|This page describes a character who is permanently dead.|
Cornelius Von Penzance:
a dapper man, by chance
came to an inn,
and hurried on in
wearing spectacular pants.
Name: Cornelius Von Penzance
Date of Birth: Unknown
Physique: 5 foot, 10 inches. The cut of his fancy clothing suggests a lithe build and gymnast's physique.
Combat Style: He has been witnessed fighting with sabre and dagger, his dancing footwork and scientific bladework strongly reminiscent of an old Vailkrin school of fence: a style which disappeared many generations ago despite its efficacy, and might only be recognised by those with long memories. He has also been seen to perform acrobatic feats with relative ease when such exertions were required to alter his position within a brawl to his advantage.
Descriptions: a life-long Masquerade
During the halcyon days of his youth, Cornelius had a tendency to take on different personas with an actor's flair, donning guise after guise to complete his various tasks with subtlety and finesse.
Some disguises became particularly favoured, but Cornelius invariably prefers the haute couture adornments of the genteel dandy above all other personas.
One feature does stand out on his still-youthful face: his right cheek is marred by a latticework of fading scars. Knife wounds, claw marks, and sword cuts have all embedded memories into his somewhat pale flesh.
If you make eye contact, you'll frequently find the fop has just winked at you for no damned reason you can make out.
A quick glance would take in the storm-cloud grey of his hair, slightly silvered under the light, stylishly combed back with what your nose suggests is a concoction of scented oils. It seems out of place with his sharp blue eyes and the relatively unlined, albeit scarred, face.
His habitual straightening of sleeves and smoothing of cravat with manicured fingers give hints to his particular obsession for neatness. An intricately engraved earring in the form of a raven's wing glitters where it hangs from his left ear, suggesting the man might be a wee bit vain. Knee-high boots, elegant black trousers and a white silk shirt are combined with a silver-trimmed black waistcoat to confirm his vanity. Hints of arcane runes run silvered through his sleeves, with matching runic wristbands and a signet ring bearing the spread-winged raven of Penzance.
Amidst all the frippery and finery a single piece of jewellery stands out by dint of contrast: a bone ring, slightly tarnished and with hints of rusty brown speckled about it. In quieter, more pensive moments, Cornelius will occasionally be caught running a finger over it with a slight twist to his lips.
The Assassin 'Nemo'
Swathed in a carefully tailored cloak of shadow-weave, Nemo hides all expression behind a faceless black mask. All that can be seen of the man beneath are his cold, pale blue eyes.
Out of respect for the dead, and those chosen to join the ranks of the fallen, Nemo's entire ensemble is a funereal black. His clothing is designed for stealth, and to allow for a full range of acrobatic movements. Hidden pockets festoon every garment, and long-practised sleight of hand frequently makes it appear as if the sundry tools of Nemo's trade are produced from thin air.
There are more tricks to the assassin's garb than clever tailoring, however. A hint of runes can be seen on the sleeves of the assassin's black shirt, light-wards invested by priests in the days of the Penzance Family's more influential days, a defence against the dark arts frequently brought to bear on those belonging to the house of Penzance. Vailkrin was a dangerous place for prosperous mortals. The boots are enchanted to consume sound, leaving Nemo's tread as silent as the shadows he stalks. The cloak's properties draw shadows to its embrace as a flame draws moths, a form of camouflage perfect for one whose trade was traditionally plied on the dark streets of Vailkrin.
Prosecutor-at-Arms of Penzance
There were times in his past where Cornelius was called upon for a more formal despatching of his family's enemies, in the format of the judicial duel fought in full harness.
The eccentricities of old Vailkrin society was such that the noble families considered anything less than full plate mail in the prosecution of a duel was both a sign of financial insolvency and lack of breeding.
The Penzance wealth and impressive network of smuggling interests allowed them to provide their most skilled 'Prosecutor-at-Arms' to wear an armour created with dwarven skill and alloys. Elaborately engraved with the spread-winged raven of Penzance, somewhat lighter than steel - and somewhat more resilient - the Penzance suit of plate was instrumental in protecting the family's more legitimate interests where the hiring of 'Nemo' or some other assassin would have caused more problems than would have been solved.
Cornelius' instrument of prosecution was invariably a Langenschwert: a versatile two-handed sword with spikes on pommel and crossguard, bearing also lugs two hand-spans past the guard to allow for close-range half-swording techniques
Ship: The Wave Cleaver
How this ship passed into the hands of 'Captain Cornelius - Gentleman Reaver' is uncertain: some rumours in Rynvale speak of a gruelling one-on-one match with its former captain, Glaive. Word on the Cenril docks, however, has it that Cornelius purchased or leased the boat, and is simply a dilettante noble playing at 'swashbuckling, ahoy!' for a pretty profit to Glaive and his crew.
She sits placidly when anchored at berth, The Wave Cleaver does. The clipper is all sleek lines and smooth oak, her wide bow daintily raked forward to cut through the waves like a cutlass through flesh. An elegant lady, her three masts are garbed with sails of a blue-dyed linen.
Still, like so many women of Rynvale, this lady isn't one for simply sitting pretty. The Wave Cleaver is rigged for ease of sailing in the fashion of a barque: while the fore- and main-mast are square rigged, the mizzen-mast has been converted to fore-and aft, and there are new staysails and flying jibs in place. She's not a slow or patient ship, and unlike most clippers, this lady refuses to go half-way around the world to avoid a headwind.
A closer look, and you can tell the beauty means business: a slap in the face from the bow or stern traverse-mounted 68-pounder carronades would be enough to cool the ardour of any would-be suitor, and if that doesn't persuade, then a swift kick in the broadside from the 32-pounders lining her gunports should send any but the most persistent of cads running or begging for mercy.
There is no fancy figurehead to gaudily detract from this lady's charm, and when unfurled her flag and foremast topsail show a new design: the spread-winged raven of Penzance holding a cutlass in each claw.
'Captain Cornelius - Gentleman Reaver!'
Glaive is a good 7 feet in height, and about double the size of Cornelius in width. Years spent under the sun on deck have browned him almost to onyx, and his broad musculature speaks of great strength. His head is shaven, but he maintains a fierce square-cut beard.
A good seaman, Glaive was bosun many years ago before claiming captaincy through force of personality - at least, the previous captain found it hard to argue the point with Glaive's hamlike fist around his throat. He knows the ropes better than most sailors alive, and has a keen skill in evaluating a ship's sail-plan. His preferred weapons are either paired cutlasses, or an oversized falchion which looks like it could cut the Leviathan in two. He has a trained dog, an experienced dark-furred and barrel-bodied pit fighter, which Glaive simply refers to as 'The Dog'.
Higgs is a small and wiry man with bad teeth, worse breath, and scraggly hair. He'll never be as good as Glaive, but he is skilled at mending sails and lines, and splices ropes like the seagods granted him their personal blessing.
Cordy (NPC) - an affable young seaman, and a proactive go-getter with the ability to read. A regretable combination leading him into the role of ship's gofer and odd-jobsman. Still, he has some wit about him, and some ambition towards the Quartermaster's position. He is a stocky young man, a short-stacked bundle of muscles and energy.
Percy (Foul-mouthed Pet) - Percy is a beady-eyed parrot of both colourful plumage and language.
Purchased at extreme discount from an old wharfie in a dock-side drinking hole, Cornelius thought he'd got himself a bargain. Unfortunately, he received more than he bargained for in Percy, and has as yet been unable to explain the seeming intelligence behind the parrot's continuous verbal abuse of everything around it.
Certainly, Percy learned a small amount of fear and respect for the 'Cap'n' when Cornelius took some of his plumage for his hat, and threatened to feed Percy's tongue to a Fermin if he didn't fulfil a piratical parrot's duties.
Fortunately, those duties are largely to be present when required, and to look suitably bad natured - something Percy manages with relative ease.
1 - Youth
[This is information which could feasibly be obtained, albeit with great difficulty, from a particular library where the record of his family's history has been archived away. The information would be more easily gathered if the searcher had a solid understanding of the culture at the time and place Cornelius grew up. The real difficulty facing any researcher will be establishing where in the many shelves of Penzance Family history one would start looking for information pertaining directly to Cornelius without the assisting factor of a date of birth]
Cornelius was the privileged younger son of a minor noble family whose moderate fortune came from canny mercantile connections and the smuggling of goods for other other, less-connected nobility.
As expected of the son of aristocracy, he was instructed in various arts, sciences, and languages, although his talent for these were entirely dependent upon how interesting he found them. His family also hired a dark-featured swordsman as master-of-arms, a man with a strangely scientific approach to the passage of arms. Cornelius took to weapons as a fly to a web, finding his attention perpetually ensnared by the dangerous puzzle of combat.
A quick-witted and easily bored child, he found his entertainment by roaming the streets with other street urchins, using his athleticism and training to stay alive, finding amusement in the novelty of petty crime and street brawling.
On one such occasion, his fencing master witnessed his student's escapades, and started to add other elements to Cornelius' training to improve his chances of survival, knowing from experience that there would be no constraining the child.
As he reached young adulthood, Cornelius became something of a wastrel and provocateur, visiting slums and sleazy bars, fighting almost every evening as some new bravo or ruffian would take offense to his frequent condescensions and barely-veiled slights.
His family were only able to overlook his antics as they did not impact upon their own business: in some cases his behaviour was beneficial as Cornelius frequently brought in new contacts from the shadier parts of town. His lessons in the Gentlemanly Arte of Defense continued, expanding to include training in a variety of judicial weapons from the various regions known to his Maestro.
2 - Adulthood
The family records, if located, have little to say of Cornelius' adulthood - almost as if he has been completely removed from the family records after he reached the age of maturity. There is a mention of two failed marriages in a cross-reference with a civic register. Still, by this stage, the mere act of having located his childhood records will undoubtedly raise more questions than those occasioned by the lack of any records after he turned eighteen.
Snapshot of Cornelius' Past
This information is ICly known in full only to Cornelius and the being known as 'Eldritch' in the Obsidian Pool
3 - Current Status
The dandy, sad to say, has joined the choir invisible, shuffled off the mortal coil, and is in those and many other ways quite dead. In addition, he is now being employed as a coat-rack in The Hanging Corpse Tavern.
Not much was known about the rather eccentric and gentrified fellow - little about where he came from, and nothing about how or why.
Very little at all, really, save that he had a childhood connection with Jolie of the Cabal, a connection which was fraught with subtle and not-so-subtle conflicts amidst their strange form of camaraderie.
He was witnessed at times displaying a casual disregard for his own physical welfare, eagerly taking on the challenges of assassins and the supernatural, disdaining to back down even under the most unfavourable of odds. Which was, let's face it, a grand way to reduce a man's life expectancy.
A touching memorial was raised by Rowen, Empress of the Entire Universe:
[An Imperial Proclamation on finest black-bordered parchment] I, Rowen Stronghammer, Supreme Empress of the Entire Known Universe do hereby declare an official month long period of mourning, throughout the universe. This is in honour of my dearly beloved friend, my completely loyal subject, my infinitely wise counsellor, the best dressed man in all history, Cornelius Von Penzance. - Empress Rowen. (August 28th, 4:59 AM) 2011
RP List and Miscellany
RPs which advance/affect Cornelius' IC development/reputation I will link here in vaguely chronological order.
- A minor ruckus in Kelay
- Stalking 101 - Mahri Style
- Claiming a ship the old-fashioned way
- Working for Redhale (This occurred between Scenes 1 and 2 of 'Claiming a Ship')
- Duelling with the drow: Cornelius confronts Kuzial
- The Frog and the Dandy: combat outside a Kelay cottage
- A Not so Jolly Hollow Holiday Vacation
- Prelude to nightmares: a glimpse of home
- Joining Anders' Expedition in Xalious
- Between a Roc and a Hard place
- Masquerades and Bad Romance: Jolie's Revenge
- The Eldritch Cabal and the Obsidian Fortress
- A Marriage of Convenience - Jolie's ritual goes disturbingly wrong
- Business and Bovver - shady dealings in the backstreets of Vailkrin
- Cornelius dons the guise of Nemo to flee to Cenril, but circumstances force him to face Leifong
- Cornelius dances with Kuzial once more
- Cornelius gets high on Empress Rowen's Levitation Lager
- As part of a plan to save a Lycan Cub, Cornelius kidnaps Jolie
- The fall of the House of Penzance
Miscellaneous NPC RPs
- The House of Angrad
- The dragon Shardrazhur and his mage Alphesius at the Dragon Races
- Doktor Heinrich Von Gestalt, consulting psychologist
- A Snow Lion in Frostmaw
- Exiled drow raid part of the Exodus
- Bare-Knuckle Boxing in Vailkrin - Xiang v Locals
- Bare-Knuckle Boxing in Vailkrin - ColdMoon (npc) v Snake Eyes (npc)
- Bare-Knuckle Boxing in Vailkrin - Pretty Boy Stevens (npc) v Francesco (npc)
Other RPs which I am proud of tend to get logged at http://eldritchcabal.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=cornelius
OOC Contact wise, I do use IMs, primarily to help organise RPs. AOL username: corneliusvonpenzance I also have MSN Messenger and Gmail chat.
Mercutious has made a great pic of Cornelius using Heromachine. See the results here: http://blackshadow79.deviantart.com/art/Cornelius-205897669 - Awesome work, man :)
Special OOC Moments
You said OOC, "I want an admin to 'appear in a beret, quoting bukowski and quaffing bourbon'"
Parsithius appears in a beret, quoting bukowski and quaffing bourbon.