Ship: Airship Isabella
Title: First Officer
Race: Reanimate Human
Home World: Hallow
Hometown: New Orleans
Date of Birth: 1788
I am Javert Absolon Marchande, and a proud Cajun hailing from good ol’ Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I was born in 1788 to Alexander and Cosette Marchande, a simple middle class family of French lineage, who made our living on the docks of the Mississippi river. Alexander, my father, was the dock-master and a prominent figure in the city. He had always been a cold sort of fellow who seemed to never look at me as a son as much as potential worker. And even when I came of age – a mere seven years old – he put me to work. My mother never said much, simply stayed at our home and worked occasionally as a seamstress when she wasn’t cleaning or cooking. In the mean time, I was worked long and hard on the docks, my father was unusually cruel and strict, and when I wasn’t working – I was sleeping. Some boys came to terms with these sort of fates, but I had broader horizons in mind.
The years came and went, and at the age of ten years I had finally had my fill. It was 1798, and the trade up and down the Mississippi was a buzz. After one last dinner with my parents, I slipped out my bedroom window and hopped a boat out of town. My freedom began then – and before long, I was in New Orleans. I spent a few days there living the life of a street urchin, stealing to live and living to steal. Eventually, however, the life lost its charm and I was out looking for work. After a short time of searching, I found my way onto a merchant ship where I was put to work loading and unloading cargo. But during our first expedition across the pacific to deliver goods to Europe, we were boarded and plundered by a crew of pirates. Instead of tossing me overboard with the other workers, however, the captain decided to take me in.
Years passed and I took quickly to a life on the seas. Civil war broke out in my home country, and before long I found myself serving beneath Jean Lafitte during the battle of New Orleans. Like most of us who served in the battle, I received a pardon from the United States for any of my warrants for piracy. Though I shortly thereafter left my life on the high seas in order to take up residency in the Crescent City, life as a law-abiding citizen proved to be too much. My addiction for fast-living, gambling and alcohol eventually got the better of me, and I started life as a part of the underground crime world of New Orleans. As a mercenary for hire, I murdered, plundered, stole and destroyed. I created contraptions meant only to damage, and did things even the most hardened criminal would find distasteful. I became the New Orleans Boogeyman, an urban myth meant to scare children into staying in bed.
Years passed, and I eventually came into contact with a woman known simply as Mercy Leroux – the Voodoo Queen of Louisiana’s swamps. She was a beautiful, ebony-skinned creole who was about as feared and loved in the shady backstreets of New Orleans as I was. We became quick confidantes, and she began to regularly hire me to obtain more ‘questionable’ ingredients for her various rituals and magic. The cemeteries soon fell under my siege as I obtained bones, decayed body parts, hair and more – and before long, she began to look to me as more than a peer. Before I even knew it, we were together. But good things must always end, and before long – I was bored with Mercy as well. But I was caught as soon as I attempted to retreat back into the shadows of New Orleans, and… Well… Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
Mercy proved to be, indeed, a formidable practitioner of the craft. I died that night at my former lovers’ hands, but I would never know the sweet release of death. Instead, she stole my soul, trapping it within the confines of my a skull which she would go on to use for ritual and her own means. I was trapped between life and death, in a realm of unmentionable terror and abominations no living thing should ever lay eyes on. What fraction of my sanity that remained after a life of crime and piracy was effectively destroyed, and after years of entrapment, I learned to coexist with the things of the Other side.
But, without warning, I was suddenly pulled from what had become my resting place – back into the cold, dark embrace of the waking world. A young woman was there to greet me – another practitioner of the craft that had ultimately destroyed me in life. She propositioned me – offering that, in return for my services, she would be certain that I returned to the living world completely. All I had to do was serve as her ‘hands’, her protector and guard, and – most importantly – eradicate her adoptive mother…. Mercy Leroux, now an old decrepit woman.
Never has revenge tasted so sweet.
Shortly after I completed my task, we left the swamp and began a life as nomads. I returned to my life of crime, now with an equally terrifying accomplice at my side. We became criminals on the run, traveling up and down the Mississippi River as fugitives. We were responsible for many of the infamous Louisiana heists of our time, yet always eluded authorities. She and I fell in and out of a depraved sort of romance, but I always remained by her side – per our agreement. After all, if I left her – I would lose my abilities as a reanimate. Our crime spree would run short, however, in 1863 when the angry mobs that had been searching for us finally caught up with us in the swamplands just outside of New Orleans. Suddenly, we were back at the scene of the crime, and just when we thought we had met our end – the crew of the Isabella appeared from the skies to take us aboard. Finding us worth more than the price on our heads, the Captain of the Isabella kept us on board.
It would seem, even to this day, Lady Luck is on my side…
© Airship Isabella 2012