Tolyya's Dance Picture

NAME: Anatoli “Tolyya” Valentinovich Ballarinov (Pet names include Tol, Tolster, and Anato.)

GENDER: Male

BIRTH DATE/APPROXIMATE AGE: Born September 21, 1942. Now aged 71-years-old. Tolyya was frozen into immortality at age twenty-nine, so this is the age he appears to be.

SPECIES: Living Vampire.

Barring the standard superhuman speed, strength, and senses that are commonplace, vampires in Tolyya’s world are pretty diverse. Some vampires are born, others are turned, and still others are cursed (turned by a powerful being that is not a vampire, such as a god or sorcerer, by way of a spell or potion). Garlic allergies vary widely, ranging from no reaction at all to an instant death-like state or worse. While most vampires cannot regrow their fangs and must guard them carefully, some can regrow any lost teeth or limbs. Most vampires are capable of flight through a Halfling Bat transformation, or by way of levitation. During the day, some vampires sleep in dark enclosed spaces, some hang upside down—very few prefer normal human beds. Increased mathematical abilities can be seen in roughly half of the worldwide vampire population. Only bored, depressed, or stressed out vampires suffer from arithmomania (an obsessive compulsion to count things). All vampires are capable of producing a cat- or snake-like hissing sound when they feel threatened or are on the offensive. When this happens, they “vamp out” so to speak. Their eyes turn an inhuman color, like a bloodthirsty red or an eerie pale blue, and their fangs extend and are fully bared. Even when they are not vamping out, all vampires have night vision and as a result, their eyes glow in the dark like those of nocturnal animals, such as cats.

Vampires have a stronger ability than any other supernaturals to detect when another vampire is nearby. Some elder vampires discover how to read minds, use hypnosis on people, and/or control certain animals such as bats, among the many less common tricks. Some vampire subspecies have venom or saliva with numbing and/or healing effects on skin. Fangs are universal, but claws are not. Only living vampires can reproduce both sexually and through turning. Undead vampires are only capable of turning mortals (and may learn through centuries of experience how to turn other immortals into vampires as well). Most vampire subspecies can feed on the blood of any mammal, but generally prefer humans. Frequency of feeding can be anywhere between a few times a day to less than once a month. In the more powerful vampire races, some females are like black widows in that they kill males after mating and aggressively defend their young. Silver is only harmful to vampires who also have lycanthropic heritage. Pure vampires do not suffer from silver allergy. No vampire who has drained the life of an innocent can walk on holy ground or touch religious objects unharmed. 97% of the vampire population has killed in pursuit of sustenance, so the vast majority is not immune to religious items. Tolyya falls into the 3%, but he does not discover this until decades after his turning.

RACE: Unknown.

ALIGNMENT: Lawful Good or Neutral Good. Tolyya has a tendency to obey human laws, but I wouldn’t qualify him as the “boy scout” type.

PERSONALITY:

Tolyya is a gentle, caring, and highly intuitive person. He is artistic and creative and lives in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities. He tends to be a neat freak and puts a lot of energy into organizing and reorganizing his living space. This extends to his inner-self because as a Catholic, he spends a good amount of time in self-reflection. He gets along with most men and women, but especially women. What allows him to get along with women so well is his uncanny insight into human body language. He seems to know how people are feeling just by observing them. However, he is a terrible liar.

Tolyya is generally sensitive to conflict and cannot tolerate tense situations very well. Being forced into a hostile encounter can drive him out of his normal peaceful state into a state of severe agitation. Some symptoms of severe distress for Tolyya are when he starts hissing up a storm, or bites himself and sucks his own blood. This only happens during acute panic attacks, however. He has an unhealthy tendency to internalize past conflicts, and can experience health problems when he’s under a lot of stress. Tolyya is a perfectionist who always strives to live up to his full potential. He’s rarely at complete peace with himself. He doesn’t believe in compromising his ideals for anything.

Tolyya is a huge people person and loves being the center of attention in a crowd, or even just a small group of friends. He’s quite a talented actor, and as such, his face is very expressive. Not only does he know how to act, but he sings, dances, and plays piano as well. He’s great at providing comic relief in tense situations. However, Tolyya is prone to mischief and plays pranks in pursuit of entertainment, often getting himself into trouble. From time to time, he has been known to moon people and/or flip them off if they’ve aggravated him. He also loves to play poker and do magic tricks.

While Tolyya has a serious side, it’s not seen very often. He’s an artist by nature and doesn’t like to fight, nor does he have any combat training under his belt. He is only inclined to fight when someone he cares about is in danger. If not, his first instinct is to flee a dangerous situation. Tolyya was raised in a religious family, so he tends to be on the side of good. As a Catholic, he sometimes chastises himself when he makes a fall from grace. Tolyya does not have a very high tolerance for pain and he’s not afraid to plead for his life, if necessary. Tolyya is often at odds with his base vampire instincts, as well as his ordinary human vices. He can be too trusting at times, and often struggles to meet his own lofty standards.

Tolyya has a long list of likes and dislikes. He’s very fond of women, romance, playing and composing music on the piano, pranks, comedy, poker, magic tricks, ice skating, choreography, reading, learning new things, writing ballets (and now musicals too), dogs, and cats. His dislikes include fighting, rodents, bugs, heights, being allergic to sunlight, transgressions, pain, scary vampires, and mean people. He is annoyed by children early on, but later learns to tolerate and even love them. Tolyya is a very ambitious person by nature and has many lofty goals and aspirations in life.

Most of Tolyya’s ambitions fall into the artistic category of his career. His primary aspirations are to leave his mark on the world, to contribute to the advancement of the arts, to inspire others, to write a popular ballet or musical (and maybe a novel or two), to move into film acting (later on), to make lots of friends and help people, to have as many new experiences as possible, to become a better person (both religiously and otherwise), to improve his relationships, and to fall in love and have a heart-throbbing romance. Lastly, as a Catholic, he hopes to be admitted to Heaven one day so he can live in eternal happiness with his human loved ones.

While Tolyya is usually patient and even-tempered, he is also pretty sensitive to outright insults. He can form very harsh opinions about people who insult him or those he loves. He’s very protective of his loved ones. Even though he’ll normally avoid fighting at all costs, if someone he cares about is threatened, he will attack without hesitation. He tends to avoid other vampires like the plague because he thinks they’re mean and scary. Tolyya has very limited knowledge of supernaturals (including vampires) as he tends to associate more with the human population than anyone else. He’s very attracted to strong women, but also prone to jealousy.

APPEARANCE:

Tolyya is Russian in origin, with some Italian heritage. Mainly due to his Russian blood, he has a broad shallow nose with a smooth bridge, small ears, high cheekbones, and a gently squared jaw. His eyes are blue, oval-shaped, and somewhat wide-set on his face. On account of his vampirism, his eyes have a tendency to glow in the dark, like those of a cat. When he “vamps out,” his eyes turn a haunting pale blue. His hair is black and naturally curly. He’s 6’0” tall, 160 pounds, and is of average male build. Tolyya is physically fit, with a darkish skin tone that became slightly pallid after his turning due to lack of sun exposure. He has no significant scars, tattoos, piercings, or other markings on his body.

Tolyya has been seen with a variety of stylish short haircuts, though he mainly keeps his hair in a mass of rich curls. Naturally his hair is jet black, and he’s never dyed it. To keep his hair under control and suppress its natural frizziness, Tolyya has to use many hair products on a regular basis. He has two unusually long fangs in his upper jaw, about an inch from the gums when extended, and uses black putty on the tips of the retracted fangs to conceal his vampirism in public. His sense of style is flexible; he wears different clothes for different occasions. Casual street clothes for Tolyya include trendy blue jeans, polo shirts, dress shirts, jackets for chilly weather, high quality sneakers, and a variety of other garments.

When he’s going out on the town in the late evening, Tolyya likes to look snazzy in swank blazers, dress pants, suit jackets, ties, nice loafers, and hats. He’s mainly attracted to fedoras, porkpies, and homburg style hats that match the rest of his ensembles. Other accessories for these occasions include a silver analogue wristwatch, expensive leather belts, and suede sport coats. Since he discovered that he has the ability to walk on holy ground (and therefore touch religious objects without being burned), he has also sported a small cross necklace on a fine silver chain. Color-wise, he has a particular affinity for navy blues, royal reds, white, and sometimes black and/or very, very dark grays.

Due to Tolyya’s intolerance for direct sunlight, he wears motorcycle jackets, helmets, and other (sometimes leather) garb to get to work in the morning. Of course, this outfit is usually coupled with him riding a motorcycle. At other times, depending upon the location, he might be able to get to and from his destination entirely using the underground subway system, in which such protection is not needed. For dance practice, he wears jazz or yoga pants, comfortable tees, dance shoes, and sometimes an athletic headband to keep his hair out of his face.

STRENGTHS:

Tolyya’s biggest passion and greatest talent has always been dancing. Ballet was his original career as an ordinary human man in Russia. More recently he has also discovered a love for other dance styles, such as jazz, tap, hip-hop, breakdance, modern dance, swing, and Latin. After the development of his interest in the Broadway scene, singing and acting were also added to his list of passions. He has loved playing piano and composing music since he was little. You might say he is an all-around performance artist. Tolyya has a few other side talents that are not directly related to his career as a Broadway performer. He is a pretty decent chef. He likes to cook for his friends and girlfriend sometimes, and enjoys learning new recipes. He’s pretty good at card games like poker and enjoys doing card and other types of magic tricks. He also has quite a passion for reading and learning new things. He’s proficient in Russian, English, and French. He also knows a little Italian and Spanish. Though unusual for vampires, Tolyya has the ability to walk on holy ground and hold religious objects.

As a vampire, Tolyya gained a few new abilities aside from the obvious immortality. He has increased strength, speed, healing, and senses. He can regrow lost teeth and body parts. His saliva has numbing and healing qualities to allow him to feed easily. His mathematical skills also improved dramatically when he was turned (as a human he was terrible at math). He is a living vampire with the ability to reproduce through either turning or sexual coitus. He has the capacity to fly by morphing wings, but he is afraid of heights and cannot bear the pain involved in the transformation. He can also theoretically levitate, but never learned how to control the ability. He also has his fangs as well as superhuman strength and speed, which is primarily what he would use to escape a dangerous situation. Lastly, he can walk on walls and ceilings.

WEAKNESSES:

Emotionally, Tolyya is pretty sensitive and has a low tolerance for physical pain. He has a severe phobia of heights and is afraid of rodents, bugs (mainly spiders), and hypodermic needles to a lesser degree as well. He has no combat skills to speak of, nor is he interested in fighting or learning to use weapons. While on stage he’s as graceful as a dove, but being in a scary or life threatening situation can make him very clumsy indeed. He doesn’t usually think well under this kind of pressure. He’s also a terrible liar, which doesn’t help his case much when he gets into mischief. A few other vices of his, as mentioned earlier, include proneness to jealousy and being entirely too trusting (it was his trusting nature that got him vampirized in the first place).

While he is stronger and faster than most humans, among vampires and other supernaturals Tolyya is not very powerful at all. He is unable to eat human food without getting severely ill. The only things he can ingest are blood and pure water. He’s mildly allergic to garlic (it makes his nose run and makes him sneeze and cough) and has no mirror reflection. When sad, bored, or depressed, Tolyya suffers from severe obsessive arithmomania. Sunlight on his bare skin burns immediately and can be lethal within minutes if exposure continues. He can also be killed by decapitation or fire, whereas a stake in the heart only paralyzes him until it’s removed. If exposed to the lethal things mentioned above, his body would die but not turn into dust.

HISTORY:

Short summary:


Tolyya was born just before World War II in Soviet Russia. His father went off to fight in the war on the side of the Russians, whereas his mother stayed at home to raise him. As a preteen, he was accepted into a government-funded ballet school for gifted youths in Moscow. He grew up to become one of the most renowned male ballet dancers in Russia. However, at the age of twenty-nine, he had a tragic incident involving a crazed ballet buff brutally attacking him. His fiancée at the time begged a vampire friend of hers to turn him so he would not die. The vampire injected him enough venom to force the change before he stopped breathing, and as a result he became a living rather than an undead vampire. When he woke up after the attack, he was furious at the two of them and ran off to live alone in the forest in the country of Georgia. His sire, a Russian doctor by the name of Oleg Smirnov, never stopped looking for him. Many decades later vampire huntress Karissa found him and at first tried to kill him, but ultimately decided to spare him and bring him to New York City. In New York, Tolyya made the transition from ballet to Broadway. He became a famous dancer once again.

Unabridged biography:

Tolyya was born September 21, 1942 in a Moscow hospital. He had a relatively happy beginning as a much-cherished only child outside the Russian capital city. His paternal grandmother Clara Ballarinova, a retired prima ballerina from Italy, began to teach Tolyya ballet at a very early age. She affectionately called him "Anato"—a play off of Anatoli and the Italian name Amato, meaning "beloved." His Russian mother Maria "Manya" Ballarinova (maiden name Stravinsky) always told him that he was dancing before he was walking. Manya taught him to ice skate starting when he was six years old. Tolyya learned piano from his father’s father Lev Ballarinov—an impresario in music, opera, and theater. Tolyya’s semi-Stalinist father Ivan Ballarinov never favored the arts and criticized his son’s desire to dance ballet. Tolyya’s mother, paternal grandparents, and (occasionally) father lived in a country dacha in a village near Moscow with numerous relatives nearby. His father traveled back and forth to the city for work and was often absent in Tolyya’s life, even after returning from the war.

For someone living under Communist Russia, Tolyya’s young adulthood was a dream come true. His fame as an unmatched talent in the art of ballet grew from the time he was seventeen through his early, middle, and late twenties, eventually spreading worldwide. He lived as wildly as Soviet Russia would allow and partied hard. He was a big fan of vodka, party games, and poker. When he was twenty-seven, he fell in love with one of the women he worked closely with, prima ballerina Helina Pavlova, and the two later became betrothed. Tolyya’s father was against the engagement from the start because Helina was a staunch Russian atheist and the Ballarinov family was secretly Catholic (forced to hide their true religion in the strict Soviet Union). Some time after the planned marriage was publicly announced things took a downward turn. A mentally unstable ballet fanatic sent Tolyya hundreds of letters over the course of a year begging him to call off the wedding, none of which were ever answered. Tolyya was far too busy writing a ballet based on the song and short story “Rocket Man” to bother with fan mail. It would be his first masterpiece, and he poured his heart and soul into the work. One fateful day, the volatile woman pretended to be a friendly admirer to get a private audience with Tolyya. Amiable as usual and unaware that she was the creepy letter-sender, he invited her to his Moscow flat for tea. Once they arrived, her friendly demeanor turned grudging and she finally outright demanded that he break up with Helina. Tolyya then realized who she really was and asked her to leave at once. Instead of complying, she attacked him with the heavy iron teapot he kept in his kitchen. She bludgeoned him near to death and left him there alone to die. Then, she went to the roof and killed herself by jumping off of the building.

Tolyya’s fiancée arrived home five minutes later with their mutual friend Oleg Smirnov (whom only she secretly knew to be a vampire). As soon as Helina unlocked and opened the door to the flat, they discovered a blood bath inside. Tolyya was dying on the kitchen floor in the most horrendous pain he’d ever felt in his life. Oleg, a doctor, tried everything he could think of to save Tolyya, but there was nothing that could be done medically. Finally, Helina worked up the nerve to beseech Oleg to turn Tolyya into a vampire, which she knew would save her lover’s life. Oleg was 100% against it at first. He knew that being a vampire was no picnic. He’d been turned himself unwillingly a century before. However, Helina’s pleas were so heartrending that eventually he could not help but give in. He injected Tolyya with enough venom to turn him completely before he took his final breath, thus resurrecting him as a living vampire. When Tolyya woke up and realized that the two people he had trusted the most had turned him into what he believed to be an abomination before God, he went into a rage and tried to kill them both. Oleg was older and stronger than his progeny, and so Tolyya was unable to carry out the crime of passion. Instead, he ran off. Fleeing entirely from his vampiric sire, he hoped to never see either of their faces ever again.

As a devout Catholic, being turned into an unholy drinker of blood was the worst thing Tolyya thought could ever happen to him. He believed his soul was now trapped in his immortal body, never to enter Heaven—to live like a forlorn ghost on Earth for eternity, unable to age and die a natural death. Suicide is a mortal sin in Catholicism, so it was not an option for Tolyya. At least a ghostlike existence was not as bad as an eternity in the Lake of Fire. Tolyya spent many lonely years thereafter believing that God had forsaken him and that there was no hope of redemption. His depression was made worst by his newfound allergy to sunlight. He loved the light of day; sunbathing and tanning were among his top recreational hobbies. No more. Furthermore, because Tolyya ran away from his sire, he never learned much about vampires. Most of what he knows about his own kind comes from the (often inaccurate) human mythologies that he was told as a child. For instance, he does not discover until decades after his turning that living vampires can reproduce sexually and that some vampires (3%) are immune to holy objects—nor does he realize that he falls into both of these categories. He goes on for many years thinking that he is sterile and unable to walk on holy ground (the latter being far more devastating to him than the former because he never really wanted children to begin with).

Immediately after he fled from his sire and fiancée, Tolyya went straight home to his parents’ dacha. His father (although largely absent in his childhood) and grandfather had been his primary spiritual guides throughout his life. When he got home to the family’s country house, only Ivan was present. Tolyya revealed his vampirism to his father, hoping for comfort and spiritual solace after the horrible tragedy. What he received instead was rejection, damnation, a shotgun blast to the face, and a live burial. When he woke up in a coffin buried underground, he was devastated. He dug his way out and ran away to live in solitude in the far away Georgian mountains. The place he fled to was originally a summer retreat that he’d built for Helina after their wedding, but the marriage never came to pass and so no one but Tolyya ever knew about the country home in Georgia. It was the perfect place for self-exile from the rest of society. Tolyya believed he was too dangerous as a vampire to be around innocent mortals, so he kept in reclusion away from them for many years. The years of isolation were torture for Tolyya given his high need for social interaction.

After this tragic series of events, Ivan never told his wife, Tolyya’s beloved mother Manya, about what had occurred. She was led to believe that her only child disappeared without a trace, as were the rest of Russia and the world at large. Oleg had since been scouring all of Russia and the surrounding countries in search of Tolyya because, as a sire, it was his responsibility to look after his vampire progeny. Not a day went by that Oleg did not regret his mistake of allowing the fledgling to flee and never be heard from again. As of yet, Oleg still has not found Tolyya. It turns out that for well over thirty years, Tolyya lived alone in the Georgian wilderness. He survived on the blood of wild animals, primarily red deer, only needing to feed once a week. Through the decades, he became so lonely, depressed, and consumed by his arithmomania and other unhealthy habits that the house got to the point of being rundown and decrepit. Two years before he was discovered, a young Russian blue cat stumbled upon his house in the Georgian forest. They hit it off immediately, becoming best friends, and he named her Anushka. His new pet pulled him somewhat out of his depression, though she could not fix all of Tolyya’s problems.

Over the more recent decade, the human population nearby had been increasing and a small village popped up less than twenty miles from Tolyya’s remote hideout. Tolyya had occasional unintended encounters with some of the people from this village, which was full of superstitious country bumpkins. The supernaturals nearby heard rumors from the townspeople of a vampire haunting the mountains and sent a young Penthesilian (Penthesilians are a race of vampire huntresses descended from the ancient Amazons) to investigate the complaints. Karissa intended to kill the vampire, but soon discovered that he was of a gentle nature. She could not bring herself to complete the mission, but her strict ethical code could not permit her to let him go either. She spent several nights in the village agonizing over what to do about the situation.

Out of options, she eventually resolved to bring Tolyya home to New York City with her as a willing prisoner. Naturally, he wanted to bring his cat Anushka along for the ride. Karissa acted as a crucial support by helping Tolyya improve his English, getting him a fake ID so he could travel to the United States, supplying him with blood to drink, keeping an eye on him so he would not let his baser instincts take control, teaching him about American culture, and finally setting him up with a talent agent to kick his career back into restart mode. Meeting new people and forming relationships with them pulled Tolyya out of his depression completely. Back at his best, he was able to land a leading role on Broadway. To quiet any suspicions about his uncanny resemblance to his formerly world-famous human self, Tolyya and Karissa came up with fake documents to lead the media to believe that he was a relative of the old Tolyya and not the same person. After getting to know each other well, Karissa and Tolyya eventually fell in love—albeit it was a forbidden love for Karissa that she had to conceal from her vampire-hunting relatives.
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