Original Character, Canon, or Alternate Universe: The Gentleman Bastard Sequence (book series) by Scott Lynch
Played By: Lonneke Engle (for now, may change before entering game; will touch base with mods if so)
Concept: Sarcastic mafia princess with an eidetic memory has a thing for puzzles.
Physical Description: Nazca is in her late twenties, and appears to be more or less Western European in ethnicity. She shares her father’s darkish coloring, though her eyes are gray; she is nearsighted, corrected with a pair of optics (glasses) that she wears more or less at all times. Her build is tall and lean, and she is in good physical shape. Her dark brown hair is very curly, and she usually twists it away from her face.
History: Nazca Barsavi is the youngest of the three Barsavi children. Her father, Vencarlo Barsavi, brought her, her mother, and her brothers Anjais and Pachero to Camorr when Nazca was just an infant; as such, she has no memory of her native Tal Verrar. Barsavi had been a scholar, a teacher of rhetoric, but at some point before Camorr, turned to a life of crime.
Systematically, he began taking over Camorr's gangs (of which there were around 30 large ones, give or take). Some he bought out, but in most cases he simply killed the leaders, or garristas, then took over their gangs. Barsavi set up Camorr's underworld in an almost feudal manor, making garristas swear allegiance and pay a percentage of their takes. In return, he provided organization of resources, arbitration of disputes and (perhaps most importantly) a "Secret Peace" with Camorr's duke. The duke turned a blind eye as long as the gangs didn't steal from nobility, their direct interests, or the city watch. Given that Camorr was a port city, there were plenty of other rich opportunities to go around, and the underworld had no trouble supporting itself on merchants, traders, and the bourgeoisie. Barsavi effectively took over the more squalid parts of Camorr outright, and his authority within them was absolute.
Nazca, as the youngest child and her father's favorite, had run of their home, a barge called The Floating Grave. She drank, swore, bullied the guards and the servants, and saw little reason to be polite or patient with people stupider than herself.
Around the time she was seven or eight years old, a new initiate of Chains (a not-so-blind-as-advertised priest) appeared before her father to take his oath of allegiance. He was a boy about her own age, who she summarily declared skinny and ugly. Her father explained he just needed food, but she remained skeptical. When Locke Lamora declared his allegiance to her father, the boy then turned to her, saying that if she was to be the next Capa, he should swear loyalty to her as well. Though initially disdainful of his offer, she came to delight in her first pezon (vassal), and lorded it over her brothers that she'd obtained a follower before either of them.
Over the next 15 years or so, Capa Barsavi grew more and more successful and prosperous. It was a relatively peaceful time, and other than the loss of his wife to illness, he was generally contented. Nazca grew more shrewd and more civilized (at least to a point); during this time, she became the finnicker (record-keeper) for her father's organization. Though she kept paper records for his use, she had the entirety of his financial records memorized, which served him well in catching people attempting to cheat on their taxes or dispute an earlier claim. It was also just intimidating, which was useful and amusing to Nazca. Her brothers, Anjais and Pachero, became excellent fighters and decent gang leaders, though they were more self-assured and less clever than their position might merit.
About four years prior to Nazca’s canonpoint, Chains died, and Locke was promoted to garrista of his gang. As he was still her pezon, and probably her closest friend, Nazca enjoyed the opportunity to see Locke on a more regular basis. She also came to be acquainted with the four other men in Locke's gang over time, and to respect them to a greater or lesser degree.
A few months prior to canonpoint, a mysterious individual known only as "The Gray King" began killing garristas, brutally and in ways he should not have been able to manage in the heart of Barsavi's power. At first a minor annoyance, it quickly came to be a large problem for Barsavi. He forbade Nazca to leave the Floating Grave, and almost never left it himself; after about two months of this, he tried to forbid his sons from leaving as well, but they resisted strongly. At this point, Nazca confided to Locke that she was worried her father had forgotten how to cope with challenges to his authority.
Recognizing that Anjais and Pachero were not equipped to preserve his empire if and when something should happen, Barsavi "asked" Locke to court Nazca, with an eye to put Locke in a position to advise them as their brother-in-law. Though Locke accepted (not doing so would have been career suicide, and possibly literal suicide as well), he and Nazca privately came to an understanding that they would work together to avoid the marriage while helping Barsavi cope with the Gray King. Locke promised to return the following day to work out details.
In the book, it is unclear whether Nazca sneaked off the Floating Grave that night of her own volition, or was abducted by the Gray King. Given what happens later in the novel, the reader can only guess. For this version of Nazca, she indeed left of her own free will, and in fact had been sneaking out for some time. She had been attempting to investigate the Gray King's methods and associates on her father's behalf. In canon, this resulted in Nazca’s abduction and murder by the King and his mercenary wizard, the Falconer. For our purposes, she sneaks off the boat and into Juncture.
Talents/Abilities: Eidetic memory: 9 Math, especially large sums mentally: 8 Knife Fighting: 5 Pickpocketing: 4 Sass: 7
Personality: Nazca, as the youngest child and only daughter of the most powerful criminal and second most powerful man in her home city, has a duality to her nature. On the one hand, she is used to being respected, as she is effectively nobility in the underworld of Camorr. This had made her imperious and self-confident (almost to the point of narcissism, though more in the sense that she's amused by her own cleverness than grandiosity). However, as the youngest child and the girl, she is also used to her brothers upstaging her. This means that despite her self-assurance, she tends to prefer to accomplish things with planning and patience. In the same sense, accomplishing an end is its own reward, and she has very little need for outside approval. This is partly because she’s learned not to expect it.
In many ways, she is more a businesswoman than a criminal. Her role and her talents mean that she is in an excellent position to make her father's processes more efficient and more profitable; though she was well trained in fighting and knows the basics of thievery, Nazca herself has never needed to commit petty crimes. As such, a transition to more respectable pursuits would not necessarily displease her; if the position interested her, she could function within its rules, though morality in the conventional sense means little. She will not violate her word, but very seldom gives it; she trusts very few people (her father is included, her brothers aren't), but those few she trusts implicitly. Trust is a commodity in Camorr, and she neither gives it easily or lightly squanders that which is given to her.
Though she doesn't speak unless it's calculated doing so will be to her advantage, she tends to be rather blunt when that time comes. She has little interest in her father's rhetoric games, or in her brothers' taste for boasting and storytelling. She does, however, enjoy casual verbal games and battles of wits with her friends; Nazca is very smart, and when she finds someone she considers her equal, she likes to take advantage of their intelligence in conversation. There is a playful side to Nazca that belies how ruthless she can be; people familiar with primarily one side of her personality are often surprised if they ever encounter the other. She, however, doesn't feel there is any conflict between them; she applies herself with vigor to whatever she is doing, whether it's work, a game, or a mission for her family. In any of these situations, she keeps most people at an emotional arm's length, but also recognizes the necessity of having loyal supporters in any worthwhile enterprise.
Nazca operates in a society where her gender is a sharp disadvantage and feels it more keenly than she tends to let on. It stings that she is better qualified than her brothers to run her father’s empire, but cannot be given it outright. In many ways (for those familiar with her book), Nazca is set up to be the mirror image of the Duke’s spymistress, the Spider, whose power is massive but concealed. Had Nazca lived, she almost certainly would have occupied a similar position on the opposite end of the Secret Peace.
She feels most things should be faced calmly and logically whenever possible. This isn’t because she has a dearth of emotion, but rather because she’s learned it’s how you get people (or, more specifically, men) to take you seriously. Right or wrong, it’s a lesson she’s internalized.
Sexuality: There isn’t much canon evidence for Nazca’s sexuality one way or the other; she has no canon love interest that’s mentioned, and her habits aren’t commented upon either. For this version, she is probably about a 1 on the Kinsey scale; she’s predominantly heterosexual, but isn’t closed to other possibilities should the right one come along.
Nazca’s attitude toward sex is fairly casual, but she’s reluctant to get involved with anyone who could be a liability, politically or otherwise. This tended to limit her trysts to soldiers of her fathers’ who were loyal but unambitious. While something might have come of her close friendship with Locke Lamora, she was early aware that he was hopelessly in love with someone else, and was uninterested in being a substitute. Generally, she’s too busy for anything like a relationship, and sees sex as a need to be satisfied when necessary, like hunger or thirst, and occasionally finds it annoying that so few people see it the same way.
Reason for playing: I’ve tried Nazca in a number of games before (Taxon, Multiversal) and I think what I really struggle with in a more jamjar game is that she needs something to do. Badly. Nazca is great at neither idleness nor chit-chat, but she can talk to people easily enough in a business setting. The quest nature of Juncture might suit.
Additionally, I’ve never taken her from pre-death, and I think that might help focus her. She has a concrete reason to need to get home (i.e. her family and her city are in danger), and this will - hopefully - push her forward a bit.
She’s going to have quite a bit of immediate culture shock, given how different her home world is from both her new surroundings and her fellow characters’ worlds. But Nazca will want to Find Things Out and Get Things Done, so I think she should have a nice forward momentum.
Object: Nazca tends to approach things methodically and logically, so she might be successful with something that has rules (even strange ones) that she can work out. Something strongly emotion based might be more difficult for her.
▲ WRITING SAMPLES
Sample one: (Sample arrival post for a previous setting)
Nazca woke up, and that should have been impossible. Or no, she thought, precision. She diddn’t wake up so much as gradually become aware that she was, already, awake.
She was standing in the middle of a small room, with a table. She examined the contents. A small device (clockwork?), a pamphlet, and a deck of cards. The deck drew her eye first, because it was familiar. Impossibly, it was Locke’s deck, a deck he’d taught her to cheat with when they were barely more than children. (She’d lectured him about the satisfaction of winning without cheating, and he’d just laughed.)
As a girl, she’d learned to read her fortune with such a deck.
Resisting the temptation to turn a card, she instead lifted a hand to her throat. She could feel small wounds, but no fresh blood, and no swelling. She was a bit sluggish still, but alive, or this was a very different afterlife than she’d expected.
“Hello?” she called after a moment. Her voice was hoarse on the first try. Clearing it, she tried again, a bit better if still raw: “Can anyone hear me?” She wasn’t aware that the device was transmitting.
They could hear screams below their feet. The guard – Jerethem, she thought his name was (probably) – looked nervous, glancing down. “The Capa’s in a humor tonight.”
“Not out of,” she commented, with a shrug, as she looked through a small chest for her vial of alchemical wine. “He simply needs to make a point about the Secret Peace, that’s all. Fundamentals.” She withdrew the small vial, and tipped a small amount into a tumbler.
“Some,” she returned, almost absently, and drank. The last thing she needed was an unwanted child with some anonymous spear for hire. Removing her optics and neatly folding them, she added, “Are we going to discuss politics? I was under the impression you wanted something a bit more recreational.”
He reddened just a bit. “Well, Miss Barsavi, I was… that is…” He didn’t quite flinch at the next sharp scream. She would pick someone older, next time. “Here?”
“Why not? It’s a sturdy desk.” She smiled, and held a hand out to him. “Come, soldier, Gandolo favors the bold.”
He set his worries aside, and clearly tried to put what was going on below out of his mind. He came over a slow step at a time and took her hand, pressing a kiss to the inside of Nazca’s wrist before leaning in to kiss her mouth. Once she gave him a bit of encouragement, he began to take her words about boldness more to heart, and his lips parted against hers.
And if he didn’t like screaming, well. Nazca didn’t have to make a sound. Or she could drown them out.
▲ TICKY BOXES
Are you over the age of eighteen? Y
Are you aware of the skillcheck system and comfortable with the fact that while your character cannot die without your express permission, they may get into some serious trouble? Y