[All this] is making me feel like a damn plant.
[All this] is making me feel like a damn plant.
Name "Florens Belkonas" (true name unknown)
Age ??? (Supposedly 49)
Alignment True Neutral
Social Class Outcast
Occupation Vagabond ("ex-general")
Race Extraterrestrial ???
In 9 AR, 'Florens Belkonas' woke up in the Erth'netora with strange memories of alien landscapes -- he presumes he's been given a second chance to apologize to his wife and son and make amends for his slide into corruption and immorality, but the truth isn't that simple. At the moment, he's doing his best to get by and find any information he can about them, determined to survive.
For a clearer picture, see 'History'.[/size]
Human Form Florens is a hawkish-looking fellow. Standing at around 6'1", he is of fairly average height for a Sotoan; though broad-shouldered, he's more lanky and whipcord than bulky, though he's not quite a beanpole. His mien is one of self-discipline and solid strength: he has a ramrod posture and walks with great purpose. He keeps his curly, greying red hair cropped short.
Somewhat more unusually, he's very freckly. Every inch of his long, lined face is covered in dark freckles, from his high brow to his lantern jaw. They're not exactly a point of pride for him, but he's done his best to ignore derision. Deep-set, somewhat slanting eyes of a light grey color squint out from above his high cheekbones, liberally adorned with crow's feet. His nose -- once long and straight, if a little upturned -- is crooked from having been broken, and a deep scar runs from the left edge of his bottom lip all the way to his chin.
As for attire -- outside of combat, he'll wear whatever he comes by; while staying in a city, he's been seen to wear tunics and trousers of inexpensive make. While on the move, he carries a long woolen cloak and wears a coat of mail intended for a Sotoan scout, as well as a light helmet. His round shield (not unlike a parma) can usually be seen on his back, emblazoned in chipping paint with the emblem of the Sotoan military, iron in boss and frame.
True Form The entity which calls itself Florens Belkonas is naturally a sort of fungus that can restructure itself at will, changing its shape and color and consistency. It can appear like anything, really, but its most natural form would seem to be a mass of pale fungus, pulsing and whipping appendages coiling round one another. It can creep or stretch fluidly to nearly any length or width, mushrooming out, but in order to increase its mass it must join with another of its kind. When its human guise is completely cast aside, it smells very strongly of mold.
When it wants to feed or attack, it can unfold to reveal(/create) a variety of bonelike teeth and muscle-like plant matter to chew, strangle, or subdue. It's a ghastly sight.
Human food hurts it in nearly any form. The best thing for it to eat would be dead plant and animal matter, and it's very likely that occasionally Belkonas dissolves and goes on the hunt for food, especially when weak, like some horrible werewolf that you never, ever wanted to know about.
Pride practically defines Florens' actions, especially now that he's got something to be humiliated about. He plays at being humble, but he trails behind him a whole string of victories and a life of accomplishments. He's proud of himself, proud of his men (such as they were), and proud, to some extent, of his country and its system of government. You'll be hard-pressed to convince him he's wrong about much of anything.
In many ways, Belkonas is an ass. To start with, he has no indoor voice. He's somewhat hard of hearing, but not nearly as much as he lets on. In addition, he's very Opinionated: he's angry about Morrim, he's angry about spellswords in Auberon's Destiny, he's angry about all the young people on the Council, and he's angry about his own son -- a notorious fop -- and his inability to connect with his family. He's an angry man, whether he's stewing quietly or shouting. And, being Practical and No-Nonsense, he's probably angry at you, especially if you're trying to foist magical jargon on him. He hates magical jargon.
Florens has the critical, discerning eye of a skeptic. He has a tendency to pretend that he's a simpler man than he actually is: for example, he'll pretend he hates magic and he'll say he's dubious of its ability to go much further than babbling over dusty books and ruining things, like his life, and he has no time for it. But he's all ears if he thinks you have something important to say, and he's quick at learning if he thinks what he's learning is worthwhile; you just have to prove to him that what you're approaching him with is worth his time. As we'd put it, he's a firm believer in the law of parsimony, but he's perfectly capable of grasping complexity (and even enjoys figuring things out) when he has to.
He's frightened of familial obligation, of living on, of seeing the world around him change -- he's frightened of everything but death, something he thought he'd find long ago on the battlefield. He's afraid of disorder. He's insecure about his own honor and now especially so, rudely cast -- as he sees it -- out of his element. On another level, he's subconsciously afraid of realizing what he is: he's got an itch he can't scratch, the feeling that everything is out of place and can't be fixed until he makes a move he's unwilling to make. Everything is a risk.
He's aware he's not good at the whole family thing, or even the outwardly compassionate thing, or... anything interpersonal, really. Now more than any other time in "his life", he's doing his best. Without structure, he's not always sure what to do, but he's at least trying.
[ TW: suicide (honor-related) ]
The universe is a wide and terrible place, and sometimes things find themselves thrown from the heavens and down to unfamiliar climes, injured and afraid. Sometimes these things are made of intelligent saprophyte, and they eat organisms, living and dead, so that they can take on their memories and shapes.
Unfortunately, the "Florens Belkonas" that flounders about Soare now is not the Belkonas that claimed an honorable death in late Summer 6 AR shortly after the deposition of General Barillus and the purge of Auberon's Destiny. This Florens is a living alien fungus that, in the process of its short and generally unpleasant life, got tossed down to Soare and, in self-defense, devoured and replaced the first thing it saw, which happened to be a man who had just committed suicide. Traumatized and frightened, it identified so closely with the man's memories that it forgot it wasn't him.
As yet, it does not know that it is not Belkonas. Whatever happens, it will likely be fully devoted to the persona for the long run, however. For all intents and purposes, it is Belkonas, even though the "real" Florens fell on his sword some years ago.
As for the memories of that Florens, his life is as follows.
Florens was born to a merchant lord -- Gnaeus Belkonas -- in Reine in 160 BR. He grew up with a father who steadily gambled away his fortune, distraught that his mother had died in childbirth with their only son.
When things came to a head, he fled to Madrid and enlisted, eschewing his father's loose guild ties in favor of Auberon's Destiny. He showed promise and was able to appeal to one of his father's many friends from his travels, who after a period of years gave him the social nudge he needed to move up in rank.
By 127 BR, the 33-year-old captain and his company were participants in the Second Origa War. In 124 BR, Belkonas' company defended a prominent Sotoan outpost at Nejem on the Morrimian-Ashokan border for long enough for reinforcements to arrive; the Morrimians' assault was stealthy and unexpected and, if permitted to reclaim Nejem, they would have caused serious damage.
Toward the end of the war, Belkonas was badly injured. Almost exactly as the Mianorite population came over, he was sent to recover with extended family in Hohoemi.
In 120 BR he met Phoebe, who would later become his wife. She was a healer by profession and helped care for him while in Hohoemi; they fell in love. Later, he would say that defending Nejem from the Morrimians had been easier than making the solemn woman laugh. She came from a wealthy family in Hohoemi, much wealthier than his father had ever been, much older and much more stable. She was a widow; her previous husband had died, leaving her alone to care for her 12-year-old son, Alcaeus. When they decided to marry, her family greatly approved, though it was all too swift and Phoebe would later regret it. Nonetheless, Florens became a father to Alcaeus, who was curious indeed about the struggle with the Morrimians and the defense of Nejem.
In the confusion of the Mianorite migration, there was little to do and little to be done. It was surreal: a time when gods walked the earth, when natural power structures had been ripped asunder and replaced with foreigners from another world. Florens, a practical man, would never forget those years. For once, the rigid structure he'd grown up with was muddled. Nobody knew where they were meant to be, and time was slow, slow, slow, and yet very fast...
In 117 BR, Belkonas was able to get back into contact with Auberon's Destiny. He moved back to Madrid and Phoebe opted to move with him, purchasing property there. Some semblance of order, it seemed, had been restored.
In the remaining years of the distortion, Belkonas' victories, popularity with his men, and connections allowed him to move up considerably in rank. By 30 BR, he had attained the rank of general. But a more grueling, unpleasant "century" he could not imagine.
0 AR had come; the distortion was done. Florens was unsure how to feel about the backlash against the Mianorites, but he contributed his fair share of unpleasantness in the name of his guild and the Sotoan military. His work also drew him further and further away from his family, and he became distant, embittered, and sour. Gone was the determined young man who had defended Nejem and won numerous victories on the Ashokan front -- now he was a bureaucrat, socially unprepared for the role and feeling that his tactical talents were gone to waste in infighting and temple-sacking.
By 3 AR, his relationship with his son -- who had always loved his stepfather -- was strained and breaking. They saw little of each other and Alcaeus had begun to grow accustomed to a wealthy life in Madrid. The Dark Conquest interrupted any attempt Belkonas might have entertained to reconnect with his son; in 4 AR, he was called off to the easternmost border to help prepare for what seemed a long and wretched war. The year that followed then was one of the worst of Belkonas' life: a stalemate with a seemingly undefeatable conqueror, the seconds ticking away as generals squabbled and waited for the assault that would put all of Soare under Andromalius' command.
And then Andromalius abdicated, leaving a wave of refugees and a gaping wound of confusion in his wake.
When Belkonas returned to Madrid, there was little time for his family. His son had become a fop, drinking away his time and indebting himself with a gambling habit that reminded Florens far too much of his own father. Eventually, Belkonas was unable to get his son out of trouble without serious maneuvering. He fell into favor with Gilead Saturninus Barillus, a man whom he had no particular like for but with whom he had rubbed elbows in the course of Sotoan politics.
When Barillus was seized and the guild purged of corruption, Belkonas realized that, guilty by association, he had few choices. Disgusted at himself, his actions, and his stern and often vitriolic treatment of his family, he arranged -- with the last of the funds he'd earned from being an ally to Barillus -- for Phoebe and Alcaeus to "disappear", fleeing to Ashoka and exchanging their old names for new ones.
Naturally, he did what any honorable Sotoan general would do when faced with accusations of such cowardice. In 6 AR, late summer, he ran himself through.
...and then he woke up in the autumn of 9 AR in the middle of the Erth'netora -- near two dead Sotoan military scouts, likely of Dido's Children, both badly-marred. He looted them and then found his way to a nearby farmstead east of the Morrimian border, where he was taken in, assumed to be the sole survivor of... something. He was addled, did not speak the tongue, and carried only a meagre amount of supplies -- if he was a soldier, he had been badly shocked and confused.
The farmer's daughter would remember "the cold man", taciturn and gruff with his thick Sotoan accent and his broken Morrimian, who worked on their farm for a month. Who was badly sick at every bite of food he had, was wan, bled a thick pale substance that smelled of mold. They said he was Wrong and he had to leave soon.
For his own part, Belkonas knew something had happened, but not what. Imbued with disconcerting powers and imagining that some god somewhere had given him a second chance, he made his first order of business the finding of his wife and son -- to apologize, for what it was worth. The news of his own death has shaken him, confirming his suspicions that it wasn't simply a dream -- he was actually back from the dead somehow -- but nothing more so than the disposal of his own corpse.
This wasn't the first thing in his life that had ever defied logic. If he'd lived through the time distortion, when living Mianorite gods had walked Soare, then he could get through this.
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