|Azrael Nonpareil, né Albear|
|Full name||Azrael Jaime Indro Nonpareil|
|Born||7 January 1921|
|Parents||Pecival Albear and Emma Albear|
|Siblings||Michael Albear, Ambriel Albear, Cassiel Albear, Ra'asiel Albear, Valencia B. Alvear|
|Other Family Members||Andrés Alvear, Arcelia Alvear, Sebastían Alvear, Elvire Altier, Damien Altier|
|Wand||hawthorn, thestral hair, 10" inflexible|
|Patronus||death's head moth|
|Special Ability||Otherworld Sense, Medium / Clairvoyant|
|Former Occupation(s)||angsty prince|
Dime con quién andas, y te diré quién eres.
My father, and my father’s father, have always encouraged the practice of keeping journals; wise men, they would tell you, often share in the fact that they recorded and reflected upon their thoughts. But these words you read will never be committed to paper long before they taste the flame. A wise fool, perhaps, believes in the safety and permanence of tangible word, as if posterity will grant them what present never could.
The most noble pureblood family of Alvear never aspired to be wise, but great. My father, and my father’s father, know this as well as I do, for they were the ones who taught me. But the Alvears never believed in easy lessons, either.
I was the First.
The eldest child and heir of my father, who himself was born a second son. My duty, since birth, has been to follow in the footsteps of my father, and his father, to serve the family. Since I was young, I knew that this would be the path I would walk in life.
Do not have the misconception that as the first son, I was coddled. The path I follow is narrow, and solitary. Among all my brothers, I have stood longest beneath the scrutiny of my father and grandfather’s eyes. Eyes that do not, and never did, tolerate anything less than perfection and obedience. And sons, be they first or second or last, are never born perfect. In my father’s eyes, that is still no excuse. As for my grandfather… one never assumes to know what he thinks, or thought. One obeys.
Obedience came easy, after punishment. I was, if anything, always a smart child. And the hand that punished, if it did not please, did offer something better. In his left hand, my father offered his own glittering pride and shuttered cunning. In his right, my grandfather offered something better – power. These were the gifts these two men gave to me, more valuable than any treats or affection spoiled upon most children. A rare, and precious, tutelage.
I escaped most of the imbecilities of childhood because I was never allowed to act like one. As my brothers were born, for more sons soon followed the first, I was taught that I was to be an example and figure of guidance for them. To become the pillar my siblings looked to, as we looked to our father, and he to our grandfather.
Though if you want the truth of it: grandfather commands the attention of everyone who carries the blood of Alvear, a truth rarely needed be spoken aloud, as obvious as the fact that food and water are needed to survive. And I, as many of my blood do, craved his approval. It was the weight of those steely eyes that judged your worth. Or lack of it. With grandfather, blood was a right only for him: for all others, it was a privilege easily retractable. I remember, as my younger brothers do not, that the fate of our youngest aunt was no true death, but a living one. Blood tells, our grandfather liked to say, and it does not forget.
What childhood I did have was wrapped in trappings of formality, restriction and exhausting lessons. Even as our family melds into the movements of the new century, the core of the Albear creed is built on a foundation of tradition. And Percival Albear was certainly one for that: ever a great believer in the ideal that children should be seen, not heard, and obey – o ayudarles a Dios. Respect there may be between my father and I, but there is little love lost. As for my mother, she has always been a distant figure. I read regret in her eyes when she looks on me and my brothers, who were never allowed to rest in her arms as she might have liked. Poor mother, who really never stood a chance beneath the thumb of her husband. Yet I never felt a want for this loss; perfect sons do not cling to their mothers’ skirts.
Ironically, the most honest bonds of affection for me were to be born, first, out of duty. My small charges, my younger brothers, began as what I grudged as nuisance responsibilities. Even beneath our father’s strict hand, we all still had a healthy share of siblings’ spats and quarrels. And yet… I became protective over them, knowing as I only knew – the way they could never know – that the position I held would always make them, in some way, “flawed” in our father’s eyes. Their trust bolstered me, hardened the foundation that father and grandfather had laid. Not only did they look up to me, but they trusted in me. And it was this, this legacy that was mine to protect.
Small memories. Helping my brother Michael to hide after one of his outbursts of rage, from our father’s greater wrath. Leaving my schoolbooks laying within Ra’asiel’s reach, after hearing our mother remark he liked to read them while he was stuck in bed. Sentimental, perhaps, and a weakness. But the danger is in not knowing your weaknesses, not in having them.
I attended Hogwarts as soon as I was of age. My sorting was no surprise, but another expectation. Even so, there are some things we take in hand ourselves. As the Hat was placed onto my head, I dared it to place me in anything but Slytherin. Some that night said it had spoken to them, whispered in their ear.
I never heard a word, besides the shout of “Slytherin!”.
My studies were exceptional to the point of being unremarkable. I was not permitted to be too involved in any student activities, and so failed to achieve quite the same lauded fame as some of my schoolmates. And yet, there were none who called themselves my enemy either. Openly. I achieved a considerable amount of influence during my years at Hogwarts, just another expectation. But though none named me enemy, I named none friend. Even as my brothers began to attend school, I was ordered to monitor them and report back to my father.
I anticipated continuing the path laid down for me when I left school, to enter into the Ministry of Magic. The Albears had been steadily worming their way into Wizarding politic in Britain, where my father was still active and my grandfather’s influence, though retired, was still felt. But the latter had different plans. Instead of entering into the Ministry immediately after graduating, I was pulled under my grandfather’s wing.
And it began with being pulled into my grandfather’s office, an imposingly austere abode of bookshelves packed with the tomes of la familia, and guarded by ancestral sphinxes in darkening portraits. He watched my eyes, with a crocodile’s reptilian guile, while he told me that he and my father had selected a bride for me. I said nothing while pin-drops of seconds stretched out; it was the incline of my head that elicited his satisfied nod, the level meet of my eyes with his.
I, more than anyone, knew what was expected of me.
For a span of several months, I traveled to meet with the other factions of our family abroad, familiarizing myself with the sprawling scions of our house. My father’s position in the Ministry made obtaining the necessary WiSA easy, but even so it could only be extended so far. When I returned to Britain, my youngest brother Ra’asiel, home schooled for so long, had finally been allowed to attend Hogwarts. I was given the familiar order to keep an eye on my brother and report on his progress, taking up residence in Hogsmeade.
And to prepare.
Special Ability: Otherworld Sense
He was never given a chance to be anything else.
Possessing an independent instinct to excel (as many eldest children do) Azrael’s awareness of the expectations surrounding him only heightened with the addition of his younger brothers. They were his companions in the rambling, hollow rooms of the Albear manor… and they were also his pawns – pieces to be placed, shifted, and discarded. He grew increasingly distant from his mother as he grew older, and closer to his father and grandfather as they molded him into their image. But the affection for his brothers was not so easy to oppress as disobedience.
From the conflict of obedience and affection were sown strange seeds of dissent. It had been there, perhaps – waiting – since he was born (‘Azrael’ his mother had named him, and the name was the sound of black wings, cadaverous omnipotence and the cold shudder of feet walking over your grave) but now he became aware of it in bits and pieces. It was a whisper in his ear. A hand on his shoulder. The weight of generations.
The voices of the dead.
It was a comfort, albeit a small one. And fleeting; there was reliance in comfort, and reliance – and thus, comfort - was a weakness. He found that knowledge in his brother’s faces: Michael , wide-eyed, not seeing or hearing or understanding, looking as if the world were to unhinge, come apart the same way his older brother was – Cassiel & Ambriel, blanching and frightened, spooked like the babies they were – and her, the lost one, who never had a name or a breath of life (‘miscarriage’, whispered past the closed door of his mother’s room), she was the worst because she understood and she scared him. She whispered: Even unto death, the Albears denied their imperfection . . . if it was a flaw to those he trusted most, what would it seem to his exacting father and grandfather?
So Azrael stopped seeing. Stopped listening. And forgot.
Time marched on, and he got better and better at feeling less.
War stretches across Europe, casting a shadow that pinwheels like wings, and he knows its name. He can sense the carrion that once lay where the bombs fell. In his dreams, the restless dead march past in military step; in his nightmares, he sees his brother’s face among them. In radio waves he listens for the ghost of Michael’s name, and tries not to hear the voices of other specters in the static. The hand of war stretched out and took his own right, and the second son went off to the battlefront.
In the winter of ’43, Emma Albear was finally graced with falling into the grave she’d dug for herself. Outwardly, his mother’s passing is merely a footnote in the annals of Albear; inwardly, everything he’d never forgiven for her is only compounded by her death – and they are closer in death, now, than they ever were in life. Her mournful ghost clings to him, and in its clutch he pendulums between madness and manifestation.
1945: The Resistance
Engagement & Disownment
A BIRTH AND A DEATH ON THE SAME DAY. wip.
Was engaged to: Neva Basilia de Alvear [arranged]
Also engaged himself to Ursula Nonpareil [♥]
Spoilers: He only married one, and the Family was not very happy.