Gramarye & Regret
Combat: Brawl 1, Athletics 1
Skills: Occult 4 (monsters), Investigation 4 (dreams), Academics 2, Empathy 3, Subterfuge 3, Stealth 2 (darkness), Expression 1, Politics 1
Merits & Flaws: Autumn Mantle •, Iron Stomach ••, Encyclopedic Knowledge •••• (roll +3 dice), Addiction •• (book-eating), Keys to Knowledge (9-again on Academics & Investigation), -1d to contracts during daytime, -2d to contracts in sunlight, Darkskin (Stealth 9-again)
Contracts: Smoke (Shadowpatch •••, Nevertread ••)
Equipment: Leatherman knife, darklight maglight, big snowboarding jacket, pocket book (Joseph Conrad’s Nostromo), army boots, spare tweed jacket (worn on special occasions), starbucks coffee mug, journal with quill+ink, pens, Macbook laptop, iPod music player, expensive headphones.
It was something about the way Hal played with words that attracted the Other’s attention. Not in the standard by changing their meaning, but in the more literal, physical way he doodled in the margins, clipped words and rearranged them on the pages, and felt the subtle sensation of dried ink pulsing from the rough surfaces of parchment and bank paper. Hal often closed his eyes, smiled, and touched his fingertips to the pages of his favorite books, remembering the feeling of words as much as the sound. And one day he became lost in the stacks of the Boston Public Library, wending his way from Autobiographies to Arcadia in a quick succession of turns. Pages flew from books, wrapped themselves around his body, and he found himself in utter night, forced into servitude to a cold but invisible mistress who commanded him to transcribe the tomes she had collected by mere touch alone, because none of the precious octavos and quartos could be exposed to light. Labouring for months or years, Hal developed an intimate sense of the contents of pages and books, and slowly began to absorb them all. In time, he learned to eat the contents of books, sometimes through memorization and sometimes by actually consuming the ink-stained paper. It was this knowledge that eventually allowed him to escape the Oubliette of Lost Tales, and by the light of a haloed harvest moon he traversed the path he had calculated through the Hedge and found himself once more in the mortal world, but this now semi-blinded and burdened with the weight of a hundred thousand facts and stories.
Hal’s father and mother were both unsuccessful academics who moved to Boston to raise their only son in an atmosphere of intellectual greatness. His father, Theodore Edwards, was an associate part-time professor of Russian literature at a Minnesota university and took various consulting jobs in the Boston area but never achieved his dream of tenure at Harvard. Hal’s mother, Ilsa (nee Valentinova) Edwards is a spiritual advisor to Boston’s elite, but initially trained in physics at Leningrad State University. Hal’s interest in the occult and in detective mysteries stems partly from his parents’ vocations and partly from his sister’s career in law enforcement. Sasha, his 35-year-old sister, is a staff sergeant in the Chicago Police Dept and visits Boston on a regular basis. Hal also has two cousins of similar age, Fred and Anastasia, who live in New York. Grandparents on his father’s side are in Minnesota and on his mother’s side in St. Petersburg.
Jovia Huang is his current girlfriend, though only the latest in a long succession of college girls attracted to his laid-back academic style and surfer-boy golden hair who eventually get annoyed by his inattention and irregular work/sleep schedule. Hal’s best friend is John Meadows, a slightly-older librarian at the University library who cooly ignores the occasional gnawed textbook in his collection. Both, however, have been somewhat alienated by Hal’s fetch, who turned from laid-back to plain lazy and boring during Hal’s durance. The fetch is also probably going to fail his thesis soon.
Hal works as night news editor for several European newspapers, namely the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and The Guardian in the UK, submitting minor stories that break during the European night (late evening/night in North America). Cruising various coffee shops, Indigo stores, cafes and book stores, he collects bits of trivia on his Macbook, enjoys amateur photography, and practices the occasional sneaking expedition into underground sewers and subway lines, just for fun. His aversion to sunlight means he wears golden-coloured sunglasses at all times, even when reading, but that suits the nightclubbing crowd he hangs around with just fine. He also likes listening to other people’s stories.
Hal probably wouldn’t be out of place at Daytona Beach or the coasts of Hawaii holding a surfboard. He has decent looks with ruffled blond hair and trendy sportswear all over him. The only difference is he’s always carrying a thick book or two under his arm, and he spends an inordinate amount of time writing and examining stuff. Sports a day-old shadowy beard.
Attends Boston University Ph.D program in Literature, writing thesis on German influences in Puritan Biblical exegesis. Permanently banned from the Boston Public Library for damaging their collection (charges dropped).