Freelance Spy, Con Artist, Thief, and Occasional Assassin
None in Particular, Raised as a Worshipper of Michael
Kayless Vanari stands at some five feet, seven inches in height. He is rather short for a human, but, at the same time, he is lithe and agile by appearance. He’s a fairly handsome specimen, with strong features, neck-length dirty blond hair, and a rough five o’clock shadow. Though relatively young, he appears weathered and fierce, as if his experiences have honed him. It may be the number of scars that trace his face, namely a clean one that runs from just under his left eye to his jaw, and another, more jagged mark that traces his jawline from his right ear to his chin. It could be his dull, blue-grey eyes, which could be said to be wolfish and predatory. Or it may be his demeanor, the way his eyes wander and search, and the distinct shadow that never seems to leave his face. Whatever it is, it's clear he's been around the block and come out a bit worse for the wear.
He dresses fairly plainly, with a black leather cuirass over a dark navy tunic, a sleeveless piece that reveals arms of tightly corded muscle decorated with black tattoos. Tattooed on his left shoulder is a black sun, on the right, a moon. Each bicep sports tattoos, too, with the left decorated with a labyrinth, and the right a nightingale in flight. Additionally, tattooed into the underside of his left forearm is a line of black script that reads “Walk with the shadows and fear none.” His last visible tattoo is nearly unnoticeable, a single horizontal line on his right wrist. He also wears leather breeches over cloth trousers, and he keeps his dagger strapped to his right thigh. His boots are soft soled leather, and at his hip is sheathed his long blade.
Kayless Vanari is an eccentric, to be certain. He is intelligent, certainly, in his own cunning fashion, and charismatic, in that he can be deceitfully charming when necessary. But, while cold, calculating, and outright murderous at times, there are redeeming qualities to this otherwise violent and deceitful man. He works with a certain code of honor, odd in the sense that while Kayless is perfectly fine with stabbing a man in the back, he will not kill someone using poison, or allow a foe to drown if it can be helped. He has a soft spot for children, animals, and women, treating all with a dignity and respect rarely found in men of his craft. On top of this, he isn’t even a particularly unlikeable fellow, and while certainly a shady individual he does have a decent sense of humor and an affinity for people. Spending enough time around him can make a man wonder who Kayless Vanari ever became a murderer.
A dark, shifting labyrinth.
As detailed in the appearance section, Kayless wears a black leather cuirass and breeches, which function as light armor. Additionally, he carries a long, curved dagger, with a ten inch blade and about thirteen inches overall in length strapped to his thigh. This dagger is well balanced in terms of its weight, and can be thrown with precise accuracy by those with necessary skill. Additionally, he carries a gladius-style short sword at his left hip. The blade is sharp and light, but sturdy enough to parry and turn away blades effectively. It is very sharp, as well, and in the right hands can open a man’s throat with the flick of the wrist. Additionally, he keeps a few odds and ends on his person, including a stone for sharpening his blades, some dice, a deck of cards, needles and black ink, and tobacco and thin papers for rolling small, thin cigars.
Kayless Vanari is very good at getting places he doesn’t belong and staying hidden when he doesn’t want to be seen. Whether it’s slipping past castle guards in the dead of night or trailing a mark in a crowded market, Kayless is pretty good at remaining unnoticed until he wants to be noticed.
Tattoo Artistry (Minor):
Kayless, being something of an aficionado of tattoos, has picked up the skills necessary to ink designs of his own. The needles and ink he carries with him are specifically for placing ink under the skin. He’s actually pretty talented.
Kayless is capable of one little magic trick. With the snap of his fingers he can produce a small flame from his thumb, which he uses to light pipes and his personally rolled cigars.
Kayless has a few talents, but if any in particular stands out it is his swordsmanship. He's better than average to be certain, a natural talent with years of training and experience yet to come. He both knows how to use a blade, and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty (or bloody, really) when necessary. He’s also particularly nimble, gifted with a strong sense of agility and quickness.
Kayless doesn’t have a whole lot of weaknesses, but there are some chinks in his armor, so to speak. The biggest is found in his fighting style. He's a nimble, agile combatant armed with a thin blade that can rip open arteries with a careless flick of the wrist. This requires lightness, the trade off which is that when Kayless takes a hit, he takes that hit very hard. Additionally, he lacks the raw strength of a soldier or veteran mercenary, favoring grace over force. Furthermore, Kayless has made enemies over his years of work as a mercenary spy, as his many scars can attest to. He has enemies far and wide, and it’s more likely than not that during a trip to Rocoa he’ll get himself involved in some kind of brawl. If he’s lucky, it won’t involve daggers and other sharp objects. He also has a particular fondness for women and gambling. A lot of his money is lost between card games and female companions, whether they’re paid whores or local farm girls.
Kayless Vanari is the son of a prostitute, something he doesn’t often brag about. After sleeping in a whorehouse and walking the streets of Rocoa for longer than any child should, he made the acquaintance of a politician who had an interesting proposition for him. If Kayless kept an eye on certain people, this kind politician would pay him more than he would make anywhere else in the city. A bright, inquisitive child and naturally opportunistic, Kayless found this to be a splendid idea. Starting at the age of ten, he scurried through the city, keeping tabs on various people and reporting exactly where they were going, who they were talking to, and what they were doing. He learned how to read, too, so that he could snatch notes and letters, read them, and replace them exactly as he found them. All in all, he became a splendid little spy for this politician. It was a long time before he would be caught for anything, and that happened long after he stopped working for this politician when he grew too old to be seen as simply a child at play.
His next stop was with local street gangs, where he learned a thing or two about cutting purses, knife work, and theft. As a street urchin, this kind of thing was right up his alley. Not to say that life was easy for young Kayless. Certainly, he was good at being a street urchin, but it was difficult. He took his fair share of knocks, but the important thing was that he survived. Eventually, he outgrew his ties to the street gangs of Rocoa and moved on to a short-lived mercenary career, where he escorted a trade caravan around the Hook. While he was on the move, he trained under a fellow mercenary in the art of the sword. He became proficient with the blade, a veritable talent, and after returning to Rocoa he decided to use his various talents and become something of a freelance spy. He found work with a number of people throughout the city, from husbands suspicious of their wives to the city’s politicians. He would eventually get caught, however, and the result manifested itself in the shape of the various scars he now bears on his face and body, but he would manage to escape and flee the city soon after.
Since then, he’s traveled the hook, having become fairly proficient at what he does. Oh, also, there was this one time he killed a man as part of a contract killing, but hey, one thing at a time, yeah? I can’t go spilling all of the beans in the character sheet.