Character Name: Coud Van Giruet
Canon Source: Elemental Gelade
Canon Format: Manga
Age: 15~16(The manga makes no note of his age)
Background: Little is known about Cou's early years. What is known however is that at around age five, for one reason or another, he was picked up the by air pirates of the Red Lynx where he learned from and lived with the rest of the crew. From the insights into his background that have been provided, while he had high hopes and aspirations for his life as an air pirate, his performance was largely average -save for his piloting skills. Unlike his peers, he demonstrated an utter ineptitude for piloting any kind of aircraft and most of the time, the crew went out of their way to keep the light aircraft out of his reach.
At the start of the story, his life ended up taking one of those interesting little twists that happened to turn everything he knew on its ear. After what was a routine raid, the boy had wandered off to look at the treasure his compatriots returned with... without anyone's permission. Among the loot, he found a rather massive, peculiar chest. Through a stroke of luck, he managed to unlock it, finding inside what he'd originally thought to be a life-sized doll covered in peculiar seals. To his shock, it was an actual girl, who happened to wake up as he ventured as boldly as to try and kiss what he thought was a mere object.
Shortly after the mystery girl awoke, the Red Lynx suddenly fell under attack from a smaller airship. The crew of that ship immediately boarded through the hole they blasted in the craft. Rather than demand treasure, they introduced themselves as members of Arc Aile and instead offered an absurd amount of money for the chest the group had recovered. Their leader, Cisqua, became entirely shocked when she found that Cou woke the girl in the box up and became exceptionally hostile when he took the check she offered and tore it in half. Hijinks ensued as Cisqua's second-in-command, Rowen, reacted and shifted his Edel Raid partner Kuea, into weapon form and began tearing the ship apart as Cou fled with the mystery girl to the bay where the lifeboats were kept. Unwilling to abandon the boy for the trouble she caused, the girl introduced herself to him as Reverie Metherlence, a Shichiko-Hoji, which was an exceptionally powerful bloodline of Edel Raid -though asked that he just call her Ren. In addition to introductions, she offered to give Cou her power if he would escort her to a place called Edel Garden.
The two reacted and Ren assumed weapon form, her very appearance frightening Kuea to the point where she refused to fight. Cisqua wouldn't tolerate such a response and opened fire with missiles, that the new Pledger and partner easily dispatched... but forgetting they were missiles, caused massive damage to the ship when the warheads exploded. Aggravated, the captain threw Cou and Ren into a lifeboat and effectively told the boy that he was being kicked out of the crew for causing all of this. Before jettisoning their boat, the captain also expressed a great deal of pride in Cou for at least having all his priorities straight because he chose the girl over the money; telling him before launch to go out into the world and become a man.
One crash-landing later that also happened to ruin the Arc Aile crew's ship as well, they found themselves traveling on foot to Edel Garden. The first stop ended up being in a town called Ele Blanca, where the local crime boss and his Edel Raid partner kidnapped Ren with intent to sell her off. With a rough friendship formed with Cisqua, Rowen and Kuea, Cou stages a successful rescue attempt that also removes the crime boss from power.
In the next town, the group ran a foul a man -an Edel Raid hunter, who called himself Wolx. While unable to determine if Ren was worth capturing for sale, he did subdue Kuea and take her captive. Again, Cou worked with the Arc Aile crew to rescue their cohort and defeat Wolx, who presumably accepted the term of helping recover Edel Raids for Arc Aile.
The next stop was a town called Millard Trey, where the local branch of Arc Aile took both Ren and Cou into custody. However, before they could be taken to headquarters, Cisqua intervened and proposed that her unit needed a vacation. Additionally, pending the vacation, her unit would personally escort Reverie Metherlence to Arc Aile's primary headquarters. Later she talked to Cou and explained that because she'd befriended Ren herself, she wanted to help her go to Edel Garden too.
While sight-seeing in Millard Trey, the group follows some rumors Cou heard as a pirate and ends up spectators in the underground Edel Raid fighting that took place beneath an old church. It was here that they ran across Viro when Cisqua suggested that Ren and Cou fight to help earn money... a prospect that ended up sinking her into debt badly enough that he needed to win the tournament in order to pay for boat fare. While initially failing miserably against the seasoned fighters of Millard Trey, Cou began taking training from Rowen and learned how to fight not only with Ren protecting him as a weapon, but with the two of them working in tandem as a pair. After uncovering a plot that kept the top fighter of the ring, Rasati and her sister, Lilia prisoner, the group manages to break up the hidden games in Millard Trey. With their new freedom, the former champ and her sibling decide to follow the Arc Aile team for a little while.
When the group boarded a ship bound for the next continent, it seemed like smooth sailing until a mysterious assassin by the name of Greyarts showed up with his Edel Raid. Mistaking Rowen and Kuea for Cou and Ren, the two pairs squared off; destroying most a good portion of the ship's upper deck in the process. However in the end, Greyarts found that he'd been tricked and attacked the wrong person, swearing vengeance on Rowen after being chained to the mast before it was cut off and sent overboard.
After a brief hold-up in the city of Porta Exceed because he didn't have any identification papers, Cou rejoined his group of friends as they ventured into the mountains to take a gondola across the valley between them and the next town. After repairing the abandoned gondola station, there was an accident and the group was introduced to the assassin Gladius. Further complicating things was Viro revealing herself to be a spy for the enemy and a special type of false Edel Raid called a “Viro”. During this battle, a poison that Viro had tainted Ren with crippled her and Cou's abilities to fight, but because of their friends, the Viro were defeated and Gladius was forced to retreat.
The next town was Barley Toast. There Rasati and Lilia left the party. There they met a doctor that specialized in the care of Edel Raids. He managed to cure Ren, but while he did so, asked Cou to bring over a family friend of his to see her. The friend in question also turned out to be an old friend of Ren's, an elderly Edel Raid named Gliyna. After surviving not one, but two assassination attempts from both a Viro and another mysterious assassin, a wounded Gliyna declines Cou's offer to sacrifice his life for hers, but on her deathbed asks that Cou not take Ren to Edel Garden.
With the mood initially starting out so low, when the group passed through Tolo Dyle, they seemed to do so in the middle of their annual buffalo festival. Using a sadly simple ruse, another assassin manages to separate Cou and Ren from their friends. Revealing himself to be Rondo of Organite, he immediately attacks with his fifteen Edel Raids. Through a combination of intervention from Cisqua, Rowen and Kuea, they battle Rondo to a standstill until Gladius shows up. Complaining the Rondo took too long, Gladius kills him and his Edel Raids before offering to pick up his fight with Cou and his friends where Rondo left off. The battle goes badly at first, but with a clever ploy on Ren's part and some unexpected help from a mystery sniper that helped Cou and Gliyna back in Barely Toast, Gladius is once again forced to retreat.
Continuing onward, the next stop is in the city of Nad Lezen, a major source of the flight stones that virtually all airships in the world depend on for power. With commercial flight being too expensive and the rail lines running equally pricey, the group searches for alternative ways to get to Edel Garden. As they search, Cou becomes more and more depressed as he finds that Ren wants to go to Edel Garden because she wants to see someone there. Conversation with Cisqua leads him to believe that his partner has a lover waiting elsewhere and takes this fear rather hard, having realized that he's developed some exceptionally strong feelings for her during the course of their journey.
Eventually Cou happens across an drunk man, who turns out to be a former air pirate who knew the Red Lynx. With some coercing, they convince the old man, whose name was Bokka, to repair his airship while Cou steals a flight stone from the factory. Complicating this however was that Cou's awkward behavior around Ren doesn't go unnoticed by her and she becomes convinced that she's brought him only misfortune. And while the group was repairing the old man's airship, she is kidnapped by an old enemy. While Cisqua and company work to get the airship launched, Cou follows a lead from her tracking device to where Ren's being held. After a horrific show-down with Parl, who had been partnered with the crime lord back in Ele Blanc, Cou manages to admit his feelings for Ren in the middle of the duel, repairing their damaged bond and at that point, the two of them dispatch their opponent without further incident.
When Bokka swings his airship low enough for Cou to grapple on and everyone is aboard, it seems like it might be smooth sailing to Edel Garden. But the Nad Lezen air force wasn't willing to let a non-government agent pilot an airship in their country. After a deadly chase that left Bokka's fate rather questionable, the group finally comes to the bridge that marks the border to the country of Edel Garden. There, the mystery sniper confronts the group and reveals himself to being Arc Aile Special Commander Vargret. While initially he seems set on stopping the group, it's generally implied that he fought them to test the group's strength. And he was so disappointed in both Cisqua and Rowen's performances, that he officially named them his personal servants.
Though Vargret's willing to escort the group to Edel Garden at this point, they're ambushed by more Organite members supported by a horde of Viro. With Ren still exhausted from the ordeal she'd endured previously, the Arc Aile members order Cou to take Ren and cross the bridge while they hold the line. While making their way across the surprisingly long bridge, a blizzard kicks up. However before he could collapse from both cold and exhaustion, Cou manages to find a seemingly abandoned village where they take shelter. When she wakes up, Ren comments that where they are reminds her of the place where she grew up and begins telling Cou her story.
Personality: In a nutshell Cou is a good-natured, if not somewhat naive young man that has a tendency to live by his own rules.
Understanding his better tendencies isn't a difficult matter, despite being a self-proclaimed air pirate, he's very fickle with those he steals from. Even when presented with opportunities to just take, he's more prone to obtaining things legitimately. Although especially in the cases of a faceless or oppressive figure, he seems to have no qualms about taking what he needs or wants from it. To this end, he considers himself more a hero; likely a kin to Robin Hood, if the legend exists on his world.
Generally out-going, Cou seldom has problems making new friends and unless the initial circumstances come off as being fishy, he tends to trust without much of a second thought. This is both a good and bad thing as it allowed him to sympathize with the plights of Rasati, Lilia, Gliyna and Bokka; gaining their respective trusts, in which the sense of trust and good will was generally reciprocated. On a downside, his sense of trust in Viro was betrayed when she poisoned Ren, led the group into their first encounter with Gladius and her fellow Viro, as well as attacking them herself -a confrontation that also led to Rowen being seriously wounded.
As friendships go, he's exceptionally loyal; never deserting his friends when in trouble and if the situation warrants it, he's demonstrated that he's not afraid to lay his life down in their defense. This holds true especially in the case of anything related to Ren. At the onset of the series, he offers to cover her escape without even hope of standing a chance against the Arc Aile team. In Millard Trey, he throws the title match against Rasati so she might win freedom for herself and Lilia. Later in Barley Toast, he would offer to give his life so Gliyna would be able to live and see Ren again. And then even knowing he was walking into a trap set by Parl, in Nad Lezen, he storms the mansion where she held Ren hostage; eventually taking the deranged Edel Raid's abuse because of her threats to harm his partner if he did anything to resist.
Almost always optimistic, Cou tends to look toward the brighter side of things. While he's able to at least look at things as they are when reality faces him in less than cheery colors, his preference is to hope for the best -even if he forgets to prepare for a worse outcome.
Cou also tends to be more of a do-er than a planner of any sort and what plans he does tend to devise are usually somewhat half-baked. It's quite rare that he'll devise anything extremely complicated and seems to have a preference for simpler approaches to a problem. Though while he proves to rush into things without thought, he's usually resourceful enough to extract himself without requiring much or in some cases, any aid.
Though relatively independent as far as his own actions go, if one had to put him as a leader or follower, his lack of planning ability tends to put him at more a follower. This tends to hold especially true in a fight, as he has a history of deferring to either Cisqua or Rowen's judgment when things get real.
At the onset of the series, Cou tends to hold the attitude of simply throwing everything he has at a problem and then expecting it to go away. From this outlook, we also learn that he spends little time in any sort of practice or study of a matter before undertaking it. However after his initial string of defeats in Millard Trey, a conversation with Ren prompts him to change.
This is what prompted him to ask Rowen and Kuea's help in learning how to be a better partner for Ren, an event that also helped him understand her better. This continues well into the events taking place in Nad Lezen, where while he still doesn't demonstrate a skill for planning himself, he proves capable of at least helping with a planning process when he and Bokka install a secondary escape craft in the tail section of his airship. Further demonstrating his change and acceptance of practicing before rushing in, his piloting skills are demonstrated to have improved. In a smaller escape craft, he manages to out-maneuver a military jet until Cisqua is able to lock onto it with her missile launchers and blow it out of the sky. Unfortunately that maneuvering cost them their remaining fuel and with a little luck added to the mix, he managed to crash-land the small plane without any injuries to his passengers.
Appearance: Cou stands between an estimated 5'4" and 5'6" with gray-blue eyes and a somewhat lanky frame. His dirty blond hair is usually worn in an unruly mess of "shonen-hero" spikes, reflecting his typically energetic personality. He has a medium complexion and probably sports at least a few bruises at any given time because of his normally reckless tendencies.
His usual attire consists of a red jacket with semi-loose sleeves that stop near his elbow, followed by heavier, fingerless gloves presumably made from several different types of leather and further reinforced by a wrist-coupling, suggesting they were cannibalized and modified from a heavier engineering coverall of some kind. Under this, he wears a black t-shirt, fairly fitted to his boyish frame, though running a little longer past his waist. Below this, he wears a pair of semi-fitted red pants, presumably made from a material similar to his jacket with black work boots.
Skills / Abilities: On his own, Cou is a largely normal adolescent, bearing no unique powers or capabilities. Though determined to the point of being stubborn with a mix of sheer dumb luck and recklessness, there isn't anything particularly special about him when he's not reacted with an Edel Raid. That being said though, his time as an air pirate and his time traveling to Edel Garden have taught him a few things that could be quite useful in any situation.
Despite his somewhat average frame and not looking terribly strong, Cou is quite athletic and displays a certain degree of agility that's significantly higher than one would expect by just looking at him. Especially with the hook and line he keeps stored in the back section of his jacket, he's able to swing across or over most obstacles with the greatest of ease. He's also a capable runner, though it's a habit most often demonstrated when he's trying to beat a hasty retreat.
Cou also demonstrates a very practical and effective understanding of mechanics. While far from a genius with a tool box, he's capable of understanding the workings of most devices with a thorough examination and then either repairing or disabling them.
In hand-to-hand, Cou isn't the most proficient by any stretch, though his determination can often tip the balance of an unfavorable match up in his favor. Bearing no significant amount of martial arts training, he's able to hold his own against an opponent of similar standing, though he seems to prefer avoiding a fight when he's on his own. In reference to his determination, despite being physically out-matched by them, he is shown defeating a Viro and kicking her through the door leading into Parl's chamber when he goes to save Ren in Nad Lezen. Though also worth noting is just how beat-up-looking he is by the time he emerges into the room.