Although it is rare to actually notice Lieutenant Vairs (a fact he finds incredibly annoying, yet very handy in a pinch), the very first thing that will most likely cross your mind when you see him is the word intimidating.... Followed shortly by the phrase "exhausted and probably hung-over." No matter the heat, Vairs is always dressed in a slightly torn but very presentable dark greatcoat, which has a truly tremendous ability to hold various trinkets and reagents for his spells and incantations (ironically, despite his height and large number of objects, he always looks rather gaunt, as though he was born a dwarf, but some god said, "No, that doesn’t look quite right," stretched him out a few more feet without compensating for his slenderness, and declared, "Now that’s better." He’s very sensitive about it). His face, while still fairly handsome, in a slightly bony way, is crisscrossed by more than a few scars, which he’ll never give the real story for (Corporal Nobby speculates that it was caused when someone punted a swamp dragon at him, but that’s hardly possible, as he’s still alive).
When you look somewhat closer, you notice a few more things about him. First, while he does carry a longsword, as per City Watch regulations, he also carries a gunner’s bandolier with a pair of rather long and dangerous-looking revolvers on them: he is the proud owner of Ankh-Morpork’s only legal firearms. Second, he always wears a pairs of the finest practical boots available. Originally designed for king Lorenzo the Kind (before the people revolted and beheaded him), Vairs found the boots inside a royal tomb on his first case, and has never lost them. Although some say they were enchanted to never fall apart, Vairs, who is paid a small salary, is simply happy that he’s got the right foot size, and is a little too lazy to have them checked.
Finally, if one looks extremely closely, which will usually end with said person lying on the ground with a broken nose, one will notice the faint start of horns just underneath his close-cut hair…
No-one really knows where Vairs really comes from, and given his crabby moods, no-one really wants to check. However, that’s what narrators are for, anyways.
Vairs grew up in territory owned by the nation of Ankh-Morpork, living in a small village and being raised as the adopted son of a nearby Omnian preacher and his wife. Although some find his name odd, he counts himself lucky: his foster brother, as it turned out, received the name Explain-Your-Faith-to-the-Nonbelievers-With-Sing-Alongs. He lived in the village until the age of fifteen. That’s when his horns first appeared.
Within a few days, the entire village shunned him, and were yelling at him to leave their town. When pressed for answers, his father sat him down and had a talk with him.
"Son, you know how we found you, right?"
"Yes, you found me in a basket outside the church." "Um, yes, well, at the time when we opened the door… Your mother was still there."
"Ah, yes, she was somewhat, well, DRUNK, as it were. She came up to us and said, ‘Hey, you! Wouldja… wouljda take care’a this thing fer me? I don’... I don’... I’m not sure what to do. My folks… W-we aren’t good at takin’ care ‘a kiddies. ‘s in our blood.’"
"So, uh, what was she?"
"....She was a demon, Hailland."
"Beg your pardon? I mean, she was drunk, but she’s still my moth-"
"NO, Hailland, she was a demon. A real, live, right-in-your face demon. "
"Well, as luck would have it, you’re only part demon. As a result, you’ve had a normal childhood. However, now that they know, it’s only a matter of time before they form a mob. So, I think that you should leave before someone starts throwing some bricks- Oh, speak of the devil. I think I can hold them off until you get your things ready and escape. Goodbye, my son!"
It was that day that Hailland fled for Ankh-Morpork. Upon entering the city, he immediately signed up for the Unseen University. However, he was kicked out by the age of eighteen- ironically, he was the only mage there capable of controlling his powers. With nowhere to turn to, he joined the Ankh-Morpork City Watch.
Despite initially being seen as ominous and a little too cynical, even for a Watchman, he’s developed a small group of trusted friends, and his dedication to his work has seen him promoted to Lance-Lieutenant, the Morporkian equivalent to a West Point Cadet (in our world), and is in charge of the activities of all Lance-Constables in the Watch. It’s a truly thankless job: more work than a regular lieutenant, even less pay, and even regular-service sergeants can boss you around. However, most don’t, as he is a fairly friendly and upright person… When he’s in a good mood.
Which is practically never.
When he’s angry, his inner demon comes out, and he’ll wreak all sorts of mischief. He’s even been known to commit some petty crimes when he’s angry, but will use his magic to avoid being found either by his employers or by the Thieves’ Guild or whatever guild he’s messing with that day.
As a result of his job, he is a little alcoholic and almost incessantly smokes a pipe, but is working on the alcoholism thing, since he can’t stand loud noises even when he’s sober.
Despite his rather foul reputation when angered, he still has developed a small group of friends through his strong devotion to his profession. Throughout his entire career, he has never accepted a bribe, kickback, or marriage to the mob, and is always ready to help a person in trouble. He may complain about it later, but he’s never really too upset about it… Unless he’s got a hangover… and the person he saved is loudly thanking him… and that person is the town crier, whose definition of "loud" is "so cacophonous that it could knock the snow out of the trees on a mountain five miles away." Rumors whispered throughout the city say that he threatened to set the city on fire "if someone didn’t shut this bloody idiot up within the next five seconds."
As Commanding Officer of the Lance-Constable Corps, Hailland is also in command of all of their military operations. Since the "regulars" are too valuable to waste in wars, every time Ankh-Morpork gets into a war where they can’t get the enemy to sell their weapons to them, his unit is formed into a regiment and sent to the front lines, often with the valiant words,"Well, it’ll make you a man… or something… Have to go!" Whenever they move out, a group of senior Watchmen deploy with them, evaluating their performance and deciding whether or not Vairs should retain his position as CO. So far, he’s led his troops through three wars and has never been even consider for relinquishing command.
His favorite type of battle is a urban fight or siege warfare, due to the large amount of trolls in his unit. His general strategy is simple: he walks to the gates and demands that the enemy surrender to his men. If they decline, he’ll order forward a troll. Upon his command, the troll will smash apart the gate with a single punch (usually taking a few hundred yards of wall along with it), Vairs will stroll in and say, "Well, you see the mistake you just made? If you’d just surrendered to me, you’d still have a working gate."
-King Lorenzo’s boots: As mentioned, these boots are supposedly enchanted so that they will never fall apart. When one asks Vairs about them, he’ll just reply, "All I care about is the fact that they fit me."
- The Twin Eagles: this is actually a name that Cpl. Nobby gave them upon seeing them, though Vairs has never really called them this. These two gus were created after the incident of Edward D’Eath, which caused guns to be outlawed. However, Vairs received a special permit from the Patrician for their use. Also, no-one’s really willing to challenge his right to wield them, due to their catastrophic power. One interesting fact about the Twin Eagles is that each one is actually home to the spirit of a dead individual. While he was still in the Unseen University, he listened to a lecture about bonding dead spirits to items, in order to gain their knowledge. Upon gaining the Eagles, he was eager to try it our, and decided to bond a spirit to each revolver, hoping to make contact with some ancient sage. In the end, though, he recieved the attention of Lacrimose, a former student at the University before she was killed by an exploding porcupine during one of the more… unorthodox experiments taking place there, and James Willis, one of a very select few people who are so unequivocably boring that they are actually somewhat interesting (in a very backwards way). When he found out who he had accidentally summoned, he was revolted and attempted to make them leave, but the two were adamant about staying. As a result, he constantly has to listen to their insufferable conversations. For example:
"Oi, Vairs. OI! Mate! Wake up!"
"Where are we?"
"Ugh… we’re in the Gravel District. You know, where the trolls live? We’re visiting Detritus, who’s sick because YOU dared him to eat a flame-imbued bullet, James."
"Hey, learn to live a little, mate."
"...Hey, that looks like a nice restuarant."
"Lacrimose, you can’t even see."
"We see what you see. Oh, and by the way, I REALLY think you should reevaluate your standards in women."
"Really? I was thinking the same thing!"
"Why, thanks you, James. See, at least HE listens to me."
"You’re walking too fast!"
"Your coat’s too long!"
"Your boots are tacky!"
"Grrr…. SHUT UP!!!!"
-Vairs has only been a guard for about two years, but already knows many people in the city very well. Anyone who tries to hurt him will face a formidable gauntlet of hostile Ankh-Morporkians, including more than one member of the Assassin’s Guild.
-Vairs has access to the entirety of the Unseen University’s library, and can often be found there. He claims that the magical energy helps him thinks, but the real reason is that the Librarian keeps a small collection of vintage wines under his desk and shares them with his non-simian friends (By the by, the Librarian is actually a magically-enhanced orangutan. NEVER call him a monkey.).