Bennett Richard Gray
Before the bite of the cursed loup-garoux, Gray was a very docile and patient man. Soft-spoken and good-humored, he was generally admired among the upper-class, which he is well accustomed to. He was social and played the piano at parties, sang duets, and danced often, etc. He was acquainted quite well with fine foods and aged wines; his taste buds were shell-shocked when he first came to the newly established country and definitely not in a good way.
He was a bit of a pushover, doing whatever was asked of him even outside of active duty, whether he really wanted to or not. After his discharge, he hardened himself against it and learned to say no more effectively, mostly to please his father. Since his 'change', he's become far more dominant over himself and sometimes others, depending on the situation. He's also prone to lash out and though it's not usually with actions or brute force, he does
like to smash things.
His wound has weakened him from what his former standard of fitness had been before he was impaled. It not only affects his endurance and overall body strength, but it weighs on his mind that he no longer holds the potential that he used to. It has also made his temperament more unstable; sometimes he would take things much easier than he used to, and most times he would be moody and somewhat irritable. If he strains himself too hard, the pain becomes too much to handle and he occasionally relies on a cane to walk around, though if that happens, he'll try to avoid going into public anyway to hold on to as much of his dignity as he can.
While he tries to be as normal as anyone else, the war and his particular incidences with life and death have sparked PTSD, and he battles with it constantly. It affected his jovial nature and warped him into something closer to a recluse with a sudden, sharper fear for blades or anything of the like. He has night terrors and a constant feeling of shame when around other people, even though there's really no reason for it. This fact isn't totally hidden, either, though he tries his best to appear at ease and confident.
While he tries to be as accepting as possible, he imagines women ought to be virtuous and speak carefully -- that they should tread lightly on whatever they might endeavor to do. And although he's come to like the United States in his own way, he still retains some nationalism for his home country. He did nearly die for it, after all.
Gray expresses little actual, heart-felt emotion. He's business-like in all that he does, even with his wife or when he plays cards or drinks. He may smile frequently, but they are somewhat forced and don't usually reach his eyes. He still acts like an uptight, well-disciplined soldier. The thorough military training he had endured distilled itself into his manner and made him the ideal serviceman, besides his flaws. He's not wholly against killing and a part of him enjoyed the thrill, but he won't admit that. He just won't say anything if witness to it, or if he hears about it.
He knows that he's as good as dead by everyone who knew him before he went to survey, which includes his wife. While he's then pronounced technically single, he's still rather sensitive to anything that may remind him of her or that may be even the mere suggestion of a relationship. He finds it all the more devastating that neither one of them is dead or chained to one place, but that the only thing keeping them apart is his hex of an illness, as he thinks of it. However, he'd rather stay away from her than risk killing her himself.
Bennett Gray was born to an old British military family in Oxford, England, with one elder and one younger siblings, both sons, which provided a privileged life full of opportunities for the wealthy. He attended a military academy at 16 years of age after completing his studies at his boarding school, and went on to become slightly-above-average in his class, much to the chagrin of his father. Always eager to please his parents, he was gladly drafted to fight the war against the French in 1809 when he was 21. This war expanded into the War of 1812 against the Americans, where he was sent to fight them when they tried to invade Canada near Lake Erie. In 1813, the British lost the battle and the Americans had gained control of the lake and parts of Western Ontario.
Although a namely short war, Gray's time was cut even shorter when he was impaled through the middle by a bayonet. It was a miracle he didn't bleed out first, then die from infection, besides the fact that no vital organs were punctured, or that the man who had done it didn't check twice to finish the job. Gray was dismissed from service afterwards and sent back to England to continue life there.
He struggled to find an occupation that he enjoyed or cared to keep, especially under the scrutiny of his father, whom he was sure his near-death and discharge had disappointed. His relationship with his father, though never exactly close, got far more delicate. Not much time passed before his father contracted the flu, which he never recovered from, and died. Although his mother had always been kind and loving towards him, Gray felt disconnected from the family once his main reason for staying had been severed. He found no more motivation to stay in England and sought better opportunity in the United States in 1816.
The war had ended only a few years ago and there was still plenty of hostility between the Americans and British, so Gray was typically disliked but he wasn't entirely swayed from staying and enduring their distaste while he looked for something worthwhile to dedicate his life to. A few years had passed and his eye was caught by a lovely young American girl, and it was only a couple more before they were married. She struggled to have children throughout their marriage, so none were born before he became restless again and went out to look for a career.
Opportunity presented itself when an entrepreneur he was acquainted with advertised for want of a surveyour group which was to scout out a suitable trail across the country to the west for wagons. His high academics, besides his average militaristic performance, earned him the job of mapping out the path and handling the techincal aspects of the journey.
A week before the expedition, Gray and his group were camped out in St. Louis making the last arrangements. After an evening of sociable drinking on his part at least, he left the "party" early and was walking back to the inn where he was staying when he was confronted by a beggar in an alley; nothing too terribly uncommon. He tried to shake the man off, which eventually succeeded in angering him and triggered the single most terrifying thing Gray had seen yet: the transformation of man to beast.
The fight that ensued Gray doesn't really remember much of, but it resulted in a nasty bite to his arm and several deep cuts and bruises along his face and body. Between assaults, he struggled through the alleys to make it to the main road, where he was found passed out, sitting against one of the store fronts. Shooed away by the owner, he stumbled around until he was guided to a local doctor, and treated as well as modern medicine would then allow.
The trip was only delayed two days to allow Gray to recover before they headed out. For three weeks, everything went smoothly, and they were well into the Nebraska territory. But the full moon soon enough made her way into the sky and surprised everyone. They kept by his side as he persevered through the immense pain which really nearly killed him on top of his other injuries until his form started to change. They ran, but once he was turned, they were decimated within moments. Gray doesn't really recall what happened exactly that night, but once he was back in his 'own skin', so to speak, he put the pieces together.
No one else was around for miles, and it would be a long time before anyone thought to look for them, so Gray took some of the supplies in their little convoy and a horse and rode off in search of some little place he could call temporary home until he could restore his health and figure out what to do, once again, with his life.
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