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Skulduggery Pleasant ([personal profile] skeletonenigma) wrote2012-05-15 08:40 am

Landel's Damned Application

This is an in-character journal for Skulduggery Pleasant, specifically for use at the Landel's Damned community.

Series: Skulduggery Pleasant
Series' Medium: Book Series (There are six books currently, with a seventh on the way.)

Character: Skulduggery Pleasant
Age: We're never given an exact age, but Skulduggery mentions once that he's 'over 400 years old.' Technically, he's dead, although we're not given the exact age he died, either. Characters in the Skulduggery Pleasant world tend to live longer than normal, so if he wasn't dead - and wasn't a walking, talking skeleton - he would look to be in his late 20's/early 30's. Landel's Institute would tell him he was 31 years old.
Sex/Gender: Male
Canon Role: Protagonist. And a supernatural skeleton detective.
"Real" Name: Erik MacAuley

The history section contains several spoilers, including one huge one for Death Bringer. Read at your own risk!

SPOILER ALERT, particularly for Death Bringer.

Please give us a personal history of your character's life and explain to us in detail how they grow and develop over the course of their canon:

It's never specifically mentioned exactly when Skulduggery was born, what his original name was, or how he spent his childhood. It's implied, in the first book, that he was born into a non-magical family and grew up more or less normally - or as normally as one can, if they're growing up in Ireland around the 1600's. But then he discovered magic, and that's where things start to get a little clearer.

There are two basic branches of magic sorcerers can study – they can become Elementals, and manipulate the four elements of earth, air, fire and water, or they can become Adepts, and gain the ability to master a greater variety of magical abilities. Elementals tend to be stronger overall, but Adepts could have dozens of magical tricks up their sleeve.

Skulduggery studied to become an Elemental. It was around this time that he met his good friend Ghastly Bespoke, another Elemental, who also taught him how to box. Ghastly's mother was cursed before he was born, so Ghastly's head is ridged with ugly scars that no magic has ever been able to get rid of. While the exact circumstances of their first meeting are never revealed, Skulduggery does say the story 'has pirates in it.' Skulduggery and Ghastly likely studied a lot of their magic together.

It was also around this time that Skulduggery fell in love, got married, and had a daughter. If this important part of his life sounds unnaturally vague, it's because very few details are given in canon. We don't even know what his wife's name was. We know that she must also have been a sorcerer, because magical families rarely keep the same last name and identify themselves, instead, by a crest, which Skulduggery has mentioned he used to have.

Mevolent was a sorcerer – an Elemental – who worshiped a nasty race of gods known as the Faceless Ones, thought to be a myth by most of the magical community. It was said that the Faceless Ones ruled the world eons ago, but were eventually beaten back and driven into another dimension by the very first sorcerers, also called the Ancients. Mevolent not only believed in the Faceless Ones, he also plotted to bring them back into our reality. Sorcerers who agreed with him joined his cause, and anyone who didn't join him found themselves standing up against him, Skulduggery included. This resulted in a long and brutal secret war lasting over three hundred years.

Skulduggery was one of the leaders of the resistance, and according to practically everyone who knew him back then, he was incredibly charismatic and had the ability to command loyalty with a few words. He, Ghastly, and a select few other people were part of a group they called the Dead Men, so named because of their tendency to come back alive from suicide missions. Skulduggery was easily one of the most powerful Elementals alive at the time.

That changed when Mevolent realized he was slowly losing the war, and ordered one last desperate strike against all the leaders of the resistance.

Nefarian Serpine, one of Mevolent's feared Three Generals, was the one to kill Skulduggery. He did so by springing a 'wickedly elaborate trap,' as Skulduggery would later describe it. A woman named China Sorrows led Skulduggery's family into the trap, and Serpine killed Skulduggery's wife and daughter right in front of him, blinding Skulduggery with such anger that he ignored his lethal command of the elements and reached for a nearby knife. But the knife's handle was barbed with poison, rendering Skulduggery completely helpless. Serpine spent the next few days torturing him, and then killed him by pointing with his red right hand. It was a power Serpine had acquired called 'agonizing death,' and it kills the victim with nothing more than intense pain and agony. Skulduggery died hating him.

Although he wouldn't discover why for another two centuries, Skulduggery was forced to stay and watch how his death impacted the war. Try as he might, he could not move on. The Necromancer who had taught Serpine the 'agonizing death' power made sure that should it ever be used against Skulduggery, Skulduggery's body and soul would remain forever bound together. So when Mevolent's men burned his body and stuck the head on a spike as a demoralizing warning to the resistance, Skulduggery saw that his own side began losing ground, and that infuriated him to the point where he managed to regain control of his body. By that point, it was a skeleton. Mevolent's men had stuffed his bones into a sack, and dumped the sack into a river. Skulduggery's consciousness attached itself to those bones. He managed to drag himself to shore and, quite literally, pull himself together. And so he became a living skeleton.

But when Skulduggery came back, the anger and hatred he felt towards Serpine came back with him, and they became part of his very existence. In his search for answers, he fell in with the Necromancer temples, where he very quickly found that he had a natural aptitude for the shadow and death magic they practiced. This was probably due in part to the fact that Skulduggery himself had died, but mostly it was because the rage that fueled it wasn't simply a feeling to Skulduggery - it was a large part of who he was now.

Skulduggery became so powerful with necromancy, in fact, that the anger and hatred and grief consumed him, and Skulduggery Pleasant became Lord Vile. While the Necromancers believed that Lord Vile was their Death Bringer - a sort of messiah who was supposed to break down the walls between life and death - Lord Vile quickly betrayed them, becoming the third and most feared of Mevolent's Three Generals.

For five years, the powerful Necromancer Lord Vile would decimate entire armies without a second thought. He killed Ghastly's mother, a kickboxing champion who had taken on the other two Generals at the same time and won. Skulduggery admitted later that he even hoped the Faceless Ones would return, just so he could test his power on them and have another race to destroy when he was done with humanity. While this may have been overly arrogant, many people were of the opinion that if anyone could kill a Faceless One, it was Lord Vile. His necromancy power, which he placed into a set of medieval armor he wore, was so terrifying that no one stood against him. Ghastly said later that when it came to Lord Vile, you only faced him with an army at your back, and hoped that someone got in a lucky shot.

After killing thousands, Lord Vile vanished, and Skulduggery Pleasant was back once more. He hid the powerful armor, buried all his newfound talent in necromancy, and vowed to atone for all his wrong-doing. He abandoned his family crest, feeling that he had lost all right to claim it. To use the words of China Sorrows, who had renounced her worship of the Faceless Ones by that time, Skulduggery disappeared for five years and returned a different man. All the anger was still there, but there was also a realization. He had decided not to let the rage consume him, and instead to fight it.

It was publicly decided that Lord Vile had died. Only a handful of people know that Lord Vile and Skulduggery Pleasant were one and the same, and almost all of them are the necromancers he sought answers from. With the war coming to an end, Skulduggery defeated the second of Mevolent's Three Generals – Baron Vengeous – by throwing lit dynamite at him, and the Baron was thrown in prison. But Skulduggery never lost his thirst for revenge, and when he finally had the opportunity to kill Serpine – about seventy years before the beginning of the first book – a treaty called the Truce, struck between the self-governing magical bodies called Sanctuaries and all Mevolent's old followers, was put into practice. Skulduggery's greatest enemy became a protected citizen.

China Sorrows became, to use her own term, 'neutral,' and began collecting rare magical artifacts and books. Ghastly followed in his father's footsteps and became a tailor. With nothing else to do, and with the realization that evil still rampaged in the shadows and he was in the position to do a lot of good, Skulduggery became a detective. He worked mostly for the Irish Council of Elders - the head of the Irish Sanctuary - three powerful sorcerers who had earned Skulduggery's respect.

As a living skeleton, Skulduggery has no idea if anything can truly kill him anymore. He can still feel pain, still lose limbs, still fall unconscious. However, he has lost his head before, and still had control of the body left behind. Skulduggery believes he can be killed, but he has no idea how it would work.

It was as a detective working a case in New York City that Skulduggery first met Gordon Edgely, a man who had grown up on stories of magic and was delighted to learn that the secret world in the stories was real. He and Skulduggery became fast friends, with Gordon staying on the sidelines and writing bestselling books based on many of Skulduggery's cases.

When the first book begins, Gordon had managed to get his hands on a weapon called the Scepter of the Ancients. Legends said that the weapon was the only thing in existence that could kill a god, and had been used by the Ancients to drive the Faceless Ones out of their reality all those years ago. Gordon knew possessing such an object was dangerous, but he made absolutely sure no one else would ever be able to get their hands on it. Not long after, Serpine killed Gordon in his search for the legendary weapon.

While even many sorcerers believed that Gordon had simply suffered a heart attack, Skulduggery deduced the truth. While investigating his friend's murder, Skulduggery ended up accidentally joining forces with Gordon Edgely's twelve-year-old niece, Stephanie Edgely, when he saved her life one night. Together with Ghastly and an English girl named Tanith Low, they managed to convince the Sanctuary that Serpine had broken the Truce by killing Gordon, and that the Scepter of the Ancients was a real threat. During the course of the investigation, Ghastly had the use the earth power to defend himself, which meant that he had to turn himself into a statue. It's the most unpredictable Elemental power, and although Ghastly wasn't dead, he was stuck as a statue for an unspecified amount of time that could have been anywhere up to a hundred years.

Serpine also killed the Council of Elders using the Scepter, in order to get his hands on a magical artifact they were protecting called the Book of Names. Names are power, and with the entire population's real, hidden names at his disposal, Serpine could control anyone he wanted.
When Skulduggery, Stephanie, and Tanith tried to stop him, Tanith and then Stephanie were almost killed. When Serpine began using his agonizing death power on Stephanie, Skulduggery grabbed the Scepter and managed to kill him with it. Using the weapon on him destroyed the black crystal housed in the Sceptre in the process.

By the end of the first book, Stephanie Edgely and Skulduggery Pleasant became partners. It turned out that Stephanie was capable of doing magic, as a result of the Ancient blood passed down in her family, so Skulduggery took her under his wing and became her mentor. I believe she may have reminded him of his own daughter, but that's pure speculation - when Stephanie speficially asks him about it, Skulduggery avoids the question with a joke.

Stephanie, who had now changed her name to Valkyrie Cain, had been studying Elemental magic and solving cases with Skulduggery for almost a year when the second book starts, and Baron Vengeous escapes from prison. The Baron planned to use Lord Vile's armor to resurrect a monster called the Grotesquery, literally the remains of a Faceless One, and use it to call the rest of the Faceless Ones back into this reality. Skulduggery, Valkyrie, Tanith, China, and a man named Mr. Bliss worked to stop him, saving the world just in the nick of time. Baron Vengeous was killed. Skulduggery, however, had worked out during the investigation that there was a spy in the Irish Sanctuary, and accused the new Grand Mage – Thurid Guild – of treason. Furious, Guild fired the skeleton detective once the Grotesquery and Baron Vengeous were dead.

The third book begins another year later, when the murder of four Teleporters – sorcerers who could disappear and appear anywhere – caught Skulduggery's attention. When he and Valkyrie investigated, it turned out the murders were part of an insidious plot by a mysterious man named Batu to build on what Baron Vengeous started, and to use the dead Grotesquery to open a gateway and invite the Faceless Ones to return. The Grotesquery, since it was the remains of a Faceless One, was acting as an anchor to keep the gateway slightly open at all times. All Batu needed was a Teleporter to open the gate, but since alternatively only a Teleporter could close it for good, he made sure that the only Teleporter left alive was an inexperienced seventeen-year-old boy named Fletcher Renn. He could use Fletcher to open the gate, but Fletcher wouldn't know how to close it.

Skulduggery, Valkyrie, and Tanith did their best to protect Fletcher, a feat made easier when Ghastly's time as a statue came to an unexpected end and he joined them. But the Diablerie, founded by China during the war and now led by Batu, managed to subdue and capture Thurid Guild. They demanded a trade – Guild for Fletcher – and despite Skulduggery's best efforts to get them both to safety, the Diablerie managed to get their hands on Fletcher. Tanith noted that it was the first time she had ever seen Skulduggery slump in defeat, although he straightened up a moment later with the same positive attitude as always.

The gateway would open in a place called Aranmore Farm, and that's where they went. The battle against the Diablerie and Batu was pitched and desperate, but in the end, the gateway was opened, and three Faceless Ones came through before the Diablerie let Fletcher go. Skulduggery and Valkyrie came prepared, however; before the battle, they'd repaired the Scepter of the Ancients by replacing the black crystal that powered it, a black crystal only Valkyrie could touch without being reduced to dust because of the Ancient blood in her veins. Valkyrie killed one of the three Faceless Ones with the Scepter, and the second Faceless One sacrificed itself to destroy the Scepter for good.

With Valkyrie and Fletcher's help, Skulduggery hatched a plan to deal with the last one. Fletcher opened the portal one last time, and when they tricked the Faceless One into its gravitational pull, Skulduggery used his command of air to hurl the Grotesquery's body in after it and sever the link forever.

However, as the gateway closed up, one of the Faceless One's tentacles shot through and wrapped itself around Skulduggery's ankle. Before anyone could do anything, Skulduggery was yanked back and into the portal, into the dimension populated solely by dark gods, and the gateway closed for good. Without the Grotesquery's body on the other side, there was no way to open it again. Skulduggery was gone.

This is the point I'm taking him from for Landel's.

Please give us a detailed description of your character's personality:

Skulduggery is, to put it in a nutshell, an enigma. The rage he felt towards Serpine when he died was the main reason he managed to regain control of his body when he was brought back, and that rage is inextricably linked to who he is now. China pointed out in the first book that for most people, rage as strong as Skulduggery's would burn out very quickly, or else burn them up from the inside. Skulduggery feels that rage all the time, but he's learned to bury it deep and cover it with other emotions.

The thing is, most people who meet Skulduggery at first have a hard time believing he's even capable of anger. Skulduggery has a very positive attitude towards most things in life, and he loves to make jokes. His dry, classy sense of humor is one of the things that first draws Valkyrie to him. When he's not making jokes, Skulduggery has a very polite and sophisticated way of speaking, often using 'big words' that Valkyrie doesn't understand. This is likely a side effect of living through four different centuries, which has also honed his detecting skills, if not his ability to plan ahead.

While Skulduggery does see the humor value of a supernatural skeleton detective, he takes his job very seriously most of the time. He insists on using the language of an old-fashioned private eye - 'clues,' 'hunches,' etc. - and even dresses the part. He introduces himself as a detective before he'll even admit the living skeleton part. While he never forgets that he is a skeleton, he does occasionally forget that some people might find it difficult to swallow.

Becoming a living skeleton has not killed Skulduggery's sense of fashion. His good friend Ghastly Bespoke works as a tailor, and so Skulduggery only wears the best suits. Although he often has to cover up completely in public – usually with scarves, hats, sunglasses, and outrageous wigs – Valkyrie can't help but think of him as a gentleman from the moment she first hears him speak. And as mentioned before, Skulduggery had a talent during the war for inspiring loyalty and motivating speeches, getting people to step up and fight, though he's seemed to have lost the ability since becoming a detective.

Perhaps the most obvious aspect of Skulduggery's personality is how impressed with himself he is. He loves showing off his abilities to Valkyrie, and gets genuinely puzzled when people don't seem to like him right off the bat. He takes pleasure in his own wisecracks, exalts his own plans to high heaven, and frequently comments on his own 'natural grace and athleticism.' He does have good reason to brag – not only does he have an impeccable sense of balance, but he also has a very sharp mind that doesn't miss much. He's suave, charming, witty, and pleasantly enthusiastic about many of his undertakings.

On a darker note, Skulduggery is very aware of the kind of anger he's capable of, and what it can make him do. He's described his nature to Valkyrie as a 'dark and twisted thing.' But it's also made him painfully sensitive to the losses of others, and although he accepts death as a necessary part of his work, he'll do everything in his power to avoid it. That isn't to say he won't break rules, though. Skulduggery is not above the occasional bout of crime, trespassing, or otherwise illegal activity – all for the greater good, of course. He admits that he'll go exceedingly far to solve a crime. His judgement, which is usually detatched, neutral, and fair, seems to fade whenever something or someone makes him angry. He was willing to go up against two vampires and break into a highly sacred vault - the highly sacred vault of his best friend, no less - just for the chance at some information that might lead him to Serpine.

In the magical community, Skulduggery is not well-liked and not well-trusted, partly because he tends to politely insult anyone he doesn't like, and there are a lot of people Skulduggery doesn't like. But he also doesn't keep it secret that he did terrible things during the war, things that he's trying to make up for. Apart from that, many sorcerers won't trust someone whose face they can't see, and whose motivations they can't predict. This doesn't seem to be a big problem for Skulduggery, though. Most sorcerers in Ireland respect him as a detective and an Elemental, and many people will bypass the Sanctuary and go directly to him for help. They know that when you have a real problem, Skulduggery is precisely the kind of person you want on your side.

Please give us a physical description of your character:

In Canon:

Skulduggery is a living skeleton. That's pretty easy to picture. Even when he's all bundled up in his tan overcoat, hat, scarf, sunglasses and wig, it's hard to miss his tall and skinny frame. The jaw part of his skull moves up and down when he talks. He doesn't get hungry, thirsty, or tired. He does, however, feel pain, which makes losing his limbs interesting. He speaks with an Irish accent, and has a 'velvety-smooth' voice that Valkyrie could listen to for hours.

Apart from the tone of his voice, there is no way to tell how Skulduggery is feeling. Valkyrie learns over the years to watch for the way he tilts his head, but she's one of the few people who can make a reasonable guess. As a skeleton, Skulduggery is unnaturally still, making his thoughts and motivations hard if not impossible to predict. His superior reflexes, however, make him a formidable opponent in battle.

On an interesting note, the skull Skulduggery is currently wearing isn't really his own. A group of goblins stole his own skull right off his spinal column while he was meditating one night, and Skulduggery won the one he's wearing now in a poker game. Before meeting Valkyrie, he tried to track down his original skull, but didn't get very far before more important things sprang up.

At Landel's:

Skulduggery will be perfectly human, of course, with a face at least somewhat similar to what he looked like before he died. The only description we've gotten about his appearance back then was that he had high cheekbones, a square jaw, and a face that 'wasn't too back to look at,' so I have to speculate for the rest. He'll remain tall (about 6'4") and ridiculously thin, probably very bony. He'll have dark brown hair, green eyes, the aforementioned high cheekbones and square jaw, plus the Irish accent.

Because Skulduggery's so used to expressing himself only with his voice, his face will remain blank most of the time while he's talking. He'll have limited control over his facial features at first - smiling when he doesn't mean to, his eyes watering because he forgets to blink, that kind of thing.

Also, because of the added weight of flesh, his fighting style will take a while to compensate. He'll be a little clumsier and slower than usual, and experience weird little aches and pains that he isn't used to.

What kinds of otherworldly abilities does your character have, if any?:

Skulduggery is an Elemental, a sorcerer with command over the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water. The earth power is purely defensive and purely for use as a last resort. It uses the earth to turn the sorcerer into a statue, making them impervious to harm, but the time that they remain a statue is impossible to determine and could be as long as a century. Until the point I'm taking him from, Skulduggery has never used the earth power. The fire power lets Skulduggery conjure flames in his hands, which he can then turn into fireballs and hurl at enemies. The water power lets him manipulate water that already exists, so he can dry himself instantly, condense the moisture in air and make it rain, or even walk over the surface of lakes and the ocean. The air power, which Skulduggery considers his strongest, lets him do several things. He can displace the air in gusts strong enough to leave holes in brick walls, send enemies hurtling back, carry objects to his hand or propel himself upwards. He can also sense the air around him to find out who has disturbed the area recently, or if someone is following him. These powers expand throughout the series (by the end of his year trapped in the Faceless Ones' dimension, Skulduggery has taught himself to fly), but those new abilities are unknown to him at the time I'm taking him from.

While Skulduggery is an incredibly powerful Elemental, he's actually just as powerful – if not more so – with necromancy, or death magic. The physical manifestation of this magic is usually with shadows, cast forth from an object the sorcerer has on them at all times. Skulduggery, however, hasn't used his necromancy power in over a century, and he never plans to again.

If present, how do you plan to tweak these powers to make your character appropriately hindered in the setting of Landel's?:

The earth power, clearly, will be impossible, as will necromancy (not that Skulduggery would even try.) I'd also like to do away with the water power completely, since that would be too hard to limit and I doubt it would become too much of an issue anyway.

With fire, Skulduggery will experience fatigue. He'll be able to conjure a flame, but he won't be able to grow it bigger than a candle flame, and for every second the flame exists his energy will sap until he doesn't have the strength to hold it anymore. That would happen after about twenty or thirty seconds each night, and once Skulduggery realizes this, he'll be very careful about conserving it. He won't be able to throw the flame from his hand, but he could hold it against a sheet or candle wick and set it on fire.

With air, instead of a time limit, Skulduggery would only be able to displace the air once in a given night, and it would only be strong enough to make someone stumble back – like a strong breeze. It would be enough to give him a temporary advantage in a fight, for example, but not to hurt anyone. Sensing the air around him will not work outside the room he's in, and even then, it won't be very reliable or very strong.

Does your character have any non-otherworldly abilities/training that surpass the norm?:

Skulduggery is a precise marksman. Although the canon hasn't gone into specifics, it's pretty clear that every shot from his revolver hits exactly where he wants it to hit. Without his gun and without his magic, Skulduggery is still a pretty formidable opponent; being over four hundred years old has taught him several fighting styles, which he seems to mix and match at his convenience, while his balance and speed usually keep him away from counterattacks. Of course, suddenly being human again will have a significant impact on how he fights, and it will take a him a while to get used to the added weight of flesh.

As a side note, Skulduggery is also unusually observant, and very good at picking locks.

This next part is pure speculation, but if Skulduggery is over four hundred years old, he's probably better than usual at several period-specific things that wouldn't have any bearing in Landel's, such as archery and horse-back riding and maybe even ballroom dancing.

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