unneeded: (Shine like the sun.)
 Or...sailing.  You know the drill.  Comments screened and stuff.
unneeded: (Over there.)
Threadjacking with this character?: Love it. Just give me a warning, especially if we're in a private room or something.

Backtagging with this character?: All for it.

Hugging this character?: He's not personally going to object, but if it's sudden (or even if it's not), he may jump at the gesture.  But still, he needs hugs.

Giving this character a kiss?: Girls, go ahead.  Boys...well, it wouldn't wind up a comically awkward situation.  More like him panicking and lashing out.  Scroll down for more info.

Something more intimate?: For girls: Basically, you're welcome to try whatever you like. That's part of RP. Groping is fine by me as long as it's not graphic, but Archie might have a different point of view. I'll go ahead and tell you you might have to build up to it slowly. Friendly intimacy is good. Sexual intimacy can be a very nervous place to go with him. For guys: No.  Scroll down for more info.

Relationships?: I'm not opposed to it, but I won't be trying to play matchmaker for him. We'll see what happens!

Punching this character (provided they can fight back): Your character can take a swing.  But be aware physical violence in a non-battle situation can trigger him.  Again, scroll down.

Injury?: Sure. Nothing permanent, though.

Death?: I'm gonna say no to this one, unless the circumstances are VERY exceptional. This guy doesn't have a lot to lose, and considering how much trauma he's been through in canon, I'd like to cut him some slack.

Is there anything you do not want mentioned near this character?: No. It's not that there aren't subjects he gets touchy about, but I certainly don't want to limit anyone. Touchy subjects are opportunities for RP.  But he is very much post-traumatic, even if he doesn't necessarily have PTSD, and some subjects are triggery for him.  See below.

Is there anything you need us to know about interacting with this character?: He's very easy to make friends with, though his trust can be a little harder to earn. Don't mistake him for a backward 18th-century man with a military mindset. He's a likable guy, Neutral Good, who could become your most fiercely devoted friend. He may say a few insolent things or lapse into teenage immaturity (he grew up on a SHIP), but he's utterly harmless, spirited, witty, cheeky, passionate, funny, and warm. If you come to him for help, he will help you. Period. He'll make sure you don't get too serious, but he'll give you no false hope (he's secretly a pessimist). He doesn't make enemies as a rule, mostly because he's not threatening enough to be someone's enemy. He's harmless, but not naive. People haven't changed much since 1793, and he's seen and been through a lot.

Be aware as well that he's not the most emotionally stable person.  He has been through a lot of abuse (physical and sexual) in recent years at the hands of an older midshipman.  Some things that might seem bound to produce comically awkward results might instead make him panic and badly endanger any budding CR.  I try very hard to respect the experience of anyone who has been through similar abuse OOCly, so I would appreciate it if he wasn't triggered for gratuitous drama ("character torture").  Addressing his issues maturely and ICly is different, though, so if you have any doubt, ask me.

One last very important thing for Demeleier: In spite of what some of his icons portray, his bicorn hat didn't make it to Demeleier with him, since it fell off in the boat as he was lying down.  So instead of the silly big hat, he's just got his ambiguously-colored hair that managed to bleach to a dirty blonde when he's outside enough.
unneeded: (Nose scrunch.)
Player Name: Tori Angeli
Player DW:  [personal profile] tori_angeli 
Contact: mtangeli on AIM
Character Number: First

Character: Midshipman Archie Kennedy
Fandom: Hornblower (TV miniseries)

Trigger warning: though I try to stay non-explicit, Kennedy does have a history of physical and sexual abuse.


Archie is bright and high-spirited, with hot-running emotions and a sort of cheeky, boyish charm. A line in an early installment of the series reveals that he stays in touch with his family. He makes it his duty to keep his friends from getting too serious. The fact that his high spirits have survived his misfortunes says much for his natural resilience. Even in the midst of them, he beams with a natural light It is rare to see him solemn, but his emotions do run strongly both ways and he is fighting a severe inferiority complex and post-traumatic symptoms, as well as a conversion disorder that gives him psychogenic non-epileptic seizures in the presence (or threatened presence) of his abuser aboard the Justinian.

He's sort of an odd creature when it comes to courage and fear. At this point in his canon, he is absolutely not the sort of person to stand up to a bully. He does have potential, however, since later in canon he does not only have the courage to do so, but rages quietly when he cannot. Nowadays, he leaps headfirst into battle and emerges with a blood-spattered and elated grin, a far cry from the way he will be in the future. It is not a larger change or danger he fears, but personal conflict. In the future, he will remember only that he is “prone to panic,” but at the moment, he swings between two extremes. When he suffers, he suffers quietly if he can help it, though he has been known to mutter and toss fitfully in his sleep during a nightmare. His personal weaknesses may explain why he is so passionate about his career at this canon point—being an officer candidate in the strongest navy the world has ever known gives him a power he feels he cannot achieve on his own.

He devotes his life to his career on the sea, but the arts and theatre in particular are as much of a passion for him. He later tells Horatio, “I knew Drury Lane like it was my home.” He can quote entire passages from plays and knows the names and faces of actors. Music and literature are beloved to him, and he sometimes reads or studies in his spare time even though formal classes make him uncomfortable (as seen early in canon). Books were apparently one of his little ways to take refuge during the tense days aboard the Justinian (in the first episode, we see him resolutely buried in a book, trying for all the world to be invisible, while the man who habitually abuses him torments someone else). Later in canon, he picks up on Spanish after being a prisoner of war at Ferrol for some years, showing a natural knack for words and languages.

Archie is an Enlightenment-era Scot, meaning he's an emotional sort of fellow who values freedom. If he ever appears blank-faced, it can signify deep emotional turmoil (or a precursor to a seizure). During this age, any emotion which encouraged empathy and therefore morality (love, joy, devotion, sorrow for another's grief, righteous anger) was considered good, so any emotion which does not (self-pity, fear), he has good reason to attempt to hide. He has a tendency to lose himself in thought during quiet moments, especially stressful ones, where he appears to shut out the world in order to cope. The little ability he has to stand strong, even at this point, comes from his friend Horatio Hornblower. While he adored his friend the moment he met him (and, in his enthusiasm, chattered his ear off until they reached the midshipmens' berth), he's aware that Horatio is, despite a late start, a consummately better sailor who does not have seizures and who does arithmetic as easily as he breathes. Instead of really resenting the other boy, he somewhat mournfully accepts his perceived inferiority, and with it his constant sense of inadequacy compared to Horatio (even if, all the same, he understands the importance of his role as Horatio's chief emotional supporter). Still, he tackles this, as with almost everything, with a bright smile and encouraging talk. This bottling is later going to come back to bite them both, but for now, this is the way things are.

In regards to his attitude as a military man, he is more concerned with right and wrong than the chain of command, although he keenly feels the boundaries of his position. In this way, he shows how very Scottish he is, considering the law and morality not necessarily to coincide. In the future, under a more keen or brutal captain he would likely be called insubordinate, but at the moment he's too gun-shy to go that far. However, he maintains an awareness of this and keeps his comments subtle. Aside from a woeful despair at the corrupt management that did not stop what was happening to him on board the Justinian, he loves what he does and is fairly good at what he does, but he's not true material for a captain. Still, from the opening minutes of the first film, we see that the men obey him when he is firm with them—and he certainly can be firm without fear when he is in command. Not only that, but they obey him with a smile, suggesting not for the only time in the series that Archie is very endearing to many of the sailors he works with. I personally suspect that from a young age, he was quite popular. He has the right kind of charisma and enthusiasm.

He enjoys giving his friends a gentle ribbing, but he is ultimately an utterly harmless person, blameless but never naive. He's more of a troll than a trickster (Horatio gets seasick within minutes of coming on board, Archie stands there and laughs aloud and munches an apple helpfully). Having lived for years among rough (but not bad) company since he was an impressionable boy, there is very little he hasn't heard, seen, or thought of. If there is more than one way to construe something he has said, the less innocent option is almost always what he means, though he is a master of disguised insults and passive aggression. While he stands at attention as well as anyone, he is never, ever above thinking Brest is a funny name for a city, darn those frogs.

Altogether, he is an interesting mix of cynicism and altruism. Even if he is secretly a pessimist in personal, but not war-related, affairs, it winds up being a springboard for his sense of compassion. Laughter at the seasickness aside, he is a very good friend to Horatio and takes to him immediately, becoming the first friend this quiet, melancholy boy has in this strange new world without even asking. He has an intense hatred of cruelty and will not wish it even on his worst enemies. Later in canon, when one of his men panics, Archie responds with both firmness and understanding, the latter of which is rare in the navy. Also later in canon, another midshipman denounces him, proclaiming him an unworthy midshipman because of his seizures and arguing in favor of letting him die to save them all the trouble. When the midshipman is shot, it is Archie who tends him, bandaging his wounds and insisting that the man eat in spite of the despair that overwhelmed him. On the flip side, his cynicism means he can snap to judgments about people quickly, and his ability to bottle his negative feelings can compound the problem a great deal. The fact that he can bounce back so quickly from Simpson's abuse isn't really a healthy sign, and later in canon he reaches a point where he can't fake it anymore. While any bitterness will never, never overrule his powerful sense of compassion, the ease with which he judges, especially those in power, is certainly a fault of his.

He has a few recurring tics and mannerisms. When afraid or anxious, he tenses his jaw and blinks very rapidly, staring resolutely at nothing. If he's doing this without blinking, it might be a precursor to a seizure, possibly even an absence seizure itself. If he is afraid of a particular person, he has trouble looking them in the eye or keeping a steady voice, and might even stammer. He wrinkles his nose, sometimes when concentrating or focusing on someone. When he's angry, he actually looks very neutral, except that his jaw is visibly tense. His vocal inflections are all over the place, sometimes even more expressive than his face. He has the misfortune of being a very readable person in a world of professionalism and stoic courage. Perhaps just as bad, he's a high-spirited, sensitive young man with an aura of blamelessness that makes him an easy target in a tough world.


At the time of his canon point, since no age is given in canon, I have headcanoned Archie to be barely seventeen years old, with the birth date of June 2nd, 1776.

Nothing in canon states his origins outright, but there are a few clues. His speech and manner and the fact that he mentions his father's manservant suggest he comes from a well-to-do English family. The actor who portrayed him said, in an interview, “What I'm thinking, really, is he is probably fairly well off in terms of his background. My take on it was, he was the second or third son of some nobleman. Archie Kennedy is a Scottish name, so I thought he was Scottish gentry. His family probably wasn't terribly wealthy but was titled, and he went off to the navy to make his career. And he wasn't probably naturally suited to it.”

He joined the English navy as a midshipman aboard the ship-of-the-line Justinian and served for an undetermined amount of time before the King Louis' execution in 1793 brought England to war (based on typical military protocol for the time, he was most likely a volunteer aboard a ship since the age of eleven for about three years before becoming a midshipman). During his time on the Justinian, he got on very well with most of the crew, being a likable young man, but endured abuse at the hands of a senior midshipman named Jack Simpson, who took to bullying his way to the top. The abuse, implied to be both physical and sexual, was traumatic enough to give Archie seizures in the presence (or threatened presence) of his abuser. Simpson left the Justinian, it is implied, to be acting lieutenant on board another vessel.

Canon itself begins with Horatio Hornblower's arrival on board the Justinian. Archie took to him immediately, giving him a rundown of the ship and talking his ear off in the process, greeting him with a broad grin and “Welcome to Purgatory!” He did his best to make Horatio feel welcome. Unexpectedly, Simpson returned, having failed his examination for lieutenant and being a midshipman once more. Archie immediately went from being a warm, friendly young man to a quiet, blank-faced boy, not speaking unless spoken to. That night, he had a seizure.

Simpson began his reign again, picking especially on the new boy Hornblower, beating him so badly he was nearly killed. Eventually, Hornblower jumped on an excuse and challenged the bully to a duel. Clayton, an older midshipman who tried to look after the younger ones, volunteered to be his second, knocked Horatio out, and fought the duel in his stead. He died of his wound.

That day, the news spread that King Louis was executed by his own people. Archie and Horatio were transferred to the frigate Indefatigable to fight in the First Coalition. These days seemed to be happy ones for Archie, and he took part in his first boarding shortly after the war began, returning elated. Simpson did not come with them, but months after, was rescued along with other men when the Justinian sank. That night, during a sneak attack, Archie had an ill-timed seizure and had to be knocked out and left in the jolly boat, where Simpson deliberately set him adrift during the attack.

Timeline: The end of Even Chance
Abilities: Nothing supernatural. Archie's pretty good at all things involving sailing, though. He's also a good shot with a flintlock.
Inventory: Two flintlock pistols (brass trim), black powder, small bag of about a dozen lead pistol balls, strip of linen fabric, naval sword. His uniform sans hat, as the hat fell off as he lay in the boat.
Link to an image of the character: Allow me to introduce the midshipmen of His Majesty's ship of the line Justinian, known elsewise among her intimates as the Good Ship Slough of Despond.

Prose Sample:

He woke in a cold sweat, breathing hard, but remained as motionless as possible and refused to open his eyes until he knew there was no one in the room.

His candle had gone out. Desperately, he fumbled for the communicator, shaking hands turning its bright screen on and shining the light over the floor, searching for...ah. He seized another candle and the matches, unsteady hands trying several times before striking a hissing yellow flame that quickly diminished into a small, flickering jewel. It took a moment to light the candle wick as well, and by the time he managed it, the match was burning his fingers. He shook it out quickly and dropped it to the floor.

As his eyes flickered up, he saw eyes. The candle crashed to the floor, sputtering out in a splash of new-melted wax, The eyes remained, glinting in the little light that came in through the window. One hand instantly groped for his pistol, but the second he raised it, he heard a voice.

“Go to sleep.”

...Was it crazy?

“Go to sleep, or else I shall punish you.”

He set the pistol down.  The shaking had spread to his entire body now, and he lay back, tears blurring the blue and grey shadows into a ruined painting. Drawing his blankets up around him like a shield, he curled on his side and closed his eyes. He lay there, scarcely breathing, eyes aching from being forced closed, until the trembling began to still.

To his astonishment, a warm orange light appeared through his eyelids. He cracked his eyes open just enough to see the candle, upright on the ground and burning merrily. Beyond it, a pair of skinned feet and blood-slick bones. His eyes slid closed again as he realized what was happening.

Not an attacker. A protector. As long as he obeyed.

It took a long time for him to fall asleep, but when he did, he did not wake until morning.

Journal Sample:


My governess told us the stories of Childe Rowland and Tam Lin when I was a boy. We were three boys and a sister, so she would change our names to put us in the story. Burd Abby and Childe Archie sound a bit less magnificent, but I was delighted. [Brightly:] Not so delighted now. Although if I were gifted with a sharp sword, at least I'd know the part I'd play. The youngest of three brothers never failed in his duty, somehow. An unspoken guarantee, in stories. Very possibly it was to make us feel better about our life situation. Jolly good time finding a place to work when you never learnt how to do anything. It's why so many end up in the army, I suppose. They never learnt anything before, why learn anything now?

[A pause.]

I don't suppose there are any books. I'd give my... [He thinks better of saying “my teeth” or “my right foot” when trapped in Elphame.] I-I'd give something for a book.


unneeded: (Default)
Midshipman Archie Kennedy

July 2012

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