Since the Game Began, Aka: Ambrose's Story (In a very small nutshell)

Fortunately/Unfortunately for Ambrose's sanity, an unpredictable event occurred, removing Ambrose from the sphere of influence of his father, crown, and country.  On an important assignment to guard a gift of good-will to the King of Alainon (England), their ship was intercepted by the most unnatural of "men", and Ambrose's worldview became challenged for the first time.  Any attack passed straight through the attacking phantasmal pirate, and he summoned rotting corpses from the deeps to attack the crew.  After a harrowing, but short battle, during which Ambrose's cool exterior cracked momentarily due to a hideous mind-effecting laughter that seized him, they were touched by the phantom pirate himself, and those remaining standing fell unconscious.  When they came to, more unexpected surprises were in store for him - only a handful of people were left on board, and the ship was steering itself.  The ship eventually took them to a port which was eerily similar to the one they had left – down to the architecture and the language, yet distinctly different – the faces on the currency, the attitudes of the people, and the feel of the land itself.  He saw things that radically conflicted with his worldview, and rational, logical, non-superstitious nature, such as ghosts, men and women becoming animals, walking through mists to appear elsewhere, and even some of the party members going through… changes.  He had to  start to come to terms with the reality that they were no longer in the same world as they were previously (after seeing maps showing a strange continent the size of Europe, and a consensus of everyone he spoke to.)  His sign of accepting, finally, the reality of the location was expressed when, after his rapier broke from stress, he took up the blade (the gift to the king) that he was protecting – a truly exquisite weapon… and one that was meant for battle, not for a wall ornament…

  He started also to accept that there were forces at work drastically different than those from home (Despite his stubbornness... though it -did- take quite a while for him to admit it), and clung to Feng, the monk in the party's eastern philosophies in explaining the unexplainable.  "They are merely different energies and beings that exist here, and there is some sort of natural explanation behind them."  He clung to his knowledge that at least he is still "normal" / nothing has happened to him personally (yet… ;) ).  As he lost control of the situation around him he internalized this sense of control - remaining rigid in his personal grooming and trying his hardest to keep his emotions in check.  He used himself as a bastion of sanity. Furthermore, the constant presence of a pirate and a thief  grated on him, and he strove to maintain his formal air, and his meticulous demeanor, trying hard to stay in control of situations that present themselves, trying to adapt to the oddities that are present.  Furthermore, more situations stressed him – forcing him to question his motivations in life – was he merely trying to become his brother and deny himself; seeing an example of another individual who tried her hardest to please her elder, to fight evil with her blades, and cracking from never receiving praise cut very close to home for him.  He was left questioning his motivations and the realism of his father ever giving him approval – the fact that he had succeeded in molding himself to his father's ideal son, and proved himself in the way that he had wanted to – through his sword as a musketeer, and it had not yet succeeded – who was to say that it ever would.  It drove one woman insane, and corrupted her… he has to look within himself and derive what it is exactly that he's fighting for…  He had developed his sword skills far further than he would have through normal duties at home, and he has started to feel that perhaps in this dark location, maybe he can make more of a difference than he could at home, yet has not fully accepted the finality of being "stuck."  Ambrose's proverbial "stick up his ass" has also been threatened on several occasions – under enough stress from the magical nature of the location, and added to one particular battle where his eye was ripped out by a raven – (fortunately, though his sanity was still quite challenged for most of the day, there was an advanced regenerative on hand.)  Also, there has also been the constant reminder of women present, something which he has, despite being a man of passions, kept bottled tightly down, never allowing himself relief.  While not so bad until now, there are now three women in the group, two of which do not exactly always wear the most modest of clothing, and the pressure is building.  The "Cabin boy," Chase,  that he had grown to confide in - who had initially come to him to speak to and he admired his tenacity and wisdom for one younger turned out to be a girl, Angelina,  masquerading to escape a lifestyle that was pretty much assured for a girl growing up penniless that her own mother had been sucked into.  The other two, Zita the pirate - a very brash woman whom he was nearly constantly arguing or at odds with at one moment, and the other time actually being a decent individual and earning his respect in battle.  Finally, Caroline, a young noblewoman who had also survived the attack.  Through Caroline, Ambrose actually began to see a noblewoman out of context of the balls, and realized how little intellectually he had in common with them - considering his passions and interests.

Tensions escalated later when Ambrose was subjected to a mind-controlling effect by a Zita who was being controlled herself.  While under her control, Ambrose was twisted, his morals set askew, subject to the her whims, following her obediently, and was involved in a fight where he -enjoyed- slaughtering many men.  The things he remembered tore him apart, feeling guilty and could barely call himself a man afterwards - especially since one method Angelina used to attempt to bring him back to his senses was to challenge him, insulting him where it hurt him the most - saying that he was no better than any of the other filthy men she met, that he was acting a disgrace to the musketeers, and his father would never approve of him.  These words stayed with him after the spell broke, as well as the guilt and horror at how he felt when he killed the men.  The things that helped him recover afterwards was the fact that the men he killed -were- hired thugs, willing to kill for money, and it was technically self-defense (though the memory of the enjoyment of the slaughter still horrified him, and he tried to shove that deep down into his psyche, along with the other pent-up anger).  Also, Angelina did apologize for what she said, admitting that she was attempting to bring the "Old Ambrose" back.  It is fortunate, that one thing that happened while he was being controlled he does not remember - it was wiped from his mind before the spell broke.  Zita, while being controlled and controlling Ambrose, through a drug, knocked down his barriers, and seduced him - leading to a -very- heated night, where 25 years of repression were expressed very... intensely.  Ambrose would be horribly ashamed if he did remember - trying to live up to the unrealistic standards of what a gentleman does - and trying to deny the intensity of emotions that boils beneath his surface.  He has saved himself for marriage, and wishes to remain a gentleman.  With the memories wiped, however, the tension remains.  He has now compensated recently by acting MORE in control of a situation, and attempting to show that he is a gentleman and a good person, NOT how he acted while Zita/"Raquel" was controlling him.  He seeks approval from other people, as he always has, wanting to appear as a good man in their eyes to allow himself to think so as well.

Another situation that has arisen recently is due to an odd connection, Ambrose has uncovered some rather startling, for him, information regarding his brother, Dreu.  Angelina recognized his family crest from his signet ring and realized that she had seen his brother before, as a frequent visitor to the brothel where she was raised, and had had a lasting affair with the matron of the brothel.  She was able to describe him to a tee - his fondness for green, his sayings, his appearance, and even the pet name the brothel matron had called him, "Wolfie" after the design on the ring.  This came as a... very... startling revelation to him.  This was the brother that he had modeled his life after, the perfect gentlemen, only to find out that that itself was a facade - he just had a release for his own ... desires.  Not to mention that he had never mentioned anything to Ambrose, and joined his father in reprimanding Ambrose when he did not act the gentleman.  He realized his brother for the hypocrite he was, and became frustrated and angry with him, wishing that his father had known ((Even more ironically, which Ambrose does not know, is that his father most likely DID know, and probably even encourage his actions.  Ambrose does know that many men of the court do not live to the standards that they claim, but did not think it that common of a thing not to, nor believe that his brother or his father were no exception.  His father dotes after Drue because, indeed, he is is his first son, and because Dreu is good at keeping his affairs hidden.  Ambrose, however, holds truth and honesty very highly and would be quite... upset... if he were to find this out.))    He is glad that he knows the truth, but feels slightly disillusioned with his model, which is probably for the best, as it has turned his search inside of him to determine how he feels that he should act - what he feels is the truths behind the morals and what is and is not realistic.  He still cannot shake the desire to please his father, yet... he is starting to move in just how he will go about doing this.  He has confided his feelings and frustrations and uncertainties to the monk, Feng, and to Angelina, who despite her low bearings has impressed him with her determination, like him, to keep herself a good person and has striven to find ways to change the options available to her, and has shown remarkable insight into his problems.  He is actually starting to develop feelings for her, though going about it in a very slow, courteous manner.

In a later adventure, Ambrose found something in this strange realm that is vaguely familiar to him, and something that is helping him cling to his beliefs.  He assisted an organization called "The Knights of the Shadows" - who are dedicated to helping the weak and inspiring hope in the people of the realm, and fighting the corrupt and evil presence in Ravenloft.  While a loose organization, it is something that reminds him of his role of a musketeer - fighting to protect the people and combat villainy - and most importantly an organization that he feels like he can be a part of, something to give him direction.  Of course, he still feels a strong kinship for his companions, but he felt as if he had been living for the day, and fighting things that only really targeted himself or his group members - membership in this organization gives him a purpose and a drive - at least, he tells himself, until they get back. 

One heavy blow came to the party during one escapade as they traveled the seas in their haunted ship (the rest of the missing crew, as it turns out, did not exactly "disappear" but instead had been bound to the boat - and are the unseen pilots.  The boat "listens" to the consensus of those of them who made it through to Ravenloft alive - and while hardly sentient - they harbor an unspoken malice to the ghost that brought them there, tying them to this realm.)  They arrived offshore an island only to be immediately attacked by warships in the bay.  They were captured by a strange and evil group of disfigured serpentine men who, in front of their eyes, changed Feng to one of them - shortly thereafter Feng was no longer himself.  The party escaped, and discovered more information - including that what had been done to him was irreversible - his old self was gone and only able to be freed in death.  With heavy hearts the party recouped and were able to combat the snake-men (Yuan-ti) - and killed Feng.  However, while they did free his spirit from the influences - it did not "pass on" - bound to the realm, and specifically Zita, who had been starting to see the ghosts on the ship, and was initially the only one to see the deceased Feng.  When the party put the pieces together and realized that this realm did not only prevent escape through normal methods of travel - but death did not even send the soul to whatever they respectively believed, Ambrose's desires to leave in particular redoubled, scared to be bound here in such a way himself.

In sum, Since his adventure has begun, Ambrose's shell has developed several threatening cracks, yet had not quite yet broken.  He takes solace in the fact that he at least is "the normal one" despite the oddities that surround him, and has accepted that the land itself is different, and different energies are present here.  He knows that he is somewhere entirely else from home, and no physical way to return (though has not given up hope of the possibility of return somehow.)  He has also seen himself lost control during brief, but undeniable moments, of his temper, and it scares him.  He tries to keep up his gentlemanly and refined/controlled appearance as much as possible, but has started to reinvestigate his motivations behind doing so, especially after learning of his brother.  He vows not to be a hypocrite like his brother, though he does repress things, he will be honest with his actions and his thoughts.  He does not want to be with a woman other than the one that he will end with (ironically... ^^; .)  The realm has become more and more terrifying to him - especially in regard to the spirits of the crew and the man who had become their friend, Feng, bound to it even after death.

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