The LadyFamily origins:
Alinor (formerly known as the Sumerset Isles) Appearance:
Ercanoriel presents himself with an albedo
close to 1 on his skin as if his body has never experienced the sun, his hair represents a purity of whiteness that even the elder can only seldomly hope for or be afraid of. There is as little of this golden hue his kind usually is so fond of as there is color in his eyes, yet he obviously is perfectly alive and of flesh and blood. The latter can be seen flowing beneath his skin im moments of great strain or anger, but even then the inability of his body to produce skin pigments is the dominating factor. Ercanoriel is a natural albino as it occurs only very rarely and it appears he doesn't want to apply any mundane stopgap like warpaint or tattoos to this.
The distinct jawline, the smoothness and purity of his skin and the density with which his head is populated by hairs following the flow of gravity well beyond his shoulders all hide the fact that, though only by a man's and not by an Altmer's standard, he's anything but juvenile anymore. His eyebrows are fully existent, but things like a white-to-white contrast simply cannot be produced so they can hardly be seen from further away. His head puts as much emphasis on vertical elongation in preference of width as does his slender nose, so his pointy and sturdy ears add a very noticeable silhouette of their own along with the extra feature of preventing hair spills into his face. He would grow a white beard, but as long as the circumstances allow for it he keeps his face clean cut.
Altmer are a race standing high quite literally and at 6'11" Ercanoriel is not a humble being. There have been years in his life during which he has tried to dilute his frustration with cheap beverages that only brought headaches and fat on his waistline, but there is no such thing to be seen around him right now. In fact one can see that he is used to wearing and dealing with the heavy stuff: Shoulders that not only seem broad because his neck is not thick, thighs and calves way too powerful for someone who'd rely on magic and ruggedized arms and hands. One probably doesn't want to carry Ercanoriel just in case of what of his elvish speed and dexterity still remain should unexpectedly become completely disabled. Personality:
Ercanoriel's behavior can basically be divided into three different layers stacked on top of each other:
The lowest layer is how he was born, the natural attitude that everybody has and that can only be bent, but never really eliminated. On this layer he is a curious, open-minded person with a generally bright outlook on life. One has to dare something in order to reach something, or, as one would put it in modern, stylish words: No risk, no fun. As such it sometimes can be necessary to try and throttle him down if he feels... well... over-enthusiastic. The thought of natural death is even more of a remote thing for him, maybe simply because it still is so far away for someone of his kind and age. It can be a little startling for other people if they don't immediately recognize that mer, Altmer in particular, live a lot longer. His nature is a rather jovial one, one that knows the meaning of friendship and comradeship in general. Ercanoriel is quite, but not excessively intelligent and can find joy in solving problems, but he can also become very frustrated.
The middle layer has been constructed by how he was raised. A not so obvious but still discoverable thing is that he lacks quite a bit of the degree of education that could be expected from an Altmer. He knows manners and how to behave like a sociable man and has also been equipped with a fair amount common knowledge, but simply never had a good reason to learn that much about the history of his own kind. Also his magical expertise is shockingly lousy for an Altmer, not only practically but also theoretically even though he is far from being too old to change this. His circumstances simply did not allow for a high amount of magical training to take place so what he currently has is mostly based on talent. On the good side of things he was never intoxicated with what many people dislike about Altmers: This high degree of proudness, self-glorification and, put more straightforwardly, arrogance. He lacks those aspects, sometimes even to the point that he noticeably hesitates to clearly point out his opinion and stand behind it with full force. For a major part of his life it counted less then the average after all.
The top layer is his active control that can override many of the underlying aspects in preference of something he makes up just in time. This layer is prone to miss or to make blunders and his case it's also particularly thick.
Ercanoriel is quite aware of the fact that many people have confused him with being living snow elf in the past, something that -- for the lack of real living falmers capable of contradicting him whereever he is -- puts him into the rather unique situation of being capable to define them, their attitude and their habits towards those other people. It is a dubious power he doesn't allow himself to touch unless telling the truth about his albinism really and absolutely is not an option he could get away with halfway unharmed. He has seen the crippled, wicked and miserable beings the falmer are now and feels pity for this extinct kind of mer. However he's also tired of telling the entirity of his story in its truth as quite a considerable fraction of everyday people either lacks the knowledge necessary to fully understand it, is an Altmer him or herself or could just start to make a mock of him and his weird look. People can be silly and his tolerance for more often than not bad jokes about his incredibly pale skin has dropped near to zero up to the point where he'll start to rant in a lecturing manner.
Ercanoriel doesn't stand behind Aldmeri ideals. For him they are a burden, even something that he deems to be in urgent need of reform. The presence of his own people in so many parts of Tamriel doesn't make him happy, but he sees it more as a danger. He'd even be willing to change things a little if he had anything to say on the large scale of politics. But how much of this can he tell about openly without endangering himself ? His confidence in revealing these thoughts depends on where he is and whom he's speaking to, so the answers given by him can vary greatly. History:
If Ercanoriel had been born among the naturally pale Nords his albinism would likely have been a mild annoyance. If he had joined the living in the regions of Vvardenfell or Hammerfell he might have been regarded, maybe despised as an aberration along with having problems with the sun. Existence would have been similarly special in the remaining core regions of the empire, but being 'gifted' with this otherweise pretty harmless defect in the middle of the Altmer society can be pretty much equivalent to reactor meltdown. Whether claims that the Altmer would dispose of many of their own children if they don't fit their idea of 'racial purity' are the truth or just propaganda created by those who dislike them is up to debate, but there is no way to deny that their will to preserve the appearance of their ancestors is particularly strong. In other words: Ercanoriel's parents knew instantly that they had given birth to a not-yet-walking, but all the more screaming and hungry disaster.
While momentarily agreeing upon hiding the birth of their son the best they could, the relationship between Ercanoriel's parents ultimately did not survive the struggle that broke out between them after that: His father was a not entirely unimportant participant in the business of internal politics and as such his entire income and social status was highly dependent upon his reputation. In his mind losing it was simply unaffordable, but still he wanted Ercanoriel to live. The solution he came up with was the idea of putting him up for adoption somewhere else in the world. They had enough money, they had a whole Aldmeri alliance between Alinor, Elsweyr and Valenvald to search for potential candidates that would take care of their child far away while they could state towards their Altmer friends that there was no more danger of Ercanoriel's bloodline feeding back into the core of the Altmer population. His mother however expressed her desire to move the entire three-person household away from the island in order to maintain direct control -- after all there was the white gold concordate making becoming an inhabitant of another part of Tamriel and finding work for Altmers easier than before.
Ultimately they decided to part ways in a peaceful manner. Ercanoriel's father stayed back on Alinor while his mother moved with their son to Valenwald. Much to Ercanoriel's fortune all of this happened in a very early stage of his development when his mind was not yet able to grasp the full extent of what was going on. While his present day ego is perfectly aware of those events, the fact that he could only see his father on seldom and very discrete occasions did not have that much of an impact on his development. The young Ercanoriel just never knew what a father's presence meant: For him the word 'father' is defined much more on the cognitive level and seeing the physical incorporation of it was quite a bit more like seeing a very close relative.
Still there was no lack of problems: Ercanoriel's skin could be protected from sunlight by the dense forest of Valenvald, but being called a 'Falmer twerp' by those who wanted to refer to both it and the often attributed arrogance of an Altmer at the same time became a bit uncomfortable. Only having a substandard number of friends becoming a loner was partly unavoidable. Also Ercanoriel found himself in a dilemma situation: As an Altmer he had a great theoretical affinity to magic, but practically the resources available to teach him how to use his full potential were severely limited without returning to Alinor. On the other hand there was no way he could ever hope to keep up with a Bosmer's talent for stealth and agility in general. He was a ship thrown onto land that was supposed to grow several legs and start crawling away from the sea that would never return. And why ? Because of a bit of color, or rather the general attitude of many of his own people that the lack thereof could hardly be tolerated.
The ship wouldn't grow legs for years to follow... Instead it gently slipped into the murky, acid pond that was a mixture of cheap beer and self-hatred. Valenvald wasn't Skyrim, but it still had enough taverns for him to stop listening to the calming words of his mother and to simply let go of himself. He devolved into an even more lously representative of the prould Altmer, grew a stomach and adopted a shabby appearance and attitude in general. That was until the very organization showed up that had just run out of Stormcloaks to punish and of Blades to execute: the Thalmor.
It was a perfectly routine patrol with no particular goal except for checking if everything was alright, but once they entered the main hall and spotted the drunk and (in their eyes) misbehaving albino who was too tall and pointy-eared to be anything else than an Altmer he had their attention. Asked to get out for some 'questioning' he resisted in a flamboyant move -- a little too flamboyant for the Thalmor agents. Ercanoriel's memory cuts off the moment he saw other patrons joining the developing brawl, probably making things worse not only for themselves. It restarts with a very bad headache, in a rolling cage.
The ship had sunk and hit the seafloor, hard. In retrospect however coming so dangerously close the furnace at the bottom of the destillation tower that society felt like only helped to propel his subsequent ascent to heights not reached before. Humble heights, but still...
Elcanoriel was being transported away from Valenvald and well into the cold and every-snowy climate of Skyrim. He never found out why the Thalmor had made the decision to do this, but the truth was a mixture of bureaucracy, management and a cunning decision: Due to the sun never reaching that high up in the North the Nords are a rather pale kind of people themselves, so disposing of an Albino there would be less of a shame for the Altmer nation. After all Elcanoriel had committed a crime far too petty to be punished with a death sentence, so he was banned from Alinor and forbidden to marry any of his own kind. Both things couldn't have hurt him any less than they did. At this point of time the thought of doing any of those two things would never have crossed Ercanoriel's mind. As an added bonus now it was at least official, something that could be looked up in the records so they'd already know him or so he at least hoped. He had not told any of his parents names and after decades of living in Valenvald the Thalmor also failed to find the link between him and his true origins.
Still he had to stay in prison for a while. The other inmates he ended up with in an anonymous cellar were a bunch of adventurers that had specialized in making their living by going from place to place and scavenging dwemer ruins for everything that looked like it could be sold to somebody. They always traveled together, so when it was found out that one of them was a follower of Talos they all had been put into arrest in order to watch the man's execution. Ercanoriel left prison together with the adventurers and some of them were curious about this pale mer. He could not truly fight yet, but that could be changed. These damn dwemer constructs often were a little resiliant to magic anyway, so why not go full melee ? The overall stature was good for that and they could use a guy who could trample on those pesky dwemer worker spiders... And on the transition from one ruin to the other there'd be ample time to train him. Ercanoriel could see the unique opportunity: He'd finally excel at something instead of being regarded as substandard, unsuitable or whatever other damn reason people could come up with, even if the circle of people he could compare himself against would be a quite small and ragtag one.
It is safe to say that he has gained the vast majority of his current fighting proficiency thanks to those people. Also seeing the famous dwemer homes from inside himself was a bit of an eye-opening experience. While he started to lose his self-hatred when first successes started to roll in his disliking for his own kind only increased. The dwemer had never been afraid of crossing thresholds, good and bad ones alike. So how were Altmer supposed to develop further if what they seemed to be best at apparently was conserving what had already been existing hundreds of years ago ? Also, to be quite honest, magic seemed to have a quite potent counterpart in technology. Too bad that those truly creating it have vanished.
Ercanoriel still is a member of this adventurer's group, but he currently is on a bit of an hiatus that isn't meant to last very long. The means of transportation for this little vacation happens to be the Kismet. Biggest regret:
It had been his father's own decision to see him only very seldomly, also he has not played that much of a role in his life. But what about his mother ? Since the Thalmor had never found out about this family bond and Ercanoriel had ended up in Skyrim she, up to this point, probably doesn't know why he never returned home. Ercanoriel knows that and he also knows that, on the bottom line, he's the culprit and this time his appearance is not an excuse. Ercanoriel's Goal(s):
Luckily Altmer live a lot longer then men, so there's still plenty of time to fix his regret, even if he can't prevent it from ever happening in the first place. However maybe even stronger than this is his hidden desire to kick the asses of a certain kind of people at least metaphorically: his own. If those dwemer were able to map the skies, to make holographic projections, to create walking, almost living machines that work up to this day couldn't there be something left undiscovered that could fix a certain cosmetic issue ? Or at least hide it so profoundly that he can go back to Alinor and laugh at all those bootlickers as they fail to see his true nature anymore. Some other fancy thing that he could use to turn the table and have some fun instead of being the sport himself would also be good though, though not the best. Expert skill: Two-handed
Up to the point when Ercanoriel joined the adventurer's group he had had no very particular reason to learn any combat skill that works in a lethal manner. Punishing any of those who had insulted, annoyed or outright discriminated him in the past with death would have helped to lessen his inner pain, but also put himself into the grave very fast. Facing the rough environment of dwemer ruins however he had to learn something, anything, fast. Magic would not have done particularly good against dwemer constructs. Mer normally are fast and agile, but Altmer are not that good in that respect due to their height and Ercanoriel happens to be quite a giant. So he tried out a style that would not require him to present any of those feats, a style that would exchange agility for range and dexterity for the power of power. He has developed a quite massive lot of strength that can compensate for other deficiencies in his method that are rather obvious for others, especially martial artists. Adept skills:
- Archery: A result of his prolonged stay in Valenvald. He has tried it, but never mastered it so far. It is an alternative skill in Ercanoriel's repertoire that he can use in case someone happens to have a bow and arrows around. He doesn't burden himself with these normally.
- Illusion: A natural choice for someone who has a strong desire to hide something about himself, but unfortunately permanently changing one's skin color is not part of the art, at least as far as it has been accessible to him outside of Alinor.
- Destruction: As much as he could learn it in Valenvald, primarily based on natural talent due to his Altmer origins.
- Illusion: Muffle, Rally
- Destruction: Chain Lightning, Flame Cloak, Firebolt
- Restoration: Healing
- Alteration: Candlelight
- Two-handed steel axe
- Steel plate armor (full set)
- Set of 'civil' clothes. Not the cleanest, quite a little worn out but definitely preferrable to walking around in armor all day long. For what it's worth mentioning he is very fond of a thick, black cloak with a hood that is purely meant to protect his skin from as much sunlight as possible as he naturally gets sunburnt extremely easily. Function is more important than looking like some sort of monk.
- Food and water for two days -- one can never now how good a ship's cook is in advance, right ?
- Misc: A few septims that might get him over another four days or so after the ship's arrival at its destination and of course a rucksack where he can carry all the loose stuff around.