professorwolf: (farewell)
Player Info
Name: Gail
OOC Journal: [personal profile] professorwolf
Over 18? Yes
Email/IM/Plurk: email | IM throughoblivion
Current characters: None

Character Info
Name: Professor Randolph Lyall

Canon: The Parasol Protectorate

Age: 300 or thereabouts

Canon/AU/CR AU: Canon

Soulless Wiki Page
Professor Lyall’s character page

History: As a somewhat obscure book character, not much information is available online, so I have written out a character history here.

Canon Point: After the end of Heartless and before the beginning of Timeless

World Information:
The Earth of Randolph Lyall's understanding is one in which the immortal and the mortal live side by side. Before the British Isles ever had a king, there were vampire hives along the Thames. Before Rome ever had a Caesar, it told tales about its founders being raised by werewolves. The highland bogs that held preserved remains of the dead sheltered their ghosts, who went slowly mad and disintegrated into the fairy lights of the swamps. Preternaturals-- soul-suckers and curse-breakers, depending on who you asked, those who negated the power of the supernatural-- hunted them and exorcised them all alike.

Some societies venerated one or another of the supernatural races-- the Roman empire rested on the backs of vampires, and Egypt was run by the werewolves for many generations-- or scorned them all as products of evil-- Italy in particular founded the Templars just to hunt down the supernatural and their allies. Some few accepted them all into polite society, like England, where Lyall lives.

It did not happen all at once, of course. During the Dark Ages, the supernatural lived in hiding, preying on humanity because they didn't have any other choice and few friends among daylight folk. The Renaissance, rather than just an age of educational enlightenment, was also an age of supernatural enlightenment, where the immortals of the world became as much a subject of scientific study as mortals. Their connection to aetheric particles and light waves is still not entirely understood, though there are a number of theories, trying to explain the several permutations of supernatural and who can be turned and who cannot.

The turning process is, after all, very dangerous and not at all certain. Only werewolf Alphas and vampire queens can bite to turn, and the process technically kills the applicant (or victim). If one has excess soul-- or the right kind of aetheric connection to ambient energy, depending on what theory one goes by-- the bitten one comes back to life as a werewolf or vampire. Most who attempt the change, however, die in the attempt, as there is no way to tell ahead of time who has the right qualifications, and such qualifications are very rare. Those with that same qualification who die of non-supernatural causes come back as ghosts. Werewolves and vampires are ageless and immortal, unless killed, but ghosts last only as long as their bodies can be preserved-- and vampires subsist on blood and are practically dead during the day, unable to stand the touch of sunlight, while werewolves go mad on the night of the full moon and lose their shifting ability during the daytime. All forms of supernatural have their downsides.

In England, things are perhaps the best of the Western countries for supernaturals. The Puritans left the country due to the king's mandate to integrate the supernatural into society, and both government and fashion started following supernatural trends. On the continent and in Italy particularly supernaturals are outlawed and hunted. Usually the stronger the Christian religious affiliation of the government, the more hostile to immortals. When they are not considered undead and merely dangerous for having to prey on humans, they are considered to have sold their souls for the bite and thus are pure evil. In England, however, they are regulated and registered just as any other important member of society, have their own dedicated branch of government known as the Bureau of Unnatural Registry (BUR), and are even considered something like a national treasure, being a fount of experience and knowledge spanning sometimes thousands of years. Many werewolves and vampires have high positions in the aristocracy, and while vampires have a controlling interest in the East India Trading Company, the werewolves have their place in the military. The English queen even has a small, private council of supernaturals: the dewan (werewolf advisor), the potentate (vampire advisor), and the muhjah (preternatural advisor).

Much of Europe's feudal and nobility structure in this version of Earth comes from werewolf pack and vampire hive dynamics. Vampires are tethered to their territory and follow their queen's rules, protecting her from harm and doing research and making money according to her preferences. Werewolves are tethered instead to their pack, with stricter rank orders than a true wolf pack: Alphas lead and turn new werewolves, Betas maintain order and protect the pack, and Gammas challenge their leaders and provide information, with the rest arrayed below that by age, strength, and cunning. Very few hives and packs are larger than a dozen members-- most are much smaller-- and new additions to the hive and pack are treasured, celebrated, and announced to the world as a successful metamorphosis.

Those aiming to petition for immortality, or just offer their talents in return for patronage and visibility in the upper set, are called drones (under vampires) and clavigers (under werewolves). Drones care for, gather information for, and protect their vampire masters during their daytime sleep. Clavigers serve the werewolves and help keep them caged during the full moon, armed with silver knives and silver mesh nets for capturing the powerful wolves should they escape.

The technology of Lyall's London is a bit skewed from that of a normal Earth, slightly more advanced and slightly more towards focused on steam as an energy source. There are also odd inventions such as dirigibles, which are zeppelin-like floating barges used for transport and pleasure cruises, and aethographers, distance communication devices the size of a pair of small rooms that use crystalline valves to transmit data wirelessly. These are both new inventions, but swiftly growing in popularity.

Randolph Lyall is everything a good werewolf pack Beta should be: he is supportive of his Alpha, he is mild-mannered except when his authority is challenged, he is the height of organization and forethought, and he is extremely protective of his pack. Always first in his thoughts is how to keep the pack together and keep it safe, for new members as well as old, and he is willing to face incredible personal suffering and the appearance of treason (though without any intention for it to succeed, of course) for that cause. He has done both, over the course of his place as Woolsey-London pack’s Beta and second in command. He even stoops to keeping a sandwich on his person, in one of the many pockets of his waistcoat, in case his Alpha or his Alpha’s wife become grumpy and require soothing with foodstuffs. Next to everything else he’s done in the past, that is nothing.

It takes strong will to be a pack Beta, and Lyall has that in plenty. He’s constantly testing it, too, particularly against the pull of the full moon. All werewolves, no matter how much control they have at all other times, will turn into a furious, hunting, killing beast the true night of the full moon, younger werewolves changing every night for several nights prior and even after. Lyall, however, resists the change as long as possible, despite the pain involved, just to see how long he can each time. Some of it is pure pride, as well: he has envied vampires more than once for being able to keep their dignity, while werewolves are subject to the state of the moon, must endure painful shape-changes, and affect the occasional public nudity. Very undignified, all of it, and Lyall is rather fond of his dignity.

Lyall’s patience is long, but not endless, and he has been known to lose it with his Alpha now and then, when said Alpha is being particularly stupid-- such as drinking through Lyall’s entire supply of formaldehyde for his sheep embryo specimens; yes, even as a werewolf Lyall does still interest himself in the breeding of sheep-- and his favorite refuge when annoyed is sarcasm. But he never employs it with someone who actually needs patience, like a new pack member who isn’t fitting in as well as hoped or a nervous informant. He isn’t particularly fond of open spaces, anymore, either, being a creature more of the shadows than the spotlight: that’s what his Alpha is for, not him. When he doesn’t have comforting walls and a ceiling overhead-- or trees and their canopy, at least-- he can be twitchy and uncomfortable, and is always quick to suggest getting someplace less exposed.

Manners and all the polite strictures of society are very important to Lyall: they show he is civilized despite the incivility of turning into a mad, hunting beast every full moon, and they form a comforting ritual of how to get by with other people. Practicality, organization, and routine are his favorite things. He is very much a creature of habit, much less spontaneous and outgoing than many werewolves, and prides himself as coming across as intelligent, urbane, and sophisticated despite his supernatural inclinations. His clothing and hair are never in disarray (if they are, that usually means he is feeling very harried, indeed), he very rarely loses his temper, and everything about him is calculated to convey the sense of harmlessness.

It doesn’t hurt, either, that he is not a big man. His current Alpha is easily twice his weight, and he is both slight and slender, very used to being completely underestimated when it comes to his fighting prowess. It’s to the point where he simply assumes people will immediately ask, upon finding out his rank, how the blazes he managed to get there and hold the position, as werewolf politics often includes physical battles. Lyall is quite capable of fighting when a wolf, for all he hates it-- not because of the pain, but because it’s so messy, with all that blood everywhere-- and he is more clever and quick than strong, using the strength of his enemy against them.

Most werewolves in Britain instinctively recognize Lyall’s rank, though they might underestimate his ability to keep it, and thus afford him with at least some measure of respect. He has no problem asserting rank, either, if need be, able to bark an order at a loner werewolf or growl a warning when another member of the pack gets above themselves. Order, after all, must be maintained, and rank is deeply ingrained in a werewolf. Even a quiet Beta is still to be obeyed, and even an abusive Alpha is still an Alpha.

Politeness and his habitual control over his emotions is also of use as a mask for when things get too difficult, or too messy, or too personal. They are his refuge from the period of time, twenty years back, when his position as Beta and drive to protect the pack led to his suffering painful and humiliating abuses at the hands of his then-current Alpha, Lord Woolsey. That stillness and harmlessness he cultivates is as much a defense mechanism as it is a means of interacting with the world, a balancing act to keep any extreme movement from causing pain. It isn’t a time he talks about unless he has no other choice. He no longer shies from thinking about it and can even discuss it with some level of detachment, it has been long enough for him, but that doesn’t mean he wants to think on it.

Abilities, Weaknesses, and Power Limitations:
~Wolf Form: As a part of the “fuzzy” side of the supernatural coin, in his world, Lyall has the ability to change into a wolf with about the same size and mass as his human shape: that is, of moderate size for a natural wolf, but small for a werewolf. It is very painful change, though he is extremely good at hiding it, and it is not instantaneous, but takes several seconds as bones break and reform, hair grows or shrinks away, and muscles completely realign. Common slang for the change is a “bone-bender”. A small partial shape-change, such as extending his teeth into fangs or changing the color of his eyes, is possible with much less pain, and is sometimes good for intimidating lower ranks. Because of the presence of a sun near to Omega, if quite a bit more distant than Earth's sun, Lyall's shapeshifting takes more effort and more time-- up to thirty seconds for the change rather than only a few seconds. It does not hurt more, but it definitely hurts longer. The length varies depending on the asteroid's current orbital distance and his location on Omega.
~Full Moon: Though Lyall is able to keep his human mind as a wolf in most cases, the one exception is the night of the full moon, at which point the change is forced on him, the pain is worse than usual, and he is just a maddened, vicious hunter who only wants to kill and eat. Luckily (if one can call it that) he cannot change others with his bite, as he is not an Alpha: he can only savage and kill. The only thing that might keep him from doing so is love, and even that can’t hold off instinct for long. With the lack of a moon around Omega's asteroid, this will not be occurring, though he will be quite confused when it does not!
~Supernatural senses: Though all werewolves have decent vision, they have actually supernatural senses of smell and hearing. A werewolf can smell every bit as well as a true wolf when in human form, and better when in wolf form, and hear even whispered conversations, in most cases. Lyall has been said to have the best nose in his pack, even able to tell apart different vampire and pack bloodlines by scent alone. This is unaffected by the presence of a sun.
~Supernatural speed and strength: The supernatural have greatly increased strength and speed compared to a mortal, with the ability to toss heavy furniture from one balcony to another or hurl each other about, and to move just a little faster than the human eye can easily follow. Lyall, being fairly small for a werewolf, is much more balanced towards speed than strength. Because of the presence of a sun near to Omega, he is not as strong or fast as he could be, though he is still stronger and faster than a mortal. He will not be able to break steel chains or move faster than a bullet, but he can still carry far more than it looks like he should and easily outrun most anyone.
~Supernatural healing: Werewolves are technically undead, and so always rapidly return to the state they were at turning: that is, unwounded, and with the same amount of hair (werewolves cannot shave or get haircuts, in fact, unless it occurs with a preternatural in contact with them). Unless a wound is caused by silver, or Lyall is very tired or weakened, it will heal within the span of a few moments, though the process makes him rather hungry. Because of this, while he is not immune to drugs, he does tend to recover more quickly from them, and he cannot get drunk on alcohol, as his body processes it too quickly. Silver wounds don’t heal any more quickly than they would on a mortal, and the touch of silver runs from uncomfortable to painful, and will poison a wound if any remains in it. Because of the presence of a sun, Lyall's healing is extremely constrained, so that a wound that might have healed in moments may instead take hours.
~Fighting: When in wolf form, Lyall is a very good fighter, enough to defend himself and the pack from challengers. He uses brains rather than strength, being able to hold onto his self during battle (fighting with soul, as it’s called), and is more tricky than powerful, liking to use his opponent’s size against them and attempt to outlast them. For sheer strength, though, he’s definitely on the lower end of the scale. Fighting as a human, however, really isn’t his forte at all, as he’s a bit out of practice in swinging a punch.
~Special Diet: Since his change, Lyall cannot process a number of foods, particularly starches and sugars. His diet now mainly consists of meat, and mainly raw or at least rare meat at that, though he’s good with eggs and other forms of protein. He can, under duress and if he wants to be a bit uncomfortable later, eat some vegetables and simple breads, but fruits, pastries, and over-processed foods of all kinds simply out of the question.
~Sunlight: Sunlight is detrimental to the werewolf condition. During the daylight hours, Lyall cannot change as easily (or at all), supernatural strength and speed are much diminished, healing is significantly slowed, and he feels sunlight as an uncomfortable buzzing under the skin. Most werewolves prefer to be asleep when the sun is up. Under normal circumstances, being a very old werewolf, Lyall can withstand the sun and go without sleep for a couple days at a time, but that leaves him even more utterly exhausted and stumbling than it would a mortal man.

~His clothing, in typical 1870s overdressing style. It consists of soft-soled boots, spats, trousers, a silk shirt, a waistcoat (one with many small pockets on the inside), a dress jacket, gloves, a cravat, and a top hat. He also has a greatcoat over it all.
~Inside his waistcoat (of holding): a pair of small spectacles with lenses ground for reading rather than distance viewing; a pair of cloth-wrapped monocular cross-magnification lenses with spectra-modifier attachment known commonly as "glassicals", which resemble a cross between binoculars and opera glasses and are meant for viewing small details up close, also sporting a tiny brass knife edge that springs from one end for sharpening quill nibs; a small, leather-bound journal in blue, unfinished, dated 1848-1850; a slightly battered ham and pickle sandwich wrapped in paper; two handkerchiefs.
~An old-fashioned leather case containing: a small, loaded six-bullet revolver, an extra bag of sundowner bullets (made of reinforced hardwood and braced and capped in silver), a twist of gunpowder, several scrolls of thin metal, a glass vial of diluted acid, a glass vial of ink, a metal quill pen, several sheets of heavy parchment-like paper, three tiny clear bottles for collecting samples, and tweezers.

In his human guise, Randolph Lyall is a slight, sandy haired man of indeterminate age, sporting angular, vulpine features; hazel eyes; small spectacles; and a very dapper sense of style, for the late 1800s. He is built on more on the “shrub” scale, being slight and somewhat weedy, and he’s very used to people thinking him incapable of physical altercations despite being a werewolf-- it’s to the point where he doesn’t really take offense to it, anymore. Point of fact, he’s actually well-muscled despite being small, he merely hides it under unassuming clothing. Said clothing is always of first class design and a sensible material, close to perfect but never quite on the mark, with an expertly tied cravat of a humble knot. Everything about him seems determined to make him over-lookable and harmless.

Lyall’s wolf form is equally easy to over-look, at least if one is used to a werewolf. While he’s of good size for a natural wolf, he is positively tiny for a werewolf, and a good deal quicker and more graceful than most, and with a muzzle so sharp he looks more fox-like than wolf-like. His fur is the same sandy color as his hair, with a frosting of black around his neck and face and a ruff of white just under his chin, and his eyes a pale yellow and much more intelligent than those of any true wolf.

Played By: Peter Davidson

Log Sample:

Lyall and a confused canonmate

Network Sample:

What a strange little device.

[The professor has finally figured out tiny version of the aethographor, having been originally a bit confused by the fact that it is now hand-held and includes a view-screen. But now he’s got it. He thinks. Even if all he’s got is audio, at the moment, since he hasn’t figured out the viewscreen part yet.]

Ahem. My name is Professor Randolph Lyall. How do you do. I’m afraid I’m a bit new here, and I’ve at least begun to understand some particulars of the place, but there is something a bit pressing I must ask.

[And he sounds mildly uncomfortable about it, too. Addressing a whole city full of strangers without even having been introduced... so very ill-mannered of him. But it is important. Even if he has yet to discern where a moon might be in this asteroid.]

Is there somewhere secure in this odd place? A room with no windows and a solid door, for example, preferably uninhabited? Or perhaps some kind of sturdy cell? I would be much obliged if anyone could point me to such a place. Thank you.

[That ordeal over, Lyall turns off the phone, the feed catching only the first breath of a relieved sigh before cutting off.]


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Professor Randolph Lyall

July 2015

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