Ellison Bartley DonoghueAlias:
Investigative Reporter Kith/House:
Wizened (Author)/Spring CourtSecret Societies:
Ellis is hardly the sort of guy who stands out in a crowd. Average height, a lean frame, glasses and unkempt brown hair are all present and accounted for, and when put together, paint the picture of an unassuming bookworm. Which isn't far from the mark, but there's something else entirely hiding just under the surface that only those with the know-how can see.
Find a Mage who can cast the level 1 Prime rote Sense Supernatural, however, and things get a little more surreal. Ellis is, in actuality, something other than human. His skin turns dry and coarse, the same color and texture as parchment, his hands and fingers stained black as if covered with ink. He retains his height but thins out to the point of being impossibly skinny and angular, looking as if he'd simply vanish if he turned to the side, like an abstract doodle in the margins of some mad man's journal. His shoulders hunch as if he's perpetually hunched over a desk or typewriter, fingers always slightly bent even when relaxed, and his eyes are entirely black, harboring the same inky-quality as his hands. Contracts:
- Polyglot's Riddle: The Changeling can deduce the meaning of written text in any mortal language.
Contracts of Dreams (• • • •)
- Pathfinder: The first and most basic clause allows the changeling to divine the nature of the Hedge in a certain area. Pathfinder can find Hollows, trods, paths to and from Faerie and other details of the local Hedge, such as what sorts of goblin fruits grow there.
- Forging the Dream: Alter events and setting in subject's dreamscape, even when not inside. The changeling may literally change her subject's dreams to depict whatever the changeling wishes, from bucolic idylls to lewd romps to harrowing tribulations. She may plague her subject with vicious antagonists or rain a cascade of rose petals down: The details are fully under her control. The only limitation is that the changeling may never depict the subject's death, though she may certainly imply it.
- Phantasmal Bastion: This clause bolsters the changeling's ability to participate in and withstand conflicts with other changelings in the dreamscape. Using this power conjures an elaborate suit or even edifice of "armor," or conjures a fanciful weapon, both of which exist only in the dreamscape. Both weapon and armor appear as the changeling wishes.
- Cobblethought: Using this clause allows the changeling to reach into his subject's dreams and extract an item or image from them that then exists or plays out in the real world.
Contracts of Eternal Spring (•)
- Gift of Warm Breath: Rejuvenates a target, alleviating suffering from fatigue and deprivation, and healing bashing damage.
Contracts of the Forge (• • • •)
- Rewriting the Image: The changeling can alter the details of any two-dimensional image, including paintings, photographs and video clips. The basic form of the image cannot be changed but all of the details can be, allowing the changeling to transform an image of one person into the image of someone else. This clause cannot alter writing -- the changeling could twist the face in a driver's license or political ad, but not alter the birth date or campaign slogan.
- Trivial Reworking: The changeling can temporarily reshape a small object in relatively minor ways.
- Discreet Conjuration: The character can remove a small object from a pocket, desk drawer or other location where the object could be -- even though, before this Contract's use, the object wasn't there at all.
- Hidden Reality:The changeling creates some feature of her surroundings that was not previously obvious and so might have been present naturally. For example, she causes a pair of bars in a cell to be loose enough to be removed if she tugs on them hard enough. Similarly, she can create a hidden catch that opens a door, cause a normal door to be left unlocked or an electrical outlet that was hidden behind a table. In all cases, the change must be small and relatively reasonable.
Ah, the life of the tortured artist, spent drowning in a sea of constant inner turmoil and alienation, unable to find their place in a world of simpletons that don't understand them...
. In order for Ellis to feel misunderstood or isolated, he'd have to harbor the capacity to feel anything in the first place, and everyone knows feelings are clumsy, bothersome, and nothing he has any time for. If cynicism was a trade good and Ellis Donoghue an island, it would undoubtedly be his chief export. Life has taught him that people are only out for themselves, and dammit, you better be too if you want to keep your head above the water. Changeling, mage, human, it doesn't matter, people are bastard coated bastards with bastard filling, and the sooner one gets wise to that fact, the better. Blame it on the Fae that abducted him into a life of involuntary servitude, blame it on the Keeper that kept him tethered to a writing desk for what felt like an eternity, in the end it doesn't matter; Ellis is a fount of negativity who's the first to admit that he's got the same bastard filling as the next guy.
Unless, of course, it's all an act. And you better believe it is; Ellis doesn't want
to be the jaded asshole he lets everyone think he is, but it's a carefully constructed self-defense mechanism for a man who's had to rebuild his life from the ground up and is terrified that someone might find out the truth if they get too close. So distant, uppity, and cynical are the names of the game. It's one Ellis has been playing for so long that he's starting to forget what sort of person he actually is. Still, even the best actor can't stay in character all the time, and even Ellis can't fool himself into thinking he's above all the petty, pretentious snobbery he fronts. That act has to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is the douchebaggy core of the man himself.
Ellis has a natural affinity for the written word, and even after his stint on the other side of the Hedge, his passion hasn't waned. He's a fan of books of all sorts and likes to fancy himself as well-read and cultured, and isn't above lording his intellect over those he deems dimwitted, though he rarely expends the energy to start really a fight. But anyone asking for it will get a snide earful, whether they want to hear it or not. Never let it be said that pride is a rarity in the toolbox of an author, and among the seven sins, it's definitely at the top of Ellis' list.
Followed almost immediately by wrath. One thing Ellis doesn't play up is his bitterness over lost time, and any chance to throw a wrench in the plans of the Fae is rarely one he'll pass up. After all, it's their fault he had to throw away both his name and a budding writing career to go start from scratch in some podunk mountain town surrounded by a bunch of Magic Missile-spewing weirdos. History:
Ellison Reed never asked to get dragged through the Hedge and be forced to write an endless stream of poetry, plays, and stories for a Keeper who was harsher than a tenured Harvard professor grading a thesis paper, but then again, no one ever really does. That's the thing about the Fae, they're not exactly into the art of asking politely for the things they want, not when snatching up unsuspecting recent college graduates and whisking them away is so much easier.
Which is exactly what happened to Ellis. His life up to that point can be condensed in a nutshell: born in New York to second-generation Irish immigrants, majored in Journalism at Princeton, earned a copy-editing internship at the The New York Times, laid out a plan to climb the ladder to full fledged reporter... and then everything changed. His grandmother had told him stories about the Little People when he had been a child, but Ellis had chalked them up as nothing more than fairy tales.
Oh, how wrong he was.
There's nothing quite like learning a lesson the hard way, and Ellis' time spent appeasing his Keeper was most assuredly hard. And endless ream of parchment passing over a far-too-small writing desk, his hand never ceasing in its endless quest to fill every inch which words, numbers, and symbols, his thoughts consumed with nouns and verbs and adjective all fighting to make their way onto the paper. Mentally and physically exhausting work, day in and day out, and every completed piece never quite enough to sate the Fae's appetite for the written word. It became all he knew, until Ellis and the page ceased being separate entities and merged together, his memories getting jumbled together with the words he had written until his life as he knew it became just another story.
Or so it would have been had he not come across the notes scribbled along the margins of his work. Notes written in his own hand that sparked something deep in the recesses of his mind, something that grew stronger the longer he read until the memories of his life before he was taken came back in full force. When the realization hit that he didn't belong in Arcadia, it became his all-encompassing goal to get out. Biding his time was the hardest part, having to pretend he was still a mindless manuscript-writing machine was nearly enough to drive him over the edge again, but eventually the chance to escape came.
Ellis' Keeper had pulled another unsuspecting chump into the Hedge and, so preoccupied with breaking their new catch in were they that Ellis took the opportunity to book it. It wasn't easy to get out; the only thing that kept him from giving up and letting the Fae claim him for good was his desire to get back to his old life. He stumbled out into the real world through a section of the Hedge that was thin, into some tiny unheard-of town in Colorado, miles away from New York. But it didn't matter; he was out
Out and about eight years into the future, he soon discovered. His time in Arcadia had seemed to stretch on for an eternity, and he had been so consumed with escaping that he hadn't thought of the consequences that might be waiting for him. It took an awkward call home to his parents that ended with them hanging up after assuring them that he was, in fact, sitting in their living room so whoever this was crank calling had better stop it to realize that while he had been away, his life had gone on without him. A little research revealed that Ellison Reed was a respected field reporter for the New York Times, having finally snagged that dream job he had been chasing after.
Which was all well and good except for the fact that Ellis Reed was stranded in Nowheresville, Colorado. His Fetch had done a fine job of filling in his shoes, so well in fact that there was no way Elias could slip them back on. So Ellis Donoghue was born out of necessity, choosing to settle down in the town he had stumbled across. After all, what other options did he have? Not a whole hell of a lot, and for the time being, Ellis has been working as a freelance writer, doing the one thing he had sworn he'd never do again once he escaped from the Hedge. Funny how life works out sometimes, but Ellis isn't exactly laughing.