This time, Foxfire goes under the microscope. I threw in a few questions of my own at the end because this quiz feels a bit repetitive in some respects. I think they're planning more on readers prompting rather than some idiot plowing through the whole list. XD;;
What does their bedroom look like?
Fox doesn't actually have a permanent home base; if he did it'd probably look like a magpie's nest. He tends to collect things with associations for him or that catch his eye. (Given his profession, this actually makes sense.)
Do they have any daily rituals?
Routine schedule, no. Rituals, yes. (He's a bloody shaman, of course he has rituals.) Whenever he travels to a place, he'll stop and perform the rites to contact the local spirits. He usually makes a habit of checking with his own cadre of spirits daily, reaching out to reaffirm the connections he has; this is functionally a lot like a daily meditation. If he's in transit, he can even perform it while riding.
Do they exercise, and if so, what do they do? How often?
Deliberately exercise, no. Fox does spar with his siblings and whatever warriors are around, more because he likes it than because he needs the skills. He'll practice on his own when he needs a form of moving meditation or to work off energy. He specializes more in open hand and knives; he can handle a sword but hasn't practiced at it specifically. He's a pretty decent shot with a bow, as that's how he earns his dinner when he's on the move. It wouldn't be the first weapon he'd reach for in a fight.
He tends to get most of his exercise just from constantly being on the move, frequently traveling on foot and on horseback.
What would they do if they needed to make dinner but the kitchen was busy?
Kitchen, what is this kitchen you speak of? He usually carries a small amount of supplies that don't require much preparation, so if he's not had luck hunting/gathering or doesn't have the time to cook for himself, he'll still have something to eat. That's also in case he's meditating, scrying, or otherwise occupied with magic for longer periods of time. If he's in a settlement, then he can always trade or buy supper, as he's hardly without funds.
Cleanliness habits (personal, workspace, etc.)
Fox is actually relatively clean, if not overly concerned about it. He can't abide smelling, but he's not fastidious. He can clean up quite nicely if he's willing. His hair tends to be shaggy and somewhat disheveled, as it reorders itself whenever he moves about. He ascribes to organized chaos; he can find everything he wants when he wants to, and no one else can. That suits him perfectly.
Eating habits and sample daily menu
This mostly depends on where he is; Fox spends about 50% of his time traveling on his own, 30% visiting various tribes and settlements, and 20% being stuck attending Court/his siblings. He'll eat what's available that looks good at the time; on his own, that's whatever is in season that he can hunt or gather. With a tribe or at a settlement, that's whatever they have readily available; he won't turn down nicer things offered to him but he won't make demands either. With the Court, that tends to be the lavish, high-end specialty foods. While he doesn't over eat, he sees no point in not enjoying what he likes. He tends to gravitate towards sweet or spicy food when it's available, especially since his foraging tends to be unexciting in that respect. Alkhenia has a lot more red meat readily available than Sarassa; they're more heavy on goats, antelope, deer, etc. with less sea food. Poultry and fish are still common as well. When he's wandering, whether or not he eats meat has to do with how lazy he's feeling. If he has enough edible fruit, nuts, roots or vegetables, he's just as well without hunting.
Favorite way to waste time and feelings surrounding wasting time
Ostentatiously wasting time is one of the best ways to piss off his more Type A family members. Ergo, he loves it. Lazy naps, strolls, games, etc; he has a specialty of figuring out what bothers the people he dislikes the most.
Favorite indulgence and feelings surrounding indulging
Fox's favorite indulgence would be his curiousity. He's terrible at reining it in and generally doesn't feel like he has to, so why not? Fox lives his life to enjoy it, so if there's something he wants, he rarely sees any reason to not go for it.
Not habitually, though there are some shamans who use make up/face paint and the like. Fox has found it convenient on some occasions to do so, though he thinks regular cosmetics are just too much effort.
Neuroses? Do they recognize them as such?
He's made actively spiting people an art form; it's safe to say he has a few issues. Fox hates feeling like he's being controlled or manipulated, so he often does unto others first so that he feels secure. He gets his way, but he never really gets what he actually wants, which is acceptance. He craves acknowledgment without attempts to change him or pressure him. If you ask him about any of this, he'll deny it wholesale and then thoroughly distract you so you forgot what you were talking about.
Is it interesting to him? Yes, he has pursued it. Then dropped it the instant it became boring. Fox is too smart for his own good, and worse, he's cunning. He does learn things very quickly and then finds them tedious if he runs out of new material or challenges. He can be impatient with learning slowly; things that can't be rushed like physical training frustrate him. He's stuck out a number of disciplines out of sheer stubbornness. (Generally, the less someone else thinks he can do it or should be doing it, the more determined he is to do it. That's why he speaks Sarassan, in a nutshell.)
Favorite book genre?
Drama. Drama and action and smut and . . . he'd probably shamelessly read bodice rippers if he could find them. He finds there's actually quite a bit of all of the above in history.
Sexual Orientation? And, regardless of own orientation, thoughts on sexual orientation in general?
Is it still breathing, and can it hold a conversation? XD In general, he's pansexual, cheerfully omnivorous, with no guilt associated with any gender. He went through a few years being rampantly promiscuous in his late teens, and doesn't regret it. He still dabbles now and then to keep his reputation firmly scandalous, but he's gotten a bit tired of having affairs rather than lovers. Something of a commitment phobe, due to aforementioned issues with being pressured and feeling tied down.
He sees no reason that anyone should prefer one gender over another or have a stigma for doing so. General society finds him slightly outrageous but homosexuality in general is much less of a deal with the Alkhenians.
Physical abnormalities? (Both visible and not, including injuries/disabilities, long-term illnesses, food-intolerances, etc.)
Grey eyes are somewhat uncommon in Alkhenia; they glow silver-blue when he's channeling power. Otherwise, he's physically very normal for his people. They run shorter than the Varentine; he's a bit below average around 5'8”. He's not heavy, but sturdily built with solid muscle. He's never had any major injuries, never gone hungry. He's been dumped off a horse more times than he can count, likely fractured ribs and wrists and forearms, but never fully broken a bone or been bedridden. He's left handed but can draw a bow with either hand.
He might be a bit claustrophobic; small spaces are fine only so long as he knows he can get out at any time. He's likely vulnerable to disease from the Varentine and sailors in the ports; the Alkhenian haven't been circulating with that portion of the world very much.
Biggest and smallest short term goal?
Biggest and smallest long term goal?
Become so skilled a shaman that the Court and all Alkhenia has to recognize him on his terms.
Get a good breeding line going with his string of horses.
Preferred mode of dress and rituals surrounding dress
Clothes horse. Total clothes horse. He'll generally wear the proper colors of the Alkhenian royal family, the reds, golds, oranges or saffron, in whatever form so appeals to him. He likes being attention getting, sometimes more of a trendsetter than a slave to fashion. He's not exceptionally neat with his clothes, yet he tends to wear things where that works.
Alkhenian fashion loosely resembles older traditional Chinese and Mongolian trends; short robes and loose pants, or longer robes with leggings. Longer robes and more elaborate layers are the thing for high society or fancy ceremonies. Warriors tend more to the short robes or tunics with the loose pants; Fox courts being scandalous by wearing their garb sometimes.
Tea, followed closely by beer or fermented mare's milk. His promiscuous period was also rather closely tied to alcohol and partying in general. It'd shock people to realize he most often drinks plain water, followed by tea and tisanes.
What do they think about before falling asleep at night?
Idle speculation and vaguely philosophical wool-gathering; he gets abstract and increasingly generalized until he falls asleep.
Childhood illnesses? Any interesting stories behind them?
The usual suspects; as a member of the royal family he was pretty well cared for and had little risk of suffering poor health for long. He almost undoubtedly got into trouble regularly, but rarely worse than scuffs and bruises. There was one incident, when he was being sent to foster with his arranged fiancee's family when he turned twelve, where he was lost in an ice storm in a mountain pass. He came down on his own a day or two later, feverish, coughing, a bit bruised and scuffled from a tumble down a slope, and apparently disoriented. People assumed he was delirious and took care of his condition before it became pneumonia. In reality, that's when he met Snow-owl.
Wanted: Meaningful Overnight Relationship.
Attractive, interesting people with no strings attached. Bonus points if boning them will somehow piss off his detractors. Athleticism is a distinct perk. He's had sex with people he finds good-looking but stupid or of regrettable personality before, but then it's generally little more than very pleasant exercise on one occasion not to be repeated. He has enough charisma, looks, and power that finding ready and willing people to fit all criteria is rarely a problem.
Boring, ugly people, or anyone who comes with obligations and responsibility and pesky emotions, no, Fox would rather avoid those entanglements. He prefers to think that he doesn't need or want romantic nonsense, and he rarely stays in one spot long enough to form attachments. (The Court doesn't count; he doesn't trust anyone there, and he wouldn't be a suitable match for any of them anyways.)
Given a blank piece of paper, a pencil, and nothing to do, what would happen?
Doodling. Inevitably, doodling. He tends more towards the abstract or geometric patterns than anything concrete, and he's got a bit of flair for it, though it's not what most people would call art.
How organized are they? How does this organization/disorganization manifest in their everyday life?
Fox has a system that works for him, which pretty much no one else would even recognize as a system. He can also scry and use spirits to locate lost things for him, which he'll never, ever tell anyone he abuses on a regular basis. (It's not lost if you can find it when you want to!) This is why it's probably for the best that he's limited to the things he can carry easily, or he'd just accumulate an unholy mess of everything and anything. He doesn't tend to abuse or break the things he has, they're just jumbled.
. . . His idea of organization erodes Rafe's will to live.
Is there one subject of study that they excel at? Or do they even care about intellectual pursuits at all?
He's very, very good at setting up his associations so that they require as little attention from himself as possible, and therefore he can hold more active connections to spirits at once than almost anyone he's ever heard of. He's something of a prodigy as a shaman, and also an iconoclast, as he'll find ways of doing things that completely ignore centuries of tradition. He's got a bit of pride wrapped up in all the aspects of that.
How do they see themselves 5 years from today?
Continuing on exactly as he does today.
Do they have any plans for the future? Any contingency plans if things don’t workout?
To be the best shaman in Alkhenia, preferably in the world. . . . He'll settle for being one of the best, or at least, most well-known, on his own terms.
What is their biggest regret?
He's still a bit bitter over not being a Ridden rather than being a shaman. He wanted that connection, the glory and recognition of being a Ridden warrior ever since he was very little. He wanted to be the hero; what he got to be was the wise mystic. Shamans exist on the edge of society, outside convention. There's certain contexts in which they're desirable and acceptable members of the community, but those are also very constrained roles. There's aspects of being a shaman, particularly their mutable nature, that are considered . . . ill-favored. Untrustworthy. Unrespectable.
He doesn't fit, he wishes that he did, and he wishes that he doesn't care that he doesn't fit.
Who do they see as their best friend? Their worst enemy?
His best friend is also his oldest companion, Snow-owl. Snow-owl is very nearly an older brother to him, in as much that a spirit of cold and wind can be. Fox relies on his spirits for companionship and guidance that he can trust, as he has little faith in humans. Human society is a game to be played, the same way it played him.
He likes his family, but he's also very aware that they have their own agendas he isn't exactly keen on cooperating with. (Ideally, for his siblings, he'd be a powerful shaman at Court, respected and wise, capable of reading and deflating political or military maneuvers before they started. Fox's not interested in being anyone's weapon or tool, and being tied down at the Alkhenian Court is the last thing he wants.) His older sister Summergyre is one of the few willing to meet him halfway, and for that she's the one that most often corrals him into doing what they need done.
Reaction to sudden extrapersonal disaster (eg The house is on fire! What do they do?)
Aside from an initial flash of panic, Fox is reasonably good at keeping his head in bad situations. He'll try to think about what he can do to help on his own; he won't try to control other people unless he sees them doing something clearly wrong. If they ignore him, it's on their own heads. If he was given orders that made sense to him, he'd follow them. Foxfire is more naturally self-centered, so his first priority is his own health and safety. If he saw someone else struggling, he'd war with himself briefly about being foolishly altruistic and then go help before they're lost. He grumbles about it and likes to think he wouldn't care about strangers and fools, but he won't stand by idly when his help is really needed.
Reaction to sudden intrapersonal disaster (eg close family member suddenly dies)
Grieve. Meditate. Move on. He's better equipped to handle emotional and psychological trouble; part of a shaman's duties is understanding how people tick and sorting them out. Fox isn't exactly keen on being a tribe's wise-woman or sympathetic bartender equivalent, but he absorbed the lessons on psychology well.
Most prized possession?
Probably his necklace with the beads and fetishes that he uses to call his spirits. He has, by necessity, a lot of emotional connections wrapped up in the charms, and he often feels closer to the spirits than he does his family. That said, sometimes the charms used are important to him because they are related to his family; the first charm he has is a carved nut bead made and given to him by his great-aunt mentor.
Thoughts on material possessions in general?
If it's worth having, it's worth having. He tends to like the finer things and has expensive taste in quality. He's coming from a privileged background, so he's a bit spoiled in thinking that he can always buy another.
Concept of home and family?
Foxfire is a bit nebulous on what constitutes home and family. His own parents are, while loving, somewhat distant being that they've got a lot on their plates. He looked up to his older brothers as a kid, until they didn't have time for him any more. Of his siblings, Summergyre stuck with him the best after the shamanic revelation and didn't treat him differently. She can be brusque, but they have mutual respect for each other. After fostering, then apprenticing and traveling, he's eschewed the concept of a home.
Thoughts on privacy? (Are they a private person, or are they prone to ‘TMI’?)
Foxfire has somewhat different definitions of what should be private compared to other people. Physical intimacies and details, he doesn't care about sharing. Mostly, if he's going to overshare, it's because he's looking to get a particular reaction out of someone. He also has no compunction about lying about the particular details he's giving. He's gotten better and more sophisticated about it with age, of course. He'll cheerfully tell people what he thinks of them to their face if he doesn't need another response from them.
On the other hand, Fox is very coy about what he feels and how his head works. That he keeps private, keeping the counsel of only his spirits and sometimes his sister or great-aunt mentor. They're probably the only two that appreciate how twisty and cunning he actually is.
What activities do they enjoy, but consider to be a waste of time?
If he enjoys it, it's not a waste of time! (See above re: Fox making a science out of wasting time.) Some kinds of art, like drawing or painting, he sort of enjoys but doesn't see a good use for. Games and gambling are the sort of thing he usually undertakes in order to read or manipulate the participants, so it's not even about the activity itself.
What makes them feel guilty?
It takes some doing before Fox feels guilty, and it's even harder if he thinks he's being manipulated into a guilt trip. It usually takes Fox recognizing that he is, unequivocally, in the wrong and causing harm/pain/stress to people whom he cares about before he twinges. This makes him worry that maybe people are right about what they say about anchorless shamans. And then he makes up his mind to act even more to type because screw everyone, anyways, give them what they want. Any apologies or about-faces in behavior are almost always either short-lived, or in direct response to something happening to his loved ones. The serious changes aren't ever as a result of correction or someone trying to control him; he just silently never, ever does what that was any more.
Are they more analytical or more emotional in their decision-making?
Foxfire cultivates a feckless, reckless appearance; he's an odd mix of analytical decisions and calculated whims. If he has an emotional response to a choice, he'll usually go with his gut, but there's far more thought going into his actions than anyone would think.
Would they consider themselves a Type A or Type B personality?
Fox cheerfully reports himself as a Type B. If he doesn't want to do a thing, getting it done is going to be very difficult. On the other hand, he's almost constantly thinking.
What recharges them when they’re feeling drained?
Generally speaking, Fox needs a change of pace when he's drained. If he's been at Court/around other people too long, then he needs to take off into the wilderness, not see anyone but his own spirits, and pretend he's deeply spiritual for awhile. If he's been slogging along alone too long, he needs company; good discussion, a good party, a good lay.
Would you say that they have a superiority-complex? Inferiority-complex? Neither?
Fox is the sort that has been told they're inferior, so he stubbornly acts superior. He's a spoiled brat at times, but how much is him acting that way deliberately and how much is the truth is hard to tell. He considers himself smarter and more clever than most anyone else, and what's worse, he's right. As a boy, he wanted to be the hero. He wanted to be important. He didn't want to be the weird, half-mad, fringe-of-society, untrustworthy shaman.
How misanthropic are they?
Pretty misanthropic. He's of the opinion that greater humanity is stupid, self-serving, and sometimes actively malevolent. There are good individuals, not people. He fully expects the worst of anyone he meets, guilty until proven innocent. And even then he has his doubts.
Fox hates being bored; he'll flit from activity to activity to keep himself entertained. He's not adverse to going back to pick up something he previously dropped if the circumstances change. This does mean he's done a little bit of everything; anything from the kinds of things that occupy the well-born and wealthy like gambling, dancing, games and music to the sort of subsistence, useful hobbies that occupy the poor and common people, like wood-carving, fletching arrows, braiding rope, leatherworking.
He's probably not a half bad artist in a limited sense, a good dancer, an indifferent gambler at chance (considerably better when card-counting or manipulation becomes an option), a passable wooden flute player, a practiced hand at certain drums (which can be part of some rituals), and can at least manage the basics of a great deal of survival and subsistence skills. He's been trained to get by in the wild with little, and he does so, a good portion of his time. He doesn't find those survival skills terribly fun, though necessary. He prefers being around people, he just dislikes the fetters society would put on him.
How far did they get in formal education? What are their views on formal education vs self-education?
Fox had all the same education that his siblings did, up until he was confirmed to be a shaman at about 15. That means reading, writing, a certain amount of math, proper etiquette, history, geography, and some combat. Because he spent some time fostered with his fiancee's tribe, he also picked up a fair bit of working with horses; riding, training, breeding, archery from horseback and on foot.
And then he got ejected from a potential warrior's life and thrust into shaman apprenticeship with his great aunt. That meant he had to learn not only the spirits, but how to survive in the world; how to read auras, alignments and behaviors; how to doctor and tend to people with magic and herbs and words. They're expected to have an in depth understanding of the natural and spiritual world, and the human body, psyche and society. As mediators, they live slightly apart. As people with malleable alignments, they're regarded as important but somewhat unnatural, something more and less than human.
Alkhenia ascribes more towards many spirits rather than few gods. Being that he can walk and talk with those spirits, yes, yes, Fox is a believer. He's more respectful than worshipful, and sometimes even irreverent, but beneath that is a solid core of certainty. This is what exists, this is how it works, this is how he works within it, this is what the natural order is.
Superstitions or views on the occult?
HE HAS A FEW.
Do they express their thoughts through words or deeds?
Fox will tell you many things, most of which he thinks you want to hear, or he wants you to hear in order to make you think he thinks something is true. (It's not always.) His deeds are a truer report of what he feels and thinks.
If they were to fall in love, who (or what) is their ideal?
Fox likes to laugh off the idea of his falling in love. He's had crushes, and he certainly thought he had an understanding with the girl he was arranged to marry, yet he's never really let himself be emotionally vulnerable that way. He tends to deliberately keep people at distance, or remove himself from a situation where he might become attached.
He can be attracted to a lot of different physicalities, and a range of personalities, but what he respects the most are people who are intelligent, give as good as they get, and can keep up with him. He'll never admit he wants to be respected back. Having an ideal would be to admit that he's got a romantic vision in the first place.
How do they express love?
Fox is sort of terrified of being in love. He'd actually care what this other person thinks of him, and want to stay in their good graces. He'd want to stay. And he actually would.
If this person were to get into a fist fight, what is their fighting style like?
Fox in a fist fight is likely to act brash, bold and taunting. He'll make feints, lead his opponent on, and then strike unerringly once he's lured them in. He's good at it, confident in his abilities, and plays dirty. There's no such thing as a fair fight in his book, just unexpected tactics. If someone sucker punched him, he'd more likely admire them for getting the jump on him than be cursing them out as unfair.
Is this person afraid of dying? Why or why not?
Yes. He's not sure what would become of him on the other side, and he's fairly certain there is a something. He doesn't like pain, can't write it off the way more stoic types do. He's afraid of both things. The fear wouldn't paralyze him from acting, but it would certainly make him hesitate.
Introvert or extrovert?
Extrovert, definitely. He has an innate flare for showmanship, and really perks up when he's around other people. He's adapted to being on his own for weeks at a time, except he's never truly alone when his spirits are in reach. Getting cut off from his spirit contacts would be a bad shock for him. Snow-owl is probably the only entity that's managed to slow and temper Foxfire's mercurial nature.
Manner of speaking?
Fox has been raised in the Court and as a noble, so he knows how to be completely proper- and when he has the rank to be completely rude. Also, part of shamanic lore is passed on as adages and stories to be pondered, so essentially he knows he can be expected to speak in metaphor; he uses this as license to be an enigmatic little shit and smiles mysteriously while you fume.
Rafe was raised as a country boy amongst equals, so he's more comfortable with the common tongue. On the other hand, he's been thrust into a position where everyone is watching him, waiting for him to make a mistake and fail. He's uncomfortably aware he's surrounded by his superiors in rank and wealth. So he's made a study of etiquette and is very, very cautious about being proper in speech and behavior while on duty.
Behavioral tics, body language?
Fox is a natural mimic and a very good actor when he puts his mind to it. He tends to figure out people's expectations, and then play the hell out of them according to his needs. He can act like he belongs in a place he's never been, and does a very good job of coming across as self-assured no matter what.
His natural body language tends towards expansive gestures, talking with his hands, and easy, fluid movements. He carries himself well with the balance of a fighter or dancer, has good posture, and looks like he was born in the saddle. He often acts relaxed even when he's tense, with a small smile in place as his default expression. Attentive people might notice that he smiles with his mouth far more than his eyes, which can be a little unsettling.
Where are they in their career?
Technically, Foxfire is a journeyman shaman. He's finished his apprenticeship with his mentor, passed the basics with flying colors, and is now out to travel the world, find spirits he can work with, and presumably look for a place to settle down. Shamans aren't considered masters until they've located an anchor, someone to operate as a touchstone for them and link them to a community, where they can settle properly into their duties. Fox has already accumulated more spirits than most shamans ever speak to, traveled all over the nation, and achieved feats and powers that are somewhat alarming to those who understand it.
And he still. Hasn't. Settled.
How do other people see them?
Feckless, restless, wastrel prince. Shameless dilettante. Shamans are considered half-mad in the best of times, so Fox's being powerful with many spirits to his roll can be considered an indicator for how beyond the pale he is. People's individual reactions to him vary from afraid to untrusting to disgusted.
Mostly, he exasperates the hell out of his family, because they know he's brilliant. He could be a serious power in the Court if that's what he set out to do. Only his older sister Summergyre realizes that Fox has already made moves within the Court before, setting up someone for a fall who well deserved it. It was cunning; it took time, patience, and cold blood. She respects that he can be dangerous and a lot more than he seems, and with that, she sees through him more than he'd like.
How do they react to/treat their inferiors? Superiors? Peers?
This depends on what reaction Fox is going for. He usually well knows how people want to be treated, and what would be considered proper or acceptable behavior. What'll really determine what Fox thinks of a person usually depends on their intelligence and motivations.
In general, to inferiors, Fox can be breezily high handed, but with enough humor and charm that he's seen favorably. To peers, Fox often comes across as just this side of disrespectful, with a hint of flippancy. To superiors, well, he has very few of those. He's publicly obedient to the letter, if not the law, and uses all the correct honorifics and titles. His great aunt mentor had a hell of a time bringing him to heel, which was more a matter of getting him to respect her on her own merits than enforcing any rules. After they came to an understanding, they got along much better, and she remains one of the few people he actually really treats with deference.