Name : Gray Starks
Epithet : The Conqueror (Formerly "Black Fist")
Age : 49
Height : 10'2" / 310 cm
Weight : 1043 lbs / 473 kg
Species : Human Cyborg
Faction : Pirate
World Position : Super Veteran (Former Yonkou)
Crew : Black Fist Pirates (Destroyed)
Ship : Sangria's Vane (Destroyed)
Crew Position : Captain (Former)
Devil Fruit : Pressure-Pressure Fruit
Haki Level : 9
Hitpoints (HP) : 700
Attack (ATK) : 750
Defense (DEF) : 600
Reflex (RX) : 655
Willpower (WP) : 600
Level : 100
Experience Points : 10000
Bounty : 5,000,000,000
Income Multiplier : +10%
Shop Discount : -20%
Berries : 25,000,000,000
Posts : 2093
on Sun Jul 03, 2016 7:04 pm
Basic Character Information
First Name: Gray
Last Name: Starks
Epithet: The Conqueror (Formerly “Black Fist”)
Faction: Pirate (Former Yonkou)
Affiliation: Black Fist Pirates (Former)
Position: Captain (Former)
Retired Captain: Gray used to be the captain of one of the strongest pirate crews to have sailed the New World. He was beloved by his crewmates in good times and bad. Him having tamed that wild bunch would suggest he might have been a decent captain.
Navigator: Gray has travelled across each one of the seven seas on his own at one point or another. As such, one can assume Gray is also a somewhat skilled navigator.
Height: 10'2" (310 cm)
Weight: 1043 lbs. (473 kg)
Hair Style: Gray’s hair is of average length, the ends of which reach below the neck. He keeps his hair slicked back behind his ears sometimes, and at other times, his hair simply hangs loosely as if he were homeless (which he pretty much is).
Hair Color: Orange-brown
Eye Color: Golden brown
Scars: Gray has two other noticeable injuries aside from his replaced arm. The first is a charred patch of skin, a souvenir from Admiral Barnes. The second is a set of claw marks extending from the center of his chest towards his left hip - a remnant from his battle against the Behemoth. The second set of scars are partly obscured by a metal plate which is surgically bound over the damaged parts above his left hip.
Clothing and Accessories:
Gray is almost always wearing a black cloak with an uneven beige fur scarf draped over his shoulders. He is rarely seen wearing a shirt, the only pieces of garments covering his chest being two treated brown leather straps crossed against each other.
Gray mostly wears baggy navy pants which extend down just below his knees, with a thick and wide leather belt holding them up. His footwear switches between boots and open sandals depending on the weather, though he has been known to prefer the latter much more.
Gray towers above the average person, reaching over ten feet in height. He has broad shoulders and a clearly-defined muscle tone. One might mistake him for a bear upon first glance, especially with the fur draped over his shoulders and his obsidian cloak.
Gray's visage is weathered and tired. Faint crow's feet show through on odd days, but, he is still more than a decade away from attaining senior status. A trimmed beard outlines his jaws, and his long orange-brown hair is slicked back behind his ears, though rarely for any significant length of time.
Gray is a cyborg as he is burdened to forever lug around a robotic arm. This machine is a gift from The White Saint - the creation of a mechanical genius among his crew.
Gray’s mouth seems to idle in a constant half-smile. Many claim he has kind eyes, though those who have seen him angry tend to rethink that opinion.
Main Traits: Laid back, Carefree, Forgiving, Open-minded, Festive
Likes: The Open Sea, Sympathy, Adventure-seekers, Rowdy Banquets
Dislikes: Grudge-bearers, Cruelty, Uptight people, Deathmongers
Hometown: Jotunn (Uncharted Winter Island, New World)
Gray is the living embodiment of carefree-ness and laid back behaviour. He is rarely seen to be afflicted by personal grievances and tends to get along with everyone due to his inherently accepting nature.
He's not one to hold grudges and prefers to let things go without aggravating a conflict. This often causes irritation for those who care for him, since his lack of self-respect can sometimes offend his comrades just the same. This forgiving attitude even sometimes applies in the case of his friends or loved ones. He does not escalate conflict when those he holds dear are offended unless the offence threatens mortal danger. With his full might, he avenges his loved ones who are harmed beyond recovery.
Gray frowns upon unwarranted violence. On occasion, he finds himself defending victims subjected to cruelty despite his policy of non-interference; though his defence is usually enacted from the shadows. A pressure barrier here, a burst of haoshoku there, Gray is not above using his gifts to suppress those he does not like. Gray is sympathetic to people oppressed by figures of authority since he had known many of this sort in his life. However, his lack of grace in expressing his sympathy often causes the targets of this sympathy to feel patronized.
Gray is an adventurous soul and relishes the salty breeze of the ocean. He loves to sail (or walk) across the seas, seek new places and has a driving curiosity towards people. But, his thrill-seeking often lands himself and those around him into unwanted trouble, risking not only his life but also his comrades'. He bets his life on his beliefs and encourages his comrades to do the same. Those with a greater need for self-preservation find Gray to be too reckless, making it undesirable for them to follow him.
Gray does not see the world as black and white, but he does try his best to follow certain ideals. He does not take any solace in ending the lives of his opponents and goes out of his way to spare his foes, sometimes even when that action is guaranteed to cause him trouble in the future. Though, since the end of the Black Fist Pirates, Gray has become increasingly cynical. He is far more cautious now and doesn't take as many risks as he used to.
While Gray is the type to hold himself to his promises, he is not above breaking them if that promise devolves into something which would cause great inconvenience or harm to bystanders. His threats are often bluffs, but their practised delivery erases any doubts one might have about their sincerity.
Gray's cheerfulness prospers in festive environments. His boisterous and friendly nature quickly wins him attention. He becomes the life of the party and finds himself surrounded by an audience or fellow participants in his drinking and story-telling shenanigans. However, in recent years, he has favoured anonymity and is more inclined to remain invisible and savours the merrymaking from isolated corners.
Patience is a virtue, as they say; and Gray's tendency to not jump recklessly into serious matters affords him a greater depth of understanding regarding such situations.
- ”This isn’t that kind of a story.”
They say cold lands breed hardy folk. One would need only glance at a man or woman from Jotunn to become a fervent believer of this saying. The waters around Jotunn were Helheim summoned to the world of the living. The surface of the ocean was shielded by a thick sheet of ice nearly all months of the year. A foreigner might have trekked for days along the frozen flats before seeing land—though the sight at the end of that journey would still be a freezing disappointment.
Not many survived on Jotunn. Only a small but tenacious community earned this island its civilized status. The many white mountains on Jotunn were home to some of the fiercest wildlife in the New World. These villagers fed themselves by hunting those fierce animals. And within these villagers, there was one man known to be the strongest without dispute—Slate. He was the long-standing chief of the only village of Jotunn, and the proud father of seven children - at least until six of those children died horrible deaths from one beast or another. His one and only daughter was the sole survivor between all of his offspring.
Sangria was a strong girl who inherited her father’s strength and her mother’s resolve. Nearly all men from the village attempted to court her, but none could match her spirit or strength. One morning, Sangria awoke in an uncharacteristic sickly state. She was with child. None knew how this had occurred, and Sangria pleaded her virginity despite the villagers challenging her virtue vehemently. It was a tradition in Jotunn to copulate only once a couple had slain a beast together with the villagers as their witnesses. Sangria might have been banished from the village if she were not the daughter of the chief. Instead, Slate convinced the protesters of the miracle which had occurred. And so, the boy Sangria brought into the world was a child of destiny—or so Slate had everyone believing.
Gray was a happy child from the moment he opened his eyes and a healthy one at that. This cold land had indeed bred a hardy boy. Ever since he could walk, he could run; ever since he could jump, he could leap; ever since he could talk, he could roar. Gray was so promising a child, even Slate was beginning to believe the lie he had told. A lie Sangria was forced to embrace, for the truth was far too corrupt.
Corrupt origins or not, Gray grew into a child already stronger than most mature hunters in the village. Sangria spared no effort in matching Gray’s training in combat with lessons in kindness and humility. It was a hard battle for the sweet mother, for the boy’s overwhelming power had made him an arrogant brat. His ego had become too big for even Slate, who had been goading him on until his hubris became intractable.
Gray had been witness to many an argument between his mother and grandfather. That one night was different though. The last night… It was almost as if the boy had a premonition before it happened. He heard his dear mother’s voice pleading and threatening. “We can’t keep it a secret anymore. I have to tell him!” He knew not what secret it was she was fighting against. It didn’t matter. Whatever the secret may have been, the consequences she suffered for wanting to reveal it were not justifiable to young Gray by any means.
He walked into a bloody room that stormy night, his grandfather’s arm pierced straight through his mother’s chest. If only storms had spared them for that one night, her screams might have alerted others. You see, on nights like this, the winds blew ominously as if they were carrying a thousand women’s screams. No one batted an eye when they heard faint howling, for surely it was the wind playing tricks, as was wont of Jotunn winds.
As if left in the wintry mountains, Gray froze upon sighting his mother’s slaying at the hands of his grandfather. One might have thought Slate would murder the boy for witnessing it. The old bastard had other plans. He roused all the villagers, one by one, with Gray weeping over Sangria. When he detected the enraged auras of his neighbours, he came to a sobering realization - he was being framed for his own mother’s murder. The boy’s conceit over his strength had aided the grandfather in convincing the villagers of his guilt. With tears streaming down his cheeks and snot leaking down to his lips, Gray tore himself from Sangria’s lifeless body and fled.
For seven nights and six days, they chased him. He ran across the tundra and through the mountains without food or water until all pursuers had been tired out by the rugged terrain—all but one. Slate could not look like he had given up on avenging his daughter, but more importantly, he could not give Gray the chance to return and plead the truth.
In his search for shelter, the youth found a lonesome tree growing on the edge of a snow-laden cliff. Its leafless branches seemed akin to a corpse’s decayed hand trying to dig its way out of the cold ground. A single white fruit hung from the tip of the farthest-reaching branch. Gray was no stranger to climbing, and starvation was a terrible motivator. Without a second thought, Gray reached for the fruit and consumed it like a feral scavenger tearing into a fresh carcass. If he were not starving, he might’ve paused to react to its god awful taste, but he chewed and swallowed—one bite after another. Only when he was finished eating did he sense the presence of a predator close by—no, a monster. Slate was here.
The old blackguard spoke no words to justify his actions or to mitigate the circumstances. He simply approached the young boy with confident steps. Despite his immaturity, Gray understood what was unsaid. They battled on the solemn ridge with their lives at stake. As prodigious as Gray was, he could not match the elder’s experience. His only hope was to avenge Sangria, damn his own future; and so, the first chance he had, he dove towards the cliff’s edge with Slate in his path.
It felt as if they fell for hours. The ridge overlooked the white sheet of an ocean surrounding Jotunn. The old man—in his final moments—spoke some words. None of them reached Gray’s ears, for the fall had deafened him to everything else. A long drop and a bloody stop were all the ill-fated boy could foresee. His foresight was half-correct. He heard a loud splat without a scream or a gasp. He looked down at the broken and grisly mess made by the impact of Sangria’s killer. The thick ice underneath had cracked but not shattered. It took him a moment to realise his own body was meant to be a smaller mess next to Slate’s. And yet he stood, up in the air, rescued by what had felt like an invisible cushion. Upon regaining lucidity, he immediately fell the rest of the way, landing safely.
He sat beside Slate’s gored corpse through the night, his thoughts blank, his spirit relieved and yet crushed. The old life had come to an end. He could only turn to the pale white flats ahead - seek out the true ocean he had heard tales of.
- The King of the Pirates:
- ”Blood makes family not.”
Gray awoke in a small room on a fluffy feather bed. This room swayed strangely around him, and he experienced a feeling mostly foreign to him—warmth. He could also hear a constant rhyme of splurging and battering.
A crew of pirates had found Gray unconscious where the ice ended and the true ocean began. With the crew taking him in, he had found where he belonged.
His rescuer was named Hoar D. Marsh. The moustached man and his adventurous wife, Ana D. Mire, sailed the seas together, leading a rowdy bunch known to the world as the Soaring Pirates.
With the Soaring Pirates, Gray came to know the world intimately. They journeyed far and wide, exploring uncharted islands, fighting lethal battles, mingling with exotic cultures. Marsh and Mire had become surrogate parents to Gray, for they had no children of their own.
Mire was much like Sangria. Under her tutelage, Gray picked up many things he might have remained ignorant to on Jotunn, kindness and literacy chief among them. Between many of his lessons, he heard tales of the grandest treasure the world had ever known - One Piece. It was Mire’s dream to find One Piece, and that ambition had infected her husband just the same. Gray’s youthful desire for treasures was no different than any other young boy’s either, and so the dream had been inherited by the next generation.
After years of sailing through hopeless odds, the Soaring Pirates found Laugh Tale, the island home to the greatest treasure, One Piece. Hoar D. Marsh had come to be known by the world as “Hoard Marsh” for reasons Gray could not comprehend at the time. His notoriety had earned him the title of “King of the Pirates”, and he had become the most wanted man in the world.
Before they could acquire this treasure the Soaring Pirates were challenged to a battle by a massive Navy fleet. The pirates won the battle but were still forced to abandon the route to Laugh Tale to recover. Taking advantage of this retreat, the Navy besieged their original route.
Despite the protests of the entire crew, Marsh surrendered himself to the Navy in exchange for an agreement that the Navy would abandon the route to Laugh Tale and allow his crew to escape. The Navy kept its promise, but the world was never told of Marsh’s willing surrender, instead being led to believe the King of the Pirates was defeated in battle and captured.
A public execution was held for Marsh. The sombre event was broadcast all around the world. The Soaring Pirates yearned to rescue their captain, but their promise to him to not do so stayed their rage. An era of piracy and adventure postponed for centuries was awakened by Marsh’s final words.
"They take my life for they fear what I could have done after finding it. Change the world! Find that treasure! Find One Piece!"
And so he did. Gray set sail for One Piece under his own Jolly Roger after the disbandment of the Soaring Pirates—with Mire disappeared with the wind. His crew was called the Black Fist Pirates on account of his own moniker, “Black Fist”. With their ship, Sangria’s Vane, they found Laugh Tale once again. But the secret of One Piece was not what he had expected. No one outside of the crew ever found out about their discovery of One Piece. And so none had to know why they didn’t bring it with them upon their return.
And so, One Piece remained untouched. Gray took the surname "Starks" and established himself as the strongest Yonkou - one of the four emperors of the New World.
- The Conqueror’s War:
- ”'Hero' is a title of perspective.”
20 years since the Pirate King's dying words, the seas had simmered. Many pirates who had once sailed in the hopes of finding One Piece were now submitting to despair and hopelessness.
To drive a nail into this coffin, the Navy found and imprisoned Ana D. Mire and put her on death row. Hearing this news, Gray set himself on a warpath. His buried fury from Sangria’s murder came boiling out from the mere thought of his second mother’s life being threatened. The Black Fist Pirates conquered and wrecked one Marine base after another in their search for Mire. This campaign of destruction was dubbed "The Conqueror's War" and won Gray a new epithet—“The Conqueror”.
The search continued for a year until the Navy devised a plan to put an end to his persistent raids by calling him out to a decisive battle. They scheduled the execution of Mire at Marineford on the very platform where Marsh was executed.
An apocalyptic battle ensued which was broadcast to the world in hopes of deterring piracy in the future. The Black Fist Pirates inflicted great losses upon the elite of the Navy, but the Marines gained the upper hand against their greatly outnumbered foes. Mire’s tears from the moment those executioner’s blades pierced her heart still haunt Gray’s dreams. His indignation wrought upon the Marines a debilitating loss. With a single attack, Gray destroyed the Pillar of Justice, the monumental headquarters of the Navy.
The admirals, led by Fleet Admiral Hannibal Strauss, attacked Gray in unison, wounding him almost fatally. Before he fell into the sea from their final strike, he spoke bold words to the world just like Marsh had.
"One Piece is real! When the King of the Pirates fought the world, they told you he lost. They lied! He beat them all... but surrendered to defend the legacy of One Piece. They called him Hoard Marsh. They lied! My captain's name was Hoar D. Marsh. A new era is coming... a dawn where old values of freedom will prevail as they once did long ago — a Revival Dawn. The Will of D. will never die! It will lead its next successors to define the future at the end of the world... At Laugh Tale!"
The final words of The Conqueror woke up the curiosity of adventurers old and young. The Great Pirate Era was once again revived, now more profoundly than ever.
- The Pilgrim’s Journey:
- ”Bitter ends, salty epilogues.”
Contrary to what the entire world believed, that battle may have been the end of the Black Fist Pirates, but it was not the end of Black Fist himself. Gray had somehow survived, his gored half-corpse rescued before it drowned in the sea. Ryūjin Jakka, The White Saint, also a Yonkou, had covertly sent some of his crewmates to the rear of the battle. They managed to rescue Gray from a watery grave. Gray had lost his left arm by the end of the battle, which the mechanic of the White Saint replaced with a robotic arm.
Gray had lost all will to live after having led his family to a fate which he failed to meet. But, the White Saint convinced him to instead use his spared life to make amends.
For four years, Gray wandered to meet the families or friends of the four hundred and eighty-two Black Fist Pirates who died in the battle at Marineford. To each one of those, he shared their loved ones’ stories and begged their forgiveness with whatever humility he could muster.
He continues to wander the seven seas to this day, looking for the ones who would inherit the Will of the D and seeks to inspire them to search for One Piece.
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