persuasionfu: (Default)
Charlie Gale ([personal profile] persuasionfu) wrote2015-07-21 04:48 pm
Entry tags:

Carvaka Application - In Progress

▸CHARACTER
Name: Charlotte Gale
Journal: persuasionfu.dreamwidth.org
Canon: Enchantment Emporium series
Age: 28
Canon Point: end of The Wild Ways, after Jack eats the Elder God



Background Information: (warning for sexual relationships between non-nuclear family, underage sex, ritual sex, ritual murder, and consent issues involved with magic use)

Family is a central theme in Charlie’s life, so explaining her background requires talking quite a bit about the Gales. First off, they’re not entirely human: the story goes that the family started when a Horned God mated with a witch. The resulting family line is highly sexually dimorphic: male members of the family are to some degree shapeshifters and female members go through a maiden/mother/crone evolution. In both sexes, ties to the land grow stronger over time, and many of the elders are incapable of traveling far from their homes. The magic they use is highly tied to the earth, limited by family hierarchies, and grounded after ritual by sex. This last fact means that the entire family is both very open about sex and very political about sexual and romantic relationships: the “Aunties”, as the crones of the family are called, maintain very specific lists of prospective partners for young family members, to keep lines from getting too close and to maintain the family’s power structure. This power structure can be pretty cutthroat: for example, when the highest-ranking male of the family - who spends much of his time in the form of a stag - falters during ritual, he is hunted down by the Aunties and replaced.

Charlie grew up on family lands in Ontorio, Canada, in an area where the Gales ran the schools from kindergarten to college, and much of the local politics as well. She never had to deal with having a real enemy, despite trading rather mean-spirited charms with her younger sisters and various light-hearted poisoning attempts via family pies. What she did have to deal with was a lot of family expectations: her own particular powerset was a rare one, a “Wild” power that wasn’t quite as limited by family hierarchies and failsafes.This power gave her access to a place called The Wood that could be used to step between locations in the real world, and made her capable of more than the average Gale, but also meant that she was constantly being harassed about what she was doing with it. The fact that her power wasn’t typical also meant that she had to do a lot of her own exploration and experimentation with it.

Charlie sees everyone as having a “Song” and much of her travel in the Wood centers on following those songs. When she got lost in the Wood at the age of fifteen, she followed the song of her cousin Allie, who was two years younger than herself. Despite not having been incredibly close before then, the fact that Allie stood up to the Aunties - who are very formidable women - and insisted the exhausted and ill Charlie be allowed to rest pretty much cemented a close relationship between them. They became so close that Allie became the only real constant in Charlie’s life, as they grew older.

Despite the family’s expectations for her, Charlie’s own interest in music went far beyond just using it to do magic, and her career as an itinerant musician took her further away from home and outside of the family bubble. When Allie inherited a store called the Enchantment Emporium in Calgary from her grandmother - better known to the rest of the family as Auntie Catherine, the last generation’s Wild Power - Charlie wound up being called in to help with some magical politics that Allie was trying to keep out of the Auntie’s hands. Calgary had itself a Sorcerer - a Gale boy gone bad - who had gone and screwed a Dragon Queen, left her with child, and thus stirred up both the Queen herself and her brothers: Dragon Lords who variably came to defend her child, kill him, or popcorn at the whole situation. Allie’s insistence on solving the problem herself rather than calling in family eventually led to a split, with Allie’s brother David coming to be the male anchor of a new branch in Calgary.

Charlie’s involvement in the Sorcerer situation included helping to fend off attacking Dragon Lords, taking a younger Dragon Lord for pizza in Chicago through the Wood, and often wielding her musical power to keep innocents out of the fights, such as putting whole blocks to sleep while shit was going down. She also spent a reasonable amount of time warming Allie’s bed, playing in a country band, and being the “cool” family member for Jack, the young half-Dragon-Lord half-Gale-sorcerer at the center of the controversy, who wound up adopted into the Calgary branch of the family after the little group of Gales managed to stop his father from killing him, stop his mother from destroying everything to get at his father, and send his murderous uncles back to where they came from.

In the aftermath, Charlie found herself weirdly settled. Her cousin Allie had picked up a new husband along the way - an assassin named Graham who had originally worked for the Sorcerer and balked at being ordered to kill a vulnerable teenager whatever might be at stake - but Graham and Charlie had come to an agreement, and her place in Allie’s life was quite secure. She came and went from their bed and house freely, while still playing with her band, and continued to try to help Jack out when he failed to adjust to weird human rules like “no eating things you can have a conversation with” and “no setting everything on fire”.

The other important thing to note about the sorcerer/dragon conflict was that Auntie Catherine’s “death” and subsequent bequeathing of the store to Allie was a setup. As it turned out she faked her death and had never been in any real danger. Auntie Catherine’s precognition had allowed her to put pieces into play by sending the younger Gales to Calgary, but the fact that she risked a lot of people’s lives without consulting them, used people outside the family to influence Allie to get her to go, and basically screwed with everyone involved resulted in Allie banning her from the new family branch. This became important later because Auntie Catherine contacted Charlie rather than Allie the next time she wanted something done, inviting her to Nova Scotia, an invitation Charlie originally turned down out-of-hand.

Charlie’s country band stopped having a need for her when their old singer came back, however, and immediately afterward she received an invitation from a friend to play a festival circuit with a alt-Celtic band… in Nova Scotia. Once there, she discovered the fiddle player from her new band was highly distracted by a distraught selkie girlfriend who had lost her sealskin. While the Gale family tried to stay out of the affairs of the Fae by tradition, Allie had already thrown that to the wind quite a bit in Calgary, and Charlie considered the threat to the music a good enough reason to get involved. It turned out that the local selkies - Fae who resemble seals but have human forms on land and form romantic relationships with humans - were embroiled in a legal battle with an oil company over shallow-water drilling near a seal sanctuary. Other selkies started to lose their skins, without which they couldn’t return to the water, and it became apparent that the oil company was involved.

The obvious question became “why would an oil company know about selkies?” which could be answered in only one way: Auntie Catherine. Not only did Auntie Catherine steal the selkie skins, she presented the idea to the oil company CEO herself, and set up protections on the stolen skins in an abandoned mine by bringing over goblins and boggarts from the Under Realm. Whether this had to do with precognition or not, Charlie had definite reasons for choosing the selkies, which included not just their right to safety but also concern for her fiddler’s ability to perform, a crush on the selkie woman who was the leader of the local environmentalist group, and general annoyance at being led around by the nose.

She wound up calling in Jack, who at fifteen now was chafing under Graham and Allie’s care, and his Dragon form came in quite handy in dealing with the boggarts and goblins impressed into service by Auntie Catherine. When the selkie leader Charlie was crushing on hooked up with the oil company CEO’s assistant, it might have spelled an end to any delusion that the crush might go somewhere, but it also gave the seal team an inside scoop, and they were able to discover the hiding place of the skins. An excursion to find it turned disastrous however: while goblins and boggarts could be dealt with, Auntie Catherine’s use of the mines had awakened something more dangerous: a troll.

Charlie defeated the troll but narrowly survived, and only then because Jack dragged her home through the Under Realm, where he himself had grown up. The selkie Eineen and the oil company CEO’s assistant were left in the mine to die, and Charlie spent nine days recovering in Calgary after being healed up by family. It was only when she finally awakened and was able to move around again that she had time to think about their fates, and decided to try to jump through time as well as space by walking the Wood, rescue them and the stolen skins, and spend the rest of the music festival with the band with no contact from home, so she wouldn’t bump into herself or the previous version of events.

The selkie situation was finally completely settled when Charlie used music to overturn the barge intended to place the piles to support the drilling, planted a cursed relic from the Emporium on the CEO of the oil company, and found out exactly what Auntie Catherine’s reasoning had been. The actual drilling of the wells would have kept an Elder God from rising from the water, which means that Charlie’s actions now left the world vulnerable to this rising. Of course, Auntie Catherine - for all her Sight - was missing some vital information about certain additions to the family, and the Elder God who had been the center of all this ridiculous drama was chomped down by Jack the Dragon Lord with no problem at all.

Personality: Charlie has three main motivators: music, emotional attachments, and Wild. Though she uses her music as a vehicle for power, its place in her life is much larger. She loves every kind of music, moving from one style to another easily, and turns to it for both celebration and mourning. She often talks about the power of music completely aside from magic, and enjoys best when she can play with a group of people who mesh well together and not have to think about magic at all, either including it or holding it back. This can extend to her feelings about the people who play the music, such as her concern for a fiddler motivating her to help the selkies.

Her emotional attachments could initially be summed up mostly in her relationship with Allie, which rests somewhere in the middle of familial and romantic, and motivates Charlie enough that she stands up to the Aunties, splits off with the new branch of the family, deals with serious danger in the sorcerer/dragon conflict, and continues to consider Allie her primary attachment even after Allie’s marriage. However, she also forms strong attachments with other family members and friends of the family, with Allie’s husband Graham, and with Jack, with whom she relates as a Wild power, outside the normal family rules. In a less lasting way, she tends to become close to those she plays music with, and pretty much everyone she sleeps with. At one point she states that “if her panties were any more free it’d be illegal”, but none of her sexual exploits seem empty or shallow; she sleeps with people she likes or gets along with, and those encounters have meaning at the time they happen. She also experiences a strong attraction to powerful men, a trait Gale women share as a result of the family’s own gender/sex dynamics. This attraction doesn’t render her incapable of turning such men down or fighting against them, but it does make her more likely to be immediately interested, and more likely to outright avoid any she doesn’t want to sleep with.

The motivation of “Wild” is exactly what it sounds like: she is not domesticated. Despite the fact that Calgary is more of a home to her than the place where she grew up, and despite her intense love of Allie, she far more “goes and comes back” than stays. During the fight with the troll, she has a revelation about her place in the family: she isn’t just more powerful, she’s unlimited for a purpose. The current family structure came about because the amount of power a Gale can wield could cause widespread devastation, so being tied to the land and tied to each other - a result of years of ritual together - keeps everyone in check. Sometimes, however, threats to the world happen that can’t be dealt with by someone held by those strictures, which is why Wild powers have to exist. This realization gives Charlie a purpose, but it also solidifies her position as someone who can never be fully “inside”. She is also incredibly headstrong: when she and Auntie Catherine butt heads, there is zero chance that Charlie is just going to back down. She doesn’t like being manipulated, insists on making her own choices, and is willing to take whatever consequences her decisions create.

The result of all these influences is someone who seems very laid-back, most of the time. Charlie is perfectly happy to drift about between world-saving duties. She plays music, hangs out in bars, hops in and out of beds, spends time with people she loves, and uses magic to smooth her way in the world. Her relationship with the concepts of magic and free will is complicated at times: there are situations in which she feels the will of humans should be left untouched, and others in which she overrides that will without much thought. The difference depends on both what is at stake and how intimate a violation of will it would be: there’s a huge gap between making a security guard ignore her and Auntie Catherine manipulating someone to cheat on a lover for the sake of stirring up drama to motivate Allie. These distinctions are ones that Charlie makes instinctively rather than with contemplation, however, and can be influenced by her emotions.

Appearance: Being blond and grey-eyed is the basic Gale palette, and Charlie’s eyes sometimes become black rim-to-rim when she’s using too much power, as if becoming an Auntie early. Aside from that, she’s 5’7”, fit, young-looking, and a bit of a slouch when it comes to both dressing and posture. Her actual clothing tastes vary a lot based on what band she’s currently with, and she sometimes adds various colors to her hair (with magic) when she’s bored. Coming straight off both the festival and the beach, she’ll initially be wearing a t-shirt, denim cut-offs, flip-flops, and a guitar.

Abilities:

Charms: short range magic meant to influence a particular object, person, or small group of people. A charm drawn on a table can influence the people sitting at the table, and a charm on a car can influence anyone in it, as well as the car itself. Can be temporary or permanent: a charm drawn in the condensation from a beer bottle to make companions more companionable isn’t going to last as long as charms drawn on the doors or window of a house to serve as protections. Charms placed on someone else’s skin can do everything from causing the dreaded “backne” to serving as a general protection, lover’s mark, or attitude adjustment.

Charlie most commonly uses charms for things like holding her band’s van together when it should have long since fallen apart, fortifying guitar cases, and general “not getting caught”, whether that means influencing security not to bother her or sketching night-sight charms on her own eyelids for sneaking purposes. She’s very likely to use them for minor first aid, getting the basics she needs to get by from others, and playing pranks. While she can’t create physical objects, she can create orbs of light, temperature changes, and those kinds of intangible effects, as well as making physical objects perform better, look different, or be more durable.

Music: wider range magic meant to influence groups of people or the natural world. Charlie typically uses her guitar for this, though she can play other instruments or use just her voice. Used for such endeavors as shaking the sea bed to sink a barge, putting large groups of people to sleep, affecting memory, and influencing mood. Charlie is far more likely to use her music to defuse a riot than incite one, and is often seen putting people to sleep when she wants them to stay out of a fight. The most intense use of her voice was telling a troll to “piss off” and having it outright explode. This isn’t likely to be replicated except in life-threatening danger.

The other aspect of music as magic that Charlie utilizes is recognizing people by their Songs, allowing her to find them. She knows the Songs of people she’s close to by heart, but others have to be picked out, and that can take a bit of time and effort.

Travel: Charlie can use any piece of foliage to step into a place called the Wood and move from one physical location to another. The exact nature of the Wood isn’t mentioned, other than as a metaphysical pathway without form. She can also open and close gates to other realms, such as the Under Realm where the fae live. Whether the Wood exists as an actual place that would have been destroyed or is just a way of conceptualizing the movement isn’t clear, but since Charlie also uses the Wood to step forward and back in time, it’d probably be easiest to just say she can’t reach it at all.

Mirrors can also be used as a method of travel, a trick picked up from Auntie Catherine. Charlie isn’t near as adept at this as Catherine is, since she’s new to it, but since it doesn’t require stepping into any space between, continuing to work on it shouldn’t be game-breaking.

Other info about magic: While Charlie’s powers can pretty much be “anything” assuming she comes up with a charm to do it or already knows one, there are some limitations. The major differences between sorcerers and regular Gale magicians is “holding power” versus “using power”. Charlie is used to grounding out after raising energy, and though her status as a Wild power gives her a bit more freedom in terms of what kinds of energy she uses and what she does with it, being without her family in a world without the same natural resources she’s used to will be a hurdle to get over for any major workings.

On the mundane side, Charlie is charismatic, musically talented, quick-thinking, fairly technologically adept, and in good physical condition. She’s used to traveling light, carrying with her nothing more than a gig bag with her instruments, an extra change of underwear, a magickally-enhanced cell phone, and one of the charmed coins her family uses to send each other pies. Roughing it isn’t going to break her.