Anzu Romano Drakolaris Jones
My horns? Just think of them as something to hang on to.
Anzu Romano Drakolaris Jones: Private Investigator
“ARD Jones Private Investigation” is how it appears on his business cards. ARD because it was cheaper to print than Anzu Romano Drakolaris, however, the lack of periods between initials was not intentional. Now, Detective Jones has in his possession 1000 cards with this embarrassing type-o. The embarrassment derives from exchanges with potential clients going along these lines:
“ You are,” squints and reads card, “Ard Jones?”
“No, no, that’s A-R-D Jones. My initials.”
“Oh. You should get that fixed. It’s confusing.”
Not very professional, but having a new set of cards printed is not in his very meager budget. Regardless Detective Anzu Jones, as his closest to him know him as, is not easy to forget. After all, having pair of horns, demon’s tail, an infernal glow to your eyes and tall, dark and handsome to boot, sets you apart from other people. Anzu Romano Drakolaris Jones is a tiefling, a being possessing a distant demonic heritage who, according to his doting grandmother says, “Runs in the family.”
His story begins with a star crossed love a city watchmen, Anzu’s father, had for a lady of the night called Lilly. Watchman Heinrich Jones was dutiful, reliable, courteous, courageous and not too hard on the eyes. Lilly grew up on the streets and was not given to notions of romance or higher moral grounds. She knew how to survive and had the grace and beauty not unlike an exotic reptile that spits venom. Of course, Heinrich being the white knight he was, tried to rescue her from her life of squalor. After what could be called a courtship in only the broadest of terms and a pregnancy, they were promptly wed. Nine months later, little Anzu was born; tail, horn nubs, infernal eyes and all. Shortly after, Lilly disappeared leaving the demonic child with his father and grandmother never to be heard from again.
Maddie Jones had traveled around the world in her younger years. She had been a sell sword, body guard and even quested with some mages for a time. She recognized at once what her new, precious little grandson was… something interesting in her drab little world of city life. Her son, Heinrich was not so pleased. And what of it? He’d never left the city walls in his life despite her goading. So, after Lilly ran off and Heinrich recoiled at the prospect of being saddled with a monstrosity of a child, Maddie set him straight.
“You do realize,” she began, “your great-great uncle Anzu Romano Drakolaris was a tiefling? And he was an archmagi! Demon blood runs in our family, how lucky we are to witness it in our little “Anzu” here!” Maddie ignored the brooding Heinrich and cradled the child, giving him a bottle to nurse. She continued, “I won’t hear another word of turning your sweet, little child out! Look at these little horns. Oh I wonder what they’ll look like. We’ll call you little Anzu! Just like your uncle!”
Heinrich sat quietly, nursing a bottle of a different kind.
Anzu grew up in a modest home in a modest neighborhood in the middle of the city with his father and grandmother. He was very popular and led a small group of his peers in adventures and games in the streets. His little gang of children explored every nook and cranny of the city and if they got in trouble, well, Anzu’s father was a senior watchman. As long as the trouble wasn’t too deep, they would get off with a warning and avoid real punishment. Anzu had two real passions, both of which continuously landed him in trouble: he loved puzzles, mysteries and very, very loud music. The first of which often got him accused of butting into other’s business, or trespassing, breaking and entering, defamation, blackmail and being a busy body. Anzu was good at finding things out because people talked to him… about anything. He was a listener, someone easy to talk to with his open, friendly face and genuine smile. He was almost always able to talk his way out of an altercation. He put all this to good use whenever he needed to find information.
And then there is the music. Anzu had always loved music and had taught himself to play several instruments at an early age. His favorite for the longest time was the lute and he had dreams to play for the orchestra when he was good enough. That all changed one night when his friend, Anola Boltwright, invited him to see a gnomish gear string band with her. It was in an underground gnome bar, small, dark and smoky, all kinds of smoky. The band was 4 gnomes with all kinds of drums, metallic stringed instruments and odd mechanisms around the stage. When they played, the sound came from the mechanisms that communicated with the instruments via thick cables. Electrical bolts flowed over the instruments and the music sounded like a monstrous chorus and booming war drums. Fast and heavy and more than anything LOUD. Anzu couldn’t believe it, it reached inside him and made his blood boil and heart beat faster. He wanted to scream in his untouched, infernal tongue a dirge only his demon ancestors could have known. Before he knew it, the song was over and all he wanted was more. He felt different and indeed he appeared so. His canines were more pronounced, his features sharper, his fingernails resembled blackened claws, hair disheveled and eyes glowed brighter and by the gods was he ever horny! It was all he could do not to try to seduce the nearest female into a dark, semi-private corner of the pub.
Anola found him and upon seeing his visage gave him a worried look and asked, “Anzu, are you… okay? The music wasn’t too loud for you was it. We can go outside if you need a break.”
Anzu closed his eyes, gnome or not she was still comely and her fragrance assaulted him. He answered, “No, the music is fine. It’s great! But, um, I do need to step out for some air.”
Anola looked puzzled. “What did you say? You’re talking gibberish!” and she took him by the hand and led him towards the door. He allowed her to guide him, slowly absorbing what she had said when it dawned on him that he was speaking infernal.
Once outside, ARD Jones leaned against a wall and took long, deep gulps of the cool night air. The calm, familiarity of it all brought him back to his senses. The little gnome had stood nearby, watching him gather himself.
“Are ya’ better? You looked really haggard in there.”
He took inventory of his faculties for a moment before responding, in the common tongue this time.
“Yeah, yeah. Thanks, Anola. What kind of music is that? It’s incredible! Who invented it?” he asked. Anola explained that it was pioneered by the gnomish bard Biff Thunderstruck a couple of decades ago. Unfortunately, Biff was killed in a freak archlute tuning accident and development of the sound was perfected by two siblings Anima and Animus Felscrew. They used galvanism to distort and amplify the sound produced from stringed instruments. The distortion allowed them to produce a variety of tones, modes and effects creating a completely new sound. Over the years, it became more driving, faster, deeper and heavier. It is commonly referred to in gnomish circles as Gearstrings but dwarves have it too and call it Thunderstone. Dwarves tend to favor heavier percussion and bass. Orcs like it but can’t play it. Elves generally find it too aggressive and loud. Mixed bag with humans. Anola shrugged at the last statement. Anzu leaned over close to her and smiled, “Who can teach me to play it?”
Within 6 months, Anzu had gathered a diverse group of musicians he knew and put together a band. He changed his look to enhance his demonic appearance and took “Drakolaris” as his stage name. It sounded the coolest. He had constructed himself a steel archlute (again, because it looked the coolest) and piecemealed together the galvanized mechanisms to produce the sound. Along with his mandolinist, Madelyn Heart a human female who seemed immune to his charms no matter how hard he tried, a gnome bassist simply known as Rocket and a half orc drummer calling himself Dave they formed the band Dirgestorm. Of which the incubus Drakolaris was the front man of, growling lyrics in infernal for any who would listen. The music kept him off the streets but money out of his wallet. Galvanized equipment was expensive and required constant maintenance so he took the easiest job he could get that had decent pay. He became a city watchman.
Anzu went through the weeks of basic watchman training which taught him the laws, citizen rights, how to challenge someone and use a bludgeon and short sword. He walked a beat alongside senior watchmen and assisted in arrest for the most part afterwards. Ultimately though, he ended up at a desk, which is where he wanted to be anyway. He handled records and bookwork but it was cataloging evidence that he treasured. After all, it was part of a puzzle to solve a mystery. In down time he would examine evidence, statements and deduce who the perpetrator was. He would introduce the subject casually into conversations with watchmen investigating the cases offering them subtle clues to their case. Many times, this lead to the capture of the perpetrator. So, it went until he connected the dots on a string of unsolved murders. The murders were connected and to prove it he conducted an independent investigation. He interviewed witnesses, broke into records, illegally searched homes and after months discovered the city had a serial killer in its midst. When he presented his evidence to the lead investigator, he was suspended and put under house arrest. The evidence gathered did lead to the capture and subsequent confession of the killer but Anzu Jones’ days as a watchman were over. Despite protest from other officers he was sacked by nonother than his own father. Anzu knew his father did it personally to save face, so he wasn’t angry at him. Anzu broke the rules, broke them good and hard. He was lucky not to have been jailed or worse, fined.
Anzu dabbled in other work to support his gearstring habit which ate up more money than it made. But, people kept coming to Anzu to solve problems.
“Anzu, I’m sure my wife is cheating on me. Can you get evidence? I’ll pay you!”
“Yo, detective Jones! Someone broke into my shop and the watch ain’t doin’ there job. I’ll make It worth your while to help me out.”
“This little prick named Orin knocked up my daughter and disappeared. Can you find him for me? I can pay expenses for you.”
As Anzu got results, more people came and paid (3 silver a day plus expenses) for him to solve their problems. He did have a couple of rules: Nothing physical, just information. Payment up front after estimate. He reserved the prerogative to drop any case at any time. No IOUs.
ARD Jones: Private Detective works out of a small basement office under his grandmother’s house. From there he is a meticulous investigator, working hard to solve the case for his clients.
Drakolaris is the Incubus front man for the gearstring band DIRGESTORM. Dark, mysterious and deathly sexy he plays a galvanized archlute and sings in infernal the heavy driving music he wants the world to hear.