|Age: 1929 (27)|
|Sexuality: comfortably straight|
|Social Status: aristocratic slave|
|Playby: Adam Garcia|
|Jewels & Craft|
|Birthright Jewel: White (22)|
|Offering Jewel: Rose (35)|
|Strengths: Matteo is good at being subtle or flashy with his Craft. Practical, however, is not his strong suit. He can speak on the threads, ride the Winds, vanish or call items near himself or somewhere else. He can float objects, run them through each other and walk through things himself. He can also create witchlights and witchfire, though he is certainly better at witchlights. Matt can also make quite impressive illusions that could fool just about anyone excepting those who know he is making them or who know what to look for. He made sneaky use of his benefactor’s love of Black Widows to learn that little trick.|
|Weaknesses: Hearth Craft? Hah! That is for the women to learn because they look after the house, sheep don’t need dusting. And if the lady doesn’t know it, well, her housekeeper surely does. So Matteo doesn’t know anything about Hearth Craft, and any cooking he does, he does the simple, non-Craft way. His knowledge of healing is rudimentary, most of what he knows he was taught after he left his family, so it is a rather rag tag collection of know it, don’t know it, want to learn, don’t care. His shields aren’t the greatest, though that stems more from the strength he can’t put behind them than his being unable to create them.|
Never having had much purpose to his life, that he could see, Matteo is amazingly good at drifting aimlessly until he comes across an opportunity he feels like making use of. At such times, he can be surprising in his swift response and capable approach before he goes back to drifting, whether or not his life has changed. He is neither ambitious, greedy or conniving, nor is he humble, modest or overly practical. Of course, he is very much aware of his [place in society, but he doesn’t give a rat’s ass for that bother. It is as it is and nothing he can do will change it. In the same way, he doesn’t look to other times or places to be any better or worse than the way things are now. The future is the future and the past is the past, but he’s only in the present so caring too much about either doesn’t come easy to him. Most likely because of this way of looking at things, and quite possibly from other events in his life, he hasn’t really grown up completely and his manner is a rather unconventional mixture of maturity and immaturity. He rarely speaks with complete seriousness, but is almost always sincere and his sanity has, on more than one occasion, come into question. His mannerisms and erratic actions don’t help, but he is, perhaps not entirely reassuringly, completely sane.
Matteo is a very high energy person, always fidgeting or squirming even when he’s trying to sit still. This means that, in order to be so energetic, he needs lots of rest, so once he tires himself out, he tends to crash and he can usually sleep just about anywhere, at any time, no matter what is going on around him. This energy adds to his apparent youth and is probably the source of much of his trouble these days, but it also helps him get out of that trouble, since it is tied to his nearly irrepressible chipper attitude. Sometimes, his thoughts are affected by his energy and he finds it hard to concentrate, but he can usually pull his thoughts back on track once he realises they’ve gone off course. A lucky advantage to this is that he has learned to move past a put down by either forgetting it very quickly or finding another way around it.
Matteo is a fairly friendly fellow, more often smiling and laughing than frowning. And he’s far more likely to joke with his enemies than react any other way around them. Of course, the jokes are probably at the other’s expense and he might sneer when they aren’t looking, and then he’ll run and hide if he can. Those are his two answers to a threat: laugh at it or hide from it… Or both. He has a quick wit and a sharp tongue and can deliver a cutting remark with a cheerful smile or a happy thought with a frown. He can be infuriating with his random shift between vague or straightforward bluntness and is never at a loss for words. Ever. Nor does he have the usual reservations about lying or telling the truth that he ought to be plagued with. He won’t hesitate to speak whatever happens to be on his mind, fabrication, falsehood, cruel truth or otherwise, and will often use that to his advantage if he needs to. Even when caught in embarrassing situations or awkward binds, he is never shy about stating his opinion or shrugging it all off and it is highly probable that the people who catch him will be more embarrassed by the whole thing than he will.
As with everyone, he has his faults and they can be a long list once he’s annoyed someone. He doesn’t have a great sense of morals, or is better at ignoring them as concerns his person, since he’s quick to call out the wrongs of others. He can be obnoxious, rude, uncaring, nasty, cruel, cynical and will occasionally invade your personal space. He isn’t exactly kind or thoughtful and he makes a pretty good thief. But Matteo also loves praise, especially from Kaerissa, and he can be jealous of his friends meeting anyone new. Mostly because it takes their attention away from him and particularly if they don’t pay him as much attention as he might like already. He does, enjoy a good laugh at someone else’s expense, but he usually knows just how far he can take the joke before he should stop. They usually go quite far with people he doesn’t like.
Having been trained and threatened and forced or coerced into it, Matteo is also a very good actor, which might come as a surprise given his usual fidgety character, but so long as he understands the role he is in, he can keep at it flawlessly until he is supposed to stop. Of course, the flawless part is only if he has all his lines memorized or is performing for an audience that couldn’t tell the difference between the real thing and him. Because he would find it difficult to convince a Bedouin that he is one of them, but might manage to fool someone who is just as ignorant as he is about Bedouin. So it is a good thing Kaerissa didn’t want him to pretend to be an Aristo, because he would have had fun botching that a long time ago. He might manage it now that he’s been among them for a long while, but changing his act now would never do. For the public’s benefit, and so that Kaerissa doesn’t look like a complete idiot for choosing him, Matteo has created a version of himself that is slightly more reserved, mature, polite and credible. The funny thing about his act is that, while he is supposed to be pretending to love his Queen, he actually does. And it confuses him a little, that he can feel so strongly for a woman who holds his freedom in her hands and who would likely never dream of returning that affection.
He has come to terms with it, however dismally, and has resorted to mocking their relationship by comparing himself to a well-trained dog. Which is true enough, in a sense. He has given her his loyalty and the bond between them, whether or not he’s imagining it, cold only be broken by a major betrayal, and Matteo would never betray her.
Matteo’s parents were a match made in Hell. Whatever either of them saw in each other clearly disappeared soon after they were married. She spent half her time yelling at him, while he took up the other half yelling back. The one redeeming, or irritating, quality of their marriage was that they still managed to see mostly eye to eye and could put aside their differences at the drop of a hat to gang up on anyone who might come against them, and then they’d be right back to bickering. Matteo never did manage to decide how serious they were in their arguments, but the saying in the farming community where he grew up was that the rooster woke to their shouting rather than the other way around.
Of course, no one ever mentioned this to their faces, otherwise they’d get a stern talking to and were sure to be laughed at by everyone else later. Their children had long since learned that discretion was the better part of valour and hardly ever said a word above the normal speaking volume. They could never hope to best their parents in a shouting match and Matteo only tried it once.
As a fairly small, self-sufficient village, the place where he and his sister grew up was a busy one and, while not prosperous, it did make do and lean times were few enough. Born only about 60 years after his sister, he was given the name Matthieu and set to work as soon as he was able. Luckily for him, he made a rather scrawny helper and was most often sent out to tend the village sheep for the summer until harvest time called him back to help in the fields. He loved being outside and living off the land and traveling just about anywhere the sheep could go. Wolves didn’t scare him and nothing else bothered him. If he was tired, he could lie down and sleep, if he was restless he could wander about and explore. Him and the other boys that went out never kept a strict order, they merely settled into a routine where, so long as everything got done, they didn’t care who did what.
He and his sister were always on good terms with each other, happy to share a room so they could whisper across the floor before they fell asleep and could keep each other warm when the nights got cold. They’d walk to school together in the morning and he’d wait outside for her to while she ran errands for their mother or said hello to her friends. Any chance they had they’d spend together and Matthieu would show off for her, everything he practiced up in the hills. Handstands, a math problem solved, a little piece of literature memorized or an imitation of something or someone she’d challenged him to mimic.
It wasn’t all fun and games though, and putting up with their parents was sometimes a challenge they couldn’t face, but they always had each other and it could never be said that their parents didn’t love them. What set Matthieu on the path to his current situation was an unexpected meeting with an overly friendly noble when he was about 578. The man seemed smitten with Helen and managed easily enough, with his fancy horse and charming smile, to capture her attention as well. He began to court her, not seriously, but she didn’t know the difference. Sometime while Matthieu was away with the sheep and no one else was watching, he convinced her to lie with him and then rode off into the sunset the next day, grinning at her thoughts that she meant something more to him than a conquest. Well, she returned home in tears, thankfully unbroken, and was then set upon by both mother and father, who couldn’t believe she’d been so foolish as to dally with an Aristocrat and expect something of it. But after a bit of shouting, their mother finally sent her husband out of the house and soothed her daughter’s tears. Nothing more would have come of that foolishness if Helen hadn’t discovered she was pregnant and downright refused her father’s order to give the child up for adoption once it was born.
By the time Matthieu came back, she was a week gone, having run off without telling anyone. He heard the whole story in shock and then set out that same day to find his sister and bring her home with the promise that their father didn’t care anymore so long as she was safe. He never did manage to find her, and doesn’t really know much of what happened to her after she left. During his search, and still on her trail, he slipped across the border into Hayll and couldn’t find any place needing honest labour because they all used slaves. Needless to say, this meant he ran into a bit of trouble finding room and board along the road, and eventually fell afoul of the wrong sort and got sold into slavery, while drunk, by someone he’d thought was a friend.
The slave caravan he was in carted him off to Shalador where he ended up being the extra help on a rather large estate, generally in the kitchen, sometimes in the stables, occasionally in the garden and every washing day he’d help with the house cleaning chores. Once, when he didn’t really have anything else to do, he ran about and set the whole household in an uproar by copying his master’s voice and ordering everyone about with tasks that wasted half the day and earned him a whipping. The second time he did this, he managed to start half the master’s stock of prized horses on a journey that would have seen them vanish all the way across the Territory had he not been caught. After that, he was whipped and sold again, but with a warning to his new owners about his antics.
This family had two young boys who, upon learning of their new slave’s exploits, wouldn’t stop pestering him for imitations of anyone and everyone and even of themselves. He was always happy to oblige, simply for the fun of it. Then they had the bright idea of making him talk for them. Just to see if it worked. It did, well enough, and since he liked seeing the little boys laughing at something he did, Matthieu practiced when they weren’t around and then surprised them the next time they asked by throwing his voice and making it seem as though the words were coming from their own throats. Absolutely delighted by this, the boys dragged him from his dishwashing duties until he stood before their mother with soapsuds on his hands and did the trick for her.
She laughed obligingly, but it was her friend who gasped with astonishment and clapped her hands over her mouth. Concerned for the woman, their mother sent the three of them away, but Matthieu was summoned later and told that the woman’s son was mute and often became depressed because he couldn’t talk as everyone else could and she was at her wit’s end about it. Then he was asked if he could do that trick reliably and whisked to a new home when he tentatively said probably.
He was set up as the eight year-old’s voice and tasked with following him around all day, repeating out loud whatever was sent to him on a thread from the boy as well as keeping him out of harm’s way. And he wasn’t to say a word in his own voice unless given permission. This occasionally meant shouting at himself while the boy mouthed the words, especially if he messed up or snuck in a word that changed the meaning around entirely. The original plan had been for him to stick around for a year or two, boost the boy’s confidence and then go back to his owner since he was technically on loan as a gift. But every time he was taken away the boy would throw a fit and by the end of five years, his mother ended up paying for Matthieu to stay.
He continued to act as his voice while the fellow wandered through life pretending he could talk. As compensation, Matthieu made him go through having his voice break and sometimes had girls doubled up in laughter when the man was trying to court them. He was even, much to his chagrin, forced in the bedroom a time or two while the man was having sex, which quickly rid him of his inhibitions in that regard. As the years passed, they would have a few good conversations that often had him feeling like a talkative echo, but they never really became friends. So when the man died 64 years later and his wife sold Matthieu to finally get him out of her house, he didn’t mourn and instead just moved on.
After a time he found himself working under the heavy hand of one Allister Storn and being trained up so he could act onstage well enough to earn his master some profit. There were only four other slaves at first, but then they were brought to a theatre where a full cast of slaves lived and the productions they put on were of fairly good quality. It was a well-run business and tolerated no nonsense from its performers, all of whom were slaves. But it also made use of their talents rather than waste them. It was there that Matthieu learned most of what he knows about the performing arts, because those people did plays, ballets, operas and even cirques and whoever wanted or could learn was taught, so that many of the slaves knew half again as much as they would have needed to had they been free to make theatre arts a career. Matthieu kept mostly to the plays and acrobatics, not really wanting to learn how to dance or sing.
And there he remained for most of three generations of business owners, until a woman came along and changed his life again. He saw her in the crowd the night he met her, because she’d been there the night before as well, while he worked in the wings. Why he bothered to remember her he doesn’t know, and what made her decide on him isn’t too certain either, all he knows is that he was brought to her after performing A Garden of Wishes and was told to be respectful without any of his shenanigans. Which of course, immediately made him consider acting out. And he almost did, her being a Queen notwithstanding, except that he recognised her, hesitated, and lost the initiative.
She told him, circumspectly, what she wanted of him in exchange for a bit more freedom and he quickly agreed after extracting one promise from her. She would help him look for his sister or make a certain man’s life miserable, whichever was easier. So she spirited him off to Hayll and he began yet another sort of life.
The woman’s name was Kaerissa DiCosma, she was about his age and was looking for a controllable Consort who wasn’t interested in bedroom shenanigans. For her, he became Matteo, the common Consort who enraged or shocked just about everyone with his sudden appearance and replacement of the would-be First Escort. He had a few crash courses in Aristo manners, learned about a displeased family’s hospitality and afterward, tried his best to avoid her parents. Over the years, his indifference towards Kaerissa changed and he woke up one morning wondering how he’d gone from not caring to enjoying her company to wanting to follow her around like a dog because loving her any other way wouldn’t work out so well. It didn’t make sense to him, but it happened all the same, and now he has to live with the consequences.
|Fitting himself into Rosalia's Court and getting over Rissa's abandonment.|
| Rosalia Conti (Queen) - Rose to Opal Jeweled Queen|
Shanna Morri (Good acquaintance) - BR to Purple Dusk Jeweled witch