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Vahka Basayev
Topic Started: Oct 11 2013, 06:04 PM (452 Views)
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Name: Vakha Basayev
Gender: Male
Age: 17
School: Whittree Secondary School
Hobbies and Interests: blacksmithing, tattoo design, critical theology, mock combat, cigars

Appearance: Vakha is a large young man. He measures in at 6'4' tall, with broad shoulders and a thick chest, and weighs 226 lbs. He has tanned skin, blue eyes, a distinct snub nose, and a short, well-groomed beard. His jet black hair is generally worn in a shoulder-length pony-tail. His forearms bear a pair of twin crows diving headfirst towards his wrists, composed of a series of intricately linked Cyrillic letters which, when combined, spell out the names of his great-grandfather, grandfather, and father. He stands on solid legs shaped by years of manual labor, which end in a pair of wide size 13 feet.

On Casting Day Vakha was wearing a plain, sleeveless black tank top, torn, faded blue denim jeans, thick, black hiking boots, and a necklace of wooden prayer beads.

Biography: Vakha was born to Danilbek and Aubrey Basayev seventeen years ago in Whittree, Oklahoma. He is a second generation Chechen-American. His father immigrated from Dagestan in 1992 before significant restrictions were placed on Chechen immigration. Records indicate that Danilbek sought immigration as a refugee fleeing potential religious and ethnic persecution, as well as the mounting pressure from organized crime within the Northern Caucus. He chose the United States as a safe haven due to its relative freedom from Russian influence and the anonymity such a large country would grant him. He was originally resettled in the Boston area, along with the vast majority of other Chechen refugees. He found work as a construction laborer, and applied for permanent residency in 1993. In 1995, during a renovation job at the Massachusetts General Hospital, he met Aubrey Matthews, a newly graduated nurse practitioner. On a dare from his foreman he asked her out to dinner. Two years later they were married.

Between 1993 and 1997 Danilbek attended weekly classes at the Prospect Hill Forge in Waltham, and obtained a journeyman's education in the craft, out of a sense of familial duty. The Basayevs had been blacksmiths for generations, either in occupation or in hobby, and he did not wish to break from the tradition. In 1998 the couple moved to Whittree to turn Danilbek's hobby into a career. He established his first modest forge outside of their new home. Aubrey became their primary source of financial support during this transition. She worked at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Stillwater, Oklahoma as a general practitioner, and brought in more than enough to sustain the couple comfortably. In time, Basayev's Anvil flourished due to Danilbek's embrace of Renaissance performance community in Oklahoma, and his acknowledgment of the booming business of internet commerce. By performing and marketing his art both in person at fairs and online, Danilbek carved out a comfortable niche living for himself, his wife, and eventually their newborn son.

Vahka's parents both doted on him as much as their schedules allowed. He spent more time with his mother as a young boy due to the somewhat dangerous nature of his father's work, but whenever his father made instructional or promotional videos Vakha would usually have a cameo role for entertainment purposes. The 2005 launch of YouTube enhanced this role. Vakha was often seen playing with mock-tools in miniature transition scenes or in humorous examples of how not to perform the techniques Danilbek was teaching. As Vahka's development continued, he began to take on a more serious role in his father's work. He would ask questions and display artwork during the videos, and by the age of 8 he began to act as a limited apprentice, fetching tools and safely cooled metals for his father to work with both in their promotional works and in the day to day labor at the forge. By the age of 10 Vahka had his own small work station, where under very careful supervision he began to work with metal himself. By this point he was spending all of his free time working with his father, and paying only minimal attention to his schoolwork. His mother began to intervene to try and draw him into other activities, so as to provide him with a more rounded foundation. By observing his homework habits, she noticed that he seemed to pay particular attention to his handwriting and to any art projects he was given. With some assistance from school staff, she was able to encourage his interest in art and calligraphy until he was splitting his free-time evenly between assisting his father at the forge and sketching intricate designs for new projects at his desk.

Religion came to dominate another portion of Vahka's time as he grew up. His father had been raised in a strong Muslim household, but over time he developed a strong distaste for man-made authority, be it civic or divine. As such, he came to reject the notion that morality was completely subject to ancient accounts. He saw the Qur'an and its subsequent hadiths as more of a guideline to the will of Allah colored by the bias of human authority, and that reasons behind its teachings were more important the teachings themselves. Similarly, his mother was disillusioned with her Catholic upbringing due to her experiences in the medical field, and the many lives she saw go untouched by any semblance of divine intervention. Though the couple came from differing religious backgrounds, they agreed together on a form of functional deism wherein a higher power may provide moral support, but should not be depended upon for intervention or treated as an authoritarian entity to be pleased at all costs. These premises permeated Vahka's ethical instruction. The marked abandonment of ritual and supplication left the Basayev's at large a greater sense of spirituality than religiosity, and Vahka took to this environment readily. Over the years Vahka was diligent pupil of his parents' instruction, and spent a great deal of time studying texts from both Islamic and Christian theologians to expand his knowledge, and developed a practical, intent driven moral system incorporating what he felt was the best of both worlds.

Vahka's diligence continued into his early teens. He maintained his C average grades through middle school, though it was beginning to require more effort on his part. Teacher comments and placement tests indicate that he displayed a slightly above average aptitude for mathematics, but he lacked the interest to pursue it beyond compulsory levels. The rest of his coursework was unremarkable, save for a noted struggle with American History. He expressed no particular curiosity towards American culture or post-Medieval history, and while this was a subject of some concern for his mother, his father saw no need to emphasize either area beyond basic understanding. Vahka and his father spent more time re-enacting the past either in person or on camera than they did experiencing modern culture, and neither felt any real connection to America as a concept and nation. They developed a strong social network throughout the Renaissance community, and continued to immerse themselves deeper within that identity instead.

Shortly after Vahka turned 13, they began mixing with a series of friends and clients in the mock combat side of re-enactment. The onset of puberty combined with his emphasis on physical labor left Vahka somewhat awkward and uncoordinated at first, but over the next few years he grew adept at the showmanship involved in the displays. Instead of focusing on real combat and competition, he chose to work with members of the community to create choreographed scenes full of flair and exaggeration for the amusement of the crowds. After practicing the art for two years, he approached his father with the idea of creating routines together to display some of the weapons they had crafted for hobbyists and personal projects over the years. While the effort wasn't a huge success, it created a noticeable increase in interest and profit after a few fairs.

The triumph of this project encouraged Vahka to branch out even further and approach his parents with a new desire. He had developed an interest in tattoo art, and with their permission he wanted to spend a portion of his savings on bringing one of his designs to life on his arms. He spent an afternoon showing them several designs he'd made in his free time, and explaining their significance. While his mother was initially opposed to the idea, she soon warmed to how passionate he was about his designs. Similarly, his father was impressed by how thought Vahka had put into his work, and the level of detail that went into the conception and realization of each piece. After a week's time to think about it, they granted his wish and began taking him to College Ink in Stillwater, where he spent several appointments with Ronnie Houser, a middle-aged tattoo artist who took an interest in Vahka's fervor of the field. Together they worked to emblazon a pair of intricate twin crows on his fore-arms. Vahka grew close with many other members of the College ink staff during the months it took to finish his tattoo. Once he obtained his driver's license he began spending two or three evenings a week in Stillwater observing their technique and discussing how he could become an artist himself after he graduated.

While this detracted from his time at the forge, his father bore the hobby no resentment. He often expressed pride at his son's new independence as an expression of his growth into manhood. On Vahka's 16th birthday, he formalized the transition by offering him one of his prized cigars to smoke after a long afternoon at the forge. His father's smoking habit was well known, but he'd never spoken to Vahka about it before. They spent the rest of the night celebrating his recent accomplishments with Vahka's introduction into the world of cigars. Afterwards Vahka would join his father for a few cigars a week between work and school, and they'd use the time to discuss his old life, and their plans for the future.

Aside from these ripples, Vahka's life through high school has remained largely unchanged. He is still an adequate student who achieves the bare minimum asked of him, with no close relationships among the Whittree staff. He finds the lack of serious arts programs to be grating and sees his time there as an unfortunate requirement on his way to a diploma and his career as a tattoo artist. He has developed scarce friendships around the school, particularly among those who share his passion for Renaissance culture, but for the most part he keeps to himself. His large size and odd appearance place him in a comfortable niche where he is notable enough to be remembered by most students, but not approachable enough to be interacted with unless he makes the first move. His spare time is split between drawing designs for tattoos and forging, working at the forge with his father, and studying Abrahamic theologists, with occasional breaks worked in to smoke. He intends to pursue an apprenticeship with Ronnie at College Ink after he graduates in May, though he will continue working at his father's forge as long as he has the time. He has no ambitions to attend college or move away from the Whittree area.

Vahka does not approve of Survival of the Fittest. He has watched a few episodes of it with his mother, who expresses a certain morbid interest in the event, but it doesn't hold his attention for long. When it comes to violence, he prefers the flashy spectacle of a well-choreographed routine to the desperate, unsatisfactory brutality of SotF's conflict. He feels the event could be improved by removing the random selection process and incorporating more training and discipline into the pre-game period rather than focusing on the drama unprepared children provide.

Advantages: Vahka's appearance makes him a formidable target. Sheer intimidation alone might be enough to keep most people from targeting him. If he gets close enough, his strength may be enough to over-come a weapon disadvantage with his bare hands. His experiences with forging give him a considerable resistance to pain and fatigue, which may allow him to keep going after many other competitors have given in to exhaustion. The intricate nature of his art has also given him a considerable amount of patience, which could prove useful in staving off desperation as the game drags on. His open, practical approach to morality may quiet ethical concerns that would prevent other competitors from making hard choices to survive.
Disadvantages: His experiences with mock combat may hurt him more than they help him. Vahka is used to knowing every move his opponent will make and responding with over-exaggerated moves to give a crowd a good show. This may lead him to approach fights with a detrimental false confidence. It is also unlikely that he will be able to find somewhere to hide should be become a target for a dedicated competitor. At a range Vakha's size draws attention and makes him easier to hit. His patience makes him difficult to shake, but it can also make him very slow to act until he has decided on a course of action. This may force him into a position where he simply does not have enough time to think clearly, putting him under unnecessary risk. His lack of strong relationships will leave him without many definite allies, and his appearance may make it more difficult for him to gain them. His lack of familiarity with Survival of the Fittest may also prove to be an issue. He has no context for winning strategies or how to handle group interactions. Ultimately this ignorance could lead him into situations that more savvy competitors would know to subvert or avoid outright.
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