Sometimes characters appear in the back of my head and demand to be created. This was one, after reading the Romany supplement for the While Wold World of Darkness.
- Name: Royo / Rayesha
- Element: –
- Sex: Male
- Family: Phuri Dae
- Nature: Gallant
- Demeanor: Fanatic
- Concept: Dancer
|Alertness||1||Disguise||2||Linguistics (English, Spanish)||2|
|Artistic Expression (Dancing)||3||Fortune Telling||3||Romany Lore||3|
|Dance of Knives||2||Allies||1||Conscience||4|
|Sight: Crystal Gazing||1||Contacts||1||Self-Control||5|
|Zapadarin||2||Draba: Snake Oil||3||Courage||3|
Quote: “The cards say that you will meet a dark stranger soon.”
Concept: A Rom who loves playing a subtle joke on every gajo who thinks to consult a Gypsy fortune-teller.
Description: Royo stands 5′ 5″ and weighs about 130 lbs. He keeps his curly black hair short to help further his Rayesha disguise. His eyes are black and his complexion is light olive. He sports a slight mustache (fake).
As Rayesha: ‘her’ height is 5′ 7″ and ‘she’ weighs 140 lbs. ‘Her’ hair is black, long, and curly: ‘her’ eyes are dark and long-lashed. ‘Her’ complexion is dusky olive, and ‘her’ build is slender but well-developed. ‘Her’ only other identifying mark is a beauty mark on ‘her’ lower left jaw.
Prelude: Royo is the son of a Zingaresche father and a half Phuri Dae mother. Because he born a boy, his father trained him from birth in the intricacies of the powers of the Dance, both the Dance of the Knives and the Zapaderin, and to fight with the traditional weapons of the Rom. But when his mother’s blood and Sight began to manifest itself, his mother took over Royo’s education, teaching him all she knew of the Sight, and her trade of fortune telling, as well. She also taught him all of the tales of the Rom she had learned at the knee of her late full-blooded Phuri Dae mother.
After his touring days as a teenager, though, Royo decided to settle down (temporarily) and set up a fortune telling shop. But what gaje would believe a male fortune teller? It was then that Royo decided to scam all of his customers: he learned, from his fellow Rom, how to disguise himself, specifically as a woman. His own slight frame and delicate, finely-chiseled features lent themselves to his deception, as did his graceful and fluid movements. In the low candlelight of his fortune-teller’s room, the disguise is almost undetectable. Royo had even performed a couple of times as a female dancer in clubs, but only ones where he wasn’t required to strip beyond what his disguise could cover. (The other dancers could recognize he wasn’t what he seemed, but his ready charm and willingness to help them out at times convinced them not to disclose their suspicions.)
In his touring days he learned Spanish to accompany his English and Romany. His training in the Zapaderin led him to experiment with and eventually learn the hypnotic arts. Even without using the Zapaderin he is skilled enough to induce deep trances: he is practiced at tricking his customers into staring into his crystal ball as he begins a long, lulling, sing-song chant that eventually hypnotizes them. Once in a trance he can question them at length and even plant suggestions to be used later. He is also experimenting with using the hand motions of the dance to lull subjects into deeper suggestibility. Royo’s favorite fortune telling gimmick is the Tarot but can also use the crystal ball or palmistry with equal ease.
Blood Advantages: The Sight manifests for Royo as crystal gazing: his preferred method is to arrange a series of candles to reflect off of a hanging, faceted crystal, then stare at the crystal, placing himself into a hypnotic trance by watching the reflections of the dancing flames within the depths of the crystal.
Backgrounds: Royo has as his ally Starlina, an old drabarna of uncertain ability: rarely do the drabas she creates have the intended effect or strength. Royo depends on her more for gossip than for any draba she could concoct, as well as knowledge on the Blood and Romany legends. When she does make her draba work, however, it is very powerful: she is the source of the Snake Oil Royo saves for special occasions.
Royo’s Contact is, strangely, Officer Veronica Madison, a five-year police officer whom he assisted because she was investigating a murderer who had Rom blood on his hands. As Rayesha, Royo slipped her an advance warning that ‘she’ had gained from the Sight, which allowed Veronica to crack the case, catching the murderer before he could kill again. Veronica is unaware of his dual identity: she distrusts Royo but feels a strange confidence in Rayesha, something has ‘she’ taken pains to foster, including secretly using hypnosis to reinforce Veronica’s feelings towards
her' when Veronica comes on her infrequent visits at the shop. He has implanted several post-hypnotic suggestions in Veronica: one is to continuously increase her confidence and trust in Rayesha and continue to confide in 'her' each time Veronica comes to visit 'her'; another helps 'her' quickly establish a deep trance in Veronica by merely dangling a crystal before her eyes. Veronica is a dedicated police officer, thought a little distressed at the obvious corruption and favoritism within the department and worried that she might either become corrupt herself or be killed for not participating. Royo thinks it a great joke for a Romany to have made such a valuable contact on the city police force.
Merits: Royo's long training has instilled a tremendous discipline and the ability to shut out distractions. His father also ensured that he trained with both hands, and is now comfortable using either hand in any circumstance.
Flaws: Royo has seen many of the injustices the Rom have had to endure first hand, and has developed a thirst to repay those who mistreat the Rom, especially himself. He has also developed, beyond his considerable self-confidence, a streak of overconfidence that leads him to undertake risky ventures (like testing his disguise by performing as a woman as a strip club, for example.)
Possessions: Tarot deck; twin fighting knives; crystal pendants; changes of clothing; collection of cheap jewelry.
The Disguise: Royo has so practiced his disguise that it is almost second nature to him by now. (While he was practicing, his kumpania companions would test him mercilessly until even they were satisfied.) His concentration and self control, stemming from his long training, is such that he almost never slips up. He can switch from one to the other, if given access to the clothing and accessories, in only a couple of minutes. His long training in the dance enables him to even disguise his movements, perfectly mimicking a woman's movements when necessary. His normal tenor voice passes adequately as a woman's, especially since he takes care not to speak much, and only to speak in mysterious phrasings in a husky, mysterious, whispering alto voice.
As Royo he wears a false thin moustache, which he can easily remove. He dresses in loose-fitting shirts and trousers in dull colors, making a subtle distinction between his alternate identity. He wears no jewelry. His two fighting knives he hides in sheathes under his sleeves.
As Rayesha he wears a wig of long black hair under a boldly-colored scarf. The mustache disappears and a beauty mark appears on his lower jaw. Subtle and not-so-subtle application of makeup, including dramatic outlining of his eyes, help disguise his face. Lifts in his shoes change his height, and he uses false fingernails to disguise his hands. A long scarf around his neck hides his Adam's Apple: to disguise himself from anyone who could detect his scent he drenches the scarf in a heavy perfume. He wears peasant blouses and skirts of vivid and wildly contrasting colors, plus a lot of cheap, shiny jewelry: necklaces, pendants, bracelets, rings, and earrings. The fighting knives are hidden behind cunningly-hidden slits in her’ skirts, strapped to
her' thighs. She’ rarely leaves the building by day, only venturing out at night, a shawl heavily draped about her head.
The Shop: Royo’s fortune telling shop is located on the first floor of a three-story brownstone building in a poor Hispanic neighborhood. The front room is the public area: behind a beaded curtain and wooden door is the barely-furnished kitchen, with a door to the alley behind the building on the far side and the stairs up behind a door on the side. The second floor has Royo’s and Rayesha’s rooms: Royo maintains both to help preserve the secret of his dual identities. The third floor is a dusty, cobweb-filled loft, its only access a trap door in the ceiling of the second floor. It has a false wall at the far end which Royo has used for hiding members of the Rom. In the alley is a door that leads down to the basement: it contains only several decades of junk.
Royo uses the location because he found it vacant and because its ownership is in dispute. So far, no one has disputed his occupancy. The building has no heat, not a factor given the summer months, and no electricity, but Royo makes due with candles. When it starts turning colder Royo will move to other quarters.
The public room has a rickety table in the center and several mismatched chairs surrounding it. A large crystal ball sits in the center of the table. A couple of cheap astrological posters are on the wall. The front window is heavily curtained. The only light in the room is several sets of candles, including two that flank Rayesha’s seat that throw a bewildering array of light and shadow across her features. An urn burns incense in a corner: sometimes Royo will burn a little marijuana amidst the incense, as the active ingredient acts to increase suggestibility. Royo will also steep a little in the strong, black tea
she' sometimes gives to her’ customers for the same effect.
There is no advertisement outside, except for a small card in the window, advertising “Psychic Consulting by Rayesha”.
The local population generally mistrusts Royo but respect his ‘sister’, whom they call
la brujita', or the little witch’. Many exaggerated stories about Rayesha’s abilities, both real and imagined, abound in the area.