Paul Burks is a 35-year-old blacksmith for Déoza. He works in Village Bridge and is the father of Ellen Burks
Born in Accumula Town, Paul was a teenager when Ghetsis tried to take over the region through Team Plasma. He refused to let the villainous team "liberate" his Pawniard, and ever since Paul has held a bitter resentment toward Team Plasma. When Plasma later became Unova's governing body, Paul decided to move to Village Bridge, as the Sages' presence was less prominent in the small village. This was where he first learned of the war going on overseas, which only served to increase his hatred of Team Plasma for keeping the war a secret.
Paul worked as a blacksmith for Déoza, a weapons manufacturing company. His Pawniard, which later evolved into Bisharp, would often help him with his blacksmith work, along with his Torkoal, Kimber. Eventually, Paul married the love of his life, Anna. Shortly after their marriage, they adopted a young Lillipup, who they named Terry.
When Paul's daughter Ellen was born, he vowed that she should never have to experience the pain and confusion that he had felt when Team Plasma had tried to "liberate" his Pokémon. However, in his concern Paul became overprotective of his daughter, rarely allowing her to stray outside of Village Bridge. As a result, Ellen became highly curious of the world outside her hometown. Paul's deep love for his Pokémon was reflected in Ellen. Her first Pokémon, a Solosis she named Solo, became her best friend. For her seventh birthday, Paul gave her a Mienfoo, which she named Artemis.
By the time she was nine, Ellen's innocent curiosity of the outside world was as powerful as ever. To satisfy her curiosity, Paul arranged for her to visit his brother's family in Accumula Town. His work with Déoza prevented him from going with her, but he sent Terry, who was now a Herdier, to watch over her. When her visit was through, Ellen asked if she could walk home to see more of the world outside Village Bridge. Paul reluctantly agreed, trusting that Terry would keep her safe.
Paul and Anna heard nothing from Ellen after she left Accumula Town. Through his work, Paul learned that one of Déoza's major clients, John Ford, had sent one of his agents to set off a series of bombs in Castelia City to warn Team Rocket and Team Liberty about the far-reaching consequences of their war. Even though Paul agreed with Ford's views on the war, this news, along with news of a major criminal in Nimbasa City, had Paul and Anna extremely worried for their daughter.
They day before Christmas Eve, Ellen finally arrived home, along with several friends she had met along her journey. Ellen's friends decided to spend Christmas at the Burks' house. However, after they left on Christmas morning, Paul learned that Ellen's friends were really Rocket and Liberty agents fighting in the war overseas. Her adventure had been more dangerous that Paul had initially feared: she had been held captive by Ford's agent Maddison Hayes on top of Coeur Tower, and her friends were actively chasing the criminal who had appeared in Nimbasa. Even worse, Ellen had become convinced that Ford's methods were wrong and that she could find a way to stop the war peacefully. Paul tried to explain to Ellen how Ford's methods were the only thing that could stop the war before it eventually spread to Unova, placing them all in danger. He then asked Ellen to stop hanging out with the friends she had met, for her own safety. Paul knew that Ford would not hesitate to eliminate anyone who stood against him, and he did not want his daughter caught up in that conflict.
That night, Ellen ran away from home, taking Terry with her. She had left a note for her parents, explaining her decision to continue traveling with her new friends. They were going to try and stop the criminal from Nimbasa and would then attempt to stop the Ancient Darkrai from taking over the world. Paul and Anna could only watch the news as the fight against the criminal erupted into a full-scale battle between Palkia and Kyurem which ravaged southeastern Unova, including Accumula Town, where Paul's brother lived.
In the coming weeks, Paul heard news of the Ancient Darkrai's defeat and that Team Rocket and Team Liberty had announced a temporary ceasefire. But he heard nothing of his daughter and could only hope that Ellen was still alive and would one day return home.
The Search for Ellen
Paul got an Oddish for Ellen's tenth birthday in hopes of sating her curiosity of the regions outside Unova. But when Ellen's birthday came around, nearly four months after she had run away on Christmas, Ellen had still yet to come home. Paul decided that he would have to seek her out himself.
He traveled to Hoenn through Déoza, where he would be helping one of Ford's agents, James Pierce. Once he arrived, he sent his Skarmory, Scar to search Hoenn and the surrounding regions for any sign of Ellen.
Shortly afterward, Scar returned, having spotted Ellen in Fortree City. Dropping his blacksmith work, Paul had Scar take him to Fortree, where he would hopefully find his daughter.
Paul is a burly man with brown hair, black eyes and a stubble beard. His hands are rough and often dirty from his work as a blacksmith. He wears a dark green shirt and cargo pants, and usually has a serious expression on his face.
The first impression many people have of Paul is that he is a very stern, unyielding man. And that is true for the most part. However, underneath his serious demeanor lays a husband and father who truly cares for his family. He has always despised the Rocket/Liberty war for the potential threat it posed to his family should the war ever spread to Unova. Now, he hates the war even more because it has caused his daughter to run away from home in her stubborn belief that she can help bring about a lasting peace.
"The bond between human and Pokémon is a powerful one, but if I've learned one thing in all my years of living, it's that family ties are even more powerful and deep-rooted." -- the Berry Lady comforting Paul during his search for his daughter.
- Paul and his wife Anna's names are derived from "Pollyanna"