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Welcome to Charming, the year is now 1891. It’s time to join us and immerse yourself in scandal and drama interlaced with magic both light and dark.

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As clocks and other timepieces were expensive, working class folk who could not afford to rise with the sun could employ a “knocker-upper” to tap on their windowpane at a scheduled time. Knocker-uppers would work through the night and into the early morning. — Kayte
But then Miss Dempsey paid her so great a compliment that she wanted to hurl herself over the edge of the theater balcony in delight.
sobbing alone in front of a haunted piano

J. Alfred Darrow
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1,044 Posts
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Played by Lynn
"He's just been - um, catastrophe adjacent, I guess."
— Zelda Fisk
Sailing Instructor & Ship Captain
36 year old Halfblood
Sailing Instructor & Ship Captain
5 ft. 9 in.
❤   Married
Profile
Full Name: John Alfred Darrow

Nickname(s): Since the expedition he introduces himself and signs letters as “J. Alfred Darrow” because that sounds more like a professional adventurer’s name. Family or family friends who knew him as a child may still call him "Johnny," though he's not keen on it. Hogwarts mates would know him as either "John" or "JD"

Birthdate: 20 December 1854

Age: 36

Gender: Identifies male, presents male

Occupation: Explorer

Blood Status: Halfblood

Residence: Sanditon terrace

Hogwarts House: Gryffindor

Wand:

The wand John received prior to Hogwarts was Maple and dragon hearstring, 11", and swishy, but it was destroyed in the shipwreck of the Sycorax.

The only functional wand left to the survivors (and the one still in Alfred's possession) was Acacia, 11 1/2", phoenix feather, springy, but as it wasn't matched to him and is very particular about who it performs magic for, he seldom used it. Attempts to cast any magic with it resulted, at best, with an underwhelming shadow of what he was trying to do, and at worst with a dangerous backfire.

Following his return to England, Alfred eventually purchased a new wand for himself, which was Redwood & unicorn hair, 11 3/4", pliant. Although there is no indication that this wand would perform poorly for him, Alfred has been hesitant to attempt any complicated spells with it due to previous poor experiences with the Acacia wand.



Family: Zelda Darrow nee Fisk, Wife [1868]

Barclay Darrow, Father [1818-1879]
Evangeline Darrow née Hardacker, Mother [1828-1884]
Evander Darrow, Brother [1849]
Evelina Lloyd née Darrow, Sister [1853-1883]
— Charity Lloyd [1881], niece, now Evander's ward

John Darrow, Grandfather [1772-1867]
Lillian Darrow née Brown, Grandmother [1793-1884]

Hamish Darrow, Uncle [1815]
Morag Darrow née McGonagall, Aunt [1825-1843]
— Ramsay Darrow, Cousin [1843-1884] and family
Gillian Darrow née O’Toole, Aunt [1835-1863]
— Casper Darrow, Cousin [1854]
— Caitriona Darrow, Cousin [1857-1861]
Fairy Darrow née Porter, Aunt [1849-1881]
— Mercutio Darrow, Cousin [1865]
— Tessa Darrow, Cousin [1867]
— Maggie Darrow, Cousin [1868]
— Gilderoy ‘Roy’ Darrow, Cousin [1872]

Aileen Denbright née Darrow, Aunt [1812]
Winfield Denbright, Uncle [1799]
— Leander Denbright, Cousin [1834], and family
Appearance

"Had this man, perhaps, escaped from St Mungo’s spell damage ward? His hair, at least, certainly suggested that might be the case." — Rebecca Grey in Get in, Get Out, and Stay Alive

General | A short youth, Alfred eventually grew in to a man of average stature but has always been thin, though does have some muscle in his arms built through labor on his ship. He has dark hair that grows quickly and has remained a tangled, lengthy mess of curls since his return from the Sycorax expedition, where he grew used to having it long and unkempt; now if he tries to comb it back he feels uncomfortable and eventually musses it up again without even thinking about it. He writes with his right hand, and would do wandwork with the same if he ever felt inclined to use a wand.

Expressions | When Alfred laughs he often looks as though he's been surprised into it, although he laughs frequently. He bites one corner of the inside of his lower lip when he smiles. Negative emotions are harder to read; his features mostly go more stoic, and while his lips continue moving it's hard to decipher unless you know him well.

Deportment | Alfred's posture is typically relaxed. He is most comfortable with his hands in his coat pockets, or using them to make sweeping, animated gestures. At social events he tends to get a little stiffer and less animated, but can be coaxed back to his usual self by a conversation partner he's comfortable with.

Fashion | After years of not wearing much clothing at all in South America, he tends to dress as lightly as possible because layers feel stifling, and when at home can often be found partially undressed. He fidgets with the cuffs of his sleeves when anxious and can undo the buttons and redo the buttons with just his thumb, through a combination of too much practice and having worn down his button holes.

Accessories | After being cursed in 1890, Alfred acquired one dangling sandstone earring in his right ear, which acts as a house for the curse and prevents it from killing him. He wears it constantly.

Scent | For social events, Alfred puts on freshening cologne with a lemon scent. In his daily life he doesn't wear any scents and mostly smells like sea salt and old hemp lines.

Distinguishing Characteristics | On returning from the Sycorax expedition, Alfred had series of tattoos stretching over most of his chest and back, including his upper arms (described in detail in this thread). When fully dressed these are not visible.

Face Claim | Matt Healy
History
Childhood
(1854 - 1866)
John Alfred Darrow is born the second son and third child to Barclay and Evangeline Darrow. From a young age his brother teases and bullies him (not because Evander is actually mean-spirited but because he's a little boy being a little boy) and this, combined with the fact that he doesn't have a name beginning with 'E' and doesn't look like either of his older siblings makes young 'Johnny' feel like an outsider. At one point Evander tries to convince him that he's a changeling child and not a Darrow at all, and that someday he's going to spontaneously turn into an evil imp and eat the rest of the family. Johnny has nightmares about that because Evander is an ass.

When he is six his older brother goes off to Hogwarts, which makes the family a much more peaceable place for Johnny. He grows very close to his older sister Evelina and the two often play make-believe games. Johnny is an inquisitive and curious child who often gets lost and is frequently caught daydreaming when he ought to be paying attention to his governess.

Hogwarts
(1866 - 1874)
John heads to Hogwarts in September as is sorted, as his father was, into Gryffindor. He enjoys being around more people his own age, but is otherwise rather ambivalent to school as a general rule. He isn’t studious enough to really take to any of his classes, isn’t athletic enough to have much of an interest in Quidditch, and isn’t magically adept enough to delve into any particular field. He gets an early reputation as a day-dreamer and spends more time in class doodling than he does taking notes, much to his professors’ chagrin.

In third year he adds Ancient Studies, Earth Magic, and Muggle Studies. Following his OWL results he drops everything except Astronomy, Charms, Earth Magic, Herbology, and Muggle Studies. The only thing he has any natural aptitude for is Astronomy, but does passably well on his NEWTs all the same. His older brother Evander has gone off and gotten himself a career in the Ministry, but John doesn’t really feel that’s the right route for him. He isn’t particularly enthused by any of the departments and can’t imagine being happy working in an office and doing paperwork. That being said, he isn’t sure what he wants to do, since managing a shop or something would be a) disappointing to his family and b) just as dull as working in the Ministry. He could have become an academic, except he was never particularly, uh, academic, which puts the kibosh on that plan.

He ends up meeting Captain Errol Peppersmith at a career event midway through his seventh year, and the man sells him on the idea of turning to the sea for a career.

Adult Life
(1874 - 1882)
Captain Peppersmith owns a sort of “contracting Navy,” since the Ministry of Magic seldom has a need for a magical Navy and therefore doesn’t keep a standing one. The ships are generally understood to be at the service of the Minister should a need for them arise, but in the interim they are hired out to escort shipping traffic in dangerous waters, run about combating pirates, and that sort of thing. The Captain’s real ambition, though, is to mount an exploratory voyage, and he spends several years gathering funds for what he always refers to as “the voyage.” Although John is merely a low-ranking officer, the Captain’s enthusiasm is contagious and he does everything he can to be placed on the expedition when it finally comes to fruition, the preparations beginning in 1881 for a journey stretching most of 1882 and scheduled to return in spring of ‘83.

Aside from the Thrill of Exploration, John has another reason to want a place on the voyage: he’s become rather enamored of a young lady, but as a second son and a rather young one at that, he doesn’t have the means to marry her. That doesn’t stop him from making all sorts of romantic overtures, however, and the two are very close. John is convinced that being a member of this expedition will make his fortune and his reputation, and that when he returns he’ll be in a stable enough place to marry his sweetheart. With that in mind, the two are secretly engaged before the voyage departs.

The Voyage of the Sycorax
(1882 - 1887)
Read Alfred's log from the journey.

It does not take long for disaster to strike the Sycorax after she departs England in early 1882. A sudden outbreak of dragonpox for which they had brought no suitable medicine takes the life of a handful of crewman and the ship's healer, though luckily a quarantine keeps it from spreading further. The Executive Officer, William Percy, perishes as well. In the days that followed JD would wonder whether the unexpected shorthandedness of the crew might have made the difference in the upcoming storm, but at the time Captain Peppersmith had no idea what he was sailing in to. After crossing the continent of South America, the Sycorax is caught up in a typhoon and crashes into the sea (which, as a flying ship, she is not designed to handle). Several more crew members perish in the storm and half the roster is laid ill with seasickness for days following. The Sycorax is damaged but still limping along, and Captain Peppersmith makes the decision to turn back towards South America in order to make port and effect some repairs before setting sail again.

Unfortunately, the ship's primary navigator had perished in the gale, and although the remaining officers try their best at navigation, the overcast sky thwarts their attempts to steer the ship steadily to Brazil. Believing themselves to be somewhere very different than where they are, they crash the ship into the northern edge of the Andes mountains, and all but four of the officers are killed in the crash. Those remaining are Captain Peppersmith, Randall Coarse, William Fitzpatrick, and John, along with about fifty crewmen. Captain Peppersmith takes a few days to conduct Astronomy calculations and determines that in order to reach Brazil they ought to head North, which they do--it is not long, however, before the aging Captain begins to flag. Finally overcome by the elements and the terrain, he dies less than a month after the crash.

This power void sees the remaining men split between Coarse and Fitzpatrick, with John choosing to side with the former. Coarse continues North, while Fitzpatrick heads South--or at least, that was the idea. Since Coarse's group, including John, eventually finds the camp of Fitzpatrick and his men after they've all perished, no one is really sure which direction is which anymore.

One by one the men drop due to illness, animal attacks, eating poisonous foods, or from the conditions of living off the land. Coarse comes down with water sickness and begins to go crazy in what John imagines is probably 1883, and though for the sake of decorum John tries to continue pretending he's in charge the charade can't last long. Coarse wanders off in the middle of the night and falls down into a ravine, from which the remaining men lack the ability to rescue him. He dies a few days later, calling out for his mother.

This, unfortunately, leaves J. Alfred Darrow in charge. Lacking any better ideas, he continues to press north until they are out of the mountains--which, unfortunately, brings them into contact with unhappy Locals. Most of the men are killed in a raid, leaving only John, an archaeologist, and the cabin boy. If ever there were three men less likely to survive in the wilds of South America, it would be them.

Survive they do, though, first on their own (somehow) and then by more or less joining a local village. Alfred continues to keep the ship's log, but without any serious hope of ever publishing it as a tale of the exploits of the expedition. Maybe, he thinks, someone will find this long after the three of them had died--he keeps the record more as a log for the families back in Britain who might, someday, want closure. He decides this might just be what his life is, now, and he ought to learn to live with it. He learns the local dialect and gets a series of tattoos. He forgets what he looks like and stops trying to cut his hair or beard.

Years go by. Eventually, while on a hunting trip from the local village, Alfred stumbles across a small collection of colonists from Spain and recognizes a flash of magic. Wizards! He doesn't speak the language but produces a wand for them to examine, and manages to convey to them, in the most basic of terms, his story. They agree to help him and his friends get back to civilization. The only snag in the plan is that the cabin boy doesn't want to go; he'd prefer to settle down with a local girl, apparently. Not willing to waste time trying to convince him, Pablo Medina and Alfred are soon shunted off to America (they are now, apparently, closer to America than they are to Brazil, which means they were way off on their navigation). After being interviewed by the MACUSA, they are allowed to clean up and given a portkey back to England.

Alfred is a bit disappointed, when he finally comes in contact with a mirror again, to discover that years of living off the lands has not endowed him with a sense of confidence or swagger. He looks, if anything, disappointingly young to have been through everything he has.

The Return
(1887 - 1888)
After returning to England to find his mother and sister have died while he was away and everything else has gotten... well, just worse, generally, Alfred begins to feel restless. After indulging in a minor identity crisis when he discovers the Navy is no more, he decides that he ought to follow in Captain Peppersmith's footsteps and create an adventure of his own. His brother Evander is significantly less than thrilled, but who cares what Evander thinks?

Fundraising goes well, and the expedition to discover the lost isle of Avalon sets sail in April of 1887. Before it leaves, Alfred gets himself into a bit of a situation with a girl — the situation being that she's made it clear she likes him quite a bit, and although he did try to discourage her early on from becoming too attached, one thing leads to another a few days before he leaves and he ends up drunkenly taking her virginity. He feels awful about it, and is largely convinced that she will (and probably should) hate him forever because of it.

As it turns out, she doesn't hate him, and when he returns from the Avalon expedition (having found an island, which may or may not be Avalon, and having managed not to get any of his ships wrecked or his men killed this time) they tentatively start getting to know each other better. Also, during this summer, his memoir is published — which is the worst, actually. Alfred had intended this to be a historical account of the Sycorax expedition, based primarily on the ship's logs and his own journal from the time, but what goes to print is instead a highly editorialized and sensationalized account of life amongst the 'savages,' with a few vague nods to cannibalism. He is mortified.

Back on the subject of Zelda Fisk, which is what most of the rest of his history will be about: He is mildly dissuaded from pursuing her when her brother corners him in a hospital supply closet and threatens him, but not for long — Ari Fisk marries suddenly in December of 1888 and Zelda isn't speaking to him any more, apparently, which means it's safe for Alfred to keep speaking to her, at least as long as no one finds out about it.

Wooing the Fisks
(1889 - 1891)

As the months continue on, it becomes obvious to him that he won't be satisfied with just stealing moments with Zelda every now and then, and that it isn't exactly proper to ask her to keep sneaking around for him, besides. He tries to make things Official, but due to a complete lack of knowledge of Judaism he manages to accidentally surprise her father with the ask during the middle of Passover, in front of all of her siblings. Brannon Fisk rejects him, and he is marked in the view of most of the Fisks as trouble.

Alfred works through the summer to try and save up money and generally make himself a more appealing potential son-in-law to Brannon Fisk, but has no indication that he's making any progress. Combined with not being able to see Zelda anymore, he starts to get a little desperate. He sort of asks if she wants to elope with him, which she rejects. He writes a lengthy, heartfelt letter about the way he feels, which she never responds to. Feeling rather hopeless about the whole thing, he decides he needs to move on, and that to do that he ought to leave the country.

He plans a multi-year commitment in India and sets off in January of 1890, though doesn't make it far before being forced to return to deal with a cursed chest that had been smuggled aboard by one of his sailors. While muddling through the investigation he meets his niece, Charity, for the first time — her father having recently died, she is now unfortunately passing into the care of Evander. He also meets Jo Smith, who would quickly become one of his closest friends though he could never really explain to anyone else why they felt so comfortable around each other so quickly.

The chest has cursed his ship, and cursed him, too, which makes him think he's probably going to die. This leads to several high-stakes emotional conversations with Zelda, who eventually finds a way to prevent the curse from killing him. They both admit that they still have strong feelings for each other and Alfred agrees not to go away to India. Trying to figure out how to move things forward without her family's permission, they eventually hatch a scheme (Zelda's scheme, really) to just announce to the world that they are courting and hope her family eventually gets on board.

It does not go well, at least not at first. Her family is hostile to him, and Zelda is basically under house arrest, though the courtship is not dissolved. They go through the motions of courting in public for months, while spending most of the time trying to win over her siblings one by one. Her father still will not so much as look at Alfred, so that's not going well.

Evander gets engaged in January of 1891, which makes Alfred feel a little desperate about how little progress he's making with the Fisks. He starts taking very serious steps towards winning her father's approval that spring, though this (combined with some other factors), leads to a huge falling out with Jo Smith.

Personality
— Very aware of his own faults, but masks insecurity with self-deprecating jokes.
— Likes to tease people he knows well, particularly about anything they appear to be doing for the sake of appearances or propriety.
— Does not put much stock in appearances or propriety himself, for obvious reasons.
Incredibly loyal to his friends and family and cares very much about not hurting them.
— Would choose the happiness of others he cares about or feels a responsibility towards over his own happiness in almost every scenario.
— Although he has a tendency to be socially awkward, Alfred opens up considerably when asked to talk about sailing, the sea, or his adventures thereon.

Mr. J. Alfred Darrow, who is too awkward and famous to be fake, at least. — Zelda Fisk's history.

Other
— Amortentia —
Sea Salt, Zelda's hair, and cocoa with faint cinnamon notes

— Sex Life —

Alfred lost his virginity at 19 to a Boston girl named Rosie. She wrote him long letters afterwards which made him feel pretty awful for abandoning her, and he has since developed quite a hang-up about being too bold with any respectable women lest he give them the wrong impression.

Alfred slept with four prostitutes during his early naval career in various foreign ports, but gave up the practice after seeing first hand the effects of venereal disease on a shipmate. He has a very great fear of dying from syphilis and was celibate from 1878 - 1888, when he drunkenly slept with Zelda Fisk #whoops.

Alfred's experience at sea gave him a rather unique take on homosexuality; he essentially thinks that it's something that can just happen to men who don't see women often enough, like coming down with a case of cabin fever. The remedy for this is taking care of your own needs before you can start getting anxious about it, so unlike most Victorian men, Alfred indulges in that frequently.

— Transportation —
Alfred can apparate, but is out of practice. He generally prefers lengthier forms of transportation whenever practical, as he feels that floo, apparition, and portkeys skip the journey and are sort of "cheating." He can fly a broom passably well for transportation's sake but never had any interest in Quidditch.

Alfred is a sailor and can easily manage any small vessel on the open sea. He is very familiar with all of the necessary work required to get underway on a larger vessel and can navigate with either charts and dead reckoning, or through use of the stars.

— Wandless Magic —
Alfred has learned some wandless magic, from his years living with the tribe in Central America. This procedures for casting these involve both hand gestures and some chanting, which tends to alarm respectable British types, so he avoids performing any when in the company of others. Among the spells he can perform wandlessly are: a 'stitching spell,' most useful for mending small tears in clothes but can also be used on wounds if you have a really high pain tolerance; a 'cracking' spell most commonly used to open up coconuts and other difficult-to-eat-fruits; a spell to clean water; a spell to create a small spark for fire-building; and a 'fastening' spell which can be used to secure one item to another, provided it doesn't need to hold too much weight.

MJ made the most Alfredy of sets<3
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