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Nov. 11th, 2012

a mask tells us more

Application for Carnival of Rust

Name – Brittany
AIM Name – sageofdarkness13
E-Mail – sage_of_darkness_@hotmail.com

Name – V
Fandom – V for Vendetta (comic continuity)
Canon Point – After his final conversation with Evey.
Age – Unknown, though he’s certainly an adult.
Gender – Male.

Appearance - V’s signature smiling mask is the first thing anyone looking at him is likely to notice; bone-white but for the facial ‘hair’ and a bit of blush on each cheek, it stands out against the dark colouration of his costume. This costume is all-covering, its other obvious components a doublet, slacks, a cloak, tall boots, a belt, long gloves, and a hat; all black, and tailored to a flattering fit. The wig V wears with it is straight, shoulder-length, a dark brown, and useful for obscuring both the double straps of his mask and the skin-tight hood he wears beneath it, in order to keep his throat and ears wholly hidden.

The mask, with its perpetual smile and empty eyes, would be enough to make V’s appearance uncanny; his height makes it moderately intimidating. V stands at about 6’3, and is a little lean for being very fit---he has the build of a tumbler or gymnast, and moves with a grace which suggests he could very well be one. His movements also make it clear that he’s used to compensating for the mask’s fixed expression through body language; he’s frequently gesturing, adjusting the angle at which he holds his head, altering the set of his shoulders, shifting his weight or adopting an especially expressive posture. Some reaction actions are slightly exaggerated, (such as his straightening, leaning back, and tucking his chin to signal mock-shock or show whatever was said succeeded in surprising him) but that’s only to be expected---V enjoys over-acting.

Personality - V is an eccentric through and through, possessed of a passion for art of all kinds—and the performing arts, especially.

His interest in acting contributes to a kind of perpetual practice---he’s grown so used to presenting a carefully constructed façade, he finds it difficult to step ‘off-stage.’ He is cheerful and gregarious by default; he will speak seriously on most meaningful topics; he is open about being happy, amused, curious, or angry… but grief, loneliness, and regret are among the emotions minimized to keep character and half-hid through wandering monologues and misdirection when actually expressed. As sociable as he is, V is surprisingly secretive; he will usually refuse to answer any questions about his history (opinions are another matter entirely) and is adept at concealing his emotions and reactions through deliberate affect; actual instances are difficult to identify, since V’s theatrical mannerisms complicate telling what is authentic from what is affected for any observer. While this may make him seem untrustworthy, the man does not deign to lie. (It is, in part, a point of pride---he doesn’t have to, not with the assumptions others will make when they do not watch his wording.)

His pride is an important part of his personality, being one of V’s key characteristics: the others are his determination, his sense of humour, his integrity, and his anger. V is proud (it keeps him from being a worse person than he could be) but he isn’t arrogant---he is a vocal proponent of the equality of all autonomous agents, considering himself superior only to those individuals unwilling to take responsibility for their actions. His determination is frightening---this is a man who spent a minimum of months gathering the materials to build his bombs, prepared to burn to death in order to defy and hopefully hurt his enemy. His sense of humour appears in his great appreciation of irony; it allows him to find something amusing in almost any situation. Tied to his dignity, his integrity is of the utmost importance---he’ll break bones (his own, and others’) before breaking his word. His anger is a fundamental part of who and how he is, also; despite his cheerful demeanor, it’s what drives him: there is always an injustice; he will not be indifferent, but outraged; he will not stand by, but take action---always.

V’s temper is sometimes surprising, since his friends and allies rarely see it surface overtly; the same could be said of his cruel streak. Although he will be pleasant and polite in most interactions, the people he feels are acceptable targets will be subject to barb after barb at best. At worst? V will, upon deciding to hurt someone, do so in a surprisingly straight-forward fashion. Fortunately, he is very strict about what will and will not justify physical interference.

History - V spent his childhood in or near London; there is nothing to indicate anything unusual happened in his early life. Very little is known about the individual prior to adopting the identity ‘V’, and the information which is available is largely environmental.
In 1988, what would approach a world war began. Britain escaped bombing (while Africa and Europe did not,) but could not avoid the war’s other consequences---the crop failure caused by bizarre weather patterns in the aftermath created a famine made harsher yet by the absence of imports, both trade and aid. Isolated, England limped along, and in 1992 a new political entity emerged---Norsefire. Composed of various right-wing groups and the remains of the large corporations, this organization had both the man- and fire-power required to restore order to England; it succeeded within mere months, led by one Adam Susan. After Norsefire’s new order was established, it became clear that individuals could be considered 'undesirable' for a number of reasons, including ethnicity, political background, sexual orientation, religion... and on. Once identified as an ‘undesirable,’ one would one day be inexplicably absent; the people who disappeared were rarely discussed. Whatever the reason, the man who would be V was such an unfortunate: He was captured and imprisoned at Larkhill.

The institution he was held in was referred to as a resettlement camp when officially acknowledged, though it was never intended to be anything but one of several processing plants enabling the systematic execution of England’s ‘undesirables.’ While there, V was one of forty-eight prisoners selected to be test subjects in a medical experiment run by one Dr. Delia Surridge. The experiment, the fifth in a short series, began June 5th, 1993. Only five of the test subjects survived the first two weeks of the trial; these five were housed in the medical block, in isolation, for observation.

As he did not display any of the problematic symptoms the other test subjects developed, Dr. Surridge eventually granted V one privilege he had repeatedly asked after; time outside, to spend at work in the gardens. This was not insignificant---the camps were built to be self-sufficient---but as the crops thrived under his care, V was soon allowed to advise the staff on soil supplements, to choose seed, and to grow flowers on a small patch of his own. He was even allowed to escape punishment for taking a portion of the supplies he had had ordered----fertilizers, pesticides, and other things---to ‘decorate’ his cell, as the design he’d drawn (and continued to detail) so fascinated Dr. Surridge that she chose to permit the addition of almost any material. This decision was drawn from her own desire to see what was presumably a pattern complete in the hope of understanding what it meant to the man, since it obviously meant a great deal---he paid very close attention to its arrangement and expansion, occasionally sat for hours in its center, and had risked his hard-won privilege by taking what he had to begin work on it.

Everything changed when the fire nation attacked December 24th, when the bombing began. The man in room five had been making things: napalm, gas, and all the explosives he had been able. The first explosion tore the medical block open; badly burnt, V was free. He escaped into the night, leaving behind the fire, the wreckage, and some screaming wounded; the Larkhill camp was closed, and the topic of it, taboo.

V worked quickly over the following five years, constructing a lair furnished with ‘objectionable’ art of every kind and quietly killing everyone who had worked at the Larkhill camp. The murders were made to look like accidents, suicides, and natural deaths; the lair became the Shadow Gallery, a safehouse and store-room. On November 5th, 1997, he announced his existence by bombing the Houses of Parliament; and began to attack the party’s power in earnest. Over the course of a year, he urged and inspired the people to rebel, initiating the final act and full revolution through an encore---with its intelligence offices crippled by another bombing, the government collapsed under the riots, rebellion, and loss of leadership.

Skills/Abilities/Powers - As a triple threat, V’s skill in acting is his most impressive---he is dedicated to the art and to his public persona, blurring the line between authentic reaction and affectation whenever there’s another person present to treat as an audience. (Not even being shot will make the man break character.)

In addition: he can play piano, and knows some sleight-of-hand; he has some knowledge, also of the French, German, and Latin languages; he has an excellent command of chemistry and, gardening, a green thumb. He has some experience working with computers, even if it is outdated, and has gotten very good at sneaking around, into, and out of places. He is also an exceptionally formidable opponent in close combat, be it melee, hand-to-hand, or ham-to-ham.

Power Restrictions– He has to stop talking sometimes. V has no supernatural abilities.

Job – Performer/Entertainer, possibly with some moonlighting in special/stage effects.

Mark Location – Vertical, on the underside of his right wrist, hidden by both glove and sleeve.

First Person Sample - Good evening. I was wondering if anyone here would happen to have a book I might borrow. Genre doesn’t matter one whit, though a brick would be best… and I am especially interested in any publication put out after 1988. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, prose, scripts for the stage or screen---I’ll be after it.

[There’s a low laugh.]

Speaking: one half-starved for stories.

Third Person Sample - The man who never stopped smiling was, after hours, without an audience. He moved past paintings and portraits, sculptures and statues, and did not stride or stalk or sneak---not here and not now, when there was no need; he was almost off-stage. He was home, here, and it was obvious… even if the same could be said for any space fronted by footlights. He fit among the art and antiques, blending in in a way a man more obviously made of blood and bone couldn’t---his whole appearance emphasized artifice approximating emotion, as did the objects assembled, and insofar as the entire arrangement aimed at the preservation of the past, he was a part of it. Echoing another age in dress and diction, he couldn’t be anything else until unobserved and so inclined… as evidenced by his greeting a suit of armour with a muttered “Mondego,

Several steps past the suit, his path curved to end at the corner an old Wurlitzer occupied. Bulky and brightly lit, it was a both a beast and a gem---one almost impossible acquisition, and one of which he was particularly proud. A small, satisfied smile spread against the underside of his mask as he considered its selection, both black-gloved hands against the glass. When he saw the title he’d last listened to, the smile (unseen, as always) spread. One hand sank past the ‘play’ button, and without pausing, pressed it. The smile grew into something like a grin at the first four familiar notes, and as he turned to walk away, V snapped his fingers in time with the triangle. In the neighbouring room, and the next, he remained within earshot, though it didn’t matter much---he knew every note and sung syllable of the song, and certainly didn’t have to hear it to match pitch or pace.

Give them the old razzle dazzle---razzle dazzle 'em! Give them an act with lots of flash in it, and the reaction will be passionate…!” He sang well, with emotion (voicing, now, that same satisfaction) and increasing enthusiasm; to emphasize the exclamation, he swept the curtain in the doorway of his dressing room aside. “Give 'em the old hocus pocus, bead and feather them! How can they see with sequins in their eyes? What if your hinges all are rusting? What if, in fact, you're just disgusting? Razzle dazzle them, and they’ll never catch wise…

Any Other Details We Should Know - Between the state of his skin and his costume's insulating effect, V's tactile sensitivity is impaired. This doesn't affect a great deal, but it bears mention.

November 2012



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