Tall, dark of hair and fair of skin, with a faddish little goatee and lips that seem perpetually pursed. Red and blue coat with long tails and flaring at the hips into almost a bell shape, but open at the front; matching trousers as soon as he saves enough money. Instead of carrying a pack like any decent adventurer, Sterling wheels his belongings around on a miniscule cart that he pulls with one hand: the hand he doesn’t use for stabbing people with his dagger or blasting them with magic. He used to own a fine hat, but it is now extremely tattered, and its feather no longer bobs and twitches with quite the same level of panache it did when he bought it cheaply off the back of a wagon several years ago.
He smells a bit like the little candles he always lights beside his bed at night. If it’s raining, he has a tiny metal house he uses to protect the candle.
Sterling is self-important and tends to look at things somewhat obliquely, which is to say, somewhat differently than everyone else, which is to say, incorrectly. Reinforcing this outlook is the fact that people tend to let his queer remarks slide right past in conversation, either as a matter of politeness or simple dismissal of the ravings of a madman; not the sort of madman one locks up, but the sort one looks on with a fascinated revulsion because he hasn’t really hurt anyone… at least, no one who didn’t deserve it.
Coloring his past are two items Sterling doesn’t usually talk about, preferring to leave them for enthusiastic historians to discover later (or maybe he assumes everyone already knows about them): some namby pamby prophesy thing about dragons (he lost interest after that word) and membership in a group of arcane practitioners called Cinnabar Shadows (they’re not really as secret as they think they are). This latter item comes into play most often: Cinnabar Shadows sends Sterling off on “missions” that are little more than courier errands, and further away from home each time. Whether they’re hoping he won’t come back if they send him often enough and far enough, or whether it’s just his luck of the draw remains to be seen.
Speaking of home, that’s a place called Passage—you might’ve heard of it—where a whole bunch of engineers and working-class mages keep the lightning rail cars in working order. Sterling, not content to be one of the faceless masses of enchanter rabble, took to wearing flashy garments and calling himself Sterling Vermillion because, as his tutor said to him one fine afternoon, “Eustace Bostrom isn’t the name of an accomplished sorcerer.”