Hilary St. Thomas
Hilary St. Thomas
Hugh Grant
Hugh Grant as Hilary St. Thomas
Name Hilary St. Thomas
Status Alive
Age 36
Occupation Theatrical Director
Place of Origin London
Date of Birth September 9, 1976
Player Mushcrawler
Timezone EST
Notes Notes for Hilary St. Thomas

Hilary St. Thomas was an ordinary theatrical director in London before becoming Touched. His time in the Gloom now causes him to feed on the negative emotions of others, or rather, to need to absorb those emotions in order to keep his body from oozing poisonous black slime.

Background

Hilary St. Thomas was never known for even-keeled jollity, but people close to him have noticed a change in him over the past few years. Although he was born to a lower middle-class family, he was able to obtain an excellent education, mostly through scholarships, but there are still aspects of the best British schools that do not let a student forget his status as a have-not among haves.

Hilary studied acting from a young age and was amongst the stage stars of Oxford during his time at that school. He was an excellent student even despite his tendency to overindulge in alcohol and occasionally partake of fashionable drugs. In his senior year, he was cast in the lead of a high-profile West End production and the show's producer talked him into dropping out of school to make more time for performances. Unfortunately, after that show's close, the promised roles were not so easy to come by. It was only through personal connections with classmates who *did* graduate that Hilary was able to find more or less respectable posts as director or dramaturg. Over the next few years he worked like a dog both in the theatrical world, and taking classes at Oxford in order to belatedly finish his degree.

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While he is not the stage star he once dreamed of being, Hilary takes his work seriously. After an unsatisfying dress rehearsal of the production of Macbeth he hoped would cement his reputation as one of the best up-and-coming directors in London, Hilary stayed behind in the theater after the actors had gone, deciding whether or not he wanted to change the gloomy lighting, or change the orientation of some of the scenery in order to enhance the mood. While he was sunk in thought, he heard a mewling sound, like a cat might make. It sounded like it was coming from under the stage. Hilary approached the stage to investigate, opening the half-sized door that led to the space beneath the stage. The last thing he remembers clearly is being grabbed by a half dozen arms, or claws, or tentacles, and being yanked down into the Gloom.

When he finally emerged, it was a year later. Someone else had had to take over his production of Macbeth. His reputation as a dependable director was tarnished. There were rumors that he had been in rehab, and other theories besides. He had to begin building his good name all over again. And he had new obstacles to struggle with.

No longer able to land posh London jobs, Hilary went off to the hinterlands to direct repertory theaters, employing third-rate actors to put on tired old standards for people relatively distant from the metropole. This is where he began to learn about what the Gloom had done to him. He realized that the deep melancholy that settled over him like a wet cloak could be significantly improved if he could only be near enough to intense emotion. Misery, rage, anxiety…these feelings in others seemed to restore his own spirits. He also learned how dangerous it could be when he did not get his fill of these. Luckily, the theater proved an excellent hunting ground. When he could not find people who were unhappy, he learned he could make them unhappy, and thereby sustain himself.

Demanding so much intense and real emotion from his actors, and even pushing them to extremes in their personal lives, Hilary achieved impressive results with repertory companies that were generally known for being stale and artificial. He built his reputation to the extent that he could return to London and begin his life in the theater again. But of course, no matter how he succeeds, he is never free of the poison inside him.


Personality

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Hilary St. Thomas was once known as a serious student, and an outgoing charmer when he wanted to be. People disagree about when his current gloom began to overtake him. Some argue that it all began when he dropped out of school and found it to be a mistake, but some think the change was far more recent.

Still, he is not always melancholic. Some people think he's bipolar. At times, he seems positively chipper, although his constant sucking on cigarettes suggests a certain baseline anxiety. He is at his happiest when he is in total control of a situation, especially when wringing emotion out of an actor who has been falling flat. Some people think he is an artistic genius, others feel he is an insufferable bastard. There is a rumor that an actor from one of his repertory companies committed suicide, possibly having been cruelly jilted by Hilary.

It seems that there is always some point during a production during which Hilary is absolutely crushed by depression. Slouching deflated in his chair, he will not even touch people when he is in this mood, and he seems to go wandering in odd places without paying attention to where he goes, as more than once he has left footprints of black paint in a theater, driving stage managers to distraction.


Paranormal Abilities

Hilary is, literally or metaphorically, filled with a viscous, poisonous slime. He is able to sate this poisonous part of himself with exposure to the strong emotions of others, particularly negative emotions. If he can take in enough of these awful feelings, he can fight the black ooze down, and maintain a more or less normal existence, although he is plagued with anxiety and queasy feelings, and he is certainly aware of his own cruelty when he brings about these negative emotions deliberately.

However, when he does not find enough unpleasantness to feed on, things start to get bad. The black gunk starts to ooze from his feet first, right through the soles of his shoes. Then it comes from his hands, thick and slippery like oil, and poisonous to most living creatures. It usually isn't quite deadly for humans, but causes serious symptoms like fever, chills, vomiting, and delirium. It goes to work within a mere half-hour and lasts anywhere from one to five days, depending on the strength of the victim, whether they are Touched, and how long it's been since the ooze was last unleashed.

If he still doesn't find any misery, the ooze begins to seep from all sorts of places, almost asserting a living identity, making occult shapes, like wings, tentacles, horrible unformed mouths. At this point, Hilary can barely function and usually ends up in a bathtub full of poison ooze. In lieu of other victims, the ooze will then torment him for a number of days, bringing up horrifying hallucinations and all his worst memories until it is satisfied enough to withdraw and start the cycle again. In periods like this, not only is Hilary unable to work, he is unable to care for himself in the most basic ways, sunken in unfathomable depression to a point of near-insanity.

Hilary has found ways of using this condition, however, small though they may be. The poison, which is undetectable in ordinary medical tests, can stop an enemy or incapacitate a rival. The ooze is also very slippery, allowing him to 'skate' on it like an oil slick, although there's always the danger of falling. He's cultivated this talent in secret and is fairly fleet of foot while using the ooze to move quickly and lay slippery traps for others.

He also found, just once, that the cycle can be operated in the opposite direction. If he does something truly awful, brings a person to the depths of despair, he immediately manifests the full cloak of shifting ooze that normally only envelops him when he abstains too long. In this case, however, it feels amazing, and he even has a sort of limited control over the forms and actions of the ooze (for example, creating and moving tentacles). This control is really only an illusion, as it is merely the poison agreeing of its own will to do as Hilary wishes when he is at his most 'effective.' Feelings of euphoria and power accompany this state, and it is the only time Hilary can truly feel released from the corrosive effects of the poison. When the suffering stops, however, the ooze immediately turns on Hilary and tortures him worse than ever. This is why he has never dared to repeat the process.


Skills

Acting/Subterfuge: Hilary has years of top-notch training as an actor. He is excellent at summoning or simulating emotions, memorizing texts, pursuing actions to the hilt, and manipulating his body. In the real world, his skill-set would allow him to do things like: disguise his identity (within reason), convince someone that he was injured, create a distracting spectacle, or fake an emotion for his own gain.

Schmoozing: In a career with as many ups and downs as Hilary's, he's learned how to use his charm and intellect to get what he needs from powerful people. When he needs funding for a show, or a special favor, this is how he obtains it.

Research: Hilary was an excellent student and has worked as a dramaturg. He is skilled at using libraries and other resources to quickly find accurate information on history and literature, in particular.

Languages: Hilary has an excellent command of French, and can read Latin and some German (with dictionary).

Fencing: Hilary has taken some fencing lessons as part of his training as an actor. He is not a highly skilled fencer, but knows how to hold a sword properly, and carry out basic attack and defense. However, he has an actor's habit of leaving his posture too open, which a real fencing expert would never do.


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