Posted: Feb 8 2018, 11:18 AM
Jean is tall and broad shouldered with strong muscles developed from his years of lifting cargo and pulling ropes. He has the dark brown hair and eyes of the French, with a tanned skin from long days spent under the hot sun. He would cut his chin if he tried to shave on board, so his face is lined with course stubble. He has a small scar on his left cheekbone from a pirate encounter when he was a young sailor, but it has faded considerably.
The donning of a well polished and ironed navy uniform is greeted with kindness by Jean's superiors, so this officer most certainly wears his naval uniform when appropriate - and wears it well. However, when not in uniform, Jean prefers his long grey coat, providing warmth, comfort, but also camouflage in the shadows in the case of an unwanted meeting with robbers or past acquaintances.
If Jean has but one guiding principle, it is to rise. The desire to progress through the ranks of society governs almost every one of his actions. He is charming and witty, and uses these talents to his advantage when with his superiors and others to garner a favourable reputation, something which he knows will be very important in his quest to join the higher ranks of society. You never know when someone may be of use to you. Jean also turns on the charm when it comes to women - he may or may not have a few offspring that he knows nothing about.
In order to propel himself through society, Jean knows he must play his cards well. He is always thinking of the future, and what consequences his actions may have in a few months', even years', time. He is also aware of the opportunities presented to those in the navy who have intimate knowledge of hydrography, navigation, natural sciences, ship weaponry and maritime military strategies, and so is attentive to his teachers and mentors, and hard working when it comes to his studies. He is fluent in French, English, and Dutch, and can hold a conversation in Spanish and Venetian.
Jean cares for his alcohol as well, and like anyone, needs to unwind. The constant pressure to rise up in society seems far away in the local tavern, filled with drunkards and women and those who just need a good time. The atmosphere is hypnotic for Jean.
He is accommodating to authority, wishing to leave a good impression, but not so much to those beneath him. In face to face contact with those of a lower rank, he is charming and amicable, but he doesn't care for them, and puts little thought into these conversations. He is only focused on those above him, leading him to leave those who were once equal with him behind. Once someone has served their purpose, he discards them. This may have consequences for him in the future, but nothing has happened yet, as his influence always stretches further than those who wish to stir up rumours about him. Their words have little power.
Although he constantly tries to impress and charm, these interactions are superficial, and lack any deep connection. Jean is insecure about his self worth and importance, and he distances himself from others so that no one will learn his vulnerabilities and use them against him. In other words, Jean is afraid that others will do to him what he has done to others.
Would Jean call himself a good man? He would laugh heartily at the question and take a swig of rum. "What would you call a good man? Was the old king a good man? Is the new king a good man? He is but a child!" Those around him would guffaw with laughter, but quieten down as Jean placed his drink on the table, and lean forward to the questioner, so close they could smell the alcohol on his breath.
"Kings send men to die. Pirates fight the king, but they themselves kill men. And men kill men in cold blood, sometimes without any order - just the need to have power." Then he would lean back and clutch his heart in melodrama. "And women kill men from the inside!"
His company would laugh and toast, and Jean would take another swig. But his eyes would stay locked on the questioner for a long time afterwards.
Jean's parents were once in love, but were torn apart by the phenomena known as time. Monsieur and Madame Clements grew old and wrinkly, and what attraction that had once existed slowly disappeared. They argued and drank, both repulsed by the other's appearance and confident in their own beauty. In fact, they were incredibly average. Their only surviving child, born out of love, was now a constant reminder to both of them of the other's existence. They threw spoons and shoes at him, kept what little food they had for themselves, and every so often would hit him. Hard. But Jean got his revenge once when they were passed out in drunken stupor, pummelling them as much as a six year old could. The next day Monsieur Clements threw him out. The couple would die from sickness within the next two years.
Jean grew up on the streets of Dieppe, joining a street gang and working with them to feed himself. It was during that time he learned to be cunning and quick - he would limp up to a group of well dressed women and hold his hands out in plea, coughing. They would melt, their hearts paining to see a little boy like this, all alone on the hard streets, and give him a bag of coins. He would thank them profusely and begin to cry, prompting more charity. Then he would walk away into the neighbouring alley and break into a run, fully healed, it seemed from his limp and cough. It was plots like this which saw him survive for most of his childhood.
However, one cannot stay 'cute' forever. As he grew, the charity lessened until it became clear that he needed a new strategy. Enter Olivier. Part of the same street gang, Jean and Olivier forged an unlikely friendship: Jean, nimble and quick, and Olivier, built like a bear. The two would rob street merchants using a simple distraction strategy, and split the profits 50/50. This was a very successful venture, however this created a rift between them and the rest of the street gang, and one day the two had to escape a group of ten boys armed with rocks and knives. Thus began the true partnership between the two. They were inseparable.
However, one day when Olivier was caught by a street policeman and taken in. Jean ran back to where they had made their secret hideout in the docks, hoping that Olivier was able to escape. But Olivier betrayed him and told the police where their hideout was, in return for his freedom. Jean had to leave the hideout and evade the police, eventually stowing away on a ship, Le Téméraire, bound for Bordeaux. That day he learned his lesson - never trust anyone with your secrets.
He was, of course, found on the ship by a sailor, and sent immediately to the captain's cabin. Jean thought he was going to be thrown overboard, but for some reason, this man decided to show him kindness, remarking to his first lieutenant the frigate's need for a ship boy. Jean was given a hammock to sleep on and some food, and as the ship made its way around the coast of France to the port of Bordeaux, Jean was taught the literal ropes. He helped the ship's cook and ran messages from one end of the ship to the other, a feat which was particularly difficult when the ship ran into some stormy weather on the third day of the voyage.
When the ship arrived in Bordeaux, Jean was dubious to set foot on land again, in another city where he would have to live on the streets and fend for himself. He had enjoyed himself immensely in the few days out at sea, and he too, could perhaps one day, be a captain. There was nothing for him in the city. He decided to stay on Le Téméraire and continue his employment as a ship boy. The next year was a quiet one for the navy, but Jean still found himself working hard all year. The old captain was impressed by Jean's work ethic and saw potential in him not just as a sailor, but as an officer. He took him under his wing as if he were his own son. He learned the language of the stars, how the weapons worked and how to use them, how to hold your own in combat, the languages of the sea and land, battle tactics and strategy, to follow orders and impress your superiors, and at seventeen, he was promoted to midshipman. To this day, Jean cannot understand what this man saw in him, but is forever grateful. That old captain is the one person that Jean holds close to his heart. Before he retired, he expressed his willingness to sponsor Jean when the time came to be examined for promotion.
Jean knew that there was ripe opportunity across the seas, in the Caribbean where the need for officers was high, and told the old captain so. He agreed, on one condition - that Jean would visit him once more before he died of old age. Jean joined the crew of a large ship on the longest journey he'd ever taken - across the Atlantic to where he was to find his future in the Caribbean. From then on, he has patrolled the sea and islands, keeping the waters safe from pirates and fighting for France against the Spaniards during the war.
Strong ability with hand to hand combat and loading and firing cannons, in addition to the rapier and sword. Can load and fire a musket, however his naturally shaky hands limit his marksmanship. Brings a sword to a gunfight.
Port de Paix
Posted: Feb 8 2018, 01:09 PM