Felix Cleary

The Aether's navigator never knew his parents and spent his childhood on the streets of Belfast after escaping from an Enlightenment-run dormitory for abandoned children. He gained a spot in a posse of delinquents thanks to his pickpocketing skills and impeccable sense of direction and knowledge of the city (which earned him the nickname Atlas).

By his mid-teens Felix had run afoul of several rival gangs, and it was while fleeing an encounter with one angry pack that he crossed paths with the Aether. Felix dodged the gang by climbing a docking spire and sneaking aboard the first airship he found… which promptly launched and set off for Krakow.

While the Aether was still on route, Captain Frederick Sparling discovered Felix and had half a mind to throw the stowaway overboard as they crossed Germany, but he forbore such a rash action long enough for Felix to explain himself. The captain told Felix that he could remain aboard until they reached Krakow, and then he would have to leave.

But upon reaching their destination, the Aether's crew found the city overrun with battling troops. This was Felix's first glimpse of the Enlightenment-Automaton War, and even from a mile above it was a sobering view. Captain Sparling told Felix that some higher power clearly had his best interests in mind, and he could stay aboard the Aether as long as he wanted—provided he could make himself useful. Felix started his career in the galley, but he didn't stay there long.

For a reason that eluded everyone on board, most of all Felix, Sparling took a shine to the young man and began training him as the Aether's navigator. Felix later learned that Sparling had parted on bad terms with his daughter Genevieve only months earlier, and presumed the aging captain missed his child's company and considered Felix something of a surrogate. In any case, the stowaway proved to be a natural talent at aerial navigation and under Sparling's tutelage he learned his trade swiftly.

Felix had been a member of the Aether's crew for just over a year when Captain Sparling died. The prodigal Genevieve returned to the airship and proceeded to dismiss the crewmembers with whom she'd spent nearly her entire life, but Felix managed to convince her to keep him on as navigator. Much like Frederick Sparling had seen something of his daughter in Felix, Genevieve seemed to regard him as a link to her father. Together Sparling and Cleary hired a new crew and set about finding work.

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