Quick Background


Ian Michael Cushing was born in London 1st May, 1910. His mother, Margaret, was the elder of two daughters of a well-to-do English family, and as far as she was aware, his father was Adam Hawke, an American socialite who she met while he was doing the "world tour". Ian was raised believing that they weren't married, and that his father was killed when the ship he was travelling on went down in rough seas off the coast of Africa, although neither fact was actually the truth.

As Ian was the only boy in the Cushing family, however dubious the circumstances of his birth, his grandfather made sure that he was made the legal Cushing heir. He grew up in England against the backdrop of the First World War and its aftermath. He was educated at prep school and then Harrow, where he excelled at languages, although his main interests were history and music. He also proved himself to be a decent athlete. Most of the holidays were spent at the family estate in Kent, where he learned to ride and hunt; or in France and Switzerland, where the family went for the winter ski scene. After leaving Harrow he studied languages at the Sorbonne, and became involved in the Paris jazz scene. He returned to England in 1931 and studied law at Cambridge, being called to the bar in 1935, while as a side interest, he began developing a knowledge of international law.

With the outbreak of WWII, he volunteered to fight in Europe, and after basic training as a squaddie, he was sent to the Europe as a member of the British Expeditionary Force. He was on the ground during the defeat in France and had to be evacuated from Dunkirk, during which he proved himself to be a natural leader. Once back on British soil, his facility for languages was discovered and he was made a lieutenant and drafted into the SOE. With the surprise launch by the Nazis of Operation Sea Lion in September 1940, the focus of his training was expanded to include skills useful for laying the groundwork for the expulsion of the Nazis from Britain and the counter-invasion of Europe, and became very hands on, as he helped the sabotage effort against the invaders. After the Nazis were finally sent packing in late-January 1941, he returned to Europe and acted as a covert liaison officer with the French and Belgian resistance, although not without a few scrapes along the way.

When D-Day finally came, on 6th June 1941, Ian his people went ahead of the invading forces, engaging in acts of sabotage to soften up the enemy. By November, he was behind the lines in Germany itself, and had made contact with a group of disillusioned officers who had gotten word to the British that they were plotting to assassinate Hitler. The Führer died in a bomb attack during a rally he was attending in Nuremburg in December 1941, and Ian was recalled to England in January 1942. Germany consolidated within its own extended borders, but despite being beaten back from France and the Low Countries, it wasn't sufficiently weakened that a harsh peace could be imposed. Moreover, as Germany retreated, a new spectre had started looming on the horizon, in the form of the Red Menace, and diplomatic assessments led to the conclusion that the USSR was likely to attack westwards, to take advantage of the confusion.

Ian was reassigned from the SOE to the legal team working on the settlement with Germany, drafted in light of the Russian threat and including a draft framework on sharing intelligence on Russian matters, and was part of the delegation which was present in Berlin on 20th April 1942, when the new Führer, Hermann Göring signed the Armistice with Britain and her allies, bringing to a close armed conflict in Western Europe. He remained in Berlin as part of the Allied delegation, tasked with monitoring German compliance with the Armistice agreement and co-ordinating intelligence flow regarding the Soviets. However, a few "actions incompatible with his status" led to his being seconds short of being executed by firing squad when Audrey Rose, a representative from the British Embassy, arrived at the Plötzensee Prison with an order for his release.

He returned to London and after his recuperation, was assigned to the SIS and became involved in analysis of the intelligence coming back from Germany, as the Nazis put Operation Barbarossa into effect. Audrey, his saviour from Berlin, returned to England in the summer of 1944, and they struck up a relationship. They married a year later, although they were never to be blessed with children. Ian remained in uniform until the end of 1949, before being demobbed (with the exit rank of major and a KCMG in his own right), and he and Audrey decided to travel. He eventually returned to his grandfather's firm, taking over as Managing Partner and refocusing it as an international consultancy. However, his happy marriage ended suddenly when Audrey was killed in an car accident on Coronation Day, 1953

By then, in his mid-forties but still feeling ten years younger, he realised that he wanted to do something completely different. With military history and international law still as abiding interests, he decided to try his hand at journalism. Through various contacts, he managed to get a trial with the Daily Telegraph, apprenticing to their main war correspondent but having to pay his own way for the privilege. His old boss from the SIS also asked him if he'd consider making the occasional unofficial report, which he agreed to do. Over the next couple of years, he gained a reputation first as someone who was willing to go all out to find a good story, and then as a war correspondent in his own right. He travelled extensively, reporting as a war correspondent, until his grandfather died in 1960. As Ian was his only male descendent, he inherited everything.

Ian returned to London, with the intention of continuing Albert's law firm, and there was also a bit of adjustment necessary with regard to his new status as one of the most eligible bachelors on the London Scene. This was not helped by the disconnect between his actual age and his physical age. He had to dust off his old SOE disguise skills to make himself look the age on his birth certificate, both for work and when he had to go out and about in London society.

Wanting a bit more freedom, he established the identity of journalist Mikael Cuijper, born 1930 in South Africa, with no connection to the Cushing family, in which he could look and act younger (again, helped by a regular disguise so that Cuijper looked sufficiently different to Cushing). For the next few years he split his time between the two roles - the internationally recognised authority on international law; and the freelance journalist, following stories that caught his eye, which appealed to his adventurous streak -  and managed to maintain the balance of the two for a little while.

A further setback came in March 1968, when his girlfriend was kidnapped and murdered. Ian was never sure whether the attack was really against Cuijper or Cushing, but took it as final confirmation that he was destined to remain a bachelor, despite the better efforts of the ladies of his social circle. However, it also led to his assisting with the defection of a young Germany officer named Wolfgang Ulrich, who he later discovered was his son. Back in England on a more permanent basis, so Cuijper could keep his head below the parapet for a bit until the dust settled, Ian went back to the family firm full time - with the exception of acting as defence counsel at Ulrich's trial for war crimes - although by then he was mapping his exit plan. After the death of his mother from cancer in February 1970, he sold the firm to his business partners on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday, and left them to it. Ian Cushing became a recluse, and Mikael Cuijper became a well regarded correspondent and expert on the struggles between the Nazis and the Russians: sufficiently well regarded that he was invited to join the Berlin Press Corps in 1977.

He spent the next through years in the Greater German Reich, occasionally in Berlin, but more often reporting from the front in various Nazi-Russian battles. He won the Pulitzer in 1981 for his reporting of the Kirishi Massacre, a side campaign related to an abortive attempt by German High Command to expand from St Petersburg to Moscow, which resulted in an extensive massacre even by usual Nazi standards. Needless to say, his German press credentials were yanked in short order and he was thrown out of Nazi Germany for the second time in his life.

He discovered his real heritage one evening in May 1981, when he answered the door to a red-headed stranger. The interloper introduced himself as his father, Adam Hawke. Ian was obviously sceptical, both because his father was supposed to have died over sixty years before, and because the person making the claims looked younger than the mid-to-late forties that Ian seemed to have settled at. However, Hawke made some bold claims which, combined with the insatiable curiosity that had made Ian such a good journalist, led him to agree to go with his guest and find out more. They ended up at Tir-na Nog'th, where Ian first walked the Pattern.

Once he'd successfully completed the walk, his father - who he now knew was called Bleys - suggested that Ian go back home to recover, and he would come and find him in a week or so. Ian followed his advice, although he was surprised when the next time he looked in the mirror, he saw the thirty-something face of the man he'd been in the early-1940s, as the Pattern had helped him cast off his older years. Bleys turned up on cue and took him into Shadow, to learn the skills a scion of Amber needed to survive. This included dumping him for a couple of years on a Renaissance-era world with an established pro-magic culture, where Ian learned all about dealing with culture shock, as well as how to be a perfect Renaissance gentleman.

By then, Bleys realised that he wasn't sure how much more time he had with his son, given the projects he was involved in. In preparation for his departure, he taught Ian one last thing: the importance of having his own base of operations, and how to manipulate that base to make it his own. He was talking about taking Ian to his own home base of Avernus, when he received a Trump call which obviously alarmed and upset him. Afterwards, all he would tell Ian was that he was being called away and he wasn't sure how long he'd be. He made sure Ian got safely home and then departed. Ian didn't seen him for many years after that.

After that, Ian travelled Shadow without his father - sometimes with Wolf, sometimes alone. When he was at home, he lived within a younger persona, Ian Hawke, a son from a second, unsuccessful marriage and arranging the the 'deaths' of both Mikael Cuijper and Ian Cushing in 1982. That settled, he went to college in the US to study military history, and enhanced his studies by the fact that he could now visit Shadows where things went differently, which as a historian he found fascinating. In his spare time, he once again became involved in the jazz scene.

After he graduated, he remained in the US for a few years, working for a Military Studies institute in Virginia and studying for his masters in his spare time. Finally, he returned to England, working as a journalist and studying for a doctorate in military history. From then on, he based out of England, although he also travelled a lot in Shadow, becoming further fascinated with how different history ran on other worlds. He successfully defended his thesis in spring 1994, and thereafter, Dr Ian Hawke began lecturing in military history and international relations at Kings College London when he was on Shadow, and developing a good reputation as an author of both straight history and speculative fiction.

Marcus, son of Brand, finally came to find him in July 2000, Tenterden calendar, whereupon his involvement in Amber proper began. He has since reconnected with his father, and learned that his mother is alive and well, and living in Chaos.