Dresden Files: Kiev
Son of the Firebird
Name: Fedir Balaban
Weight: 81.6 kg
Hair Color: Auburn
Eye Color: Brown
Skin Color: White
High Concept: Son of the Firebird
Trouble: On the Brink of Ignition
Background: Refuge in Academics
Rising Action: Living in a Fairy Tale
Story 1: Target on His Back
Story 2: Fire of Salvation
Story 3: Flame in the Night
Superb (4): Athletics, Presence, Scholarship
Good (2): Lore, Might, Resources
Average (+1): Contacts, Driving, Fists
Read the Surface (Empathy): After years of coming home to an alcoholic father and needing to rapidly assess whether or not it was safe to be home, Fedir has developed a great sense of reading people’s surface emotions. This ability was refined further through his study of psychology.
Research is Research (Scholarship): From an early age, Fedir loved reading and taught himself material that was beyond most kids his age. Combined with a boundless energy and an ability to go without sleep longer than most (which he now knows is a part of his heritage), Fedir learned how to break down complex topics into simpler fragments. After his exposure to the supernatural world, he turned those skills toward the countless texts. As a result, he is able to use his Scholarship skills to conduct research on the supernatural as effectively as if he were using the Lore skill.
Cry of the Phoenix (-4):
• You’re able to breathe fire. The flame is so hot that it superheats the air around it, creating a high pitched screeching sound like that of a large bird of prey.
➢ Skills Affected:
• Weapons (this is treated as a thrown weapon).
o Breath Weapon (-2): Fedir can unleash a fiery breath attack that targets up to one zone away. Roll Weapons; if it hits, the fire deals +2 physical stress (essentially, this is a thrown Weapon: 2 that Fedir can self-generate). Fedir can use the breath weapon in a variety of ways and has a few tricks up his sleeve besides just blasting away.
o Flare (-1): Fedir’s skill, combined with fire’s natural propensity to spread allows him to use his breath weapon to make a spray attack against opponents in the same zone. However, this is no easy feat and other modifications are not possible.
o Magical Breath (-1): Fedir’s breath weapon is based more on magic than on strength. Its power is based on his will and control. Roll Discipline instead of Weapons.
Blood of the Firebird [Supernatural Recovery] (-1):
o The firebird is known for its incredible ability to heal from wounds. Thanks to his mother, Fedir has inherited some of this amazing recovery.
➢ The Catch (+3): Cold Iron and the like. Firebirds are part of faerie and thus susceptibility to iron.
➢ Skills Affected:
o Endurance and other physical skills.
o Total Recovery: The firebird blood running through Fedir’s veins grants him some of the mythical regenerative properties it’s known for. He is able to recover from physical harm that would leave a normal person permanently damaged. Given enough time, all but the most extreme wounds will heal.
o Faster Recovery: Any wounds that are received heal as though they were lesser. Severe consequences heal as though they were mild. Moderate and mild wounds are removed before the next scene.
o Unfaltering: The regenerative power of the firebird extends to Fedir’s ability to resist fatigue. With enemies on all sides, this really comes in handy. A good amount of time spent watching out for ambushes or reading far too much has lead to the discovery that he can go without a week of sleep.
o It’s Nothing: Even in the heat of combat, Fedir’s control over his healing ability is such that he can swiftly recover from two wounds.
Creature of Fire [Physical Immunity] (-2):
o With the blood of a creature made out of living flame, Fedir has nothing to fear from fire, vanilla or supernatural.
➢ The Catch (+6): Not Fire. The physical immunity only protects against fire. Since Fedir’s lineage is well-known, very few people actually attempt to use fire against him.
➢ Skills Affected:
o Endurance, other physical skills.
• Physical Immunity: Fedir cannot receive any wounds from fire, but is normally vulnerable to everything else.
Feather of the Firebird [Item of Power] (-1)
o A large feather made of pure golden fire that radiates magic. It is a link to the missing Firebird.
o Item of Power Discount (+1): Fedir wears it on a piece of cord and keeps it tucked in his shirt.
o The Flame Eternal (-0): The item burns with a gentle but never ending and unquenchable flame.
o Brightly Burning (-0): The item burns bright enough to act as a low-wattage light source, usually of one particular color. It’s enough to overcome mundane darkness in one zone, at least enough to read by, about what you might expect from a flashlight.
o It Is What It Is (-0): It’s a big feather.
o Unbreakable (-0): As an Item of Power, it cannot be broken, save through dedicated magical ritual predicated upon perverting its purpose.
o Flight (-1): Fedir can fly with feathery wings made of living flame, eliminating or reducing certain kinds of borders (page 212) and enabling travel upwards into zones (page 197) that can’t normally be reached. Winged flight is governed by the Athletics skill, just as running is.
o Human Guise (-0): Fedir is able to conceal the wings outside of stressful situations. As soon as he draws on his powers, however, the wings emerge unless he can remain disciplined and focused enough to keep them concealed.
o Mark of the Firebird (-1): Combined with his changeling blood, possession of the feather has obviously marked Fedir as being associated with the Firebird, a powerful member of the Day Court. As a result, magically aware people and creatures can perceive this mark and many are aware of his lineage and allegiance. Whenever dealing with someone in the magical community, Fedir is able to command more respect, based solely on his heritage giving him a +1 bonus in social encounters. The downside of course is that people tend to see Fedir as a member of the Day Court and thus an enemy of the Night Court and the Mafia. The mark can be concealed, but not easily.
Fedir grew up as a member of the middle class of Kiev as an only child in a standard family. His father worked long hours to support the family but the work was good and fulfilling. Fedir’s mother stayed at home to take care of him and like many a boy, he worshipped her. She was possessed with a vibrant disposition and was well liked by all who met her. Above all else, Fedir treasured the nightly ritual of listening to his mother tell him traditional fairy tales and myths as he drifted off to sleep. When the Soviet Union fell, chaos erupted in the streets and one day his mother never came home from her errands. Devastated, Fedir and his father Roman were never quite the same again. Roman slowly slipped into alcoholism, as Fedir grew older and older. Though his father tried to hide it, Fedir eventually realized the depths of his father’s problem and was forced to develop an ability to read his father’s mood when the man was drunk. As his reality became more and more bleak, Fedir spent more and more time in the realm of books. While his favorites were fairy tales and stories, which reminded him of his missing mother, he soon turned to more academic subjects. He took pride in his academic success and went to Taras Shevchenko University on a scholarship to study psychology.
Aspect: Refuge in Academics
University life allowed for normalcy to finally seep back into Fedir’s life and he grew into an idealistic young man. After seeing his son’s success and realizing how much he had missed, Roman began to clean himself up and swore off alcohol. By the time Fedir graduated, Roman had almost returned to his old self. However, one winter night, a group of well-dressed and armed men silently broke into the house and dragged Fedir and Roman out of bed. They asked Roman questions about his missing wife and when he refused to answer, they began beating Fedir into a pulp. Barely conscious, Fedir heard his father yell that he knew nothing about his wife. The man in charge sighed and ordered the other men to shoot Roman. Fedir screamed in denial and suddenly the room filled with fire. As the house burned down around them, Fedir dragged his father out of the home. None of the mysterious men made it out. Later when the two men returned to salvage the remains of their home, Fedir found a single burning feather among the wreckage. Roman, a haunted look on his face, recognized as a keepsake his wife had given him during their days of courtship. With pain all over his face, Roman finally told his son the truth: His mother had been a firebird.
Aspect: Living in a Fairy Tale
The Search Begins:
At first, Fedir dismissed his father’s admission as a delusion brought on by trauma and stress. But the feather intrigued him. It seemed to constantly burn and give off warmth, but did not ignite anything or consume any fuel, something that was not possible and yet was. He thought back to the night the thugs had come and about the fire that showed up from nowhere and eventually realized that the fire had spilled out of his mouth and that he had recovered from his beating far too quickly. Furthermore, the flames had danced around him, never burning him. On an impulse he lit a candle and stuck his hand in them, wincing expectantly. He felt nothing except a warm glow as the flames danced along his skin. Fedir believed his father.
Only a few days after the attack on Fedir and his father, an unknown assailant attacked Fedir on his way back from visiting Roman in the hospital. Fedir felt horrible pain as what felt like claws ripped open his back, but was surprised to find that the sense of the wound rapidly disappeared as he spun to face his attacker. It was a hideous creature with grotesque features obscured by the darkness. Enraged, Fedir found himself unconsciously loosing fire on the beast as it gave a screech and died. After finishing it off, a group of men ran into the alley, a cruel and painful flashback to the night of the attack. Once again, Fedir screamed as fire erupted toward the men, but at the last second he held back, leaving them burnt, but alive. He thought about returning the beating that he had received from their comrades, but instead dragged them out into the snow near the street to help with the pain of the burns. One of the men watched him in silence as he worked, and after Fedir called 911, the man told him that the Night Court was after him.
Aspect: Target on His Back
Parable of Fire
Combined with his father’s revelation, the encounter with the Night Court monster, and the return of the men who had taken his home from him was just too much for Fedir to handle. Overwhelmed, he fled to the local church he periodically attended and prayed for some kind of answer. He ended up talking to a priest about his being attacked by the Night Court and the Mafia. Expecting ridicule or alarm, Fedir was surprised when the old man nodded in agreement and told him simply that the supernatural was very real and very dangerous, but that if God had given him power, then it was up to him to use that power to protect those without it. He gave Fedir the name of Aleksandr Borodin and told him to seek him for further help and education. From Borodin, Fedir learned of the Night Court and other supernatural forces that lurked in Kiev. Over the next few months, Fedir found a new calling as a firefighter, using his immunity to flame to save as many lives as he could. Though he still continued his study of psychology and used in helping some of the victims he saved, it no longer felt direct enough for him.
Aspect: The Flame of Salvation
From Embers to a Flame
As the years passed, Fedir found himself entangled in various supernatural scuffles, especially with the Night Court and discovered later that as long as he held the feather, he could manifest fiery wings. With the constant encounters with the Night Court, Fedir began to realize that the fairy tales his mother had told him, which were often so different from traditional tales, were accurate reports of the weaknesses of many of the creatures he faced. As soon as he realized this, he and his father spent a weekend writing down and recalling as many of her tales as they could. The Night Court soon realized that they had miscalculated gravely when they had not killed him as a child. Furthermore, he learned that his mother was not just a firebird, but in fact the firebird. She had disappeared mysteriously during a major conflict between the Day and the Night Court that happened at the same time as the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Recently there had been hints that she had entered a rebirth phase, hidden and vulnerable somewhere in the mortal world to regain her power. Knowing now that the feather was hers, Fedir became resolute on finding her and protecting her from her enemies. Or rather their enemies. However, despite the rage he often felt at the men of the mafia, he had seen too many lives ruined by fire to ever use his flames to kill a human. Though the Day Court extended an invitation to him, he refused, preferring to keep himself as free of faerie entanglements as possible. As his search continued, his enemies grew stronger, and Fedir found himself drawing more and more upon his heritage, losing a bit more of his humanity each time.
Aspect: Flame in the Night