name. Nicolas St James age. 35 birthday. Feb 13th, 1884
sexuality.Gay Tired marital status. Single
height. 6'2" hair. Dark brown eyes. Also dark brown
species. Shifter tier. Second focus. Cervidae
mother. Marie-Amélie St. James (deceased) father. Gideon Ramsey half-sibling.Jean Ramsey
time with Zion. 6 years occupation. Animal Handler description. Not quite personable enough to actually run the show, Nicolas works mainly in the back-lots, taking care of many of the larger animals, but will also help in a more general way anywhere in the carnival if asked
At a glance
- Develops what he's taken to excusing as arthritis in his hands around the full moon
- Doesn't shift at Zion (the number of people who know what kind of shifter he is exactly would be very low)
- Sleeps in one of the communal tents
- Easy-going if he knows you, wary and intense if he doesn't
- Will, and has, challenged unsuspecting nonhumans to a foot-race for money, especially if he's drunk. It's not his usual game, but hey, gotta have some fun somewhere
Though not entirely open about it while he's been at Zion, Nicolas has a fondness for and skill with the cervidae family. He only has strong control over two forms - his Olympic Elk (his favorite) and Mule Deer, but, if pressed, he can also manage a Caribou with relative ease.
Due to his particular affinity, Nicolas has a heightened sense of smell and hearing. While his eyesight is not necessarily...lacking, his peripherals are, in human form, making him far easier to startle and stress. Nicolas can also run - far faster and farther than a human and many shifters, with an odd grace and dexterity he normally can't manage when walking or just existing in a space. The few days around the full moon also bring out a handful of...quirks. He tends to get migraines, centered around his temples, especially if he's denying the moon's pull (or, rarely, because of stress), as well as losing a good bit of dexterity in his hands - or, at least, dexterity without pain. Those few days around the full moon, one is far more likely to find him in shirts with no buttons, with his hair loose, and avoiding any and all tasks that might draw attention to what's going on. It's probably best not to ask him to do anything delicate for awhile.
Though a shifter's natural affinity for other animals may have gotten him started in the job, Nicolas has had to work hard on his instincts in order to work with predators, which, oddly enough, he tends to prefer. He knows they can sense that he's larger than he should be, in some sense, but he's had to work at a confident body language that doesn't stray into aggressive - as an elk, he may be massive, and be able to cause serious damage to something foolhardy enough to take a swipe at him, but he is still, technically, prey. And he's fully aware of that - with animals, and with humans.
While managing to just avoid a kind description of 'rough and tumble', Nicolas doesn't really seem to care much about his appearance beyond general upkeep. He'll keep his facial hair trimmed just because it's easier than dealing with it once it gets long enough to curl, but not as much maintenance as being clean-shaven. His hair swings between shoulder length and just long enough to curl - when it's on the longer end, it's more often than not scraped into a tail. His clothes are dingy, but clean, and generally practical, and he wouldn't know if something was fashionable if it smacked him upside the head. That said - if he's on the scruffier end, it's probably around the full moon, and he doesn't tend to take kindly to it being pointed out.
A quiet man in general, Nicolas has a...slightly unnerving habit of being able to generally fade in and out of people's space without much notice, despite his size. He doesn't mean to do so, but he's also not really complaining about the ability to escape stressful situations without much attention. That said, when surrounded by people he knows (not necessarily friends, though that helps), he is more likely to stick around a situation, and does tend to open up a bit more. More easy-going than jovial, Nicolas could be described as having good humor - easy smiles and bright eyes for almost everything. An outright laugh from him can be difficult to get though, and generally only those he'd consider friends have heard it.
He's been told how he interacts with strangers is...off-putting. He's asked for explanation, when someone tries to point it out to him, but hasn't gotten one that really works for him. Either way - meeting someone new tends to leave him quiet and...wary. Or intensely focused. They look the same on him - lots of staring, and high probability of staying quiet. If someone doesn't remind him, he tends to forget that shaking hands is the norm, as well as sticking around to actually talk to the new acquaintance. That said, if he's with someone he does know, he is far more likely to be able to deal with new people.
Stereotypical as it may be, he enjoys the company of animals more than humans. The ones he works with know him well, and he knows them - it's easier to just be. That said, he does well with people that don't expect him to contribute much to the conversation. He enjoys being around people he knows - even people he doesn't actually like - he just doesn't like being expected to be the center of attention is all.
Despite the general wariness and quiet, Nicolas puts off an air of confidence - he's comfortable in his skin, and it shows.
Nicolas was born in 1884, in New York City, to one Marie-Amélie St. James, daughter of an entrepreneur who had made his name in the logging industry after bringing his family over from France, and member of one of the largest shifter herds on the East Coast. He knows his father's name - Gideon Ramsey - knows he was a shifter (though not what kind), and even has a picture of him, as well as one or two letters. But he never actually met the man.
While their own family didn't care much that the family heiress was pregnant out of wedlock, it was a scandal for the class of humans they were trying to fit into - and so, Marie-Amélie and Nicolas were sent to New Tacoma, out in Washington, to stay with her uncle while he helped establish the logging industry out that way. Their family herd (generally speaking, bison, goats, deer and other similar shifters) wasn't as large out that way, but Nicolas still grew up primarily surrounded by other shifters, with only enough contact with humans as Tacoma grew to pass easily enough.
Nicolas tried almost every animal in the region that the family could find for him - and many whispers were told around parlours about the little St James boy with no fear of the surrounding forests, and of a mother too irresponsible to curb her wild child. Not that they'd say it to the family's faces of course, but they all knew. And they all breathed a sigh of relief when he started settling down around age 13. As insular as the family was, it was still easier to deal with humans who weren't too curious about them. The less attention, the better.
Unfortunately, despite the family as a whole keeping a relatively low profile, Marie-Amélie and two of her cousins were shot by hunters when Nicolas was seventeen. His family couldn't properly mourn the loss without drawing attention to themselves, and Nicolas learned very quickly that protesting his family's lack of reaction would just get him silenced. He left Tacoma the next month, and hasn't looked back since.
From Tacoma, Nicolas went south into California, doing odd-jobs here and there, and slowly but surely building a skill-set that had been denied to him growing up, given his family's status and wealth. He eventually ran into a handful of shifters that were helping develop California's first zoo in Eureka. He may not have had much in the way of specialized training, but the shifters that took him in were happy to teach him what he couldn't figure out on instinct, and he was perfectly happy to work the more menial side of things.
That said, being surrounded by only a handful of shifters, and a large amount of humans on a day-to-day basis was draining. Already wary of actively shifting anywhere near humans, after five years, he was ready to jump ship - and did so with only the barest of goodbyes. The shifters that took him in deserved that much. On a whim, he made his way to San Francisco - not intending to stay for too long, but more as a place to figure out where to go next. He's pretty sure it was a coincidence that Zion Mystique had set up camp there the same time he arrived - but, he certainly wasn't going to question it. He was enchanted from the first moment he saw the place, and, though it was a bit difficult for him to figure out how to actually ask for a job, he managed to convince the owner to give him a shot with the animals, and that's all he's been doing since.
As much as he loves Zion, and the people he works with, Nicolas is still wary of shifting anywhere humans abound. Which, given that that's their main clientele...when he shifts, it's when he can wander away from the Carnival for a day, rather than anywhere on the grounds. He's not ashamed of being a shifter, but he also doesn't try to draw attention to it. Old habits die hard and all that.
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