The Riders

Alia Legrasse, the Green Rider

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Before she was taken by the Gentry, Alia Legrasse was a wildlife photographer, one of the finest in the world. She was one of the most skilled and successful hunters of her generation, yet she had never slain - or even harmed - a single creature. Her Keeper had been amused by the irony of making her akin to her prey while simultaneously making her a killer.

The Spring Court had no hesitation in making her its champion, after her return through the Hedge. Her mortal life had given her a facility for every kind of mechanized transport, from motorbikes to power boats, a knack for tracking and stalking her quarry that was second to none, and a keen, questing intelligence. Her Keeper had given her the instincts, reflexes and skills of a deadly predator. Curiously, her Kith isn't Hunterheart but Steepscrambler; her catlike nature manifests through her uncanny balance and fondness for observing events from a great height.

She was born in London to a French father and an English mother. Her father was a zoologist, her mother a vet, and she inherited a natural empathy for animals from both of them. However, it was her roguish uncle, her mother's brother, who awakened her wanderlust. Uncle Gerry was, prosaically enough, a travel agent, but he tended to specialise in providing exotic and outré experiences to clients rich enough to pay - from African safaris to extreme sports. He was a wealthy man, and hoped to groom Alia to take over his business - he himself had an extensive string of young and beautiful mistresses, but no relationships that had ever been serious enough, or lasted long enough, to produce an heir. Alia's interests, however, were more scientific - she persuaded her uncle to finance some of her early fieldwork before she established enough of a reputation to earn her own fees.

Her time in Arcadia left her with a form not unlike a hybrid of human and snow leopard, exotic and beautiful. Her catlike nature manifests in her curiosity, her extraordinary grace, her fastidious cleanliness, and her love of play, but the cruel and predatory nature also associated with cats is something that she abominates, finding it far too close to the nature of the hated gentry. She has a faith, not in codes or institutions, but in life itself and its ability to adapt and triumph over even the most extraordinary odds. Her gluttony isn't a question of overrating so much as her (also catlike) love of comfort, luxury, and the finer things in life. She's an adventuress, but like James Bond, she prefers her adventures with a certain amount of style and elegance, rather than the rougher and less couth style of an Indiana Jones.

Edgar Sinclair, the White Rider

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People often blink when they hear Edgar Sinclair speak for the first time. A gigantic ogre with a pair of immense, dagger-like tusks jutting from his lower jaw, he looks as though he ought to be communicating in monosyllabic grunts. Hearing the cultured and erudite tones of an absent-minded Professor come from his heavy lips tends to cause a certain amount of conceptual dissonance.

Actually, Edgar used to be a Professor, a botanist and renowned expert in cross-hybridisation and exotic plants. He remembers very little beyond the grim day in 1972 when his former Keeper snatched him from the middle of an ornamental maze on a country estate, but he has vague, nightmarish recollections of fighting to survive in gladiatorial games which pitted him against legions of lethal, carnivorous plants.

Despite his appearance, he prefers diplomacy to force, and he'd prefer to do either as part of a careful plan rather than an improvised response; the latter implies that the situation has already started to slide out of control. But he's as formidable as he appears, and despite his exquisite manners, he's not one to be crossed lightly.

Samuel Marsh, the Gold Rider

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The concept of a "gentleman's gentleman" has fallen into disuse - not to say disrespect - since the glory days of the nineteenth century or the heyday of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, but there are still discerning customers who are willing to pay top rates for discreet, reliable service and traditional courtesies.

Samuel Marsh originally trained as an actor at London's prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, but he decided that he preferred eating regularly to the uncertainties of a career on the stage, and entered training for domestic service at the age of twenty-three. He believes that he spent about a decade as a valet and butler before he found himself serving one of the True Fae in a similar - but far more demanding - role.

A Darkling Mirrorskin, he doesn't use the same appearance consistently. The only thing that his various guises have in common is that they're unremarkable, never tending towards extremes. He'll always favour brown eyes over blue, never appear notably thin or fat, and always have blandly pleasing features rather than handsome or ugly ones. Out of his gold riding leathers, even his fellow changelings sometimes have trouble recognizing him. Unsurprisingly, he's the Riders' primary spy and infiltrator.

Ella Nkemakonam, the Scarlet Rider

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Trying to bring up three sons as a single mother hailing from an ethnic minority takes toughness, especially in Brixton in the 1980s. Ella Nkemakonam was small - barely over five feet tall - but she had toughness in spades. She made ends meet by working part-time as a barmaid; once, she subdued an obnoxious 6'5" drunk with a roundhouse punch that broke his nose. (The man was far too embarrassed to press charges, when he eventually sobered up).

She has a vague idea that she was taken to Arcadia after making a bargain of some kind; fight in an arena, and win safety and security for one of his sons for every hundred victories. All three of her sons are now in well-paid white-collar jobs, and all have presented their "mother", Ella's Fetch, with grandchildren, so she assumes that she must have won at least three hundred gladiatorial battles, if so.

The Scarlet Rider is a Wizened soldier. Although she only stands at around 5'2" in her riding boots, she still radiates an aura of deadly danger. Her skin is pure black, and her eyes are too, massive dark pupils with only a thin line of white around them. Her black skin isn't so much lined as cracked, a spiderweb framing her broad, flat nose. Her ears are broad and elongated, tapering to points on either side of her face. Slipped into golden sheaths all over her scarlet leathers are blades of various shapes and sizes.

Jacob Marley, Knight of the Riders

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Being a child prodigy is never easy and that, unfortunately, went triple for Jacob. Jacob always did well in school, but it was boring. This led him to always ending up in trouble and hanging out with the wrong crowd. In his teenage years he fell in with a local biker gang and ended in and out of juvenile institutions. What frustrated his parents the most was he always got straight A's and was a genius when it came to anything mechanical. He was fixing his parent's car by the time he was twelve and had been ripping apart their appliances his whole life. Having reached the end of their ropes with his behavior, but still wanting to do what they could to support their son and help foster his skills. They received notification in the mail of a camp for troubled teens that focused strongly on academics and seemed to cater to almost exactly what they were looking for so off he went... and it was the last time they ever saw their son.

Unbeknown to them, the program was a front for something more than they could have imagined. A fae creature that went by the moniker "The Professor" was using it to harvest children. Children of exceptional brilliance, but that wouldn't be missed if they disappeared. He lured them to the camp through their parents and in the basement, using a pod he maintained there, he pulled them through the hedge to his insidious purpose.

See...The Professor had a theory. Computers are good for a lot of things. They're good at processing and compiling data that's put into it. However, that's what it lacked. The ability to imagine beyond what was input into it. Unfortunately for the children, they had the ability to do both, which is exactly what he needed. One by one he found his children and one by one he put them into "The Machine". They became it's heart and its brain. He used their intellects and their imaginations to create and craft his creations. He used their ability to dream to harvest glamour from them and steal their ideas that they dreamt from all the data coursing through them.

Since Jacob showed a mechanical aptitude, he was used as a engineering processor. He was fed data on mechanical design and engineering and almost immediately took to dreaming up mechanical marvels that delighted The Professor. For over 50 years, this went over 50 years Jacob had only aged 7...and in these 50+ years, Arcadia had warped Jacobs's body. A decent amount of his flesh was now a metal resembling chrome. From his head a pair of metallic horns sprouted from his head with steam pumping from them like exhausts. His eyes and his mouth became lit from an internal flame of the furnace that now burned within him. In his chest he sprouted a grate showing, the fire burning inside. A long tail of chrome sprouted from his back. Haunches ending in two metallic hooves. His beard and hair seeming as if of spun chrome. His body channels glamour for so long it was strongly infused in it...strongly intertwining his fabric with that of Arcadia.

So time passed...Jacob remained trapped in his prison with the other students. All day and night glamour coursed through them and knowledge and more knowledge which forced them to dream...but The Professor was so wrapped up in his machine he didn't see trouble brewing above him. The Arcadian sun acted like our own in many ways and it set off a gargantuan solar flare. The solar wind slammed into the Professors facility wracking it with an electromagnetic pulse and causing all the equipment to shut down. This released the bindings on the children and their connection to the machine. They saw their chance. One by one they broke free from their connections and together made their way from the lab. Over time together they clawed their way through the hedge back to the real world...only a few of them survived the trip.

Since all of the children were so infused with glamour their return through the hedge signalled out like a beacon to the Changelings of London and they were immediately taken to the London court. There they were all nursed back to health and began to rebuild their lives. Jacob decided to stay with the court. He had no life waiting for beyond its walls. Because of the strength of his Mantle and his strong infusion of glamour, he quickly rose through the ranks of the Spring Court and caught the eye of the Green Rider. It didn't take long before he found himself as the Head Mechanic of the Riders and the Green Riders lieutenant.

Now, he runs a shop out of his own Hollow. Handling them mechanical needs of the Riders. However, his real money comes in from Gunsmithing. He modified and creates guns for a living and business is good. Between his skills of with fire arms and machines in general, he has quickly become a strong night within the Riders upholding his oath and doing what he can to build a new life protecting the courts of London.