professorwolf: (gentleman)
OOC Information

Name: Gail
Age: 31
Characters already in game?: None
Contact: PM this journal or email at cacopheny @ gmail

IC Information

Name: Randolph Lyall
Canon: Parasol Protectorate
Canon Medium: Book series
Age: Physically early 30s; in actual years, the span of his mortal life plus about 300
Gender/ Sex: Male

Canon History:
At just over three hundred years old, Randolph Lyall is the oldest werewolf in his pack, and one of the oldest in his country. He was changed, in his version of England, shortly before King Henry absorbed the supernaturals into the British government, ending the so-called Dark Ages and beginning the Renaissance or, as the werewolves and vampires called it, the Age of Enlightenment. He doesn’t speak much of what he was before he was given the bite, but given his love for and interest in the breeding habits of sheep, speculation suggests he was a shepherd-- quite possibly one who disapproved of his eventual first Alpha helping himself to some of his sheep-- and given his capable nature for avoiding notice, it’s likely he had many more outgoing siblings.

Whether he was turned at his own request or not, he survived the experience and was taken into the pack. At some point, his capabilities at organization and handling an Alpha, as well as his cleverness and ability to hold onto that cleverness while in wolf form, led him to the rank of Beta: second in command of the pack. His job from then on out was to help keep the pups in line, help support the Alpha in his leadership, and to question the Alpha as much as possible in private. He also wound up taking a position within the government, in the branch known as BUR: the Bureau of Unnatural Registry. He does quite a bit of paperwork and also quite a bit of investigative field work, being more mobile than many other BUR agents. He enjoys the work, and while most werewolves do military service-- he himself holds the rank of lieutenant colonel, from an earlier term of service-- Lyall winds up devoting most of his professional energies to the bureaucracy and local investigations instead. He maintained a small laboratory on Woolsey grounds, when the pack lived there, and helped the locals raise and breed their sheep.

Lyall has lived as Beta for three Alphas-- by the end of the canon, he made it to four with a fifth in the planning stages-- presumably all or most with the Woolsey-London area pack. Of his first, presumably the one who gave him the bite, not much is ever spoken. Of his second, he prefers not to speak of him at all. The previous Woolsey Alpha was old, and sometime in the eighteen-forties, in his old age and power, he "went bad"-- that is, vicious and insane, and always hungry in more ways than one. To protect the rest of the pack, Lyall took on the brunt of the problem, allowing himself to be badly and repeatedly abused so that none of the others in the pack would know just how bad things had become. The only one who actually guessed was his Gamma, Major Channing, the third-ranked member of the pack and an off-again-on-again friend and ally.

Then, in the eighteen-fifties, his beloved, who happened to be both a preternatural by birth (able to nullify the powers of a supernatural through touch) and a supernatural hunter by training, tried to take on the maddened Alpha werewolf and was killed. Only then, with revenge and grief added to the motivations of self-preservation and the protection of the pack, did Lyall finally decide enough was enough. He spent four years working out a complicated plot to lure a new Alpha to the pack to dispose of the current one: a man named Conall Maccon, originally from a Scottish pack centered at Kingair Castle. He arranged for that pack to betray him, forcing him to abandon them and, rather than become a loner wolf with no pack, which tended to result in either madness or at least poverty, find another Alpha to challenge. By design, the nearest was Lyall’s, and the challenge was both messy and successful, leaving Lord Maccon in charge of the Woolsey pack and inheritor of all the previous Alpha’s titles.

Twenty years later, in the eighteen-seventies, his new Alpha-- quickly becoming his favorite and the one he supported the most, despite his arrival being surrounded by subterfuge-- married a young and rather difficult preternatural named Alexia Tarabotti. Ironically enough, this was Lyall’s former love Alessandro’s estranged daughter. She took to the pack as an Alpha female, albeit a human (or preternatural) one. Despite the connections to her father, Lyall was actually rather pleased with the situation, and as readily bows to her authority as he does Conall himself.

Over the course of that acquaintance, life became much more exciting. First, Alexia became pregnant and was forced to flee the country for a time when the local vampire hives tried to kill her because of her unborn child. Then Conall had to turn a vampire’s drone into a werewolf to save his life, and that whole kettle of fur had to be dealt with. The lady Alexia discovered his duplicity with regards to luring Conall to the pack, but promised not to tell her husband. Then the whole pack wound up moving to London when a vampire hive took over their manor, through something of a mistake on Alexia's part. It was the first time a werewolf pack became entirely urban, and Lyall supposed if anyone’s pack should, it would be theirs, though leaving the original manor that had been his home for at least a century or two was decidedly painful.

Two years later, with the pack mostly settled in London and their former vampire drone packmember turning into a surprisingly good "replacement" Beta (among other things; the boy wound up manifesting an Alpha trait on accident and also wound up occasionally sharing Lyall's bed), the secret came out while Conall was away and the new Alpha of his old pack in town. After some payback in true werewolf fashion-- she attacked him, aiming to kill or at least punish for the betrayal-- the particulars of the previous Alpha came out and they struck a bargain: he would serve as Beta in her pack, at least until he could find and train a replacement for her, thus neatly avoiding Conall's wrath. He plans to return when Conall retires, and work as Beta under the new pack leader.

Canon Point:
Between the two books Heartless and Timeless, during the time before the “two years later” paragraph in his history.

~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 shapechange, such as extending his teeth into fangs or changing the color of his eyes, is possible with much less pain and even after dawn, and is sometimes good for intimidating lower ranks or mortals.
~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 the instinct for long.
~Supernatural senses: Though most werewolves tend to 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 the next room over. 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. I would like to keep a small portion of this active as part of his AU character: not supernatural or even wolf-level scent, but possessing a very sharp nose for a human, if that is possible!
~Supernatural speed and strength: This is not an extreme increase in speed and strength, certainly not enough to fool the human eye or break steel chains, but it is enough to impress most mortals. Lyall, being very small for a werewolf, is much more balanced towards speed than strength.
~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 a wound is caused by silver, or Lyall is very tired or weakened, it will heal within the span of a few moments. 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, on the other hand, 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.
~Fighting: When in wolf form, Lyall is a fairly 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. For sheer endurance and strength, he’s definitely on the lower end of the scale. Fighting as a human really isn’t his forte at all, as he’s a bit out of practice in swinging a punch, but he’s a pretty good shot with a pistol.
~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 doesn’t need to get much energy out of them, 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 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. The only abilities unaffected are his senses. 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.

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 shapechanges, 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 he 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. 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 include 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.

AU Role:
Preferably the head butler of the household, as this most closely aligns with his talents and role within his werewolf pack. He has in canon actually referred to his role in the pack as being the butler of the supernatural world. If this position is planned for an NPC or taken before he is approved, I would use tutor or butler underling as a backup role.

AU History:
In nineteenth century steampunk England, Randolph Lyall was born into an overlarge family in middle-class London, son of a tailor and the middle child out of eight. He had no talent with the family business, and no interest in it besides an inexplicable fondness for sheep-- they’re cute little blighters, for all their silliness-- so he was shipped off to a wealthy townhouse with a cousin as a general servant. As it turned out, his talent was much more geared towards organizing people and cooling tempers when need be, discovered by the housekeeper of the townhouse in question when he diffused an argument between a maid and two kitchen hands. She brought him up to the level of footman at seventeen, with an eye towards butlership.

Lyall hit full butler at twenty-four, managing the affairs and servants of one of the younger lords in his current house, but though he had potential to go higher, there weren’t any openings there. He sought employment at a couple other houses, this time in the country in the hopes of finding more mobility within a larger staff, with references from the city. He worked for three years at one country estate before a minor scandal with a footman made it prudent to move on again before they got each other into more trouble than the common Victorian standards would allow them to recover from if it got any bigger than it did. It was a bit sad to have to leave the other young man behind-- they had quite a bit in common, and he had the loveliest eyes-- but his career was more important than a dalliance at that point, particularly one that probably had no real future anyway, so he moved on.

Since visits “home” to London simply now proved too much for his rather keen sense of smell, which was now used to the cleaner air of the country than the mess of the city streets, to consider a position there, Lyall looked exclusively for positions in the countryside. He served for a couple years at another country manor, gaining experience and references, before landing at the Valdemar household at age thirty. He worked his way steadily, and quietly, up through the household servant ranks. Now, at age thirty-four, he’s been working as head butler for the whole manor for almost a year after the rather sudden retirement of the last master of servants after a stroke, and he’s more comfortable there than he had been in any other position. His brain is well-wired for keeping lists in order, he’s quick to catch and handle misbehavior, and he’s still in good enough shape to bustle around the house seeing to the various things he needs to see to. Even his sensitive nose has sussed out a problem or two, all on its own. It's something of a joke among the staff, one he tolerates.


Lyall trying to understand some data and cheer up a grumpy young mutant. Only one of these tasks is successfully concluded.


professorwolf: (Default)
Professor Randolph Lyall

July 2015

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