Ryan was the only child in what seemed, from the outside, to be the perfect family. From an inside view, they were anything but. His parents didn’t communicate well, preferring, it seemed, the company of corpses to each other and even him. And if living in a funeral home wasn’t enough of a social disadvantage, Ryan was also highly intelligent and precocious. He was much more advanced than most kids his age and as a result, Ryan’s best friends tended to be the corpses his parents housed while they awaited burial. As Ryan grew older, his fascination with death grew proportionately. He didn’t relate well to other kids and the stigma of living in the funeral home made him that much more of an outcast. Not that it mattered much as Ryan was always a bit of a loner. Other kids tended to view him with a certain amount of fear and distrust. He was a dark mystery to them and they tended to avoid him, sensing that he was different. When most kids were talking about the cartoon characters they liked, Ryan, who rarely watched TV, would talk about the new corpse that came in or the family drama that had erupted at a viewing. As a result, Ryan spent the majority of his time hanging out with dead people and reading everything he could get his hands on. Innately curious by nature, it wasn’t long before his focus turned toward death and it’s mysteries. An avid interest in the occult soon followed.
Ryan really blossomed and came into his own in high school when other teens were beginning to rebel and struggling to establish some kind of identity. Ryan rebelled in his own ways, rejecting his mother’s attempts to choose his clothes and hair style. While he tended toward the application of black eyeliner and dark clothing, he was much more subtle about it than most. When others, trying to look sinister, ended up looking more like dark clowns, Ryan actually achieved the affect quite well, which, when coupled with his mostly quiet and withdrawn demeanor made him that much more unsettling. When other kids started turning to the “dark side”, developing interests in the occult, death and all things dark and ominous, they found themselves being drawn to him, seeing him as some sort of dark hero for always being what they were currently aspiring to be. While they assumed he’d just always been true to who he was, very few realized that he hadn’t really had much of a choice. But other boys weren’t the only ones who suddenly noticed and appreciated Ryan’s “uniqueness”. Ryan also found himself besieged by girls who’d never given him a second glance before; girls who were also rebelling or who found themselves swept up in the romanticism of vampires or drawn to the occult. Or, as Ryan often put it, girls who were in love with death. But while his “friends” tended to view him as some sort of dark smaller god, Ryan rarely took them seriously. He saw them from a distance, easily discerning their intent and motivations. He rarely confided in any of them. Sometimes he was amused by their attempts to emulate him, spewing out Nietzsche quotes they barely understood, rushing out to buy the entire discography of whatever band Ryan was into at the time, or hanging out in the bathroom chatting to each other about the latest Goth styles as they applied an overabundance of eyeliner while not realizing how completely feminine they were behaving or beginning to appear. Other times, though, they grated on his nerves and drove him to seek the solitude of the funeral parlor basement and his books while he ignored the phone in an attempt to get away from them.
After high school, Ryan obtained an Associates degree in Pre-Mortuary Science at the local community college. He then transferred to the Pittsburgh Institute Of Mortuary Science, leaving home and staying in Pittsburgh until he graduated. Upon graduation, he returned to town and worked with his parents. He found attitudes hadn’t changed much in his absence and that people hadn’t either, though instead of the throng of followers he had in high school, only a few committed individuals returned to his social circle which was fine with him. Working at the funeral home didn’t give him much free time. Eventually, his mother passed away from cancer and his father became senile. Currently, his father resides in a retirement home about a half an hour away from town. Ryan visits when he can, usually once every couple of weeks, but his father’s dementia has been progressing rapidly and most of the time, he barely recognizes his son or even knows where he is.
Ryan thinks of himself as an armchair occultist. He knows everything about everything and will discuss it at length, but he has very little practical knowledge having only dabbled a bit in actual practice in high school. His favorite subjects are all things related to death, specifically death cults and the burial practices of different cultures, and philosophy; his favorites being Nietzsche and Nihilism. He’s especially interested in psychology, Carl Jung and Jung’s theories on dream analysis in particular. He’s also a firm believer in portents and omens, tending to be a bit more superstitious than he lets on. He reads tarot cards, but it isn’t something he discusses. He reads voraciously, but rarely fiction. When he does read fiction, he tends toward epic novels, such as The Lord of the Rings, anything by Clive Barker, and even more difficult to understand literature such as Poe, Byron and Lovecraft. His favorite novel is the Fall of the House of Usher.
Musically, he tends toward bands that can be classified as “Emo”. He listens to bands with “intelligent lyrics” and unusual musical stylings, such as Panic! At the Disco which is his favorite. He rarely watches TV or movies, but spends a lot of time on the internet reading and researching. His favorite color is purple which streaks his bangs. His hair, while appearing black, is actually a very dark brown and he wears it in a medium length shag style parted on the side with long bangs that cover one eye. His eyes are an unusual shade of blue-green. He’s tall and lean but muscular. His face is thin with pronounced cheek bones, a narrow straight nose, a narrow chin and almond shaped eyes. His brows slope upward curving very slightly. Another one of Ryan’s secrets is the stint he did alongside Evander Shaugnessey as a male model in high school. Ryan has four tattoos. On his shoulder blade is a spider web. On his right shoulder, a tribal tattoo that doesn’t seem to have any real sense beyond it’s symmetry and on his left shoulder, an Ace of Spades symbolizing death and metamorphosis. The fourth and largest tattoo is a Celtic Raven knot-work on his chest.
Ryan was born in December and winter is his favorite season. He is hyper critical, extremely opinionated, not afraid to share his opinions and tends toward elitism. He’s also keenly aware of his superior intelligence and while it’s a trait he’s proud of, he’s not inclined to use it as a weapon unless necessary. He knows he’s above average but he doesn’t regard average as a disadvantage. In fact, sometimes he wishes *he* could be average. And while he sometimes comes across as arrogant, Ryan is actually anything but. He’s aware of his merits, equally aware of his flaws and simply accepts both as fact, not dwelling too much on either. His speech is sometimes as complex as his thoughts and he writes dark, complex poetry heavily endowed with symbolism. He’s very much into symbolism and symbolic analyses which is why dreams are a favorite subject. While his poetry writing was common knowledge in high school, most people aren’t aware that he continues the practice in his adult years. He’s very good at keeping secrets and tends to be discerning abut the information he gives out regarding himself. He is, in fact, his least favorite subject and therefore, rarely does anything for attention’s sake. In fact, Ryan tends to keep a rather low profile despite the difficulties presented by his unique appearance. Ryan could easily be called one of the most attractive people in Solitude, something he seems blissfully ignorant of.