Dresden Files: Philadelphia
Professor Jean-Fazel bin Didier al-Assad
The Summer Lion, a.k.a. "Professor A."
Name: Jean-Fazel bin Didier al-Assad
High Concept: The Summer Lion
Trouble: Servant of Summer
Background: My Father Once Tell Me
Rising Conflict: The Things I did for Love
The Story: Don't Mess with my Pride
Guest Starring: I Once Was a Good Role Model
Guest Starring Redux: Frequently Cited
Sup – Scholarship
Gre – Alertness, Athletics
Good – Endurance, Presence, Conviction
Fair – Might, Fists, Discipline, Intimidation
Ave – Rapport, Weapons, Stealth, Lore, Resources, Empathy
Sup – Might, Fists
Gre – Athletics, Alertness
Good – Endurance, Intimidation
Fair – Presence, Stealth, Conviction, Discipline
Ave – Scholarship, Survival, Lore, Resources
Powers & Stunts:
Echoes of the Beast – Lion (-1)
Roar: +1 To Intimidate, but makes a lot of noise
Beast Change (-1)
Supernatural Speed (-4)
Supernatural Strength (-4)
Inhuman Toughness (-2)
Inhuman Recovery (-2)
The Catch (+3) is Winter ice and cold iron, etc.
Stunt – On My Toes (-1)
Seelie Magic (-2)
Vehicles: Bicycle, Wife's Dark Green Toyota Camry
Jean-Fazel, known to most of his students as Professor al-Assad or Professor A, is a beast of a man at first glance. As a professor and lecturer in the Anthropology department at the University of Pennsylvania, he typically wears one of his many slightly wrinkled collared shirts with the sleeves rolled up and waist tucked in, a pair of decent jeans, and some nice if worn black dress shoes. Jean-Fazel is about 6'5" and is broad shouldered and lithe, although he makes a point of not wearing clothes to work that reveal his physique. As an Algerian Afro-Arab, he has deep bronze skin and curly, barely graying black hair which he keeps at a medium length along with a close-cropped beard.
Jean-Fazel is well-published, although if he didn't have his loving wife, Felicienne, to edit his work for him, it would take him much longer to produce the quality papers his colleagues in the department know him for. Students and other professors alike respect him for his insights and warm demeanor even as they occasinally joke about the quirky things he says in his overly foreign, French-tinged accent. Though he always feels uncomfortable at faculty dinners and similar events, he always acquiesces to his wife's insistance that they make a showing, and he does his best to fit it and put his best foot forward.
What few of them know are the details of his past. Born and raised in Algeria by loving parents in the late 1960s, Jean-Fazel always felt he was leading a privileged existance. He was an only child, an anomaly among his peers, and as such received much attention from his parents, who both worked hard as merchants in Algiers. His father, Ali-Didier, shared with him much of the wisdom of their ancestors through proverbs, and made sure that his son was fluent in both Arabic and French so that he would have a hope of receiving a better education. Jean-Fazel's parents both, in fact, ground the idea that education was crucial into his mind.
It was only in his teens that Jean-Fazel was told the nature of his bloodline. He, like his father, and his father's father, and so on, was the next in a long line of were-lions, one of an ancient line which traced its roots back to both the Lion of Nemea and Sphinx of Egypt. Ali-Didier showed his son how to transform, and explained that long ago he had used his powers to help out those in need during the night, but that since he had settled down he had done so much less often, if only to ensure that he would be alive to teach his son to do the same when the time was right. With the lesson of how to transform Ali-Didier impressed in his son, or tried to, anyway, that this power was meant for an ancient time, and that now education and being a respectable man was infinitely more important.
In 1985 Jean-Fazel went to the University of Paris to study Physiology, with the intent of making his parents proud. There he found that he could not escape discrimination for his appearance, and the widely publicized growing political tensions in Algeria did not help his situation. In the midst of the racial tensions and violence that occured at that time Jean-Fazel took up the practice of turning into a lion by night and "helping out" the cause of his people.
When it came time for him to attend graduate school, Jean-Fazel's parents insisted that he not visit them in Algeria in case he would have trouble going to America afterward. So it was that, after having not seen his parents for several years, Jean-Fazel struck out for the University of Pennsylvania without stopping to say goodbye in person.
Much changed for Jean-Fazel during his time in the states. As the political situation in Algeria ramped up he found himself being drawn to studying Anthropology and his own culture rather that physiology and biology, and as he prepared for his qualifying exams to transition into a PhD program he kept his new interests in mind. Then two huge things happened: he fell in love, and his parents died.
He fell in love with the aforementioned Felicienne Delatour, a French undergraduate studying literature and journalism at the time who would later become his wife. His parents were killed in one of the many massacre's that were happening in Algeria during the 90s. He found out in a letter months after the fact. To the person that told him, their death was an afterthought.
In the mix of emotions Jean-Fazel went into a tailspin and lapsed in his studies. Quickly his efforts at UPenn were becoming a mess–and he didn't have the money for any second chances. He realized that, were he to let things truly spiral out of control, his parent's death would be in vain, for he was the only lasting thing they had left to this world. With Felicienne just within his grasp, and the qualifiers quickly approaching, Jean-Fazel turned to a set of skills which he had not expected to come in handy in grad school.
It was at this point in his life that Jean-Fazel met with someone who had fallen on equally hard times: Lysander of the Summer Court of Fae. By plying his services as a more-than-capable mortal bruiser Jean-Fazel quickly got entrenched in the politics of the Fae of Philadelphia, and through them got exposed and entangled in the horrific mess that is the Philadelphia supernatural community. In a reckless high, Jean-Fazel came to rely on his abilities for almost everything: getting papers done, dealing with police that harassed him for the color of his skin, even in little things that he did for his new young wife when he was short on cash. He became an excellent fighter and respectable scholar, something he was sure his parents would have been proud of.
Then things started getting really messy. Unbeknownst to him the Summer Court had been trying for a long time to bind him to their cause, permanently. As a strong mortal he was capable of things they simply weren't and Lysander hoped that he could make Jean-Fazel into a perfect ace up his sleeve. However, the professor had come to have pretty much everything he wanted, and was ready to retire from his supernatural dealings.
Thus it was that Lysander made his last big play: by engineering the kidnapping of Felicienne by the Winter Court, he duped Jean-Fazel into bargaining his first born child with Summer to get his wife back. Jean-Fazel did not tell Lysander that Felicienne was categorically opposed to having children, anyway, and since that last deal he and Lysander still dance around the implications of their bargain. More than anything, Lysander just wants a were-lion, or something of equal stopping power, for Summer.
However, Jean-Fazel would have severed ties with the Philadelphia supernatural community were it not for his best and worst PhD candidate and advisee so far, one Ian Theodore Pendergast. To some degree, Jean-Fazel sees himself in Ian, and though he has not told his student the extent of his history he is doing his best to be a role model and keep him from making the same sort of mistakes he did as a grad student. Unfortunately, this has forced him to confront many of the bargains, debts, and enemies he made in his past, all while occasionally doing things like he did in the old days. Although a part of him enjoys the rush, he cannot get over the fear he feels in returning, after almost half a decade, to the mess he made.
And worse, Felicienne has recently mentioned that she may want a child after all…