Alistair H(amish) Ravensdale
A big game hunter who has slain man and beast alike.
“…Alistair is large, imposing man. He stands over 6 foot tall and weighs over 200 pounds all of which is composed of muscle. His dress, when I have seen it, is almost exclusively made up of tans and browns for use on safari and nearly all of which has seen good use. Despite his rugged looks and sometimes rugged demeanor I can happily report he is a proper English gentleman. He has a surprisingly warm and hearty laugh and, to my delight, a sense of humor. He doesn’t have many friends about him but the one’s that I have seen him with are treated with great camaraderie.
Beneath all of this there is an undercurrent that runs quite deep and is decidedly quite cold. Occasionally, though I would not admit to it easily, I have feared that any incorrect behaviour or misspoken comment might cause me to be caught up in those violent, inky depths.
Very rarely you might feel like one of his brief, sidelong glances has just assessed every bit of you and has calculated the most efficient way end your life. Other times a simple look around the room can give the impression that, though little time or thought was given to it, Alistair has surveyed the environment in detail and analysed it in depth. You feel all potential threats have been made known to him as well as the most expedient escape routes. But, of course, that’s probably just my imagination…"(Elijah Pemberton, from a letter to his brother Miles, September 5th, 1921)
Since the day of his birth in mid-December of 1893, Alistair was always the large sort of fellow. Not just in size, though he was that, but also in the scale of his ambition, his heart, and his intellect.
Alistair had a normal childhood in the heart of London running through the alleys, playing Hide and Seek, and on more adventurous days, which were often, climbing onto low hanging roofs and leaping between them.
He loved the stories of Rudyard Kipling and often begged his parents to read them to him over and over again. Once he himself could read he did so nonstop and, though they were popular at the time, the stories of Mowgli and Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and Toomai of the Elephants had a very special meaning to him. He knew that he would travel the world and see those incredible places. He wore out many copies of the Jungle Books and he also devoured any other knowledge of that other world called India and the creatures that inhabited it.
He glided through primary and secondary schooling excelling at whatever he put his mind to, mainly the natural sciences and contact sports. He was accepted into the University of Oxford on a scholarship and there he studied Biology and Natural History in earnest. He became known as an accomplished student in his fields and a better than average boxer and fencer.
Before he could complete his studies the Great War broke out.
During the war Alistair enlisted and soon became familiar with hunger, fear, and death. It is beyond doubt that he was forever changed by what he saw during those 5 years. Now he had to apply all his energies to learning how to stay alive and how kill other men. He quickly became skilled in combat and proficient in many weapons. He specialized in rifles and knives and he learned how to move quietly.
Eventually, the war ended and life returned to normal. Everything returned to normal, except Alistair. Everything felt flat and disconnected. He finished his degree without incident, or joy, and was given a research grant to study the wildlife in India. What should have been his dream he approached with dread. Fearing that even what he wanted most couldn’t bring any color back to his world.
He shouldn’t have worried. India was where he belonged. He thrilled in being on the hunt where one sound or wrong movement could extinguish the fragile flame of your existance. An environment where he could not only study and appreciate nature but where he could stalk and kill and be a part of nature. He thought he would do nothing but this forever…until he got the call.
Receiving the call from Professor Albert Freis made Alistair apprehensive at first. He had first met the Professor while attending a guest lecture on the sympathy between the fields of Antiquities and Natural History that the Professor had given. The lecture had been not long after the war’s end and Alistair hadn’t yet learned how to fit in back home. He was still more animal than man. He feared at the time that the Professor had seen through him and had thought of him poorly.
It turned out that what the Professor wanted was the animal he had seen in Alistair. The opportunity he offered for Alistair’s services was without equal. A chance to study a completely alien being with completely alien biology and to track others like it…