From The Grey Tower Library
|Rank:||Keeper of the Archives of the Brown Ajah|
|Spouse:||Giselle Nesbit (†)|
|Children:||Four (4): Grace, Melissa, Phoebe, and Theresa Mather|
|Talents / Abilities:|
|Affinities:||Spirit, Air, Fire, Earth, Water|
- Murdock's abilities as a Healer are well known, but his talent of Rending is only known by a select few in the Black Ajah.
- He wears a wedding ring and will declare that he is married, though the circumstances surrounding his wife (or lack thereof) are unknown.
- As a Brown his research primarily focuses on physical ailments of the body from a more theoretical perspective than a practical one. This complements his private studies on Rending.
- Murdock has a very well thought out coding system which encrypts his personal writings, his Keeperly writings and his Black Ajah work, though of course they are all different and closed to comparison.
Eye Colour: A deep, rich brown
Hair Colour: As close to black as one can get without being black; extremely dark brown.
Distinguishing Features: A short, full beard, and a slender build.
Appearance: A man in his mid thirties, judging by his somewhat weather-worn face. This is a man who has seen more than most, and more than he himself wanted to see; this much is clear from the slightly sad cast of his eyes, his expression fixed on solemn when neutral. Murdock can and does laugh, and when he does it is with a big, toothy grin that lights his whole face up, but when the laughter ends so does the smile in his eyes. His face is not quite rugged but his time outdoors does show.
The tilt to his eyes and somewhat strong nose are an obvious nod towards his Saldaean heritage. Indeed, until the man opens his mouth he is regularly mistaken for a Borderlander. When he does speak, it is with a rich voice that would lend itself well to singing, low and usually soft. Murdock does not tend to raise his voice, and as a child was often told off for mumbling.
Murdock is not a big man. He may be rather tall, but he looks more like a short man who was startled into a few extra inches of height and the rest of his body didn't get the memo - he is slender and looks taller than he is because of his thin build. This is not to be confused with someone malnourished or mistreated, the man is lean and takes care of himself just fine, but most men his height tend to be broader and thicker.
Although the man has a good posture, this is impeded somewhat by his obvious limp. Murdock walks with the aid of a walking stick in his left hand, and can usually be seen grumbling to himself when he has to walk a distance. Normally he will take a seat and stretch his leg at the earliest available opportunity to ease the pain. His uniform is mostly neat, and his stole is a humble, unremarkable brown one that might well pass as a rag if it was cut up into squares.
Murdock wears a wedding ring.
Personality: Murdock is generally stoic and keeps to himself, showing an unhealthy lack of interest in most things. He balances a fine line between deference and disobedience, often quietly breaking rules he disagrees with, but always admitting the truth and taking punishment where necessary. He tends to not lie about most things, preferring to remember just the one story and stick to it (he’s too old for this make believe nonsense). Unfortunately when it comes to the things that matter most, any such limits are soon forgotten. Murdock will go through great lengths to protect the things he cares about, but unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be that much he is passionate for.
Outside of Healing and Rending, it isn’t clear what Murdock is actually good at. He’s rather average in most ways, and this includes his channelling ability. But he does have a secret skill with numbers, and is actually rather organised and intuitive when it comes to record keeping and organising. He does not appear to have any real attachment to anything or anyone in the Grey Tower, making most question what his business there is. How he was selected as Keeper is anyone's guess, as the man does not seem to have much interest in the world around him, eyes focussed either inwards or at the far distance instead. He does pay attention, as he tends to his records and his private affairs with a comfortable hand, but Murdock is not renowned for being bright, cheerful or interested in much.
But there is one thing which fascinates the man, unknown to most, and this is Rending. His dirty little secret. Murdock will go through great lengths to obscure his interest in this art wherever possible, but that doesn't stop him from trying to practice and learn more about it at every available opportunity. Part of his agreement with the Black Ajah is to do their bidding in return for... opportunities... to learn more about this craft, but at this point there is not much else the man can learn. This does not stop him from trying.
Growing up was very straightforward for Murdock, and when asked it is something he has no real recollection of, simply because it was so very ordinary. Born as the youngest of five, Murdock was fortunate(?) enough to have not only an overbearing mother, but four outspoken and brash sisters who were determined to take very good care of “Doc”, as he was called. Murdock soon grew adept at maintaining the long-suffering smile and the patient eye-roll, as passed on from his sympathetic father who wisely kept out of these things as a good Far Madding man should.
Murdock certainly wasn’t lacking for anything, though his parents were but humble folk. She was a banker, he was a carpenter, and between them they got by just fine. Some of Murdock’s happiest times were sitting in the workshop watching his Da manipulate the chunks of wood passed his way, turning waste into want. A bit of useless would could be transformed into a chair, or a toy, and the tangibility of crafting something which would not exist without Master Mather appealed to Murdock even from a young age. He decided, he was going to follow in his Da’s footsteps and make... stuff. He didn’t know what. But he would make things and people would like them.
Easier said than done, because the Pattern had other ideas. Well, the Pattern and his mother, who was very impressed with how Giselle Nesbit was shaping up to be a very lovely young woman and obviously the perfect wife for her dear not-so-little Doc (he quickly outgrew his mother physically, though never enough to save him from being turned over her knee). Giselle and her mother agreed that this was a good idea, the mother more than the daughter, so when the union was proposed to Murdock he was momentarily taken by surprise, at least until he remembered who he was and what his family were like.
Fortunately for them all, Murdock thought Giselle to be one of the most beautiful and wonderful creatures to walk the fair streets of Far Madding. The reality was that she was barely above plain, but she had a winning smile and was kind, which were enough for a younger Murdock. He began to court her in earnest, to the delight of his mother, his father, his sisters, and Giselle’s mother. In fact, anyone who wasn’t Giselle thought it a good idea.
Not that Giselle disliked Murdock, he was tall and handsome and eager to please, but he was clearly the more besotted of the pair. At least, he was until the day they went out of the city for a picnic, the day she had intended on leaving Murdock to find someone more interesting. But for some reason, after relaying her feeling to Murdock she had a change of heart. Murdock was so earnest and desperate for her love, begging her to stay with him, that he could change and he would apprentice to someone who wasn’t his Da if she wanted him to, and so on and so forth. After that she couldn’t say no.
Later that week Murdock fell gravely ill and was bedridden for some time.
Upon his recovery, there was a wedding to plan! Murdock was the happiest fellow there could be, though he was less enthused when Giselle reminded him he said he would find a more suitable profession for an up and coming man of the world. Murdock enrolled as part of the city guard and figured he could still learn from his father in the evenings, so overall it seemed everyone was happy.
After a lovely wedding, Murdock and Giselle Mather lived happily together for almost ten years, and he was proud to father four daughters of his own. They rarely left Far Madding in this time. Indeed, leaving Far Madding seemed to be bad for Murdock’s health, as every time he left he seemed to fall ill shortly afterwards. The final time, he fell ill whilst he was still out in the field, and had to be helped home by his co-workers. He was bedridden for some time and when he made it out the other side, his love for Giselle only deepened. Her kindness in his time of need reminded him of why he married her, and she supposed he wasn’t all that bad either.
But there was something strange going on. Murdock didn’t know what it was, but there was something niggling at him from this point. A strange feeling of emptiness even Giselle couldn’t fulfil, something he could only really associate with being out of the city. The tall man had no idea this was his addiction to saidin in effect, and his previous forays out of the city were littered with instances of accidental channelling. Sparking then hiding away in Far Madding meant his manifestation never really came to light, not until talk of male channellers in the city filled the streets. How could men channel within the walls of Far Madding? Who knows, was the answer of the non-channelling masses. They didn’t interfere with the world outside, nor did the world have much interest in Far Madding, not until the rumours about men in black coats outside the city’s boundaries. They were recruiting for the Black Tower, which wasn’t specifically forbidden... but the women of the city thought to have some good old city guards keep an eye on things, as if they could do anything about mad men throwing fireballs at them. Still, it was his job, and the man set out to stand on duty and escort men to and from the city should they have need. Better to know the men were safe than to let them run loose.
Much to Murdock’s surprise, Giselle’s aged father decided he wanted to visit the Black Tower men. “I’ve spent sixty winters living in that bloody house!” he informed Murdock as he hobbled past, “I’ve had it with women! The Black Tower can’t be worse than a house of seven girls!” Murdock could sympathise to the point where he let Giselle’s father take the test to see if he could learn to channel.
He couldn’t, which Murdock was sure would be much to Giselle’s relief. However, seeing all these men staring at flames, Murdock couldn’t help but stare as well. He didn’t mean to take the test, he had zero interest in channelling, so he was just as surprised as everyone else when the flame resonated with him, not his father-in-law.
Giselle was furious, because further inspection informed Murdock that he had better come along if he didn’t want to die because of his channelling. He had the spark, they said, and his best chances of survival were with the Black Tower. How could he say no, when the risk was his daughters losing a father? Promising Giselle that he would return, Murdock made his way to the Black Tower to train as a Soldier. But Giselle, deciding that blood was thicker than water/saidin/crazy men channelling, opted to join the man she loved, bringing their daughters with them. This was encouraged by the Asha’man and it made Murdock a very happy fellow as well, as it meant he could be with the ones he loved. In fact, when they told him there was a bond he could place on his wife so they knew how the other was doing at all times, he was overjoyed.
His first few months at the Black Tower were harrowing in spite of this. The regime was tougher than he had expected, and it appeared he had a block in need of breaking. After many painful, humiliating and/or bizarre experiments to see what was preventing him from channelling at will, the Asha’man were able to determined that Murdock could only channel when he was thinking about his wife. There was much mockery but also many attempts to break this block now they had found it.
But the Black Tower was dangerous, and not just for the men. Giselle herself took up sewing and fixing up uniforms for the trainees who needed them, and was rather content to live as a wife of a Soldier, but a freak accident between some Dedicated put an end to that. Murdock wasn’t there, but he felt the sudden absence of his love from his mind.
The Black Tower had let the Mather family down. Distraught by the loss of his wife, Murdock was unable to take care of his daughters, who returned to Far Madding to be with their grandparents. Murdock intended on going with them but was still unable to channel safely, so was told under no uncertain terms that he could not leave the Black Tower. But grief was a heavy weight on his shoulders, to the point where hanging from the Traitor’s Tree might be a relief from the gap in his heart.
But he couldn’t give up, not when he had four children who needed him. He would learn to channel, and he would take care of them once more. That was the plan. Murdock, like a number of people he heard rumours of in the Black Tower, resolved to take his training to the infamous Grey Tower instead, a place where he could learn to safely harness his abilities without the painful memories he associated with the Black Tower now.
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