|“||M-my dream, my wish, my mission… It—it’s all about to come true. Two hundred years, and finally, finally, finally, I think… I’m about to get it. A—a way… to make… people… happy.||”|
Begg Garott (ベグ・ガロット, Begu Garotto) is an alchemist who was granted immortality aboard the Advena Avis in 1711. He specializes in drug research, which he hopes will someday produce a drug that will make everyone happy. However, by using himself as a test subject for his own drugs, he is no longer able to be affected by his drugs since his immortal body has increasingly built up a resistance to them.
By the late 1930s, Begg has fallen into the employ of the Runorata Family as their primary apothecary, and at the end of Dec 1931 protects Czes from the Runoratas after Czes loses his explosives prototype he meant to sell to them.
Begg fell into a steep decline in the years following Bartolo Runorata's death in the 1970s; as of August 2002 he is under observation at a hospital, where he relives his happier memories with only minimal interaction with the outside world.
Begg has shaggy brown hair and brown eyes, and keeps his beard unkempt. His face is described as haggard and gaunt, and there is something glassy about his gaze. He is in his thirties.
In the 1700s, Begg keeps his long, dry hair in a ponytail, and his beard is unkempt. He is dressed "like a peddler," and wears a long brown coat and a turban.
By the 1930s, Begg no longer wears a turban, and he wears a green trench coat instead of his long brown coat.
Begg is a stoic and serious individual who rarely ever smiles. Although he is immortal and does not feel the effects of his drugs anymore, Begg primarily creates drugs with the hope that they will induce happiness in others and raise that happiness to 'another level.'
Begg does not trust anyone aside from his fellow immortals (excepting Szilard Quates) and to a lesser extent don Bartolo Runorata of the Runorata Family. To those he does trust, he is quite loyal and kind to. He particularly favors Czeslaw Meyer, whom he was guardian to for many years and regards as family since Czes' grandfather was his mentor.
Begg was a highly animated individual back in the 1700s, speaking at an extremely rapid pace without pausing for breath. This is totally opposite to how he speaks in the 1930s: slow and stuttering, with noticeable pauses between words. Initial signs of the transition can be traced back as early as 1711, when his tongue began freezing up while he spoke as a side effect of the experimental drugs he'd been injecting himself with.
Begg has exhibited a bit of a devious streak over the years. In the 1700s, he neglected to take responsibility for the sorrow that his drugs caused, only acknowledging that he designed the initial drugs. In the 1930s, he openly mocks and laughs at his Runorata colleague Gustavo Bagetta and looks down upon him without fear of retaliation - perhaps secure in the safety of his immortality. His deviousness has extended to cold-heartedness upon occasion, including his desire to make Roy Maddock a guinea pig and his threatening of Edith in order to place Roy under duress.
The incident with Roy (that Begg was responsible for) - in which Begg wanted to help him but at the same time was embroiled in feelings of self-denial and hatred, not wanting to forgive the man - speaks to the more complicated facets of Begg's personality, especially in how he decided to shoot himself in the head in order to give Roy and Edith the chance to escape before he could act on his feelings of upset.
It is also that incident - or perhaps, the incident of February 1935 - that profoundly affects Begg's motivation and view of the world: full of despair, he loses all vigor towards his ambitions and simply creates whatever new drugs Bartolo wanted, loyal only to him.
Following Bartolo's death around 1972, Begg becomes completely indifferent to the events happening around him and retreats into his own mind. He does not respond to others, though it is unclear as to whether he actually can't hear them, or simply won't. In his interactions with Maiza in 2002, it is revealed that he spends much of his time in this state reliving his happiest memories, including his time with Czes aboard the Advena Avis.
In 1705, Begg travels from the Meyer workshop to Lotto Valentino to survey the city after an acquaintance told him that imitations of his drug were circulating amongst the populace.
At dawn, he and Aile stand on a hill and gaze upon the smouldering remains of buildings by the harbor. Begg recalls why he came to the city, and remarks that it was insolent for people to sell a crude copy of his "already third rate" drug on the market. Aile asks if Begg's even aware of what he's caused in the city, the question both surprising and agitating his companion..
Begg reveals that he'd prescribed the drugs only under the command of Aile's father, who had ordered the doctors to produce the drug himself. However, Begg believes that Aile's father probably didn't expect that the local commoners would start mass-producing inferior copies of the drugs themselves. He admits that he doesn't really have a full grasp of what's transpired in Lotto Valentino, but he guesses that one of the smouldering harbor buildings was the drug production workshop. By the color of the smoke alone, Begg can perceive just how terrible the copies were.
Aile notes that people looked quite happy on such a 'terrible' drug, and Begg explains that while the drug is pleasurable, it wears one's body down. If the drug gets out of hand, it can mess with the user's head and break them out of their surroundings. He personally doesn't mind dying in exchange for drugs that could make one even happier "than that," but inferior copies that only break the user and everyone else go against his philosophies.
Begg prepares to leave, explaining that his mentor's family has recently passed away in an accident, and that the only survivor is his mentor's grandson: a child named Czeslaw Meyer. The new alchemist in the Meyer workshop, Fermet, is currently taking care of him - but Begg believes that Fermet is too nice to be in charge of educating a child, which is why he intends to return and take care of the situation. Aile watches him leave and wonders if all alchemists are like him.
Many days later, Begg drives a luggage-laden, horse-drawn wagon towards the outskirts of town. He spots the wagon upon spotting a girl called Niki in tattered clothes by the road, holding her arm in the air. Niki asks Begg if she can hitch a ride to the next town, and Begg (finding her open-minded) says he'll do anything he can to help her. When he asks where she is headed, she simply replies that she's going to spend the rest of her life looking for a place to die.
Begg decides not to pry into her personal affairs, and gestures for her to clamber up onto the back of his wagon. He resumes course out of the city and for the Meyer workshop. Niki sleeps the whole wagon ride through, and upon waking at their final destination she resolves to quietly leave. Fermet convinces her to stay, and she agrees to join the workshop and work with him, Begg, and the others.
Two years later, in 1707, Begg, Fermet, and Czes travel to Lotto Valentino once more. Fermet and Czes attend a party at the Avaro Estate without Begg, though they depart the party early along with Maiza Avaro and Jean-Pierre Accardo and head for The Third Library to speak with Dalton Strauss. Begg meets up with the four along the way and takes Czeslaw's hand as they walk to the Library.
Upon arriving, Begg turns to the others and says that it looks like Dalton is "at his usual haunt." He expresses shock that someone as unsociable as Fermet wanted to bring others along on their visit - Maiza, of all people, and the very poet behind Fermet's favorite anthology. Just as Begg leads the others inside, a group of three teenagers leave the building - Elmer C. Albatross, Huey Laforet, and Monica Campanella. Elmer addresses Maiza before he and the others leave.
As the group of five make their way through the Library, Begg comforts a terrified Czes by pointing out that if he's already scared of the building, than meeting Dalton might scare him senseless. At the same time, a shadow appears at the end of the corridor, and Czes screams and clutches Begg's leg. The shadow turns out to be Dalton, and he scolds the group for making noise. Dalton surmises that Maiza and Jean must be curious about immortality, and is unfazed by Maiza's hostile attitude toward him. He then warns Begg to cover Czes' eyes, because "it will be too much for a child to see."
Begg covers Czes' eyes, and Dalton uses his prosthetic hook to tear open his own throat, killing him instantly. Out of the four onlookers, Fermet is the only one who doesn't react in the slightest to the grisly scene. After a moment, all the blood rescinds back into the wound. As Dalton completely regenerates, Begg comments that while he'd heard of the rumors, it's another thing entirely to see the regeneration in person. He'd even thought that perhaps he'd overdosed and was hallucinating.
Recovered, Dalton cracks his neck and asks if Maiza and Jean are still curious about immortality. Maiza becomes Dalton's student on the spot.
Around the end of 1709, Begg and Fermet make plans to uproot the Meyer workshop and resettle in a manor in Lotto Valentino, since the battlefront of the War of the Spanish Succession is moving much too close to their current location for their liking - not to mention they have need of Lotto Valentino's libraries. In 1710, Fermet informs Begg that he is taking in the infant of a friend who recently died of an illness (the infant is in fact the son of Huey and Monica).
In 1711, Elmer and Sylvie Lumiere visit the Meyer Manor in Lotto Valentino, and Niki welcomes them inside so Elmer can talk to Begg. Begg reveals to Elmer and Sylvie that he'd already been aware of Sylvie's relationship with Gretto Avaro, but that he remained silent on the subject since Maiza never spoke of it. He hopes that the two of them believe him.
Elmer asks Begg if he can pass along a message to Gretto the next time he visits the Avaro estate. Begg replies that normally he'd advise Elmer to go to Maiza instead, but he supposes Maiza must never be home given how busy he is with making arrangements for the Advena Avis. Begg's rapid-fire speech suddenly slows down and trips over itself as he resolves to act in Maiza's stead, and he apologizes and explains that recently his tongue has been freezing up for some reason - likely due to him experimenting on himself with his own drugs. He asks what Sylvie would like him to tell Gretto, and advises that it be something that will make it easy for Gretto to leave the manor.
The infant starts crying upstairs, and Niki excuses herself to go tend to the baby. Begg explains to Sylvie that the child is supposedly an orphan, and that Niki is taking good care of them. Elmer disappears up the stairs while Begg and Sylvie converse. Fermet and Czes return home.
Over the next ten days, Lotto Valentino is besieged by multiple explosions and arson cases. Begg is on standby to reach Gretto as per Sylvie's request. On the day that the Advena Avis is due to make port in Lotto Valentino, Sylvie returns to the Meyer Manor in search of Gretto, whom she heard had been taken to the workshop of an Avaro-affiliated workshop for burn treatment. Gretto is not at the manor, and Begg directs Sylvie to the Third Library. The same day, a Dormentaire ship said to be carrying Lucrezia de Dormentaire explodes on its way into the harbor. The Dormentaires place the Advena Avis under guard as soon as it makes port.
Several days pass, and Lotto Valentino's fearful residents decide to blame the ship's explosion on the city's alchemists in lieu of searching for the actual culprit. The Avaro Family severs its ties with the alchemists at the Meyer workshop, and those at the Third Library are forced to flee the city through underground waterways and catacombs.
Begg, Fermet, and Czes, along with over twenty other alchemists who have agreed to flee to North America, gather for a meeting in the underground tunnels at the behest of Dalton. Some of the men nervously suggest that it might be best to abandon the transatlantic voyage and instead flee the city while they still can - noting the might of the Dormentaire guards and the fact that none of the alchemists know how to sail. Dalton reveals that they do in fact have three qualified sailors amongst them: Nile, Denkurō Tōgō, and Zank Rowan, all sent by the legendary Majeedah Batutah. The alchemists fall into muttering at Majeedah's name.
Dalton notes that although the Advena Avis was procured by the powerful Mars Family, the alchemists should not expect any further aid from them. As the alchemists barrage Dalton with questions, Maiza slips away from the crowd and approaches Begg, Fermet, and a frightened Czes. Gretto and Sylvie join them; Sylvie offers to go fetch Czes some fruit to eat. Once she takes Czes out of earshot, Begg spits that Lord Avaro is probably desperate to silence Begg and the other alchemists because he was the one who ordered Begg to make drugs -- the very same drugs that are responsible for this entire situation.
Fermet chastises Begg for disparaging Maiza's and Gretto's father, and Begg stammers out an apology. It turns out that Maiza and Gretto feel just as hateful toward their father as Begg does. Fermet gives the brothers some advice on how they should handle their emotions toward their father ( for which Maiza is grateful), and announces that he must return to the Meyer workshop to evacuate the workers to a neighboring village that he'd originally intended to send Czes to as well.
Begg grins and says that Czes will only ever follow Fermet - it's almost as if they were brothers or father and son. Fermet replies that he is "not so kind a man that he could be like a father or a brother to Czes," leading Begg and the others to regard him as humble.
The time comes for the alchemists to head for the Advena Avis. Begg pus Czes to sleep with one of his safe concoctions, and carries the sleeping boy upon his back during the trek through the waterways. He and the other alchemists finally arrive at the harbor via a secret trapdoor, only to find the city ablaze. Begg calls for Maiza to move, commenting that there would be no sense for the Advena Avis to leave without him. He proceeds to board the ship, which eventually sets sail with a pursuing Dormentaire warship in tow.
Half an hour passes, during which time the warship closes the distance between them. Victor Talbot bursts out of the freight hold, covered in soot and brandishing a flintlock pistol. He reveals that he stowed away aboard the ship a few days in advance and points his gun at Maiza, ordering him to stop the Advena Avis. Czes remains fast asleep on Begg's back despite the commotion. When Victor peers at the warship through a telescope, he and the others realize that the ship is carrying people they know: Elmer; Huey; and Szilard Quates. The three men are let aboard the Advena Avis, carrying an addendum to the passenger list courtesy of Dalton Strauss. Their names, as well as Victor's name, are on the list.
Begg spends much of the voyage looking after Czes - they explore the ship together, and some of his happiest memories consist of playing hide and seek with the boy during the trip. He is present for the summoning ritual, and drinks the Grand Panacea with the other alchemists.
Once the Advena Avis makes port in North America, most of the surviving passengers flee westward to hide from Szilard. Begg, Fermet, and Czes are among the few who remain in the port town for the first several days, along with Elmer, Huey, and Maiza. The three of them eventually leave the village too, and live together for an unknown amount of time. At some point, Begg stops living with Fermet and Czes.
By the 1930s, Begg has come into the employ of Bartolo Runorata, and is the Runoratas' primary apothecary. Bartolo has given him the ultimate word on the creation and movement of Runorata drugs.
In 1931, Begg writes a letter to Czeslaw and informs him that he is interested in buying Czes' explosives for the Runoratas, an arrangement that Czes agrees to. In early December of the same year, Maiza arranges a meeting with Begg and requests that he stop distributing drugs in Martillo territory. Begg agrees - much to Maiza's relief - and thanks Maiza for not 'eating' him, leading the Maiza to chastise him for even thinking of such a thing. As a result of their meeting, the Martillos create a temporary truce with the Runoratas and friction grows between Begg and Gustavo, the latter of whom is furious at the loss of profit. Most of Begg's and Gustavo's interactions consist of Begg openly looking down upon Gustavo, and scornfully laughing at him.
That month, Begg's main concern is locating a black case which contains his latest drug prototype - one worth a lot of money, The case was stolen in transit by a young druggie, one that the Runoratas eventually identify as Roy Maddock. Begg takes a great interest in Roy - who has unusually strong reactions to drugs - and wants him to test the drug and become his guinea pig. When Begg eventually crosses paths with Roy and his girlfriend Edith, he seizes Edith and holds a gun to her head, threatening to kill her if Roy does not dose himself with the drug (one that may very likely kill him, but one that Begg hopes will bring him joy as he dies).
Roy chooses an alternative and attempts suicide, first injecting himself with the drug and then immediately slitting his wrist -- and as blood spurts out of the wound he demands that Begg release Edith. Begg is incredibly shaken, his world upheaved as he finds himself having to decide between two choices he finds anathema: if he lets Edith go, Roy will likely die smiling and totally defeat the purpose of Begg's drug; if he kills Edith, Roy will die without hope or happiness. Neither choice is what he wants, and he sinks into self-denial, filled with intense anger and hatred. Although he doesn't want to forgive Roy, he still wants to help him no matter what.
Internally, he begs an absent Maiza to tell him what to do, and wonders if this is what Maiza meant when he talked about an "impoverishment of the soul" in their earlier meeting. In the next moment, he shoves Edith towards Roy and aims the gun's muzzle at at his own head. To Roy, he says that it's not too late for him to save his life if he goes to the hospital now while Begg regenerates. He warns Roy and Edith to escape quickly, for if things continue like this he will kill the two of them.
With that, he fires.
Later on December 31, Begg meets with Czes in a bypass near a train station. Czes, who has just arrived in New York on the Flying Pussyfoot, asks Begg if he has met with Maiza. Begg nods, positively beaming at seeing Czes again. Czes prepares to tell Begg his bad news, but Begg has already heard. The explosives that Czes smuggled aboard the Flying Pussyfoot were stolen in transit. Czes notes that the explosives can't be made public - they mustn't be allowed to fall into the hands of the police, and worries that he'll be hunted by the Runorata Family for his failure.
Begg smiles a little and shakes his head, informing Czeslaw that he was the one who paid for Czes' explosives in full, and that Bartolo wasn't involved with the transaction in any way. Czes won't be punished in the slightest. Czes is surprised, and asks for clarification. Begg explains that he'd heard about Czes' 'situation' from the information brokers, and that he'd wanted to help Czes but couldn't directly give him money. Czes' face twists up with emotion, and he replies that Begg is "such a good person" who "hasn't changed at all."
Begg says that Czes is "too kind," and that ever since he gave up becoming an alchemist all he's had to date is money. He still hasn't found the happiness he's chased after, so all he can do now is just to make Czes smile so brightly like he's doing now. Sorrow flashes across Czes' smiling face, and he tells Begg that "that's plenty enough" and thanks him as the two embrace. Begg strokes Czeslaw's hair, and the boy thanks him for not eating him. Begg cries as well, and warns Czes that if he says something like that again he'll be angry.
In December 1934, Begg accompanies Bartolo and several other Runorata men to Nebula's headquarters in Chicago. He and the other Runorata men are present when Bartolo interrogates Nice Holystone and Rail in one of the rooms on the top floor about Rail's explosives (which are the same explosives that had been smuggled aboard the Flying Pussyfoot), though he spends most of the time shivering in a corner. During the talk, they are joined by Nebula Chairman Karl Muybridge and Rubik.
Eventually Karl loosens the ropes binding Rail and suggests that they come work for him. Before Rail can answer, the door opens and in walk several Nebula researchers led by Renee Paramedes Branvillier. She and Rail recognize each other, and Rail lunges for the bag of explosives on the table. One of Renee's researchers points a gun at them, and one of the Runorata guards points his own gun at the researcher's temple. Rail grabs the bag just as the guns go off, and Rail tosses a bomb in the air. It lands in the hallway and ignites.
Rail and Nice escape in the ensuing chaos, and Renee and some of her researchers go after them. Karl and Bartolo talk to each other once they take stock of who's left in the room, and Bartolo calls out to Begg once he sees the alchemist stand and approach them. In a wavering voice, Begg notes that "those people" (the researchers) are probably immortals - at the very least, incomplete immortals. With that, he sprints out of the room.
Later that day, in the aftermath of the entire showdown on the headquarters' rooftop, Begg stands with Bartolo and Huey Laforet in front of the Nebula Corporation's building and watches several trucks depart from the scene. One of them is transporting Frank, Sickle, The Poet, and various Sham vessels to the nearest hospital. Once all the trucks have left, Huey turns to Begg and remarks that Begg has been quite reticent despite how rare it is for the two of them to be together.
Disgusted, Begg stutters that Huey is just another 'madman' without Elmer to steady him, and wonders why anyone would want anything to do with him. Huey doesn't deny Begg's accusation, though he notes that it's an odd thing to hear from a drug addict. Begg wants to know if Huey came here from prison, but Huey dodges the question with a soft laugh. Huey then tells Bartolo that it is an honor to dine with him, and asks if he plans to become immortal now that he's found Huey himself.
Bartolo says he has no interest in becoming immortal, and that he only wanted to meet the terrorist that Beriam is so obsessed with. He concludes that Huey is a 'kid', before asking what Huey's plans are. Huey replies that it seems that he won't be able to carry out his initial project in Chicago, so he'll start looking for another site to start his experiments instead.
In February 1935, Begg enters a contract with Huey to design a certain drug for him - something in the same realm as the immortality elixir. One night, Begg places glass containers of the completed 'drug' into a large bag and hauls them to a building (the same one where Huey and Fermet are conversing). Under his breath, he calls Huey a bastard and wonders if the man is serious, "making me...make...this..." and with a small smile on his face he apologizes to an absent Maiza and Czes, acknowledging that he isn't an ethical researcher after all and that he wants to see his drug change the world.
When Bartolo dies around 1972, Begg's mental state deteriorates and he retreats into the safety of his own mind, indifferent and unresponsive to the world around him. By the early 2000s, he is in the care of a New Jersey hospital, his medical fees paid for by national charities and the acting head of the Genoard Family's general donations to the hospital. For a while, he undergoes drug therapy until the nurses conclude that it has no effect on him. The FBI are aware of his presence at the hospital and have ordered hospital staff to "not care about him."
In August 2002, Czeslaw and Maiza travel to the hospital by car. Czes elects to stay in their vehicle, and Maiza pays Begg a visit alone, sitting next to him in his room and remarking upon how today's drugs are leagues more powerful than anything Begg ever created. After that, he speaks to Begg of many things and calls his name multiple times, but no light ever enters Begg's eyes.
Slowly, Maiza raises his right hand and reaches over to Begg's forehead, believing him to be forever lost to darkness. In the instant before he places his palm on Begg's forehead, Begg speaks. ".....Czes, your side.....the hull......look.......look quick......this boat.......is going to America....." Maiza lowers his right hand, and states that he'll come back to visit Begg again. As Maiza stands, Begg - in his halting manner - thanks Maiza for not eating him. The nurse monitoring them is startled to hear Begg speak, but Begg lapses back into silence. Maiza leaves soon thereafter.
Czeslaw Meyer: Czes is the grandson of Begg's alchemy teacher and as such, Begg looks out for him like family. When Czeslaw was orphaned, Begg and Fermet became his guardians and raised him together - further cementing Begg's important role in Czes' life and vice-versa.
Though Czes is extremely wary of other immortals in the 20th century, Begg still remains in contact with him, and personally meets with him to help him and give him moral support. To Begg, Czeslaw is someone who he holds very close to his heart and cares deeply for. Case in point -- Begg's happiest memories are of him and Czeslaw exploring the Advena Avis together.