In the depths of winter an infant is left on the steps of the Santissima Annunziata Maggiore. It is swaddled tight in a basket, cheeks pink from the cold. It does not cry. Its eyes are open and unblinking. On top of it lays a heavy crucifix, and pinned beneath there is a note. It reads: This is not my baby.
Esper’s appearance is often fluid according to whim, mood, and surroundings. She changes her hair colour and style frequently but has no tattoos. Naturally she’s dark-haired and hazel eyed, slim, and average tall. Her eyes are large and hooded. Sometimes her expression is a thousand miles away and other times she’s unnervingly intense. She’s naturally morose at first glance, but there is something slyly mischievous beneath the surface. As a result she is often misjudged. Admittedly she enjoys taking people’s perceptions by surprise, for she likes attention and is not shy. Her age is indeterminate but young, probably seventeen or eighteen, though often she dresses up older. Her humour is sarcastic and morbid but she’s rarely unkind. She thrives on emotion of any kind, but has her favourites, in part dependant on who the emotion stems from.
Esper knows little about where she came from, and has never exhibited much curiosity for answers. She was around eight when she attached herself to the roaming Vas family and their carnival, and has spent the last decade with them. They have travelled the world, but for the last five years have been anchored in Moscow by the river. Esper has spent the time exploring, and is entrenched in Undercity life via the influence of Ekeziel, a relative of the Vas family.
Esper is a natural performer, drawn especially by the emotional arts. She loves music, dance, and theatre, though has no ability in the first, just obsessive appreciation. She’s a talented dancer and actress, though has no formal training beyond the carnival’s teachings. On the stage she craves the adoration and awe of the audience, particularly the sort that comes from a perception of skill. Invoking strong emotion is an addictive feeling. As such she never uses the push on the crowds, but sometimes uses it to coax other performers into a heightened state. Sometimes it transcends acting. Other times it gets her into trouble, encouraging things too far.
She learned the cards from Renáta too, proving adept at reading people by the tells of the emotions, and content to spin stories the more rapt the attention grows.
She doesn’t use the push on family, and certainly never in personal situations. It is an aid for performance or the con. At times she uses her gifts for Ezekiel’s machinations, and also to heighten the fear response of participants in Rubik Rooms.
The Aberrated Soul
Esper’s thread is an aberration in the design of the Pattern; a mistake it continually tries to right. She is the quintessential changeling child; a Finn soul in the vessel of a human body. In this Age she thrives on emotions, drawn to them in others, and able to push and control with a high level of nuance and control.
The purest emotion to feel is not pushed, and thus the sensation she much prefers, especially in those she cares about. But she perceives a difference between marks and family, and will certainly use her ability to her advantage. She’s drawn to mass gatherings, especially for a common purpose, where the emotion is heightened. She enjoys nightclubs and has been sneaking in longer than she’s been of age, but also visits places of worship. Music is a great lure.
In using her abilities she makes a distinction between performance and leisure. On stage anything goes, but in her own time she prefers that most keep their hands to themselves. Sometimes when she and Roza are out dancing she pushes subtly around them; fans out that sense of Otherness, and keeps people at a distance from them both.
In this way she differs from other sentients. Notably, when channelers use their power around her, rather than disappearing from her senses, everything for Esper is enhanced, almost to the point of a drug high.
“It’s not stealing if someone gives it to you.”
Esper possesses many Finn characteristics. In particular she believes in the binding contract of her word, though this is often to the letter rather than the spirit. A promise made she will keep, though she rarely makes them. Neither will she speak an untruth, finding it base. Manipulation, misdirection, omission; these are other things, and qualities for which she finds no shame. She would never steal, but if a door is left unlocked it’s an invitation for exploration. Her moral code is distinctive and personal. She marches to her own drum and always has. Music has a particular hold on her.
- Roza Vas, to whom she has been overly attached to since they were both children, and Esper was lulled by the sound of her playing violin.
- Ezekiel, Roza’s cousin, for whom both Roza and Esper assist in the con
- Sámiel, another denizen of the carnival
Promises and Bargains
- A vow made to Roza when they were children, to never to use her emotion pushing ability on her without consent.
6th Age: Hel, Norse goddess of the dead