| Abriael Rosen
|'You can't live forever! If you aren't proud of your life, at least be proud of the way you'll die!'
|Place of birth
||6 fulms 4 ilms
Abriael is the captain of the 17th Penal Company "Black Cross," part of the 13th Regiment of the Immortal Flames.
Abriael has raven black, well groomed hair. Despite his position he's almost always perfectly shaven. His clear grey eyes have an intense, determined gaze that hides just a hint of sadness. One of his eyes is always covered by a leather eye patch with metallic decorations. Behind it two long crossed scars can be seen. The eye is still there behind the patch, but it's blinded by permanent damage.
His athletic, toned body is that of a highly trained fighter, but it hides a secret. Under his armor his skin is "decorated" by a multitude of scars. Some old, some fresh, some large, some small. They seem to be made by all kinds of weapons, and some appear to have been caused by some cruel tools rather than in battle, like someone actually took his sweet time to carve them.
Abriael also has a tattoo on his shoulder, reproducing the emblem of the Sultansworn. It appears to have been been roughly crossed off with a blade.
His hands are strong and used to handle blade and shield, and several calluses show clearly that he's been training since he was little more than a child.
Most of the times he wears full armor, a mix of dark steel plate and chainmail with brass decorations. It's definitely not very fancy, and it shows signs of frequent damage and repair. Despite that, it shows that it's well cared for. On Abriael's breast one can see the crest of the Black Cross company, while his armor's neck piece bears the insignia of his recently acquired Captain rank.
His large sword and shield are definitely fancier, as they are family heirlooms. The sword, named "Gloria" belonged to his father, while the shield comes from the side of his adopted mother.
In the rare times in which he's not wearing armor, he prefers comfortable clothes made of black leather and white linen. He makes a point of keeping them clean, differently from the rest of his ragtag company. He's rarely seen in elegant attire, even if he definitely knows how to bear himself in it, considering that he's grown up between the nobility of two different nations.
Personality and Manners
Abriael has been educated by his parents with the utmost attention to etiquette and culture. Having grown up between the high ranks of the Ul'dahn and Ishgardian societies, nearly perfect manners are basically imprinted into his brain, even if he actually makes a conscious effort to hide them behind a rigid martial behavior.
Slips happen fairly often, though, and he'll normally address every female as "my lady" and every male as "sir". His heritage is most evident while eating. He simply can't set aside his refined table manners, and always eats using fork and knife, unable to bring himself to eat with his hands unless he can't avoid to. This is source of endless teasing between the other members of the Black Cross Company, that often call him "Prince" or "Prince Charming", but not in a flattering way.
Despite his slips into highborn mannerism, he always behaves with almost self-depreciating humility. He does not like to be complimented, and trends to steer clear from any kind of celebration, especially if he's the one being celebrated, which doesn't happen often anyway.
One of the most peculiar traits of his behavior is the fact that he'll always seek eye contact with whoever he's talking to, thing that can be a little unsettling due to his eyepatch. His deep, determined gaze could almost give the impression that he's trying to somehow read into the soul of the one in front of him.
At first sight he appears stern, but he will stop to nothing in order to help a friend in need, or even someone he isn't acquainted with. He's been known to spring to action surprisingly fast when seeing a stranger in peril. He's fiercely protective of those that gain his loyalty and affection, and he will not hesitate a moment to put his life on the line for them. Due to his his personal history pain or death do little to scare him, anyway.
If he meets a very aggressive fellow, regardless of gender, it triggers something within him that causes aggression to be met with aggression. He simply won't let people just trample all over him, and he's far from meek.
Abriael started his education when he was five, under the supervision of his parents and some of the best teachers available in Ishgard. He can obviously read and write (and his writing is fairly elegant at that, even if he makes an effort to keep it plain in normal conditions), he's well versed in history, literature and heraldry. Unfortunately mathematics were never his forte, driving his dedicated teacher really mad.
A large part of his upbringing was dedicated to the military arts: fencing, fighting, tactics and strategy. His battle style used to be rather refined and elegant, and some vestiges of that are still visible, but it has been considerably bastardized by the time spent in the Black Cross Company, and now he does not refrain from getting quite physical in combat, bashing with his shield, grappling, using knees, kicks, shoulder charges and anything that lets him be more effective, even if it doesn't look fancy.
He's also fairly versed in weapon smithing and armor smithing, but he's fair from a master, using the skill only to perform simple repairs to his gear.
Abriael has been assigned to lead the 17th Penal Company "Black Cross," part of the 13th Regiment of the Immortal Flames.
The Company houses some of the worst criminals from all the city states: murderers, highwaymen, rapists, even traitors. Some of the most versed in battle are given a chance to escape a lifetime in prison or even the noose by fighting. That's not much of a gain, as they're used for the dirtiest and most dangerous mission, and the survival rate is abysmal.
Due to that, the numbers of the Company are highly variable, and it's almost never at full strength, but it doesn't really matters, as its members are deemed expendable. For that reason it's very rare for healers or even simple apothecaries to be assigned to it. That means that members, including Abriael, will be often affected by lingering injuries, unless they happen to find a healer willing to take care of them.
While the lower ranking members of the company are severely limited in their personal freedoms, Abriael's status as an officer grants him more freedom of movement, as long as he doesn't completely disappear.
The relationship with the men and women of the company isn't always the most relaxed. Some hate him because of his promotion. Others simply don't respect his authority. A few actually like him, but they keep it for themselves in order not to be singled out by the rest.
Despite that, most of them learned that Abriael is a competent commander (especially because he leads right from the front of a charge, first to rush in and last to retreat, unlike the previous officers assigned to the post), so they follow his orders quite efficiently in order to stay alive, at least when they are in battle. Unfortunately getting them to train properly is a little more difficult, causing the newly appointed captain quite a few headaches. Luckily most of them are already proficient warriors in their own right.
Due to the peculiar nature of the Company and to the lack of personal freedoms of its members, not to mention their dire life expectations, they tend to look for rather unorthodox ways to find some warmth and happiness, which normally involves frequent nightly activities in their cots. Abriael has proven to be fairly understanding of that, and doesn't intervene, but also doesn't normally take part in the "celebrations," even if he often has to kick out of his bed the occasional lass (or dude) that tries her luck while he's trying to sleep.
Abriael normally rides Alagos, an old, grumpy and stubborn war chocobo that was gifted to him by his adopted mother.
Alagos can be considered an unruly animal under basically every point of view, and he has the nasty habit to bite strangers, but Abriael and him are perfectly used to each other, and they complement one another.
Despite his unruly attitude, Alagos turns into an extremely trustworthy mount in battle, and knows very well when he can misbehave and when his owner instead expects perfect execution and obedience. Ultimately, steed and owner simply love each other very deeply, having grown up together.
While Abriael's days vary a lot depending on the situation of the war and of the company, he always tries to run a few laps around the walls of Ul'Dah every morning.
Every evening he'll make sure to see to see to the maintenance of his armor and weapons, also performing simple repairs by himself. He'll also try to visit the baths or the hot springs at Bronze Lake in order to clean himself from the grime, blood and dirt of the day.
Despite his status he's also quite a stickler for being perfectly shaven as much as he can, and for keeping his clothes clean.
Besides that, he'll spend most of his time training, one way or another, often to the point of physical and mental exhaustion.
Note: most citizen of Ul'Dah and characters with a military background have a high chance to know the meaning of the crest of the Black Cross Company Abriael wears, guessing his status as a convict and possible criminal. Negative or hostile initial reactions will be entirely justified and not considered metagaming.
- "Dude's a convict, you know? One of those of the Black Cross. Wonder what he's done? Probably a murder or some such."
- "Look at that crest little one, if you see someone wearing it, steer clear. They're bad people."
- "Why do you care? He'll probably be dead tomorrow, or in a week."
- "That cursed chocobo of his bit me two days ago, it almost bit my hand off, the damn beast!"
- (spits to the ground) "Why do they let someone of the Black Cross walk around the city like that? He should be in chains."
- "I don't know why they still keep the Black Cross running, they should just hang them all and let the real soldiers do the job, Fuc*ing scum..." (can be overheard only from members of the military or guards)
- "I remember him, his trial was on The Mithril Eye, on first page too! He consorted with them Garleans and got an entire company slaughtered up north. He's scum, I tell ya."
- "He's the new captain of the Black Cross. They say he used to be a convict himself. They must be crazy to make a criminal into an officer."
- "I've seen him bare chested once. He has more scars than a piece of bark. I wonder what the hell he did to be carved like that. Nothing good, I'm sure."
- "They say he used to be a Sultansworn, and they kicked him out. A traitor of some sort he is."
- "I saw him yesterday, someone was tailing him. Looked rather shady, but probably it was just someone of the Brass Blades keeping tabs on him."
- "A week back he was sitting at the Quicksand, and this miqo'te chick jumped him with an axe all out of the blue. I kid you not. He gave her a sound spanking, but she managed to run. Must have been drunk or something, but Lady Momodi was pissed."
- "I heard he led his company to attack a Garlean fortress, and they managed to destroy some sort of secret weapon too. If it's true they must not be so bad, but I doubt it is." (Heard only from members of the military)
- "That Abriael Rosen... someone must really hate him up in Ishgard. the Durendaire house has a big prize on his head. And there's a bonus if you make him suffer. I don't know what he did to them, but they have one hell of a grudge" (heard only in criminal and underground environments)
- "The Lieutnant says General Raubhan wanted to pardon his crimes, but he refused. He must be crazy, or maybe the Lieutnant is drunk." (Heard only from members of the military)
- "I saw him yesterday morning on the walls. He was staring northwards and crying... What a wimp."
- "Last week I saw that dude defending one of the refugees from some thugs. That was unexpected, considering that he's a criminal, but after all the refugees are probably a bigger problem than the thugs nowadays"
The story below contains spoilers. If you prefer to learn of Abriael's past by roleplaying with him (assuming that he'll share, which isn't a given), please don't read past this point and skip to the next chapter.
Abriael was born in Ishgard from Erian and Celyn Rosen. His parents were of high standing in the Ul'Dahn aristocracy, and his father was sent to Ishgard as a military attache on a diplomatic mission. Things started to go wrong just after Abriael's birth. Ishgard's colder climate never really fit Celyn's weak health, and she fell ill, dying of a lung disease when Abriael was only two years old.
Erian was devastated by the loss of his fair wife, but after a few months he understood that Abriael needed a mother. He also felt remarkably lonely himself, so he begun socializing again with the members of the fairer sex. During a ball organized by the Fortemps family he met Orianne Fortemps, one of the youngest ladies of the household.
The two fell in love quickly, even if Orianne's family was not at all happy about it. Ishgardian society is very strict, and bonding with a hyuran, albeit of noble blood and high standing, was not exactly seen as the best option, even for a progressive family like the Fortemps.
Yet this could not stop Erian and Orianne's love. Erian was a seasoned veteran with tens of bloody battles weighing on his shoulders before he was assigned to diplomatic duty, and Orianne was no pusheover herself. Born from a family of knights, she had no qualms in going against their will. She also had already decided to take care of Abriael like he was her son, and allowed no one to interfere with that desire.
Ultimately, the protests of the Fortemps family ceased, on the condition that Orianne accepted not to marry Erian. The scandal from that would be too great, and the head of the family hoped that the crush would fade with time. Orianne didn't mind, never having been the kind for white lace dresses and ceremony, as long as she was allowed to stay with her lover and adopted son.
Abriael started growing healthy and strong in body and mind, tempered by Ishgard's impervious terrain and by the strict training imposed since his earliest years both by his father and adopted mother. In the meanwhile the scandal faded, and the couple was almost accepted in Ishgardian society.
When Abriael was twelve years old his father was recalled to Ul'Dah, and Orianne decided to follow him and the growing child. The family moved to the desert city, where they enjoyed a period of happiness and peace. While Orianne did miss her snowy motherland, society was a lot less unforgiving and attentive to protocol, and the two lovers were finally allowed to marry. At last Abriael had a mother not only bound by love, but also by law.
A painting of a young Abriael. It can be found in a dusty Sultansworn storeroom.
His training continued as one of the most promising between the future recruits of the Immortal Flames, so promising he was that at eighteen years old he was allowed the honor to enter the Sultansworn, making his family extremely proud.
Unfortunately the period of happiness was to soon end. While the Ul'dahn curt was more tolerant of race and blood ties, it was still a dangerous place full of intrigue. Erian was incorruptible and straight as an arrow, and while this won him the friendship and respect of the Royal family, it also made him many enemies, especially between the monetarists.
One evening someone managed to smuggle a potent poison in the Rosen mansion, and probably with the help of a treacherous cook both Erian and Orianne were tragically killed. Abriael wasn't involved, as he was dining with his fellow Sultansworn, but was taken by grief as he learned of the demise of his parents.
The young man knew that the monetarists were behind the murder, and was ready to take the delivery of justice in his own hands, but that would have probably costed his life. In order to avoid tragedy be added to tragedy, the Sultana ordered Abriael to be dispatched to a norther outpost on the border with Ishgard, where she expected him to cool off at least for a while.
Abriael begrudgingly obeyed, and resumed his life at the garrison of the outpost. There, as it often happens, history repeated: the outpost also housed a young and beautiful military attache from Ishgard, Elys Durendaire. Abriael and the proud elzen lady started on the wrong foot, with Elys challenging the best between the Ul'dahn to a "friendly" spar. Abriael beat her soundly, and that sparked a rivalry that led to many arguments and clashes.
But where there's fire there's also brimstone, and the two slowly but surely fell in love, a love so strong that Elys openly defied her parents, demanding to be allowed to marry her beloved. Unfortunately the Durendaire family wasn't as progressive as the Fortemps, and opposed her will fiercely.
Things started to get more and more tense, with the two lovers desperately standing against the increasing pressure coming from the noble and powerful Isgardian family, but things were to soon take an even more terrible turn.
One fateful night Abriael went out on patrol on his stubborn but trustworthy chocobo Alagos. Seeing a suspicious shadow between the trees he approached to investigate. Suddenly he felt drowsy and a few second later he lost consciousness, without a chance to defend himself from the malicious spell.
When he regained his consciousness his nostrils were assaulted by the acrid smell of fire and blood. He was at the outpost, surrounded by screams of rage, pain and fear. All around him the place was on fire, with what seemed a regiment of Imperial soldiers taking the place by storm and slaughtering everyone in sight, supported by a platoon of Magitek Vanguards.
Abriael looked down. He could not see very well, and the left part of his vision was completely red. His left eye had been irreparably damaged by a blade.
He was covered in blood, and not all of it was his. He realized with horror that his trusted blade, passed down his father's family through generations, was deeply embedded in Elys' chest. The woman he loved was dead, her beautiful face completely white due to the loss of blood.
The young man almost went crazy on the spot, falling on his knees and screaming to the top of his lungs. The imperial soldiers ignored him, and after a few moments withdrew, leaving no apparent survivors besides Abriael himself. A centurion stepped by his side before leaving and threw a bag full of gil at his feet.
As morning came a relief force of Ul'dahn military reached the outpost finding the carnage. Almost at the same time three survivors that had fled the scene returned. All three told the officers that Abriael himself had led the Imperials into the outpost, opening the gate for them, and fought at the head of the invading force, slaughtering several of his own companion, including Elys, that stood up to confront him in a pitched duel.
Abriael listened to the testimony dumbfounded. He had no memories or recollections of what happened, and the pain for the loss of his beloved, joined by the thought that she very possibly had died by his own hand was overwhelming.
A small painting of Elys that can be found hidden in a drawer in Abriael's desk. Her name is written on the back
He was dragged back to Ul'dah in chains and thrown in the deepest dungeon under the palace in dishonor and dismay. He was not left alone for long though. For days he was interrogated as his captors hoped for a confession, but he could not confess what he did not know. Then the alchemists from the guild drugged him with mysterious potions to try and revive his memory, but that attempt failed.
Even the thaumaturges from the Arrzaneth Ossuary were called to help, using their dark magic to probe the void in Abriael's mind. They managed to find and cause only pain, but no memories returned.
Two weeks later an inquisitor from Ishgard reached the capital of the desert kingdom, demanding to take over the investigation. The elzen lady had a mean gaze and a sadistic smile as she entered Abriael's cell. She dismissed the guards and started to work on him, day and night, pausing only to eat and sleep. She used every known mean of torture on the young man, and many that weren't even known in Ul'dah. She carved his skin, cut his tendons, broke his bones, ripped his muscles, and did things even more unspeakable. Her orders were not only to pull the truth out of Abriael's devastated mind, but also to deliver vengeance on behalf of the Durendaire family.
A month passed, and the inquisitor finally walked out of the cell furious, having met failure for the first time in her life. Not only Abriael's mind did not unlock the secrets she craved, but he did not beg for mercy. He did not beg for forgiveness. He begged her to continue and not to give up, because the young man wanted to know the truth more than anyone else.
At the end of the ordeal Abriael was dragged to the courtroom for his trial. He was barely conscious, unable to walk or even stand on his own. Chained to a pole on his knees he had to listen to the accusations without a chance to defend himself. He had nothing to say because he knew nothing.
The judges were dumbfounded by the case, but in the end the testimonies of the three soldiers were steel-clad. They were about to sentence Abriael to death as a message from the Sultana herself was carried to their attention, pleading for mercy. Abriael's state and lack of memory called for a degree of clemency, and the Sultana had not forgotten the friendship between her family and Abriael's.
Of course the judges could not let the young man go free. He was stripped of his rank, title and of all his wordly possessions besides his sword, armor and steed, and sentenced to serve for the rest of his life in the 17th Penal Company of the 13th Regiment of the Immortal Flames, that infamous "Black Cross Company" where the most vicious criminals were given a chance to live a bit longer by performing the dirtiest and most dangerous missions.
Abriael did not complain. He actually welcomed the chance to just die in battle. When he was dispatched to his new destination he found himself in a brutal environment where only the strongest ruled, with the collusion of lazy officers that were assigned there as punishment.
Suffering abuse and violence every day Abriael started to recover and retrain his body to battle. He begun on his knees, not even able to stand, and months passed until he finally managed to reach a condition that allowed him to fight back, and fight in battle as well.
Slowly he started to distingush himself again because of his unbreakable will and absolute dedication. He almost did not speak and used all his free time to train, reaching his cot every night at the very limit of physical and mental exhaustion.
More months passed, and Abriael became stronger and stronger, slowly winning the respect of the few of his peers that still knew a degree of honor. He accomplished many missions that were deemed almost impossible as the war against the Garlean Empire erupted.
The conflict culminated with the battle of Cartenau, where the company was used right in the middle of the allied host, bearing the full brunt of the Imperial assault. Half of the soldiers and all the officers were slaughtered by the combination of steel and magitek, and the ranks were about to fall apart when Abriael stood in the middle of the fray, rallying his companions and leading them to a victorious counterattack, relieving a beleaguered unit of the Sultansworn and contributing to the alliance's stand, right under the surprised gaze of General Raubhan.
Then Bahamut Struck, emerging from the wreckage of what was called Dalamud. As the ancient Primal prepared his Megaflare Abriael was enveoped by Louisoix's holy light and sent traveling through space and time with the other Warriors of Light. Why was he chosen for that fate is unknown to this date.
With the Warriors of Light he emerged from the darkness five years later, in a new Eorzea that was starting to finally rebuild.
Even if he was presumed dead, there was no doubt in Abriael's mind, as he himself still thought he had to make amends for the death of his comrades and of Elys. He walked by himself to the barracks of the Black Cross Company and demanded to be readmitted.
No one remembered him and his name, and the ledger had gone lost during the fires caused by Bahamuth's megaflare, but his insistence caused a ruckus, and that attracted the attention of general Raubhan, who was passing by. Recognizing Abriael's determination, while not understanding his intentions, the General once gladiator decreed that he was to be assigned to the company again.
And again Abriael resumed his battles between the ranks of the Black Cross. Many missions were accomplished and much blood was drawn and spilled, culminating with a reckless infiltration that ended with the complete destruction of an Imperial stronghold and of a dangerous secret weapon.
It was then that Raubhan and the other leaders of the Grand Companies suddenly regained their memories of Abriael. Recognizing his service Raubhan insisted to pardon his crimes, yet Abriael opposed that decision. He had not forgiven himself, and he still felt he had much to atone for.
In the end Raubhan, surprised by the young man's determination, decided to reach a compromise: Abriael was not released from his ominous crimes, but he was promoted to Captain. For the first time one of the convicts of the Company became an officer to lead it. Raubhan himself found the solution quite profitable, as Abriael was not a lazy and fat officer seeing that assignment as punishment for having smuggled alchool or abused his underlings. He was there because he wanted to, and that would have improved the performance of the whole unit.
Abriael resumed his activity as the Captain of the Black Cross Company, working hard to keep his unruly men and women in check, and leading them in battle against the Imperial invaders that still lingered in Eorzea, time and time again. Raubhan was proven right. While the company was still made of the worst scum of the realm, its performance did increase, and under Abriael's command it often managed to teach regular regiments a thing or two.
Abriael leads the Black Cross Company to this day, still seeking to atone for his sins, and his lost memories of that fateful night.
Additional OOC Notes
The Durendaire house in Ishgard has a very rooted and violent grudge with Abriael, for obvious reasons. They have a rather rich prize on his head, and they will often hire assassins and hitmen to try and finally put him down. So far he managed to dodge most attempts, but not without injury.
Characters that delve in underground and criminal environments will possibly hear of it. That's a possibly interesting roleplay opportunity for assassin-like characters that would try to take advantage of it. If you're interested in that, please send a tell in game or leave a message on the forums.