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Captain Vasily Rurikovich is a character in Pitched Combat.
Dashing rogue, problem-solver, master duelist, marksman, hobbyist inventor
Vasily carries himself with a level of incredible arrogance so thoroughly ingrained into his nature that one need only look at his nose for an indication as to which way the ceiling is. His sleek black hair dangles over his spine in the opposite direction, tidy and neatly combed - he lost his hat long ago and still searches, in vain, for its location.
Vasily is good-looking in the same way that cheese in a mousetrap is good-looking. Once you take a bite, you don't really feel the same way.
His breath smells, alternatively, like sewage or like roses, depending on the gender of the person he's speaking to. All sorts of jewellery lines his person, although he is loathe to admit that not much of it is stolen; stolen goods are best sold as soon as possible. No matter what sort of clothing he's adorned in, he always adds his own Personal Touch. His Personal Touch being a navy blue, frilled coat that he places over any armour that he wears. He has been shot at many a time for that terrible pun.
An odd canteen sticks out from the side of his coat, reading: 'Not a Good Idea'. He refuses to share the liquid with anyone, nor to disclose its contents... this strikes many, including his former crew, as odd, considering how open he is to sharing just about every other part of him. Lastly, he rubs at his nose - many who know him say that he does this whenever he tells a lie. It is a surprise, then, that his nose has not fallen off from the erosion.
Vasily, ultimately, is interested in the welfare of others - although it usually takes him a few minutes to realize that. For often times he'll get lost in the thrill of his own story - unlike many, he prefers to make his own adventure rather than record somebody else's. When it comes down to it, though, he's quick to draw the line in the sand and put other's well-being above his own. He thrives on that sort of thing, anyway.
Despite his good-natured ideology, he's not above lying, cheating, stealing, punching someone in the face, or kicking someone in the privvies if it'll get the job done sooner. This earns him the ire of many people - both those who place the law above all else and those who he's busy sterilizing.
Nonetheless, he's an egotistical bastard who believes himself to be the best at almost everything, especially those things he's terrible at. He wants to be a legend - he already is, in his own mind - and he'll be damned if he lets something like lack of ability get in the way. However, although he is most certainly larger than life, he does possess a great deal of real skill, especially in social interactions, sword-play, and captaining a ship.
In addition, he is somewhat conscious of the dramatic strands that line the world and will not refrain from pointing out obvious inconsistencies.
When asked about his past, VASILY lets out a roaring laugh and slaps you against the back boisterously. He pulls you in close and wraps his hand around your shoulder, as if you had known him all his life. He explains that he is a Rurikovich, a powerful mercantile family grounded in the lands of Kast, though they originally hail from the ice realms to the north - this is going back several generations, of course. The family controlled - still does, in fact - many of the routes between the eastern and the southern continents, making a tidy profit.
Vasily himself was raised in entirely favourable conditions. He spent most of his time in the family's Kast estate, where he was nursed by his mother and received a barren schooling in wizardry from a lax private tutor. None of it interested him. Instead, he enjoyed spending time out on the docks with the local Kast fishermen, listening to their stories and helping them with their work. One of those fishermen, a man known to Vasily only as "Mac", served as Vasily's surrogate father, imparting upon him a strong sense of right and wrong, as well as a thrill for adventure.
His real father, Vladimir Rurikovich - a skilled wizard as well as merchant - was not much interested in Vasily, either. Vladimir preferred the younger brother - also named Vasily, though with an added 'II' - and saw his eldest son as nothing but a threat to his business' survival. "A corporation chartered by the Gods themselves would fail in his tactless hands," Vladimir once said. The father took little notice when Vasily stopped attending the classes he prescribed for him, caught up in both the stresses of managing a maritime trade route and in schooling Vasily II in the arcane arts.
Vasily never truly knew his father.
He did know his younger brother, and the more powerful youth often spent a great deal of time pounding on Vasily, for insults both real and imagined. Vasily did not enjoy time spent with Vasily II for numerous reasons, most prominent of which being the bruises he carried with him afterwards. As the two brothers grew older, the beatings stopped and the clever machinations began. Vasily II, paranoid as he was, was certain that his brother would make an attempt to claim the family business; in truth, Vasily the Elder had no intention of doing any such thing. Nonetheless, Vasily II would constantly work his way into his father's good graces and - when the time came - he was the one who received Vladimir's blessing to continue the family business.
Vasily II - once he had taken over as head - offered Vasily a commission - his own galleon, which he'd use to protect the merchant vessels that travelled along their route. Vasily accepted without reservation, as he was eager to undertake a real adventure. He had not the wisdom to see through the thinly disguised attempt to remove Vasily from the managerial centre of the business in Kast. Immediately, he asked "Mac" to accompany him, and after a good deal of prodding, the elderly fisherman signed on as the brash young man's first mate.
The two began a somewhat modest career in the protection of maritime shipping, although it was modest only in the amount they were paid, not the level of danger they faced. Pirates continually attacked the ships and attempted to loot them for all they were worth. The Gloria, as their ship was called, lost a good number of battles, although they gradually learned the pirate's tactics and - interestingly enough - they managed to avoid death and loss of ship on every occasion. Eventually, they began to defeat them, outmanoeuvre them, and even captured their ships on occasion. One such seizure resulted in their recovery of a document that revealed the true origins of the pirate attacks: they had been orchestrated by Vasily's brother in an attempt to earn naval protection from the Halvan government.
Caught between a rock and a hard place, Vasily was - surprisingly - not very angry. He had long surmised that his brother had malicious intentions, although he had thought that such assumptions were coloured by their past together. Now proven wrong, Vasily had two options: he could either fight his brother and the anonymous Pirate Lord under his employ, or leave. Deciding that the first would be suicide, he simply took the Gloria and abandoned the Rurikovich maritime shipping lanes, heading instead towards Tsuun (the largest naval capital of the time), where he began his own career as a pirate - with the begrudging approval of his first mate. He hired on a crew of commoners, brigands, and thieves and set sail.
The Tsuun ships that brought wood southward towards the wood-starved nations of Aria and Shali were systematically commandeered by Vasily, proceeding to steer them towards Halva where the wood was sold, the ship was stripped and its parts refitted onto the Gloria, and where Vasily booked passage for the prisoners back towards their homeland. For this he earned something of a good reputation - for a pirate, that is.
His list of crimes grew day by day, and after a great many exploits and adventures in Tsuun - where he lost his hat - he drew the ire of the government there. Battles with naval officers became more common and he became acutely aware of the fact that he would need to go into hiding, lest he lose his head before he made a name for himself in Asheka.
It was not long after he started sailing southward that his crew mutinied against him. They were not going to get out while the getting was still good. Mac was elected the new captain - although he had no part in the mutiny - and promptly turned the ship around. Mac allowed Vasily to leave the ship with his life, swimming towards a small island where he was treated as a god by the locals, only to be placed upon a sacrificial alter after an accidental slip of the tongue - gods, apparently, do not go to the restroom. Fleeing the cannibals hastily, he built himself a raft and continued his journey south towards Halva, this time without a crew or a ship or a hat.
He was a PIRATE. AARRRRRRRRRRR