“Surviving a night is one thing. Living to eat a Turkish Delight is another matter entirely.” NAME
Ernest Helmer ALIAS
The Candyman | Candyman | Mr. Sweets | "Mr. Strubbles" GENDER
- Confectioner : Anyone could cook, given enough time, food, and mistakes, but making sweets is another matter entirely. There are sugars and flavors of a very specific type, and the resources for those are scarce and expensive. Not all farmers know how to take care of cane without inviting pests, and not nearly enough so-called "cooks" can bring a good desert to the table. Even less can spell the difference between a taffy and a toffee, and still less can be damned to taste the difference. That leaves a lot of disgruntled little children and pouty old farts hungry for something more out of life. Compared to most of the world, that makes Ernest an earnest, bona-fide confectioner and connoisseur of candy; so long as he doesn't have to worry too much about any competitors stealing his craft, he'll continue his hell-bent journey to bring back the Old World's centuries-old recipes, one cavity at a time.
- Concrete Navigator : Of course, in order to find such recipes, one needs to look over every nook and cranny possible, especially within the Old World cities. Ernest's Old Glory heritage comes well into play here; he can eyeball the lifespan of a building, scale a skyscraper, or even wade through the bottom of an overfilled tunnel, if it comes to it. It's been years since he's left Old Glory, and Time has a habit of taking the best of his tricks. It would be no exaggeration to say that Ernest is far past his heyday in both the lateral and longitudinal respect, though he's got plenty of patience to make up for it.
- (Culinary) Chemist : Ernest's ability to take note of a variety of materials stems heavily from his saccharine pursuit. As he isn't very literate, Ernest often has asked medicine-men and other people of science to describe to him the ingredients of various cook-books that he finds. In return, many of these intellects get back a once-in-a-lifetime taste. As long as someone can read out the name of an ingredient, Ernest may be able to list a few basic characteristics of a few elements, alloys, and ingredients...albeit a touch simplistically.
Contrary to popular belief, being old does not equate to wittiness nor wisdom; Ernest, as his namesake implies, is a very earnest man when he goes about any business of any sort. It's a sort of fault that betrays both former confidants' and presumptuous associates' trade secrets to the world, but the very same fault has often protected him from situations that would otherwise spell out for many others certain doom. HISTORY
Take, for example, the one time he made the mistake of entering Jefferson using an Old World gun as a cane. Appraisers, scrappers, and thugs alike were quick to take his gun and break his leg, but when pressed to give up more than what he could bear to part with, he imparted to them the recipe for butterscotch candy.
Jefferson now has a thriving butterscotch business that bosses and the bourgeoisie, both over and under the table, can all enjoy. While the gangs won't acknowledge his contribution to their quality of life, Ernest does have the comfort of being treated like any other Jeffersonian. That's all Ernest could ever care for, aside from pursuing his dream to become a confectioner.
If Ernest were to be born anywhere but Old Glory, he might have been a man of science or art living happily in his own private establishment. He might have had a rough relationship with a more pragmatic girl that would once have been a dreamer like he was. There might be a bastard girl between them, either adopted or abandoned by one or the other parent, that would grow up to be as tough as nails on the outside and oh-so tender on the inside. That bastard girl might have succeeded his business and would be traveling the world with her significant other while her estranged parents would spend their twilight years finding themselves for the umpteenth time and die in happiness. INVENTORY
But Ernest wasn't born in anywhere but Old Glory; that much could be apparent to even the locals of the Old Cities themselves. Eyes keen for details and patterns gnawed on old, crumbling artifacts for practice, and in those early years, Ernest became something of a environmentalist. Whereas most scrappers would be watching the Old World's monuments as places for ambushing, Ernest was busy getting high off of just the sight of a wonderfully irradiated plant or sinkhole-turned pool. When treading through particularly overgrown stretches of wilderness, Ernest made it a point to follow the most clear path to avoid cutting the plants. His mother, a single Scrapper that had found him in the remains of an obliterated caravan, couldn't afford the time to care about the eccentricities of her son. She raised him as best as she could by teaching him the basic necessities of survival, all her little technological tricks and novelties included. It wasn't often that a Scrapper could be worth killing, as they were often broke from having no money or already spending all of it. For this lack of resources, Scrappers often had to be as resourceful as whatever they might have on hand.
That's how life was : constant migration, constant searching, constant refurbishing.
Then his mother's hair started falling off. It right after she got out of a seemingly clean pool of water. Neither were sure what was in the pool exactly, but everything simply became worse. The woman began to show stress lines and signs of fatigue, despite resting well over eight hours a day with plenty of food to burn through. Then her irises began to change color, and her skin took on different blotches of tan, olive, red, black, and so on and so forth. Something in that pool had changed her irreparably, and so Ernest was chased away with a few poorly-aimed shots from his very own mother. She didn't want the kid seeing her die so horrible a death.
Needless to say, he returned a few days to find her bleached-white skeleton sitting exactly as he had left her. It was then that Ernest inherited all of his "mother" 's possessions and found a cookbook. He was illiterate, though, so he went off back to town and began to sell one memory at a time to learn how to use said cookbook.
The only thing he couldn't let go of was her two guns and the cookbook; one of them (what people in the Old World would call an SKS) was stolen, so he's kept the one other gun close to his body and even closer to his heart. His first recipe was Turkish Delights; it was attempted only by a few since the War passed, but as Ernest had quite the excess of money, he could afford to fail again and again.
Two years later, at 17, Ernest finally mastered the Turkish Delight. It was no exaggeration to say that he exhausted what little of Old Glory's cane supply was available. In search of the same ingredients and more to continue experimenting, Ernest walked off to the West to lose himself in the culinary arts and the world at large.
He's never looked back for 44 years, marking him at the ripe old age of 61.
REASON FOR VISITING
- An Old-World Revolver called "Rhino"; empty and unusable since he was last shot at, but still makes for a good threat and a good work of reference for any aspiring gunsmith.
- A large backpack, containing :
- "Cookbook for Confectioner's : An Easy How-To"
- Steel Spatula
- Other utensils
- Cooking Pot
- Grappling Hook
- Rope and Anchors
- A listless amount of pouches for ingredients
"I heard cane grows well in the water; maybe I can start a farm here..." RELATIONS
He is survived by one Joe Tuckett, who shares the "Mr. Strubbles" title for being one of two Old Glory confectioners.