Name: Stepney Ezequiel Cruz
School: George Hunter High School
Hobbies and Interests: Money and making money, poker, three-card monte, Magic: The Gathering, Hearthstone, water polo, rock climbing, jazz music
Appearance: Stepney is a tall and slender young man, reaching a height of 510 and weighing 168lbs. His long legs and arms have a good amount of lean muscle to them, thanks to his interests in rock climbing and water polo. His family is from Puerto Rico, and this, combined with the aforementioned active hobbies, means Stepney maintains an olive skin tone. Stepney has deep set grey eyes, with rather bushy eyebrows, and wears contact lenses, as he is slightly short sighted.
Stepneys hair is jet black in colour, and always kept at a medium length, reaching around halfway down his neck at the back, although he has been known to dye or bleach it from time to time, or when hes been dared to do so; currently, his hair features neon green tips due to one of these dares. As for his hairstyle, Stepney keeps it a medium length on the right side, and combed over and messily ruffled on the left. He has a small goatee that he has also considered dying, but that is currently the same jet black colour as his hair.
Stepney has a very extensive wardrobe, but the style of clothing he wears is generally the same from day to day. He has a penchant for button-up shirts worn over a t-shirt, and wears either smart jeans or chinos to go with them. One of his favourite outfits, and the one he wore when he was abducted, is an unbuttoned red and white checked button-up shirt, worn over a white t-shirt which features the Well Played! speech bubble from Hearthstone in the centre, along with a pair of black jeans, and smart brown shoes in desperate need of polishing.
Biography: Stepney is the only child of Diego and Irina Cruz. His father works as the manager for a pet store, and his mother works at an insurance brokers. Diego and Irina met in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and dated for several years before marrying. Their honeymoon took them through Chattanooga, and they liked the city so much they decided to move there, and two years after their move, Irina gave birth to Stepney. Diego began working for the pet store due to his great love of animals, so there has always been at least one pet of some sort in the Cruz household since Stepney was a baby. Currently he shares the house with Tucker the beagle and Samantha the leopard gecko.
As he himself likes to describe it, Stepney was a mischievous child from the moment he left the womb. He would throw his toys and food to the floor for no particular reason, giggling as his parents picked them up. Much of his toddlerhood was spent causing his family a good deal of distress by hiding in various locations around the house, waiting for them to find him. Though it often wore them out, they absolutely adored Stepney, and were very reluctant to punish him for this behavior, especially as he was much better behaved around other people.
Stepneys early childhood was a happy one, but things began to change when he moved on to preschool. He struggled to differentiate his playmates from one another, and would make friends with someone on one day, only to not recognise them the next day until they spoke to him. Stepney didnt realise anything was wrong; he assumed that everyone else around him had the same issues with recognising people as he did. However, he did notice that nobody else was having as much trouble making friends as he was, so he grew more upset and withdrawn, struggling to maintain friends, with the notable exception of Aimee, a girl he was able to recognise each day due to the fact she was in a wheelchair.
Stepneys parents just assumed he was growing out of his mischievous phase, so did little to investigate his sudden quietness. However, they too became distressed when they realised that he even had difficulty recognising them and differentiating them from each other. One notable occasion saw Stepney seem to figure out who Irina was in the morning, only to struggle to recognise her in the afternoon due to the fact shed had a haircut. Eventually they decided that there had to be something more than simple shyness at play, and so arranged to take Stepney to the hospital to see whether the issue could be traced.
Over the period of around a month, Stepney was subjected to several assessments and tests to try and deduce what the issue might be with him. Eventually, he was diagnosed with developmental prosopagnosia, and two further tests supported this diagnosis. This meant that he was unable to recognise people through their facial features, or even to differentiate between two different faces. Stepney and his parents were informed that, unfortunately, whilst people with some forms of prosopagnosia could develop the ability to recognise faces, those with developmental prosopagnosia are never able to do so.
This, understandably, was very difficult for Stepney to take. He didnt want to be seen as weird or different by his soon-to-be classmates; some of them already avoided him because of his inability to remember them on sight. He withdrew even further into his shell, talking only to people like Aimee who he could instantly recognise, and his parents were at a loss for what to do, themselves struggling to come to terms with their sons disorder.
Fortunately, the first year of Stepneys education saw a couple of things improve his mood immensely. The first was the fact that his class was a mix of children hed gone to preschool with, and unfamiliar faces; everyone was learning each others names and growing comfortable around each other, so Stepney found that he was not the only one struggling with recognising people on sight, putting him much more at ease and making him feel much less weird. The second was that he was already preparing himself for a shift in his life, going into the world of education. He made a promise to himself that he was going to work as hard as he could to make, and keep, as many friends as he possibly could.
It was difficult at first for Stepney to find a way to effectively recognise his classmates without difficulty. Clothing was rarely a reliable way of telling who someone was day to day, and he had a number of experiences where he suddenly struggled to recognise somebody because they tied their hair up. His first-grade teacher showed concern, as Stepney was falling a little behind in his classes, so focused on overcoming his disorder was he. However, after a discussion with his parents, this concern lessened somewhat; even though she didnt fully understand Stepneys disorder, it was clear he didnt require additional help, as his homework, done when Stepney was able to solely focus on it, was always of a high quality.
Piece by piece, over Stepneys first three years of school, he developed systems to help overcome his prosopagnosia. Hairstyles and colour ended up being his main way of differentiating people, and if he couldnt recognise someone through that, due to them cutting or dying or changing their hair in some way, he looked for other notable features, such as glasses or hearing aids. He grew to learn the way different people walked and talked, and other personal quirks that have him some clue of who they were. Some part of Stepney actually enjoyed doing this; he found a good amount of satisfaction in the challenge, and considering it as a game rather than as a task helped him grow more comfortable with his prosopagnosia.
Of course, recognising his classmates was of no use to Stepney if he wasnt also able to be friends with most of them, and although even at a young age he was prone to sarcastic quips, he did his best to make sure that his presence was always appreciated by those he considered friends, messaging them after school if theyd been absent, or giving them a comforting shoulder at lunchtimes when they looked sad. What really propelled him to popularity in some of his classmates eyes, and admittedly infamy in some others, was an event when he was 9 years old. He discovered, one lunchtime, a banana that had been sitting at the bottom of his bag for over a week, and his friend offered him a dollar to eat part of it. After a moments hesitation, Stepney did it, easily taking his prize off of his friend. Over the next couple of weeks, more and more of Stepneys friends started offering him money in return for doing something, ranging from doing their homework to other small dares, and soon enough, he became well known as the guy who could be persuaded to do most things so long as there was cash on the line. Stepney was more than happy to have this reputation, although he will instantly turn people down if their request is obviously dangerous or involves hurting someone in any way. As with his prosopagnosia, he enjoyed challenging himself to complete pretty much any task set of him, and as far as he saw it, a moment of potential discomfort was more than worth the monetary reward afterwards.
As Stepney grew older, his desire to earn more money grew stronger. It was simple, to him; he liked the feeling of always having money on him, as it allowed him to be able to do more, and buy anything he had his eye on, but he didnt want to just be given the money by his parents. He wanted the satisfaction and personal pride of knowing the bills in his wallet had been earned through his own talents and hard work, and an idea began to form in his mind. Stepneys family had always been very big on card games, playing games like go fish together on rainy days or on vacations when he was younger, which as he grew older became casual games of poker or blackjack. Stepney loved these games, enjoying how much strategy and planning was involved for just a pack of cards. He also enjoyed the challenge that his prosopagnosia dealt him; unable to read his parents' faces during poker, he was forced to rely solely on his intuition and his gut instinct.
He started to set up a few poker games with his friends after school or at lunch. At first, these were just casual affairs like with his parents, betting for chips and the like, but he began to suggest they play for actual money instead. Stepney, with more experience in the game in comparison to many of his classmates, won more often than he lost. Whilst this proved lucrative at first, after about a year, Stepney began to run out of people to play against for money, either because they were sick of losing money to him or they knew of his reputation when it came to playing cards; something that wasnt helped by several rumours circulating about him cheating during games. These rumours hold a significant amount of truth in them, but Stepney will never admit to them. His cheating generally involves sleight of hand and other forms of misdirection, such as hiding cards up his sleeves or stuck to the underside of tables if he gets the chance to do so. There are still a few students who he occasionally plays poker against for money, but for the most part, he has returned to his lunchtime and after school games for chips. He has also joined a couple of online poker sites, in order to get a more consistent form of money, but he has mixed feelings about these; whilst he enjoys the additional challenge of not being able to cheat, this also means he doesnt win nearly as often as he does when face to face with people.
There are a few other card-based games that Stepney is interested in. He has a knack for three-card monte, and can occasionally be found trying it out on the more naïve students at George Hunter, or those who are absolutely convinced that they can beat him. However, most of his other classmates have become wise to his tricks, so these students generally remain his only source of income from it. He still enjoys trying it out on whoever is willing, however, even if theres no monetary gain involved, as it improves his sleight of hand and distraction techniques that he then uses in his poker games.
A few years ago, Stepney found himself interested in an entirely different type of card game; games such as Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh. He was talking with a friend about card games, and the two were on entirely different wavelengths, Stepney assuming the conversation was about blackjack, the friend assuming it was about Magic. Stepney was intrigued to learn about these sorts of games, with decks of cards specifically tailored towards only one ruleset, rather than towards a wide variety of different games, and immediately accepted his friends offering to teach him the ropes, always excited to try and challenge himself with something new. Although the rules were a little tricky for him to grasp for the first couple of sessions, Stepney enjoyed the familiar atmosphere of playing cards with people, and once he gained an understanding of the basics, he enjoyed the strategy and deck-building involved in the game, and he quickly became pretty decent at it. In his searches for other games of Magics ilk, Stepney also discovered Hearthstone, which he quickly fell in love with for the same reasons as he loved Magic. He also appreciates the fact both games are steeped in the fantasy genre, as although he still has some difficulty differentiating between some of the human characters in card art, he is able to quickly recognise and differentiate between the majority of his cards that feature fantasy races or creatures. Stepney has no desire to cheat in either Magic or Hearthstone, as he plays neither for monetary gain, although if he discovers a particularly powerful combination of cards, he wont hesitate to put them in his decks.
Stepney always listens to music whenever hes playing any card game, whether at home playing Herathstone or online poker or in his organised card games after school, and hell always put on his favourite genre of music; jazz. His interest of jazz music stems from his father, as he would always do the same whenever the Cruz family played cards together, and Stepney heavily associates the genre with those pleasant memories now. He also finds jazz music relaxing, and puts him in the perfect mindset to play cards. Hell also admit to his friends that playing jazz music whilst winning at poker makes him feel like a sort of Casino King. Stepneys favourite musicians include Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock.
Due to his mostly sedentary activities, for a few years, Stepneys health was slowly sliding downwards, to the point where he became notably skinny, and would get winded walking up long flights of stairs. With some prodding and prompting from his parents, Stepney realised he needed to insert some physical activity into his life, and so began to look out for sports clubs around Chattanooga to join. Always looking for new things to challenge himself with, Stepney wanted to find activities that he hadnt participated in during his PE classes, and after a couple of weeks of searching, found himself enrolled in some beginners water polo classes and rock climbing courses. Stepney enjoys both of them to this day, for a number of reasons. Hes much more pleased with his appearance now, taking some pride in the muscle developing in his arms and legs, and he finds both sports the perfect solution for when hes having an off day, or for the rare occasion he finds himself on a losing streak in his card games. Hes joined a water polo team, and gets on well with his teammates, managing to convince many of them to play cards with him, and he can often be found rock climbing at the Heritage Military Park.
Today, Stepney has overcome his issues with his prosopagnosia, for the most part. Hes developed a number of tricks over the years to help him recognise people, which differ for each person, and for people hes close to, hell often greet them with their defining recognisable trait. Hes still much slower to become friendly with newcomers, as it still takes him a few days at best to figure out their tics and traits, and changes to these traits will still completely throw him for a loop, occasionally leading to him asking who people are, when hes been speaking to them for weeks without issue beforehand. Hes upset a few people with this, and there are still people who avoid him and consider him odd because of his disorder, but Stepney generally shrugs this off; he knows its not his fault, and is personally proud of himself for doing so well socially in spite of it.
Stepneys reputation at school is very mixed. Theres a good amount of people who like him a lot, and an equal amount who dont, whilst others still change their opinion of him every day. He has a tendency towards sarcastic jokes, even around those who arent incredibly close to him, and is known for teasing and ribbing his friends, which can push people away from him. His rather dubious methods of making money, as well as the occasional rumour floating around as to how fairly he plays poker dont help in that regard, either. However, hes also known for doing much more ethically sound things to gain money, such as mowing lawns, washing cars, and tutoring his peers. Those who do get close to him will also vouch for him being an excellent and loyal friend, always excited to share in his interests and just as excited to listen to theirs, and always available if someone needs to vent or have a shoulder to cry on. The latter is something hes very good at, as the huge amount of tricks and methods Stepney has developed over the years to help himself in a variety of situations, such as dealing with his prosopagnosia and keeping himself focused in poker games, means that hes very good at keeping a clear and level head. Hes also very generous, happy to use his hard-earned money on his friends, planning trips to cinemas and restaurants every so often.
Academically, Stepney is rather a jack of all trades. He does well in all of his classes, pushing himself to succeed in anything hes tasked with, and tackles any challenging homework with gusto, and theres nothing he particularly struggles at, bar certain aspects of his history classes, as he has difficulty differentiating various historical figures from one another. Stepney has no idea what he wants to do after graduation, and is planning on taking a year off, possibly to travel, in order to get a better idea of his future.
Advantages: Possibly Stepneys greatest asset is the fact that he actively enjoys challenging himself, even in unpleasant circumstances. He doesnt give up until he reaches his goal, no matter how difficult that is to reach, so when faced with dangerous or difficult situations, he is much less likely to be fazed by them than his classmates. Hes also good at keeping a clear head, and should find it easier to formulate plans or think about things in the long run, although it is likely to prove much more difficult to keep a level head on the island than at school. Stepney is also in good shape, particularly in terms of strength and stamina, and should have little issue with many physical issues the island throws at him. Stepney is incredibly loyal and trustworthy once you get close to him, and would make an excellent ally under duress.
Disadvantages: Stepneys biggest weakness, without a doubt, is his prosopagnosia. He would struggle to tell friend from foe, especially after a couple of days when influences such as injuries, lack of sleep, and lack of washing would change peoples appearances. He would also certainly find it difficult to concentrate on each persons defining traits on the island, with so many other pressing issues to think about. Stepney could easily be manipulated in this manner, as people could simply disguise their voice or change some other aspect of their appearance to fool him into thinking theyre somebody else. There are a number of people who dislike Stepney due to his sarcastic nature and habit of winning money off of people, so he would certainly have a number of enemies and people unwilling to ally with him on the island.
Stepney looks really good, but is DENIED pending some edits.
I'd like a more specific description of the length of his hair; medium length is pretty vague. Does it go to his neck, shoulders, etc.?
Kindergarten is typically the first year of formal education in the US; the way Stepney's transition from kindergarten to the next grade is currently described, it sounds like you meant his earliest educational experiences and the diagnosis of his prosopagnosia happened in preschool. If it helps, a child typically enters kindergarten at 5-6 years of age, then first grade at 6-7, and so on.
How does Stepney cheat at cards? Since he likes earning his money through hard work, is he ever bothered when he wins money through dishonest means?
Some grammar issues:
Remove the quotation marks from descriptors such as "weird" and "different".
And that's all! Post back here once you've made those changes, and I will consider returning your face.wrote:unable to read his parents' faces during poker,