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Posted: Feb 7 2018, 03:40 PM
She/Her - CST
24 Years Old . Carta Scout . Rogue . Tyrone Christiansen
Daisy . 20 . Central . PM, Discord
Osker Kashom – Father (absent)
Bruna Saboza – Older Sister
Mitsh Kashom – Older Sister (absent)
Dal Cavo – Mentor, Boss, Father Figure
Daggers – Intermediate
Explosives – Advanced (generally non-combatant)
Subterfuge focuses on tricky maneuvering and deception to gain the upper hand in battle.
AppearanceEven among other dwarves, Bodie is considered short. He doesn’t quite reach 4’0" tall, and is a little on the narrow side for his race, but he still manages to cut a rather stocky silhouette. He might not be particularly big or broad, but he definitely looks compact, with strong legs, strong arms, and a sturdy, solid frame.
Overall, he doesn't really strike the image of a thuggish Carta criminal. He can come across as a bit shifty, maybe, but not exactly scary or stern. He seems friendly. Young. Dark eyes, dark hair, dark freckles, soft faced and notably beardless, with front teeth that are a little too big for his smile—at a glance, Bodie just looks like some scrappy thiag kid that managed to crawl his way to the surface.
But then, there are other things that denote his less than glamorous upbringing. When Bodie talks, one might notice the glint of his teeth; all of his molars and premolars are fully capped in mismatched metals, broken and repaired from past fighting matches. His rough hands appear to be either those of a heavy laborer or of a brawler, with thick calluses lining his palms and knuckles, and a few of his fingers are noticeably crooked from repeated breaks alongside improper healing conditions.
He also sports some rather ugly scars on his torso and extremities, though most of them are kept covered up by his clothing. There's a nasty deepstalker bite on his arm, a twisted knife wound across his collarbone, circular burn marks below his hip, jagged lacerations down his back, and many less notable scars dotted everywhere else. And then there's his brand. A dark S-shaped figure, tattooed onto the right side of his face. It publicly marks him as casteless—a non-person as far as Orzammar is concerned, unworthy of the Stone—though to outsiders it mostly just serves as a clear indicator that Bodie wasn't born on the surface.
PersonalityHe Loves: his family, the Carta, cooking, knuckle dusters, the Stone, topside plants (they’re so green!), sleeping, talking to people, doing his best, dwarven history, happy endings, praise and attention, learning about other cultures, having money
He Fears: his family, the Carta, wide open areas, large bodies of water, losing his Stone sense, people abandoning him, isolation, failure, extreme topside weather, being physically trapped or held down, his family becoming destitute again
Extroverted: Devoted and earnest, Bodie is ultimately driven by his strong desire to connect with and please others. He's loud, talkative, and excitable, and he sincerely enjoys being in the company of other people. Negotiating and haggling are second nature to him. He’s energetic and industrious, sometimes excessively so, and he always throws himself completely into whatever he's doing.
Anxious: Bodie is a very high energy person, but also very high strung, prone to anxiety and overthinking. Growing up in Dust Town, taking on the responsibility of caring for his family at a young age, and being constantly poor and on the verge of starvation, has all left him stuck in a sort of survival mindset. He’s highly motivated, focused, and intent, but also sometimes obsessive and single-minded. He gets nervous if he doesn't have some kind of goal or objective in mind, and he can't stand being idle for too long. He needs structure. He needs a to-do list. He likes planning and knowing the next step, and he always needs to be actively doing something. When he can't do any of those things, he starts to feel like everything is falling apart, like he has no control. He's terrified of messing up, and he becomes susceptible to downward spirals of panic when he can't fix even the smallest of situations.
Loyalty: Bodie is blindly, unhealthily loyal, but only to select individuals. Riddled with a pervasive sense of worthlessness, his entire self-image is predicated on what other people think of him. He is utterly incapable of saying “No” to those he wants approval from, and he is constantly worried he isn't doing enough to please the people he cares about.
The Stone: Bodie was born with a remarkably sharp Stone sense. With his keen ear for lyrium, he would have done quite well as a smith or a miner, or perhaps even as a Shaper, if only he’d been born into the proper caste. His strong connection to the Stone is very important to him, though he doesn't entirely believe he's worthy of it.
Orzammar: Raised casteless in the slums of Dust Town, Bodie has no formal education to speak of. Living in Orzammar his entire life has made him rather insulated, and like many dwarves, he held some odd misconceptions about the surface. Now that he’s topside, he is the epitome of bright-eyed eager curiosity. Mostly. The sky still freaks him out a little bit.
Love is a limited resource. Why waste it on someone who isn't worth it?
His sister Bruna was the spitting image of their mother, tall and dark and powerful. She was a whirlwind of anger, a bastion of strength, as striking as a hammer hitting a forge. Even untrained and underfed, she looked like she could knock out a bronto with her bare fists. Certain, absolute, and terrifying. Bruna was always their mother’s favorite.
His sister Mitsh was smaller, like Bodie and their father. She was also far smarter than she had any right to be. Her wit was so whiplash it hurt, and her mind ticked with the muse of an inventor. She was being squandered in the wastes of Dust Town, and she knew it. Ambitious, clever, and precise. Mitsh was always their father’s favorite.
Bodie grew up knowing he was not those things. He was not strong, he was not smart, he was not useful. He was a runt that wasn't expected to survive infancy, a fifth mouth to feed on an already unlivable income. He was nobody’s favorite, but he understood. Why waste love on someone who isn't worth it?
He watched his mother pat Bruna on the shoulder, watched his father praise Mitsh, but he never had any room in his heart for jealousy. He knew it was his own fault, somehow, that he was being ignored. Instead, determination wedged itself deep inside his chest, kindled by neglect and loneliness. A whisper inside his head told him, maybe if you were better, they'd love you.
He got a bit older, and he continued to survive despite being small and half-starved. His mother finally started paying real attention to him, and though it wasn't exactly what he had hoped for, he decided to take what he could get. Sometimes she would grab him by the collar of his shirt, ale rank on her breath, and yell at him to shut up shut up shut up, shake him and slap him and throw him around until she was sober enough to stumble back to the tavern. He would be lying if he said her outbursts didn't scare him, but at least bruises were proof of her attention, and he prefered being hit over being ignored. Besides, she never hurt Bruna. There must have been something that he was doing wrong.
He made better progress with his father. A weaselly sort of dwarf, but not altogether unkind, his father was always busy with Mitsh, trying to hatch another scheme or devise a new invention to launch their family out of Dust Town and into Paragonhood. This time it will work for sure, he always said. Bodie didn't have any great ideas or brilliant ingenuity to offer, but he was another pair of hands that his father was happy to utilize. Where his mother was dour and bitter and angry, his father was bright, hopeful, and obsessive. No matter how many times he failed, he always tried again. Bodie knew his father would always love Mitsh more than him, but he thought if he worked hard enough, maybe he could eventually become a close second. The day his father ruffled his hair and told him you’re a pretty good kid was one of the happiest moments of his life. It made the future seem almost bright, like maybe they could make something better for themselves out of all this dust after all.
He was eight years old when reality decided to step in and crush that hope. Da left for the surface, Bruna hissed as she shook him awake one morning, teeth clenched and seething. Gambling debts caught up with him and he took off, and now I can't find Ma. We need to look for her, or we’re screwed.
They split up to scour Dust Town. Bodie found her first, piss drunk and sprawled out on the curbside of some seedy squatter den. She glanced up at him as he approached, her eyes ringed bright red. He realized he had never seen her cry before.
So he left you, too, huh? his mother slurred, clutching a bottle of mosswine to her chest. A half dozen empties clinked at her feet. I wasn’t sure. He took Mitsh with him. The fucking bastard.
His mother’s words cracked through his chest like ice. It was really true, then. His father stole away in the night with his favorite daughter, and left the rest of his family to rot beneath his debts. Bodie felt sick. The bright future he had imagined, the one where his father was successful, where they made it out of Dust Town together, where he was happy and loved and safe, came crashing down all at once. He couldn't help but think, Why? Why would he do this? Why didn't he take them with him?
But Bodie already knew the answer. His mother laughed, dark and half-lucid, because she knew the answer, too.
I guess he didn't think you were worth it.
“When you were born, I thought about leaving you in the Deep Roads to die,” his mother says to him one day.
Bodie thinks the fact that she didn't must mean she loves him.
He drags her to bed after she gets too drunk to stand on her own feet, and when she passes out, he smooths back her hair, rolls her onto her side and makes sure she won't choke on her own vomit. He kisses her forehead goodnight and tells her I love you. He thinks that she doesn't really mean to be this way.
Another day, she says, “You don't know how lucky you are. You don't know how good you have it. My mother was worse than I will ever be. You should be grateful.”
And Bodie really is. He's so grateful it hurts. There are so many kids in Dust Town who don't have any parents at all, so many people who have it worse than him. Even when bottles line the floor and food money disappears at the tavern, he always remembers that his mother is the one who stayed. She stayed, and that's worth more than he could ever put into words.
Sometimes she says things like, “You're too soft to survive Dust Town. I'm just trying to make you stronger. You think I want to hit you? It's your own fucking fault.”
And Bodie knows she wouldn't hurt him unless she thought he deserved it. He knows it just means she cares. That she wants the best for him. He pretends his hands don't shake when he makes even the smallest errors, pretends that he doesn't feel sick when he comes home each night. Sometimes his sister looks at him out of the corner of her eye, something terribly akin to pity in her gaze. He tries not to think about what that means.
There are gentler, more broken nights. Nights where his mother says, “I'm so sorry,” and Bodie shushes her softly, saying it's fine, everything’s fine, cradling her head in his lap as she cries herself to sleep. He ignores the glass on the ground, smashed and bleeding in his arm, and hums a lullaby that was never sung to him. There are nights where she says, “I'm so sorry,” and he tells himself busted lips and black eyes are normal. That they're the only way she knows how to love him. That it's this, or nothing at all. She says, “I'm so sorry,” and he thinks I'm sorry, too, but he doesn't know what for. She apologizes again and again, always drunk and tearful and pleading, always as if she's just realized something horrible.
But always, Bodie shushes her softly, and says it's fine, everything’s fine. He smooths the hair out of her face, kisses her forehead and tells her I love you.
“I'm so sorry,” she always says. He always forgives her.
Between their father’s debt and their mother’s drinking habits, both Bodie and his sister had to join their mother at work in order to make ends meet. Addled as she was, their mother was a damn good explosives expert. Though technically illegal for a duster, she had been offered a deal years ago by a third-party merchant to sift lyrium sand into explosives. It was dangerous work, but more profitable than begging or street sweeping, and with Bodie and Bruna helping her, she could turn out enough inventory each week to at least keep their debtors away, if not keep their stomachs full.
It was a good set up, for awhile. But the further their mother spiraled into the bottle, the sloppier she got. She was drunk on the job one day, and she made a mistake. Just a small little mistake, but there was no room for error when working with such volatile substances. Bodie was across the street when he heard the explosion go off. His mother was injured, but mostly okay. Bruna barely made it, charred and ruined, losing an arm, a leg, and half her face. The merchant they dealt with permanently rescinded their deal, cutting off their income supply, and with his mother and sister unable to work, Bodie became the only one who could support his family at just twelve years old.
Years went on, and things didn't get better. There were long stretches where he couldn't make enough coin, where they were starving and it was his fault. There are only so many ways to make money when you're casteless, and none are particularly savory; begging, thieving, prostitution, street sweeping, cleaning out smoke vents, among other equally terrible jobs. Bodie was ashamed at some of the worse things he did to keep his family afloat, but he was decent at picking pockets and stealing, and he learned to embrace his more duplicitous talents for what they were: a way to keep his family from dying.
He was fifteen when he found the fighting pits, deep in Dust Town’s slums. A smoky dugout tucked out of sight, filled with people paying to watch casteless beat the shit out of each other, gambling on outcomes and cheering as duster blood spilled on the ground. It wasn't like the Provings. There was no higher honor attached. It was just violence for violence’s sake, dirty and brutal and vicious. Bodie found the place by accident, but he stayed after seeing how much the winner got paid, and he signed up as soon as he learned that the loser still got money depending on how much of a fight they put up—and assuming they lived, of course.
The first couple of times, he got beaten near half to death in the ring, severely inexperienced and outclassed. But he was nothing if not persevering, and he started training rigorously day in and day out, fixated on becoming better. He took pointers from some of the more weathered combatants, learning how to properly duel as well as how to fight dirty. Soon he wasn't doing half bad.
And then, he started getting really good.
People underestimated him. He was small, but also fast and sneaky, and he knew how to get in close. The crowd loved an underdog—they enjoyed when he won, and while they still loved to see him get beaten to a bloody pulp, that was happening less and less. What began as a desperate avenue for money became something Bodie actively enjoyed. There was something exhilarating about taking down another opponent, something amazing in knowing he could actually win.
Of course, there were still times when he couldn't compete, when he got too hurt to enter into another match and had to turn back to thieving and other disreputable tasks to make ends meet, but mostly he stayed in the thick of it. His mother still ended up drinking away most of his winnings, but they were no longer hanging by a thread. It was the biggest relief of his life, and Bodie fully intended to keep participating in the fighting pits until it either killed him or broke him completely.
However, someone had taken notice of him. One night there was a predatory smile watching him from amidst the cheering crowd, silent and evaluating. Bodie didn't notice, too busy punching out another guy’s teeth, but he was approached after the match by a tall, sleek looking dwarf. That was the night he met Dal Cavo, one of the most infamous Carta boogeymen in Dust Town.
Ma had a little sister, got murdered by the Carta, Bruna told him once, as casual as someone remarking on a piece of stonework. She picked at her nails, eyes flicking up at him warningly. They’re scum. She'd kill you if you ever joined them.
That night, bloodied from his fight and bruised by dark shadows, Bodie shook Cavo’s hand when it was offered. Let's talk privately, the other dwarf said.
And that predatory smile swallowed him up.
“You're good at this. You were worth the investment,” Cavo says to him one day, and Bodie beams with pride, happier than he's ever been.
No one has ever told him he was worth anything before, but Cavo takes him under his wing after he convinces him to join the Carta. Bodie already knows how to fight, how to sneak, how to build lyrium bombs—those things were why Cavo had sought him out in the first place, after all—but with Cavo’s tutelage he learns how to put those skills to good use. He learns finesse, he learns control. Cavo looks at him, and sees value. He doesn't know how he will ever repay him for that.
After a while, Cavo tells him, “You’re a useful asset, Bodie. You're like a son to me.”
And Bodie almost bursts into tears on the spot. A son? He fought so hard and so long for his parents’ attention, he can hardly believe Cavo would offer him something so precious for so little. Bodie knows he isn't Cavo’s only personal informant, but he’s determined to be his best one. He'll make sure he's worth every bit of faith Cavo puts into him, and more.
There's a day when Bodie hesitates when Cavo asks him to do something. He doesn't even remember what it was about anymore. Something violent, probably, something bloody. It doesn't matter. What he remembers is how Cavo’s eyes darken at his reluctance, how his voice drops low as he says, “Maybe you aren't serious about this, after all. Maybe I’ve put my trust in the wrong person. That’s unfortunate. I really thought you were better than this. Should I find someone to replace you?”
And Bodie scrambles over himself to say, no no no I'll do it I'm sorry, because he can't lose Cavo. He can't disappoint him. He shouldn't have hesitated, that was wrong of him. He makes sure never to do it again. Something bloody, something violent. He's red up to his elbows and he can't stop shaking, but everything is okay because Cavo claps a proud hand against his shoulder and smiles at him. Blood can be washed away, and shaking always stops. Bodie doesn't remember if he smiles back.
He makes other mistakes, too, sometimes. A hand twists in his hair, a knife at his throat. He learns that Cavo is calm and collected, right up until he's not.
“Why do you like making me angry?” he asks. “Why do you like making me do this?”
And Bodie doesn't know, he just knows that it's his own fault and that he's so sorry, so sorry. A dark little room, silent and empty with a door that locks tight. He doesn't want to go in there. There’s blood on his neck, burn marks on his skin. It’s so he won’t forget, so he won’t repeat the same mistake twice. He’s so lucky that Cavo forgives him. He's seen what happens to the people he doesn't.
“Without me, you'd still be brawling in the streets, scrounging for stray coins,” Cavo reminds him gently, hands resting on his shoulders. “There's nothing else you're good for but this. I'm the only one who really cares about you. Remember that.”
It's strange to think that just a few years ago, Bodie would never have thought he'd become part of the Carta. Now, he can't fathom anything else. He thinks about that night he first met Cavo, fresh off a fight in the middle of a crowded room.
Let's talk privately, Cavo had said. He remembers hesitating.
He doesn't remember why, anymore.
For all his mother hated the Carta, she didn't seem to mind taking the money he made working for them. Bodie was better paid and better fed than he'd ever been in his entire life, and so was his family. Bruna thought he was an idiot for joining the Carta, but he saved up some coin and bought her the best dwarven prosthetics money could buy, as a sort of peace offering; a new arm and leg for his big sister, to replace the ones she lost in the explosion all those years ago. When she tried them on for the first time, she hugged him so hard he thought his spine was going to break.
It left him smiling for a week.
He kept working under Cavo, spying and reporting on things both in and outside of the Carta. He knew that Cavo was looking to expand his influence, but Bodie was still taken by surprise when he was asked to relocate to the surface. Lyrium demand coupled with Orzammar’s food shortages meant there were ample business connections to be made topside, and Cavo wanted a direct line to them. Bodie had never even considered the possibility of leaving Orzammar before. Leave the Stone? Leave his family? Leave everything he had ever known? The very idea was terrifying, but he would never disobey an order from the Carta. He immediately started making preparations to travel to the surface.
You're gonna become a filthy little cloudgazer up there, aren't you? Aren't even gonna wanna come back underground, Bruna teased as he packed up to leave. He didn't know exactly how, but somewhere along the line she had become his friend as well as his sister. It made him even sadder to go.
Oh, don't look so worried, she said, punching him playfully. Her metal leg squeaked as she shifted to loop an arm around his neck.
You never know.
Maybe a little sunshine will do you some good.
Posted: Feb 8 2018, 03:17 PM
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