Character Information Character Name: Peony Min Nickname(s): None Gender: Female Age and Birthday: 29 Guild: Mage Job Class: Black Mage Weapon: She prefers rods, though she can use a staff
Personality: Peony can, on the surface, be described with one word: serene. She comes across as someone who is nearly impossible to ruffle, and is unperturbed in almost any situation. Those who have met her sometimes joke that the world could be crashing down around her and she would sit perfectly still, enjoying a cup of tea, and it's probably true - she reacts to stressful situations with cool logic and a keen understanding of things she can change and those she cannot. She is soft-spoken, with a pleasant voice and a polite manner of speaking; no one can remember a single situation wherein she raised her voice, threw a temper tantrum, or in general expressed any form of anger or aggravation. These qualities make her useful in battle, as she does not get flustered and keeps a cool head no matter how dire the situation. Despite the agreeable facade, however, she has a strong will and very powerful convictions; if she believes something is right, she will do it regardless of how many people try to stop her, and she will steamroll over their objections in her own uniquely polite but focused way. It is nearly impossible to deter her once she has set her mind on something.
She has a keenly developed curiosity for things in a purely theoretical sense and has a lot of random and often anecdotal knowledge about any number of seemingly unrelated things; however, she rarely puts theory into practice in things outside of magic. She is rather sweet and kind to a fault, but because she is so placid, people often dismiss her as either dull or aloof. Few would say an unkind word about her, but on the flip side, she has very few close friends. She has a tendency to want to mother people, and is known to be very good with younger apprentices. About things she does not consider important - which is most things - she is easygoing to the point of being considered wishy-washy or indecisive by some; she fence sits on important issues such as mage isolation, stating that both sides have equally good points, and couldn't care less about politics in general. She attends church regularly and tithes a solid quarter of her earnings to a number of charities, some affiliated with the church, some not. She feeds stray animals, particularly cats, and regularly gives money to the beggar children who haunt the cathedral steps hoping for a handout. She likes to be useful to other people and will often volunteer herself for projects where a black mage could be of assistance. She will literally go to the ends of the earth if asked by someone she cares about.
Although it seems she has no temper, that is not entirely true. It is possible to make her angry, though it takes an extreme effort and a truly gross injustice to manage it. When she is angry, she is quiet and intense. She prefers to talk problems out, with the assumption that two rational people can always come to an understanding, but in a situation where talking is ineffective, she will mobilize her efforts to right a perceived wrong. She does not believe in revenge, but rather in balance, and will never do something out of malice. Although it also seems that she has little sense of humor, this is entirely untrue. She enjoys a good joke, even when it is a bit crass, and while she is not the type to laugh until she cries, she has been known to attend the theater to view a popular comedy or to pick up a popular novel once in awhile. She also secretly finds the overblown and dramatic reactions of people to what she considers insignificant things quite entertaining; no one would guess it of her, but she occasionally enjoys her fence sitting precisely because people work themselves up over it.
While her specialization seems incongruous, she actually likes what she does because she finds black magic and the theory behind it extremely interesting. On the occasions she has been called upon to use her power, she has generally found the cause just, and has been glad to lend a hand in everything from calling water in a drought to protecting soldiers from monsters. In most instances, however, she learns spells for the simple purpose of learning them. Even so, if required, it seems likely that she can and will use her spells in battle without reservations, and will not spend a long time with lingering regrets, provided she agrees with the cause.
Appearance: Peony is fairly tall - about 5'9 - and has a feminine build with light but distinctive curves. She has a very clear, fair complexion and rarely bothers with cosmetics of any kind. She keeps her dark hair long and generally wears it loose. Her face has a quiet, classic loveliness about it, but she rarely makes the effort to play up any of her features, and would probably not get noticed in a crowd of more assertive people. There are times when she seems a great deal younger than her years and other times when she appears to be far older. She prefers long, loose skirts in mild colors, and is generally more concerned about how well she can move her arms in something - for spellcasting - than fashion.
History: Peony's mother died when she was seven, and she was raised by her father, a writer. Her father was a very kind and caring man, but Peony did pick up more than her share of household duties from a very young age, feeling as though she should be the woman of the house. Perhaps fortunately for her father she rarely gave anyone any trouble, and was a sweet and well-behaved as any parent could wish. He loved her very much, so when she showed an early interest in magic, he immediately arranged for her to study, first with a local healer, and then, when she was of age, with the local branch of the Mages' Guild. It was assumed early on that she would choose to specialize in white magic due to her personality; however, when she showed an aptitude for elemental spells, she cheerfully pursued the black mage specialization to the confusion of everyone around her.
Shortly after Peony had entered the guild as a scholar apprentice, her father remarried. The woman was close to fifteen years his junior, and although she was perfectly polite, it was clear that she found the presence of Peony uncomfortable and somewhat disconcerting. In response, Peony spent increasingly less time at home, preferring to focus on her studies and maintain harmony in her father's house. When Peony was fourteen, her father's new wife birthed a pair of twin boys. As they grew, it became obvious that they were everything Peony was not - energetic, noisy, messy, and mischievous - and although Peony doted on her half brothers and enjoyed spending time with them, she was also aware of the mounting tension whenever she was around, a nearly grown daughter who had never managed to build anything but a cordial relationship with her stepmother. She could tell that her father saw it and worried about it, and for her own part, she was deeply unhappy to cause him so much concern,. He had, in her opinion, a great many other things to worry about, and she had no desire to be a burden to him.
Casting about for a solution, she found it in her studies - as the time approached for her to commit to a specialization, her propensity for elemental magic was quite clear, but no truly excellent teacher could be found in her relatively small town's guild. At seventeen, she asked her father for permission to travel alone to Emillion to pursue her studies. Perhaps most parents would be concerned about sending a seventeen-year-old girl halfway across the world, but Peony had always been an exceptionally stable child with a good head on her shoulders, and her father agreed easily that she could go. Peony was both sad and relieved to leave home, but feels even now that she made the right decision, as her relationship with her father has greatly improved with distance. They send letters to each other often, and she periodically hears from her brothers, too, although they do not know her particularly well, as she left when they were only three.
Peony has been an active member of the Emillion Mages’ Guild ever since, recently stepping into the role of a council member. Although she still has no interest in politics, her common sense approach is generally considered useful when making major decisions. Her father has been to Emillion several times in the last twelve years, but she has never returned home.
Weaknesses: - Emotionally detached in many cases, making it hard for her to connect with other people - Physically weak, with no combat training and somewhat frail health - she tends to get seriously ill at least once every winter, and due to innately weak lungs is generally prone to sickness if she doesn’t bundle up - Completely untrained in white magic, meaning she is not even able to cast a simple cure spell, for all that she is such a powerful mage - Very theoretical and does not always see clear applications of theory into practice - Incredibly stubborn when she has made her mind up about something
Strengths: - An extremely powerful black mage with access to most black magic spells(notable exceptions, i.e. spells Peony doesn't yet know: Death, Flare, Meteor, Scathe, Ultima, Warp) - Level-headed and calm; good in a crisis - Good with children, animals, and various household tasks (especially cooking) - Skilled at mediation - Has an extremely vivid and creative imagination
Plot ideas: - Be part of the MG council, acting as a “voice of reason” - Explode all the things? - IDEK MAN IDEK
Writing Samples: The new apprentice, with her too-big robes and too-big eyes, was finally not jumping halfway to the ceiling each time she was spoken to, which Peony considered to be acceptable progress. She had the girl settled in an overstuffed chair which completely dwarfed her – no reason why she couldn’t be comfortable as well as productive – with her legs tucked under her and staring intently at a bowl of water, which she was attempting to freeze. She was not likely to succeed today, or in fact this week, but the concentration was certainly doing her good, and Quiz has decided – after examining the bowl in detail and ascertaining that it did not, in fact, contain cream – to leave her be, which was doing a great deal for her composure (Peony had spoken to him at length about clambering into the laps of people who were not much bigger than he was, but he had remained typically unconcerned with her requests for his good behavior).
In the ensuing quiet, broken up only by the soft crackle of flames in the fireplace, she pored over an unnecessarily thick proposal brought to the council by one of the more prominent arithmeticians. Not for the first time, she wondered what it was about mages in general and arithmeticians in particular that made them so utterly unable to write in a clear and concise manner; the proposal circled and looped and spiraled around its point for several hundred pages, though its contents could easily have been consolidated into about five. With a sigh, she set the pile of papers aside – Quiz promptly wandered over to curl up on it – and pulled her thick wool shawl tighter around her shoulders. With the fire crackling merrily and the thick carpets lining the floor, the chill of the March afternoon didn’t quite penetrate her sanctuary, but it never hurt to be too careful. She waved her hand absently at the fireplace and the flames jumped higher.
The apprentice sighed heavily in a way that could only ever be managed by a not-quite-teenage girl with the weight of the world on her shoulders. “I will never be able to do that,” she said.
Privately, Peony thought this was not altogether a bad thing; this girl was so jumpy that an unexpected word or touch could very well set her on the path to accidental destruction. There was nothing worse, in Peony’s opinion, than a black mage who could not control her temper. Then again, a great deal could change in a few years at this age, and she could yet learn composure. It was one of the reasons she had singled this child out – although it seemed likely she would eventually gravitate toward a different school of magic, magic as a whole required a certain equanimity that Peony had had some success in imparting upon impressionable children. The girl had talent and would find her place, in time, but in this moment what she needed most was not power but tranquility. Pulling her out of class for personal tutoring had seemed altogether the best option before she hurt someone, most likely herself.
She stood and walked across her study, kneeling on the carpet in front of the girl’s chair to give her a soft, sympathetic smile. “Magic,” she said, “requires patience.” Placing her hands over the girl’s on the bowl, she added, “Watch and feel.” She constructed the spell painstakingly slowly; the bowl grew cold and heavy between their joined hands, a thin swirl of ice spreading across its surface like frost across a window, patterned like an elaborate snowflake with innumerable lacy edges. The girl’s eyes were wide and her mouth open in a small “o” of delight when Peony had finished.
“It’s beautiful,” she said with hushed awe. “I didn’t think it could be so…. I burned my grandpa’s storehouse down,” she said suddenly, looking down into her lap. “Before I came here. I didn’t mean to do it. I didn’t even think about doing it. There was a rat, and I just…”
“Sometimes,” Peony told her, “things happen that we cannot control. We cannot blame ourselves.”
“He was so angry,” the girl said with a sniffle, and Peony stopped herself from drawing the child down into her lap for comfort; it was not, she thought, what this particular child thought she wanted right at this moment.
“You cannot change what happened,” Peony said with a shake of her head. “Nor can you begin again. But there is one thing you can do – learn. Then, and only then, will you know for certain that nothing like that can ever happen again.”
“I’m scared.” The girl’s voice was tiny and hopeless.
Peony gently extracted the frozen bowl from her cold fingers and set it aside. “Yes,” she agreed, “as you should be. Power can be frightening. But it can also be beautiful. Only if you learn how to control it can you decide which it will be, for you.” With a case like this one, there was really only one thing to do. “Watch,” she instructed, lifted her hand again, gestured at a fire. A wisp of a figure, vaguely human, coalesced from the flames and began a slow, graceful dance. “Fire, like all the elements, can be commanded,” she said, her voice low, soothing. “It is only a matter of practice. Can you see how I am doing that?” The girl nodded her head, uncertainty plain on her face. Peony took her cold hands and lifted them to face towards the fire. “Try it.”
The girl recoiled; if she could have climbed into the chair cushion, Peony really thought she might have done it. “But…”
“You can do it,” Peony told her firmly. “Will you trust me?” There was no way out of fear except through; she had seen it so many times that this pattern was comfortingly familiar. On a cold March afternoon, she made the promise she had made hundreds of times, the one she had never yet broken. “I will not let you fail.”
Are you comfortable with the possibility of this character being killed? Yes, in theory, though it would have to be for a good cause.
Trivia: - Loves mouth-burningly spicy food - the kind which would have most people sweating and gulping down half a gallon of water - Feeds stray cats, to the point where they hang around the tower now because they assume she will come around with food - Has a cat of her own, a very large, very loud, very intelligent, and very fluffy gray Persian. His name is Inquisitor, though she calls him Quiz - Unless you count the neighbor boy who kissed her behind the apothecary at the age of ten, she has never had a romantic relationship of any kind. With anyone. Ever. Romance is mostly interesting to her only in theory, and she has never met anyone who has caused her to consider putting theory into practice. - With that said about “theoretical” romance, she writes as a hobby - really outrageous romance novels, probably best described as bodice rippers. She has published a handful over the last few years under a pseudonym, and they are marginally popular, mostly with older women. The idea of having a “secret identity” amuses her greatly.
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