Saint John (Pyro)

Player

Name: James

email: moc.liamg|ciftubgnihton#moc.liamg|ciftubgnihton

Instant Messenger: thebannerbright (AIM)

Character

Name: St. John Allerdyce, aka Pyro

Character LJ: prodigalflame

Original canon: X-Men movieverse trilogy

Age: 21.

Race: Mutant.

Physical description: (See Aaron Standford, without the god-awful X3 streaks.) He's not as tall as he wants to be, and that shows in the deliberate way he slouches in a chair, or hunches his shoulders over. He has a shaggy mop of brown hair, once highlighted with streaks of orange and red, but grown out now. One of the more prominent things about his face is the size of his mouth, somehow just a little too big for the rest of his face, especially when curved in a crooked grin. His grin doesn't always touch his hazel/brown eyes though, and even when it does, it's not always clear if the sharpness of his contempt is directed outwards at others or inwards at himself. he mostly mooches around in jeans, sneakers and a battered leather jacket these days. He's trying to be James Dean.

Abilities: (if any) Pyrokinetic. He has the capacity to shape and direct flame, although he can't generate it himself. Any source of flame will do.

Please tell us about your characters background: (This should be a re-write of their original canon, altered to fit into this game.)

St. John was raised in a fairly mobile northeastern American family. His father was a salesman, and as needed, they packed up and moved around from Chicago to Trenton to Newark to Lansing to Poughkeepsie and back. His mother, who seemed to have innumerable Catholic relatives dotted around the eastern seaboard and inland, would also drag John and his younger sister as children to multiple family events, especially weddings, baptisms and funerals. John got used to the rituals of life and loss, never made many friends (he wasn't in one place long enough to do so) and was one of those kids who ironically was almost invisible at most schools. Most of his childhood photos, for example, are of John at family funerals: a young boy trying to look solemn in a little suit.

Finally, as a teen, his parents settled around Pittsburgh, and John fell in with some guys at his local school who were at times inclined towards street fighting, minor shop-lifting (mostly for the thrill) and underage drinking. They carried themselves around school as a pack, they carried themselves around the streets on the weekend with knives, but they weren't serious in any real criminal sense. Kids, playing at being tough. One of the best games they enjoyed to play was 'Bully the Mutie', which extended itself to anyone at school or around town that seemed off, odd, or out of place.

And that went swimmingly well until one evening when John's parents were both working, and John was taking care of his sister and the new toddler and the fat and oil in the pan caught on fire. Halfway across the kitchen, he reached, willing it to stop, to extinguish, to please God not set the house on fire. And it went out. So he swallowed, cleaned the pan, got his siblings something to eat and kept his secret. He lasted another six months living a furtive double life, exploring his powers in back alleys to mostly incinerate trash and then being a mutie-bashing hoodlum when needed. When his friends discovered what he could do, he ended up with three broken ribs, bruising to the right side of his face, and a swollen jaw, as well as minor scrapes and bruises. And when he woke up in hospital, there was a bald dude in a wheelchair next to his bed. The rest, they say, is history.

At Xavier’s he quickly established himself as a troublemaker and general smart-arse, the sort of student who'd always ask teachers 'but why?' or point out the flaws in the arguments. He was very proud to be a mutant, almost to the point of superiority, but he never quite blossomed into a proto-Magneto. He was, rather, just the annoying smart guy who likes to be smart and doesn't care as long as he gets attention. Certainly when new students entered the class, he'd always show off - which is why he had a lighter tucked into a pocket. In Rogue’s case, his attempt to show off on her first day was thwarted by Bobby freezing his palm-sized fireball, which set the tone for the dynamic of their relationship from that point on.

When Rogue was kidnapped and at the center of Magneto’s plans against the world, it underscored a sense of futility and isolation in John: that his power is in some ways not ‘first rate’. It also added to his belief that somewhere out there ‘cool stuff was happening’ that he was unable to be a part of because he was just a kid at a school. It drove him to want to prove himself, to become a part of the action rather than just a spectator. When she returned to the school, John’s reaction was to ask questions about how it felt, how cool it must have been to have people fighting over her, and only thought to ask about her well-being after Bobby made it his first priority, showing him up yet again.

After that, John felt like the third wheel to the Bobby/Rogue/John triangle, and he couldn't do anything right. Couldn't impress her, couldn't get Bobby to notice him, so he slouched, was surly and snarky, and acted out. He didn’t have his friend all to himself anymore, and he clearly wasn’t a key player like Rogue, with a mysterious potential. As they grew closer together, he clearly saw himself as on the outer, not privy to the sorts of shared injokes and memories that a couple or close friends have.

When the mansion was assaulted by Stryker, John froze at first at the reality of it all, then was too swept up in getting away to be an active part of the mansion’s defense. He joined up with Bobby to help him find Rogue, and then the three of them ran into Logan while trying to escape. The ensuing battle was yet another reminder of John’s place in the heirarchy: every time he saw Bobby or Logan do awesome shit to defend the school and its residence, it just reminded him that without his lighter, he was nothing. He internalized that reminder and Stryker’s attack then seemed aimed at going after ‘the mutants that matter’, which of course didn’t include him.

When he escaped Stryker’s attack with Rogue, Bobby and Logan and they fled to Bobby’s parents’, he got a glimpse of Bobby’s WASPy, ‘perfect all-American family’. Between that and the hot girlfriend, he felt distinctly like he was looking in from the outside and the whole experience left him sullen and anxious. When the police tried to stop their departure, he acted out by using his power to destroy several cop cars (and kill several cops). He wanted to get out, but he also wanted to prove that he could do something, was good for something. His need for approval, to be valued and special, is something Magneto exploited when they met by asserting that there is someone he's better than: normal humans, and so John ran with that, because he felt like he couldn’t break into whatever Rogue and Bobby have, so he had to find somewhere to fit in. John thought Magneto saw his potential and could offer him a place to fit in: the Brotherhood, leading to him leaving his ‘so-called’ friends behind for what he sees as bigger and better things, somewhere he’s valued, and also somewhere where he’s not ‘hemmed in’ by normal societal rules and morals.

Certainly losing his best friend to a girl brought out the more caustic, bitter side of his personality, and demonstrating no real romantic interest in Rogue apart from his capacity to get her attention and thereby 'beat' Bobby lead Mystique to make a few very cutting observations on the road. Even though he was an 'ally', he wasn't trusted by her or by Erik, really, and she enjoyed getting under his skin and generally screwing with his head. The last thing John wanted to think about was the possibility of him being yet another minority group, so whenever she turned into Bobby or Rogue he'd swear, threaten to burn her, and never did.

In the Brotherhood, John was distinctly more adversarial. He pushed Magneto to be more 'in the lead' of things, even wanting to take down Xavier, but Magneto clearly doidn't see him as 'worthy' of such endeavours, and John ended up looking more like a kid trying to impress his coach than having a real problem with Xavier. He did, of course, in part because he blamed Charles subconsciously for not being able to save him, but that was misdirected anger. Then again, most of John's psyche is misdirected anger. When the idea of a mutant ‘cure’ became public he hated the very idea, because he's burned all other ties. He wouldn't know how to live as a human, as a student, as just a regular person who is not (in his own mind) full of shock and awe, vengeance and fury made incarnate with flame. He found Bobby loitering around one of the 'cure' facilities, realised he was looking for Rogue, and slips in a few bitchy comments before he burns the place out. The point and focus of this was on his fragmented ex-friendship with Bobby; Rogue just became a bargaining chip in that, a name to toss out to hurt his former friend. He's not attracted to Rogue so much as what she resembles: the fact some mutants are able to live normal lives and have relationships, the fact there's an alternative he can't face.

In the events leading up to the attack on Alcatraz, John got pushed out of most of the action in favour of Magneto's reliance on Jean Grey/Phoenix, and that didn't sit well with him. After all, he was Magneto's right hand man and first follower, after Mystique got ‘cured’. Magneto did, however, give him the opportunity to face down Bobby one on one. It wasn’t the role he wanted; he wasn’t directing any of the mutant forces against the X-Men or leading anyone into battle, but it was a chance to show Bobby once and for all who was the better mutant. For both of them, it was a culmination of their history, the spats and betrayals and losses they’d both shared. In the end, Bobby defeated John and knocked him unconscious, telling him he never should have left school. Bobby hauled John’s unconscious body away before Jean could destroy him, though whether that was because there was still something of their old friendship that lingered or simply because Bobby was a hero, and that’s what hero’s do, is anyone’s guess.

Following the events on Alcatraz, John was handed over to the authorities after Bobby saved his life. John did have a brief moment of lucidity in the Mansion's medical bay before his transfer, but was otherwise unconscious or sedated. He was tried for murder, wilful damage, acts of trespass and aggravated assault, as well as terrorism charges and a single count of crimes against humanity. The count of crimes against humanity was later dropped following his guilty plea to all other charges, and sentencing was held up for some weeks during wrangling between the U.S. Government and the International Court of Justice as to whether he should be tried more broadly.

He was imprisoned at a Supermax institution at an undisclosed location. There were no other mutants present, and he remains unaware of the subsequent treatment of Erik Lensherr or Raven Darkholme. In prison, he attempted to 'hang out' with powerful underworld figures, before finding that his mutant pride and activism gave him no cred. Most of his fellow inmates had run extensive criminal cartels, been directly responsible for murders, rapes, money laundering, and so on. In comparison, John's claim to a 'higher mutant calling' made him look both dangerously naive and a bit weak-sauce, frankly.

He was issued with a presidential pardon roughly eleven months after his imprisonment and was told that following further developments in mutant rights as championed by the Secretary for Social Inclusion, Hank McCoy, the Government no longer considered him a threat. He was released into broad daylight with no one waiting for him. No media, no activists, no crowds. No-one even seemed to know who he was when he checked into a cheap motel, and the news was full of economic calamity and uprisings in the Middle East. Mutant affairs weren't front page news anymore; the world had moved on, and John struggled to adapt to a world in which he would have been relegated to the back pages of the Politics section, as 'former mutant insurrectionist.'

After a few days of eking it out, he realised he had no-one. No former mutant pride buddies were welcoming him back: there were no cells, no ready and waiting conspiracy. Used to falling into step with others, John had to make his own way, his own choices: and so he chickened out from responsibility, turned his back on a world that wouldn't even hate him, and made his way to Kin.

Please tell us about their personality:

He's brash and bold, but not as much as he thinks he is. He's out and proud, but only when someone else takes the lead. He's angry and doesn't fit in, and all too often other people harness that anger and shape it, giving him easy answers and sending him off like a bomb with a timer. He's intelligent, and well-educated, in a patchwork way, but there's a self-hatred at the core of him that makes him think he'll never, ever, truly fit in or be accepted. So all his actions are based on his belief that there is no compromise, no hope for someone like him. He only ever felt 'at home' with his crew on the streets of Pittsburgh (hint: not nearly as badass as Baltimore), and that got ripped away from him when he realised he was a mutant. Everything else was destabilised, and he hyped up his mutant-cy because it was the only thing he had left, his core identity. If he was going to be hated, he might as well be hated for being in-your-face-and-fuck-you-to-the-world.

Of course, that didn't go so well. And he learned a lot in prison; a lot he's still processing and internalising. He learned a fair amount from Magneto and Mystique as well, about isolation and about who he is and what he wants. Magneto by turns abandoned and cosseted him; he knew what he wanted from John, even if John wanted so much more to be a significant player. And he ended up feeling sorry for Mystique, and recognising himself in her: as much as he respected her independence, there's a part of him that instinctively lashes out, just as much as she does. Still, she was a very interesting 'teammate', and she could read people like a book. Travelling with her, John had to acknowledge some of the more pointed truths she brought to bear about the way he acted and felt and expressed himself.

Because as a mutant, John always felt self-conscious. He can't generate fire; he can't heal, he can't control anything or anyone save for an already-existing naked flame. It's pretty easy to nullify his power at least Rogue can slip up to someone and make them unconscious. The moment anyone notices he's got a lighter in his hand, he's already perceived to be a threat.

He's still in a state of flux, taking these lessons and putting them all together. It's not a conscious process - John's not the sort to dwell. But he does recognise he's done things he can't undo, and that the sheer malice and evil of some of his fellow inmates makes both him and Magneto look almost small in comparison. The lesson that there are Very Bad People there, and that at the end of it, sometimes there's no code, no justice, no clarifying reason - just survival - has made John realise that it's a very slippery slope he's on and he's not sure if he really wants to stay on it. So he's mindlessly searching around for new ways to express himself, which is why he came to Kin, as much as anything else.

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