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Inspector Christopher Verdue
(Prime / male human / psionicist 13 / Harmonium / LG)
Many crimes are committed in Sigil every day. And even though the Harmonium is efficient and quick, some criminals are just extremely clever and cover their tracks well. Whenever investigations come to a halt, whenever the criminal is nowhere to be found, if the law has been broken and there is no criminal to apprehend, the Harmonium calls in Investigator Christopher Verdue. In a few minutes, he can tell them who it is they're looking for and what they look like. It's rumoured that Christopher was able to pin down the Anarchist cell that gave the Harmonium Omar, the Anarchist who infiltrated their ranks, became factol, then tried to dismantle the faction.
Physically, Christopher is an offsetting man. He's very thin, tall, and extremely quiet. He wears dark glasses all the time and a trench coat, which he claims is a symbol of his status on his prime world. The trench coat is tan, with a large Harmonium symbol emblazoned on the back. He also is known for his odd habit of carrying Starwheel pistols wherever he goes, and always keeps them loaded. [Voilà! notes: Starwheel pistols are small, one handed arquebuses from the world of Toril. They're rare, even on Toril, and no one has any idea who made them. Apparently, they just showed up one day. But then again, people are surprised that Primes know where anything is, much less where a pistol comes from.]
Christopher is very quiet, and doesn't speak to the other Hardheads much. He keeps to himself, and can usually be found in his office, where he's busy filling out reports for one investigation or another. When not there, he's usually roaming around Sigil, more than likely to investigate another crime, or perhaps just keeping his contacts fresh. Either way, he's always on the run if he's outside the Barracks.
Christopher's past is a complicated one. During his recruitment, they learned that he was born on some prime world called Kronn, a world where psionics is a respected art. There, he honed his clairsentient talent at a local psionic university. He grew in prestige throughout the city as an investigator of great skill. However, one day, a group of tanar'ri appeared just outside the city limits (The fiends had botched a teleport to a battlefield in the Blood War). Seeing the city, they decided that it might be a haven for baatezu, and promptly began razing it. They City Watch put up a good fight, and eventually killed all the fiends with the help of a group of adventurers that happened to be nearby. However, heavy losses were sustained, and the city was nearly levelled during the fight. Christopher was immediately assigned to interrogate one of the captured fiends (a bar-lgara.) He strapped it down, probed it, and immediately was driven insane from direct mental contact with its fiendish mind.
It took many high level spells and months of recuperation time to bring him back to his normal self. By this time, the bar-lgara had been killed in an escape attempt, and the town was rebuilding nicely. Christopher, however, still held a grudge for the fiends that had sacked the town. He only remembered a bit of what he had seen in the fiend's mind, but with that small fraction of memory, he knew of the Outer Planes. Immediately, he went to the capital and asked for audience with the king. There, he told his story and what he recalled of the memory of the fiend. The king was shocked at the ease in which the fiend could move around, and sent for the wisest men in the land to help counsel him.
A special meeting of experts on Outer Planar lore was called (even those experts barely knew even vague chant of what the planes were like, though.) They deliberated for days, then decided on a plan of action to destroy the fiends (Only Primes would think they could eradicate all evil from the multiverse!) They gathered a group of high level adventurers and Christopher Verdue, the "fiend expert", into the Plain of Infinite Portals via a plane shift spell. After their arrival, they immediately set forth smiting evil. After a particularly nasty encounter with a murder of vrocks which slew everyone except Christopher, he decided that perhaps there's a better way of going about this.
Using his powers, he found a portal to Sigil and hooked up with the Harmonium as soon as he figured out the dark of who was who in the strange city. It was the couatl Malkalotl who first introduced Verdue to the faction's ideals; the psionicist was dangerously close to starting a fight with a glabrezu in the Great Bazaar when the couatl barked a few stern words of warning in Verdue's ear. The prime psionicist was surprised to see law enforcement officers in a city as overrun with fiends as the Cage, but after their initial encounter the two became firm friends, and Christopher didn't take much persuading to join the faction. The Hardheads were thrilled to have a psychic who could spy on their enemies and gain valuable information from any object. Christopher was immediately enlisted and, after training, given the title of Inspector. More recently, he's been appointed to replace Mover Three Havrm Ghex, who was removed from the notorious Cadre case after various scandals (see SIGIS for more chant on this).
So what exactly makes him different from other seers? Well, one fact is that after he arrived in Sigil, he got some training in the Way from Thak'rok ( Prime / female thri-kreen / Psi 19 / Godsmen / N ) a Athasian who knew the clairsentient discipline. Because of this, he was able to gain powers which simply didn't exist on Kronn, like the high science of cosmic awareness, making him one of the most powerful clairsentients in all of Sigil. The chant goes that he's even found a way to probe fiends and escape the detrimental effects.
- Harmonium faction memo
In fact, that's what Christopher has been doing, on the sly. His original aim of stopping the fiends still stands, even if he does realise how futile it is on a Multiversal scale. Still, that hasn't stopped the psionicist from tumbling to the dark of Rule-of-Three's scheme to end the Blood War, and he's worked out who several of Shemeshka the Marauder's informers are (one of her spies in the Harmonium was arrested and summarily executed only recently, annoying the King of the Cross Trade no end!)
The canny psychic has also recently discovered that the thri-kreen pack's leader Zer'Tik ain't really what he seems to be at all, and has informed the Harmonium to keep a close eye on the cutter's actions. Along with Malkalotl, Verdue is keen on keeping the Harmonium baatezu-clean, and if Zer'Tik makes a false move, the pair'll do everything in their power to relieve him of his rank.
However, while he knows the plots of many fiends, he can't always act on them because in the Cage it's no crime to think thoughts (yet). But Verdue often knows when important meetings and the like occur, and tips off Hardhead patrols who just so happen to gatecrash these fiendish gatherings.
Verdue's also keeping a beady eye on the SIGIS culler Zeines Pauch; chant goes he's some sort of Anarchist factor or stirrer. Fact is, the Harmonium aren't at all keen on the free-thinking SIGIS, and'll jump at any chance to chuck a slaad wrench in the works. Verdue's itching to scan the mind of the newsrag's most infamous culler to learn how SIGIS tumbles to darks so quickly.
So if Verdue is so sodding useful to the faction, why doesn't the Harmonium go out and recruit a bunch more prime and planar clairsentients to solve all their cases, or to spy on the other factions? Well, it's mainly because decent clairsentients are hard to come by. Psionicists are rare enough, and few psionicists then choose to specialise in clairsentience. Training them is hard, too. Psionics are a strenuous Art, requiring years of strict mental discipline, and a natural spark of talent too. Despite the benefits, psionic power is something in which Christopher nor the Harmonium have the time to invest. So for now, the Harmonium will have to make do with their one clairsentient. But they're not complaining...
In Uncaged: Faces of Sigil:-- Rule-of-Three (p.86), Shemeshka the Marauder (p.96).
Copyright 1997 by Alec Fleschner and Jon Winter