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Ren of Yulia

"When the time comes... I will at the very least die gladly. That is the only value that remains in my existence."

0 · 397 views · located in The Dying Land

a character in “The Lost Lands”, as played by Feyblue

Description

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β•”β•—
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{
Is there something you desire of me? I will comply... to the best of my ability.
}


DΙͺα΄€ΚŸα΄Ι’α΄œα΄‡ Cα΄ΚŸα΄Κ€ ✦ #38028A || TΚœα΄α΄œΙ’Κœα΄› Cα΄ΚŸα΄Κ€ ✧ #6A339E
β•šβ•

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✦ Full Name ✦
  • Renevari le Frey
  • Origin and Meaning: Derived from an ancient dialect of Yulian, her first name has a rather flamboyant connotation, perhaps best translated as β€œAugust Scion of the Dawn,” with β€œRene” serving as the possessive form of β€œRen,” meaning Dawn, and β€œ-vari” usually serving as both noun and honorific adjective to describe an imperial heir. Normally, this sort of name would be considered hilariously anachronistic. Her surname, on the other hand, is a touch more accurate, meaning quite literally β€œThe Fallen,” and traditionally having been used to refer to former aristocrats who had lost their titles and estates.
✦ Better Known As... ✦
  • Ren of Yulia
  • Origin and Meaning: She finds her first name to be pompous and her surname to be shameful due to their respective connotations. As such, she more commonly goes by this moniker, as it is a much more common girl's name in Yulia. Although, nowadays, most people use the more modern pronunciation of β€œRe'an,” so she still stands out a little bit...
✦ Gender ✦
  • Female
✦ Age ✦
  • 21
    ✦ Class ✦
    • Caster...?
    ✦ Face Claim ✦
    • Anastacia of Astora
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{
You wish to know more about me? Well... I suppose... if that is your request, then...
}

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✦ Height ✦
  • 5 Feet, 6 Inches.
✦ Weight ✦
  • 101 Pounds.
✦ Eye Color ✦
  • Amber.
✦ Hair Color ✦
  • Pale, dusty blonde.
✦ Physical Description ✦
  • A woman of average height by most standards, Renevari nevertheless stands a head above most Yulian common women. With her amber, light-hued eyes and similarly pale hair, a discerning eye might yet identify her as a lady of respectable heritage, even in her present state of degradation. Yet, despite her potentially regal appearance, befitting a maiden of some pedigree, at present she looks little more than a pauper. She's terribly thin, with her whole body showing signs of starvation and physical inactivity - flesh clinging tightly to her bones, which show in many places beneath her skin due to her lack of muscle. Her overall complexion is almost deathly pale, indicating that she probably hasn't been exposed directly to the sunlight in years. Her hair, once vibrant like gold, now has faded to a duller shade of yellow-gray, and one can clearly see various veins and dark spots crisscrossing her body - old scars mingling with her own haggard physique to create a dark tapestry upon her flesh.

    Her features might once have been quite appealing to look at, but as she is now, she looks more pathetic than she does beautiful. Her rounded cheeks have grown more shallow and gaunt, giving her countenance an angular aspect thanks in part to her prominent cheekbones. Her brightly colored eyes now seem like those of something dead, simply staring blankly forward, rimmed in shades of red and purple. Her pink lips are cracked and parched, and the smile they once displayed is now shown to no one. Nevertheless, her pallid skin yet remains soft and smooth, and her hair yet retains its silky texture, each showing faint hints of the elegant lady she once was, and might have been. Regardless, whether one finds her repugnant, pitiable, or appealing largely depends on what first impression the onlooker happens to get.
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{
"I don't have anything, really, aside from the clothes on my back... And there aren't many special talents I possess... I'm afraid I may not be of much use to you."
}

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✦ Clothing and Possessions ✦
  • As far as clothing goes, Ren tends to dress in a conservative fashion, in ragged imitation of Yulian ladies. Her attire consists of what once might have been an elegant dress and corset, now worn, stained, and tattered to being almost unrecognizable - a nebulous sort of robe, colored in varying shades of faded purple, ash and soot streaked gray, dirty brown, and the occasional spot of bloody crimson. Over this, she drapes herself in a mantle, hood, and caplet, the composition of which is so scruffy and ragged that in some places, it resembles more a coat of skin than it does one of fur. More often than not, she can be seen with her hood hanging low over her face, shielding her eyes from the daylight she's so unaccustomed to, and the cloak itself wrapped tightly around her, as even clad as she is from head to foot, she always seems strangely cold. What few belongings she has, she tends to carry with her in a criss-crossed pair of satchels hung from her sides. These largely tend toward the practical - scraps of food, a waterskin, a small field knife stripped off of a corpse - but despite this frugal tendency, they're largely empty, for the most part.
✦ Skills ✦
  • Singing: Often taught to the daughters of the well-to-do as one of the "feminine arts" in Yulia, this traditionally encompasses not only the act of singing beautifully, but also some elements of the theatrical. In place of religious zeal, Yulia has a strong veneration of its own culture and history. As such, ballads of old heroes tend to be regarded as the highest form of song, since they are not only beautiful by their own merit, but are also valuable due to the lessons they impart. Thus, to become a true songstress, and master this particular art, a woman must not only learn to control her own voice and sing in a way that is pleasant to hear, but must also learn to express the feelings of the characters in the song in a way that moves her audience. In this regard, Renevari is - or at least, was - fairly skilled. However, she seldom sees fit to practice this skill any longer, and, even if she did, it is doubtful anyone would care.
  • Cooking: Another feminine art, but, unlike the art of song, one traditionally held in scorn by the members of the upper classes, as wealthy women would, in old days, have servants to perform such menial tasks in their place. The fact that Renevari took the time to learn this art is testament to her family's fall from grace - as, in the absence of such service, she had to learn to tend to the needs of both her family and her guests herself. While the sort of fancy cooking one might expect of a noble's dinner table could hardly become relevant on a lengthy journey, Renevari is surprisingly capable at making even the most basic of foodstuffs palatable, at the very least. Perhaps she was never gifted with the means to prepare such banquets in the first place, and had to make do with what was available?
  • Medicine: A third feminine art, and one rarely practiced by nobles or commoners alike. Due to Yulia's warlike nature, nurses and physicians were always in great demand in field hospitals and the like - and thus were commonly conscripted from the populace. Families who did not wish to have their daughters taken from them thus refused to teach them this particular skill, so that they would not be eligible for conscription. The very fact that Renevari took the time to master the art of tending to illnesses and wounds shows a remarkable level of altruism and compassion on her part - a far cry from her current state of emotional detachment.
  • Yulian Magecraft ~ Theoretical Expert: During the history of the Yulian tradition of magecraft, seven distinct forms of magic were elevated to the official status of "True Sorceries," as they could only be used by those trained in their respective arts, fulfilled a variety of specified functions, and could be taught to anyone with magical potential. While some spellcasters had their own unique talents or quirks when it came to using magic, these could not be bestowed upon other magic users, and were thus referred to as "Quirks," "Gimmicks," or, in the case of hereditary perks tied to a specific bloodline, "Noble Traits." The First Sorcery, Creation, was the ability to turn magic into any given physical form - a theoretical ability posited by magical historians to explain the seemingly godlike acts of ancient spellcasters detailed in old texts and legends. This ability, while never mastered by any present day spellcaster, served as the Origin point from which the next five arts were derived. The Second Sorcery, Alchemy, was the more fundamental ability to convert a specific amount of magical energy into a corresponding amount of a single substance, allowing for the manifestation of specific objects out of energy. The Third Sorcery, Thaumaturgy, meanwhile, revolved around turning magical energy into more mundane forms of energy, such as electricity or heat. The Fourth Sorcery, Viturgy, was more esoteric, converting one's life into magic and back again, allowing one to manipulate living bodies, both to harm and to heal, by infusing them with power. The Fifth Sorcery, Animism, was in turn derived from this, revolving around bestowing the life force created through Viturgy upon inanimate objects, creating golems and other such living constructs, with the hypothetical goal of reviving the dead. The Sixth Sorcery, Separation, was even grander in scale, tracing a connection between the magical energy of the world and its very laws, and devoting itself to the art of creating areas so saturated with magic that the laws of reality could be tampered with, creating a separate area of "inside," where the Separator's will would be enforced, and outside, where the flow of magic maintained normalcy - a feat of Sorcery that could only be attempted by the very greatest minds of Yulia. Finally, the Seventh Sorcery, Unification, aimed to recreate the First Sorcery by combining the essences of all other magical arts into one. It could theoretically be achieved by creating a Separation that drew off of the caster's own life force, creating a direct connection between them and the magical flow of the world, and thus turning the entire world into the caster's "domain," allowing them to perform feats of omnipotence that would match the description of the First Sorcery. However, as even a thousand archmages couldn't even begin to reach a fraction of the energy necessary to perform such a feat, it, like the art it attempted to replicate, remains a mere hypothetical endpoint of Sorcery, just as the First Sorcery represents its theoretical origin. Renevari, for her part, is completely unable to use any of these arts of her own power, due to her lack of latent magical energy which would prevent her from initiating a sorcery or controlling the outcome. However, she has nevertheless studied them attentively, and is very well acquainted with magical theory, thus allowing her to, at the very least, recognize and identify forms of magic she encounters, as well as giving her a certain level of awareness when it comes to the flow of magic around her, as she can sense it, even if she cannot control it directly.
  • Unknown Sorceries ~ Transient Vessel & Heartbreak: Although inept when it comes to the use of traditionally recognized Sorceries, Ren is by no means powerless. Due to the effects of a ritual performed upon her by the Inquisition, she has obtained two unnatural abilities that allow her to interact with and indirectly control the flow of magic in her surroundings. Although she has no latent energy of her own, she has a seemingly limitless capacity for storing magic that she encounters, absorbing and ingraining it into her very soul. It has been speculated by those responsible for her conversion into a magical vessel that this first "Unknown Sorcery Trait" is made possible through an intricate instance of the Sixth Sorcery, turning her into a living boundary that separates the magic of the outside world and the magic contained within. Somehow, this allows her to unconsciously use an inverted form of the Fourth and Fifth Sorceries - which normally only serve to convert one's own life into magic and bestow it on others, respectively - to convert outside energy into life force, and imbue it within herself. In addition to simply storing power, however, she's also found a way to create effects on the level of a Sorcery - a twisted and bizarre form of magic unique to herself, termed an "Unknown Sorcery." This ability, Heartbreak, takes advantage of her spirit's malleability, splitting off pieces of her soul alongside masses of absorbed magic, then actualizing them in a manner similar to Alchemy, Thaumaturgy, or Animism. Using strong feelings or important memories as a catalyst, she makes up for her inability to consciously control magic by using powerful feelings as a "guiding precept," imbuing them within a mass of magic to dictate its actions. For example, she might infuse a mass of raw energy with her hatred of a specific person or object, causing this field of pure magic to seek out that specific target and attack it on a spiritual level. She might actualize her fear of a threat to create a barrier protecting her from that threat, or might imbue her care for a specific person into that person to shield them from harm. However, due to the fickle nature of Human emotions, each specific fragment of her soul might do any number of things, given different situations and different amounts of power. As such, unlike True Sorceries, her unnatural art of Heartbreak is not a strict science, even if it was only made possible by her knowledge of more rigid disciplines. Since it could not be analyzed or controlled, and its effects defied explanation by conventional standards - due to tampering with magic on the fundamental rather than the personal level - it was deemed to be heresy and witchcraft by the Inquisition, and was immediately concealed, its one practitioner locked away lest others begin tampering with such dangerous magics.
✦ Weaknesses ✦
  • Frailty: Kept imprisoned for the past six years, Renevari has had little in the way of physical activity. What's more, casting magic often has negative physical effects on the caster: a fact which also holds true from Renevari's unique brand of Sorcery. While she can still walk and perform basic tasks, she has a very poor constitution, and tends to quickly grow exhausted by sustained exertion. She's also physically very weak, which, on a dangerous journey through wild and unknown territory, means that she will likely have a great deal of trouble trying to manage on her own.
  • Cowardice: Prior to her transformation, she was just an ordinary - if bookish - girl. She has never seen actual combat, and the pains of starvation, imprisonment, and occasional inquisitorial experimentation have only rendered her more meek, scared, and compliant. She agreed to journey into the Lost Lands simply because it was preferable to wasting away behind bars as an inquisitorial secret. That doesn't mean she's prepared for what horrors will await her there. And, when she comes face to face with the monsters of the old kingdom, only time will tell whether she can find the courage to stand her ground.
  • Arcane Dependence: With no power of her own, all of her abilities rely on leeching energy from her surroundings. But, in the dying land of Yulia, little such power can be found. As such, she's been starved of energy over the years of her imprisonment, rendering her relatively powerless. It will take some time for her to gather enough ambient energy to become a potent spellcaster - and even then, her troubles are only just beginning.
  • Vessel of Curses: Once within the lost kingdom of Elidia, Renevari's powers will finally be able to blossom. With the relatively more abundant magic in the Lost Lands, she will finally have the strength to utilize her forbidden arts. However, the energy of the Lost Lands is corrupted and cursed, carrying with it a dark and terrible vital energy that twists and defiles whatever it comes into contact with. As a functionally infinite vessel, Renevari will soon come to contain not only the power of Elidia, but also its curse. In the end, she may succumb to the same fate as those who have gone before her, and succumb to the twisted power of Elidia as it eats her alive from the inside...
  • Shattered Heart: The first principle of Transmutation is that in order for something to be created, an equal amount of energy must be expended as collateral. This sort of equivalent exchange holds true for all forms of Sorcery - even Heartbreak. As such, the act of binding a fragment of herself into a spell forces her, in exchange, to give that fragment up. So, by using the fragment of "Love," she'd find herself deadened to that emotion, slowly becoming unable to either experience or recognize it. That might be beneficial, in the case of negative emotions like Fear and Hate, but on the other hand, it also means that the more she taxes herself, the more emotionally dead she becomes. While given time and energy, these feelings might return, her binding them into spells again would only repeat the cycle. What's more, she'd become unstable the more she used her powers, as the emotions she gave up would leave gaps that could only be filled by whatever feelings she had left. So, suppose she gave up everything but her ability to feel sadness and anger. In that case, those would become the only things she could feel, leaving her overwhelmingly depressed, angry, and violent, without any way to stop feeling those things, or to control what she was feeling. This also means that each specific fragment can only be used a few times before it is completely expended, making it impossible for her to use any more of that fragment until she's had time to recover from the strain, since she can only use emotions she actively feels as a precept. Thus, the more magic she's forced to use, the less options she has. And, should she damage her soul so badly that no emotions remain, there would be nothing left to use as a basis to rebuild, even if she managed to accrue the energy to do so. She would be left an empty shell, good for nothing but storing magical power, and incapable of putting any of it to use.
✦ Fatal Flaw ✦
  • Broken: Years of imprisonment and degradation, combined with the fragmentation of her soul through the use of her powers, have left her a shadow of her former self. Apathetic in most cases, she's stopped caring about her own life save as a tool to be used in pursuit of absolute, higher causes like the salvation she is expected to bring to Yulia through her martyrdom. Humans - of which she no longer considers herself a part, since she was turned into a Vessel - scare her, and can't be trusted. And yet, they still must be saved. As for herself, she doesn't see any redeeming qualities within her own existence, or any reason to live once her mission is accomplished. Her own life is worthless, so if by sacrificing it, she can bring happiness to others, so be it. Above all else, she just wants to avoid experiencing pain. To that end, she will perform what duties are asked of her, so as to live with minimal conflict and difficulty. Should she be unable to avoid suffering, however, then she would sooner let her life end along with her agony than she would endure her pain for the sake of an existence she cares nothing for.
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{
How would I describe myself? An odd question... To speak bluntly... I can't see a reason why anyone should care about that sort of information.
}

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✦ Personality ✦
  • Renevari is... confusing. Due to the functions of Heartbreak, she spends most of her time with more than half of her emotions inaccessible. As such, she is very inexpressive. This isn't to say she never changes her expression at all, or that she speaks in a perpetual monotone, or something like that. It's just that every aspect of her attitude seems terribly understated. For her, turning away with a slight, sad sigh would be the equivalent of bursting into tears, while a faint upward curl of her lips would be like a full-blown fit of laughter. A slight scowl might be her way of expressing a fit of furious anger, while staring off into space with an unreadable expression on her face would be how she shows that she's worrying about something. Her voice, meanwhile, is quiet and soft, and, although she enunciates every syllable clearly and places emphasis on what she feels is important, sometimes it can be hard to tell how she feels about something just from hearing her speak. As such, even if she has distinctive tells that reveal her feelings, just like any other person, years spent feeling almost nothing have made these unconscious tics infinitely more subtle than they otherwise might be.

    However, at the same time, in order to create her spells, she must feel emotions. As such, she has no choice but to allow certain emotions to remain unused, allowing them to regenerate bit by bit until she experiences them strongly enough to turn them into a spell. Consequently, she lives in an endless cycle of shuffling between feeling certain emotions but not others. Perhaps one day she might allow herself to feel anger, and thus seem incredibly hostile, while the next she might have turned her anger into a spell and so end up experiencing sadness instead, and secluding herself from others, overcome by a sudden rush of despair. As such, her personality is a bit hard to put into words, due to the fact that it's quite simply very inconsistent. Although she only usually feels one or two emotions at a time, she's so unused to the very concept of feelings at this point that when she does have to experience them, she usually doesn't understand them, and thus, they make her immensely uncomfortable. Since she doesn't even understand how she feels herself, it makes sense that she also has great difficulty actually expressing those same concepts to others. Saying that something might inconvenience her, for example, is nigh impossible for her, as she lacks any real concept of herself, due to seldom feeling strongly about anyone or anything. As such, if somebody makes an unpleasant request of her, she'd probably just nod and perform whatever task it was they asked, then wonder why she felt "sad" afterward, not realizing that she regretted having to act in the first place.

    Due to her taciturn, cold exterior, many people at first assume that she's a very self-centered person. However, upon getting to know her, they soon realize that she almost never even considers her own needs, thinking only of end goals and of the stated needs of others. As such, were anyone to become her "friend," they would probably assume that beneath her frigid, stoic outer shell, she was actually a nice - albeit emotionally repressed - person. This isn't entirely correct. Rather, it would be more accurate to say that Renevari's apparent kindnesses to others are less displays of an active desire to show kindness, and more because she lacks any sense of value to her own life, but still values the lives of those around her. She views any kindness towards her as a debt to be repaid, simply due to the fact that it's rare for those around her to treat her as anything more than a tool. These "debts" are in turn categorized based on an order of importance to her, with her "debt" to "save the world" by acting as its martyr being the most important of all.

    Ever since her birth, she has felt singularly driven by one thing, and one thing alone - the wish to be of value to someone. Born as a magically inept and thus worthless heir to a family renowned for its magecraft, she was never more than a hindrance to those who should have been closest to her. She allowed herself to be experimented on because the prospect of becoming a mage, of being a worthy heir to her clan, was worth the pain to her. Thus, when she was imprisoned as a dangerous failure, she felt betrayed by her ideals, and came to the conclusion that she was somehow different and inferior to those around her. She'd all but given up on her own life when the prospect of one final duty was presented to her, giving her the chance to die the way she wanted - as a martyr and hero who would restore life to the world. As such, although she behaves as though her wish is to indiscriminately uplift all of Humanity, and to help and save whoever she can, in reality, her one desire is much more selfish. Namely, what she wishes for above all else is to simply prove, both to herself and to those who cast her aside, that her existence was worthwhile, since otherwise, there was no purpose in her living and suffering when she might have died and been at peace. Thus, since she could not earn respect and sympathy in life, she seeks now to do so in death.

    Despite her facade of selflessness, Renevari is a very cynical individual. The core of her beliefs boils down to the somewhat nihilistic notion that people are fundamentally selfish. As she might describe it, "So long as they live, every Human will eventually succumb to the temptations of their own desires if given sufficient incentive, regardless of their morals, beliefs, or of how many others will have suffer for the benefit of the individual." Thus, since she had no utility to others, she was cast aside - not because the people around her were particularly evil, but simply because that is the way the world works. Even so, though, she's still bitter about her own lack of worth in the eyes of others. This is why she refuses to acknowledge her own sense of self, couching her true desire to prove her own merits in idealistic terms and vague higher causes. By playing the part of the pure-hearted, selfless martyr, she can claim to be different from all of the selfish people who have caused her so much pain, even if, fundamentally, she's no better than them. And, by refusing to rely on or trust in others if she can help it, she ensures that she likely won't become a burden, even if she also isn't useful. Honestly becoming attached to anyone is, of course, unthinkable, as until she proves herself worthy, her devotion would be a great disservice to them. Too guilty to live for others, and too ashamed of her own feelings and desires to live for herself, she has thus cast off any semblance of self-interest, simply because, seeing no merits in her life, she feels that it is the height of arrogance to view that life as being worth anything. So, casting off the emotions that weighed her down by using her powers, she destroyed her sense of self, now living only as a puppet who exists to serve others to atone for her burdensome existence. Now, all she needs to do is end the life she doesn't dare to value. Then, once she is dead and the world is filled once more with life, she can rest peacefully knowing that her survival was worthwhile. Otherwise, she may well have never existed in the first place.

    However, as her mind shifts and breaks beneath the strain of her powers, perhaps other thoughts may come to the surface? Beneath the pain of her curse, even her despairing resolve may eventually reach its limits. After years of enduring pain and isolation, years of being merely a pawn in the games of her so-called betters, perhaps she'll finally reach the point at which she can take no more? Should this happen, and should she rebel against her duty as martyr, there's no telling what might come of it...
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{
You wish to know of my past? ...I'm sorry, but I cannot oblige you. I do not wish to speak of such things. That is all.
}

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✦ Personal History ✦
  • The unknown heiress-to-be of a Yulian aristocratic family renowned for producing daughters endowed with tremendous magical gifts, Renevari was a disappointment from the moment her family realized that their celebrated heir, their "August Scion," completely lacked any of their family's renowned sorcerous gifts. Thus, she was passed over without delay the moment her younger sister was born and found to have the talent she herself was devoid of. Deemed unworthy of even marrying off, Renevari was largely kept indoors, forced to serve her own family in the same way a domestic servant or slave might, as the knowledge that they'd sired such a talentless, worthless heir would have besmirched their reputation. Wishing to somehow earn her family's approval, she tried educating herself in the feminine arts, and studied magic especially - but this level of self-teaching could only take her so far.

    Out of all the people around her, it was actually her sister, who she envied the most, who showed her kindness, passing on what she herself learned to her less gifted elder sibling. Learning in this fashion, Renevari sought to fulfill her duties while also memorizing every bit of knowledge she could get about the arts of medicine and sorcery, the Yulian histories, and... anything else, really.

    As expected, her lessons came to an abrupt end when her sister was conscripted to serve as a Magus of the State. Seeing her sister off, Renevari returned to her dull life, locked within her family home and shunned by the very people who had sired her. Making no progress, she fell into despair, finding that her life had no purpose. She no longer wished that she'd been born with talent. Now, she simply wished she had never been born at all.

    Shortly after her fifteenth birthday, the family received news that Renevari's sister had been overworked, and the strain placed upon her body by her magic had caused her to collapse. As she lay dying, it was said that her last wish had always been to serve as a ritual sacrifice once she was no longer capable of bearing the strain of her own powers, in the hopes of restoring some of her power to the world, and in some small way, doing her part for her country. She had only been thirteen. Far from being sad at the tragic death of her admittedly somewhat beloved sibling, Renevari instead found herself envious that, even in death, her sister had been able to accomplish more than she herself had in her entire life. She was buried with the highest honors by the state, while Renevari herself was cast out of her family home shortly thereafter for the heinous crime of reminding her parents of her dead sister.

    With nowhere else to go, and falling into despair at her own powerlessness, Renevari at last hit upon a solution. If her sister had hoped to restore power to the world through her death, perhaps there might be a way to recover that power for use by the living? Digging deeply into the heretical branch of Viturgy that dealt with altering the very nature of the soul, she presented herself and her research directly to the Inquisition, kneeling before an official investigatory diet with her head bowed, and speaking to them words that would change the course of her life, and, perhaps, of the world itself.

    "Here I am. Kill me for my heresy, or use me as you see fit. Be it for the sake of Yulia or for the sake of justice, either way, I will die. This I swear, upon my life, and upon the lives of my ancestors."

    Faced with the chance of creating artificial magic users to bolster their thinning ranks, the Inquisition agreed without hesitation, using Renevari herself as a test subject. Through careful attunement to the magical current, some of Yulia's foremost sorceresses managed to trace a large flow of magic to a place containing the remains of a long-dead ancient dragon. Using these bones, still saturated as they were with the immense power of the ancient beast, as a catalyst, and Renevari's own life force as collateral, they used a ritual of Separation to perform an otherwise impossible feat of Animism, combining Renevari's very soul with the power of the ancient creature.

    However, something went wrong. Renevari's life force and the power of the sorceresses combined were still insufficient to fully contain the power of the ancient beast, and so it broke loose, ravaging her very existence, boring deep into her soul and expanding without boundaries from within. Ultimately, what was created was not a soul infused with the power of magic. Rather, it was a soul that became one with any and all magic - an infinite vessel, always seeking to be filled, that could contain, but could not control the power it consumed.

    With both herself and her research dismissed as a failure, Renevari herself was sealed away, as the Inquisition swiftly realized that her magic-devouring nature posed a threat to their arcane supremacy. Some wanted to have her executed as a dangerous abomination, but others stayed their hands, reasoning that she might yet be used as a weapon against enemy magic users. Ultimately, she was simply forgotten about, and left to rot. During this time, she tried to find some way to make use of her newfound energy. Finding she was unable to control it consciously, she somehow managed, in seclusion, to use her heretical knowledge to alter her soul's nature once again, splitting it apart piece by piece and creating an Unknown Sorcery from the shards. And yet, her new abilities were useless without some way to use them.

    Her chance came when the Lost Lands of Elidia were opened for exploration. Seeing that no normal troops or even mages they sent into the ruined kingdom could survive there due to its curse, they decided to take a different approach. If they could not lay claim to the power of Elidia themselves, they would use her as a tool to bring the power of Elidia back to them. Even if there was a curse, she would serve to contain it, while they could then harness the energy within her through a reversed form of the very ritual she herself had designed to transpose souls.

    So, reluctantly, they allowed their pet abomination to roam free, telling her that there was yet one way that she, too, could serve. All too eager to find some sort of purpose in her wretched existence, Renevari ultimately complied. And so, she, like so many before her, found herself sent beyond the decrepit walls of that fallen kingdom, without really knowing why. There was but one thing she knew for certain: through this ordeal, and this ordeal alone, she might die a worthy death...
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{
I hate this life. I hate it, and yet still I live. Why?! Please, oh brilliant light that sleeps within the Earth... I beg you, hasten to me... and let me die...!
}

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So begins...

Ren of Yulia's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kalis of Aressa Character Portrait: Maeve Byrne Character Portrait: Kormrok Character Portrait: Sairen Varimor Character Portrait: Ren of Yulia Character Portrait: Mojohra Jojohrum Character Portrait: Gallard of Yulia Character Portrait: Ima Creslade Character Portrait: Varin Zeracuse Character Portrait: Ludral Character Portrait: Garrim the Greater Character Portrait: Callias Dimitriou Character Portrait: Adella of Yulia
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Midgate - Aressan Wall Border


Rain fell hard over the Midgate Fort, leeching into the gold-hued Aressan stone and making the sentries on the outer walls shiver in their uniforms.

The blue and silver griffon flag had become limp and listless in the driving storm, but it had in no way dampened the activity of the...somewhat unwelcome foreigners within the fort.

Soldiers jogged about beneath the roof overhangs of the large courtyard, and from time to time a dark-cloaked Inquisition officer might be glimpsed flitting about between the buildings. Across the yard from the gate stood the enormous structure of the Elidian Wall, and, most prominently, the Mid Gate, a vast expanse of iron whose arch would have been large enough to sail a ship through. What the once-citizens of that old kingdom had thought they would be accommodating with such an enormous entryway it was hard to say, but now it belonged to Yulia...and it was guarded jealously.

The fort was a relatively recent addition, it only being completed a couple of years previously; as the most practical and efficient means of enacting Yulia's proposed plan to handle the problem of the Lost Lands...and in the process handle the problems of the number of prisoners within their dungeons. Midgate Fort had been used by the Inquisition as a prison since its inception, so eliminating the problem of having to personally escort the rather unwilling 'explorers' under guard to the gates. It also meant that for those that remained as inmates for more petty reasons, the looming iron jaws forever in their field of view presented a permanent threat as to what might be waiting for them if they caused problems.

It was within this stronghold, up within the thick defensive structure in the walls, that Inquisition Officer Vesgha, dressed in the black, silver-lined garb typical of the order, strolled calmly through the damp, torchlit corridors of the prison, reading off a set of names from a list in one hand, and indicating to individual cells with the other, pointing to the heavy-set troops behind her whom they needed to escort out. Every so often the figure would pause, point inside the gloom of one of the cells, and in would march a couple of soldiers to drag some unfortunate out into the light.

Some would go willingly, some less gracefully, but eventually, all would go.
It was not just prisoners participating however. Standing at the end of the hallway, near the exit to the main stairway, someone else was standing, awaiting acknowledgement.


The frosty blue eyes under the mask of the hood looked the mage up and down. Small, plain-looking, coat and mantle indicating a second-class magus. The kind trained for combat. She stood up to her full (somewhat unimpressive) height and carried herself in a manner that implied she felt above waiting round in this grim place.

Mage Adella adjusted her mantle, the silver feathers glittering in the guttering torchlight. The dungeons were inevitably disgusting and she was never exactly keen on venturing down there unless expressly ordered, however needs must. You had to sometimes demean yourself a little in order to reach new heights. As Officer Vesgha approached the young mage bowed her head in respect.

"Officer. Second class magus Adella Darr. Order of Crows. I'm here for the operation."

Looking the woman over once more the Inquisitor gave a brief nod.
"A pleasure to meet you Mage Darr. Commander Sullivan already spoke to me about the arrangement. The preparations are in place, and we will provide you with everything you need to complete the mission. It's great work that you are doing here soldier, not many would have it in them to put themselves shoulder to shoulder with..." the blue eyes flickered up to those being led out of the rows of cells.

"...animals."

The Yulian caster, paying little attention to the shuffled a little, trying to maintain her decorum in spite of the compliment.
"Be assured I can handle myself Officer. None of them would be able to get past me."

"I do not doubt it Mage Darr." The Inquisitor responded, gaze turning back from the prisoners.
"Proceed to the courtyard and the rest of this rabble will be joining you shortly. Remember to watch yourself, and best of luck, lot of hope is resting on your shoulders."

A couple of sharp nods from the mage sent her down the steps, out through the guarded archway and into the rainy yard. Beside it sat pack, bedroll and a few sets of writing supplies, things she might need beyond. As representative of the Order of Crows and the Yulian School, she would be better equipped than the sacks they were doling out to the scum. In some sense she was rather pleased of it, but had a degree of concern about theft, surrounded by the lowest of the low.

Yulia didn't get to where it was by being easily intimidated though. Surely such people would learn to respect her power, if not her authority. She was, after all, a sorceress. Yulia had conquered all the continent. Only Old Elidia stood before them now...and she might be instrumental in delivering that into their hands. How glorious that would be. In spite of herself, Adella could not help but don a smile as she stood waiting in the pouring rain.

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Character Portrait: Ren of Yulia Character Portrait: Adella of Yulia
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#, as written by Feyblue

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I was roused from the haze of half-sleep by the groaning of rusted hinges, the large black oak door across the room from me chipping its bottom against the cobblestones as it was drawn back, flooding my vision with the flickering glow of a torch. I drew back, rubbing my eyes and blocking out the painful light as the man carrying it stepped into the room, instantly sending the shadows that danced around me scattering in all directions, and exposing my surroundings to my sight for perhaps the first time in my six years of imprisonment.

The cavernous interior of the prison tower was largely empty. Old machines of torture rusted away in the far corners of the room, a fate to which my shackles had also succumbed. Placed directly beneath the grated window about twenty feet above me, the metal bar to which the chains binding my legs had been fastened had long since corroded from the rain dribbling down the far wall, giving me the freedom to move once again - or at least, to move within the room I was trapped inside. Aside from these, my cell's only defining features were a small bed of hay a little distance away from the place I'd originally been strung up, and countless intricate markings chiseled into the walls. Even without seeing them, I'd have known they were there, as I'd gone to the trouble of making them myself. The room in which I'd been kept chained was just the central point of a larger magical array, constructed to separate the power of the outside world from the space I occupied, to ensure that my wayward soul wouldn't go and snatch enough energy to make me a threat. I'd tried using what little strength I had left in all manner of ways, hoping to find a way to crack the barrier, to fill the emptiness inside me with something, anything, but those efforts had largely been futile.

I blinked several times, slowly raising my head to peer at my visitor from underneath the brim of my hood. As my vision began to clear momentarily, I caught a glimpse of both him, and the two armored figures standing behind him. The man with the torch sneered from underneath a concealing black cloak as I lowered my head on instinct, the light he carried still too bright to look at. "This is the High Inquisitor's pet project?" Scoffed a voice from behind him. "She looks no different from the rest," affirmed a second. I watched the cloaked man's shadow on the floor as its head turned, seemingly beckoning to his entourage. The faint clack of metal upon the cobblestones rang through the empty room, and in an instant, I found the light that had blinded me blocked out by a pair of towering figures. I clasped my hands together and tightly clutched the rusted remains of the bar I'd once been chained to, crawling backwards to distance myself from the looming shapes reaching towards me. The chain still dangling from one end of the bar clanked as I tried to disentangle the feeble leg it was still fastened to from the steel coils surrounding it. The broken-off end of the bar gleamed in the torchlight, its end having long since been scraped down to a serrated, blade-like edge through years of grinding it against the walls to inscribe the physical component of my various failed attempts at sorcery. This, my sole defense, I desperately held on to, knowing that if worst came to worst, it would be my only means of escape.

"Woah. Hold up. She's got something there... Is that a knife?" One voice said, staying the hand of his comrade. I heard the scraping of a sword as it was drawn from its sheath. Both figures instinctively took a step backward, and in the next instant, I found myself staring upward along the blade of a sword pointed straight at me. I crawled further back, raising my makeshift stake, and then turning it towards my own throat.

"What... do you want from me...?" I rasped, my voice hoarse from thirst - not to mention years of disuse. "Leave me be... I don't know what you want... but I won't let you hurt me... Try it... and I'll kill myself." The two men froze at this, staring back at me for a moment before bursting out laughing. The cloaked man stopped them, stepping between them and raising a hand. Immediately, the man who'd drawn his sword lowered it, while the second swiftly accepted the torch from the man who was evidently their commander.

The man in black knelt, his cloak fluttering over the cobblestones as his dark eyes shone in the dim light, staring right at me as a half-smile made its way across his face. "Now, my dear, don't you think you're being a bit rash?" He asked gently. His voice was like honey, so deliberate in its smooth, sickly sweet cadence that it set every fiber of my being on edge. "We are not here to hurt you, so why not put that unsightly thing down?" As he spoke, he reached slowly towards me, wrapping one hand around the bar and gently pulling it from my hands. Weak from years of deprivation, I realized that I couldn't resist him even if I'd tried. Resigning myself to whatever fate he had in store for me, I felt my grip slackening as my only means of ending my suffering was drawn from my grasp. The man in black smiled, placing it on the ground a few feet beside him before reaching back to me. His gloved hand slipped under the brim of my hood, patting me on the head like a father congratulating an obedient child. "There's a good girl," He said smugly, that sickening tone in his voice filling me with revulsion as I retreated beneath his touch.

"What do you want from me?!" I repeated, more urgent this time. "Why are you here?"

The man in black smiled. "If you know who I am, then surely, you must also know what I want," He replied cryptically. Looking at him more clearly now, it wasn't hard to guess his identity.

"You're... an Inquisitor..." I guessed. He gave an unnerving smile, running his fingers through my hair in a way that was all too similar to a child playing with a doll for my comfort. But, I didn't dare try to bat his hand away, no matter how badly I'd have liked to. If I attempted to resist, I was sure: he would break me in an instant, and make me wish I'd taken my own life when I'd had the chance.

"Yes. And thus, what I want is what Yulia wants, is it not?" He asked rhetorically. It took me a moment to grasp his meaning, before I realized that he'd prevented me from killing myself for a reason. Yulia wanted me, and for whatever reason, it wanted me alive. I gave a slight gasp, and the Inquisitor read my surprise like an open book. "That's right. Your country - no, your world - has need of you. What say you? Will you do as we ask? Or will we have to find another vessel in your place?"

The choice was obvious.





So it was that a few minutes later, I found the heavy shackles removed from my legs, and the collar that had served to focus the ritual separating me from magic was lifted from my neck. The guards, seeing my legs largely unresponsive from disuse, had done the "courtesy" of rather violently dragging me to my feet and hauling me from my cell. Cast back into the world I'd been sealed off from for so long, I came hobbling out into the frigid storm, my tattered, once-warm mantle the only thing shielding me from the chill and the rain. There were others, too - I could see them hauled from cells in the main prison complex, like I myself had been pulled from the tower built to contain me. However, I didn't dare meet their eyes. Almost all of the other prisoners gathering in the courtyard loomed far over my head, and doubtless would have little more trouble in crushing me than the guards would have. The only exception to this general rule that I could see hardly gave me a reason to be reassured, either, as the only person around my size in the area wore the telltale garb of a Yulian Battlemage.

Forced into line with the rest of the captives by the guards, I watched, and I waited. I didn't dare move or speak. My presence was all that was required - not my consciousness. I would obey. I would do as I was asked. For so long as Yulia might need me...

Nothing else matters.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maeve Byrne Character Portrait: Ayame The Eastern Swordsman Character Portrait: Ren of Yulia Character Portrait: Mojohra Jojohrum Character Portrait: Varin Zeracuse Character Portrait: Ludral Character Portrait: Adella of Yulia
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The rain splashed against the cells of the window, slowly gathering into a small bowl that was placed very carefully on the ledge to gather as much water as it could. A man sat in the corner of the cell, his head resting against the wall and his one knee raised and his right arm placed on top of it. His head listed lazily upwards, staring at the bowl as water started to flow overtop of it. With an almost sloth like mentality, he slid his way up the wall and walked over to it. Grabbing the bowl carefully, he gulped down the liquid as best he could. This would be the most hydration he would get in days, followed quickly by a steam box that would threaten to dry him out completely. Normally the rich paid a ton of money to get the spa treatment, and if they wandered into a cell after a fresh rain, they could get the same result.

There was a sharp rap against the bars to his cell, and the man turned around. β€œVarin Zeracuse.” The guard stated, followed quickly by another guard carrying a set of armor. β€œToday’s your not so lucky day. You’re going beyond the wall.” The other guard unceremoniously dumped Varin’s armor on the ground before walking out of the cell. β€œWe’ll be back in a few minutes to take you down to the courtyard.” Varin stared at the armor, then back at the guard who locked him back in without another word and walked off down the hall. Varin looked back at his armor, something he had worked on for countless years to get it right, and now currently laying on the ground and about to be donned by an accused murderer. Not exactly how he would have liked to have worn the suit for battle, but as the circumstances were, he was just glad they were allowing him to wear it at all.

Varin placed the bowl back up by the window, letting the rain wash over his hands for a moment, basking in the calm and refreshing feeling that came with it before turning back to the armor. With practiced ease, Varin took the pieces off the armor one by one and attached them to himself. The entire suit took a few minutes to adorn, and it fit as snug as a glove, perfectly crafted to fit his body. He had spent the better part of 5 years crafting it to where it was today, so anything less would have upset him greatly. Once that was all done, the only thing left was his helmet, which he tucked under his arm and made his way back to his window once again. He grabbed the bowl and sipped at what little water had managed to make its way into the container. He managed to steal a glance outside into the courtyard below and witnessed several people already gathering in the rain. Unlucky bastards, being called first into the downpour and being forced to wait the longest with drenched clothes and fever inducing conditions. He couldn’t make out who the leader of the small group was, but he knew it was an Inquisitor for sure. They wouldn’t entrust this to anyone else, there had to be at least one person whose entire goal was to succeed at conquering the Lost Lands instead of maybe just surviving and escaping Yulia’s law.

He held the helmet in his hands, flipping it over so it was staring at him and cursing his current existence. Damn it Oscar, you fucking kid… Varin thought to himself as he flipped the helmet around and placed it on his head, feeling it slide on into a tight fit that suited him perfectly. He made sure the clasps were tight and that the helmet didn’t move when he shook his head. He slapped the side of it slightly just to give himself a physical reassurance that it wouldn’t fall off. With that, he went through the process of double and triple checking everything on his person. A few minutes later and a trio of guards showed up at the door to his cell.

β€œHands on the wall.” The first guard stated, which Varin complied. He heard the gate open, followed by the sound of swords leaving their sheathes and the clank of armored boots on stone. Within moments, his arms were being yanked behind him and shackled. At the very least they had allowed him to get suited up before they decided to throw him to the wolves. He had tried to be the model prisoner to avoid any unnecessary punishment from overzealous and sadistic guardsman. For the most part he had been successful, hence why he felt the guards weren’t being as brutal as they were no doubt used to being, preferring to simply shove him towards the door without a further word. Varin complied silently, letting the guards guide him through the hall, down a set of stairs and stopping just short of a door leading to the courtyard. One guard stepped in front of him and opened the door, revealing another set of guards who were outside and holding equipment that was undoubtedly meant for Varin. His weapons were among the things being held by one of the guards, along with a sack that probably held the bare minimum of survival gear. All Varin could think about was the shitty job these guys had to stand out here all day.

β€œVarin Zeracuse.” One guard stated. β€œYou have been accused of murdering a guard of the Yulian Military and have been found guilty of your crime. You have petitioned the crown for the right to participate in an expedition to Elidia in exchange for your freedom. Your success will be judged by the Inquisition should you return.” The guard nodded to the guards behind Varin, who unshackled him. Varin brought his hands forward and flicked them slightly to get the aching sensation of the cuffs off of them. The other guard holding the equipment handed Varin his weapons, of which he quickly went about attaching the sheathes to his person. His twin blades were adorned his back, and his warhammer was strapped to his side. With that, a sack was thrust into his hands. β€œContinue forward and gather with the remaining convicts.” The guard stated, stepping aside to let Varin pass towards the group that had already assembled. There was a slight shove from behind to get him going, but nothing more. He continued walking forward, slinging the sack over his shoulder and fixing it to work much like a backpack, sitting on top of his sword sheathes.

The rest of the group that was already outside was a motley assortment of people that Varin wasn’t sure he wanted to get a read on. One looked ready to simply collapse if someone breathed on her, another was glaring daggers into their supposed leader of the expedition, another looked way too happy to be here and the last of the group so far seemed to be nearly as defiant as the woman was. Varin should have been worried, even slightly, but he simply couldn’t bring himself to care enough about these people at the moment. He knew that the main motivation with this group would be to simply do the job and get back home, wherever home was for them. He didn’t care about their well being, only making sure he managed to get back in one piece. Varin didn’t say a word as he took up a spot beside the angry woman, adjusting his pauldron to make sure it sit just right. He lifted his face plate up, allowing his face to be shown and stared into the sky holding his mouth open. There would be no telling when he would get a decent drink of water after they left the prison, so he wanted to make sure he got his fill first.

Naturally nothing was ever calm or normal as a commotion from some guards caught his attention. With a slight snap of his head, his face plate fell down and with a satisfying click, locked into place. Off to the side was some scrawny looking man running through the Yulian guards. The direction he was sprinting towards seemed to indicate that he was trying to get to the gates to Elidia. Varin couldn't think of any reason why someone would go there willingly aside from blind patriotism such as the Inquisitor standing before them, but shrugged and actually ignored everything that was going on off to the side. He could care less if the man succeeded in whatever he was trying to do as Varin found his hands to be much more interesting, flicking his fingers against each other in an effort to pass the time.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maeve Byrne Character Portrait: Ren of Yulia Character Portrait: Mojohra Jojohrum Character Portrait: Ima Creslade Character Portrait: Varin Zeracuse Character Portrait: Ludral Character Portrait: Adella of Yulia
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#, as written by slcam
β€œEsra! Please… please just look at me. Esra! Turn around!” Ima’s voice called out, shrill with worry. Her palm slammed repeatedly against the wood of the heavy door, her face against the cold bars. She looked into the scantly furnished, cell-like room, but her eyes were fixed only on the huddled form sitting on a rickety chair. A ragged blanket covered the thin female, a blonde head visibly hunched over defeated shoulders. As Ima watched, a dark, pernicious mist descended, obscuring the sallow figure, but Ima would not be denied. She continued to bluster at the unmoving girl, even as cruel fingers pulled back at her hair and scrabbled at her arms. Ima’s breath caught as the still darkening form finally began to turn.

A gaunt, hallow-eyed face glared back at her, hardly recognizable and wasting away as she looked on in horror. β€œToo late,” it rasped. β€œWhy were you too late? Didn’t you care, Ima?” Its tone was mocking, spitting her name out like a curse. The skull-like face slumped and stilled.

Ima felt herself torn back, everything fading to darkness as she screeched a final, β€œEsra!”


Ima jerked awake, trembling as she pulled herself up with a muttered curse. She panted harshly, trying to still her nerves. It had only been a nightmare. It wasn’t real. It wasn’t real. But the fear was real enough. The Yulian bastards had Esra, but Ima had seen her only a couple days prior. She was still fine, and Ima tried hard to reassure herself that her sister would be alright. That was why she was doing this, after all. It was a crazy task, but she had to do something or be executed, leaving Esra to fend for herself. One thing those dark-cloaked Inquisitors did well was exploiting weakness, and they had Ima neatly pinned. She would do what they wanted. There was no other choice.

Ima shivered, starting to realize how cold she was. The floor was damp, rain still pouring through the narrow, barred opening that counted as a window. The grey, gloomy light revealed little of her surroundings. Still, she knew them well enough by feel. The cell was hardly three paces wide, and narrow enough that she could stretch her arms out to touch either side from where she was seated against the wall. The roughhewn stone floor was covered in the sort of detritus that one was better off not considering too closely. Now that the rain was coming in, the muck was beginning to soak through the worn piece of blanket on which Ima sat. She pulled herself up to a crouch, crossing her arms over her chest to conserve a bit of warmth. At least they had given back her normal clothing after she agreed to their blasted quest.

She clasped her hands together, her thumb slipping under her left sleeve to skim over the marking hidden on the inside of her wrist. The eye of the Lady, meant to bring luck. It had once given her a measure of comfort, but now she felt uncertain. What had Ima done to bring down such misfortune? Where had she gone wrong?

Her eyes stared at the bit of sky visible through the bars, searching the misting clouds as though they had the answers. From this angle, she could not see the wall, but it was never far from her thoughts. She wondered how long the bloody sods would take to send her off. They acted like it was going to be soon, but seemed to get a kick out of leaving her in the dark. Literally, in this case. Noise began to emanate from the hall, a loud-mouthed Inquisitor shouting out names. Each name was accompanied by the unmistakable clamor of armored guards and various amounts of fuss. Ima wearily raised to her feet, stepping over to the door to see if she could catch a glimpse of what was happening.

Looking through a narrow slit in the door, Ima could only see flickering shadows in the bright hall. After a moment, she was able to make out the form of the Inquisitor. She got a scant impression of a woman being dragged away between guards as she shouted back at another prisoner. Ima quickly lost interest and stepped back. Perhaps they would be calling her soon. She took a moment to prepare herself, to stuff down the loathing that had been growing against these cursed Yulians ever since she had been captured. It was always better to present a cool façade, hiding her true feelings. Then they could not be used against her. She took several long slow breaths, gradually relaxing her muscles until she could school her face to blankness.

Finally, she heard her name called out by that malevolent voice. She straightened as the door was thrown open. The torchlight was far too bright and she lifted a hand to shield her eyes. The guard roughly clamped a gauntleted hand around her upper arm and jerked her forward. The second guard quickly followed suit as they pulled her from the cell.

She tried to wrench away from their cruel grasp, protesting with a cold, venomous tone. β€œOy, get your filthy wigglers offa me! I can walk on my own two gams, you know.”

The iron grips on her arm only grew more painful as they bodily yanked her down the hall. She desperately scrambled to regain her footing and regained her balance before they could drag her down the stairs as well, glaring daggers at the pair. They hardly seemed to notice. The group stopped long enough for an official to read off her supposed crimes and the terms of her release into Elidia before she was pushed out into a rainy courtyard. The Midgate loomed, threatening, off to one side. Her head swiveled as she was released, instinctively seeking out possible routes of escape. There were none.

She mindlessly rubbed a hand over the bruised skin of her arm, gazing upward at the wall of Elidia. Her musing was disrupted by a gruff voice. Ima Creslade?” Her eyes flickered toward the man as he thrust a sack into her arms. Apparently the glance had been enough confirmation and he strode away without another word. Ima heard the subtle rattle that indicated her blades and picks were inside, even as she noted the hilt of her dirk sticking out of the sack.

Her eyes swept over the courtyards other occupants, noting them for the first time. None of them seemed to be especially paying attention to the small, dark-clad figure. She backed off from the group a little, crouching as if merely to adjust her boot and easing the sack to the ground under her legs. She donned a faintly mottled grey cloak onto her back first, pulling up the hood against the rain, followed by her dirk. Her attentions swept the courtyard as she flitted small throwing blades into their concealed places about her person. She felt a small measure of relief that the familiar items had been returned. Soon, various pouches and a couple sturdy daggers were joined to the belt at her waist.

Ima remained crouching, taking time to observe the others in the courtyard with a wary eye. So far, there were a couple men. One was being roughed up after mouthing off to a guard while the other, heavily armored, stood by a fiery headed woman with a sword at her waist. There was also an odd looking man in some manner of performer’s garb. Ima found something unsettling about his manner, but she was not sure exactly why. There was another woman, standing blankly off to the side, looking as thin as death. She seemed… empty somehow. Ima’s gaze moved on to the one who was, perhaps, the most interesting of the gathered group. A Yulian mage, by the markings on her attire. From the horse and bags sitting nearby, it was clear the woman would be travelling into Elidia with them. A babysitter of sorts, then? Ima looked on with a measure of contempt, wondering how long the diminutive mage could hope to last. She was the only one present with a similar stature to Ima, but her arrogant bearing made it clear she feared no threat, for now.

Ima did not waste her time glaring, instead turning her focus to counting out the rations in her bag. It was a pitiful amount, but Ima hoped she could soon supplement it. She swung the sack onto her back, out of the way of the hilt of her dirk. She remained squatting, perched lightly on the balls of her feet, content to observe. She had no desire to draw attention to herself for now. Her cloaked, still figure blended well into the bleak shadow cast by the wall of the fort at her back.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sairen Varimor Character Portrait: Ren of Yulia Character Portrait: Adella of Yulia
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Secrecy wasn’t his preferred method of doing anything. He recognized Athira’s power and importance in the pantheon, but she wasn’t his official patron. He did find peace in her time of power though and she had protected him and other refugees of the Great Church, for none of the Witches of Yulia had sought them after the Pillaging. Perhaps they assumed everyone died, which suited the young cleric well. It gave him the chance to protect all the poor orphans, most victims of the Old War, until they were grown. Entering towns for supplies were tricky, but Sairen never feared. He trusted his life completely at the hands of Tinon.

On such a supply run, he paused before the ruins of the Great Church and straightened his back. Nothing had grown on the site in the last eight years, which to him proved the blight that these Witches and Deceivers were to this land. He snarled under his breath and then immediately, closed his eyes and silenced, pushed back the fierce anger that had become his constant companion. He was not of those chosen to fight the battles of vengeance. That task fell to the warriors of Ahl and Oros. But where are they? The thought came unbidden.

Ignoring the possible consequences, he knelt down at the site to pray, pray for all the gods’ protection for his charges, and pray for guidance on what he should do now. Since it’s been eight years, more than half of those orphans left at the time of the Pillaging would be coming to age soon and it would be time for them to choose their own paths. Again anger burned in his breast. The Deceivers had taken away several of those options. No. We can rebuild. As long as there are willing hands and hearts. A peaceful smile split the thin cleric’s face and he had his answer. He stood again and looked toward Aressa and beyond that the supposedly cursed Elidia. There… There is where he must go.

That supply run was several weeks ago now. The next supply run he took for himself. The eldest three of his charges have taken up the mantle he bore for the last eight years. They would take care of their younger kin and gather supplies when necessary. The Deceivers have taken away several trade options for the youth of Miriand, but he realized that it also opened up other opportunities. Still it wasn’t enough to change his opinion of them.

Now he entered one of their strongholds in secret and pouring rain. He had to contain his rage again at the sight of at least two Yulian Witches and a criminal Inquisitor. He bit his pale lower lip and tightened his grip on the ash staff he bore. To avoid unnecessary trouble on the way, he wore a medic's coat over his normal cleric robes, because clerics were not welcome under the Deceivers’ rule.

Since he came as a medic, he would be just as responsible for the health of Witches and Deceivers as those from the other enslaved kingdoms. Witches had notorious ill health, because they tried to claim power that did not rightfully belong to them. His task seemed so much simpler when he knelt at the site of the Great Church.

Tinon and Athira. Day and Night. Sairen needed the strength of both.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kormrok Character Portrait: Ren of Yulia Character Portrait: Ludral Character Portrait: Garrim the Greater Character Portrait: Adella of Yulia
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#, as written by Raidose
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"Tho I treadeth upon shadows, I beg Ahl beith mine torch. Companion to me past such darkness. Tho I stumble from thine road, I beg Ahl beith mine sun. May light shineth upon thy path. Tho I walk solus and with fear, I beg Ahl beith mine friend. I shant be lost to wander alone. Tho I harbor sins upon mine soul, I beg Ahl beith thine mercy. In calm waters shall the blood.... .... Shall the blood leaveth thy hands. Ahmen."



It had been.... some time since the transfer. Days? Weeks? Counting the hours lost it's importance. Garrim remembered the harsh familiarity of being once more binded with iron and fastened against stone. How foolish to think the sun would last. Perhaps this would be it. This place serving as a ground of summary execution, and this promise of freedom merely another ruse from the mouth of the Deceiver. Had the Gods led him here solely for the demand of blood? Perhaps they had lost faith in him as well.... It mattered little. His fate has and always will lie in their hands. He swore oath to be their vassal, a weapon to be used and dispensed as they desired. For now, he could do naught but wait and give thanks for what few blessings had shown here. The Rats.... these were thankfully of a different sort than those he had grown to hate. They still had fear of larger beings, and had yet to develop such insidious cravings as their voracious kin. Sounds, such a lost sensation after so long. Better the rattle of chains and iron than that bleak abyss of stagnation. But of course, the greatest mercy came in a single, barred window. Well beyond his reach, but a sacred thing nonetheless. Rain was.... such a beautiful thing. When the winds deigned it, he could almost feel it's caress through his visor. No matter the filth that flowed freely from such a deluge, blessed be rain and the mercy of it's grace.

Ripples of light at the edges of his mind, the Eye of Ahl bestowed him a vision of visitors to come. No sooner had the light faded did their boots echo upon the cobbles. There would be five, as foreseen. Four guards well-clad in armor, two with blade and two with crossbow. Behind them a great blackness. A figure in darkened garb, devoid of sympathy or compassion. Iron scratched upon stone as the door gave entrance to them, with Garrim raising his head in silent acknowledgement. These soldiers held no hesitation, acting under orders to undo the manacles clamped upon Garrim's arms. Once more, he felt the burden of his own weight nearly driving him to a knee before steadying himself. He rose, shakily at first before at last with confidence. Crossbows leveled their sights on him as.... she entered. Black and silver betraying her allegiance, Garrim felt fire began to claw at his heart. Under black hood and through steel visage, their eyes locked with the intent to flay the other alive with but a glare. The hostility rose in the room to a palpable degree, with the guards finding common sense in standing back and readying arms. Though no movements were made, the Inquisitor could read the Paladin's intentions as tho scrawled upon parchment. His fists clinched, leather and battered steel creaking in complaint. Hushed invocations woven from the Inquisitor's lips, causing small wisps of anima to gather betwixt her fingers. A whirling pool of reality shaping energies forming within her palm, ready to be called forth.


The tension was finally cut when a single beam of sunlight had parted the clouds, if only for a moment. Peering through the barred window, dividing the two with a barrier of light. To these Godless heathens, such things held no importance, but to the devout of Ahl this was providence. The word of Ahl that this was not the path; that Garrim risked straying from such light. His posture relaxed, signalling no confrontation from here on. Though the guards took ill notice and remained on edge, the Inquisitor was quick to glean such and gave a silent order to lower their arms. The air, once hot and vibrant, now gave way to a deathly stillness. "Garrim Udain of former Miriand", she addressed him. Her voice was cold and slack, the words she spoke as impersonal and meaningless as a simple number to be recited from a list. A stark contrast to those she would give next. "It is your time..." she stated, her intent slithering with the hiss of malediction. Under armed guard with the cocked-and-readied bolts of crossbows at his back, Garrim was guided to the courtyard. The downpour of rain played a percussive cacophony within his helm, washing his body and agitating the many small wounds he'd begun to harbor over time. It had been long since Garrim was last reminded of what lay underneath his armour. Of the silken cloth which had likely decayed into moldy rags, held together by mildew and the scant few seams of cord which managed to stand the test of time. His chain mail possessed several links which seemed to have found teeth over the years, biting and nipping at his flesh in various places. It was almost as if the rats had never truly left him.

There in the shower of rain and mud, he saw the gathering of others who would be offered to whatever unknowns lay beyond these ancient walls, of few he took note. A warrior of Pradus, marked well by such thickened plates of master crafted steel. Garrim had never learned of what befell Pradus, and was often left to wonder. How could they have fallen so swiftly? Were they befelled by some grand deception or witchcraft? Had they been taken by such surprise that not even they, the only force which even Holy Miriand envied, could not recover? ....Had they chosen subservience? Another face caught him as familiar, less so by person as by the heraldry he bore. The Knights of Oros were well known for their aptitude and fervor in combat. In old Miriand, the Knightly orders took drafts from those who lacked the magical aptitude to join the Paladins of the Great Church. Where Paladins were deemed of too great an import to send on quests to aid the common people, it was the Knights who would take up the cause. Though Paladins were always the heralded heroes of the realm, it was truly the Knights that served as champions of the people. Their skill and strength of arms stayed a constant rival, and none more so than those under the banner of Oros himself. Perhaps if his tenements had been heeded over that of Ahl's.... Maybe Miriand could have been saved if, for perhaps only a moment, they had allowed themselves to stray from the Road of Peace and listened to the council of Mighty Oros.

Then came the image Garrim had no sooner recognized as he would have spat upon. For there are, nor would ever be, such a figure as familiar and hated as that of a Mage. Be alert, be vigilant; for your enemy, the black-hearted of Yulia, roam about as a roaring lion, seeking whom they may next devour. To have such a thing accompany him, there were scant enough curses in any tongue to fulfill such a need. Then came another.... stranger thing. Small, weak, and frail. She appeared barely able to stand, and even through the haze Garrim could make out the telltale marks of manacles and bindings upon her arms. Even among such God forsaken ranks as these, Garrim struggled to imagine what such a tiny girl could have done to garner such a fate. Rabble rouser, perhaps? No... there was something in her Garrim had learned to recognize. Even through such years of torment written upon her form, there was still this sense of the faintest touch of regality. A servant girl, or perhaps some Noble's daughter, taken away as punishment for some grievance he had caused? Regardless, she was not some humble villager. No one, not even a girl of her size, could afford to be so defenseless outside the watch of several armed guard. Whatever her origins, she most certainly had lived a cloistered life.

Finally beckoned to step forth by name, Garrim was greeted by two familiar grins. A pair of guards he had seen in service to the Warden. Behind them, a pair of soldiers hefted his Stave in presentation before the Paladin, before letting the burdensome weapon fall to the mud. Garrim gave them no satisfaction of a response as they treated the rest of his wares similarly, before finally bending knee to retrieve them. "Oi, holy man!" one beckoned just as he'd turned away. "Warden Oltson gave us word ta give ya fer you go off 'yond the walls." Garrim turned at this, offering the vaguest of acknowledgements. "He says 'may all yer Gods go with ya...." the man quipped as a rancid yellow grin claimed his face. "So's ya can all go die t'gether!" his partner added, before the two strode off bellowing in laughter. Their taunts rarely found purchase, but perhaps they held some truth in them. There were no other Paladins left. How many believers had been spared? How many faithful? Beyond the walls, Garrim knew nothing of the world under Yulian Law. Were there none left outside of prison cells?

.....Would the Gods truly die with us?

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Character Portrait: Ren of Yulia
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#, as written by Feyblue

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The rain kept pouring down, soaking through my mantle and running down my emaciated body, sending a chill all the way down to my very bones. I shivered, pulling my drenched garb more tightly around me as I struggled to stay standing on aching legs, the wind beating down on my face in icy blasts. Struggling to be heard over the noise of the storm, a man stood atop a podium, reading to each prisoner of their crimes and their sentence. Of course, it hardly mattered what the crime was. Some of these men might have been ruthless savages and enemies of the imperium. Others might simply have stolen a loaf of bread. Regardless, there was only one penalty that it was worth Yulia's time to make them pay.

Reaching the end of the line, where I stood shivering, the herald looked down at me with an air of confusion, as though unable to understand why I, wretched creature that I was, stood condemned amongst so many formidable knights and knaves. Struggling to make out the words on the drenched parchment, the ink running together in rivulets down the page, he at last determined the words of my sentence. As he spoke, for a split second, the storm grew still, the weight of my judgment resounding throughout the courtyard.

"Renevari le Frey, formerly Renevari le Murre... Your crime is your very existence!"

He stopped here for a moment, seeming confused by this, but nevertheless continued to recite the orders that had been laid down for me. "Due... Due to the threat you pose to Yulia and its interests, the High Inquisitorial Council has sentenced you to exile, with limited possibility of pardon. If you would seek to return to Yulia, you must make amends, and return unto this great nation the power which you have stolen from it. Return bearing the magic of the fallen land of Elidia, or not at all! That is the fate that has been decided for you!"

I hung my head. Now it all made sense. The Fallen Land of Elidia, said to be replete with ancient magics... Of course the Inquisition would turn their attentions to such a place as it became clear that the power of their own kingdom was waning. That was what the Inquisitor had meant when he said that I would serve as Yulia's "vessel." I was to go into this kingdom, and use my own twisted brand of sorcery to take its powers upon myself. Only then would I at last be able to be of service to anyone. And yet... more likely than not - no, almost without a doubt - I would die long before I could achieve such a preposterous feat. The fallen land was a kingdom only of the dead, filled with monstrosities and curses without end. With only knaves and fallen heretics as my guardians, how could one as hopeless as myself ever dream of surviving in such a place?

This sentence wasn't exile. It was death. And even in that death, I wouldn't be of use to anyone.

Maybe the herald, and the Inquisitors he spoke for, were right?

Maybe I really was cursed, just like the land I was about to venture unwillingly into...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kalis of Aressa Character Portrait: Maeve Byrne Character Portrait: Ayame The Eastern Swordsman Character Portrait: Kormrok Character Portrait: Sairen Varimor Character Portrait: Ren of Yulia Character Portrait: Mojohra Jojohrum Character Portrait: Gallard of Yulia Character Portrait: Ima Creslade Character Portrait: Varin Zeracuse Character Portrait: Ludral Character Portrait: Garrim the Greater Character Portrait: Callias Dimitriou Character Portrait: Adella of Yulia Character Portrait: Anai Calagrian
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Two of the soldiers of the Midgate Fort, plate clanking in the dank hallway, followed at Vesgha's heels as the Inquisitor walked, no longer alone. Her progress had caused her to be met by the tall, imposing figure of Commander Taron, head of the soldiers stationed at the garrison.

There had been a few exchanges of pleasantries. How his wife was doing, whether his youngest was recovering well from falling from a horse the week previous. Then things turned to rather more formal matters. Most pressingly, that of one of the prisoners.

"Are you certain this is the best course of action, Vesgha?" the man asked, his heavy beard bristling in the cold.
"After all of the back and forth from the Court about the applicable law.. it seems rather abrupt.. we've not even been able to prove a crime took place."

The Inquisitor did not look round, nor alter pace.
"The problem of the Aressan is not just one of justice, it's a political matter." she explained, in a very matter of fact fashion.
"The wolf thought she'd played a rather clever little game by surrendering to Yulian law and then calling a duel. We could have arrested her on violation of the codes, had that pompous fool not destroyed her sword. Killing Garech cemented her place in the consciousness of the Aressans."

The woman traced a gloved hand along the damp stone brickwork.
"Every day that story circulates around taverns and market stalls, growing more exaggerated and ridiculous with each telling. The Aressans regard that animal as some sort of folk hero. Some symbol of resistance to Yulian rule.
The people in this land are riotous and resentful. There are talks of militant groups that hope to reclaim their rightful monarch from Yulia. It is a powder keg... and either freeing or executing the knight could be the spark to light it. Allowing her to walk free makes us look weak, executing her would make us look tyrannical, unjust. This is the best possible solution. We can tell them the Knight went of her own accord, please the plebs with some story of heroics, and get this problem off our hands
."

After a few moments of walking they came to the end of the hall, where a cell sat in gloom and dark water.

For a brief moment, thunder flashed through the barred windows, lighting up off the battered steel scaling and the jagged edges of a distinctly lupine helmet.

It had not taken the knight long to reclaim their former presence.

"Kalis of Aressa, the Inquisition is here to take you up on your generous offer to venture beyond the wall." Vesgha stated, keeping an entirely straight face. Both the speaker and the recipient were well aware of the lie, but protocol was protocol.

As the guard stepped forwards to seize the arms of the prisoner, the lightly armoured for rose seamlessly to its feet.

"There's no need for that." came a level voice from beneath the visor, bouncing off the inside to give a sort of metallic quality.
"I'm ready."

The knight walked silently between the two soldiers, who walked whilst eyeing the prisoner with suspicion, each exchanging a glance with the other in an attempt to anticipate any form of trickery on the Aressan's part. It was not as if they'd not heard the stories. Heard the lurid descriptions of the mad wolf-woman hunched over the red mess of Sir Garech's skull, uniform splattered and sticky with gore and bone.

For her own part, Kalis gave no indication of any of this savagery on the walk down from the tower cell, and passed into the rainy courtyard without a word.

It was shortly after her boots had stepped out onto the sodden cobbles that a heavy metallic crash sounded out behind her.

The knight looked back to see it lying in a puddle, flung out of one of the windows where some soldier up a floor higher suppressed a giggle and pulled back in.

The bladeless sword, a hideous, heavy chunk of twisted metal that looked no worse for its fall, and no worse for years lying in the bottom of some store room. Admittedly, it would be hard to make its condition a lot worse than it already was. No sane man would ever call that thing a sword anymore.

Though clearly if she was able to murder one of their generals with it, Yulia saw it as more than adequate equipment to take on the dangers of Elidia with.

That suited Kalis fine.

The knight swept the broken sword up and rested it on her shoulder, surveying the others present through the visor of the helmet. They seemed to have gathered quite a collection. People from numerous different nations....well, now supposedly all united under the Yulian crest.

Adella had been taking stock of these assembled people too. And not too kindly. She had noted some of the looks that she was getting. Criminals. Traitors. Deviants.
And something even worse than that. Her gaze lingered on the shabby-looking figure of Renevari.
"Abominations." she muttered under her breath.
Abominations. Disgusting corruptions of her noble cause.

Caught up in giving that freak a poisonous stare, Adella had not noticed the arrival of Kalis, or indeed the arrival of the authority...well not until it spoke.

"Mage Darr, would you do the honours?" Vesgha asked, rain beading up on the Inquisitor's black hood.

Adella was pulled out of her reverie and gave a sudden, eager nod, before beginning a very brisk walk across the courtyard to the dark steely expanse of the Mid Gate.

In the centre of the gate, set about chest height for most (and a little further for the rather diminutive Adella) was a seal, some old glyph forged into a round plate that sat over the centre of the divide between each side.

The mage stood before it, taking a deep breath before extending a hand and pressing it against the sign on the the plate.
The sunken metal began to flare a strange, electric blue, and this glow began to spread out from where the woman stood, expanding in geometric lines and shapes across the dark grey surface. As it reached the edge, a low, rumbling grind let loose from the dark guts of the gate. The ground beneath the feet of those in the courtyard shook. Horses in the stables started to toss their heads and whinny in fear. The troops on the edge of the courtyard reached for their weapons in tense anticipation.

The jaws of the Mid Gate slowly, heavily, spread wide open.

Adella was left stood alone at the edge of Aressa, and opened her eyes to find herself gazing ahead into the Lost Lands.

There was no rain.

Before her, the rain simply stopped. In front was a grassy ledge, stretching some distance away, with overgrown shards of paving dotting the organic surface.

And not a hint of rain.

Sunlight peaked through the clouds in the Elidian sky.

A shiver crept up Adella's spine. Then, a sudden shout caused her to whirl around, in time to see another, an intruder of all things, dashing towards the gate.

"What on earth are you doing?!"