
He is also never seen without his intricate silver Celtic Cross pendant on its cord around his neck (though it is sometimes tucked into his clothing). Celtic Cross Example
The celtic cross Ethan wears acts as a powerful guise. When it is removed, his true form is revealed. He has long twisted horns, cloven hooves, a long, thin tail, sharp teeth, a forked tongue, and a twisted-looking left arm with claws.
Ethan is fair-skinned and thin, with curly hair, and freckles covering his his nose, cheeks, and over his shoulders and back. He is sometimes seen sporting stubble (his closest approximation yet to facial hair) when he is trying to make himself look older His hazel-amber eyes flash with defiance and curiosity, eager to see the world and make his mark.
Personality and Outlook:
Before leaving home, Ethan was socially awkward and ostracized in the village of Perosa. Knowing aboutEthan's unique.. circumstances, his mother did the best to shield him from potential problems and dangers. This often was in the form of close ties to anyone in the city. Not that that was overly difficult considering that most people in Perosa were already superstitious about Ethan. He never had any real friends, despite yearning for such connections. Growing up, he was very close to his mother, and a dedicated pupil in herbalism. But as he grew into a teenager, he began to feel pent-up and frustrated. He began to take an interest in girls, but between being an outcast in the village and his mother quick to call him away, nothing ever went much beyond casual chatting or people-watching. He began to feel that his mother was stifling him. She would say that he was a special boy, that he didn't need a woman to define him, or that he didn't want the complications that children would bring... but arguments became more common as Ethan felt increasingly stifled, having to keep secrets, being frustrated by not having a friend... OR girlfriend, and that he wasn't exactly cut out to be a male midwife - neither the town NOR Ethan wanted that. Not that Ethan didn't still love his mother... but he was feeling increasingly caged in Perosa... but he couldn't just... up and leave. Aside from not having the courage, how did one exactly do that? With what money? What would he do? Where would he even go..?
Eventually, Ethan's hand was forced. First, Ethan's mother... disappeared. For a couple of months, Ethan floated... hanging on, worried, hoping she'd come back... but feeling increasinly unwelcome in Perosa. But not having anywhere to go. Then... The Fall of Perosa. What started out seeming like something actually INTERESTING in Perosa - visitors from the other side of the shield! Opening trade! ... Turned into a nightmare. An invading force of beings that weren't even human. Along with only a couple others, Ethan fled Perosa, and has found himself out in the world NOT under the guidance of his mother for the first time. Ethan found himself very thankful that his mother had disappeared before the hostile invasion...
Ethan is hungry to make connections. He wants to be friendly, sociable, meet girls! He is eager to try new things, meet new people, and see the world. He's not a leader, but doesn't like to be left out of the decision-making process, wanting attention and to feel valued and important.
He can be a little guarded about personal information, having come from years of cloistered living and blatant suspicion from the townsfolk. He doesn’t want to be ostracized again, thinking that going out to new areas of the world will open up possibilities and potential for meaningful human interaction without backwater prejudices and narrow-mindedness (which his mother said was the reason for him not being accepted). Previously, he showed contempt and ridicule for superstitious accusations against him, deep down he’s scared that there might be a truth to it. However, he did believe in religious aspects, and wasn't above agreeing with another scapegoated target to draw attention away from himself.
Now, Ethan has recently discovered just how different he is... This makes him feel even stronger about wanting human connections. He wants to feel liked, and will overcompensate to reassure himself that he's still a good person. The whole girl issue is even more complicated - finding himself physically disturbing at this point, not wanting to deceive someone... but really, really wanting to at the same time. He doesn’t want to be treated different, and thus is (overly) eager to prove himself – taking unnecessary risks or participating in other activities to be ‘one of the guys’. He is thus highly susceptible to peer pressure. He will also make an attempt to fit into social settings that he finds himself in.
Ultimately, right now he feels alone and lost and scared - having lost his home - but on the other hand, having been seeking an excuse to leave it for years. He wants to find his place in the world - and be valued in the eyes of others.
Background in Brief':
Ethan grew up in the small town of Perosa, in the shadow of the Vandian Shield. His mother, Rosemary, was the town midwife who lived across the river from the majority of the rest of the old section of the town.
Rosemary was a practicing druid, following the spirits of nature. Her beliefs were a strange amalgamation between the beliefs of the Church and a more animistic worship of nature. She revered and respected the spirits of nature, gender equality (women being in touch with nature and the creative forces), and the careful mixture of respect and caution in dealing with the spirits and aspects of Nature. Rosemary believed in spirits of the earth and the presence of benign, neutral, and malign spirits. She believes that magic in and of itself is not evil, that it is a tool that, like anything, can be used for good or evil depending on the intent of the caster. She passed her beliefs onto Ethan, including the attitude that church was for people who didn't know how to read and needed the word of God to be told to them by priests. They believe in direct prayer to the spirits or saints, not needing the interpretation of a priest first.
Before Rosemary moved to Perosa, she lived in the town of ________. Rosemary had married young to a man named Sean. Together, they worked to provide care and protection to the community through the ways of nature - in the form of cures and traditional medicine. However, in a twist of fate, Sean died a few years into their marriage. Sean, and a few others in the village, became gravely ill with a strange disease, and despite Rosemary's knowledge of herbs and cures, she could do nothing to save his life. After his death, the community's faith in the ability of their healer was shaken. Some even blamed the 'witch' for causing the sickness to begin with. Left alone and childless (despite their best efforts), Rosemary left home to start a new life somewhere else. Eventually, she settled in Perosa.
However, Rosemary, a single woman and reputedly a widow, and a practioner of magic, and an outsider, was never overly welcome in the village. She filled the niche of a midwife and herbalist who knew much of medicine, but she was frequently the subject of gossip and suspicion. When Rosemary became mysteriously pregnant a year or two later, it was thanks to the necessary role she provided to the community that she wasn't driven out. She refused to name any of the men in the village as the father, or speak at all to who the father was and bore the child alone.
In truth, Rosemary had gone to a very dark place in her life following the death of her husband and rather unwelcome arrival to a new village after being pointedly no longer welcome in her hometown. She had never been able to have a child, with Sean or... others (some of the rumors about Rosemary's sexuality were not completely unfounded). She began to doubt her own abilities, if it couldn't even save her husband, and apparently had left her barren, and she began to question the will of God. She was empty, and angry and bitter. In this dark period of her life, Rosemary turned to some of the darker aspects of magic. The darker paths were a way for her to lash out against the perceived betrayal of God and Nature. Rosemary eventually found a very real summoning spell – a way to invoke a favor from these 'spirits'. Most of the magic that Rosemary had practiced always tied in with the symbiotic relationship with nature – asking a favor and working within the energy channels, maintaining a balance and working with those lighter spirits.
The results were a very jarring reality check for Rosemary. She wished for a child, and was given one... But not how she had expected. She was taken, very violently, by an entity that left a very obvious mark on the child when he arrived. Rosemary fortunately knew enough magic and/or was able to finangle a way to obtain a very powerful guise charm - to deny to everyone just how demonic her son appeared. Most especially Ethan himself. The charm made him appear to be human, with the only tell being an extra finger on his left hand. She was scared straight - back to the natural ways, attempting to distance herself from that period in her life. She believed that if she could raise her son normally, without the preconceptions of what he was predestining him to evil, that he could turn out all right. She never spoke of his father, of how he came to be, or what he truly was.
Ethan was, therefore, born into a town who from day one held him with suspicion and fear. The fact that he was born with the added bad omen of six fingers on his left hand did nothing to help his situation. He was called a warlock, and many other less than kind words by the other people of the village. Parents wouldn’t let him play with their children, pulling them aside when he was around.
Ethan, ever since he was an infant, was never without a pendant around his neck – an intricate, silver Celtic cross. His mother drilled into his mind since before he could string a coherent sentence together that he was to NEVER take it off, not while bathing, not while sleeping, never: or Bad things would happen, playing up that the consequences would be sweeping and dire. She never elaborated, instead capitalizing on the fear of the unknown that such an ominous warning conveyed. And to this day, Ethan has never removed it – while he has been curious, and probably more than once made up his mind to do it only to chicken out at the end – that ingrained fear has kept him from ever following through, to the point of protecting it or hiding it when need be.
Regardless, despite her love for her son, she did just as much to shield him from the rest of the village as the village kept their children from him. She scolded him if he tried to play with other children, saying that because he was different that the narrow-minded villagers would not understand, and other vague chidings.
She never spoke of his father, despite how many times he asked. She refused to talk of where he came from, what he looked like, or even his name. This, above all else, drove Ethan crazy – the unanswered question that didn’t come with some sort of looming dooming consequence that became the pivotal point of his need to know as opposed to the significance behind his pendent.
Ethan grew up assisting his mother with her work, learning the trade of folk medicines and herbs. Not having any friends in the village, he learned to keep himself entertained – he learned to read at his mother’s encouragement, she drove in the principles of ethics and morals of her religion to him, having him read the good book, he helped out with repairs around the house – basic carpentry and woodworking, and he’d sometimes go walking through the woods alone. But, ultimately, he was lonely for companionship. He loved his mother dearly, and was even admittedly a mama's boy, but he grew to resent living in a small village where most people disliked him.
When ethan was about fifteen, a birthmark appeared on his upper left arm, looking like some kind of scrawling arcane script that wrapped around his upper bicep. This led to arguments with his mother, and yet more lack of any real answers. This occurred at approximately the same time that Ethan was having conflicts with his mother about other issues - girls, wanting to leave Perosa, not wanting to follow her profession as a midwife, and being tired of secrets. It was yet another point of contention - his mother's opinion was it was best to just ignore, and perhaps a blessing from the spirits, showing how special he was - and yet another thing to keep secret...
One morning, on Ethan's 17th Birthday, Ethan woke up… and his mother was gone. Not dead, not having left a note to her whereabouts… just… gone. Ethan didn't want to think about the possibilities. While she was usually awake before him, this morning there were obvious signs that she had been.... more than that there were half-burned candles, signs of her working on strong protective spells, and several that he didn't recognize, books littered over the floor... But no sign of her. At first, Ethan assumed that this was some strange sort of birthday preparation, but when she didn't show after hours... he knew something was wrong. For weeks he waited, sometimes taking her place in the town when there was a need to aide an expecting woman or mix together herbs to break a fever… but it felt transient. But his waiting didn’t bring her return, and Ethan began to feel restless. At the back of his mind, he knew something bad had happened to her, and he was worried, but denial took more the place of the worry and he began to think of what he was going to do. He didn’t feel like he belonged in the village, particularly with his mother’s disappearance – the only person he really had any sort of ties to. And the more he performed her duties alone, the more he realized that he couldn’t do that for the rest of his life. Not to mention no one was comfortable with the idea of a male midwife, let alone the freaky six-fingered kid. She had told him that the outside world was different – that the people here were backwater and small-minded, and with each passing day Ethan’s desire to leave grew.