- •Physical Appearance•
- •Early Life•
- •The Secret War•
- •From TSW to SWL•
- •Known Associates/Affiliations•
- • Personality/Abilities •
- •RP Hooks•
- • Special Notes •
Russell is a handsome Eurasian man in his mid-30s. Although only one-quarter Japanese, that ethnicity is highly visible in his physical appearance. His physique is toned and athletic, a result of a physically active lifestyle and a long-ingrained habit of exercise.
Despite the fact that his Bee gave him 20/20 vision, he often affects zero-prescription glasses, as he likes to exploit the stereotypes lazy people mentally assign to people with glasses. He has one tattoo, the Toronto Police Service's coat of arms with the number of his first badge, on his upper left arm. He rarely goes anywhere unarmed, and is most often seen with a pair of SIG-Sauer P220s in a double-carry shoulder rig under his coat.
Russell has a couple of vanities he is prone to indulging. One is his general style of clothing -- he tends to favor business suits or clothing in a similar vein. This is an artifact of his career as a police detective. His experiences in the secret world have made him sufficiently affluent to buy tailored suits without breaking the bank, so this is typically what he is seen in. Even his more casual clothing tends to fall under the "business-casual" heading. His other vanity is his hair and facial grooming: he wears a neatly-trimmed mustache and goatee with a short, fashionable haircut, and is almost obsessive about maintaining it.
One final, minor affectation is part and parcel of his continued love for his hometown, Toronto. He is prone to wearing tie tacks or lapel pins bearing the City of Toronto's coat of arms.
Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see.
TRANSMIT - initiate the Toronto signal - RECEIVE - initiate the Thin Blue Line frequency - TO SERVE AND PROTECT - initiate the chronic hero syndrome protocol -- BOOK 'EM, DAN-O -- initiate the silver badge syntax -- WITNESS - Russell Kobayashi.
Russell's grandfather, Keisuke "Casey" Kobayashi (1919-1988), had been a decorated sergeant in the U.S. Army's 442nd Regimental Combat Team during WWII, but had emigrated to Canada following the war, when his geology degree got him a job offer from a Canadian oil company. Casey would eventually retire as an executive V.P. in the mid-1980s. (The fact that he also found it smart to relocate because of flak from his new wife's Danish-American family was sheer coincidence.) Keisuke's brother Raizo ("Ray") would remain in San Francisco, eventually turning the family restaurant into a successful local chain. His own granddaughter, Sakuya, became a Bee herself after a law career active in local politics.
Russell's father, Alex (born 1948), was a professor of literature at Ryerson University in Toronto; he died of lung cancer in 2005. His mother, Arielle (née Lavigne, born 1950), was a notable pediatric oncologist; she suffered a fatal stroke in 2010. He has one sister, Rochelle ("Shelly," born 1983); she was a wild child as a teenager and into her 20s, but is now a dental hygienist in Bobcaygeon, and is married and has one daughter (Adrienne Tanner, born 2010).
Russell was born and raised in the Leaside neighborhood of Toronto. From a young age (no doubt influenced by numerous American crime dramas), he was certain he wanted to be a cop. He was a good-but-not-great student, (solid B-B+ average). Physically active, he also ran track and field, but not because of a natural love for athletics -- he knew he needed to be in good shape to be a cop.
Russell's relationship with his parents was generally loving and supportive. They were, however, rather disappointed in his career choice; the words "wasted potential" were said quite a bit. They did make their peace with it eventually; they came to see his career choice as, at least, one that helped society. His relationship with his sister was generally amicable, although frequently strained with the usual stresses of sibling dynamics.
Russell met Sarah Delacroix, Shelly's best friend, when he was 16 and she was 13. It was was mutual loathing at first sight. Unsurprisingly, they would later date while she was in medical school. Their relationship was passionate, and seemed to be almost complimentary (both of them working in jobs that were ostensibly aimed at benefiting society), but the relationship began unraveling as Sarah started her neurology career and they became engaged. Eventually, she began pushing for him to leave the TPS (as much as for what she perceived as the "poor reputation" she received for dating someone in a "lower" career as for concerns for his well-being), and he refused. By the end of 2010 their relationship had ended, and even now they are unable to be anything other than politely uncomfortable around each other.
Russell went to Ryerson University, his parents' alma mater (Class of '03), and got a bachelor's degree in Criminology before going to the TPS academy. There were two reasons for this: one, because getting a college education first was the deal with his parents; and two, because the TPS recruiter told him doing so would speed his advancement into the detective bureau. (The recruiter was correct, but Russell wasn't the only one to do so; he, his future partner Tony DiNicola, and three others from his TPS class made detective within five years, leading to them being called "the boy geniuses.") He loved his job with the TPS, but by 2012, between his engagement with Sarah collapsing, his parents having passed on, and Tony invaliding out of the force after losing his leg, Toronto had stopped seeming like home.
In April 2012, Russell's friend and former classmate Gord Leitner, a staff sergeant in the RCMP, offered him a transfer, at no loss of rank or pay, into a challenging position in counterintelligence. (The fact that he had a newly single sister-in-law who looked just like Tatiana Maslany was icing on the cake.) Russell accepted immediately, starting to make plans to leave Toronto.
That night, he swallowed a Bee.
Within a week, Russell had been contacted by the Templars. An attractive young woman showed up on his doorstep, offering a business-class plane ticket to London, and an plum assignment as a RCMP liaison to MI-5. Perhaps most importantly, the chance to side with the faction in the secret world that came closest to espousing his own principles.
And Russell.... took it and ran.
To this day, the majority of his friends and colleagues in Toronto are confused, even disbelieving, when it came to his reasoning. They could believe transferring to the RCMP, but a glorified desk job -- in London?! Only a handful -- Tony and his wife, his sister Rochelle, a few others -- truly understood how strong Russell's perceived need to get away was. Not even they had a clue what he was running to.
Over the next two years, Russell would work extensively in the areas most directly affected by the secret war. His liaison position with MI-5 him a surprising amount of access to unexpected places, one he exploited ruthlessly. He rose rapidly in the ranks of the Templar field-agent corps, gaining a reputation similar to the one he'd had as the TPS's wunderkind. He also gained a reputation for working solo -- not disdaining teamwork, but feeling more comfortable working alone. As a result, he made only a limited number of friends among the Templars during this stretch of time. Almost all of them were his fellows in the Ordinem Palatini, whose members shared his own priorities of placing justice and protection of the innocent over correct political doctrine.
In the spring of 2014, Russell was promoted to Paladin-Lieutenant. During the promotion celebration, his direct superior gave him some simple but profound advice. According to the older Templar, having a personal life, and people to come home to, was key to a Templar agent avoiding burnout or slipping into zealotry. "We make our homes where we find ourselves. You find yourself in Ealdwic, lad."
Russell thought that overly simplistic, if probably accurate. Still, he resolved to not let any more opportunities slip by.And, over the next few months, he didn't. Starting with a chance encounter with two Dragon agents at the Horned God, over the next six months he began building himself a network of close friends and sometime-lovers among the secret worlders calling Ealdwic home. One of those was Min-suh Park, with whom he would finally find love and a home. In a bitter irony, however, that ended up bringing about his break with Temple Hall.
At the time, Min-suh was a Dragon agent, and Russell had already butted heads with influential members of the Templars' Old Guard. In the midst of a difficult, extended Council-sponsored joint mission in Yokohama, those extremists kidnapped Min-suh, attempting to brainwash her as a double-agent against Seoul. Russell and a number of their mutual friends, including several Templars, assaulted the facility and rescued Min-suh.
While Min-suh was now safe, Russell's faith in the Temple, or at least in the progressives' ability to keep the zealots in check, had largely been ruined. At the same time, he'd had positive experiences with the Council task forces he'd worked with, and found its mandate to fit well with his moral compass. Offered a senior position in the Council's investigative division, he transferred officially in May 2015.
Over the next year, Russell would continue to make his mark as a supervisory field investigator, often working with old friend Cassandra Havelock of the Templars in joint task forces. He would also become known as one of the “activists” in Council service, seeking to help move the Council away from stagnation and closer to its ideals. Currently, he commands Task Force Harrier, the Council investigative service's anti-artifact trafficking task force, and is considered a likely candidate for eventual directorship of the entire service.
SWL Russell is, essentially, the same as TSW Russell. The only difference is that some minor backstory elements have been cleaned up and adjusted.
- Council of Venice: Russell is a firm believer in the Council's stated goals and ideals. He is unimpressed (but also unsurprised) with the amount of red tape and casual corruption he's encountered in Council service. Consequently, he has made a strenuous effort to forge ties with other Council personnel interested in arresting (pun intended) those trends. As a middle manager within the Investigative Service, he spends much of his time in committee meetings or Council sessions, the better to free up his investigators to do their jobs with minimal interference.
- Interpol: Russell takes his position with Interpol (both his formal one and his "under-the-table" liaison role) very seriously. The vagueness of the "roving inspector" position means that he's able to, with the application of some fancy legal footwork, able to use assets from both his jobs to do both his jobs, and he tries to do this as subtly as possible.
- Canadian law enforcement: Russell is still, at least technically speaking, a Mountie, and he continues to maintain his friendships and contacts in both the RCMP and the TPS. He tries not to lean on those too much -- no need for his friends to draw the secret world's attention, and the complications that come with that -- but he has used those contacts from time to time on Council missions involving Canada (particularly Toronto).
- Templars: Despite the circumstances of his departure from the Temple, Russell continues to be fond of and support the Templars' progressives and moderates, and takes pains to remain on cordial terms with Templar personnel.
- Min-suh Kobayashi: Russell and Min-suh are a textbook example of close friends growing into something more. Meeting one night at the Horned God, the two of them quickly took a liking to each other. Sexual attraction played a role, as their friendship quickly became one with benefits, but the amount of time they spent talking and getting to know each other forged an emotional rapport. That grew into a mutual romantic attraction, and in August 2014 the two began dating. Despite the complications from the disastrous joint operation in the autumn of 2014, and Russell's more recent memory issues, their relationship has not only persevered, but grown stronger. They not-so-secretly eloped on New Year's Eve 2014, although this did not become public knowledge until Russell officially broke with the Temple. More than a year later, they finally “officially” married in a public ceremony in Geneva. Their daughter, named Arielle Marie for their respective mothers, was born on 20 July 2017.
- Valerie Hsi: Xi (as almost everyone calls her) is an old friend and sometime-lover of Russell's. She has become an indispensable part of his and Min-suh's private life, acting as an aunt to Arielle, and is somewhere between "shared mistress" and "unofficial third spouse" for the two of them.
- Ivan Azarov: Russell met Ivan shortly after making Min-suh's acquaintance. He quickly grew to like the gregarious Illuminati agent (albeit with some reluctance, initially viewing him as his rival for Min-suh's affections). He truly warmed to Ivan after winning Min-suh over. This is partly because the two of them share a fondness for wordplay and sarcasm, and partly because Russell found he had more in common with Ivan than he expected. Despite the tumult of the autumn of 2014, that friendship has only grown stronger, with the two men coming to regard each other as near-family.
- Bryan DiCesari: Russell met Bryan before learning that he was Min-suh's brother. Once that happened, their relationship abruptly cooled. However, the two men have managed to build a solid (if somewhat grudging, on Bryan's part) bond of trust and respect, and now count each other as family.
- Terrah Paige: Terrah may be the person Russell is closest to, next to his family (which at the point includes Xi, Ivan, and Seon-hwa). The two of them share many interests, and tend to gravitate towards the same philosophical viewpoints. They consider each other "adopted sibling," and is probably his closest female friend. This close platonic relationship does have some underlying, never-quite-admitted romantic tension, but they've never been in a position to act upon it.
- Song Seon-hwa: Yet another friend Russell made at the Horned God, they quickly became close as he acted as a semi-mentor for her and helped pave the way for her to join the Council of Venice. These days, they virtually are family, as she is dating his brother-in-law and apparently plans to raise her imminent child with his help.
- Sakuya Donnelly: Russell and his cousin Sakuya have always been friendly, if somewhat snarky and distant. Oddly, they have grown closer since rediscovering each other in the secret world. He helped put her in contact with the Stardust Initiative, where she has thrived.
- Astrid Archer: Like so many in the secret world, Russell met Astrid during her tenure as proprietor of the Horned God. They quickly gained each others' respect, and became close friends. Today, he counts her among the people whom he'd drop everything and go running to the side of.
- Natalyia Kanzaki: Natalyia, with her levelheadedness and quiet likability, quickly gained Russell's trust. One of his closest friends, he relies on her as a sounding board and confidant. While they do not always agree (usually regarding aspects of secret world politics, or the worth of certain of its denizens), they firmly have each other's back when the bullets start flying.
- Blythe Vidal: Russell met Blythe roughly around the time he met Min-suh, although he did not learn of their connection until much later. The two of them have had a fairly friendly and respectful relationship, and he is very grateful to her for her efforts in helping Tony DiNicola get an improved bionic leg. That relationship grew slightly strained during the summer of 2014, due to his romance with Min-suh, and her misgivings regarding it. No serious harm was done to it, however, until the post-Boxing Day raid on an Egyptian Orochi facility, where both of them suffered extensive memory damage. Blythe also suffered personality changes (later believed to be deliberately induced by the ultraconservative elements within Temple Hall). While she and Russell were able to determine what had happened, she disappeared soon afterwards. Since her rescue (which was concurrent with Min-suh's), she has been slowly recovering.
- Tobias Graf: Russell knows that Tobias is very intelligent and, and believes him to be a decent soul underneath the gruffness and Teutonic-ness. That's enough, in Russell's book, for him to consider Tobias a friend (albeit a casual one). Events such as Dr. Vidal's (and Russell's own) memory issues and subsequent disappearance have forced the two men to work together a little more closely, and has instilled a greater mutual respect.
- Anthony DiNicola (NPC): Ever since they met at the police academy, Russell and Tony have been well-nigh inseparable. They were partners throughout their service in the TPS, rising in the detective bureau together. After Russell's relationship with Sarah Delacroix dissolved messily, it was Tony and his wife Celia who kept him from doing anything stupid. Even after Russell relocated to London, he remained in regular contact with his former partner. Events during 2014 -- Tony's week-long coma due to complications from a bionic transplant -- may even have been to their benefit, as the subsequent physical therapy may be forcing an end to the alcoholism that was the one real strain on their friendship.
- Rochelle Tanner (NPC): Russell's relationship with his sister is friendly, but a little strained. His ex-fiancee was, and still is, her best friend. In the fallout from the breakup, Rochelle took her side, and is still pretty much there. To her credit, though, her main concern was the risks Russell's job in the TPS put him at, rather than Sarah's fixation on her social status. Their relationship has improved since, but his relocation to London, and the stresses of his day job and real profession, continue to keep them from becoming as close as they were in their youth.
Among those who've gotten to know him, Russell is generous, gregarious, loyal, and surprisingly charming. Those close to him, sadly, also get to know his less laudable traits: an easily-manipulated guilt complex, overthinking things, an inconsistently-resisted tendency towards self-pity, and easily lapsing into old vices (i.e., heavy drinking, smoking, and sex) when under stress. He still believes strongly in the Toronto Police Service motto -- "To Serve and Protect" -- and while he has managed to temper this ideal somewhat with a pragmatic understanding of the secret world, he has proven unable (or unwilling) to abandon it. This "knight in shining armor" tendency both adds to his likability and gets him in hot water. Sometimes, it does both simultaneously.
Russell tends towards quiet, dry-witted affability. He is often reserved in large crowds -- a limited number of close friends is more his speed. Reserved does not equate to shy, however, and he is more than willing to turn loose his wit (or shoot his mouth off, depending on who you ask) if the opportunity presents itself. On the clock, he endeavors to project an affable, thoughtful professionalism. This has generally made him well-liked both professionally and socially.
Russell's hobbies include reading (both fiction and history), clubbing, bad movies and their subculture (i.e., Mystery Science Theater 3000 and its derivatives), “geek” culture, music (both listening to and performing), and time spent with family and friends. He is a known aficionado of muscle cars, particularly Ford Mustangs, and he owns two: a 2006, which spends most of its time at his sister's in Bobcaygeon; and a 1967 that was a birthday gift from Min-suh.
Russell is a highly capable combatant. He has proven most proficient with:
- Blades. He is an accomplished student of the Seiji-no-Akaitou swordsmanship school (a Templar-specific offshoot of the Jingu clan's kenjutsu ryu, specializing in fast and brutal attacks). His preferred blade is a Masamune katana named Akikaze, enchanted to channel anima. While he rarely carries Akikaze (handguns and elemental foci being much easier to conceal), he makes a point of practicing with it regularly.
- Elemental magic. Russell's primary magical abilities are in combat elementalism. He is most adept at using air and electric manipulation in combat, with reasonable competence in fire manipulation. Ice magic is where he is weakest, but he is working to improve his facility with it. He has several foci, with the Dresden Codex page recovered from a time-displaced Mayan cult being his favorite.
- Pistols. While he is proficient with all types of firearms, handguns are his forte, and his marksmanship with them is extraordinary. This is not entirely surprising, as during his time with the TPS, he was a competitive shooter, and consistently placed as a finalist in departmental contests. Much of his effectiveness with handguns is derived from an active use of his intuition when shooting: a "sixth sense" for placing his shots where they'll do the most damage. Perhaps his favorite "trick" with firearms is to combine them with elemental magic, using air manipulation to increase a round's accuracy and stopping power, or enhancing its effects with elemental aspects. He has a special fondness for handguns in .45 ACP, and has amassed a rather sizable collection of them. His standard weapons are a pair of highly-modified SIG-Sauer P220 .45s with customized grips (modified to channel anima for both ammunition and damage enhancement, but also to act as elemental foci) called "Lilly" and "Belle," a “Thumper” shotgun of Red Hand manufacture, and a modified AK-74 "Black Eagle" of similar provenance to the Thumper.
Before his recruitment into the secret world, Russell was an 9-year veteran of the Toronto Police Service, earning the rank of Detective-Sergeant and the Ontario Medal for Police Bravery. During that time, he and his partner closed a record number of cases; perhaps more astonishing, all of those cases were actually, genuinely solved. As a result, Russell's investigative and people-reading skills are all at significantly above-average levels (even by the standards of his chosen profession). Equally notable are his pattern-recognition abilities and professional intuition. (Templar examiners have posited that these are likely manifestations of low-level ESP.) All of these have been aided with an excellent memory, which verges on eidetic.
Russell's charisma manifests differently than the typical social magnetism. Instead, he exudes a quiet affability and trustworthiness. This has helped to create and maintain a surprisingly widespread network of allies and contacts. Most of these allies and contacts are in Canadian, Japanese, or European law enforcement or government, but some are in the various strata of the European underworld. His trustworthiness has also aided him in his Council duties, in what is increasingly a lower-middle-management position.
As a mage, Russell's specialization is elemental magic (especially air manipulation). On top of the combat applications of such, he has learned fine enough control to incorporate elemental magic into his investigations. He uses it to enhance his eavesdropping and counter-eavesdropping abilities, as well as to disrupt his quarry's communication abilities, and even to manage limited telekinesis (although this last application tends to exhaust him quickly). Finally, as of late he has had to frequently deal with detecting and unweaving wards; while he's hardly an expert, his crash course means he can (to a degree) fill in for a specialist.
On the more prosaic end of the spectrum, Russell is a talented singer (baritone), and a decent rhythm guitarist. His near-eidetic memory extends to an encyclopedic knowledge of musical and pop-cultural trivia, and he is rarely without a relevant quote or song lyric for the given situation. (Whether or not said quote or lyric is appropriate is up for debate.) He is also a capable cook with steaks and roasts. Finally, he is fluent in English, French, and Japanese, and conversant in Italian, Korean, Latin, and Spanish.
- Grew up in Toronto, particularly the Leaside neighbourhood.
- Went to Ryerson University from 1999-2003.
- Are former or active members of the Toronto Police Service or RCMP, or worked in some capacity for the City of Toronto, from 2003-2012.
- Are a regular at the Horned God, Tabula Rasa, or Moca Loco.
- Are acquainted with Min-suh Kobayashi, Valerie Hsi, Ivan Azarov, Natalyia Kenzaki, Terrah Paige, Astrid Archer, Naomi Watson, or Song Seon-hwa.
- Are a member of the Nine Swords cabal or the Stardust Initiative, or were a member of the now-defunct Lux Dimidia Council-affiliate.
- Are employed by Interpol, Europol, or the EU bureaucracy.
- Are a member of the Templars or the Council of Venice.
You may want to RP with Russell if:
- Your character is former or currently-serving law enforcement, and needs a contact who "gets it" when it comes to keeping the peace in the secret world.
- Your character is one of the growing number of Canadian secret worlders, and is looking for a buddy from the "old neighborhood."
- Your character is a criminal, or has criminal ties, and you need a Zenigata to your Lupin III.
- Russell is known for being an expert gunslinger and elemental mage, and having a poorly-suppressed do-gooder streak. People looking for a literal troubleshooter for a good cause might look to him.
- Your character has an interest in the Council of Venice, whether to join, work for as a contract operative, or just to have a contact for basic info.
Russell's faceclaim is Kaneshiro Takeshi. His notional voiceclaim is Jason Segel (specifically, as Marshall Eriksen from How I Met Your Mother).
Those interested in using Russell as an RP contact can DM me over Twitter, or contact me on Discord! (Discord handle: @Hit-Parade#4778)
More edits/info to come!