From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
|Known Aliases:||Bob,Bobby,Robert,Mr.Dangerous,The man in black and the boogeyman|
|Eye Color:||grey change to black with mood change|
|Place of Birth:||'|
|Base of Operations:||'|
|Teleportation and a bit Super Speed|
Before the Beginning: Valéria Saraf
Valéria Saraf would never agree with a suggestion that she had three sons. She is upset enough at the way her promising dance career was RUINED by a pregnancy in the first place! -- a betrayal of her gifted soul by a heartless cad. Oh, he whispered all the sweetest pledges as he seduced her before a casting call, with more assurances while the fruit of his trickery waxed in her body.
The event was not unlike so many second acts in so many ballets: when her fate was sealed, the cad escaped. Valéria foundered, alone, knowing her dance career to be over. She swore on the soul of her unborn child that he would be a true son, a danseur of heart-wrenching talent and impeccable courtesy, the executor of her vengeance!
She named him "Robert", because it meant "bright fame". She certainly did not birth triplets; any hint to the contrary is intolerable ... as would be the notion that Valéria herself might have any extra-human qualities beyond her classical beauty and her talent for dance.
Momma's will was very strong.
She insisted that "Bobby" and "Robert" and "Bob" were but different addresses to the sole issue of her loins, each according to his compliance. Bob, always serious, always cool-voiced, always responsible, was her little man. Robert was the bad one, so very stubborn, so very defiant; but mostly Momma raised her Bobby, her grey-eyed little angel.
Momma's will was very strong, yes, and eventually -- inevitably -- Momma always had her way.
Things went wrong in Bobby's fifteenth year of life. Despite Momma's strict training and iron-clad guidance, one of the covetous hussies in Bobby's school trapped him away from any chaperone. The doctors said Bobby nearly died, that Valéria should be grateful he woke up from the coma at all, that it was a wonder his injuries did not disfigure him so horrifically that he might never dance again. Valéria spent most of a year at that hospital, hours each day at her son's bedside -- chasing away that ginger ingénue whenever she dared sneak a visit. Part of the settlement from Calliope Csintalan's high-society family was that the Saraf duo must leave, once Bob became well enough to do so: leave town, move far away, never be heard from again. They sought to preserve Calliope's reputation, a goal worthy of her parents if not deserved by the child.
By the time his eighteenth winter came along, Bob could dance. Indeed, he could perform any maneuver Momma required; what he could not seem to do was to win a headline role. Valéria grew short-tempered at Robert's failure. She moved them to a small flat on the Oise, hoping old European connections would dangle a few strings. When that gave only supporting roles, plus a modest income as Bob tutored younger danseurs, Valéria packed up the family again for Las Vegas.
The City of Second Chances hosted many dance troupes, many opportunities for Valéria's little angel. Valéria threw herself into the cultivation of connections. Yes, it required her to develop a strong stomach, to drink more than a dancer ought, but what was one more sacrifice of her body on the altar of her stolen destiny?
Meanwhile, casting director after talent agent after choreographer measured the technical perfection of Bob Saraf's tryouts, finding him worthy of a supporting role, but always with the caveat that he just did not have "it".
One of Valéria's paramours steered them to an opportunity in Rio de Janeiro, where a mafia ally sponsored a new production: La Bayadère, all dances performed in samba rather than the classical forms of ballet. Valéria made very explicit to her son that he MUST distinguish himself in this opportunity! At twenty-two he approached the age where he would break forth into his destiny, or resign himself -- and all his beloved mother's martyred hopes -- to mediocrity.
They passed over her pale-skinned danseur for the leading part of Solor, but he won final consideration for the High Brahmin. That part was confirmed to be his when the only other final candidate vanished without notice.
Robert, alas, received no praise for his effort.
The show received moderately good reviews, enough acclaim to go on a short tour of Brazil. The dance company returned to Rio de Janeiro after fourteen weeks, exhausted but pleased, and already the discovery of a young performer found butchered in a subway train maintenance shed was old news, forgotten. Critics called Bob's performance "solid", when they mentioned any particular member of the dance company by name.
Valéria saw her plans withering on the vine. No, perhaps that was not fair: her scion possessed talent, she knew it, she could feel it! He worked very hard, he applied himself to his training with all the dedication she commanded. He simply could not bridge that gap between his skills and the talent a true prodigy should display. Heart-sick, Valéria found decreasing solace in drink or in back-stage campaigning. She turned to the flash and excitement of casino gambling to numb her pain.
Before she was anesthetized, Valéria found herself disconcertingly indebted to some very unfortunate interests.
That was when the soft-spoken pair of scientific women approached Valéria Saraf with a discreetly horrifying offer: they would pay her debt, they would provide a bank account with a sizeable enough fund to purchase oneself a truly fresh start ... but her son would be gone. Vanished. No more.
Valéria hung suspended in indecision for hours. Her son! The ruination of her career, yes, the symbol of her vanquished dreams, but also the mannerly young man who cleaned their tiny studio after a full day's regimen of tutoring and drills, the adoring boy who listened attentively to her every pronouncement, the ...
... the sometimes wild-eyed antagonist, Valéria quietly admitted to herself at last, who lately owned an ugly knife, whom she dared not leave unchaperoned after she spotted a predatory intensity to his gaze.
Valéria quietly cancelled Bob's last two students of the day, explaining only that she had found her boy another audition. She listened to the bright bells of the slot machines as afternoon slid into night, feeling her dreams drain away with the light.