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Stéphane Proulx

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Stéphane Proulx

Post  Keiju on Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:55 am

Name Stéphane Proulx
Nationality French
Age Twenty-seven
Appearance At an even six feet tall, Stéphane is of above average height. He is strongly built, with the deep chest and powerful arms of a seasoned seaman, yet he carries himself almost stiffly. His fair hair is worn in a long plait, in the usual fashion. Stéphane's clothes are worn and grubby, as he does not own anything new or fresh. His blue striped trousers in particular are heavily patched. A red wool stocking cap is the one staple of his daily attire, whatever the weather.
Personality traits Were it not for the inscription maritime, Stéphane would still be happily working off his uncle's fishing boat. A brief spell in the Navy was interrupted by the chaos of Oporto. He has always resented the indignity of forced military service and his recent conscription into the Army has only strengthened this feeling. He considers that he owes the Army and the Emperor nothing and does not often pass up an opportunity to make his feelings known.

As a boy, he lived through the revolts in the Vendée and the harsh response from Republican forces. Being a native of that region, Stéphane has held onto the sentiments which sparked off those troubles. He has no love for what France has become and wishes only to get away from the Army, for to him it is as evil a thing as Bonaparte's empire. A man obliged by law to serve under arms is not a free man, in Stéphane's opinion, and until a year ago, he had quite happily been a free man.

Who is authorised to play them Just me.

Additional information edited in by player
Strengths and Weaknesses:

Strengths
- Despite his making a show to the contrary, Stéphane is a capable sailor. Or, as the case now is, he has the potential to be a capable soldier.
- His sense of right and wrong is very clear and he is not shy about making objections when he feels a wrong has been committed.
- He does not lack courage, in any form.

Weaknesses
- Stéphane has a problem with authority and is perhaps overly suspicious of those who are in positions of authority.
- He is a little too outspoken for his own good and tends toward insubordination more often than not.
- Without a doubt, Stéphane holds grudges. It does not take much for him to dislike someone and, once established, enmity is something he holds onto with nearly-unhealthy tenacity.

History:

His early years in a riverside village were happy enough. Stéphane was the second of three sons and the third of five children. The river was his favourite place, even before he could walk, and his father would often take the boys for short cruises on his small cutter. It was a foregone conclusion that the Proulx boys would be men of the sea in some fashion, once they were old enough to begin such lives.

Stéphane's elder brother went away to sea as soon as he could, joining a merchant ship at the awkward age of twelve and almost at once departing for a long voyage to India. Though Stéphane himself was only eight, he could understand the significance of what 'going away to sea' meant. It meant being away from home for a very long time, but it also meant a very happy return. He was too young to understand that often sailors did not return and his parents did not disabuse him of that belief.

Trouble came to Stéphane's world when he was eleven. His father had been frequently absent since Stéphane's tenth birthday and, increasingly, old Christophe was away from home. He often left after nightfall and did not return until the morning or, in some instances, the following night. These absences were baffling to Stéphane and his siblings but their mother would only say that their father was away on business. Then, one day, Christophe failed to come home. He and many of the village's men had gone away to Pont-Charrault. News of their actions took some days to filter back but it was cause for celebration.

It was the beginning of what would soon prove to be a very rough time. Stéphane did not understand the how or why of the situation, but his mother told him that the government was against them and men like his father had to fight back, and that was enough for the boy. He had complete confidence that his father, whom he had never seen fail in anything, could help the rebels achieve victory. That confidence was shaken when smoke began rising in steady pillars farther up the river and terrified villagers fled through La Réorthe, spreading panic with their news. The boy's faith in his father and the rebels was shattered when a column of soldiers were seen marching toward the village, their faces and uniforms grimed with smoke and blood.

The events of that night were seared into Stéphane's memory. He and his youngest sister were able, with their mother's frantic help, to hide in a small root cellar near their cottage. She told them to stay hidden no matter what, then she disappeared to find Stéphane's brother. Obeying her instructions was very hard but the two children remained where they were, fortunately too scared to move. It was many hours before there was silence above them, but neither of them dared come out of their little hiding place. Surely their mother would tell them when it was safe.

Another villager found them late the next day, largely by chance. There was nothing left of the cottage or indeed any other notable building in the village. Smoke drifted lazily up from the ruins of almost every structure. The villager was quick to shepherd Stéphane and his sister away from the remains of their cottage. That evening, the surviving adult inhabitants went about the work of burying the dead. Despite barely being able to lift a shovel, Stéphane helped. The following days were a blur to him, with the unexpected return of his father proving the only memorable point.

The reunion was brief, for their father had them sent away to L'Aiguillon-sur-Mer to live with an uncle. Neither child had ever met this uncle but they had no choice. There was nothing left in La Réorthe for them. This would prove more deeply true when their father was killed in battle. The pair were destined to remain in the seaside town, with Stéphane eventually joining his uncle's fishing crew. The work helped strengthen the boy, both in mind and in body. He proved to be a fast-learner and was soon holding his own against the adult fishermen, much to his uncle's pleasure. Fishing quickly became the mainstay of Stéphane's life and he looked forward to going out to sea, whatever the weather or conditions.

On his eighteenth birthday, Stéphane was taken by his uncle and cousin to register for the inscription maritime, as all seagoing men of that age were required. Despite his fears, Stéphane was not called up for naval service and he was happy to go back to fishing. Happily, his older brother found them, having at last made it back from his journey to India. Louis elected to give up the sea and settled ashore as a carpenter, much to their sister's relief. For his part, Stéphane was happy to spend the following years gradually taking on more responsibility for the fishing boat, until suddenly receiving a summons to report for naval service. He had been conscripted and was required to present himself for service, or be branded as a deserter. It was with great reluctance, and considerable urging from his aunt and uncle, that Stéphane did as he had been ordered.

He briefly served in a harbour guard boat before being sent to a sloop, and thence to a corvette. It was with this latter ship that he was present at Oporto. An opportunity to desert presented itself and he seized it, but his freedom was shortlived. A squad of soldiers spotted him in the streets and were quick to snatch him up as a recruit, despite his protests of being a seaman. Since then, Stéphane has found life in the Line very difficult - not that he has made much effort to adjust.
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