Name: Pyotr Vladislav
NPC Type: Primary
Associated Player Character: Marron O’TaiteAge: Born in 1857 | Entered SH in 1882
Physical Age: 25
Actual Age: 36 (as of 1893)
Pyotr makes his dram after dark, working the southeast streets of Ambrotos as its lamplighter. During the day, he trains as a student at the Ludus Ambrotos. He enjoys the structure and rigorous discipline of Met training and eventually aspires to take on a full-time job there. Until then, his night job will have to do.
Fervent by nature, Pyotr’s emotions (no matter what they are) burn close to the surface of his skin. He is swift to anger (though swift to cool), has a strong sense of justice (tending towards self-righteousness) and is deeply devout. He falls in love quickly and hard, and tends to mope when rebuked. However, his bad luck with romance doesn’t keep him from trying, and he believes very strongly in the importance of partnership in the human experience. He is bisexual, but firmly closeted.
While he is a sensitive heart who wants happiness for those around him, he also has an extremely delicate ego, and can be prickly towards strangers until he has had time to adjust to them. This need to always feel on top of any given situation means that he can come across as gruff or uncaring towards others despite wanting the best for humanity as a whole. He holds an even meaner grudge than puddles do.
Sybal Form: The Matchmaker (Горящий крестьянин)
Pyotr resembles a tiny toy peasant with a long match or torch in hand which burns a brilliant blue color. His Sybal form reflects Pyotr's internalized identity as a member of the Vladislav family rather than a conscript; his emotional fragility; and his passions, which flash, burn, and smolder with his thoughts.
The torch he carries has a long rope attached at the butt, which he keeps tied around his waist or shoulders most of the time. The torch can be separated from his person, but disappears with the first light of morning. It spawns unit, but after application of his Power (or more natural means), continues to burn as a regular torch would do. The torch burns out after providing two hours of uninterrupted light.
He himself is flammable, though the flame produced from his Power specifically does not affect him.
Sybal Power: Isaiah's Ashes (Пепел Исай)
Pyotr carries a blue, extremely flammable powder in the canister around his waist. The amount of 'ashes' he generates with per night is limited to about a dry quart. Once he has expended it, he cannot produce more, and must wait until the next Change occurs to perform at full capacity again.
His connection with these ashes allows Pyotr, with enough concentration, to set them aflame telekinetically, at a distance of no more than 10ft. However, he cannot telekinetically douse the flame in the same manner. When set alight, the ashes flash and burns quickly before smoldering down to a plume of choking smoke. The smoke has no supernatural effect other than its brilliant blue color, and disperses in the same way as natural smoke would be expected to do.
A trail of ashes can be lit manually by regular matches, candle-flame, or other sources of heat that do not originate with him. However, because he has such a limited amount at his disposal, Pyotr is very careful to control its use.
Although residual ashes stored or placed off of his body will linger, it has a shelf life of no more than 24 hours, after which it becomes nothing more than pretty blue sand.
Docile or Feral: Docile
Pyotr and Marron met shortly after the former’s arrival in Sybal Heim, through mutual friends and a game of Syballian billiards. They have a love-hate relationship forged on similar hobbies, social circles, and alcohol tolerance. However, Marron tends to rub Pyotr’s sensitive ego the wrong way, and his inability to know when to quit has occasionally put them at odds. Pyotr thinks that Marron is charming but kind of a clod, and is torn between wanting to respect him as someone with a lot more life experience, and wanting to tell him to grow up. Marron thinks Pyotr is fun to pick on, and needs to learn how to laugh.
The two of them have grown close since Marron and Tisiphone Furia parted ways, but to imply that the relationship is in any way romantic would be gross misassessment. Rather, Pyotr thinks Marron’s frivolity has made him lonely, and is occasionally guilty of scouting for potential wives behind his friend’s back.
Before the Forest
Born in 1854 to a family of peasant serfs, Pyotr was the youngest of a brood of five; two boys and three girls. He became familiar with the concepts of hard work, everyday suffering, and ‘the way of things’ at a very early age. He was still a toddler when serfdom was formally abolished in 1861, but this ‘liberation’ did not see the Vladislav family fortunes increase. He grew up in poverty, farming beets on the plot of land that their family now rented from local landowners, but never dreamed of any greater life than the lot God had given him.
Yet, outside the boundaries of the village, the world was changing. Pyotr would not understand how quickly until his brother came home from military service full of new, liberal ideas, and stories of how differently the people of the rest of Europe led their lives. Despite the caution of his family, Sergei quickly grew discontented with the simple life allotted him by his peasant status, was frustrated by the lack of future he saw in plowing the beet fields, and began to speak out. This was his biggest mistake. Within the year, the Tsar’s secret police descended upon the family farm, arrested Sergei for treason, and exiled him to Serbia in the interest of national security.
Pyotr was 19. He could not understand what had happened to his brother to make him change, nor did he have much time to dwell on it, for the next year, the draft came for him, too. He went to serve the tsar in the best way that he could, as a proud Russian citizen, filling the hole left behind by his brother’s absence with the discipline and structure of military life.
Pyotr was stationed in St Petersburg. There, he met a scholar named Isay Hartmann, a 33-year-old intelligentsia who was studying clinical medicine at the University there. The two forged a fast, intimate friendship. They exchanged letters. Both of them knew that their relationship was doomed by status, occupation, and morality. It was because of this knowledge, perhaps, that Isay opened up to Pyotr about his visions for a Russia without conscription, without tsars, without nobility, ruled by the peasant class who lived in harmony with the land and with themselves. Pyotr resonated with these dreams as he never had, back in the village, but was not quite brave enough to pen that dedication. It saved his life.
Isay’s last letters talked much of this vision, and how he hoped, someday, that they might spend longer in one another’s company than Pyotr’s brief deployment allowed. “I pray God that you understand my good intentions,” Isay wrote. “For I fear that our demands can be brought about only by means of violent revolution.”
In March 1881, Alexander II was assassinated by socialist revolutionary party Narodnaya Volya, ‘the People’s Will.’ His death turned the government on its head. Once again, police forces invaded the homes of those who were believed to have taken part in the assassination, as well as those with connection to the party. One of the men they arrested was Isay Hartmann.
Isay was hanged on April 3rd 1881, alongside Mykolaj Kybalchych and his fellow revolutionaries. Pyotr attended, and watched as the convicts were given last rites. But he could not watch when the trapdoor opened, and the intelligent, witty, soft-spoken young man with whom he had spent so many afternoons talking, was killed.
It was wrong. All of it, wrong; the arrest of his brother Sergei, the execution of Isay, and for what? Simply for wanting equality for the Russian people. He was convinced that Isay was innocent of the charges placed upon him. He was no murderer. Rather, he had been murdered, by an authoritarian regime that knew not the meaning of mercy, nor of justice. Furious, and heartbroken, Pyotr yearned for a country that was just, that was fair, that allowed its people to live in peace no matter their ideals. The place Isay had dreamed of. It was in that moment, walking along the waterfront, that the Forest opened up before him.
After the Forest
Initially, Pyotr had positive views of Sybal Heim. The people who lived there were free, fed, cared for. There was no sickness, no death, no public execution. Here he was able to reforge his identity, to leave the Tsarist regime behind, and start something new. And so he did. At night he took up work as a lamplighter in southeastern Ambrotos, using the gifts of his Sybal in the most practical manner he knew. By day, he found a place training at the Ludus Ambrotos, which was something familiar, and worthy of long-term dedication. In Sybal Heim, a man’s worth was not dictated by his birth. It really seemed, at first, to be Isay’s dream given life.
Yet the more he came to know the city the more he began to see the similarities between Tsar Alexander and Basileus, who elected his nobility out of his own preference and made them special. Between the Ministers and the boyars, who chose favorites just as the nobles of the old world had done. And worst of all, he saw how the eldest and cleverest of citizens acquired vast stores of monetary wealth and civic influence, while others with lesser ambitions were destined for a simpler life. This was not equality. It was as gauzy as the promise of ‘liberation’, where not-serfs still hadn’t the freedom to choose their own thoughts, live life without taxation, to travel where they wanted.
For a time, Pyotr tried to stifle his discontent, and be happy. But the assassination of Necalli and the resulting Civil Affairs Commission have brought back echoes of a past better left forgotten. Of a regime which sought to preserve the status quo by controlling freedom of speech, of belief. Who would defend its sovereignty by turning those who would be equal, against one another.
Pyotr loves Sybal Heim. But he fears its government, and would like to see it take the form of the truly equal society that he and Isay envisioned together, a decade back. He hopes that God will understand his good intentions, too.
-He studies martial arts under an old ex-priest of Svarog, and takes the practice seriously as a right granted him by his heritage.