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OOC Information
Player handle: Jormy

Contact details: [ profile] jormandugr; email; HMD/contact post here

Time zone: GMT

Other characters: Any other characters you play here

IC Information
Name: Francis Fletcher

Nicknames/Alias: Birth name is Faramir Stewart

Age: 30

Source canon: Lord of the Rings

Personality: Quiet, thoughtful, and introspective, Faramir is drawn to scholarly pursuits: he loves history and languages, and can happily spend days at a time in a library. However, he is not one to withdraw entirely from the world. He has a very strong sense of duty and honour, and is willing to go to great lengths to protect those who he sees as vulnerable, or to whom he feels he owes a debt. When push comes to shove, he can be relied upon in a crisis to be courageous and cool-headed, and to put other people's safety and welfare above his own. He can also be relied upon to take the lead in a situation where that's required (although this will be less the case in the AU, where he has a different sense of his place in society and is much more deferential). Unlike some, though, he views fighting as a necessary evil rather than something to be valued for its own sake, and when he fights, it is out of a sense of duty rather than because he likes it.

In general, he has quite an optimistic view on life, undimmed by experience. He genuinely believes that people want what's best, and expects the same honesty and honour in others that he strives for in himself. This can sometimes tip over into naivety, as he takes people wholly at their word unless he has prior reason to mistrust them (this is truer in the AU than in canon, as Francis, unlike Faramir, has not been at war for half his life). He holds a very strong belief in fate and higher meanings, and always believes that beyond the darkness there will be a light. This isn't always obvious: he comes across as very dour and severe, and his poor sense of humour doesn't help that impression. It's only from certain angles that his optimistic, romantic nature shines through. However, on knowing him for more than a little while, it's hard not to notice that he's extremely generous, well-meaning, and good-natured.

As Francis, he has been able to develop his scholarly side much more than in canon, without so much social judgement. As a result, he is less versed in tactics and fighting skills, and while he has developed some self-defence skills out of necessity (which are better than they have any right to be, due to his canonical muscle memory coming through), he isn't a fighter by any stretch of the imagination. He is, however, an exceptional self-taught scholar, with an encyclopaedic knowledge of anthropology, languages, and European history. He reads voraciously, and at times writes poetry as well as his more professional essays - he rarely shows anyone the poetry, though. A devout Catholic, Francis is fascinated by the spiritual and theological, and comes across in a much more scholarly way than his canonical counterpart.

Francis also has severe self-esteem issues, more obviously than in canon, as a result of his abandonment and sense of responsibility for it. Essentially, he feels the need to be perfect in every way, to make up for whatever defect caused his family to want rid of him, and considers every failure to reflect on him as a person. He's cripplingly insecure, and takes criticism very seriously. His desperate need to be honourable and dutiful can also make him quite standoffish, despite his kind nature. 

Canon history: At the LotR wiki

AU Information
Appearance: Francis is shorter than his canon counterpart because Tolkien makes all his characters crazy tall, but still tall, standing at around 6'1". He's thin-faced and quite lanky, with long limbs and a large nose. From the olive tint to his skin, as well as the general caste of his bone structure, he looks as though he may have some Arab ancestry. The raven-black of his hair adds to that impression, despite his grey eyes and clearly European upbringing.

He typically dresses neatly, if cheaply, and keeps his hair cut just a little longer than is strictly proper. He is clean-shaven, never having been able to grow a beard even if he wanted to, and takes care over his appearance. That said, his clothes are suffering from his relative poverty, and are often darned or worn through in places.

In terms of body language, Faramir holds himself straight but drawn-in, as though he's trying to take up as little space as possible. He is soft-spoken, and can drop in and out of several languages without losing fluency - but always with a slight Polish accent. He rarely smiles or laughs, and most of his expressiveness is in his eyes.

All icon art is taken from the Tolkien illustrations of Anke Eissmann, and besides clothing, is fairly representative.

History: Born in 1840 to Denethor and Finduilas Stewart, Faramir seemed as though he was destined for a life of luxury. However, Finduilas - never healthy - began to ail after the pregnancy and difficult labour, and Denethor, blaming it on her pregnancy, shunned his infant son. Faramir's first years were spent largely in the care of his wet-nurse and older brother Boromir, who seemed determined to show all the love their father withheld.

When Faramir was three, Finduilas finally died after a long sickness, and a shadow fell over the household. For a few months, little seemed to change, besides the grief shared by all three of the remaining Stewarts. Denethor continued to be distant towards his younger son, Boromir continued to be a constant protective presence, and Faramir, only vaguely understanding the concept of death, nonetheless grieved for his mother just as anyone would expect. Denethor, however, was growing increasingly desperate in his grief. Looking at his son only reminded him of his lost love, and how she had died so this (to his mind, superfluous) son could live.

In the autumn of 1843, Boromir left for boarding school. Denethor, seeing his chance to be rid of an unpleasant reminder and free to grieve alone, made his own arrangements for the second son: less than a week after Boromir first left home, Faramir found himself bundled into a carriage with his rarely-seen father, a few bags on the roof. Any hopes he might have had that this represented some attempt by his father to reach out were dashed when, after three days' travel, they arrived at an orphanage in Krakow, several hundred miles from home. There, Denethor left him in the care of the nuns who ran the orphanage - he also left a hefty sum of money for the orphanage's upkeep, and the firm stipulation that nobody was to know who Faramir was, nor ever trace him back to the Stewarts. Accordingly, the orphanage renamed Faramir Stewart, registering him officially as Francis Fletcher, parentage unknown.

Francis' memories of this time are very vague, since he was only a toddler. He remembers that once he had a family - a father, a mother, and a brother whose name he remembers only as "Ro" - but that he did something terrible and his mother died, and they sent him to the orphanage as a punishment. Throughout his life, this certainty that he was responsible for his own abandonment, and that he has to atone, has fuelled him and destroyed him in equal measure.

At the orphanage, he quickly became popular among the nuns - if not the other children, who tended to be uncomfortable with his seriousness and unwillingness to play. The same traits, however, endeared him to the nuns, as did his early interest in theology and learning. He already knew how to read a little, and what he didn't know, he quickly learned. From a very young age, he would read any book put in front of him, but already showed a marked interest in languages and philosophy, happy to discuss either with the nuns. He was no radical, though: he happily accepted their Catholic faith and applied it to every part of his life, and was altogether an obedient and good-natured child - although on a few occasions, he was disciplined for fighting, usually in defence of another child.

As he grew, Francis began to act as a teacher to the other children at the orphanage, while also studying on his own behalf. By the time he was sixteen, and discharged from the orphanage's care, he was educated far beyond the level expected of his class, and soon found work as a clerk. Over the following decade, he managed to advance his position a little, and - by living frugally and working long hours - even put aside some savings. He moved several times over this period: from Krakow to Ostravia, Budapest, and finally Warsaw.

It was in Warsaw that he met Professor Irolas Beregond, an anthropological researcher working on the subject of folk beliefs in central and eastern Europe, who saw the potential in the young clerk and took him on as a protege. For the last four years, Faramir has worked under Beregond, first as a clerk and secretary, and more recently as an acknowledged apprentice. He has grown very close to the professor, who he considers his closest friend, and often accompanies him on research and seminar trips throughout Europe. Although Francis still sometimes wonders about his family and the events leading up to his abandonment, for the most part he considers that best left in the past, and is fairly content with his life as it is now.

Job: Secretary and apprentice researcher to Professor Beregond - a position somewhat above his station as an orphan and ward of the state, which he's very aware of.

Reason for coming to Lethevale: A research trip into the local customs and beliefs. Originally, the professor had planned to accompany him, but a bout of illness has left Francis researching on his own for the first time.

Inventory: A horse, two or three changes of clothing, enough money to last three months, and a broad collection of books and academic journals, as well as several notebooks. He also carries a Bible in his chest pocket, inscribed to Francis Fletcher from several of the nuns who raised him.

Prose Sample: His instinct is to consider the idea of a haunted inn... quaint, at best. He rather likes it, as a conceit - somehow, it feels fitting to start his research into folk superstitions in a place which sells itself on them. Francis considers himself a fairly sensible man, and while he listened with some interest to the stories the regulars had to tell about the ghostly influences of the King's Head, he knows perfectly well that stories are all they are.

Then he's jolted awake in the dark watches of the night by something that, he's almost sure, was the tail end of a woman's scream. Truth be told, his mind doesn't immediately jump to the ghostly rumours, even then. He's seen enough of life to think, instead, of far worse. Ghosts, even if they exist, are already dead, and beyond harming: his thought is of the living, and of the woman who might have made that sound. For a long moment, he lies awake in bed, staring up at the shadowed beams of the ceiling, straining to listen. The sound woke him, after all - might it not have been some figment of a dream, or some more innocent sound filtered through a nightmare?

So he waits, and after a moment props himself up on his elbows and cocks his head, and waits again. The scream, if it was a scream, does not recur. After a timeless stretch of seconds, though, another sound asserts itself - a dull thudding, loud and rhythmic, and the clear sound of sobs.

It's the sobbing that convinces him. Francis is out of bed in a moment, groping for the poker that stands by the hearth. It isn't until he's at the door, looking ghostly himself in bare feet and a long white nightshirt, that the horror stories recur to him. Was there a woman mentioned? He thinks there might have been, that the landlord might have whispered something of a young virgin slain on her wedding night.

But then, what of it? Any town worth its salt has a few such tales, and he's never yet known them be true. Far more likely, a real person - a real woman - is in pain somewhere in this inn, and Francis will not suffer himself to lie in bed and wonder while she is put to grief. His hesitation is only momentary, and then he sets his jaw and straightens his back, the poker held loosely in his hand as he heads out into the hallway. Ghosts and hauntings be damned. He has a duty to the real world, and it's that duty he means to see through.
Test Drive: Here
Additional Links: HMD post
Anything else: N/A


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Francis (Faramir) Fletcher

September 2016

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