velesdonnersen: (Toothy-Grin)
 
 [It is a fine spring day, and Tarvek has chosen to attempt "back yard suburban living," a concept that has no parallels in his immediate experience. Thus, accompanied by two whirling red-headed children in googly horn-rim glasses that match his -- the elder technically too old at about 14 to be his son, not that Mayfield is paying that much attention -- he has come out to "mow the lawn."]

Ow. !@#$% idiot Mayfield! Can't you at least let me figure out how to work this storm-begotten machine, if you're going to insist I maintain this property? Perry, do you know how a "lawnmower" works?

[The boy cheerfully states that he does, and begs to be permitted to perform this manly chore -- ideally for money to "go to the soda shop later." Tarvek, looking a bit wan from trying to use his spark to figure out the lawnmower, agrees, and pulls cash from his pocket, before retreating to sit on top of the empty dog-house with the younger child -- a girl of about 5 -- on his lap. As the boy mows the lawn with disgusting merriment and good-will, Tarvek sings to the girl. He's got a better than average baritone that may, possibly, drop to bass by the time he's 40. He's singing a very, very racy song from the light opera, "The Courtesan and the Clockwork Cuckoo." Fortunately for the proprieties he's singing it in the Europan version of Viennese German. Therefore as he sings and makes dramatic and silly faces, the little drone child smiles, and claps, and giggles, and is generally almost painfully winsome.]

[The rather pitiful thing is that Tarvek clearly is half in love with this. He's a DADDY. With fine young son and a little girl! And a he can make her laugh, and tickle her, and it's all clean and unsullied by complicated Sturmvoraus crap. Before you criticize, consider that he's a man who passionately believes himself to owe debts of honor to machines... and knows very well that he's a construct, too. Between that and the real joy of being worshiped by a pair of well-programmed dronelets, he's in a comfort zone he never knew existed. The boy is a born sucker for the suburban myth...it slides right under his cynicism and stabs him in the heart.]

[You are a neighbor, a stranger walking down the street hearing a baritone bellowing a merry song in German over a lawnmower, an adventurer passing overhead. You can see Tarvek, his drone daughter, his fine drone son -- even from the street. What do you do?]
velesdonnersen: (HappyCute)
 Well, here's the semi-final version of my application.  With *issues* because I can't apparently simply cut and paste this properly from Word to here and keep things like my hyperlinks.

Color me peeved.

Anyway, here's the vastly reduced version.

Name: Peg Robinson
Personal LJ: http://anizette.livejournal.com/
Contact Info: pegeel, AIM; perun donnersen, AIM
Other Characters Played: None.
Preferred Housing: I mostly don’t care, but would really like Tarvek to have at least one drone kid to deal with who will eventually be replaced. I have a minor torment for my boy in mind.
Character Name: Prince Tarvek Sturmvoraus, “Your Highness.” “You idiot.”
Character Series: Girl Genius
Character Age: Early 20s – 20-23 is a likely range.
Background:
http://girlgenius.wikia.com/wiki/Tarvek_Sturmvoraus
(Taken from Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones, series Volume 8 cast list). Prince of Sturmhalten, and descendant of the Storm King. Agatha met Tarvek while she was a prisoner in Sturmhalten. She is not sure if Tarvek is a friend or threat, his motives are murky. He is one of the few people who might be able to help Agatha rid herself of the Lucrezia personality that remains in her mind. 

Both the above descriptions leave out a lot of basics. The series is up to eleven volumes, and it’s an information-dense story that depends heavily on a complicated backstory that’s continuing to grow and be revealed. There are a lot of highly contested aspects of the character, and plenty of events that have happened in mysterious fashion and not yet been explained. If you want a longer and far more detailed background analysis, I’ve put together an additional 9 pages of backstory breakdown. But it seemed way too big to stuff in here. Let me know if you want it.

Personality: Tries hard to be urbane and civilized...sometimes to the point of being a laughable culture snob. Takes his aristocratic breeding VERY seriously (if also with some amused irony), but counters that with a powerful sense of noblesse oblige: he’s far more likely to pull rank as a way of defending himself than as an aggressive offensive tactic. However he was actually bred and raised to be the perfect Emperor (by at least some standards), and he does tend to take that seriously, including both the arrogance and the ideals. 

He’s not a thrill-seeker, not fond of danger, not inclined to believe in his own immortality. He’s not a coward – but where other characters in the series bound gleefully into the fray, Tarvek sets his jaw and proceeds. He avoids violence more often than he encourages it. He tends to opt for verbal negotiation and spin over fists. He plans: it’s one of his character hallmarks. He’s usually fairly calm and controlled, but can be reduced to hair-pulling wails and frenzy at the pure casual, clueless, unprepared optimism of his associates – both friends and enemies – who persist in crashing through life as though it was easy, or something crazy like that. 

He is not, however, crippled by mental or emotional paralysis: when he plans, he follows through and acts. He’s got aims and agendas, as well as ideals and standards. He’ll do quite a lot of terrifying stuff if that’s what it takes to accomplish his goals. (All of volumes 5 &6 cover a good sampling of that trait.)

He’s a rather sweet boy with odd but real ideals wrapped in about ten inches of rhinoceros hide, paranoia, survival skills, manipulative reflexes, and dry cynicism. Quite capable of diplomacy, but just as likely to hide behind constant defensive snarkiness. An odd blend of lunatic idealist/hero, wary pragmatist, dour pessimist, canny triple-crossing conspirator, and shy, lonely science geek/bookworm. Very good combat skills – which he tries to hide and avoid using. Curmudgeon, but seldom loses his temper with any depth – but when he does you can plan on an attempt to commit murder outright, mainly because it takes that much to push him over the edge in the first place. (Only known case of Tarvek losing his temper entirely in all volumes to date.) Very MUCH a player in the game of life...and very hesitant to trust others or ask for help outright. (Again, cumulative.) As a result, he’s often seen as scheming, two-faced, manipulative, sly, untrustworthy, and even malicious. Closer examination calls that into doubt. He’ll die for a friend, keep a secret, tell even dangerous truths, and match the foolish idealism of any Rebel-boy in fiction – not to mention being willing to walk into hell to protect Agatha, and possibly also Gil. (Tarvek demonstrates both snarkiness AND his rebel-boy view of the Wulfenbach Empire.)

He often appears dishonest, but what he says often turns out to have been true all along: thus he tends to receive a lot of suspicion, while not always deserving it. He’s canonically shown to be hurt and angry about that, though he controls and covers the response pretty well most of the time. (And again, this is all cumulative.)

He’s knowledgeable but in many ways very innocent and young: he blushes over Agatha’s Finer Features, when they are exposed. He’s caring toward his family members even when he himself thinks they’re bat-shit and screwed up. He’s brave enough to openly say and show he’s interested in Agatha – but scared enough that the bashfulness shows. He takes care of people: his crazy father, his injured/dying sister, robots – both his sister’s puppet-clone and the Muse the clone was designed from, Agatha, his inherited assassin-cousin Violetta, who spends much of her time openly loathing him, and on top of that takes care of Gil, his former best friend, betrayer, and rival in both love and politics: all have been shown to be on Tarvek’s “I’ll take care of you” list.

He hates the Biggest, Baddest Villainess, Lucrezia Mongfish Heterodyne, with an unwavering loathing – she is one of two people he clearly and utterly despises without any noticeable limit. The other is Zola Malfeasium, the woman at least one faction picked out to be his future wife in keeping with the conspiracies in place around him. She’s...deserving of great hatred. He appears to have some strong negative feelings about being “owned” by her. There are indications that while he’s courageous enough to stand up to them, he’s also scared silly by them. While he’s had to deal with them and once faked alliance with Lucrezia, he treats the two villainesses as though they combined the more charming attributes of advanced syphilitic mental breakdown, the toxin of Australian sea-snakes, the ugly symptoms and contagiousness of ebola virus, and the connubial habits of black widow spiders and praying mantises. 

He loved his home, his palace, and probably his wardrobe – but left it with much the same sad but resolute determination as Frodo leaving the Shire. 

He’s jealous as sin of Gil’s relationship with Agatha, but doesn’t allow that to make him snark at her, or go far out of his way to torment him – though when Gil goads him he’ll gladly match snarl for snarl and kick for scratch. 

Basically appears to be a gentle boy from Hell, with the coping skills that go with that, and definitely a walking case of Post-Traumatic-Stress and Adult-Child-of-Dysfunctional-Family to ensure that he’s just plain hard to predict, and harder to lure into a state of trust. Likely to cling frantically to survival alone if he thinks he’s betrayed...but he can survive that. He’s done it before. Definitely doesn’t trust people to stand by him unless they need him.

Areas likely to send the boy into gibbering conflicted hysterics: Sex...he’s almost certainly fairly inexperienced and more than a bit bashful. A Mayfield drone wife will leave him jittering one way – a player character wife will leave him jittering just as hard in others. He’s also canonically proven to be quick to tumble into love, and definitely a hugger and a romantic: the right opportunity is likely to find him easy prey. Family issues: his was lethal and screwy and he’s not at ease with family. Being loved and trusted – or finding himself loving and trusting. Father issues: if he DOES end up anywhere near Mayfield’s Klaus Wulfenbach, “conflicted” is only the first of many such terms that should be applied to Tarvek’s reaction. Whaddaya do when your inescapable, lethal and powerful enemy is ALSO your secret dream father and role model? Whaddaya do when you both end up in MAYFIELD together? (Deductive logic, integrating a number of canon hints, but not explicit in text.)

On the other hand, while Mayfield will by its nature hit every last hot-button he has in regards to his paranoia and his righteous idealism, it’s also going to feel like Old Home Week: just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not f*cking with you, and Tarvek’s quite used to the assumption he’s being messed with. What will REALLY send him frothing and raging is the lack of apparent purpose or goal beyond malicious meddling. But he’s very unlikely to break in the face of Mayfield: it’s exactly what he always knew hell would be like, and he’s already lived in one of hell’s outlying states for most of his life. Drones will raise his hackles. Brainwashing? Oh, so very much! Finding himself a “husband,” with a “family?” Ought to be fun playing that one out: plenty of conflicted reactions to play with, ranging from classic young-man-trapped response with “no choice” augmentation, to “I’m not particularly good with kids,” to “A wife? Am I supposed to.... I mean... Um...(gulp) Does this mean sex?” to “I’m a man of honor and I will take CARE of my family and I WILL BE A BETTER HUSBAND AND FATHER THAN MY FATHER WAS (or die trying!!!!!).”

Abilities: Essentially a techno-mage, with specialities in robotics and medicine. Probably capable of at least some function even when powers are deprived, though: what can be learned normally he’ll have worked to learn. He ought to be able to manage basic electronics, programming, and medic functions even when stripped of Spark. Very good combat skills, and surprisingly durable...not to the point of it being a clear “power” though. Good interpersonal manipulative skills and good socio-political analysis skills. Sweet talker, when it suits him. Physically strong, in a simple, not-much-fuss better-than-average brawn way. Drawing and drafting skills, math skills. Could probably make a living as an architectural or engineering draftsman, accountant, civil engineer, electrician, television repair man, handy-man, librarian, school teacher (math-science, for sure... he probably has the wrong history and lit background for Mayfield! XD) May happen to have seamstress skills.

Good odds he can’t cook his way out of a brown paper bag. Plans well, but not half as well as he thinks he does. 

Sample Entries:

Two short entries, taken from Test-drive in Junefield:

Sample 1
[You will never notice him noting the knife, the flip, the fumble, the "cheating" into the sink to maintain your position. No, really -- you won't. There are plenty of things he's not good at, but he's THAT GOOD at being invisible on that level. You may logically know he had to have noticed and further that he's taking all sorts of mental notes...but it won't show.]

Coffee would be welcome. I haven't had much here -- really, I've only been here a day or so -- but what I've had...

Well, it's worse than I'd get in Vienna, or Paris, but better than anything I make in the lab when I'm working.

[He gives a crooked little smile, inviting you to share his amusement at his own culinary incompetence.]

I can help with the dishes, though. I wash test tubes and beakers well, and it can't be that different.

Sample 2
[What he does:
He straightens and nods, as his fingers tighten over yours. He suddenly seems older, and a heck of a lot tougher than just a couple seconds ago. He shoots you a crooked, ironic grin – not nasty: almost cheerfully gloomy.]

Oh. Well, I admit, about half the vocabulary was lost on me, but I think I get the point. Descended from a long line of specially talented heroes, saving the world from itself? Tschk.

I’m afraid my own family botched that notion more than it ever managed to fulfill the ideals. Last time they climbed into the shiny armor and rode the white horse they ended up making a proper, ugly, stupid mess of the thing – and so far there’s not much sign of things looking up. But I do understand the aims, and… well. I’m here. You can…

[Gulps. HARD. Tries again, sounding a little addled. ]

Red lighting. Look. The last time I told a lady in distress she could trust me, things got really complicated. I mean – I did try. But even if she knew all the things that happened and all the reasons I had to make the choices I did – I’m not sure she’d say I’d been trustworthy even if we did get out of town alive. So – I think all I can do is tell you I really do try to be trustworthy, and to hope for the best? Not that I’ve got as many resources to offer as usual. But they’re here, if you’ve got a use for them.

'[Very decided snarky self-deprecation...] I mean, I've got "sneaky, manipulative, megalomaniacal weasel" down cold. That's got to be good for something!

[What you see will depend on how perceptive you are, as a person and psychiatrist – and how alert you are when you’re upset, too. The boy’s been replaced by an older, wearier, but far more centered, stable man: He knows this terrain – Paladins against the Powers of Darkness. He’s also just an obsessive nurterer… he’ll try to take care of you, if he can. All that will be quite clear. But if you’re sharp you will also see the insecurity in this version, too, and get the sense of layers of experience, much of it miserable.]

Sample of a long Action set-up post.

[It’s only his second time stepping out of the house, and he’s trying to relax – but it’s not all that easy. He’s trained in paranoia, after all. Between just being a Sturmvoraus and then doing Smoke-Knight assassin/spy training, and then learning to hide his training so well even his fellow students never realized he was any good... He’s got paranoia and hyper-vigilance down cold. Mayfield only makes it worse.
Blue lighting and red fire! There’s no cover here! It’s all low shrubs, scrawny trees, no proper alleys. What is there to duck behind for heaven’s sake? How can he slink and hide when there’s nothing sturdier than a white picket fence to provide camouflage for a proper lurk? He’d say it’s as bad as being stark naked in front of enemies, except he’s done that and it wasn’t quite as bad as trying to walk down a Mayfield sidewalk wearing a (shudder) baby-blue button-down short-sleeved Oxford shirt, a pair of (double-shudder) plaid Bermuda shorts, (triple-shudder) a pair of horn-rimmed glasses even bigger and klunkier and more repulsive than the ones he had as a child, and (twitches beyond twitching) a pair of sandals. With white ankle socks.
He smiles, though, and nods to neighbours, and ignores their stares. Apparently his pony-tail is not-not-not community-approved. Tough. A man has to draw the line somewhere, and the pony-tail is not going.
Only after half an hour walk does he return to “his” own house, having slowly worked through the realities of his new environment.
One thing – one outstanding thing has become clear to him. Whatever there is to deplore about Mayfield, he’s figured out one wonderful, miraculous virtue the place has. Here he is not “Prince Tarvek Sturmvoraus,” or “The Heir to the Storm King.” He’s not involved in generations’ worth of schemes, plots, conspiracies, rebellions and plans to take over the world. No one is planning on forcing him into a marriage (Well, it’s a bit late for that here, after all!). No one is planning to have him killed, and if he is killed – tough. He’ll be baaaaack. In short, he is...(shhhhhh, whisper it, lest the Powers of Mayfield catch on too quickly).... Here he isn’t bound – not by family, politics, obligations, blood, breeding – not even by love or fear.
Thinking that his breath catches. He opens his eyes, and looks at the tiny patch of green grass that constitutes “his front lawn.” A slow, hesitant grin blossoms – and with a gleeful rush he does something he’s not done for pure fun for at least 10 years: step-step-step, then a bounce, and then he’s doing one, two, three, four, five hand flips, ending poised and thrilled just before he impales himself on his own white picket fence.
He’s Tarvek Sturmvoraus, and for the first time in his life, he’s free. Completely, entirely free.]

 

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velesdonnersen

March 2012

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