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Good luck, and Godspeed Ashgan. Sorry to see you go, would have been nice to have Angora meet Jillian and Gerald.
In the latest post, Angora makes mention of something called the Firm. I thought I'd extrapolate some information about the Firm here.

In essence, the Firm are a business of organised crime. The Firm aren't your regular thieves, thugs, highwaymen, etc. These are men and women who prefer the business side of crime and leave the dirty work to their underlings. The Firm primarily work in Zerul City and the surroundings, and focus on activities such as smuggling, protection rackets, illegal gambling dens, brothels, and assassinations. No, they are not an organisation of Robin Hoods, but nor are they completely senseless murderers and thugs. This is sophisticated organised crime at its highest levels, similar perhaps to the American Mafioso families of the East Coast, or the Yakuza. The Firm have codes of honour, loyalty and brotherhood (or sisterhood, both genders are welcome).

The leaders of the Firm aren't known to the government. They stay in the deepest, darkest shadows, dealing with very few cases and preferring to delegate to their captains in the field. It's thought that the Firm operate even in the highest echelons of civil government, with plants, informers and 'bought' men and women passing information on in exchange for money, protection and access to services that would otherwise perhaps be unavailable. The Zerulic City Guard, too, has been infiltrated extensively, and oft-times turns a blind eye to the Firm's activities - at least those they witness. Executions of mass murderers, rapists, thugs? Often the Firm dealing with its own. Think of it as a Thieves' Guild... only much more insidious and present in many aspects of society that Thieves' Guilds perhaps avoid. That merchant in the street you saw selling wares perhaps a little bit cheaper than his competitors? He might be subsidised with smuggled goods by a low-ranking captain of the Firm in exchange for protection and cuts of the profits, or word on the street. That barkeep that seems to listen all the time and keep his mouth shut? You never know, he might be in the Firm. The robber who robbed you at swordpoint of what little you own and who ends up dead a few days later, with your belongings and a little bit more returned? Courtesy of the Firm.

In addition to the usual smuggling, racketeering and general crime malarkey that the Firm are involved with, they are also responsible for a large quantity of magical item trafficking in and out of Zerul, often masqueraded as legitimate business transactions. Zerul City, of course, is home to large quantities of mages and magical knowledge, and it's only reasonable that some of these magical talents also work in the Firm. Essentially, much of the magical knowledge within the Firm is used to defend it from prying eyes on the outside, whilst also maintaining a firm and iron-shod grasp on matters and the traffic of information into and out of the city. In addition, magic can also help the Firm in other ways - body disposal, identification, interrogation, execution - all of these can be hastened with the correct and appropriate application of a touch of magic.

So who are actually in the Firm? Collating the lists I have made, and what little the government likely knows about those involved, here is a run-down of who's who in the Firm.

A Detailed Analysis of the Nature of Crime - The Firm in Zerul


Grand Captain Harold Nystrom: 59, M, Human. Reportedly the seniormost of the Grand Captains of the Firm.

Grand Captain Danil Serrin: 77, M, Human. Head of the Serrin family, masters of the river docks.

Grand Captain Fastolf Dramburgh: 50, M, Human. Dramburgh is apparently Grand Captain of the Cleaners.

Grand Captain Elme Arnowik: 58, F, Human. The only female on the Grand Captains' Circle, Grand Captain of the Dens.

Beneath the Grand Captains are the true workhorses of the Firm; the Captain-Juniors. These are the ones you're likely to see signing death warrants, protection rackets and other dealings - anything above these and you're in seriously high-level crime. Generally, it's thought that each family has four or five Captain-Juniors in their employ.


Captain-Junior George Nystrom: 48, M, Human. The nephew of Harold, and reportedly second-in-line to the Nystrom family.
Captain-Junior Leon Nystrom: 40, M, Human. Son of Harold, Captain-Junior. Rivals with George.
Captain-Junior Stewart Nystrom: 44, M, Human. Brother of George. Considered to be a financial whizz, in league with the Arnowiks.
Captain-Junior Alexander Nystrom: 37, M, Human. Brother of George.

Captain-Junior Stephen Serrin: 57, M, Human. Dockyard worker leader. Has been reportedly siphoning funds for his own personal use.
Captain-Junior Laura Serrin: 57, F, Human. Sister of Stephen. Has network of informants in the merchant docks, often in league with S. Nystrom and E. Arnowik.
Captain-Junior Danil Serrin II: 50, M, Human. Strongman of the Serrin family. Father's right hand and alleged heir. Runs many brothels in the docks.
Captain-Junior Ambrose Serrin: 48, F, Human. Daughter of Danil Serrin. Head of the dockyard's "escort services wing"... whatever that means.

Captain-Junior Ian Dramburgh: 46, M, Human. Brother of Fastolf.
Captain-Junior Glenn Dramburgh: 40, M, Human. Nephew of Fastolf. Involved in goldsmithing and precious metal smuggling with Kelenwyn.
Captain-Junior Erik Kelenwyn: 40, M, Human. Goldsmith, blacksmith, jeweller. Not a Dramburgh, though married one. Regularly tests gold samples for the Firm.
Captain-Junior Andru Dramburgh: 30, M, Human. Son of Fastolf and heir to the Dramburgh family.

Captain-Junior Seane Arnowik: 45, F, Human. Gambler, card player and cad extraordinaire. A common sight at upper-class parties and events.
Captain-Junior Juan Arnowik: 42, M, Human. Financial regulator, often works with Kelenwyn and S. Nystrom in financial matters of the Firm.
Captain-Junior Willem Arnowik: 42, M, Human. Security professional, ex-military. Runs a variety of protection firms, both legal and non-legal.
Captain-Junior Fredrika Arnowik: 33, F, Human. Works with brother Willem in security and defence.

With the Captain-Juniors are their own networks of contacts, usually run through their second-in-commands; the Firm calls them Cons. Who these Cons are is currently unknown, but it's estimated that each C-J has at least one Con, if not two or three.

Occasionally, people displease the Firm in manners that cannot go unpunished. In times of need, the Captain-Juniors send out a call for assistance in dealing with these matters - these individuals are known as the 'Cleaners' in some circles, and the 'Hunters' in others. According to what limited information the civic government has on the Firm's internal workings, their official title is the former - perhaps the latter is a colloquialism, given their job. The Cleaners' task is to hunt down and eliminate those who pose a threat to the Firm's dealings, for example through drawing too much attention to their activities or threatening to inform on the Firm's inner workings. The Cleaners have an array of targets that they are paid handsomely for, and the Cleaners often have small crews of their own to deal with body disposal. The Cleaners are perhaps the most shadowy of the organisations in question, though their activities have the most obvious effects. In essence, the Cleaners are the police of the Firm - cleaning up those who are too dangerous to have around.

Known Cleaners:
Angora Kelenwyn: 19, F, Human: Daughter of Captain-Junior Erik Kelenwyn, the youngest of the known Cleaners. Also an expert in seduction and infiltration.
Henry Thaw: 25, M, Human: Thaw was reportedly behind the assassination of several high-level informers within the Firm.
Charlie Thomas: 39, M, Human: Known for his expertise in body disposal. Thomas and his waste disposal crew have been seen at the sites of murders.
Hargo Stensen: 48, M, Human: An expert at assassinating magical foes of the Firm.
Xavier Mansworth: 42, M, Human: Mansworth is a contact with the City Guard - by day, he guards the walls. By night, Mansworth is a Cleaner.
Victoria Smethwick: 35, F, Human: Rumoured to be behind the knifing of several murderers.
Cassidy Lawrensworth: 22, F, Human: Known in the Firm to prefer the jobs of rapists over all others - perhaps raped earlier in life?
*hoped would be able to get some time off to do writings and things*

University and IRL:

6:40 AM, Lost Haven Eastern Beach, near the French Quarter

The waves lapped gently on the white sands of Lost Haven beach, whilst the characteristic cawing of seagulls echoed overhead. The Atlantic was quiet, peaceful even, and smudges of smoke from several container ships could be seen on the horizon from the promenade. The food stalls were not yet open - not that there were many for them to serve at this early hour; the usually-bustling promenade, pier and amusements were quiet, some opening their doors for the day, others yet to open for business. Some people could be seen walking to work, or perhaps just enjoying the fresh early morning air before the deluge of visitors, tourists and beach-goers inundated the area. It had just passed low tide. The beach was sparsely populated, perhaps with people who wanted a quiet place of contemplation away from the hustle of downtown Lost Haven, or maybe who wanted to catch themselves some rays before making a start to the day.

Yet for all of this normality, the situation had definitely changed. With the announcement of the 'Hounds of Humanity' and their accompanied deeds, combined with strange power outages that had affected the financial district - not to mention the sporadic gun fights that menaced the city's streets at night - and indeed, sometimes during the day. If it wasn't the Hounds, it was the Triads and the Yakuza... or even just some random imbéciles who thought that the best way to solve a problem was with a gun and a full magazine. However, down on the beach, life seemed normal. At least, as normal as it could get for the time being. A woman sat on a blue towel on the sands. Her blonde hair was tied back in a knot behind her head, with a straw hat protecting her head from the sun's rays, and she was clad in just a white bikini, with nothing on her feet. A pair of sandals sat next to her... as did a loaded Beretta 92F pistol, with French markings; designated the PAMAS G1. The woman sat leaning back on her hands, whilst on her face she wore a pair of sunglasses - for even the early morning sun could be fierce upon the eyes. Françoise sipped at a can of coke whilst she looked out over the sea, listening to the waves gently lapping along the shore, and the seagulls who circled overhead. She had already eaten - a simple meal of toast and orange juice back at Roux's house - though in truth, she didn't have to. She did so because it made her feel more normal, it reminded her of her life before Timbuktu. She was always an early riser - Roux had been asleep when she left the house. Speaking of which, she heard the sand shift behind her, and a short, fat man half-walked, half-waddled over towards her. Françoise giggled to herself - Roux's portliness had really gotten to him... and that ugly checked shirt he was wearing certainly did the man no favours. His gut was protruding quite considerably over the belt he was wearing along with beige - yes, beige - shorts. He had as much fashion sense as a sponge. And he was quite red in the face already.

"Te voilà! Where have you been, mademoiselle, I have been looking all over the city for you! Next time, you could at least tell me where you are going, so I don't have to walk around looking for you, and making everyone look at me like a crétin has escaped from the asylum!" Robert wobbled his way over, whilst Fran shook her head in derision.

"Pfft. Not like you need any help with that, Robert. It's like watching a penguin waddle about with you... you really should lose some weight. And don't give me the horse-crap of it being génétique, you're just fat." Françoise looked back out to sea, taking another sip of her coke. Robert, flustered at the remark, yet relieved he had located his lodger, bumbled over next to her and, with considerable effort and grunting, finally was able to park his fat lard-arse next to her. Fran scoffed as she glanced at him, a wry smirk marring her features. "Don't know who looks worse, Robert. Yourself, for appearing in that fucking awful outfit, or me for looking like your, er... what do the Americans say, trophy wife?" Fran snickered and took another drink of coke as Robert grimaced and looked her over quite noticeably.

"Bah, let the Yanks think what they think. You're not my type anyway. You don't have a cock." Robert gave a low, hoarse chuckle as he took out a cigar, lighting it and inhaling a large cloud of smoke, allowing the hot, smoky flavours to roll around his mouth before breathing them out in a cloud off to Fran's right. Fran, for her part, wrinkled her nose in disgust. Roux noticed. "What, you have a problem with me smoking here?"

"That and you being here to fucking begin with, but c'est la vie." Fran smirked again and took another drink of her can, which was growing empty. "I came here to think and get some peace and quiet, not chit-chat with a fat man."

"And yet here the fat man is!" Robert gave another chuckle and took another smoke from his cigar. It was large - very large, a fat Cuban from one of the specialist tobacco stores that Robert knew around Lost Haven. He used to be a tobacconist himself, before his tastes changed to wine, and he became quite the wine expert in the local area. "Heh. Reminds me of Le Havre and la Manche, oeh? You ever been to Normandie?"

"Didn't know you were a Norman. Then again... explains a lot about you." Fran nodded down to Robert's gut, to which he sniffed, mock-offended. Fran went on, heedless of Robert's reaction. "No, I've never been to the North. Furthest north I've been to is Lyon, and baise-moi, that was a shithole and a half. From what I've heard, Paname isn't much better. Better than Toulouse, though."

Robert laughed and nodded, taking another smoke. "On that, ma petite rubis, we can definitely agree. I can't imagine you do... but do you miss Toulouse?"

The response was immediate. "Bahaha! Do I fuck..." Fran scoffed and shook her head, looking around at the beach, and the city of Lost Haven, and the harbour off to the north. "Look around, RObert. Amérique has something La Métropole just doesn't have for a woman like me, oui? A sense of espérance, opportunité, dare I say it... optimisme! France is dying on its feet, Robert. People like me, women like me, we have nothing in La Métropole, don't you see? What is there in France, oeh? A life on the streets, or fuck, walking the streets, probably dying of something from a client, oui? It was either that or join the army. I was lucky. Most girls in my situation would probably kill to have had the opportunities I've had as part of the Armée de Terre. I met people like Jean-Philippe, Henri Rousseau, Julien Ferraut-"

"You didn't just meet the last two, from what Jean-Philippe told me."

"Shut up, Robert! Filthy old man, you are." Fran spat on the sand next to her, whilst Robert's booming laugh rang out next to her. "Bah, so what if I fucked them, it's not illegal... Besides, it was nothing. Drunken one-night stands, that was all. At least, that's all they were to me. If they thought anything else, that's their problem." Fran drained the last of her coke.

Behind them, a man in black descended the stone steps. Fran could hear them walking down, the noisy fuck... she turned to look at the man, dipping her sunglasses to see him properly. He was in some armoured bodysuit... and he already had an MP7 at the ready. "Robert, protége-toi!" Fran cried as the man turned towards them both, and opened fire. Bullets skipped across the sand around them, as Fran threw herself in front of Robert, a bullet striking her full in the chest and bouncing clean off. She returned fire once, twice, thrice... All three shots from her 92F connected, driving the man back once... twice... thrice... Fran rolled to her feet as the man dropped to the ground, groaning and crying out in pain. Seething, Fran walked over, caring little for the shocked looks of the few people who had gathered to watch, and took hold of the man by his punctured vest. "Okay, connard... Who the fuck do you work for? Answer me quick and you might even live."

The man coughed, spattering blood all across Fran's chest. He tried to speak, but all he could do was stammer out in fear and agony from the bullet wounds in his chest cavity. "That fucking bullet... sh-should've killed you! P-p-people like you... you're unnatural! You don't deserve... deserve shit..." She dropped him where he lay, and then she nodded, a grim sneer on her face.

"Ah... les petits chiens. You poor, stupid little connard." Fran made to walk away, but then she stopped and looked back down at the grievously-wounded man, who had reached for his gun. She tutted, and aimed her pistol at his head. His eyes widened in fear as he realised she had no intention of letting him live, not now... Fran pulled the trigger, the pistol barking and illuminating the bloodied fountain that sprayed forth from the man's head, a mixture of blood, bone and brain fragments. Fran fired once more. Just to make sure.

Walking back over to Robert, she threw the gun down upon the towel, and lay back down in the sun. Robert, still in shock, blinked at Fran, bewildered and confused. "Who... the fuck... was that?"

"Some little dog that tried to impress their master." Fran frowned. "What I want to know... how did they fucking find me at seven in the fucking morning... Are they tracking me? Robert... if some connard can ambush me at the beach, where can I go in this city?"

"I-I don't know. You might want to get that blood off you first." Robert pointed to the spatters of blood that covered most of Fran's neck and chest, effused from the body of the man she'd just shot dead. In broad daylight.

"Why bother? The gendarmerie will no doubt be here soon to arrest me for defending myself from a crazed gunman."
<Snipped quote by Legion X51>

Before I accept this CS, could you explain how the Pax Metahumana event has any ties to Rubis' powers?

It doesn't. Because I'm a moron and didn't understand what it was all about, so, uh... let's say her powers triggered when Fran was about to die in the VCI explosion? And leave it there?

"I'm a monster that destroys other monsters, and anything else that gets in my way."

Character you have created:
Arielle Françoise Lerroux, prefers to be known as Françoise, or just Fran to her friends.

Rubis - Her most common alias
Jeanne Friant - Alias known to NYPD
Helene Daladier - Alias known to LHPD
Louise D'Entrecasteaux - Alias known to FBI

Speech Color:

Character Alignment:
Walking the Line, although she sees herself as a Hero. However, those who see her methods would call her little better than a Villain.

Identity: Semi-secret. Rubis uses a few aliases to disguise her true identity.


Fran retains her military uniform from her days in the 11th Parachute Brigade, in defiance of French military law.

Origin Info/Details:
Françoise Lerroux has always been a rough girl. Born on the streets of the city of Toulouse, in the region of Haute-Garonne in France, her parents never knew what it was like to have a stable home over their heads, or where the next meal would come from, or money in their pockets. Fran's mother, Juliette, was a simple farmhand, who had moved to Toulouse with her childhood sweetheart Thomas Lerroux, only to find themselves without a future after Thomas' business partner was shot dead in a Corsican nationalist terrorist attack in the streets of Toulouse. Thomas fell into a cycle of depression and drunkenness at the crumbling of his plans, with Juliette and little Fran taking the worst of it, often physically and mentally abused by the drunken Thomas, to the point where social services eventually came in. Thomas was arrested and incarcerated for his abuse of his wife and daughter, whilst Fran was taken into foster care at the age of four, to her mother's anguish. Fran was a problematic child - often violent-tempered and unwilling to subject to authority, which caused no end of problems for any foster carers. She was never in one family's care for long; first was the Gravières, then the Louselles, then the Delacroixs... the list seemed to go on and on, one or even two families per year taking her in, and then shoving her straight back out of the door. Developing a deep distrust of any who tried to take her in, Fran hardly made it any easier for herself as a result, and her constant moving around (not to mention her foul temper and lack of respect for anyone) meant her educational achievements were hardly overwhelming. Fran, however, was physically strong and tough, despite standing at only 5' 9" when fully grown, and she preferred to concentrate on the sports field rather than the classroom. She developed into quite the fast runner, and a competent swimmer to boot, whilst in the classroom, she was able to scrape together the necessary grades for her Baccalauréat, only performing well in language studies, able to learn Spanish and English competently.

At the age of 18, Fran, seeing no real opportunity for her elsewhere, decided to join the Armee de Terre, or to you and me, the French Army. She was an unimpressive soldier, however, forever in the bad books of the Gendarmerie Nationale for minor infractions and insubordination against her superior officers. Not even rising above the rank of Caporal, Fran nevertheless served in the Armee de Terre as an paratrooper in the 11th Parachute Brigade, garrisoned in her home city of Toulouse, though never seeing active combat duty, in accordance with the French Army's rules of deployment. During her time in the army, she served in both Afghanistan and Mali, seeing the effects of the insurgencies in the former French colony. The experiences of the plight of the Afghans and Malians left Fran feeling disgusted and angered by the greed and selfishness of her fellow man - thousands suffered because some crazed fool wanted to rebuild the world in their own image, and why? Pride? Greed? Avarice? It was people like them that Fran hated - people who used their fellow man as tools to achieve greatness for themselves. And the Armee de Terre stopped men like them. Fran resolved to re-dedicate herself to her military studies, but before she could, a strange event occurred in her life, one that would change her forever... still in Mali, Fran was in the midst of downtown Timbuktu, when her column came under fire from Islamist insurgents. Fran's VCI took a direct hit from an RPG-7 warhead, detonating the fuel tank and killing seemingly all inside. However, Fran was alive, and though stunned, it was as though something inside her snapped. Enraged by the deaths of her colleagues, Fran leapt out of the VCI's charred and aflame remnants, and, with a FAMAS in her hands, returned fire at the Islamists, seemingly barely heeding the bullets that struck her in return. However, the adrenaline was soon to wear off... and Fran collapsed, unconscious in the street.

Fran awoke naked in a hospital bed, surrounded by confused and concerned doctors and Sergent Jean-Philippe Hautin, one of a few people she was able to actually befriend in the Armee de Terre. Fran felt... strange. She had no injuries on her body, though she had survived being hit by no fewer than thirteen bullets, as well as surviving the rocket attack and subsequent detonation of her vehicle. The doctors had initially thought that Fran might have been thrown clear of the vehicle, but that did not explain eyewitness accounts of Fran getting out of the vehicle's ruined skeleton and opening fire at the Islamists... Ser. Hautin decided to do a test. Still groggy, Fran saw Ser. Hautin take out his pistol, despite everyone's protestations, and then winced as the gun fired... only for the bullet to impact against her flesh without even a scratch. Fran, however, felt the impact of the bullet as clear as anything, though when she looked at her stomach to see whether the bullet had done any damage... it had only penetrated the bedclothes, and not her flesh. Ser. Hautin's experiment had proven something strange had happened. Fran, for all intents and purposes, was immune to damage.

Hero Type:

Power Level: Street-level.

Indestructible: Fran, for all intents and purposes, is invulnerable to physical damage. Bullet wounds, grenades, even explosions from vehicles or fuel fires, nothing can harm her. Knives, needles, or any other blades, will not pierce her skin. She is immune to the effects of poison gas, from lightning strikes, indeed perhaps every form of mundane harm. She will not suffocate, nor will she drown. This does not mean she can breathe in water, but she does not *need* to breathe, or eat or drink. However, Fran is still subject to limits - she is not immortal. She is still vulnerable to the supernatural, and she is still subject to normal human levels in terms of strength and reflexes. Fran is also subject to internal chemicals and effects such as adrenaline, not to mention serotonin which contributes to her fiery temper, though external forces such as concussion grenades, stun batons and tasers have no impact on her.

Attributes (Select one at each category):
Height: 5' 9"

Age: 23

Weight: 144 lbs

Strength Level: Normal Human (slightly elevated due to lack of risk of muscle or tendon or bone damage).

Speed/Reaction Timing Level: Normal Human.

Endurance at MAXIMUM Effort: Limitless.

Agility: Normal Human.

Intelligence: Above average.

Fighting Skill: Trained.

Resources: Low, though this may change over time.

Fran is one person with a bad attitude. She isn't superhumanly strong like Icon, she can't fly, she can't create magical lightning bolts from the tips of her fingers, she can't melt through steel or titanium with her bare hands. She is physically indestructible, but she is not immortal. Magic that does not rely upon physical damage will still harm her or take their usual effects, though Fran's training in the 11th Parachute Brigade has hardened her mind somewhat, though it would still be easily surmountable by magicians. Fran can be restrained, tied up, buried alive, whatever. Just don't expect it to kill her. Annoy her, sure.

Speaking of a bad attitude, Fran might be a heroine in her eyes, but she's a brutal one - as displayed during the Timbuktu engagement. She will not hesitate to gun down those standing in her way, no matter their allegiance. Hostage situations are pointless - Fran will simply shoot the hostage and then the hostage-takey man. If they're lucky, Fran will only shoot the hostage in the leg or the shin. If they're not, and Fran is feeling particularly impatient or angry, then they're likely going to die. Fran was never one to talk things out - she will shoot first and ask questions later. Though it served her well in the hostile atmosphere of Northern Mali, it will be less successful in the streets of Lost Haven or New York City.

Fran also is on something of a power trip. She's indestructible, who wouldn't take liberties?

Supporting Characters:
Ser. Jean-Philippe Hautin, Fran's best friend in the Armee de Terre. (35, M, currently in Toulouse, France)
Juliette Lerroux, Fran's mom. (40, F, currently in Toulouse, France)
Cap. Henri Rousseau, friend in the Armee de Terre. (28, M, currently in Toulouse, France)
Robert Roux, a friend of Hautin who lives in Lost Haven and who puts up Fran in LH. (42, M, currently in Lost Haven, United States)
S1C. Julien Ferraut, friend in the Armee de Terre. (22, M, currently in Toulouse, France)

Do you know how to post pictures on RPG boards?: Yup.

With thanks to Indiana Cooper for her help and blessing in creating Rubis.
Call me out and be done with it, damn you.

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