Full Name: Fyodor Gernsback
Species: Sea Rat
Description: A tall, wiry rat with black-and-white piebald colouration. His face and back are black-furred, his belly, chest and neck are white-furred. He looks athletic, even though his age is showing. He has virtually no intact whiskers, and his paws are weathered and thick. His eyes still retain a youthful shine though, and his movements are agile and limber. His headfur is knotted into a single sailor's pigtail. The fur under his chin is slightly longer, giving him the appearance of having a small goatee-style beard.
He usually wears an old shirt that looks like it was once dyed in very vibrant colours, but the dyes have faded and run a little, so now it looks like a melting rainbow from hell. He wears a brown jacket too, and some frayed shorts that reach just to his knees. He wears socks up high on his shins and old brown boots.
Possessions: Gerns is armed with a curved, heavy cutlass which is held in a scabbard on his back. He has a skinning knife in a scabbard on his belt, a dagger strapped on the right of his chest by a shoulder holster, and a set of silver cutlery intended for fine dining in a pouch on his belt. He has a small wooden mallet in a holder on his belt, a bottle-opener in his left pocket and a pair of tweezers in his right. On the other side of his belt from the mallet is a hatchet, ie; a small axe.
Gerns owns a pipe, which he smokes often with leaves he finds, seaweed or shaved fur. Effects on his psyche may vary. With said pipe he also carries around five or so tinderboxes about his person in various pockets. He carries on his back a bedroll so he can sleep on the ground at night without getting too wet or cold. He has a metal flask slung on a strap over his left shoulder, which is filled with seaweed grog. He has a paper bag with cucumber sandwiches squashed into the pouch on his belt with his silver cutlery.
Gerns also has a burlap sack rolled up and strapped to his back much like the bedroll. The sack doesn't contain anything, because it's usually for treasure or bodies or both, and he hasn't needed it for a while. On his claws he wears several jewelled claw-rings, and around his neck is a gold necklace with a diamond pendant.
- Swimming. Gerns used to be (and sometimes goes back to being) a corsair. He can swim very well and hold his breath for long periods of time, as well as see decently underwater and go diving.
- Climbing ropes, walls, trees, cliffs, etc. When he was a corsair, Gerns had to scale masts in storms and heaving, rolling oceans. He's very adept now at scaling pretty much anything.
- Fighting stuff! He's had experience beating up anything from seals to sea monsters (size depending on how drunk he is when retelling the story) to badgers to bakers to rats, cats and fat ferrets in hats.
- Eating. He can eat a lot of food and consume quite a lot of drink for one rat. He's not fazed by food being stale, being used to ship's biscuits and eating worms and weevils and other delicacies some beasts might turn down.
- Speaking. He has a very broad corsair accent, with a mix of dialects anywhere from the Northlands to Southsward.
- Deception of any sort. He can't be sneaky, subtle, manipulative, stealthy or even that good of a liar.
- Paranoia. Of course, that's just what they'd want you to think. But he knows too much, so now they're seeking to silence him. Keep your tin foil hat nearby.
- He's old! So a little hard of hearing, very set in his ways and often very gruff and grumpy. Reminisces about wars he wasn't in and thrilling adventures that were actually just terrifying nautical disasters.
- He has a very 'selective' memory, in fact a very 'selective' mind when it comes to understanding and recalling things he's been told. Whether he's deliberately obstructive, or just an old rat losing his mental capacities, is none of your business, young 'un.
He mostly keeps to himself, a bit introverted. He generally doesn't get along with folks unless they prove themselves to be really likable, or really useful. He can be very grouchy and huffy, and intensely hates being disrespected in any way. In that way, he's very proud and arrogant. He feels he's accomplished a lot in his long life, so has reason to be afforded some dignity. Since he's still quite physically active, he tends to think of himself as a well-seasoned, but still a youthful and spirited adventurer.
When it comes to matters of the heart, he's never settled on one partner. Being a corsair, he's seen all kinds of relationships, some more successful than others. He's never been so attached to a lover as to want to settle down. As for friends, well, he's had plenty of those despite his quiet, gruff nature. Corsairs tend to gravitate around the more capable, stronger beasts on board a ship. Whilst Gerns was never a captain, he was usually recognised for being a good fighter, and has occasionally been in charge of boarding parties and raids.
Born as Fyodor Gernsback, the searat's nickname quickly became just 'Gerns'. When Gerns was growing up, he went to sea very early in life, being born to a sailing family. He was nothing more than a searat aboard the corsair ship Blood Diamond, on which his father had sailed before him. The good ship Blood Diamond was a strong, fast vessel that specialised in hunting coastal settlements and enslaving any that got in their way. The young rat was very proud to be called a Blood Diamonder, and was loyal to the ship and her crew.
All things come to an end, both good and bad. The Blood Diamond was trying to make port as a storm blew in from the West. Fight as the corsairs might against the powerful waves and roaring winds, she drifted onto the rocks and struck them hard. The old, faithful Blood Diamond began to take on water, fast. The scene was frantic, corsairs scrambling for buckets, then when it was obviously too late, scrambling for the boats. Overhead, Gerns clung to the mast where he had been stationed. The ship slowly rolled over as it sank, the mast tipped into the sea like a tree falling in slow motion.
Gerns swum for shore himself, unable to see the jolly boats in the dark and the rain. The soaked, exhausted, near-frozen sea rat crawled up the beach and lay on the wet sand until morning came. The sun rose over a now-cloudless sky, its rays bringing warmth, and life into the searat once more. Of his crew though, there was no sign. Assuming them all to be dead, the corsair wandered the island they had landed on. He was shortly captured by the native tribe of squirrels, and very nearly eaten. However, his unintelligible ranting at them convinced the tribe elders that he was using magic curses to summon a demon to wreak vengeance upon them. So, he was instead offered the position of Wizard-Rat Who Came from the Sea. He accepted his new title and rank.
Gerns lived with the squirrel tribe for many years. They taught him how to make arrows and spears, from the steel tip to the fletching. He became quite a climber, having to live with squirrels all the time. However, he longed for adventure once more, and built a small sailing boat to escape the island. His friends on the island were saddened to see him go, but didn't try and stop him. The rat sailed for a long time, navigating by the stars to find his way back to the coast of Mossflower.
The searat found a village not long after landing on the coast, where he was captured by otters. The otters didn't want to sacrifice him though, they just wanted to kill him because he was a trespasser and he'd eaten some of their cakes and pies that had been left to cool on their windowsills. You might think the death penalty for stealing pastries is a bit extreme, but he ate TWENTY-EIGHT different cakes and pies and threw up some of them down the village's well, which ruined their drinking water forever. Oops.
Gerns was tied up in one of the huts and was to be executed at dawn. Fortunately the otter that tied up his bonds was suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, so they were looser than they should have been. Being something of a knot expert, since he was a sailor, Gerns quickly got free. He then stole one of the flaming torches that illuminated the village in the early hours of the morning and set several roofs on fire. Since they were thatched roofs over wooden houses in a village that primarily exported fish oil, soon the village was crackling merrily with screaming otters frolicking about in the warm glow. The fish-oil ignited in the vats due to the incredibly hot temperatures, causing a fireball in the village's main square. Gerns was already escaping over a hill nearby, and enjoyed a peaceful, execution-free morning as he watched the mushroom cloud rise with the sun.
The trouble with starting fires is stopping them. Gerns ended up causing something of a localised disaster zone where the forest fire spread, though thankfully its progress was halted by a mountain range. Escaping over the mountains, the searat wandered about the countryside, foraging where he could. He investigated the possibility of living in caves in the mountains, but eventually decided they were too cold and sometimes occupied by birds. He managed to fight off an owl as a hard-learned lesson about living in mountains. From there he travelled into the woodlands, where he met up with a nomadic gang of vermin.
Surprisingly, he actually knew a couple of them. They were survivors from the Blood Diamond, who had escaped the storm and the sinking. Pleased to be in familiar company, Gerns joined the group and acted as one of their fighters for a while. Mostly they robbed other travellers, lived off the land and tried to find the most comfortable place to live before inevitably being chased off by better-equipped forces.
Whilst this life was satisfying for a while, Gerns was itching to go back to sea. The rat and the other survivors agreed to split up from the group on good terms, and travel back to the coast. As it turned out, the entire group found the idea of a seaward adventure quite exciting, and agreed to come along. They joined a corsair ship that had pulled into port, introducing themselves as the hardy, tough survivors from the old, fearsome ship Blood Diamond. Its name was infamous enough that the captain hired them as able sailors on the spot. Their new ship was named the Finicky Fishknife, or just the Finicky for short.
The Finicky Fishknife was an all-rounder when it came to the life of a corsair. Hunting down buried treasure rumours, raiding the coast, boarding other, lesser corsair ships and woodlander vessels, and enjoying the fruits of their plunders. Gerns was eventually promoted to being in charge of boarding attacks and coastal raids, since he was a very effective tactician and fighter. He led from the front and kept the corsairs alive through his training with swords and shields. He was also adept at resupplying the corsairs with weapons, since he still knew how to make spears and arrows.
Gerns stayed aboard the Finicky for many years, as a respected member of the crew and leader. However, when most of the beasts he had known when he joined were dead, and even the friends he had made aboard were either killed or had moved on in their lives, he decided it was his time to leave the ship. He packed all the things he had ever needed over the years on land and at sea, and went back to the island of the squirrels where he had lived a happy life.
His old friends still recognised him, and the tribe was glad to have their Wizard-Rat back again from the sea. He very nearly settled down there, though his friends perhaps sensed that the rat was perhaps thinking of going on one more adventure. One that he might not come back from, too. The opportunity came when a small corsair ship tried to raid the squirrel settlement. Thankfully Gerns was able to rally the squirrel warriors and fend off the attack. He then pursued the vessel in his little sail-boat, and snuck aboard. He ate all their best food and managed to disable their rudder, locking the ship on one course. Before he could go about stealing treasure from the hold, though, he was captured and thrown in the brig.
Fortunately for Gerns, the corsairs were too stupid to work out how to free the rudder, before the ship grounded on a reef near Mossflower. The brig was broken open by the impact, and the hold began to flood. Gerns didn't have the strength to take any significant amount of treasure, so instead wore as much as he could. He slipped all the most jewelled rings on his claws and found the most interesting prize of all. A gold necklace with a large diamond pendant, no doubt the product of slave labour, stolen by corsairs. A true blood diamond. He put it one and escaped the sinking ship by diving through the hole in the hull and navigating the reef underwater, holding his breath for a very long time.
Gerns waited till the corsairs had evacuated the ship before boarding it again, in search of his gear that had been confiscated. He recovered all his weapons and equipment, and swam to shore. Trudging up the beach, he decided to stay on the mainland for a little while. He travelled inland, and is currently wandering about Mossflower in search of strong drink, good food and something better to put in his pipe than seaweed.