A country boy with steady hands, book smarts, snake's eyes, and a heart full of fire.
Lael was the third of four children born to Sarah and Abednego Winters, who lived north of the tiny mountain town of Helen, Georgia. His physical mutations were present from birth and earned him no end of trouble, even from his own parents. From an early age, his care was mostly given over to his paternal grandmother Ruth.
He had few friends, the closest of whom was his younger sister Naomi. But even though the people of Helen looked upon his physical mutations with suspicion, they did at least all know him and claim him as one of their own. During the busy tourist seasons of summer and late fall, however, Helen proper became extremely inhospitable to the black boy with snake eyes and wriggling dreadlocks. As such, he spent a lot of time helping his grandmother with housework and crafts, or out in the woods with his little sister or a few good buddies from neighboring homesteads.
When he was fourteen years old, his grandmother died and his home life deteriorated for a variety of reasons ranging from grief to financial stress to his parents' still-unresolved misgivings about their mutant child. That very winter, he began to manifest telepathic abilities, although he had no idea what they were at first and feared for his sanity...or his soul.
Finding little support in his parents, he fled and lived for a time in Charlottesville, homeless and alone save for long-distance contact with his younger sister. It was Naomi who helped him figure out that the voices he heard in his head were actually other people's thoughts, and Naomi who persuaded him to apply to Xavier's School.
Lael's eyes have a clear, protective outer layer, similar to a snake's brille, that filters out ultraviolet light, keeps the eyes from drying out and obviates the need to blink. His hair is motile, and can be controlled, although he has not yet learned to do so, leaving it to writhe and flail on its own accord (generally influenced by his emotional state).
He is also a telepath, although his ability to read thoughts is not very strong in itself, nor is its reach very far. He only picks up surface thoughts when he focuses on people near him, and can only dig deeper with significant concentration. The primary strength of his ability is in memory alteration, but he has also not as yet learned to control this particularly well.
Lael is an excellent student and has extensive experience tutoring others (mostly his siblings) in academic matters. He's a fair hand at throwing pottery, good at whittling, and mediocre at fiddling. In addition to those, he is competent in basic housekeeping and food preservation. He is what most people would call "handy": decent at troubleshooting everything from leaky plumbing to stalling pickup trucks using fairly minimal tools. He's a decent deer hunter (with bow or rifle) and pretty good at tracking in woodland environments. Has a limited amount of backcountry survival knowledge and basic first aid. Can drive both manual and automatic transmission, but isn't used to doing it in any kind of traffic...or on paved surfaces.
And everything in between
- He doesn't blink often. This is possibly more unnerving than the actual shape of his pupils.
- Between his hair and his telepathy, he suffers from persistent and sometimes debilitating headaches.
- If you try touching his hair, it will touch you right back.
|Lael Isaiah Winters
|Snake-like eyes, snake-like hair, telepathy/memory manipulation
|By its Cover - Lael is an excellent student and an even better peer tutor. He will offer his services to struggling classmates--generally in trade for reasonable compensation (monetary or otherwise), though he will do it for free if he really enjoys someone's company.
|Droppin' Eaves - Lael has very little control over his telepathy and will often overhear surface thoughts when he is focusing on someone...for any reason, ranging from attraction to annoyance.
|What Makest Thou? - Growing up rural and poor, Lael learned to make many things at his grandmother's knee. He is fondest of pottery, but also a decent hand at whittling, and enjoys sharing both the process and the fruits of his crafts.
|Tech Gap - He is not completely tech illiterate, but computers are definitely not his strong suit and he struggles with them often. Though he is loath to ask for help, he knows when he's beat and just needs someone to walk him through printing out that report.