Paper texture from ~bashcorpo
Some fonts from dafont.Name: Reinald TodorovAge:
Anna Smith [link]Chosen by:
A Construct in the shape of a “V” (see above). Reinald sees it as a compass and associates it with precision, mathematics, and architecture. Classically, a compass can also connote discernment and creation, but those aren’t the meanings that immediately come to mind.Appearance
Standing at 6’2”, with an inscrutable poker face and narrow amber eyes, Reinald gives off a rather imposing air. His faultless posture accentuates his already considerable height and draws attention away from the fact that his build is actually quite lean. Angular features and an aquiline nose tend to give him an unfriendly appearance; the lines on his face, especially around his eyes, are a sign of his progressing age. His hair, once black, has turned iron-grey in the past few years. Oddly, it seems to have foregone the salt-and-pepper stage and has simply started fading away in a more or less uniform manner. It’s usually combed back, with a few stray strands here and there, and sticks out a bit in the back.
He usually dresses business casual: button-down shirt, nice slacks, and a tie if the situation warrants one. Even when dressed casually, he always looks well-groomed. He’s fond of long coats and gloves, so don’t be surprised to see him wearing them the moment the weather begins to get a little chilly.Personality
Highly intelligent, observant, and analytical, Reinald is more or less living proof that knowledge is the root of power. Behind his deadpan facade is a mind constantly at work. He has an incredibly dry sense of humor, and his jokes and remarks are rarely delivered with anything but a deadpan or a slight smirk. He’s not talkative, per se—he wouldn’t actively search for people to with which to strike up a conversation—but once he’s roped into a conversation, expect him to be one of the main contributors. He'll be eloquent, polite, and straightforward, with the occasional dash of cynicism to his words.
When it comes to achieving his goals, he believes subtle manipulation is more effective than bull-headed opposition; that there is more power in skillful deception than open defiance. It may take more planning, more preparation, more patience—but he’s not lacking in any of those. He’s willing to wait even years for something if he thinks it’s worth his time. He makes sure he’s adequately prepared before he makes a move, and he always has a backup plan or two in case things begin to go awry. He’s resourceful and versatile, smoothly adapts to changing situations, and is always ready to shift from one modus operandi to another if necessary. He certainly prefers when things go as planned, but he’s well aware that more often than not they don’t.
Because of his highly independent nature, he’s often loath to accept help from others. He’s a very proud individual—not overtly boastful but obviously proud of his skills and personal accomplishments. Although his personality has grated on many people’s nerves, they still respect his authority. Few can deny his competence and his ability to sort matters out efficiently. His actions are carried out in a cold, calculating, and perhaps morally questionable manner. Most important to him are the results; the method is merely the process used to obtain them.
He isn’t much of a fighter, preferring to use his brains rather than his fists to get things done. Weapons aren’t really his thing, either; at most, he knows how to aim a gun and how to hold a knife so that the pointy end faces away from himself.
He often works with Anna Smith and respects her for her thorough, efficient approach to her work. He has also discovered that she makes a great drinking buddy.AbilitiesShapeshifting:
The shapeshifters of his world can assume, at most, two different forms. They cannot change into another person, and they are limited to extant animal species. A shifter’s primary form is much easier to take on than his secondary form, but even a transformation into the primary form is mentally and physically demanding. Half-shifting is possible, but it requires a great deal of skill and can go horribly wrong if not done properly.
Reinald is terrible at shifting. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a shifter who’s worse at it than he is (though you might have some luck with children). He doesn’t see it as something necessary for him to improve upon, so he’s gotten so out-of-practice in the last few years that transformations have become physically taxing and take a lot of time to complete.
Primary form: Crocodile monitor lizard
Secondary form: Hooded pitohuiWhitezone manipulation:
Shifters have access to a space colloquially known as the whitezone. Most shifters tap into it unconsciously while they transform; clothing and accessories (such as jewelry or items in their pockets) are stored in the whitezone when they shift into animal form and reappear when they revert back to human form. Some shifters can control the whitezone, meaning they can access it whenever they choose, storing and removing objects at will. Think of it as an extradimensional bag only the owner can open. The whitezone is not endless; Reinald can only store as much as would fit into a backpack.
In contrast to his shifting, Reinald is a master at manipulating objects into and out of the white zone, and he takes full advantage of the fact. He stashes in there anything he thinks might be useful, including extra cash, a spare key, a lockpicking set, a pen and paper, a hip flask with some excellent brandy, a Colt 1911 (you can never be too careful), and anything else that comes to mind. He keeps a careful mental catalogue of what he puts in and what he takes out, because no-one wants to pull out a banana in there about three months ago when he’s just trying to get his wallet.Other:
A liver of steel. Even Anna can’t out-drink him.History
Reinald Todorov is an assumed name. Very few know that it isn’t his real name, and fewer still know what his real name is. He comes from a world inhabited by both shapeshifters and normal humans. Besides the shapeshifting ability, it is impossible to tell humans and shifters apart by appearance alone. DNA analysis can reveal a difference, and a blood test can also determine if an individual is shifter or human.
His native country—one predominantly populated by shapeshifters—had long had poor relations with its neighbor—one mostly populated by humans. A couple of decades before he was born, the border skirmishes finally escalated into war. The war didn’t consist of battle after continuous battle; bouts of intense fighting were followed by intervals of uneasy peace, until someone or something fanned the smoldering grudge back into a full-out war once more. Nobody knows the truth of what began the conflict—nobody alive, at any rate—though both countries have their own ways of justifying their actions. As the war went on, people stopped caring about what set it off in the first place.
He was born during one of those periods when the fighting was on the wane. By the time he was six, the war had quieted down again. Though the conflict was constantly in the back of the people’s minds, Reinald grew up during a period of relative peace.
Even as a child, he was better at manipulating the whitezone than at shapeshifting. At first, his peers ridiculed him for being slow at shifting. Then he made their lunch—or their homework, depending on which they were more likely to care about—disappear and refused to give it back. Needless to say, most of them stopped after that. He ended up befriending a rather diverse group and picking up a rather varied set of skills from them, from chess to lockpicking to urban climbing.
Fast-forward a few years, when he narrowed his interests to focus on technology and business. There was always a market for military technology, and people were getting nervous. The peace couldn’t last for much longer, everyone knew. Two years after he graduated from university, everything went straight to hell once again.
But he didn’t wait until war broke out to act. When anyone could see they were on the brink of another war, he disappeared. He didn’t reappear to join the shapeshifter army, even after they were clearly losing ground. There were whispers of his involvement in the assassination of a prominent human general, dead of heart failure after drinking from a glass smeared with batrachotoxin, but whoever did the job left little evidence behind.
Five years later, Reinald Todorov applied for a position at a prominent human technology corporation heavily involved in the war. When they did a background check, it confirmed that he was born in the country, that he had a degree in business, and that he’d done good work for other companies before. The blood test marked him as a human. He was qualified, and they were experiencing a shortage of employees due to the war. They hired him.
So how did he get away with it? The years he spent in hiding hadn’t been spent idly sitting back as the world descended into chaos. Some of his old friends had helped Reinald get into contact with some powerful people in the underground. A talented hacker got his name on various company records. The blood had come from rather questionable sources, but what was important was that it was human blood. After that, it had been a matter of storing the vial in the white zone and transferring the tip of the needle to that same spot when his blood had been drawn. To most of the world, Reinald Todorov was a human.
Working his way up took less time than even he expected. The war was still ongoing, and despite heightened security measures, the higher-ups were still vulnerable to shapeshifter attacks. To his own credit, he proved himself capable, perceptive, and shrewd. His talent and resourcefulness did not go unnoticed. By the time this phase of the war ended—with the human nation with the upper hand—he had made his way to vice president. It merely took one, ah, unfortunate
accident to befall the CEO before Reinald found himself at the head of one of the humans’ most powerful technology companies.
Though his initial task was to help sabotage the enemy from the inside out, he couldn’t find the opportunity to put that plan into action. Making a move when his country was at its weakest, with practically no way to back him up, was akin to asking for a death sentence. To be perfectly honest, he enjoyed the perks of his top-dog position, even if it was in enemy territory, and he wasn’t willing to throw it away without a very good reason.
For a while afterward, his main concern was competition from other companies. To put it briefly, he either bought or beat them out. During this time, he developed a business partnership of sorts with Anna Smith, whom he had earlier discovered was willing to do useful things that more scrupulous individuals would refuse to do. He ended up hiring her fairly often to do various off-the-record jobs. Things got a bit more complicated when each discovered that the other was a shifter, but in the end it boiled down to the fact that neither had much to gain from turning in the other.
Besides, Anna made a good drinking buddy.
After years of living in human territory, Reinald has fallen terribly out of practice with shifting. He’s always surrounded by people, and he doesn’t feel safe doing it even when he thinks he’s alone. However, he remains as dexterous as he ever was with the whitezone.
The Book of Stories begins to fall apart during the end of this period of relative peace. Tensions between the countries have begun to escalate again, and war once again looms on the horizon, but it seems there are more important things for Reinald to worry about…