Ink as blood
The only authority I respect is the one that causes butterflies to fly south in fall and north in springtime."
The door slammed shut with an ominously rickety bang behind Reykavik as he entered the printing shop, and he made a mental note for the thousandth time to call the repairman. Stamping the snow from his boots and brushing it from the shoulders of his heavy fur cloak, he briefly surveyed the condition of his workshop with wordless dismay. Stacks of papers had been scattered across the floor, and entire drawers of wood block letters had been pulled out and overturned. Bottles of ink lay scattered everywhere, most leaking or smashed entirely.That's the third time this month,
Rey growled at last, shaking the last dust of snow from his coat before hanging it on a peg by the door and striding across the room to his printing press. Running his hands tenderly over the wood, he muttered, You'd think they'd have learned. They'll only ever find any of my writings if I want them to. And perhaps a time will come for that. But not yet.
He stepped back with a relieved sigh. At least they didn't hurt my press. Small blessings...
As he crossed the room to the desk in the corner of the shop, Reykavik stooped to pick a sheaf of papers from the dusty floor. He shuffled through them as he sank into a chair. Drafts, notes, letters... nothing of importance. I wonder if they even bothered to take anything with them this time.
He set the papers aside and simply sat for a moment, lost in thought. I had my time in the shadows, I suppose. For four years I published my writings without so much as a glance from the Fifth Department, in broad daylight. It shouldn't be any sort of surprise that they've come knocking now.
He chuckled aloud. On second thought, I rather doubt they bothered to knock.
Reykavik propped his foot up on a nearby stool and bent over his knee to reach his ankle, tugging up the leg of his breeches and then pushing down one sock to reach his bare leg. Like the rest of his body, the skin of his leg was a mottled patchwork of cloth, comprised of randomly sized and shaped bits of cloth and crossed and recrossed with stitches. From the top of his ankle to the bend of his knee there ran a narrow silver zipper, barely noticeable if it weren't for the glint of metal in the waning light from the windows. Slowly he opened the zipper, revealing a much less carefully sewn pocket in his leg, which held a leather pouch. With a grunt he pulled it out– it always felt strange, sort of ticklish, whenever he used the pouch. All I am is stuffing, stitches, and a wooden frame,
he thought bemusedly, tugging at the drawstring of the pouch, But somehow there's still some feeling in this body. I still wonder sometimes how I was put together and given life, but after thirty years of wondering without a sign of an answer, it's hard to bother thinking about it anymore.
Reykavik looked over the room one last time before turning his back on the scene and bending over his desk.
From the leather pouch he drew a tight roll of parchment, a quill, and a small, half-empty bottle of ink. What a waste. But I have a deadline tomorrow... I'll have to clean it up another time. Perhaps if I wait, they'll ransack once more and I'll only have to reorganize once.
Taking a match from the desk drawer, he struck it and held it to the wick of the single candle on the table. The little light left outside had become blue and cold, and the dark sky looked sour and foreboding. It'll be rain tomorrow,
Rey said aloud to no one. I have to deliver this piece no matter what happens. I suppose I'll have to spend the entire afternoon in front of the fireplace drying off.
He dipped the nib of the pen in the ink, smoothed the parchment onto the table, and began where he had left off.
Pushing his way through the crowded streets of Moscow was as difficult for Reykavik that day as any. The unfortunate mingling of tantalizing and repellent scents made the air heavy with sensory offerings, and people of all sizes, shapes, and colors shoved and pushed and beat their way through the throng that occupied the streets. Reykavik shuffled along with the others, treading gingerly on the mud-stained and uneven boards that lined the streets of the city which, to the dismay of any force of practicality, was constructed almost entirely of wood.
REVOLUTION CHARACTER PROFILE
Name: Reykavik Vasilyev
DOB: December 18, 1679
Weight: 218 lbs
Eyes: Yellow, pupil-less
Role:Journalist, messenger, smuggler
Reykavik's most obvious talent is his ability to write, especially literature that will spark emotion and stir its readers to action; that is to say, exactly the sort of literature needed in a revolutionary movement. Reykavik is also made of patchwork and is able to unsew and resew his limbs in order to store messages inside where they cannot be found during any search.
Reykavik has been a writer his entire life, and is currently a self-published journalist working out of his own small press shop in the heart of Moscow.
: All Reykavik really wants is positive change. Anything that will move his country away from bureaucracy and despotism is a movement that he can stand behind. As an intellectual he wants to be respected and recognized rather than branded as a troublemaker or an outsider by the crass culture instated by an outdated monarchy.
Rekyavik is a tall and gangly creature who is certainly not human but certainly not animal either. His skin is made up of dull, mottled patchwork scraps expertly stitched together, and he stands several feet taller than the average man due to his extremely long neck which gives him an air of alien superiority and allows him to look over crowds, a greatly prized asset in a bustling city such as 15th century Moscow. His head is reminiscent of a lizard or dinousaur, but equally patched and pliable as the rest of his body. His counterweight to this neck is an equally long tail, perhaps a less convenient feature in the same setting. For clothing he wears an ink-spattered suit, clearly the only one in his possession, whose white portions have turned a dirty grey from woodsmoke and inky fingerprints. Upon his hands are equally dull and dirty gloves, and on his head he wears a peculiar feathered headdress with a stone band and blue inlay of cracked gems, most likely the only valuables in his possession. Upon his reptilian nose are perched a pair of round spectacles through which he peers at the world in cynical and withdrawn observation. Overall, Reykavik is an impressive and intriguing character physically. His appearance does not allow him much dexterity or anonymity, but he has managed to make this work to his advantage.
Personality and Demeanor:
Rekyavik is generally quite reticent and soft spoken. He does not mince or waste his words, and his conversations are generally filled with long periods of silence as he works out exactly the best way to say what he wishes to express. He is the type of person who would passively and serenely accept any official command, and confidently do the opposite as soon as the official's back was turned if he felt that such an action was necessary. He does not do anything he does not mean to. At times, Reykavik's philosophical musings, long silences, and generally fatalistic outlook on life can prove to weigh too much on those around him. His quiet seriousness is never broken, and this causes him to often be reclusive and uninterested in entertainment or frivolous activity, at the unfortunate cost of companionship.
Reykavik is... well, perhaps "happy" is not the right word, but perfectly content to get to know whomever approaches him, with the exception of those who are clearly supporters of the government against which he wages his silent war. Perhaps it is his personality or perhaps it is his appearance, but over the years none have been able to grow particularly close to him. Most of his interaction with the world is done through his writing, which is very much unlike the image of himself he shows to the world; burning, inspired, and full of hope and drive for change. He feels that his inner self is expressed well enough with his words, and so he touches the masses with a vastly different version of himself than he shows to his personal acquaintances.
Reykavik was born in the deep Russian winter in 1658, and was eighteen years old at the death of Tsar Alexis which transferred an unstable balance of power to Alexis's sickly and weak son Fedor. He was 24 years old during the military Streltsy uprising of 1682 marking Fedor's death that transferred power from the Naryshkin family to the Miloslavsky family, effectively placing the ambitious regent Sophia Alekseyevna on the throne. Reykavik has strong memories of the terror that stirred the nascent immigrant town just outside of Moscow in which his Icelandic family was settled, and his image of the people rising to supreme power and making irrefutable demands of those supposedly holding sway over them has been an image that has never left his mind during the development of his life. At a young age Reykavik explored Moscow often and well, learning all of the streets and alleys and dreaming of the day a Russian-born boy from a foreign family such as his would be welcome in the city. He found this dream come true in the personage of Artamon Matveev, one of Alexis's close advisors and a friend to intellectuals and foreigners alike. Peter would often listen in on meetings between Matveev and foreign ambassadors, too small and unimportant to be of much notice to anyone that might shoo him away. Upon the rise of Sophia, however, Matveev was killed by the Streltsy and Sophia's reign riled up aggressive feelings toward foreigners such as Reykavik and his family which greatly restricted his freedom and acceptance inside of the city. Rightly aggrieved at this prejudice Reykavik took up the pen, handwriting pamphlets that he tucked away in shops and dropped on streets around the city. Soon he was writing for small independent presses, expressing with eloquent disgust the inefficiency and backwardness of the Miloslavsky regime, and demanding reform, a democracy, or lacking that at least a progressive tsardom with Alexis's strong and promising young son Peter at its head.
From here it was only a small jump to his own humble printing press. However, jumps can land in nasty puddles, and his writings were quick to attract the attention of Sofia's Streltsy loyalists, who began to raid his shop, confiscating what writings they could find that Reykavik had not hidden under his stitches. This is where Reykavik is at the beginning of his story, terrorized by the Streltsy daily but determined to continue on and inspire the revolution and reform that he believes Moscow--and Russia--so desperately need.
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