Magus Constantine Amos ex Flambeau
Description & Personality - His shoulder-length black hair curls and waves slightly, usually flopping over his soulful light hazel eyes. Bearing extremely soft cheekbones sloping to a sharp chin, Amos's face is just on the borderline between gaunt and waif-thin. Further, his skin seems tightened around a very thin collarbone and almost spindly arms which lead to a pair of very delicate and very scarred hands. Magus Constantine Amos looks up at everybody, even most women. His soft voice does not carry and even his steps are light, but they belie a world-weary tone - staring into his eyes you can almost feel the weight of the life he carries on your own back.
The small magus is a hypocrite. He constantly harps against Catholics and religion, but he observes Mass and all of the fasting days and periods. He can be found in a church or chapel five mornings out of the week before breakfast. Magus Constantine espouses self-sufficency and letting people "reap what they sow", but goes out of his way to help any injured animal or person. Amos provides anonymous gifts to the custos and covenfolk of items to ease their workloads, but refuses to admit they come from him. Based on the contradictions of his speech and his actions, it is hard to tell if he's truly pious, or pious out of habit and lifestyle rather than religious fervor. He craves human contact and a good leader to follow, but runs roughshod with his own ideas and refuses to let anybody touch him.
History - Magus Constantine Amos was born a bastard child of "Latin" (Catholic, usually Venetian) parents. Wrapped in a small grey blanket, his mother abandoned him unnamed on the steps of the Jesus Christ Pantocrator Monastery in Constantinople in 1190. Adopted by the monastery, he picked up the name "Nothos" from the doctors and nurses in the adjoining hospital whom he was always getting underfoot of. Nothos is Greek for bastard. Soon he was joining/learning the ways of the Chanter and Castor (carrier of incense) to assist during services and helping the nurses in the hospital. Unbeknownst to Father Gregorius, Deacon Demetrius had been influenced by a demon (Kasdeya) and fallen into his own carnal pleasures, molesting the boys and Nothos in particular. The "good" Deacon was on the path to succeed Father Gregorius and was quite a triumph for the demon Kasdeya. Deacon Demetrius began keeping the young bastard in the Solitarium - a small building off from the Stone Gardens where they placed dangerously contagious or violent patients and/or asylum residents that needed to be isolated. As Nothos became more withdrawn and uncomfortable around people, the Gift also began manifesting and soon he was blamed and whipped for all mishaps that occured around the monastery and hospital. Already bound to fast every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and several additional Orthodox observances, more and more on normal and feast days Nothos was beaten and sent to bed with a crust of bread and water for dinner. His punishment did not end there, since all he to look forward to was a nightly visit of "counseling". He got in the habit of falling limp and unresisting as soon as Demetrius's bigger, beefier hands rested on his body. His only days of comfort were when he managed to avoid everyone and spend his time in peaceful mediation/reflection while tending the stone gardens and plants.
It was on one of these days that he found the kestrel. The small bird lay in a daze after having flown into the surrounding wall and injured its left wing. Nothos bundled up the bird and took it within the Solitarium and began nursing the fowl back to health. At night, he moved the 'Trel into the crypts to hide the bird's discovery from Demetrius. Knowing very little about animal care at the time, Nothos received many scratches and gouges from the bird along his hands and forearms, and even lost most of his left ring finger after the first knuckle joint to the vicious, scything beak. He also couldn't figure out why the bird kept losing all of its feathers. However, after a few forays into the Monastery library for research (of which there was very little but just enough to piece together some knowledge) he learned to better guard against the bird's defences, picked up some leather gloves, and collected all of the feathers ofteh molt. The bird, of course, never warmed to Nothos but he received a certain measure of warmth and accomplishment when he finally brought the 'Trel back outside and threw it into the air to soar away to a freedom Nothos thought he would never achieve. The feathers he attached to his baby blanket to remind him of his accomplishment. Notho's time alone now included many daytime naps where he dreamed himself a kestrel flying high above the city and watching the denizens below. Although he found and nursed several other biting, mangy, vicious animals - mostly dogs, cats, and a seagull - back to health, it was always the kestrel that held onto his imagination.
And then came the Fourth Crusade. Instead of becoming the successor of the Monastery, Deacon Demetrius was drawn and quartered after having his finger and toes severed joint by joint. The truly Good Father Gregorious was lynched, the nurses were raped, the doctors were beaten to the death, the patients were burned in the Library, and the asylum inmates were used as target practice. For once, Nothos was left alone mainly due to his skin color ("Latin" lite brown instead of dark Grecian). The demon Kasdeya was overjoyed at the actions of the Crusade on the Pantocrator Monastery, disappointed at losing the influence Father Demetrius was going to gain, and absolutely appalled when Magus Marteau ex Flambeau stepped onto the grounds. After a brief battle, the demon Kasdeya was severely wounded but managed to escape the grounds before the Magus finished his banishment spell. Dismayed at how far astray the good intentions of the Crusade had gotten, Martreau stumbled across Nothos and recognized the Gift in him. Bundling up the boy and the blanket the boy refused to let go of, the Magus refused his share of "loot and pillage" and took the twice-orphaned child back to his Covenant in Gascony. On the boat ride home, a change came over the burly Flambeau. Magus Martreau had no inention to apprentice the child. After all, Nothos was sickenly frail and skinny, and lacking the attitude and demeanor of a Flambeau. He planned to turn him over to the Bonisagus or Jerbiton sodales of his at Spineus Roseus (The Thorns of the Rose Covenant), but Nothos listlessness and lack of will to survive after the sack of Constantine even pulled at Martreau's heart strings. To enliven the boy and give him a sense of the future, Magus Martreau began regaling the lad with stories of the Order and the Gift. Soon, Nothos began sharing his own stories, and after hearing Notho's tale the Magus realized the amount of mental will and power the boy utilized just to stay alive in Constantinople-of which the sacking had just completely depleted. Martreau offered to train and apprentice Nothos while in the port at Marseilles - instead of dismay at the boy's stature, he came to see Nothos' physical and social skills as the greatest challenge for him(Martreau) yet.
Flambeau training and apprenticeship being what it is, Nothos' tough times were just beginning. Although now in better climes and environes, the young child's appetite never grew. Combined with the physical extertions now thrust upon him by his parens, the lad's malnourishment had physically stunted his growth, and Nothos never grew taller than Martreau's armpits nor larger/wider than a pinkie, or so the magus felt. Also, being the good Catholic Christian he was, Martreau taught the relationship, or lack thereof, between the Church and the Order, and the Dominion power that backed the Church. After a while, the good living did help hone the poor boy's reflexes, and his sheer force of will pushed past any pain, damage, or tiredness Martreau tried to inflict on Nothos to find his (Nothos') limits. Even more, the lad found a certain suave and prowess with his casting - even when too tired to move his hands or too exhausted to do anything but breathe heavily, Nothos still managed to spark fires and magically boost his own recovery with greater and greater ease. Magus Martreau also discovered, during a camping training session, that the kestrel of Nothos' history and dreams was REALLY a magical kestrel whose feathers had imbued Nothos with better eyes and the ability to turn into one himself. Martreau helped convert the blanket into a cloak's detachable hood for Nothos and continued pushing the boy's boundaries. Unfortunately, Martreau was never able to get the lad over the mental scars of Father Demetrius's actions. As soon as the magus laid a hand on the boy, even as a fatherly pat on the shoulder or head, Nothos would immediately turn passive and unresisting. Martreau finally indoctrinated the boy to resist being touched and to flinch and move away from any human contact. Unfortunately, the very touch still acted as a complete distraction and demise of the boy's concentration and focus.
Nothos' Gauntlet was not as flamboyant as many of his Flambeau contemporaries. Knowing his issues with the Fourth Crusade, Magus Martreau took Nothos to Laon, a city in the Northern Province of France where large number of crusaders had come from. There, he identified a knight that had kept a reliquary from the Crusades and Nothos he had to bring it back to Spineus Roseus by the end of the season - two months. He then picked a fight with the knight on Nothos' behalf and left. Nothos was promptly beaten up and almost killed by the Knight and his friends. Unwilling to merely set the knights ablaze, Nothos proceeded to challenge the knight everyday for two week and was pummeled. A lot. It wasn't until the end that Nothos began paying attention to the knight and his household and saw some familiar signs and mannerisms from the knight that Nothos understood. Before him stood another person influenced by the Demon Kasdeya. The demon was no longer around, but his mark had been placed on the knight before him - Nothos realized his unwillingness to hurt another had actually caused more pain, probably to the servant page he had seen in the knight's household. Finally letting all of his rage at his life, at the actions of the Crusade, and at this man's perversion fill him, he knocked down the gates of the knight's manor, strode into the chapel, snatched the reliquary, and burned everything and everyone on the way out, save for the servants smart enough to run away. With a broken arm (from a shield bash of a guard before being set ablaze) and the reliquary clutched in the other, Nothos began to make the harried and long journey back to Gascony while avoiding the knight's lord and other vassals along the way. Having to cover around 900 kilometers, or a little over 500 miles, he began to slowly run and/or walk a marathon everyday. Including the week spent in a church in Lyon healing from a feverish infection from the broken arm and another week fending off bears in the forest of Arles after getting lost, Nothos stumbled back into Spineus Roseus with only an hour to spare before sunset of the final day. Reluctant to grant it, Martreau agreed that Nothos had met all the requirements he had demanded to the letter, if not the spirit, and taught him the final gestures of the Parma Magicka. The following night after his vigil, NOthos stood from being annoited by the Quaesitor and declared his new name. In the tradition of the Jerbitons, which another apprentice had told him about - he named himself Constantine in honor of his birth-city and in remembrance of the ill-fated Crusade, and Amos (which means "burden"), to represent the weight Notho's life would forever be on the newly affirmed Magus.