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player information.

name: Box
are you over 18?: yup
personal lj: the_safe_air
email/msn/aim/plurk/etc: plurk - likeabox, aim - bardwithnoname
characters in abax: N/A

in character information.

name: Isra bint’Hassan Abdi
age: 21
sex: F
race: Human
height: 5’4”
weight: 120
canon point: Last part mentioned in history
previous cr: n/a
physical appearance:

Isra is Arabic, with curly brown hair and brown eyes. She typically wears a hijab, or headscarf, but more often than not her bangs peak through said scarf. She doesn’t have any allegiance to a particular color, but her outfits tend to be in the warm family. Red is very common, as are yellow, white, and cream shades, with only the occasional dark blue or black to be seen. Her dresses have slightly uneven hemming and a few rough patches from repeated use, but otherwise they’re relatively simple and plain. There are some ink stains present on some of her sleeves, but more often they appear on the palm and fingertips of her hand. Speaking of which, Isra has very flowing, very stylized handwriting, especially in the case of her signature. Her notes and scripts are much more informal, but if it’s meant for someone else’s eyes you can bet your bottom dollar she’ll go for extravagance.

She doesn’t wear very much jewelery, although she has a fondness for rings and bracelets. Likewise, she uses very little make up outside of costuming due to it not being in fashion at the time. She can change her stance and affect very, very easily due to her acting skills, but she tends to walk tall and have an upbeat, sunny disposition. Yes, she does know how to cry on command, and yes, she will do it if provoked.

world information: Earth is a mostly harmless little blue planet orbiting a star called the Sun. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Only one glaring difference stands between this version of Earth and the actual one. Which is rather like saying that except for the sky being green, the sky is exactly the same color. Unless someone has a fondness for western civilization explained in unnecessary detail, it can be safely skipped and summed up with: Europe is currently having fun throwing crusades every few years and the Arabic empires are getting sick of having to hide the good china when they do so.

In 1258, the Monguls didn’t come and utterly wipe Baghdad from the face of the Earth. They didn’t kill virtually the entire population. They didn’t destroy the grand library, The House of Wisdom, to the point that the Euphrates ran black with ink. They didn’t destroy the canals so that nothing could ever grow there again. They didn’t stop Islam’s intellectual growth with all the spiteful force of a bully kicking in a sand castle. Only in this case, the bully is wearing steal toed boots and the sand castle is made out of diamonds. Some of the most important discoveries of the day weren’t annihilated. Some of the greatest works written by the Greeks and Romans weren’t lost. One bad day didn’t happen and everything changed because of it.

Because of Baghdad still existing, academics went on still thinking. Instead of a handful of texts, thousands of them exist. Instead of a few great novels surviving, hundreds do. Instead of a strong scientific community being silenced forever, it only grew louder. Instead of a background smattering of stars, entire galaxies went named. Discovery doesn’t continue rising higher forever and eventually plateaus, eventually stagnates, but doesn’t eventually get destroyed. More crusades occur, as the Abbasid caliphate remains a threat to the region or at least to the ego. But money runs out and plagues occur, and excuses pile up for sacking bigger better cities along the way.

The House of Wisdom becomes one of many, as discoveries get split and shared and passed along. Instead of just one building housing so much knowledge, translations and copies get split between Baghdad, Cairo, and Damascus. It still takes until 1452 for Constantinople to fall, but the Turks faced a greater challenge establishing themselves and gathering momentum. Still, a rising power will always defeat the stalling one, just like the rookie team with everything to prove defeats the other team made entirely of asshole jocks.

When Constantinople falls, Europe decides fuck tolls, we’re going the long way around, thus beginning the age of discovery. When the Renaissance kicks off in Italy, it has more Greek and Roman epics, plays, and science to base itself on. The Turks base themselves in Constantinople, and once they do, establish yet another grand library in their continuing efforts to win a dick measuring contest with the rest of the world.

Earth doesn’t even begin to enter the same definition of utopia because of these changes. Jews still get kicked out of Spain the instant the Moors get defeated. Islam still turns steadily inward and more conservative. Wars still happen, and cities still get destroyed and abandoned. Tolerance is still at a minimum, with “better than Europe” not saying very much at all. For all the things that make the world a dark place, at the very least there’s more good books in it.

It’s currently the year 1600, and Suleiman the Magnificent is still within living memory, in fair Constantinople where we lay our scene.

And no, it’s not called Istanbul yet.

history:

Isra comes from an established merchant family. Her mother tends to keep track of the money her father makes. Much to Hassan’s dismay and Amina’s bemusement, every single one of their six children has an entirely different vocation. Isra has two older brothers, Asif and Fahim; one older sister, Nadia; and two younger brothers, Farid and Hamid. Asif, the eldest, remains a merchant. Fahim went off to Damascus and became a scholar. Farid’s apprenticing as a shipbuilder, and Hamid’s still playing with toy soldiers as a full time occupation. Her eldest and only sister, Nadia, got married to another merchant family, which left Isra free to do almost anything she pleased. Relatively speaking, anyway. She still hears grumbles every now and then from her father about her dowry.

It turns out that ‘anything Isra pleased’ means ‘writing plays’. How a relatively upper class girl got mixed up in the rough and tumble world of theatre requires a bit of backtracking to explain. The short version is that, as a child she took a wrong turn and ended up on the wrong street at the right time. The slightly longer version includes Fahim, her scholar of a brother, giving her books and writings almost as soon as she could add two and two together to make four. The longest version makes explicit mention of her oldest and best friend, Fadil ibn’Hisham Nazari. Fadil, it turns out, was a pretty good con artist but an even better actor. He joined an acting troupe growing up, and every now and then Isra went to see the latest morality plays and puppet shows he got dragged into.

Even in the most idealistic possible version of Hollywood history, the chances of a woman becoming openly involved with acting were about the same as pigs doing loop de loops on the way to Rio. That’s where Fadil stepped in and offered up a simple plan that’d solve Isra’s growing dilemma. Isra would write the plays for the troupe, and Fadil would act like he wrote them. Bulletproof. Nobody’d see through that in a million years. Whether it’s worth chocking up to divine intervention or defiance of narrative causality, the simple plan actually worked. Now, the first dozen or so plays she wrote barely even count as such. Tiny little morality plays virtually indistinguishable from the piles and piles of morality plays that came before. The occasional bit of poetry aside, most of these were just money making scams with slightly better costuming involved.

Things changed. Skills improved. Isra’s plays started having narratives. Fairly solid ones, too. Her first successful play, one that she’d acknowledge at least, was titled Full Moon Over Baghdad. A pretty typical revenge tragedy with some pretty decent special effects and a nice catchphrase. She’s written about eight plays since then, some of them good and some of them bad but all of them relatively popular in their own way. There’s even been talk of writing down the scripts so the plays could be enjoyed past curtain call. Granted, fairly drunk talk, but talk all the same.

In an ironic twist Isra probably could’ve seen coming, the solution to her old problem only created a new one. Fadil’s the one getting the spotlight, not her. To be fair, she was more than fine writing in the shadows when it barely made more than pocket change. Now there’s all the cash, all the fame, and maybe even a little social change thrown into the mix, and all of it’s going to a guy who’s playing his part a little too well. To make matters worse, it’s not as if she can stride right onto the stage and break the masquerade without ending up even more screwed than she started.

For now, she’s got no option except keeping her mouth shut and her pen working.

personality: Isra’s built her entire livelihood on words, so it’s hardly a surprise she knows how to use them. She possesses a cool wit and a clever tongue. Not sarcastic for the sake of sarcasm, but quick witted for the sake of wordplay. She loves language, not for the strict lines of it but the ebb and flow of the words themselves. Isra picks and chooses words the way other women might shoes. Naturally, as a lover of words, it follows that she also loves conversations. The only thing she likes more than a clever conversation is an argument, and the only thing more than that is getting the last word in one. Isra has a way with people, and that way is the power of persuasion. Considering that the whole of theatre is based on pretending, lies, and illusion, she’s an utterly fantastic liar. Isra is surprisingly good at telling people what they want to hear, and she’s even better at making people believe the tales she spins.

Isra isn’t the type to spill her guts out on the drop of a hat, but with enough listening, a pattern emerges. Almost everything can be related back to the theatre, and as such, most of her metaphors, similes, comparisons, and philosophy eventually revolves around it. Theatre isn’t just a way to make a mark on a stage people would rather watch puppets on. Theatre is magic. To her, the ability to weave an enchanting tale is as wondrous as creating thunder. Just by using words, entire worlds, ideas, and events are created. The right words can transport an audience just as well as a caravan. She’s always in search of the new. New words, new ideas, new art, and new stories. She doesn’t want to build on ground that’s already been covered; she wants to build on new places.

As such, Isra reserves her true hatred for tradition and definition. She doesn’t want to accept ‘it’s always been this way’ as an answer. She doesn’t want to be pinned down, stuck in whatever mold someone else made for her. She constantly strives to reinvent herself, to push against boundaries, and to strike against the status quo. When her ambitions aren’t met, she can become jealous, resentful, and even petty. She knows the way the world works, and that a few popular plays can’t change very much of it. In the end, Isra views theatre, and all fiction by extension, as an escape from a world that’s inevitably inescapable.

She’s not some kind of writing messiah, though. Not nearly as much as she likes to think, at least. Isra can be very full of herself, a little too cocky for someone who’s technically just a ghostwriter, and she’s not exactly shattering glass ceilings with her quill as much as she wishes she could. At the end of the day, she’s writing plays at a time when most of them aren’t even considered worth keeping records of. More often than not, the ability to make money is more important to her than some artistic statement. She’s never satisfied standing still and always tries to keep moving, and that leads to her making hasty judgments and rushing when she could be appreciating the view. She’s a butterfly pretending to be a caterpillar, and by pushing down on her pride related buttons, getting her to drop the facade is entirely too easy.


abilities/powers:Languages

Due to being the daughter of a merchant family, Isra knows multiple languages. She knows four languages in particular: Arabic, Turkish, Latin, and Greek. She speaks Arabic and Turkish fluently. She speaks Greek passably, meaning she knows enough to get by. Of all the languages she knows, she botches Latin the most, and only knows the basics like yes/no, please/thank you, how much is that...?, without taking notes or spending an hour translating a paragraph. She knows absolutely no English whatsoever.

Speaking of speech, as mentioned above, she’s fairly good at bluffing and reading other people. She’ll probably never charm her way into the con artist hall of fame, but she can hold her own.

Writing

Guess what. Turns out the playwright is good at writing. Who’d have thunk? She has her favorite genres: Revenge tragedies and speculative fiction. She can’t write romantic tragedies if you paid her. The titles and basic plots of her most popular plays are as follows:

Full Moon Over Baghdad- Die Hard on a Caravan
Far Away, Long Ago - Stranded on an island
Highs And Lows - Twins switched at birth
Exacting - Djinni in a bottle, rules lawyer with all the wishes.
One Step Forward - When an Escort Mission Goes Wrong
As The Plot Demands - Dude tries to invent God From The Machine. Literally.
Blurry - Chaos, and mistaken identity, ensues at a Masquerade
Talk Back - Man lost in the desert starts seeing things. Or does he?!

Like with most plays, the plot isn’t as important as the way it’s written. Her plays are popular, but not especially ‘genius’ or ‘groundbreaking’. She’s sort of like a Christopher Nolan analogue: explosion filled action movies that make you think in between handfuls of popcorn. Her favorite tropes are identity screws and mask/theatre related metaphors.

And explosions.

Speaking of which, she’s also familiar with other kinds of very popular plays when she’s from, mainly puppet shows and the like.

Fail fighting skills - Isra has almost no fighting ability whatsoever. Throw a punch or two? Fine. Actually do damage with them? That’s a whole ‘nother story, and one that Isra’s not planning on telling any time soon. She prefers doing her battles with words, not swords, which is a bit of a problem when monstrous spiders are hanging around. If she gets in over her head with an argument, her only real option is to retreat like she’s part-French.

first person sample:

A city eternally kept in the dark. Somebody needs to shed a little light on the situation.

Did you like that one? I’ve been working on it for a bit.

Wait, I’ve got another one.

Looks like this city’s clock... is about to get cleaned.

What? They can’t all be winners.


third person sample:

Isra knew the way to go by heart. Or, at the very least, by feel. The cobbles tended to change from one neighborhood to another. The ones in the roads got worn down into smooth edges, while the ones in the city’s center were meticulously cleaned and cared for. Of course, where she was going, she didn’t much need cobbles. They didn’t turn to dust and sand, because living in the desert is different when that desert’s alongside a sparkling sea or two. But they definitely got a bit looser, a bit dingier, more of a hodge podge than an organized whole.

The theatre’s roof had a few holes in it. Gaps between ceiling beams and rough, mangled plaster. Light got in through them in spangles and specks. Sometimes, Isra wanted to fix them, but she knew better and left them alone. The seats were curved benches leading up, with space on the floor alongside the raised lip that she supposed qualified as a stage. Nothing special, really. Across the street, a man set up cockfights that typically got more attention than the best of their plays ever did. Sometimes the ropes frayed apart mid-scene. Sometimes an actor forgot their line, and the line after that, and by that point Fadil stormed off the stage and the audience started heckling even worse than the moment before.
Isra couldn’t think of anywhere on earth she’d rather be.

case no: I don’t know and I have no opinion.

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the poet's eye
bardwithnoname
Isra bint'Hassan Abdi

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