|The Defender of the Labyrinth|
Hassan al-Zayyed, also known as Hassan, is the Gym Leader of the Meiro City gym.
Like most of Meiro City's inhabitants, the al-Zayyeds were immigrants from a rural area seeking a new life in Meiro. And like most of these inhabitants, they didn't find big city life as pleasant as it initially seemed. The city was cramped, pollution and crime were everywhere. But they did somehow find a sense of community among the other residents of this giant melting pot, or at least as much as they could find when regional friction seemed to concentrate itself here. His father brought along his trade as an apothecary, mixing the different venom of Poison-type Pokémon to give them therapeutic properties while his mother took care of the house (or rather, apartment).
Hassan certainly didn't find much to dislike about the city at first, growing up a child of Meiro. Sure it was dirty, but it was like a giant labyrinth, and even the 'dead ends' seemed to have their own rewards. Many a night passed where he didn't find himself "lost" in one way or another, befriending other 'explorers' and Pokémon. Eventually, Hassan started taking courier jobs from one of the many Teams that operated in the city. There wasn't any violence involved; he simply took packages (and didn't ask questions about their contents) from one part of the giant block to another. He learned more about the city AND got paid for it, and for the time being he was satisfied.
One day, a teenage Hassan walked into his father's shop to find its stalls being turned over by thugs from a rival Team that had found out his son was working for their enemy. That evening, his mother reprimanded him for his actions and told him he should look up to someone 'moral,' like the leader of the city's Gym at the time whom his father had befriended. Hassan took these words with a pinch of salt, however. The Meiro Gym, like most of the city itself, had fallen into disrepair. The only reason the Gym Leader hadn't left seemed to be because of the Gym's historical connection to the city's 'web.'
While it didn't initially stop him, he found himself performing courier duties with less enthusiasm as he should, even being punished with a beating at times by that same Team for the rare occurrance that he failed to deliver the package. And as he found himself witnessing more Team violence, both against citizens and rival Teams, he started to wonder what this was all for. But even if he could take a stand, what purpose would it serve if he was just one man against many?
It took a mistake, of all things, to help him figure it out. One day, an army of Tatsu Police units from neighboring Jade City descended upon the Meiro block in a bid by the mayor to eradicate crime in order to enhance his reputation.
Unfortunately, this massive show of force was repelled by a rare display of gang unity. The Teams had decided to put aside their differences for that one day and take to the narrow halls and passageways of the city to send the Tatsu Police packing. The good citizens of the city were left in utter shock, now completely at the mercy of the teams and the rivalries that would resume once the smoke finally cleared. Indeed, the Teams now visibly began to carve out portions of the giant slum block for their own in victory, forcibly evicting clients that resided in different sections to their own turfs.
Hassan's father, now recovered from his injuries, tried to stand up against these evictions. This time he was aided by the leader of the city's Gym, and both of their Pokémon teams successfully repelled them from his shop in a display of courage that caused nearby citizens to applaud.
But the Team didn't take this lying down. Both of their bodies were found in the square (the only part of the city that received direct sunlight and the area where the Gym was located) the next morning, with a note bearing that team's logo. Their Pokémon had been stolen too, and the Team had left his father's Spinarak beside his body, barely alive to send an extra message to his son. It turned out that his father had intended to give him that Spinarak as a birthday present.
As Hassan slowly picked up the Spinarak and cradled it in his arms, he had a revelation: if hardened criminals could swallow their pride to unite against a common enemy, how much harder could it be for ordinary citizens to do so? Surely there had to be plenty of Meiro residents that were sick of the Teams harassing them.
That night, while his mother mourned and he began nursing the Spinarak back to health, a member of the Team that originally hired Hassan arrived at their shop and offered their assistance. As the new man of the house, Hassan politely told them he'd "need time to think about it." But his mind was already made up. He wouldn't perpetuate this destruction by swearing loyalty to a Team that committed the same crimes under different banners. The next day, notices began appearing all over the city for 'willing citizens' to meet at a location known only to people that had resided in Meiro long enough to know where that was.
During that meeting the citizens formed the Ariados Fellowship, a vigilante resistance group. This Fellowship vowed to weed out every single Team from their hiding spots and ensure they never came back. Their only concrete rule was this: never attack a civilian. Unlike the Tatsu Police, they had the advantage of knowing the city's nooks, crannies, and secret passages. One by one, Team members suddenly found themselves ambushed and defeated, with no idea how - or where - their attackers came from. The citizens they confronted (and tried to torture) also remained silent.
After a year, most of Meiro's criminal elements had already fled to find safer pastures. With the city's Gym empty, the citizens also decided that the Fellowship would take up residence there. Hassan became the Gym's leader, and his first order of business was to create a shrine beside the gym for those that had fallen fighting against the Teams.
As a Gym Leader and an NPC character, he can be used freely; however, it is important to closely follow his character profile, unless of course it's something that's meant to be silly and out of character.
|Tatsu's Gym Leaders|