Florian Sartre is a member of Dokraythian nobility. A month prior to the Blight, he and his older brother were last seen on a hunt together. His brother was killed on the hunt, and Florian is presumed dead as well but a body was never found.
Early Life Edit
Florian was born to skinwalker parents who were murdered in their animal forms for their skins before the humans realized their mistake. These humans quickly prayed to the Huntress for forgiveness of slaying a family of skinwalkers, and one human found a young child hiding in a tree. The human turned out to be Etienne Sartre, a young nobleman who was groomed to become the next patriarch of the Sartre household. Between the massacre of the child’s parents and the prayers she’d heard from young Sartre’s wife about the laments of losing her child, the Matchmaker intervened. Etienne took the child home with him and presented him to his wife. She quickly took to the child, naming him Florian after her own son who had passed away earlier that week. Those outside the family would be led to believe that Florian Sartre had miraculously recovered, not that he had been replaced.
Florian grew up as any child of nobility would: style, luxury, and with all manner of teachings available to him. From an early age, a reverence to the Pantheon was instilled in him. His mother took control of most of his teachings during his early years with the family, bringing him up to speed with what the previous Florian already knew. When it came to explaining why he had lost memory of his relatives, it was easily explained away as a side effect of the sickness he had experienced. Aloisia remained the most prominent figure in his life, a fact which annoyed her husband greatly but given how the death of the first Florian had touched her, he let it go. Better she keep a son to fuss over as a doll or puppet than have to lock her away so her wails and hallucinations wouldn’t be known.
However, when Aloisia kept Florian too hidden and seemed to only be teaching him things ‘only a lady should know’, Etienne stepped in to ensure Florian would be given a proper upbringing. It was then that Florian gained full exposure to the brother he didn’t fully know he had. Julian was eight years older, their father’s pride and joy, and was well aware of Florian’s background, that he wasn’t the real one. He withheld the information from him but ensured the child knew he wasn’t welcome in this family. He purposefully outshone him whenever there was a chance and, at times, even went out of his way to put him down. Even when their father set them up to be sparring partners in mock matches, Julian refused to hold back from crushing his younger brother. From an early age, Florian lost his interest in many forms of combat due to the poor experiences he had with his brother, but they wouldn’t be the only thing Julian would ruin for him.
Given the sheer size difference with ages, Julian took to bullying his brother in various forms, some of which he could get away with in the presence of others and some of which he couldn’t. The abuse escalated, and it did not take long for the physical aspect to turn sexual. This behavior would become a recurring theme for the brothers, the older dominating the younger whenever they were alone. Needless to say, Florian developed a very keen talent for hiding, slipping away, making note of exit points, and locking himself in at night if ever he did want to sleep alone.
The experiences distracted him from his studies and social gatherings in the beginning, leading him to take ‘quiet time’ from others. Given how he was known as a sickly child before his ‘miraculous recovery’, his family claimed this sickness was a relapse to keep himself in isolation. His shaky state of mind did well to convince others something was off with him, and the isolation resulted in spending more time with mother again, for which she was pleased even if she was madder than she had been before he was removed from her care. Time spent with her meant recovery--or rather, the realization that he was better off finding ways to outsmart his brother, lest he get sucked into his mother’s madness--and he rejoined the family in the social light. Whenever situations did get too overwhelming for him or he had to explain an unfortunate reaction to something as benign as a light hand touch, he was quick to use his ‘sickness’ as an excuse.
It was after this period of isolation that he truly began to make friends in his social circle though. One such friend was Damien Vauclain, a Prince of Dokrayth. Once Damien was crowned Prince, Florian assisted with his new role. Another friend was Killian White, the ward of the Queen of Calladahn. Given a few years, he too would become a Prince. Florian was pleased to experience time away from home and took to them as a break from reality but also because they got along very well. It was around this time that Lia the Seamstress was employed by the Sartre family to tend to Florian specifically.
The beatings and abuse continued for years, but Florian prepared for the encounters in the best he could: by turning it into a game or challenge. The challenge was to keep his sanity, the game was to eventually turn the tables on his brother to scare him off for good. As keen as the game had sculpted his mind for strategy and wit, Florian unintentionally got sucked in. Although the close encounters generally went sour for him, there was a thrill at making the encounters occur on his terms and typically with some sort of payoff. What he wanted, he got, and all it cost him was a period of time spent outside of his mind as well as a very long bath. He reasoned it was the better alternative to being used and abused as a victim and not getting anything out of it.
As disgusted as Florian felt for using himself in such a way, he refused to speak of it with anyone, knowing they wouldn’t understand. And, worse, they would probably try and do something about it. When Killian learned the truth somehow, Florian had to plead with him to keep the secret, explaining what disgrace it would bring on his family name if anyone knew of the sordid affair between brothers and what personal shame it would bring him for being painted a victim of sodomy. Killian reluctantly agreed to keep the secret, out of respect for his friend, which led them to share a closer bond on a level of trust Florian had not shared with anyone before. This eventually led to experimentation between the young men as teenagers, but, for Florian, he was more invested in the trust he felt for his friend rather than having romantic feelings for him. The experience did help him come to terms with some of the convoluted feelings he had for his brother, however, and helped move him away from the unhealthy dependence he had on the older male.
Although he cherished having a close friend, the relationship wasn’t enough for him. It was fun to fool around, but he wanted something more serious and substantial, someone he didn’t have to share with the rest of the world or with women. Around the time of this epiphany, a new gardener had taken up employment at his family’s home. Florian remained oblivious to this gardener’s flirtations for a couple of months before he took notice and began wondering of the other’s intentions. He tested the waters with his own flirtations, but his reservations and trust issues held him back from making a move. He confessed his thoughts to Lia who encouraged him to trust himself and the ‘cute gardener’, but it was still Quinn who made the first move after a hunting trip gone wrong. This hunting trip also led Florian to learn that Quinn was a skinwalker.
By the next Spring, the two were an item. Any moment Florian had alone, it was almost always spent with the gardener. It was that summer that Florian’s mother passed away, her madness finally taking her life, and his father confessed to him the real story of his heritage, that he was not born to them and might actually be a skinwalker. Florian confided these tales to Quinn, who then encouraged him to try the skinwalker tradition of taking a skin to the temple of the Huntress. Florian decided to test his luck on his next hunting trip where he caught a raccoon. He did the necessary preparations and completed the ritual. To his surprise and relief, he became a raccoon upon wearing the skin, cementing his father’s story as truth. The next time he saw Quinn, he couldn’t help but play a prank on him with the skin but revealed his identity quickly.
Eventually, Killian noticed how Florian’s attention had swayed away since he wasn’t attending nearly as many parties or gatherings. The next time Florian visited Thrine, Killian confronted him on it. Though Florian was bewildered by the possessiveness--as they hadn’t lain together since before Quinn was in the picture--he confessed to having Quinn in his life, a fact Killian didn’t approve of at all. After Florian accused Killian of being a hypocrite and other words were exchanged between the two friends, Killian exiled Florian from Thrine. Spurned, Florian refused to have any contact with Killian from then on.
Later that year, Quinn disappeared for a time. Since it was normal for Quinn to be gone days at a time, Florian wasn’t too concerned until he found found one of Quinn’s bloodied pelts in his bedroom. Couple that with scathing remarks from Julian in the previous days and the days after, Florian feared the worst, but he finally reached his breaking point with his brother. He went into the forest to catch a new animal, a real predator this time, and caught a panther in his trap. Florian knew it must have been a fluke to catch such a beautiful specimen, but he took it as the answer to his prayers and prepared its skin reverently. On his next hunting trip with his brother, he donned the skin and killed his brother before running off into the forest.
With no place else to go, he felt drawn to a temple of the Matchmaker where he collapsed, the adrenaline and resolution of finally dealing with his brother fading away to allow him to properly deal with the lamentations he felt about losing his lover. It was there that he learned Lia the Seamstress, his confidant for nearly a decade, was in fact the Matchmaker herself, which left him very confused and honored by her presence. She was vague with her promises of ‘all working out as it should’ for him, but he was easily swayed into remaining at the temple for a couple of weeks where he inadvertently spent much time with her priests and picked up some teachings from them. At the end of the month, he witnessed a sight he never thought he’d see again: Quinn was there. The bloodied pelt had been a sick joke played by his brother.
Florian joined Quinn on his wanderlust adventures, enjoying the break from stuffy reality and doing something new. He enjoyed getting in touch with nature and the skinwalker pride that had been kept secret to him for so many years. Unfortunately, the Blight appeared not more than a month after they were together again, sending them on a more dangerous adventure.
The Blight Edit
Florian and Quinn were impacted by the Blight just as any other refugees were. Since they were wanderers, they continued to wander and kept their wits about them in case they encountered the Walking Starvation on their travels. They lingered in Xehacora for a time, hoping to find sanctuary within Fynnon and decided to visit the abandoned Huntress temple in the woods. Upon meeting the Messenger God there, Florian inquired about the whereabouts of the Matchmaker and learned she was still alive and well.
With the Blight unfolding rapidly and sending Ga'leah into chaos, they thought of places that might be safe. Florian reluctantly suggested they travel to Thrine in the meantime. Although he and its Prince had not parted on the best of terms, times had changed and the wanderers needed a place to stay. Florian was greeted more warmly than he expected given their previous exchange and the fact that Florian had let Killian believe he was dead, but he still had his guard up. After a private meeting with Killian, Florian was cornered by the Queen where she stole his heart and proclaimed he could win it back by returning her son's affections. She forbade him from speaking of the heart removal or the curse. He found himself drawn to Killian due to the curse and old unresolved feelings but pleaded with Quinn not to leave, despite not being able to communicate what was happening. Luckily, Killian detected the reluctance and, noticing the familiar signs of distress often found in his mother's victims, correctly assumed his mother had something to do with Florian's apparent change of heart. He confronted her, but she denied any action on her part, which led Killian to venture into the Magic Mirror to retrieve Florian's heart. The two skinwalkers quickly left Thrine after Florian's heart had been restored, determined to put the past beyond them. Florian was relieved that he could still count the Prince as a treasured friend, even if the experience left him afraid to ever return.
As Florian heard about how Dokrayth had fallen, he requested they visit his old home. Although he had been proclaimed dead a month before the Blight during the hunt he and his brother were on, he still wanted to check on his father and servants. The estate was in shambles due to the monsters running amok in the Yarrow. The two skinwalkers quickly left the scene before they could be noticed.
Following the tracks of other Dokraythian refugees, they landed in Caerleon where Quinn experienced many reunions. Florian had taken to bonding with his panther skin as much as he could, but there was only so much he could learn from that form on his own and in the six months that he had it. He came across a lion skinwalker in the forest who called herself Nala and was apparently like a big sister to the Jacksons. She offered him training to help him connect better with his panther form and use it to its full potential.