OjayitlaGE Muhammed Abdul Vicrum Aashiq
Born: July 10, 1869
OjayitlaGE Muhammed Abdul Vicrum (OMAV) Aashiq came to London in early 1890 from the Ceylonese city Ratnapura, bearing a lineage of accumulated colonial atrocities. His Moorish heritage stretches back centuries to the glory days of Arabic trade, when his ancestors settled in the Anuradhapura Kingdom. The arrival of the Portugese brought disaster to many of the Moors. They were persecuted, their livelihood usurped, and many killed or driven to seek refuge in other lands. Vicrum's line found safety in the inland kingdom of Kandy, where they rebuilt their fortunes over a few generations. Until the British invaded. Many of Vicrum's ancestors took up arms in the Kandyan Wars, but when the British conquered Kandy, the Moors once again lost control of most of their land and enterprises.
None of the colonial powers took direct control of the Ceylonese gem trade, so Vicrum's grandparents' interests were winnowed down to this as their sole source of wealth. The British at least ended the Muslim persecution in Ceylon, allowing them to return to the southern lowlands where the gem trade was centered. Here, they worked to rebuild their fortunes again, but the specter of past losses remained to Vicrum's time.
Vicrum was born into a family of modest but precarious wealth, as the British control of Ceylon strangled their chances of outside trade. Vicrum's father, savvy to the workings of the British Empire, convinced a number of Muslim families to pool their resources to establish the Ceylon Gemology Consortium with the goal of entering the world of international trade. Vicrum, who already displayed a shrewd business acumen and a fire to succeed, was chosen to travel to the heart of the British Empire to bring the Consortium's resources to bear in London.
The young man, however, had been weaned on stories of both the great heights of his lineage and its devastation at European hands. He carried an enduring hatred of the British with him to London, where he hoped to not only force the Consortium into power but also strike a blow against the Empire. This proved a much larger endeavor than the idealistic man imagined. He clung stubbornly to his own culture and traditions, unwilling to bow to the British by meeting the expectations of their society. The British saw only an uncouth boy from strange lands and gave him no ground. By the end of his second year in London, Vicrum had reached his breaking point, beating harmlessly against the monolith of the British Empire, and he saw no way through.
That's when everything changed. Vicrum disappeared for a time, locked up in his home, sick, crazed, and broken. Beyond his windows, he saw only the unstoppable malice of London spread to all corners of the world. He didn't want to look, but he couldn't stop. Then, he began to see the cracks, a rot at the heart of the Empire growing on the fertile ground of its own excess. The Empire was not an endless firmament; it was not even real. A true reality was already burning through a world as thin and fragile as cheap silk. He saw the Empire's end in ashes. And better, he touched the flames, and they responded.
Vicrum emerged revitalized. He saw now that the empty facade of British manners held no true power. Its pleasures, so many stolen, were no threat to him. He could enjoy them himself while using them as tools against their masters. Vicrum became the perfect example of a British gentleman, a magnetic, smiling adversary cloaked in all the expected trappings. He soon became a popular figure in his set, using the allure of the flame to draw the British to him and expose their vices for his use. He rose toward the Empire's already faltering heart, scattering ash in his wake.
- Virtue: Liberator: Vicrum's recognition of the false prison of the fallen world sometimes allows him to appreciate that others are ensnared by the same chains he shatters. He regains Willpower when he helps another to act in a way their circumstances would normally deny them.
- Vice: Vengeful: Vicrum is not inclined to let slights go. He regains Willpower when he punishes another for acting against him, consequences be damned.
- Improve the standing of the Ceylon Gemology Consortium
- Increase his status within the Consilium Draco Cruentis
- Free the Unicorn from the Hedge Maze
- Prevent Edmund Aberforth from causing trouble for me in the future
- Retain the trust (and avoid the suspicion) of the other apprentices by helping solve the disappearances
- The Throne of Mirrors
- Possessions: Larkin Hughes
- Walking cane reinforced with an iron core
The Hughes were a family of minor note within the East India Company, suffering a loss of wealth and status in its dissolution and consigned to the service of better families. Vicrum met Larkin, the youngest Hughes son, as the young man scrambled to regain some measure of his family's past influence by developing connections within the Ceylonese tea trade.
Larkin's charm had already opened some doors, so Vicrum offered himself as a knowledgeable and well-connected friend, soon learning Larkin's denied proclivity for the company of men. When Vicrum showed himself sympathetic to the young man's hungers and guided him toward their satiation, Larkin was all too happy to abandon his ambitions and become Vicrum's man.
Larkin glorifies the myth of a roughneck American West as the modern equivalent to the rise of Britain's colonial power in the East and delights in its trappings, which few would expect from the well-mannered and exceedingly polite young man. In private, however, Vicrum is pleased to both indulge the young man's fetish and punish him for its arrogance.
The Ceylon Gemology Consortium
Although Vicrum attends to the most important aspects of the Consortium's business, he does employ a few people to handle its day to day activities.
- Musthafa Hussein Kaleel (MHK) Rauf: Clerk. Both Kaleel and Javid are Ceylonese Moors, though Kaleel has lived in London all his life, while Javid came with Vicrum from Ceylon. Kaleel's duties center around the operations of the storefront and London-facing aspects of the business, as he was hired for his ability to satisfy British protocol in bookkeeping and paperwork. He is a middle-aged Muslim with a large family of his own, and several of his sons are dockworkers nearby. He takes his lunch with them when their work allows, often on the docks but sometimes in the Consortium offices.
- Javid Muhammed Javid (JMJ) Muneer: Clerk. Javid is the son of another Consortium member and handles much of the shipping side of the business, along with correspondence with Ceylon. Though young, Javid is canny, well able to manipulate shipping manifests to skim a bit of material off for private sale to those in the know, allowing Vicrum to increase the Consortium's profits away from prying British eyes. Javid has yet to settle comfortably into London life, spending most of his day at the offices and heading directly home to his Muslim neighborhood in Limehouse after. One of the Consortium's British contacts once shortened Javid's Muslim name to JJ after seeing his signature on paper, which stuck with the British set, many of whom call him JJ in preference to any other name, much to the young man's chagrin.
- Stephen Short, esq. Solicitor. Upon arriving in London, Vicrum sought the services of a British solicitor to represent the Consortium and found precious few willing to take the work seriously. Kaleel knew of Stephen Short because the man, once respected as a solicitor of talent, dared to marry an Indian woman and was shunned in many business circles. He and Vicrum got on well enough, and Stephen quickly showed respect for Ceylonese traditions, which cemented his place with the Consortium. Since then, it has become apparent to his old "friends" that Stephen represents a client with no small amount of money and means, and he has regained some of his footing, thanks also to a few discreet adjustments on Vicrum's part.
Friends and Family
- C. (Chennai) Lochani Short: Lochani's family immigrated to Great Britain when she was a young girl. Her parents were trusted servants to a British family in the Raj whose service was invited, rather than demanded, to continue when the family returned en masse to London. Lochani, largely shielded from the worst of British cruelties, was enamored with London from the beginning. Rather than follow her parents' profession, she sought work as a legal secretary, where she met Stephen Short and married him after a long courtship. Lochani is a bit of a busybody, but her warmth and ease ensure her welcome in many places. She was grateful when Vicrum helped to right her husband's fortunes, and she insists on cooking a proper Indian meal every week or two at his townhouse, which she feels needs at least a slight woman's touch until Vicrum sees fit to marry. She frequently visits her husband at the Consortium offices, always bringing food or other small gifts for the gentlemen there, though Vicrum finds more value in her insight into the ways of the British and the tidbits of gossip she is always sure to bring as well.
- Sir Oscar Clifton (GCSI): Sir Oscar, a career military man prominent in the East India Company, earned acclaim for his service to the British Empire during the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Even though his victories earned him his rank of Knight Grand Commander of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India just a few years later, the actions necessary to win such victories already ate at the man, and he returned to Great Britain shortly after his elevation. There, he retired and began to quietly divest from the East India Company. He calmly but fervently refuted any mention in his presence of supposed Indian atrocities committed against the British that were used to justify the brutality levied in return. Thanks to his steely politeness and imposing demeanor, the subject was usually dropped rather than argued. He was unaffected by the dissolution of the East India Company, though he remained in its circles as a ready reminder of the sins committed in its name. Sir Oscar was a primary force in opening the Oriental Club to non-whites. Vicrum first met the man knowing him only for his title and military history and intending to ruin him. The constant burden of the man's guilt was immediately apparent to him, however, and their relationship grew in unexpected directions. Sir Oscar saw some promise in Vicrum and all but strong-armed him into the Oriental Club, while Vicrum mostly pitied the man. Sir Oscar always feared interaction with immigrants in London, knowing that they should rightly offer him nothing but malice, but Vicrum has coaxed him into visits with his own people, where the man is beginning to find some measure of peace in genuine contact.
|Kristian de Graal|
Gemstones & Jewelry Mogul
It is said that no gemstone in Britain is sold without the House of de Graal seeing its share, and this might not be hyperbole. To everyone else, the House of de Graal is one of the nouveau riche – those mercantilists who have ridden the coat-tails of Britain's imperialism to astounding wealth that equals (or in many cases) exceeds that of its old landed aristocracy. Kristian is the darling of the social set in London at the moment, and with good reason: he is obscenely wealthy, handsome, and the lady often seen on his arm is only his sister Marigratia. Even the purest of blue bloods have looked at the House of de Graal's wealth, with its controlling mineral interests in every British holding and quite a few that are not, and wondered if any of its daughters might be wedded to it as a means of settling their debts. For his part, Kristian is conniving but genial, stubborn but graceful, and utterly bloodthirsty when it comes to his goals being stymied.
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- Clothing & Jewelry: x
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- Hobbies & Distractions: x
- Housing: x
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