Contact details: TheDreadVampy
Time zone: GMT
Other characters: N/A
Source canon: Realm of the Elderlings
Personality: Fitz is a study in contradictions and confusion; a deeply neurotic yet utterly headstrong man, he plunges himself headfirst into his self-destructive urges, but resents being pushed out of his comfort zone. He struggles to connect with people, both due to his immense trust issues and because, frankly, he’s pretty awful at reading people’s intentions. His own intentions are always good, but he’s pathologically incapable of telling the whole truth or revealing anything meaningful, and he has been taught that manipulating people is the only way to protect them, so he tends to try to do what’s right for people without consulting them or even actually telling them, with predictably unhelpful consequences. As a father, and given the chance to live outside the rush of political intrigue for years, he has learnt some restraint compared to the terrible judgement he had in his youth, but even with loved ones he is never able to trust them with his secrets - his son has no idea of his true identity, for example.
At the same time, he’s a very sensitive person, much more led by his heart than his head. He overthinks things which ought to be emotionally led, like relationships, but when it comes to the crunch he acts first and thinks later. He’s headstrong, impulsive and rash, running headfirst into situations that require a delicate touch, and he struggles to hold back and wait or trust others to solve issues. He’s easily angered, often falls into deep troughs of depression, and his pride is far too easily pricked. He’s fundamentally a very deeply damaged person – he has a deep self-loathing and feels responsible for everything, he doesn’t know how to approach emotional honesty, he falls readily to addiction (he often self-medicates with alcohol or opiates). With his disabilities (seizures, headaches, scars and breaks across his body which inhibit his movement and cause him a lot of pain), he has often felt betrayed by his body under stress, and he has little faith in himself as a person either. He’s frequently surprised by the concept that people care about him, and honestly it doesn’t occur to him even when it’s spelled out to him that people might like him for himself rather than for what he can give them.
He enjoys botany, mixing inks, drawing and writing, and setting down his thoughts on paper helps him work them out. A quiet life has always been what Fitz wants for himself, but even when he can claim it he chafes against it, and spends weeks at a time absorbed in retreading old ground and writing and rewriting his memoirs. He finds relief in solitude, hunting alone with his wolf or sitting in his cabin working. People are a minefield for Fitz, both because of the need for keeping his true identity secret, and because of his difficulty understanding them, and so he deals with them (and most of his problems) by ignoring them where at all possible. However, he is intrinsically a kind and generous man despite his best efforts, unable to bear seeing humans or animals suffer without stepping in. He cares fiercely about people, and fights to protect strangers at his own expense, despite his mistrust of people and his bitterness and tiredness. And while he’s a difficult person to get close to, people who see him for the person he is – intelligent, caring and without snobbery – tend to like him. Fitz may be self-destructive and thoughtless, but he’s endlessly loyal and fair, and he really does try.
Canon history: Born to a mother he has no memory of, the illegitimate child of Crown Prince Chivalry Farseer, Fitz was brought to the attention of the court when he was left at the castle as a young child. On discovery of his bastard child, Chivalry abdicated and moved to the country with his wife, where a few years later he died under suspicious circumstances. Until the age of eight or nine, Fitz lived in the stables and was raised by Burrich, the stablemaster - there he discovered that he could communicate with animals, and bonded his life to a puppy named Nosy. This magic, the Wit, is considered a dirty and sinful magic, and when Burrich discovered his bond he beat Fitz and tore Nosy away from him.
Shortly after, it became politically expedient for King Shrewd to take his bastard grandchild into his service, lest he be used against him. Fitz was moved to the keep, and educated with other noble children, where before he had run wild in the streets. There he discovered a passion for scribing, reading, and writing, which was to stay with him his whole life. However, while he dreamed of being a scribe, his fate had been decided, and at the same time he was trained in secret as an assassin by the old spymaster Chade. With Chade he learnt to excel at memorising detail, looking for weaknesses, understand politics and mix poisons. He liked the technical aspects, which interested and excited him, and Chade was something of a mentor, but Fitz never truly got a grip on killing in cold blood.
The last aspects of his education began very much at once - on Chivalry's death, his widow, Lady Patience, returned to the castle and took Fitz under her wing, calling him Tom and treating him very much as the son she'd been unable to have. Scatty and absent-minded, Patience nevertheless taught Fitz a wide range of skills, including art and music, and more importantly was the first person in his life to love him unconditionally. However, at the same time, Fitz was undergoing gruelling training in the Skill, the royal magic, from a man who hated and resented him. This culminated in him both being permanently unhealthy in his approach to the addictive magic, and in a near-fatal showdown in which his teacher made a genuine effort to kill him, beating him to within an inch of his life and attempting to Skill-influence him into suicide.
During this time, he formed more true attachments. Fitz met the King's Fool, a mysterious figure who spoke in riddles and told Fitz he was fated to change the world. The Fool became his one true friend and confidante. In the market, Fitz discovered a maltreated wolf cub for sale, bought him and nursed him back to health. The wolf, Nighteyes, bonded with Fitz during the year he was growing into health. Fitz also began to see his childhood sweetheart, Molly, and fantasise about a life where he could stop being an assassin and marry her instead. However, she got pregnant and had to leave court.
Fitz continued as a royal assassin as the country slipped into crisis, and his job was to kill the soulless and vicious beings that the invaders made out of their victims. Accompanying the royal party to arrange the wedding of his uncle and master, King-In-Waiting Verity, to Kettricken of the Mountains, he discovered a plot by the prince's half-brother Regal to usurp the throne. Fitz was poisoned and weakened, and Regal's men attacked him and Burrich, caving in the side of Fitz's skull,the cause of his lifelong seizures.
As Regal's plots advanced, Verity left on a fool's quest to find the mythical Elderlings in the Mountains and save the country, but was ambushed and presumed dead. With King Shrewd weakened, Regal's power grew, and Fitz, the Fool and a now-pregnant Kettricken plotted with Chade to take the King and seek safety in the mountains. Nighteyes led Kettricken and the Fool away safely, but Shrewd died in Fitz's arms. With his grandfather's death, Fitz discovered that Regal's cronies had been sapping the King's strength for years, slowly killing him. In a wild rage, Fitz killed two of the magicians before the whole court, and was captured and accused of treason and regicide.
Fitz was tortured and debased in an attempt to break him and destroy his reputation as a potential heir. Eventually, he left his body, effectively dying, and moved into Nighteyes' body, the two of them living as one wolf for months. Chade and Burrich brought him back to his own body, which they had retrieved from a shallow grave, and he spent a year relearning his humanity. Believing Verity, Kettricken and the Fool all dead, and with everyone he knew sure that he himself was dead, he gave up on hope and sought revenge, thoroughly botching an assassination attempt on Regal. It was then he received a psychic call from Verity calling him to the Mountains. Through great privation, and now being hunted, Fitz almost made it to the Mountain capital, but was shot and, starving and sick, collapsed in the snow.
Found by the Fool and nursed back to health, Fitz, Kettricken, the Fool, and two women he'd met on his travels, Kettle and Starling, began the arduous journey to find Verity. Magic happened, the upshot being that Verity sacrificed himself to save the country, Kettricken conceived an heir which was both Verity's child and (biologically) Fitz's, Regal was overthrown, the invasion forced back, the Fool kissed him and flew off, and Fitz was left in the mountains with nothing left. Burrich believed him dead, and in his absence had married Molly and was raising Fitz's daughter. Only Starling, Kettricken, Chade and the Fool in all the world knew him to be alive.
He and Nighteyes wandered the world for years, and eventually settled back in his homeland, living in an abandoned shepherd's cottage and building a solitary but comfortable life, where he tended his garden and wrote histories. He had a casual sexual relationship with Starling, and one day she turned up with an orphan boy, Hap, for him to look after. Despite himself, Fitz found himself a single father.
At the point we find him, Fitz had just discovered that Starling was engaged to another man, and as a serial monogamist and Honourable Person(tm), broke up with her. Hap, at sixteen, was out earning money to start an apprenticeship in the city. Nighteyes was reaching the end of his natural life, despite Fitz's best efforts. As Fitz's comfortable life seemed threatened, the Fool returned after a fifteen year absence, and brought the world rushing back to his door, asking him to return to court.
He dresses as the woodsman he is, in furs and battered leather. He owns two shirts and two pairs of trousers, and an elderly but well-maintained pair of boots. All of his clothes are at least five years old, and more darning than fabric, with woodsmoke and wet dog smell firmly engrained into the fabric (partially because Nighteyes tends to fall asleep on his clothes while they dry by the fire). It takes a stronger will than most to coax him into vaguely presentable clothes.
History: Born in the Carpathians, the bastard son of the Bulgarian crown prince, Fitz was brought to the royal palace as a child. Initially raised with the dogs by Burrich, the stablemaster, where he gained an affinity for animals, by the time he was ten he was being trained as a spy and an assassin by Chade, the old spymaster. His father, who had abdicated his claim and moved to the country, died in suspicious circumstances, and his widow returned to take Fitz under her wing.
A virulent disease began to spread across the coast, throwing the country into chaos and weakening its defences. Meanwhile, the country fell under attack from the sea, all trading vessels being harried and sunk and coastal cities being sacked by Greek naval raids. Though only in his teens, Fitz was sent on many diplomatic missions to speak with coastal lords, and, less palatable still, to enforce the quarantine in infected towns. Meanwhile, his wicked uncle Regal plotted to gain power, poisoning the old tsar slowly and attempting to weaken the power base of the new Crown Prince, Verity. Regal whispered in the tsar's ear, convincing him to marry Verity off to a Swedish princess with the intention of using the marriage to frame his brother and Fitz for the murder of the Swedish prince Rurisk, marry Princess Kettricken in Verity’s stead, and take both kingdoms for himself.
Fitz undermined his plans somewhat, though not enough to save Rurisk’s life, and no suspicion was cast on Verity. However, in a fury Regal had Fitz attacked, injuring him so badly that he was hospitalised for a month, and caving his skull in over his left eye, which left him plagued by seizures triggered by stress or exhaustion. On his return to Bulgaria, he was embroiled in plot after plot as both the tsar and Verity grew weaker and more tired, the one from illness and the other from overwork. The new crown princess, neglected and alone in a foreign land, began to fall for Regal’s machinations. In his absence, the woman Fitz loved had left the city. All this fell on Fitz’s shoulders, his only solace caring for the abused wolf cub he had rescued from a seller on the market.
As time passed, Verity became obsessed with stories of the origin of the sickness ravaging the kingdom. He set out to discover it, but weeks later the last remnants of his escort stumbled back to the palace, saying their coach had been attacked, not by highwaymen but by armed brigands, on the border. As far as they knew, Verity was dead. Now nothing stood between him and the throne, Regal’s scheming became more blatant. The tsar was fading fast, the now-pregnant Kettricken meeting with accidents, and Regal already behaving as though he wore the crown as his father lay bedbound. As Regal moved back defences from the coast, planning to retreat inland and move the borders north, the coastal leaders began to seek to have Fitz, the Bastard Prince, named in his stead. Chade, Fitz, and the Tsar’s personal servant, Fitz’s friend Beloved, were forced to make plans to get the Tsar and Princess Kettricken to safety.
Chade, Beloved, Burrich and Kettricken escaped on the night of Regal’s official ascension to Crown Prince, but as he went to the Tsar’s chamber to move him, Fitz found him dead. Discovering that Regal and his cronies were responsible for the death of his grandfather and king, Fitz went berserk, killing several of those responsible in view of the whole congregation before being brought down. Fitz was imprisoned.
Accused of high treason, of the poisoning of the king and the murder of the disappeared princess, and of course of those murders he did loudly and blatantly commit in front of several hundred dignitaries, his dignity was worth little and he faced the firing squad. But Regal needed him alive long enough to confess in public, and cast all suspicion off Regal. What followed was weeks of brutal, secret torture, which left Fitz with a multitude of physical scars and far worse mental ones. Eventually, the few allies he had left helped him to fake his own death, and took him to safety, where Burrich and Fitz’s beloved wolf Nighteyes returned to care for him.
For months, he was more animal than man, traumatised and terrified of everyone, filled with only rage. But as he regained his mind, and Burrich left, he received a coded message, which told him that Verity was alive, but far from civilisation. He knew he would have to follow in Verity’s footsteps to find him, but Kettricken had taken Verity’s maps and notes with her when she fled to her motherland. He resolved to follow her, steal the information he needed so she would stay safe and under guard, and travel to find Verity.
The journey to Sweden to find Kettricken was long and arduous. Fitz had to travel by land, with the sea so contested, and avoid major cities, for by now Regal knew of his disappearance and had police searching for him internationally. His money was low and his scars – the broken nose, the lock of white hair- not to mention the wolf he travelled with, made him high-profile. He walked much of the way from Bulgaria, or took stagecoaches, until he had gone far enough west to avoid Regal’s scrutiny, and then he and his ‘dog’ took passage on a trading vessel from Spain, working with the cargo of livestock to pay their way. Six months after he escaped from prison, Fitz arrived in Stockholm, along with an intrepid Bulgarian journalist, Starling, who had discovered his identity and meant to make her mark as a real journalist by getting the exclusive on the famous Bastard Prince’s adventures. However, before he could reach the royal palace, Fitz was captured by Regal’s secret police, who had followed him to Sweden. In his escape, Fitz was shot in the back, and collapsed in the snow outside the palace gates. As he lay dying, even his wolf abandoned him, squeezing through the gate to run to the palace.
Fitz awoke in hospital in Rosendals, under a small armed guard. Nighteyes had brought Beloved to find him, and he was being cared for in secret. Kettricken was in equal parts furious with him for not telling her his plans, and horrified at the pathetic state he was in. As soon as he was well enough to move safely, he and Kettricken set out for Russia, where Verity had last been seen. Starling and Beloved refused to be left behind, and so the motley band evaded Regal’s spies and went to find the lost prince.
To cut a very long story short, they discovered Verity in Siberia, where he had found a doctor who claimed to have originated an airborne poison, which he had sold to a Greek admiral. Wracked with guilt for the way his invention had been used to weaken Bulgaria and kill hundreds, Doctor Kestrel had exiled himself to the far north, where Verity had hunted him down. For the past two years, Verity and Kestrel had been working to create an antidote, and with the help of Fitz’s knowledge of chemistry and Kettricken’s hard work, together they found the cure and began the journey back to Bulgaria.
However, the chemicals with which Kestrel and Verity had been working had weakened them badly. Doctor Kestrel succumbed on the journey, and when their train was boarded by the secret police in Romania, the exhaustion from bringing them down killed Verity. He died in his wife’s arms, making her promise to honour his memory and free his country.
Beloved and Starling accompanied Kettricken back to Sofia, where the evidence she collected had Regal deposed, while Fitz stayed behind to bury his uncle. He had learnt in his travels that his lover, Molly, had given birth to his daughter, but not knowing that he had survived the journey and wanting to protect his adopted son’s unborn child, Burrich had taken care of her, and, believing Fitz dead, they had married to protect her from scandal. They loved each other, and, not seeing anything else left for him in Sofia, hated and believed dead by all but a handful of people, once Fitz had buried Verity he took to wandering the world with his wolf.
After a few years travelling, he had found a home in the Carpathians with Nighteyes, living as a humble goatherd and hunter in Transylvania. Starling, who had earned her stripes with the tale of Verity’s noble sacrifice (although persuaded to leave Fitz’s role in the story out – he was too contentious a figure and wanted only to avoid causing more pain to those who loved him, plus there were still many who blamed him for regicide, for Verity’s death, and for years of unabated war, not to mention loyalists of Regal’s who would see Fitz and his loved ones dead if it was known he lived), often visited him as she passed through, and they had a casual sexual relationship, both knowing that it was only friendship and comfort.
Ten years after Tsar Shrewd's death, Starling brought Fitz a ten-year-old boy she’d found in her travels, an orphan of the Greek war for him to raise, telling him he needed company. By the time the boy, Hap, was sixteen, he was chafing against the boredom of country life. Starling took him to Bucharest to see the city, and when he came back he was sullen and angry. Fitz questioned him, and discovered that he had found out that Starling was married. Stung, hurt, and guilty at having been the other man, Fitz broke off his relationship with her and she stormed off.
Hap, however, was still enthusiastic for an education in the city. Fitz began to help him save, and when the time came, sent Hap to Vienna to study. However, around this time the village he was living in turned against him. There were murmurings, and suspicion, and coupled with the fact that Regal had resurfaced in Bulgaria and was gathering forces, Fitz began to fear his past had been discovered. Sending Hap a telegram to tell him he was going, Fitz packed up and began his travels again, his elderly wolf at his heels.
Job: An outsider, Fitz is a jack-of-all-trades. He lives as a woodsman, meaning he hunts, traps, keeps a few animals, and travels into town to sell furs and meat.
Reason for coming to Lethevale: With Hap in Vienna and nobody else ever visiting him, there was nothing to hold him anywhere near where he was living before. He moved to keep a low profile and this town seemed perfect.
An antique sword given to him by his dying uncle;
Nighteyes, his elderly wolf;
a case of pens, paper and inks;
a well-used axe and whetstone;
a silver pin in the shape of a fox;
several old but well-maintained small knives and daggers;
a tiny, easily concealed single-shot pistol
Seeing the lights of a house rear from the downpour ahead, Fitz hurries his step, hauling his heavy pack over his shoulder anew and tugging his soaking coat closed around him as if it would help at this point. By the time he reaches the house, his dog has outstripped him and is sheltering under the overhanging eaves. It shakes itself as dry as it can, showering Fitz in thick mud and rainwater. He glowers at it, raising a hand to hammer on the door. Yellow eyes meet his, unimpressed, and he's still scowling blackly when the door swings open. .
Test Drive: Here