Name: Burrich (Heart of the Pack) Gender: Male Age: Elder 30's Race: Human Place of Birth: Chalced, Six Duchies Height: 6' 3" Weight: 204 Status: Traveler Occupation: Stablemaster and Soldier
- Burrich is well-built, a quiet mountain of a man; his hair and beard are black, and his eyes are brown. His face is narrow,square and tanned. He has long-fingered and clever hands. Burrich is mostly described by his few friends to be stubborn, honest, forthright and a little melancholic. He keeps his business to himself. He is attractive to the ladies, who would like to tame him and try to lift his dark moods. He is an impressive character: with only look and a quiet word, he used to keep a whole room full of rough men in discipline. As a younger man, Burrich injured his leg badly in a hunting accident, protecting Chivalry from a wild boar. It healed badly, and he still limps - his gruff and unfriendly nature is intensified when it is bothering him keenly; usually when rain is on the horizon. He is oddly sensitive about having it discussed, however, and will snap at anyone who comments about it.
Aside from his gifts in warfare - particularly in axe-fighting, with his experience as a soldier - Burrich has a little-understood and poorly viewed power known as the Wit. It is an ambiguous ability, shrouded in mystery because of the mistrust that most people have for it. What little is known about it is heavily-contradictory, but there are a few basic principles that most seem to agree on: a) it gives the bearer the power to speak to animals, both aloud and mind to mind b) it gives them the power to control animals, in numbers dependent upon the strength of the power they possess and the number/strength of the animal(s) in question, and c) in extreme circumstances, it allows them to assume the form of their bond animal, or even to send their soul to live inside the animal if there is mortal danger to their own body.
The Witted individual's power is limited not only by their strength, but by the need for a companion; unlike with normal persons, a Witted person has a definite need for an animal companion - a bond animal - without which they slowly lose their sanity, and they can, under desperate circumstances, die due to a prolonged lack of such a companion - or the death of their bond animal, even if they take no injury themselves. Bond animals tend to develop an unusual amount of intelligence due to their connection with the bonded person, and can even assume aspects of their personality - but the change can work both ways, if the Witted person is not in full control of his power. On rare occasions, it has been noted that Witted persons without training can assume the form of their bond animal, and never again be able to recover human form. After extended periods of time, they have even been shown to lose their sentience and all semblance of humanity, truly receding into the instinctive behavior of whatever animal they have become, and no method has ever been found that is able to retrieve them once this has occurred.
Burrich's father died before he was born. His grandmother was a slave, who won her freedom from the Butran clan. She got a freedom earring to prove she was free. Burrich's mother supported her and Burrich by doing laundry. As a young boy Burrich formed a Wit-bond with a mongrel, Slash. The animal taught him how to survive in the streets and acted as a kind of a father figure to Burrich. A drawback in the Witbond was that Burrich didn’t have a normal childhood, as the dog had too much influence on him. When the dog was kicked by a horse and died, Burrich was only eight years old. In Old Blood communities, this relationship with the dog would have been viewed as inappropriate as they believe that a bond animal and a person must both benefit from their wit-bond equally, and they would also view him as being too young to find an appropriate animal to bond with. He then turned to his grandmother for guidance. When Burrich was about thirteen years old, his mother and grandmother died in an epidemic of a Blood plague. Now alone, he became a mercenary. He was taken prisoner in a Chalced skirmish and made a slave. Finally he was able to escape and sought refuge in the Six Duchies. There he became a horsekeeper for Grizzle, Duke of Shoaks. He Wit-bonded again, this time with a young stallion, Neko. This bond ended with the animal dying, too. When Burrich was forced to live through the great pain of losing a second bondmate, he decided never to use his Wit again.
After several years, Burrich left the mercenary field, still seeking the kind of guidance that his father was never able to provide him with, and ran headlong into Chivalry, a prince of the royal blood and next in line to the throne of the Six Duchies. As a soldier in the prince's army, he is at first unremarkable, but finally distinguishes himself in a unique way - he is brought before the prince on charges of brawling with his comrades. They struck it off from the start, and after a time, Burrich swore to serve Chivalry, cementing the oath by presenting the prince with the earring that had been given to his grandmother when she'd earned her freedom for slavery - to Burrich, it symbolized his own willing enslavement to the prince. Somewhere along the line though, Chivalry makes a mistake, and has an illegitimate child with an undesirable person, which causes him to abdicate from his potential line to the throne. Soon afterward, the young prince is killed, and Burrich is left alone again.
Chivalry's abdication and following death leaves Burrich without someone organizing his world. Added to this, he is recovering from a severe injury when forced to recognize that the master he had lifted to a pedestal is not wholly without error. Nevertheless he does his best to meet the final order Chivalry gave him, to take care of his master's illegitimate son, Fitz-Chivalry, which means 'the bastard of Prince Chivalry'. Disappointment and the leg injury added together change Burrich. He becomes gloomier, more ill-tempered and withdrawn - “the Old Burrich”, as he is called - even if he still is only in his thirties. He has a real and genuine fondness for the child, but because of his own lack of a father has difficulty expressing it, which eventually leads young Fitz to rebellion and abandonment of Burrich, who has been a father figure to him. It is a harsh blow to Burrich, who now daily sinks further and further away from people, and more toward the animals he loves.
Life in the VoidEditAfter the political upheaval in their world resulted in the violent deaths of both Chivalry and Fitz, Burrich sank into isolation, withdrawing from his longstanding position as palace stablemaster and taking an abandoned woodland cottage as his own, determined to live out the rest of his life quietly, away from the interference of the crown. Though there are rumors that, during this period of quiet, he married a woman named Molly and had a family, they are unconfirmed. His peace came to an abrupt end when King Shrewd - and those controlling him - suddenly came to the realization that, with Fitz dead and the royal assassin Chade killed after his refusal to create another monster for the royal family, they were without anyone to put an end to some of their more prominent political enemies. At this point, a detachment of palace guards was sent to fetch and imprison him, where he would be kept until he consented to serve the royal family once more. He held out for nearly a month before the king became impatient and ordered them to simply kill Burrich, at which point he took matters into his own hands, by crunching down a poisoned pill that he'd kept disguised lodged beneath a decorative rivet in his belt. Determined to deny Shrewd the satisfaction of having him killed, he let the darkness claim him... and yet, before death could come, fate dealt a hand instead.
The next thing he recalls, past preparing to meet his maker, is awaking to a very unhappy head and a cold cement wall at his back. At first believing himself to still be in prison at the palace, he curses whatever cruel twist of fate has kept him alive, at least until he becomes aware of the warmth of sun shining down upon his shoulders, and the smell of grass - by some miracle, he is free, but thrown into a world of foreign, very modern technology - a piece of which is staring him down quite intimidatingly. Ironhide discovered him leaned casually against the wall of the medical facility, and Burrich played off the moment quite well, and to this day, he has never told anyone about the incident in the palace dungeons. With little better to do, he moved into the medical facility, intending to stay only for a short period of time in order to get his bearings in this new and confusing world, and to figure out how he could return home. Upon discovering that his planet does not exist in this timeline, however, he has resigned himself to stay indefinitely, as he cannot go back to his rightful world. The presence of fellow warrior Ventisshou and his adoption of Tip, a large mix-breed puppy that he bonded with after rescuing her from some children who'd been beating her with a stick, have slowly firmed his position in Laissez Faire, and he has become one of their most acknowledged human fighters.
Ventisshou is one of the only people in the city that Burrich respects, and will actually carry on conversations with. He values her simple, unornamented honesty and welcomes her slightly-flashy temper as something that he understands, where more sensitive creatures often confuse or embarrass him. As a fighter, he can appreciate her skill with a blade, and has even shown a marked preference for allowing her to treat any wounds that he receives, though there are others who are more qualified. She is also the one and only person who knows anything about his personal life, as he is not prone to discussing it much. He does experience a little difficulty in allowing her to go into risky situations however - not because of a lack of faith in her abilities, but because women are not warriors, where he is from - they are to be protected. This frequently is a source of annoyance for her, but he never fails to at least offer a delicately-worded expression of chivalrous protection, and less delicately-worded advice as to how she should go about raising Taelitu.
Tip is Burrich's current bond animal. He unintentionally bonded with her after rescuing her from a beating by several ill-behaved children, and brought her back to Laissez Faire, proving that he too can mend wounds by splinting her broken leg until it could heal. Now that she is growing, she is becoming more of a partner instead of simply a pet, and frequently accompanies him when he is sent to battle. She has displayed an unusual array of talents, ranging from an apparent ability to understand every word said to her to an isolated incident when she grew to many times her size in order to go toe to toe with Ratchet. It is unknown whether these abilities are her own, or whether they have been adopted through her bond to Burrich.
Taelitu hates Burrich, though he is knowledgeable enough about animals that she is wary of him, and does her best to avoid him rather than instigate fights.
Burrich has had a relatively close relationship with Anneliese Cole, based chiefly on their shared love of dogs, and his respect for the fact that she often does not enjoy being touched. He can frequently be found tagging along on any of her adventurous travels, a silent shadow much of the time to ensure that everyone else respects her and that no one bothers her. This relationship has floundered a little in recent years though, as Anneliese has been traveling quite a bit, and he now feels a bit distant towards her.
- The few in Laissez Faire who can hear and understand the speech of animals will often hear them referring to Burrich as 'Heart of the Pack'.
- There are unconfirmed rumors that Burrich was once a mercenary, a rogue - and perhaps even a few darker things than that.
- Burrich keeps the stables in Laissez Faire, and in particular is the only person entrusted with the care of Chestnut, a seemingly-immortal horse currently owned by Sandry.
- He is relatively famous for having the most legendary capacity for alcohol that most have ever seen, and yet it never seems to impact his mind at all; never once has his tongue slipped while he is under the influence, no matter how much he's had to drink. His temper does tend to suffer when he's had a bit much though... and it suffers also when he is hung over or has been too long without a drink.