Royston Vasey Periwinkle
|Royston Vasey Periwinkle|
|Full Name: Royston Vasey Periwinkle|
|Alias "Roy", "Perry", "Winks"|
|Hair Color and Style: Ginger. Moustache.|
|Eye Color: Blue|
|Skin Color: White|
|Other: Deep-Singer lungs|
|Father: Hillary Periwinkle|
|Mother: Pauline Jones|
|Date of Birth: 1611|
|Place of Birth: Teldrin, Lunaris (now Ynnraile)|
|Date of Death: n/a|
|Place of Death: n/a|
|Current Residence(s): Shirekeep|
|Nationality at Birth: Shirerithian|
|Current Allegiance(s): Shireroth|
|Occupation: International Correspondent|
Roy's father worked as a butcher in the Hogtown Quarter of Teldrin's urban ward whilst his mother, the redoubtable Pauline, held a vague official function in the rural ward of the town that appeared to combine aspects of notary, beadle and magistrate. It was never satisfactorily ascertained whether she was appointed to those roles by a competent authority or had appropriated them by sheer force of personality. It being Lunaris, no-one was minded - or sufficiently cogent - to enquire.
Hillary, the father, ran a successful shop in town and also possessed a small motorised skiff which he would take out to offer choice cuts of succulent roast pork to passengers and crew on the passing river boats travelling down river from Shirekeep to Mesior and Musica. At eleven years of age, Roy, the third child in the family, was set to work earning his keep by making the precarious leap from the skiff onto the boarding stage of the river boats to tout the various grilled and roasted meats to bemused onlookers, who were more used to river urchins touting trinkets whilst trying to pick their pockets. The Red Elwynn narrowed at Teldrin, owing to the wrathful refusal of the Liches who then ruled over the Brookshire side of the river to countenance any effort by "breathers", let alone Imperial officials, that might impinge upon their jealously guarded sovereignty - irrespective of the merits of the particular proposals. This made the riverside city, in all other respects a wretched backwater, the perfect location for those seeking to profit from the river trade between Musica and the Benacian interior - by whatever means, the Teldrin Narrows were a favourite haunt for river pirates as well during the era when Imperial control outside of Shirekeep was at its weakest.
Hillary's energetic trading method brought him to the attention of Thorgils Tarjeisson, an enterprising Shirekeep businessman, and himself a butcher of some renown, who had moved to Goldshire after a falling out with the Vanic authorities of Elwynn. Like most Teldrin residents, Hillary could pass for sane when conversing with out-of-towners, and he was soon able to ingratiate himself by sending Roy, by then a strapping twenty-three year old veteran draft-dodger and apprentice butcher, to stand outside the Bethlem Hotel with a tray of grilled meats on a sizzling hotplate, whenever he knew that the ESB Group's troika, of Tarjeisson, Dravot, and Cryptsinger, were in residence. This ingratiating diligence was rewarded when Hillary received a contract to act as the ESB Group's local victualler in 1635. Further commissions followed in 1636 and 1637 as the Worshipful Corporation of Aldermen for the City of Teldrin increasingly fell under the influence of the powerful and fast growing conglomerate. Finally, in 1638, Hillary was named as the director of the Teldrin Transport Docks Board Ltd (TTDB), the ESB's front company for a system of quasi-legalised river piracy and enforced hospitality for vessels passing through the Teldrin Narrows. The following year, Roy, whose only schooling had been his father's belt and his mother's no less wrathful tutelage at letters, numbers and an inchoate collection of Cedrist psalms, was sent to Metzler University on a paid scholarship care of the Crown of Goldshire. That the Queen received a tenth of all proceeds obtained by the TTDB via a numbered account in the Ardashirshahr branch of the Imperial & Emirati Bank of Alalehzamin was a mere serendipitous coincidence.
Unfortunately for Roy, he had scarcely arrived in Shirekeep when, on 11th of Araroqpinu 1639, the declaration of martial law, precipitated Goldshire's rapid descent into all-out civil war. With his parents trapped in the company's besieged cantonment, the Sanitorium, Roy obtained a deferral from his business management course, for a small consideration paid to the Master of Darwin Hall, and joined on with the Jaysh al-Sathrati as a clerk attached to one of the logistic squadrons of the 3rd Division. Roy's habit of maintaining a written journal of daily events began during his four years of service with the Jaysh. The tendency of the Babkhi rank and file to resort to wholesale massacre, rapine, and the systematic abuse of any woman, girl, or boy, not fast enough to escape their clutches, sat ill with Roy, especially when his fellow Lunatics became the disproportionate focus of the Jaysh's murderous impulses. Roy suffered from the singular misfortune of being gassed by his own side at the Battle of Holwinn on the 19th of Filadinu 1643, when the collapse of the Jaysh in the face of the Army of the Golden Dawn prompted the panicked Imperials to drench the ruptured front line with every chemical and biological agent in their arsenal. Mercifully for Roy, if such a phrase could be used, he was caught in a sector in which Mustard Gas, rather than some of the nastier biological agents, was released. Irrespective of this, he was, for the moment, blinded and when his rescuers discovered him staggering out of a greenish-yellow fog bank and down towards the shores of a brackish tributary of the Elwynn he was already coughing up blood and lumps of his right lung.
Roy spent the next year and a half convalescing in a Red Orchid hospital, having twice narrowly avoided transferal to a hospice. Whilst he lay in bed, unable to read or to write, his journal had come into the possession of the Chamber of the Crypteia, eventually coming to the attention of the organisation's feared director. Using evidence obtained therein, Tokaray was able to construct a case against a number of junior and mid-ranking officers in the 41st Regiment. Their arrest and execution generated enough fanfare to placate the Kaiser Dominus and the defeated population of Goldshire who had demanded some measure of justice for the crimes inflicted upon them during the reconquest of the kingdom, whilst at the same time preserving the senior leadership of the Jaysh from the worst of the hostile scrutiny, allowing them to survive in post and be recruited into Tokaray's own emerging conspiracy.
The Crypteia underwent a spasm of purge and counter-purge in the wake of the spectacularly murderous misadventure that was Tokaray's Coup, yet the notes Tokaray had kept about the diligent little lunatic diary-keeper had remained on file and came into the possession of his successor, Madame Vivian Azari. The new Steward, with the accession of Noor to the Golden Mango Throne, a certain Daniyal Dravot, had turned his attention to creating a more integrated approach to intelligence gathering, so as to avoid the mistakes that had so marred his late co-director's final year. Part of this plan was to create a new open source information gathering apparatus with a global reach - it would be quaintly termed as a newspaper. The moribund Shirekeep Gazette was revived by a letter of credit proffered with the ESB seal attached, and a select band of individuals, complete with sheaves of accreditation - embossed and on glossy paper - were dispatched to stations around the world. Amongst their number was a 34 year-old Roy Periwinkle, watery-eyed and possessed of a fresh pair of lungs harvested from a Deep-Singer. Roy would remain on an exotic cocktail of immunosuppressants for the rest of his life, for the cost of which collecting three wages, from the ESB Group, the Ministry of the Exterior, and the Gazette itself of course, would go someway towards mitigating.
Roy, nicknamed "Winks" by the genuine journalists on the Gazette's Keltian bureau, took to the life with a certain gusto. He found himself covering the bloodiest period of the Hammish Civil War from a dive bar in New Kirrie. Gradually he came to learn, to his surprise, that some of the best gossip could be had from street walkers and shoe-shiners, while the city's taxi drivers moonlighted as assassins for the National Salvation Front and were to be avoided like the plague unless a one-way trip was all that he sought.
He had been in post for barely a month when a sudden shift in Shirerithian support from the National Provisional Authority of Augustus Eliphas to the coalition of Ravaillac Loyalists saw his life placed in abrupt jeopardy. In fairness, Roy could not have been entirely surprised by the development since it was his assiduous collation of NPA scuttlebutt about General Eliphas' irrational and unstable conduct, recited over G&Ts partaken on the Shirerithian Embassy veranda with the "cultural attache", which had inclined the Imperial Government to drop the General like the proverbial tar-baby. Nonetheless when the moment came, he had scarcely a hour's warning from the embassy that he was a "marked man" and that he was under no circumstances to return to his hotel room, nor to attempt to go to any of his usual haunts, certainly under no circumstances was he to seek to reach the embassy. In those circumstances he did the most foolhardy thing possible - he hailed a taxi.
It was not a happy circumstance for the Imperial Government, just as it was in the midst of evacuating its embassy in New Kirrie, to learn that it was being invited to pay a not inconsiderable fee for the privilege of facilitating the safe conduct of Shirerithian national, lately pronounced persona non grata by the regime and liable for much worse than that should he fall into their hands. Nor were Imperial officials overly keen to be asked to make this payment in the form of a contribution to a charitable organisation that was a poorly disguised front for the Pallisican sponsored NSF. As a consequence they stalled for time by asking for a proof of life whilst they deliberated about whether they wanted the individual back or not. At some point it was recollected that the man's father was now a senior ESB man, with a direct line of corporate communication to the Steward himself.