Jacob "Jack" Ortega Baldwin
He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it
— George Orwell
Good For Nothing, Nothing of Good
He was eight when he ran away from St. Genevieve’s Orphanage, eight and three months when Mr. Albuquerque gave him a job at his bodega doing stock work; eight and a half when the police eventually tracked him down and dumped Jacob back to the orphanage. Twelve when he got adopted, twelve and seven months when the family asked for their refund.
From then on a few more couples tried, they never got past the interview phase, Jacob wouldn’t let them; he was better off with what he knew and what he knew gave him freedom. He could endure Mrs. Westworth, her once brutal hands were going soft with age, he knew the routine of the convent well enough to sneak whenever he wanted – take a walk ‘round the city, workshop on getting some real chances at life, not vying for a rescue or a miracle that would never come.
His emancipation came when some buddies came to pick him up from the orphanage exactly at midday of his 21st birthday, saying their jolly good mornings to the nuns, cat-calling Jack until he got inside the damn car — a crowded, beaten down, red paint chipping off 83's Volkswagen Passat full of beer smelling punks — about to get that much crowded with his backpack of meager possessions and Jack's tall lanky self. Hooting their farewells and
He never wants to see you again you hag! at nun Westworth, they peeled off down the streets of El Paso, a city Jack had decided he never wanted to be seen in again.
Somewhere, somehow, he'd make a name for himself and forget all about his meager beginnings.
That same week, he left for the open world, for some other place that did not remind him of Texas. After months of hitchhiking and living off of motels, Jacob found in Fort Brunsett — in working for the Alexander Family — the leverage he needed to make something for himself. By the age of 30, Jacob has not only an apartment or a job: he has contacts, he knows what goes on the streets instead of only being a pawn to its inner workings, more than anything he feels the city breathe in and exhale with every death, every deal, every smuggle made; he learns something new about his city. He has ownership of himself, he has Fort Brunsett by the goddamn balls.
He works as a cleaner.
Deals sometimes get fucked over, things get messy, someone needs to step in. Someone needs to make it all a disappearing act. Jacob is damn good at his job.
His wanderings persist though. He never took a test for a driver’s license, never owned a car, or a motorcycle. He owns a bike at most. Gets him where he needs to go and if he needs the tools for his job? Well, he never works alone anyway, his services are good enough his bosses don’t complain about his little eccentricity.
It was Autumn when he heard about it. It was Westworth, Abigail. God had finally decided to call back his little angel. Of course Jack went to the funeral. Paid his respects like a good Christian boy. Didn’t piss on her coffin, that’d be rude to the one person who had bothered to teach him anything about the world. Hell, that fuckin’ nun even drilled in some manners in him. Always burp in, never set your elbows on the dinner table, pull a chair for a lady (or your date-guy, he wasn’t picky) and always always pay your respects to the dead. God knows she’d wake up from her eternal slumber just to rip him open a new hole somewhere painful if Jacob didn’t say good-bye. She cared for him.
He couldn’t say he didn’t care for her back.
And so it was Autumn; way back in Texas where he promised he would never return (and yet, he took the time to make the trip back in honor of his primary caretaker had he not? A fuckin' Catholic paragon); when he wandered too far. When he found it. He was off-kilter drunk, took cheap whisky to drink at Westworth funeral – he wasn’t ‘bout to spend good alcohol on that hag – the walk back to the motel room he was staying was long but that’s how he usually liked it. He was free for another couple days 'till the Alexanders required him back in Fort Brunsett again, he could wander. And so, he did.
And went too far.
...Is the name he gives to those who ask. He doesn’t remember his own name, he has lost his voice.
But then again, he was always far more part of the environment he lived in than his own ego.
He used to be a people’s person, charismatic, a shifter capable of molding peoples' perception of him to something of his favor. Nowadays, he feels barely even human with a hunger and anger he always possessed, only deepened and made worse by Arcadia's enviroment. Ashengard had been wandering around El Paso - where he disappeared - for days before recalling a glimpse of his former life and making the long and difficult road back across the country to Fort Brunsett. He has just arrived (with a few stale granola bars and one freshly acquired fake ID), with no idea what to expect of the home he made for himself, nor the new life he will have to lead.
- Abigail Westworth — nun of British heritage and Jack's primary caretaker
- Alexander Family — employee
- Mr. Albuquerque — stout grey haired and bearded Portuguese man with a mighty appetite and even mightier rap sheet
- Petra Riley Green — a little fox he used to know, from somewhere else. Somewhere terrible that humans cannot abide. He wants to see her again
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