Play by: Aldis Hodge
Dark-skinned and curly haired, Askuwheteau has a beard and a moustache. A very tall, broad-shouldered and well-built man, strong, muscular and silent, he gives a rather intimidating impression at first sight. He appreciates having an imposing physique and often uses it to his advantage.
Like anyone who has spent years as a slave, he has the proof carved onto his body, as he has been branded with the initials of his former owner on the shoulder and he has been whipped numerous times. For his unusual size, he's lithe and quiet in his movements. As a future warrior, he was raised with the knowledge that it is best to stay silent and unseen until after the first attack. His smile, however, and the warm dark eyes give away the fact that there is another side of him as well.
He wears nondescript articles of clothing. If he can get away with it, he would prefer to wear only trousers, with no shirt nor shoes. But there is someone who will, most likely, teach him some fashion...
Askuwheteau has a kind disposition, athletic ability, a strong, inquisitive mind complementing the looks. He is strong both in spirit and in will, a quick learner, perseverent and he always achieves what he sets his mind to, Thurenza had taught him to read and to write, and he speaks now several languages.
His most important qualities are adaptability and ambition. As a slave, standing out resulted in pain and punishment. Instead of the openly confident personality, he adopted a silent, subservient role befitting a slave, and never quenched the fire in his heart, waiting for the moment he could be free again. Then his Tutsi warrior spirit bloomed again. He is a redutable enemy, but a good friend.
He is protective but he also knows when to let someone make their own mistakes. He will still be there to pick up the pieces regardless. He can be ferocious when he needs to defend his freedom or the people he cares for, but at the heart he is a gentle giant, and it all shows with a genuine smile or laugh. He is loyal to those who had proved to be his friends in need, and especially to Thurenza, whom he had understood beyond all the appearances everybody had contented to see. He misses her and he wants to see her again, writing her with every opportunity, but he doesn't know how many letters had actually arrived to her.
To catch roots in Venice, by Thurenza's side, to help her get rid of her evil uncle and to further learn about taming metals.
Askuwheteau was born in 1764, in the Tutsi tribe in Congo, a people with taller men than all the other neighbouring nations, as the second son of a numerous family. Both boys had been taught to hunt, to fish and to fight. However, when they were ten, a war of uneven forces occurred, as white men came with weapons the tribe had never seen before, releasing fire and thunder and killing many of his relatives. The ones remaining alive were taken slaves.
They were loaded into ships in a place named Kabinda, and they had endured a time of Hell, suffocated in the hold, in chains, one over the other, all feverish, seasick and ill from the infected wounds and the rotten food they were given. Many of them died on the way, including his parents and his younger siblings.
He and his brother survived to arrive in an unknown port where they had been cleaned and, still in chains, sold on the slave market. Thankfully Askuwheteau and his brother were sold off to the same plantation owner, in Georgia. It was the beginning of the year of 1775. Soon the master married a beautiful young lady, Thurenza Ballamare, who came from over the waters, and she became the only hope of the slaves, trying her best to alleviate their suffering.
Askuwheteau and his brother were working diligently. His brother was working in the fields, while he had been assigned as the blacksmith's apprentice. But their work ethics was never enough for the master and his overseer. In 1777 he had been beaten brutally by the master for a minor error, when he was too tired for having tended to his brother, very sick with consumption. The lady of the house was the one who nursed him back to health. Unfortunately, she couldn’t do much for his brother, whose illness was in a too advanced stage and who died soon.
Witnessing her kindness, Askuwheteau started having feelings for her. She was the one who gave him the nickname Aatami, which seemed easier to pronounce.
The next year, the master of the house died in mysterious conditions, and his wife, Thurenza, had disappeared, not before claiming the inheritance and drawing up legal manumission papers for all the slaves of the plantation, who left about the same time.
All, slaves and mistress together, had disappeared in the spring of 1778 because none of them wanted to be found again. They asked for shelter with the Shawnee Indians and they had been well received. They had learned their language and their customs, being adopted in the tribe. There were five happy years when Askuwheteau felt free and he felt loved. He belonged to the tribe and he was with the one he loved more than anything – the only person who had showed him kindness since being brought to America.
In 1783 the Treaty of Paris was signed and all prisoners had to be released. Any white people living with the Natives were considered said prisoners, so Thurenza had been rescued and taken away, back to Europe. Askuwheteau had witnessed all these helplessly, while a part of the former slaves had fleed, scared not to be enslaved again. He had sworn to find her again, and he had been looking for a way to do it ever since.
For eight years he had remained with the Shawnee nation. The Shawnees appreciated his blacksmith skills. He had reassured himself that the other former slaves of the plantations were also safe in other Shawnee villages, farther away from the white slavers. During all this time, he had kept some infrequent correspondence with Thurenza, as letters from Europe could arrive with difficulty and great delays, and so could the replies leave. They had established a code only theirs, to prevent being understood in the case the letters might fall into enemy hands. He knows she is in Venice now, and he had succeeded to embark on a ship towards Europe, to seek for her. He knows she kept having problems with her uncle, and that she needs him.
It is a new world in Venice, with a new language and new customs, he has to adapt to, but with Thurenza by his side, he'd enjoy this challenge.