Rook the Vaulted
From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
Rook the Vaulted is a character who takes the archetype of the suave assassin and turns it on its head. Though Rook is a skilled mercenary, his excessive sense of secrecy and paranoia (part of that due to his line of work, but mostly because that's just the way he is) make him socially awkward, and at times, just a bit creepy. More to the point, Rook actually does have something to hide- he secretly wishes to be a classical swashbuckler, a dashing swordsman who fights evil tyrants and saves beautiful damsels.
- "Don't worry, he'll get the job done. He'll do it while pretending he's a musketeer... and he'll probably take three times longer than he should, but he'll get it done."
- -Sarah Nightingale describing her employer
Rook the Vaulted is a masked mercenary who takes the art of secrecy far too seriously. A skilled swordsman and spy, Rook prefers to operate in the shadows, and much to the delight of his clients, he is known for his die-hard devotion to confidentiality. Unfortunately, that also extends to his personal life- Rook refuses to reveal anything about himself. His exaggerated sense of secrecy makes him an excellent freelancer, but it also makes him socially awkward. If that's not enough, Rook also secretly fantasizes about being a dashing hero that fights evil and rescues princesses... all while carrying out assassinations. Because of his secretive nature, the majority of this article is based on facts collected from a variety of sources, pain-stakingly gathered, analyzed and compiled by someone who has far, far too little to do with his time.
Originally, he presented himself to others with a disdain for the concept of morality. Recently, it's become clear that he has stronger morals than he lets on, Rook will usually show loyalty to his clients, and will require much persuasion to turn against them. Rook will very rarely take a contract on a former client; other members of the client's organization are another matter. Rook's services aren't limited to assassination; he is also a bodyguard, a spy, a messenger, a debt collector, and a kidnapper. Actually, he'll do more or less anything for the right price. He does have a few rules, however: Rook will never seriously harm children (and though he won't admit it, he refuses to harm pets- even attack dogs), and he will never kill someone that he believes to be a good person (though he's open to kidnapping, etc., just no killing). Now, exactly what Rook considers a 'good person' is debatable.
Rook has no superhuman powers, instead relying on skill and technology. He has a light frame, granting him considerable speed and agility. Much like his beloved rapiers, Rook doesn't rely on brute strength, instead focusing on precision and efficiency- he may never be able to hack an opponent's arm off, but he can inflict a mortal wound with a single strike, and leave little mess behind. He is skilled enough that he can take on enemies armed with rifles, though usually only a few at a time- he doesn't do well against large groups. Sometimes, Rook may challenge a worthy opponent to a duel, if he feels they are of equal skill. Rook will, of course, use a rapier, but his opponent is allowed to use whatever weapon they choose- even guns and certain kinds of magic. The objective is to give both opponents a sporting chance with a weapon they are comfortable with. On rare occasions, if Rook deals a fatal blow but is impressed with his opponent's performance, he will grant them a final request. This is a double-edged sword (no pun intended); if he's impressed, he'll make sure the killing blow isn't instantly fatal, letting the opponent die a slower and more painful death so that Rook can hear their dying wish. Otherwise, he usually aims to make the kill quick and efficient.
Rook shows no direct loyalty to any of the various groups operating around Paragon City and the Rogue Isles, instead remaining mostly neutral. However, despite his constant criticism of his teammates, Rook appears to remain loyal to the Shadow Spiders.
Though the origin of his alias is unknown, it's speculated that he is called 'the Vaulted' because of his secretive nature. However, he has made passing references to past confinement.
- "My opinion on the weather is none of your business. Who says I have one? Stop looking at me."
- -A citizen makes the mistake of initiating small talk with Rook the Vaulted
Rook will go out of his way to guard his own secrets, and may react in a paranoid manner if he finds that someone knows something he didn't tell them himself. Attempts to ask direct personal questions are often met with evasive, defensive, and sometimes outright combatative reactions from Rook. His fiancée, Sarah Nightingale, often muses that he acts as if answering any of these questions would embarrass him. Rook will confirm nothing, instead muttering nervously to himself and quickly leaving the room.
Rook has little real interest in people. Unfortunately, he still has to interact with them on a fairly regular basis. From what little we've gleaned from observing these interactions, it's apparent that Rook not only refrains from speaking about himself, but that he's more comfortable when others do the same. To say that conversation is not Rook's strong point would be an understatement. However, when he's not behaving in his usual evasive manner, Rook is oddly blunt and pretty stubborn, though there are moments when a subtle sarcasm may emerge. The moment he feels that his security is threatened, Rook will quickly revert to his paranoid tactics. People with psionic powers especially make him nervous, and he will often try to pre-emptively dismiss anything they may reveal as being nothing more than rumors and gossip. He has also been known to impulsively mutter "stay out of my head" around psychics.
On occasion, Rook may share an opinion. He can be a source of odd wisdom, if those around him can stomach his pessimistic, antisocial views. Typical for a hired assassin, Rook claims to believe human lives have no intrinsic value, and that morality is an abstract, man-made concept that doesn't truly exist. Rook's constant warnings to Kira that "sooner or later, everyone you know will either abandon or betray you" may suggest that past experience fuels Rook's pessimism. The only thing that keeps Rook from being a true nihilist is one of the facts he most closely guards... Rook is a romantic. At his core, Rook is fascinated by the dramatic concepts of good and evil.
Which brings us to Rook's strangest trait- while carrying out missions, Rook imagines that he is a swashbuckling, heroic character taking part in a greater drama, often pretending that his target is some corrupt king or evil sorceror, and that his true objective is to save a beautiful maiden or to free the oppressed people (thus, "Mission to kill Police Chief" becomes "That time I defeated the evil High Sherriff!"- which he doesn't openly state, of course). Sometimes, Rook even goes so far as to narrate his bizarre little adventures. Because of this, more people know about Rook's odd fantasies than he realizes. Despite how it all may look, Rook is completely aware of the difference between reality and fantasy... which probably just makes this stranger.
Sarah Nightingale claims that Rook becomes a very different person without his mask. She has offered very few hints about him, and it's unclear if anyone else knows him well enough to describe his unmasked persona, though Sarah has defended her decision to marry Rook by claiming she fell in love with the man beneath the mask. Sarah, concerned for his social well-being in light of his difficult personality, has tried to encourage him to go out and socialize, with mixed results.
- "That is possible."
- -Rook giving one of his usual neutral answers
Rook's excessive secrecy has led many to wonder exactly it is that he's hiding. There are few concrete facts: among them, that 'Rook' is an alias (Rook claims that he considers it his 'true name,' but has confirmed on several occasions that it's not his birth name), that he is a human male, and that he is a freelance mercenary who loves rapiers. Numerous theories have come to light, many of them conflicting wildly with one another. It that's not enough, some believe that most of these theories have some shred of truth to them.
(Feel free to add a theory and credit your character with hearing or initiating it)
- Rook is really Luis Antonio Salazar- Salazar, a champion fencer from Spain, disappeared in the summer of 1994, reportedly taken by Venezuelan gangsters to whom he owed large sums of money for unstated reasons (allegedly, drug money). Salazar is presumed dead; a headless body speculated to be Salazar's was found in the Arauca river in 1996, but was so badly decomposed that it could not be positively identified. The theory has found little ground- aside from an interest in fencing, no other common link has been found between Rook and Salazar.
- Rook is really Dmitry Padinov- A Soviet computer programmer, Padinov created the chess-inspired puzzle game Zhamatris in 1985. The Soviet government marketed the game and it became a worldwide phenomenon- however, Padinov didn't see any of that money. According to this theory, Padinov took the name of his favorite chess piece and emerged as an assassin. Two problems with this theory: one, there's no proof that Rook has ever worked in Russia or that he's killed anyone connected with the former USSR (in itself, not a deal-breaker); two, Padinov already re-emerged in 2001 as the supervillain Zhamaster, and was killed when his doomsday weapon malfunctioned. His reign of terror lasted exactly three hours, so it's understandable that nobody remembers Zhamaster.
- Rook is Alfiere Di Gallo- Rook has taken a very pessimistic view of Jean-Luc Bedeau's struggle to liberate the Rogue Isles. Rook may have once participated in a similar rebellion, but if his current opinions are any indication, the end result was not at all what he had hoped for. Furthermore, there are rumors that he may be Ennio "Alfiere" Di Gallo, a warlord who led a failed civil war in a small European country.
- Rook is a relative of Emil Marcone- Despite his best attempts to keep his base secret, Rook was known to operate in Port Oakes at one time, and as far as we can tell, has never actually taken a mission against Marcone or his lieutenants. It's possible he is in some way loyal to Marcone. Or, it may just be that none of Marcone's enemies can afford him. Still, everyone agrees that he's probably not Manuel Marcone. That would be stupid.
- Rook is a former Arachnos agent- Due to his high amount of Arachnos contracts, some believe Rook was once a member, and may still hold some loyalty to Lord Recluse.
- Rook is a Paragon Hero operating as a scout in the Rogue Isles- Rook may actually be one of Paragon's top heroes, gathering information on the Rogue Isles and Arachnos as a double-agent. Rook has been known to work for Arachnos agents seeking outside assistance, though the fact that he has killed Longbow agents makes this theory kind of unlikely.
- Rook is more than one person- A few people claim to have seen Rook's face. Unfortunately, those accounts are all so drastically different that none of them can be considered credible. In order to reconcile the various claims, a theory was formed explaining that 'Rook the Vaulted' is a cover identity for a group of mercenaries, as opposed to a single man. The theory also suggests that 'Rook' often denies any information about himself as a way to make sure that there are few established facts, thus preventing any of the various mercenaries from contradicting one another. Of course, it's possible these various Unmasked Rook sightings are false. No one has suggested a plausible explanation for a group of people going through that much trouble to maintain that kind of facade- except for one.
- Sarah Nightingale is the real Rook- A variant of the 'multiple faces' theory suggests that Sarah Nightingale is the true mastermind behind the Rook operation, hiding behind the assumed persona of a mere assistant. Using various decoys to carry on the illusion, no one would know that Rook is an invented persona.
- Rook is a shapeshifter- This one's a little out there, but it's an alternate explanation for the 'multiple faces' theory.
- Rook has no secret identity- One theory suggests that if we were to learn Rook's true identity, it would be completely unremarkable. It is possible he hides his name and face for reasons other than to protect himself- he may have nothing to hide in that regard, and just likes wearing a mask. Still, that doesn't explain his paranoid behavior, or his constant neutral responses.
- Rook the Vaulted is Sarah Nightingale's father- While this doesn't actually explain who Rook may really be, many people (most notably High Jinks) have suggested that due to his overprotective treatment of his assistant, Rook may actually be Sarah Nightingale's father. He wouldn't confirm this, and so far, nobody has approached Sarah with this theory. Recent revelations that he and Sarah are romantically involved make this one highly unlikely.
- Rook is a failed English major- Brother Sentinel theorizes that Rook may be an English major with 12 degrees, but upon getting the 12th degree found out he was unhirable except as an assistant to an English professor. Now, Rook leads a double life as a mask man, writing bad poetry and sitting around in a coffee shop. Rook at least admitted that it was a possibility.
- Rook is a celebrity- Various theories. High Jinks has suggested Brad Pitt. Combat Clown, on the other hand, thinks he might be Tom Cruise. Lucy Xiao calls him Batman. Flash Effect holds that he is Adam West. Not Batman, just Adam West.
- Rook is Bad Dream's Brother- There is no merit to this claim, most likely. Dream himself is known to have started this and refers to Rook as his "brother" frequently. It's probably just to irritate Rook.
- Rook is Emo- Bad Dream has also suggested that Rook is really just emo, and uses the mask to hide his facial scarring. But apparently, Rook doesn't cut his arms? Hmm...
For a long time, Rook had been watched by the Manufacturer, a mysterious entity credited as the master and creator of the R-series robots. Their unexplained interest in Rook has only heightened his paranoia, and he is actively seeking information about the mysterious Manufacturer. The seemingly insane R-43 "Eviscerator" model become a thorn in Rook's side for a while, but several months have passed without the Manufacturer showing any interest in Rook, until a mysterious stranger hired him to rescue Malcolm Trent. In the process, Rook himself was captured. Sarah and Trent, along with the Shadow Spiders, Lucius Schwarzhelm, and the help of the Centari Corporation, tracked down the Manufacturer's base and the chief operative, Agent Harrison. During the battle, Harrison revealed their newest model: R-101 Swashbuckler, previously known as Rook the Vaulted. Transformed through a very painful ritual into a robotic being himself, R-101 was loyal to the Manufacturer and wiped of any memories. While R-101 fought the Shadow Spiders, Sarah became nearly catatonic with grief. An EKW unit by the name of Rachel, who had come along with Trent to help, experienced an override in her programming which told her to immediately destroy R-101 for his resemblance to the EKW program. Though she was detained and kept from doing any serious harm, Firepaw and Demoness Nyx were able to subdue R-101. Harrison was captured, and revealed that there was a way to reverse what was done. Once Sarah repaired the damage, Harrison helped her to restore Rook to his human form. The process left him weakened and sore for some time, but he has since recovered. Curiously, there have been hints that he may now understand binary language.
According to Sarah, Rook felt tremendous guilt for what had happened, even though he wasn't himself. In the weeks after the incident, he interacted less with the Spiders. However, Eshleen Wintersmith (who had programmed her fellow EKW unit Rachel to behave the way she did) refused to take responsibility for her own actions. He still doesn't blame Eshleen nor Rachel for what they did- he felt they were right to try to destroy him. What he won't forgive is Eshleen's callous behavior towards Sarah following the ordeal. Rook's belief that nobody else in the Spiders cared about this has led him to return to his usual critical, unfriendly demeanor.
- "God, would it kill you to go out and socialize for once?"
- -Sarah Nightingale makes an unsuccessful attempt to turn Rook towards normalcy
As a solitary mercenary, Rook has few real allies. As a professional, he also has few real enemies, considering most of his opponents nothing but business. As a reflection of his distant nature, Rook usually doesn't refer to anyone by name, usually just using a description to refer to them. Lately, however, he's begun to use names to avoid having multiple people look at him whenever he calls someone "soldier" or "hero."
- Sarah Nightingale- Aide, assistant, weaponsmith, confidant and without a doubt the person closest and dearest to him. He is notably overprotective of her, and at one time referred to her only as 'Nightingale' for fear that revealing any part of her real name would put her in danger, and threatening anyone who so much as hints that they may be interested in her. Rook is now more open about his relationship with her, and according to her, she is the only person he trusts completely. Despite how he presents himself to others, Rook keeps no secrets from his future wife. She has given him the nickname "Keen," though the meaning of this is still unknown.
- Kira- Kira has begun to pester the introverted Rook, apparently trying to get him to lighten up and act like a normal human being. Rook finds her behavior annoying and somewhat baffling. Though originally somewhat abusive towards her, Rook and Kira have reached something of an understanding. Recently, Rook was blackmailed into betraying her, though she has since come to forgive him. Since then, Rook has come to see her as a close friend (though he is reluctant to admit it openly). He has also told her that if anything should happen to him, he would like her to protect Sarah.
- Phatalsynthesis- The mysterious Phatalsynthesis has somehow wound up working with Rook. Idolizing Rook as a great hero, Phatal enthusiastically joins him on his adventures, blissfully unaware that they're not fighting evil or saving princesses. Rook maintains the illusion, however, never revealing that they are often committing morally questionable acts. Despite his deceit, Rook seems to have bonded with Phatal through their mutual love of adventure and heroism, and has become something of a mentor to him. Phatal is also one of the few people allowed in Rook's home.
- Markel Smythe- There seems to be mutual respect between Markel and Rook. On at least one occasion, Rook has offered to kill someone Markel was upset with. Rook is willing to defer to Markel's leadership and is more likely to follow his orders than any of the other commanders within the Spiders. Despite how often he criticizes Markel, Rook has a great deal of faith in him.
- R-45 Generator- Rook makes his distrust of robots well-known around Null. It doesn't help that Null seems to be programmed to constantly reveal embarrassing (and usually false) information about Rook at odd times. Rook also suspects that Null's mysterious "manufacturer" is up to no good, and is likely using his robots as spies.
- Mephistroth- Though somewhat aggressive towards the more passive Mephistroth, Rook's respect for him has increased after they cooperated in Cimerora. To watch the two, some might even think they're friends. Rook's still suspicious of Mephistroth's nature, however.
- Blood Red Rook- Rook and Rook share the same name, but surprisingly, this has not been a point of contention, and Rook concedes that Rook had the name before Rook did. Though Rook doesn't know Rook very well, Rook regards Rook with respect and courtesy, and admires Rook's strategic superiority. The fact that Rook comes to Sarah for help with robotics (making Sarah quite happy) has also increased Rook's respect for Rook.
- Yinjian- No. Stay away. That goes for her kids from the future, too. Though Rook has grudgingly accepted to be the godfather to Yin's newborn children (after some persuasion from their godmother, Sarah).
- Kaleigh Malfyre- Rook respects Kaleigh as a person and as a fighter. However, her willingness to work with both Eshleen Wintersmith and Av Zaldun has made him question her motives.
- Adam Michael Fairfield "Moone"- Rook believes that Moone's goals, though outwardly noble, are ultimately self-serving. For this reason, he refused to take an active part in Moone's campaigns. That Fairfield and his agents agents carried themselves with self-righteous arrogance didn't help. He believes that Fairfield seeks to use the various threats against Earth as an excuse to extend protection and, ultimately, dominance. Fairfield has recently returned, though Rook doesn't seem to take him as seriously these days.
- Jean-Luc Bedeau- Like Moone, Rook thinks Bedeau's struggle to liberate the Rogue Isles is a thinly veiled attempted at conquest. However, his thoughts on Bedeau are more complex. He won't elaborate.
- Bad Dream- Rook has come into conflict with Bad Dream due to his association with Kira. Rook believes that Bad Dream is a backstabber at heart who is manipulating his various thugs by fooling them into thinking they are his equals, or close to it. Rook once accepted a contract to kill him and succeeded, only to find out that Dream could be resurrected- and worse, that he had planned this all along. Because they both wear masks, Bad Dream mockingly calls Rook his brother; for his part, Rook is willing to accept that possibility that they may be biologically related, but makes it clear that genetic relation means absolutely nothing to him. Dream's recent activities have led Rook to call him a "spoiled child" who can't take it when things don't go his way.
- Av Zaldun- Zaldun has some connection to Rook's past, though Zaldun himself isn't aware of Rook's true identity. Regardless, he poses a threat to Rook and Sarah. Though a former lackey of Bad Dream, he now works for Rook's friend, Kira, as well as Kaleigh Malfyre in the Vanguard. Both have to keep Zaldun in line, but Rook also realizes that the mercenary captain's new position has actually brought him closer. Due to their past association, Rook can be considered an expert on Zaldun... but recently, the greedy mercenary's behavior has become much harder to predict.
- The Manufacturer- After the ordeal that briefly turned Rook into R-101, the Manufacturer apparently disappeared. Rook remains vigilant.
- Dr. Von Havencrabs- Rook finds Havencrabs to be a detestable sadist and is pretty disgusted by him in general. Despite this, Crabs was the reason he joined the Shadow Spiders: Crabs saved Sarah from a mysterious illness, and Rook was reluctantly indebted to him. After some further persuasion from Crabs, Rook joined the Shadow Spiders, though mostly because of the added security they could provide. After learning that Crabs was behind Sarah's poisoning, deliberately to manipulated Rook into joining the Spiders, Rook developed a particular hatred for him. Now that Crabs has left the Spiders, Rook believes he owes him nothing.
- Sgt. Maris- Though he initially respected her and even regarded her as a comrade, Rook now sees Maris as nothing but a maniac using her supposed noble causes as an excuse for her petty violence. He now finds her to be a completely disgusting person, and thinks she's not much different from a wild animal, incapable of understanding higher concepts beyond bloodlust. Rook has decided that she's actually beneath him, and not even worth fighting.
- Eshleen Wintersmith- Tired of her arrogant personality, as well as the unbalanced among of special treatment he felt she was given with the Spiders, Rook has nothing but contempt for her. He considers her goals to be very dangerous, and while he thinks she'll never be able to achieve them, he's not about to stop anyone from destroying her if they think otherwise.
These people are either deceased, missing, or have otherwise become inactive.
- High Jinks- For reasons unknown, Rook dislikes 'the clown,' and uncharacteristically, makes no attempt to hide this. Jinks is Rook's opposite in nearly every way, and his enmity towards the clown may just be the result of clashing personalities. However, Rook has been known to carry somewhat civil conversations with Jinks... while still making it clear that he would kill him without hesitation. Jinks has recently retired; Rook's opinion on this is his own business.
- Moira Dirge- Rook admires Moira's level-headed, logical style of though, though he's concerned by her somewhat callous and distant nature. However, emotional distance is something the two have in common, and Rook might see her as something of a kindred spirit. Recently, Moira was killed under mysterious circumstances. Though not as close to her as some of his teammates, Rook nonetheless mourned her loss.
- Kevon J. Millno- Rook believes Millno to be nothing more than a military-minded tool. But, he also admits that the possibility may or may not potentially exist that Millno may or may not be more skilled than him. Millno's disappearance remains a mystery.
- Combat Clown- Rook doesn't do well around clowns of any kind, it seems. The clown (referred to as the uncapitalized 'combat clown' when Jinks is present, relegating Jinks to the status of 'ordinary clown') has made Rook the target of his jokes more than once. Rook has made his disdain for him well-known, but apparently doesn't care enough to attack him. Or maybe he's afraid of Cee-Cee's guns...
- Flash Effect- Rook and 'hoverwoman' seem to be on neutral terms with each other. Their meetings seem to consist mostly of Flash Effect having fun at Rook's expense. Rook has deduced that various other women who similarly seek him out to mock him may be her agents... or the hoverwoman herself in disguise. She hasn't been seen in a while, though.
As a freelancer, Rook doesn't exactly have a rogues' gallery. So instead, here are a few of the more interesting people Rook has run into on the job. Rook also tends to keep trophies from his missions, especially if he has faced a worthy opponent... though sometimes, he'll just do it for added humiliation (images still in progress).
Windfire Suzume- The latest in a long line of magic-using manhunters, Suzume Ryoushi has come to Paragon City to use her talents as a freelancer- though she works for money, she will only hunt those she considers to be "wicked." Armed with a katana and trained in fire-casting and divining powers, "Windfire" Suzume is a formidable opponent, as Rook has seen on numerous occasions. Their respective missions have always brought them in conflict with each other, and at least once, they've been tasked with killing each other. Unfortunately, their fights always end in a draw, and they've developed a mutual respect for one another... though, like many others, Suzume loves to taunt Rook about his secretive nature. Odd trivia: Suzume seems to love Eurobeat music. Well, she IS Japanese...
- Status- Alive; all attempts to kill or subdue her have failed.
- Trophy- None; intends to keep her katana.
- Played by MoonlightMuse
Mower Sarco- Once a Freakshow thug, Sarco's obsession with body modification has turned him towards more ambitious pursuits. Engaging in all manner of crimes to fund his countless operations, Sarco views himself as a living work of art, constantly changing and always evolving. His skin is scaly and red from genetic modification, and the only organic parts that remain are his head and a sack of organs in a giant metal urn. At one point, he broke into the home of Harold and Evelyn Marceau, parents of Sarah Nightingale, and ransacked the place, savagely killing both parents. Sarco's motivation for this remains unclear; it's speculated that he was hired by someone within Portacio Industries, who wanted Sarah silenced after possibly witnessing something at the company, and Sarco may not have realized that she wasn't home. Though he has worked with him in the past, it was Rook the Vaulted who ultimately killed Mower Sarco.
- Status- Dead
- Trophy- Sarco's metal chin guard.
The Marzaiola Brothers- Marty and Louie Marzaiola have been in the contracting business for years. Plumbing, carpentry, plumbing, construction, plumbing, you name it. You paying attention? Good, because we're only saying this once, got it asshole? These guys used to do all that, but they had enough. They got tired of being pushed around by big fat-cat bosses strutting around with fucking cigars in their mouths. So the Marzaiola Brothers decided to take it to the next level. You know what they do? They negotiate. They want you to give your workers better wages and benefits. You don't like it? Then I hope you like a fucking wrench where your teeth used to be. Sometimes, they run into this Rook the Vaulted tool, trying to keep all the honest hard-working men down. Hey, no problem. They can handle some whack-job prancing around with swords. Yeah, he gets away, and yeah, sometimes he stalls the good brothers' efforts. But one of these days, asshole, you're getting your skull stomped. Enjoy your fucking money, sellout.
- Status- Alive; Rook has found them surprisingly difficult to kill
- Trophy- Though he has not killed them, Rook has both a wrench and a sledgehammer taken from them.
Ganso the Arms Dealer- Once a munitions expert for a rebel army in Europe, the Jamaican-born Cleavant "Ganso" Wright moved to the Rogue Isles following the army's defeat. Though he initially tried to join Arachnos, he was deemed unqualified based on his record of stealing equipment from whatever army he worked for. So Ganso instead tried to start his own black market business... which did not sit well with the present black market. Rook was hired to take him out, but found himself outmatched by Ganso's heavy weapons. When Rook finally managed to gain the upper hand, his killing stroke was stopped by the unexpected arrival of Sarah, who had discovered Ganso's connection to the rebel army, and that he had once saved her mother's life. Ganso then decided that having a public arms business was too much trouble, and instead runs a lunch truck... which is just a front for his arms business. He has since become friends with Sarah (who is often interested in broken or otherwise unsaleable items), though Rook will usually only see him when he's looking for information.
- Status- Alive; presently operating in Port Oakes
- Trophy- None.
- Played by MoonlightMuse
Pirouette la Perdrix- A member of a circus-themed criminal ring based in Paris, Pirouette feared that her gang would turn on her after a string of failed robberies. She hired Rook the Vaulted to act as both a bodyguard and an assassin, picking off the gang members Pirouette believed were a danger to her. Rook even briefly relocated to Paris in order to fulfill his contract. Once the gang members had been killed, Pirouette decided that she could take over the remains of the gang. Currently, she runs their operations with an emphasis on theft and circus-based vandalism. Though she now has her own cadre of bodyguards, Rook remains her first choice for assassination work. This is one of the few instances of Rook getting along with a clown.
- Status- Alive; She was a client, not a target
- Trophy- Several items from Pirouette's dead colleagues.
- Played by MoonlightMuse
Lia the Viper- Natalia "Lia" Ierunca is among Rook's most persistent enemies. Once an intelligence chief for a rebel army, Lia has since created her own team of spies and assassins operating in the Rogue Isles. Lia has a particular interest in Rook, as she believes he knows something about her mentor Alfiere Di Gallo's disappearance (she knows that Av Zaldun is after him for the same reasons, but she refuses to work with him). However, she has only confronted Rook on two occasions; every other time, she has sent her minions after him, and they inevitably fail to deliver any answers. She wonders now if Rook is already familiar with her tactics. Recently, she was captured in Paragon City and sent to the Zig for her part in a plan to assassinate the police chief. Much to Rook's alarm, Zaldun has broken her out. He finds the idea of an alliance between the two very worrying.
- Status- Alive; current whereabouts unknown
- Trophy- Several from dead members of Lia's group
- Played by MoonlightMuse
Crystal Ibis- A member of a Chinese clan of magic-using assassins, the woman codenamed Crystal Ibis was one of Rook the Vaulted's first targets. Her real name and full history are unknown, but at one point her clan ordered her to infiltrate Arachnos as a test of her skills. Though she passed, she was assigned to essentially babysit a rebel army partially funded by Arachnos, and was abandoned by the organization when she was captured along with other rebel leaders. Though she escaped, Rook the Vaulted was eventually sent to kill her on behalf of a client who felt she knew too much. There was one thing complicating the matter: Windfire Suzume, whose clan of magic-using manhunters were old enemies of Ibis's clan. Her final test as a hunter was to kill Ibis, and she didn't appreciate Rook interfering in her hunt. Though they started off as enemies, Rook and Suzume eventually put aside their differences, tracking Ibis to Hong Kong. Though Suzume delivered the killing blow, Rook's client was still satisfied with his role.
- Status- Dead; slain by Windfire Suzume with Rook's assistance
- Trophy- Hair ornament (as he didn't defeat her, Rook didn't feel he had earned the right to keep her sword).
R-44 Enforcer- Due to his interactions with Kira's R-45 robot (nicknamed "Null"), Rook has grown suspicious of the R-series, and their mysterious "Manufacturer." Rook long suspected that the Manufacturer used the robots as spies, but it wasn't until the arrival of R-44 that he had confirmation. The robot was sent to kill Rook on orders of the manufacturer; at first, Rook just ignored and avoided him, not having enough respect for a machine to bother fighting back. But when R-44 threatened to kill Nightingale if Rook continued his "cowardly" behavior, Rook was snared. Lured to Port Oakes, Rook confronted the insidious R-44, who proved to be more resilient than anticipated, but was nonetheless defeated. With his sensor array damaged (preventing the Manufacturer from monitoring them any further), R-44 hinted that he was no longer slave, and gave Rook what information his programming allowed... including an unexpected truth about the nature of the "Manufacturer." R-44 allowed Rook to take his AI chip before what was left of him self-destructed. A Representative of the Manufacturer soon arrived to collect any salvage, claiming that R-44's attack was a test of Rook's skill. Rook now intends to investigate the R-series and their enigmatic controller, but with his own skills and traits now familiar to the "Manufacturer," Rook may require outside assistance...
- Status- Destroyed; his parts are still being recovered by the Representative
- Trophy- R-44's AI chip
- Played by TPOA
Ennio "Alfiere" Di Gallo- A former knight in an unspecified European country, Di Gallo felt that the despotic monarch needed to be overthrown. Called "Alfiere" by his men, it was clear from the beginning that Di Gallo's revolt was more about gaining power than liberating the people. He attracted those who also selfishly sought power or wealth, but there were still a few people who thought that Alfiere would take the country in a new, more prosperous direction, unable to see him for the petty warlord he was. Ironically, it was his own greedy lieutenants who sold him out to the monarch. Once captured, Alfiere was put on trial and sentence to death by hanging. As Alfiere and his top lieutenants (even some of the ones who had aided in his capture) awaited their public execution, more of Alfiere's men stormed the grounds and liberated him. Though he escaped, he was reported to have sustained heavy injuries during the breakout, fueling speculation that he died shortly afterward. What does this have to do with Rook? Well, nobody is quite sure. There seems to be some connection between Rook the Vaulted and Alfiere Di Gallo, but exactly what remains unclear. Some say Rook is Alfiere's murderer. However, at least one famous image of Alfiere depicts him holding a rapier that looks very similar to the one Rook uses...
- Status- Unknown.
- Trophy- Unknown; possibly his rapier.
Rook has no superpowers of his own, and must rely on weaponry and other technology in his line of work... especially since half of his targets can shoot fireballs, teleport, turn to stone, etc. Though he was once reluctant to accept Sarah Nightingale's technological help, he has recently been seen using devices or enhanced weapons created by her
Rook is rarely seen fighting with anything but rapiers. He values these weapons mostly for their elegance and association with romanticism rather than their practicality, but he is nonetheless very skilled with them. It should be noted that Rook actually prefers to use a single blade, though he often carries two with him.
Rook's weapons of choice are a pair of Impervium rapiers, crafted for him by Sarah Nightingale. In addition to being stronger and sharper than other rapiers in his arsenal, they've been fitted with special static coils that compensate for Impervium's inherently high conductivity.
Previously, he was known to use a pair of 18th century French rapiers. Among the pair is what is allegedly his first sword; according to Sarah, he took it from an evil man and killed him with it, allegedly Rook's first kill. Though he publicly claims that naming weapons is a foolish practice, he has secretly named his favorite sword "Ira." Its counterpart, a nearly identical sword he acquired at a later point, is called "Orgullo."
He has a fairly large collection of swords, but rapiers are his favorite- and more importantly, the ones he best knows how to use.
Also designed by Sarah, a small arsenal of throwing knives with various settings. The following have been seen:
- Incendiary knife, which contains a small dose of thermite that triggers on impact.
- Freezing knife, which releases a short burst of liquid nitrogen on impact.
- Taser knife, which releases a non-lethal but substantial jolt.
- Explosive knife, which detonates on impact, also inflicting very mild shrapnel damage.
Rook's cloaking device renders him nearly invisible. Unfortunately, quick and/or wide movements can sometimes cause the cloaking field to disappear. He has used this less often in recent months.
These capsules contain a special regenerative fluid that, when injected, can help to heal surface wounds and drastically reduce pain. These regen capsules are intended as a quick fix and are not a substitute for real medical attention, and Rook will still need to have them looked at. Unfortunately, the fluid formula can't heal severe injuries such as broken bones. Though the injector capsules were designed by Sarah Nightingale, the fluid itself must be purchased elsewhere.
Rook's secrecy has led him to adopt certain phrases that he seems to find helpful. They rarely work as intended, but they've become a staple of conversation, to the point of becoming a source of humor among people who've tried to talk to him. Though not the only person to use any of these particular phrases, he has become linked to them.
- That is my own business- A good catch-all response to any question. This has the unfortunate (but often intentional) effect of halting the flow of conversation, often leading to awkward silence. Open-ended questions are usually met with this response, though just about any kind of question could potentially face this dreaded reply.
- "What do you think of puppies?"
- "That is my own business."
- May or may not- An ambiguous answers that, unlike the above example, doesn't necessarily stop the conversation dead in its tracks. This response tends to appear more often in 'yes or no' questions. Some people believe that this is Rook's way of saying 'yes' without actually confirming anything. This may or may not be true.
- "So, you like puppies?"
- "I may or may not likes puppies."
- ...- Odd, pregnant silence. Like most people who use this, Rook seems to actually communicate something when he does this. What that might be varies wildly depending on the circumstances.
- So yeah, I'll take that as a yes. Who wikes puppy wuppies? Hmm? YOU DO! YES YOU DO!"
- Possibly- Another open-ended, neutral response. Unlike 'may or may not,' there is a higher tendency for this to be confirmation without confirmation. That doesn't mean it always means 'yes.' May sometimes appear as "that is possible," or "the possibility exists."
- "Well, if I showed you a puppy, would you at least pat it on the head?"
- Not that I know anything about that- This one's pretty self-explanatory.
- "So, I have a new puppy."
- "I recommend taking it to a vet to get it taken care of. They'll be able to recommend the best kind of food. You'll need to get started right away on house-training the puppy. Remember to reward good behavior, and be firm but fair in regards to discipline. Also, make sure to give your puppy plenty of exercise and affection. Ah, not that I would know anything about that."
- "...Okay then."
Other Notes and Trivia
- Rook is also said to have a wide collection of books, movies, and other media dealing with swashbucklers. Sarah claims he treasures an autographed poster of The Mark of Zorro (featuring Tyrone Power as Zorro), and that he still keeps several worn-out VHS movies for sentimental reasons, even though he has since bought the updated DVD's. For unspecified reasons, Rook really, really hates the character of Jack Sparrow.
- Rook's preferred beer is Dos Equis. When ordering, Rook will insist that the bartender remove or otherwise cover the label, and that they tell absolutely no one. When asked why he doesn't just have it poured into a glass, Rook replied "I have my reasons." He's probably just stubborn. According to Sarah, he doesn't even drink it- he just pretends to.
- Rook's romantic side brings with it a touch of chivalry. While he's aware that anyone could potentially be a threat to him, Rook is more eager to help woman, and may actually come to their aid even if he's not being paid. Actually, he seems to have something of a soft spot for females and a weakness for beauty, making him susceptible to persuasion. True to his paranoid and socially awkward nature, though, Rook will behave nervously and defensively around beautiful women who show interest in him. Just like a ten-year-old! This trait is subtle enough, but in recent months, he seems to show it less often. Sarah knows why.
- Rook has been observed speaking Spanish on a few occasions, usually muttering to himself. He is also been heard carrying conversations in French and Italian, and has hinted at knowing at least some German, Arabic, Persian, and Russian. Though he sounds like a native English speaker, those who spend enough time around him may detect a hint of an accent, though it's so subtle that it becomes hard to identify it.
- As part of his devotion to secrecy, Rook is capable of withstanding great amounts of torture, and refuses to give information even under such duress. Apparently, the experience needed for this sort of conditioning was involuntary.
- Rook is, according to varying accounts, quite wealthy. Some doubt that he could acquire such fortune solely through his mercenary work. But where else would it come from? Some, including Av Zaldun, believe that he has treasure belonging to Alfiere Di Gallo. The truth may never be known.
Lies and Gossip
((Everyone else is doing it! So, here's a section where your characters can make comments. Feel free to add.))
- I really don't know where to start... he's such a paranoid, stubborn asshole, and we spend a lot of time arguing. But I think I'm one of the only people who knows what's real and what's an act... sometimes I think even he can't tell anymore. If he needs me to keep him grounded, then that's what I'll do. But I just wish he'd drop all the secrecy, take off the mask and just relax around other people. But then again... I kind of like having secrets that only he and I know.
- Who, him? He's nothing. Just got lucky and wound up with a mountain of treasure, but he won't say a word about it. He won't be so quiet when I'm done with him.
- The worst part about the Rookie Cookie is that when people try to help, he gets some thing that they're really trying to hurt him. And yeah, I've hurt him. But I'm like Mythbusters. I like to see if Rook the Vaulted is breakable. Or maybe I have some hidden, nefarious goal, like gasp, I'm actually trying to *help* him. Who knows! Dun dun DUN!
- Ah, Rook the Vaulted. An enigmatic and mysterious man, akin to a character from film noir or a romantic novel. A true Byronic hero, occasionally to the point it's sickening, and a delight to watch play his part in the theater of life. Rook is a good crowd puller; he's unique, he's puzzling, and he's as twisty as an episode of Lost. I enjoy having Rook in my little drama, and I don't intend to write him out any time soon. No, that would make things so boring.
- He's almost as paranoid as I am. Almost.
- Rook has really opened up since I've known him. What's he like? ... That's my business.
- Rook isn't really all that bad, once you get to know him... but that's the hard part, getting to know him. I find the fact that he watches The Puppy Bowl just /adorable/, though.
- ...Your eyes may or may not be hazel.
- Is that level of paranoia even healthy. . . .?
- Rook's quite a fascinating fellow. Some think I must dislike Rook for how critical he is of the revolution and myself, but I don't. In fact, I admire his adherence to concepts such as honor. In fact, I feel he could accomplish great things if he wasn't so jaded against the idea.
- Rook belongs in a fucking museum. He still hasn't figured out that the reason no one else is like him is because the bastards who shoot first killed off most of his kind. Sorry, but that's just how it is. Fairness and virtue and all that crap have their place --- the battlefield isn't one of them.
- I have respect for the man. He knows how to fight, and he defends what he loves. But Jesus <explitive> Christ, the man needs to either loosen up or at least admit that some of us give a damn. Yeah. Some of us have our faults. So do you.
- Inspirations include 007 villain Francisco Scaramanga and the title character from Day of the Jackal. His secret fantasy is naturally inspired by the romantic archetypes that include not only Zorro (Rook's childhood hero) and Robin Hood, but also Don Quixote (though unlike him, Rook has not deluded himself into believing that these fantasies are real). And I'll also admit that Soul Calibur's Raphael inspired Rook's choice of weapon and fighting style.
- Not really a note on Rook himself, but if anyone's curious, the above story about Dmitry Padinov/Zhamaster is inspired by the real-life creator of Tetris, who was similarly screwed out of a fortune by the Soviet government. Instead of becoming an inept supervillain, he came up with a bunch of really bad Tetris knockoffs. Seriously, they had names like "Welltris" and "Hatris."
- Rook is apparently capable of using... a batsword.