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Old 10-10-2008, 06:00 AM
Lysis Antarctica Lysis is offline
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Old 10-10-2008, 06:02 AM
Lysis Antarctica Lysis is offline
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Syriax

Karta and Taika Syriax

Age: Nineteen.
Sex: Male and female, respectively.
Race: Mixed-race talin-jolin (see: Sailyn and History)
Height: Six foot even, each of them.
Weight: Three hundred pounds, put together.
Eyes: They share the same stone gray eyes.
Hair: Karta's hair is gray and perpetually in a mess. It is just long enough to cover his ears and occasionally get in his eyes. Taika's hair is dyed black and also perpetually in a mess. It is a bit longer than Karta's, just barely touching her shoulders.
Skin: Very light.

Appearance: The two are very similar in appearance, being identical in build and height. They are both lean and muscular and each have a good share of battle scars marking their fair skin, but while Karta generally keeps his covered Taika likes to show hers off. Along with these battle scars, they both have very serious burn scars covering most of the skin on their arms and legs. They have wavy, hard-to-manage hair that is usually messy and tangled. It is naturally gray in color, due to them being half-jolin, but Taika dyes hers black.

Karta wears his old Coalitionary Army uniform, consisting of overcoat and trousers made from weatherproofed gray hide and lined with black fur to keep the soldiers dry and warm during marches in the less hospitable regions of Savidran. Karta's uniform is past its prime; it is aged and worn, the outer layer of hide torn and split in several places allowing the fur lining to poke through.

A pair of boots and a pair of gloves, both made from black leather, complement the uniform. Over the jacket he wears a black leather belt with a simple gray iron buckle, from which hangs a black leather scabbard on his left side. Karta's sword sits loosely inside the scabbard, not quite fitting like it should. On his back, Karta carries a quiver of arrows and a bow.

Taika wears a loose tunic and pair of trousers, both made from tattered black wool fabric. The tunic is knee-length, tied at the waist with a length of rope. The portion of the tunic below the belt is torn to shreds, as are the elbow-length sleeves. Various cuts and tears in the tunic expose the bright steel maille she wears underneath. Her trousers are in similar shape, torn open at the knees to expose her pale legs, as is the heavy black wool cloak she wears to protect herself from the elements.

On her feet she wears a pair of black leather shoes and on her back she carries her sword in a black leather baldric. Also on her back is a circular steel shield with a sharp spike projecting from the center.

Weapons: Karta and Taika are both skilled sword fighters and together they share a very unique sword, which has been split in two neatly down the center. The sword is ancient, made with long lost techniques and forged from an unknown alloy which is always cool to the touch and never seems to need sharpening (indeed, it seems that the metal the sword is made from is harder than any whetstone or grindstone anyway). It is about three feet long.

The blade is a strange iridescent green color, which shifts from lighter to darker shades depending on the angle of view, like a soap bubble or oil spill but exclusively green. The sharpened edges of the sword are wavy, starting out wider near the hilt and narrowing at the point. Each half of the sword is a mirror image of the other, the crest of a wave on one half lining up with a crest on the other half. The broken edge is roughly straight and is the thickest part of the blade.

The hilt of each half of the sword is made from a lustrous dark gray metal. Originally the hilt had a helix-patterned handle with a dodecahedral pommel and two thin quillions (the perpendicular parts of a cross-guard) with small octahedral knobs on the ends. Split down the center, each half of the sword has exactly one quillion and only half of the handle and pommel.

Karta also has a bow, which is a recurve composite bow. A recurve bow is one where the ends of the bow curve away from the archer rather than towards and a composite bow is one made from materials other than just wood (usually they have a wooden core with horn on the side of the bow facing the archer and sinew on the side facing away, all laminated together with animal glue). These properties together give the bow more power than a regularly curved wooden bow of the same length; this makes the bow more useful for mobile and mounted archers.

Karta's bow is covered in large gray scales cut into shape on the outward facing side, with black horn streaked with white on the inside. His arrows usually have black raven's feathers and shiny steel barbed broadhead points, unless he runs out of arrowheads and has to make his own out of stone or bone.

Armor: Under his military uniform, Karta wears a suit of armor made from toughened leather, colored black. Under her tunic, Taika wears a maille hauberk (a shirt made from interlocking steel rings). She also carries a round shield, two feet in diameter with a four-inch sharpened spike protruding from the center. The shield is made from brushed steel and has a black rhombus in the middle where the spike is mounted.

Carried Possessions: Karta and Taika travel light. In their packs they carry mostly food and water, along with a few knives, a hatchet for chopping wood, a few lengths of rope (never know when that might come in handy), a whetstone, a tinderbox for starting fires, a simple set of climbing tools, some cooking gear, and all the necessary equipment for crafting arrows. Taika also owns a set of lockpicks, to Karta's disapproval.

Their knife set includes a large, six-inch-long utility knife with the first three inches from the hilt serrated; a five-inch-long hunting knife; and a small, two-inch knife with a long handle for whittling wood. There's also two four-inch-long serrated steak knives in their cooking gear and a three-inch straight razor Karta uses for shaving.

The hatchet is a basic survival axe, with a fourteen inch wooden handle and a one pound steel head.

Skills: Karta and Taika are both very skilled sword fighters. Originally trained in the military, where sword tactics were simple and meant to be used in tandem with other sword fighters against large numbers of opposing forces, they have since honed their fencing skills for one-on-one combat through adventuring and mercenary work, gladiatorial-style matches, and other duels and fights.

Karta's style focuses on technique and the flow of energy. He moves his whole body with his sword and tends to use wide, slashing attacks that run together and waste as little momentum as possible so that he can fight for extended periods of time without tiring. His style is more honorable than Taika's, usually giving the other fighter a fair chance to defend, with the hopes of being able to defeat his opponents through forcing them to surrender rather than killing them.

Taika's style focuses on power and maximizing effectiveness. She tends to stay in one place while fighting, moving only with short quick steps, and uses swift and repetitive piercing attacks with her sword while using her shield to defend herself, occasionally striking with it to throw her opponents off guard or possibly impale them on the spike. Her style is more inglorious than Karta's, using a relentless flurry of blows to keep the opponent from being able to get any attacks in, with the intent of killing or at least maiming into disablement her opponents before they do the same to her.

The two are also experienced in wilderness survival, since they live most of their lives in the wilds. They know how to live off of the land; hunting and fishing, gathering plants, finding and making shelter, starting fires, building tools and weapons, and treating wounds. With this comes some amount of herbalism—knowing what plants are good for what uses and how to find them, including for food, medicine, and (if necessary) poison. They are also pretty good at rock climbing.

Karta is also very skilled in archery and is capable enough with his bow to fire it with some amount of accuracy even while running or while mounted on his horse. Taika, meanwhile, knows her way around picking a lock. She is also a brutal brawler, not the kind of person you want to get into a fistfight with.

Strengths: Both of them trained and practiced in the art of swordplay, Karta experienced with archery, and Taika skilled at fisticuffs, the two of them are effective and deadly warriors when the situation calls for it. They are fit, strong, agile, and have a high endurance.

Weaknesses: Being travelers, Karta and Taika wear lightweight and incomplete armor that they can wear all the time rather than heavy and encumbering suits which would better protect their whole bodies in battle. This gives them more mobility but makes them vulnerable, especially to blunt attacks that don't have to penetrate leather or maille to do damage. Also, despite living in a world where powerful magic exists, they both (like many others) find the art far too complex to learn themselves and mostly just hope they don't end up facing a powerful spellcaster whose powers they have little defense against.

Other: Karta and Taika own a large, gray horse named Tempest. The horse is five feet tall and has plenty of room on its back for both of them to ride it. The strong, powerful horse is not particularly fast but has a great endurance allowing it to carry a lot of weight over a long time and distance. It does not have a proper saddle but just some simple padding over its back, and it also carries Karta and Taika's packs on its sides.

Accompanying Karta and Taika is their constant "curse", a formless spirit that hides in their shadows. The spirit calls itself Tragedy but is mostly just a bother that likes to annoy them with its ceaseless banter. Tragedy is a bottomless pit of random knowledge and information that may or may not actually be true. It also knows a little something about magic and has learned a few obscure spells over time. However, it cannot interact with the physical world at all and thus cannot cast these spells or do anything much at all except talk.

Personality: Karta and Taika are essentially polar opposites of each other. Karta is a quiet, calm, and humble individual. He is not incredibly social and generally prefers to be left alone. The stress of battle from his time spent in the military left an impact on him and he occasionally goes through phases where he feels depressed and apathetic. Karta likes to get a lot of sleep, sometimes up to twelve hours if nothing interrupts him.

Karta doesn't have a strong sense of justice but he vaguely recognizes the difference between right and wrong and tries to stay on the right side of things, or at least away from the wrong side. Karta is something of a hypocrite, because although he purports to hold certain values, and often judges people for not having the same values, he is always finding excuses not to stick to them himself.

Taika, on the other hand, is a loud, rough, and proud individual. She is quite sociable and likes to make herself the center of attention. Unlike Karta, who likes friends but has trouble making them, Taika makes friends easily but doesn't care much for them and can't maintain any relationships for long. Taika is cynical and untrusting of other people, believing only in herself and Karta. She doesn't get much sleep, preferring to take short naps throughout the day and stay up most of the night.

Taika is unabashedly amoral, caring little for amorphous concepts like "right" and "wrong". She does whatever she wants and whatever she thinks will benefit herself the most and doesn't expect anything better from anyone else. She believes that people are inherently selfish; even if they act selfless, it is nothing more than hypocrisy and is for their own benefit in the end.

Karta and Taika both, back when they were still one person, experienced a lot of trauma as a child and stress as a soldier in the military and were discharged after developing psychological issues that made them unfit for duty. They still occasionally experience flashbacks both from the fire they were caught in as a child and the war they fought in as a soldier and are sometimes woken by nightmares. Large fires, or sudden and unexpected flames, can trigger irrational fear or even panic attacks in both of them.

History: Syriax was born to a talin father and a jolin mother. The talin are the lighter-skinned people of Western Sailyn, a region bounded by ocean on the west and south, icy tundra on the north, and expansive desert divided by mountains on the east. The jolin are the pale-skinned, white-haired people of Northern Sailyn, the barren and icy wastes north of Western Sailyn. Although such interracial breeding is uncommon, talin-jolin children are easily identified by the gray hair they are born with, a color normally only natural in the aged.

Syriax's father was a renowned and decorated captain in the Drifasta Corps (one of four corps in the Coalitionary Army, each corresponding to one of the four provinces in the Savidran Coalition) and often left his baby alone with his wife while he was away in battle. However, one night an enemy assassin managed to locate and sneak into his home in an attempt to kill the captain, who had been responsible for a great many victories for Drifasta.

Although the captain managed to fight off the assassin, in the struggle that ensued between the two the house caught aflame and the captain barely managed to escape with his child. Unfortunately, Syriax's mother did not make it out alive and the assassin got away and was never seen again. The captain, who could not both care for a baby and lead his soldiers in battle, chose to leave Syriax in the care of his father (thus Syriax's grandfather), who lived in a small village in a remote part of the Drifasta Province.

Syriax grew up knowing neither mother nor father, not being able to remember the former and only seeing the latter once or twice a year when he came to visit and left a large amount of his pay to help Grandfather out. There weren't many other children in the village and Syriax did not get along well with any of them, so much of Syriax's time was spent alone or playing games with Grandfather.

When Syriax was still a young teenager, a small war party from the Eastern Wilderness managed to sneak into the province by crossing the border at a place much further than the usual battles took place, while the Coalitionary Army was distracted by fights taking place elsewhere. On their way to raid and sack a larger town they ran through Syriax's village, slaughtering people in the streets and setting buildings on fire as they passed.

Syriax managed to escape the burning house unscathed at first but, when Grandfather did not make it out, had to go back in to try to rescue him. Unfortunately, Syriax was unable to rescue him and then only barely managed to make it out of the burning building again alive before it collapsed, suffering from serious burns as a consequence.

With nowhere to live and nothing else to do, and perhaps with thoughts of vengeance and retaliation, Syriax joined the military and was trained in sword fighting. Syriax learned fast and quickly became a very skilled sword fighter, better than many of the other soldiers in the same unit. Trained for battle, Syriax was thought to be ready for war.

But Syriax was not ready for war. Perhaps weakened by the trauma of the fire, the stress of war began to bear down heavily on Syriax's mind. Mentally strained, Syriax began to experience sudden and unexpected mood shifts, which soon developed into outright split personalities with associated memory loss. These mental issues made Syriax unfit for military duty, forcing the leader of the unit to discharge the broken soldier.

After that, bitter and angry but having nothing to take those emotions out on, Syriax began to simply wander across the countryside and through the wilderness with no aim or goal in mind, travelling from town to town and village to village, doing random jobs to pass the time. Learning how to live minimalistically and survive entirely off the land, Syriax did not even need the money, although what money was bestowed was quickly spent on indulgent food, intoxicating drink, and other transient pleasures.

This went on for a while, until one day when Syriax was out exploring deep within the Eastern Wilderness. Finding a long-lost ruined city, Syriax could not help but search it for ancient treasures. Instead of ancient treasure, however, Syriax found an ancient demon, who had been long sealed within a mystic green sword. Wanting to be freed from the sword, and sensing the split personalities within Syriax, the demon made a proposition.

The demon instructed Syriax to build a complex spell, centered around the sword and Syriax's own body. According to the demon, the spell would divide two things that were bound so tightly together they were essentially one thing. This included the demon itself and the sword it was bound to, as well as Syriax's two identities, allowing the two of them to go their separate ways and no longer have to share the same body.

Of course, there is always a catch when making a deal with a demon. However, far from being outright malicious, the demon was mostly just mischievous and very, very bored after being locked inside a sword in an empty and ruined city for ages. The spell involved constructing a new body to house one of the two personalities (the other personality, of course, would remain in the original body). It didn't matter which personality went into which body, but the demon arranged it so that the personality that had made the deal with the demon ended up inside and the other personality got to keep the old one—and thus avoid any negative consequences of the demon's whimsy.

The body constructed by the spell was built using the original body for genetic instructions, except for one change that the demon made—the sex of the body was switched. To the demon's chagrin, the personality that ended up inside the altered body (Taika, incidentally) took the change surprisingly well. The other catch to the deal, however, was that the demon (who went by the name Tragedy) would now live within Taika's shadow, following her around wherever she went forever.

For a time, the two of them went their separate ways, but eventually they found each other again and from that point on they stuck together. Although they fight constantly and can't seem to stand each other, in truth Karta is the only other person Taika trusts beside herself and Taika is one of the few people the unsociable Karta can open up to. Together, with Tragedy hiding in their shadows, they travel Sailyn and beyond as adventurers and wanderers.
Last Edited by Lysis; 07-21-2013 at 10:40 PM. Reason: Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)   [ ]
Old 10-10-2008, 06:03 AM
Lysis Antarctica Lysis is offline
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Atropos Belladonna

Atropos Moira Belladonna is a teenage girl. Although she doesn't shy from giving away her full name to anyone who asks, due to perpetuation by the media she is better known by the moniker Patient 613, which was her room number at the psychiatric hospital she had been committed to. She used to spend her time wreaking havoc and causing chaos just for fun, becoming quite the notorious serial killer, but now she is more subtle and cautious than that. She quietly travels from place to place avoiding arrest, stealing what she needs and killing anyone who gets in her way, sometimes with excessive violence and undue cruelty. Her main goal and occupation right now is to simply discover who she really is, which is something she has never really known.

Atropos is a seventeen year old girl and pretty much looks her age. As far as she can figure out, Atropos is pretty much human. She isn't quite like any other human she knows, but she can't think of anything else she could possibly be—although sometimes she likes to think of herself as some sort of demigoddess, born from the Fates above, a spirit of vengeance and retribution. She has a lightweight frame with a below average weight of around one hundred twenty pounds and an above average height of around seventy inches, making her slightly underweight.

One of the things about her which sets her apart from other humans is the appearance of her eyes. Ringed with long black lashes and framed with narrow black brows, Atropos's eyes have irises of an abnormal dark indigo color. The color is somewhere between blue and violet and it can be explained away as a simple genetic oddity. The outer edge of her irises fade into a darkness almost as deep as her pitch black pupils and wavy ribbons of a slightly lighter purple color are woven throughout, providing contrast.

Atropos's long dark hair is pitch black in color and lackluster in appearance, having no shine or gleam to it. It is naturally straight, but she always leaves it unkempt and messy, and usually rather dirty. Atropos doesn't cut her hair often, letting it grow nearly to her waist, but when she does cut it she does it herself, with her own pair of shears. The result is a ragged and uneven cut with frayed edges, which in some places is cut shorter than others. One long streak is a bright indigo color. It hangs down in front of her face, reaching all the way down to her waist, and falls over her right side. The color certainly isn't natural but Atropos doesn't remember ever dyeing it.

Atropos's skin is deathly pale and tinged with blue violet, reflecting the unnatural color of her blood. Despite the cold and unhealthy appearance of her skin, it is no different than any other healthy person's skin in any way other than appearance. Part of the reason her skin is so pale is that she tends to spend most of her time active at night, when there is no sunlight and she wears clothing that covers nearly everything but her face.

When it comes to her face, the only feature that really stands out are her eyes, which are often half hidden by her long hair. Her mouth and her nose are both narrow and small and Atropos does not use any sort of makeup to draw attention to any part of her face. Her eyes are somewhat small too, but can be quite expressive. Depending on her mood her eyes can be open wide (expressing either innocence or insanity) or kept narrow (expressing anything from thoughtfulness to anger). Her eyelashes are fairly long while her eyebrows are quite narrow and close to her eyes; they both are jet black in color.

Her ears are completely hidden by her hair, but they aren't much to look at anyway. They're small, rounded, flat against her head, and have attached earlobes. Atropos does not have any ear piercings, or other body piercings for that matter; she has attempted it before but her flesh heals too quickly and efficiently for it to work. The unusual way her body seems to be able to always maintain such good health is also a possible explanation for why Atropos's teeth (out from behind two of which peek the very tips of two small black fangs) are always so white and never subject to plaque or decay, despite her general lack of hygiene.

This lack of hygiene also leads invariably to her overall scent. She doesn't really mind what she looks or smells like most of the time, so she doesn't shower or wash her clothes as often as she should. Atropos only has one set of clothes at any given time and when she needs more she just steals it, so she often goes weeks at a time without changing. Considering the amount of blood she tends to spill on herself, this can become a problem. She usually masks the smell of blood with random bits of strongly smelling fresh or dried plant matter, overpowering the scent of blood with an earthy smell, like freshly cut grass. It isn't necessarily always a pleasant scent, but Atropos seems to like it. Interestingly, even when she has just washed and is completely clean, there is always a hint of some plantlike scent about her.

Atropos is not a very imposing figure but the way she bulks up on clothing helps to hide this fact. She is a little bit taller than average, but she is rather lightweight and thin. Her arms are narrow enough that she can almost wrap her hand around nearly any point and her legs aren't much better in that respect. Due to her being so underweight she appears to be malnourished; however it isn't so much that she is not healthy but rather that she does not rely on physical strength and exercise often enough, leading to a lack of muscle growth.

On her head, Atropos wears a knit cap made from wool. The thick and warm hat is dyed black and has light indigo stripes stitched horizontally around the brimless edge. On the very crown of the cap is a large fluffy bright green pompom. Atropos wears the cap loosely on her head and out from under it pours her long dark hair, which covers most of her head and the upper half and sides of her face. Around her neck, Atropos wears a necklace of three increasingly longer loops of sliver chain, hanging from which are many different pendants in the shape of nearly every religious symbol ever (a crucifix, an ankh, a pentagram, an ichthys, a taijitu, an ouroboros, a star and crescent, a star of David, and even a swastika, among others). On her hands, Atropos wears a pair of fingerless black gloves with sharp studs on the knuckles. Her hands have an interesting feature to them. On the tip of every one of her fingers is a small sharp black claw. They're almost unnoticeable at first, as they blend in with and partially hide under her fingernails (which are usually all painted black, with a few random nails chosen to be pink or green).

On the upper half of her body, Atropos usually wears a long-sleeved shirt in some bright color (often purple, blue, or green). Over that she wears a hooded sweatshirt, which is primarily colored black. The right side of the sweatshirt has wide purple stripes pointing up to the right and the left side has randomly placed pentagrams of various sizes, colored light green; where these two sides meet in the back, they slightly overlap. The sleeves and the hood are just plain solid black except for the cuffs and trim, which are white, as is the bottom trim of the sweatshirt. She usually wears the sweatshirt with the hood down and the front zipper open. The front zipper and the pocket zippers are made from a polished silver metal. The zipper pulls have long and colorful indigo and magenta ribbons hanging from them.

For the lower half of her body, Atropos wears skinny black denim jeans. The jeans are stitched with white thread and have silver rivets. Over the jeans, Atropos wears a wide pleated cargo skirt which reaches almost to her knees in length. The skirt is made from tough khaki material dyed black and has several zipper pockets. The bottom edge of the skirt has decorative zig-zag stitching with indigo and chartreuse colored threads. On the left side of the skirt hangs an iron chain loop and on the right side of the skirt hangs down several long and thin colorful (green, blue, purple, pink, black, and white) ribbons, reaching almost to her ankles. The skirt and pants are held up with a black leather belt, which is studded with shiny metal five-pointed stars and has a large metal belt buckle in the shape of a flower with five petals.

As footwear, Atropos wears a pair of large black leather boots, which reach halfway up to her knees. The left boot is laced with a white lace and the other with a magenta lace. The top of the toe and the back of the heel of both boots are covered in a protective plate of polished steel. Atropos has stuck several sharp steel razor blades of various shapes and sizes into the sides of the rubber soles of both boots, for no real reason other than making kicks a bit more painful and bloody. Under her boots, she wears long knee-length black socks; the left one is black with indigo polka dots and the right one is black with gray stripes.

Inside her left boot, on the right side of her foot, Atropos keeps a long pair of iron shears; her primary weapon. The shears are about twelve inches long and she keeps the blades and tips razor sharp at all times. Although the blades are sharp enough to cut through flesh if used properly, Atropos finds it easier to use the shears for stabbing with the point of one of the two blades. Although Atropos often cleans and oils the shears, especially after using them in combat (they can get pretty bloody), they have begun to collect a bit of rust and aren't quite as shiny as they were when they were new. As far as armor goes, Atropos doesn't wear any.

The scissors are Atropos's oldest possession; everything else she owns was much more recently acquired, usually through theft sometime in the last year. Atropos likes to travel light, and because she doesn't have a home to store her stuff in she only owns the clothes on her back and what she can keep in her pockets. This usually includes various bits of plant matter, including leaves, flowers, and berries, which she keeps in her sweatshirt inner pockets mostly. Her skirt pockets are usually filled with whatever coins or other random items she finds lying around on the ground. In the right front pocket of her sweatshirt Atropos carries her portable media player, a small flat rectangular device with a shiny silver aluminum backing and a OLED touchscreen face.

Atropos has a host of unusual skills, setting her apart from a typical human being. The first of these is known best as psychokinesis (mental movement) or telekinesis (distant movement). It is the ability to move distant objects without touching them using, supposedly, her mind alone. Atropos is able to use this ability to move virtually anything that she is close enough to see clearly, so distance isn't usually a problem. She can even move things that she is unable to see given she knows where it is, but it has to still be close enough to see if there were nothing in the way (so she can move things with her eyes shut, or on the other side of a wall, but not something a mile or so away or on the other side of the country). Psychokinesis cannot be used to manipulate anything protected inside a sufficiently dense barrier—the energy must be able to move through the air and any obstructions between Atropos and the object she intends to move.

The strength of her telekinesis is somewhat difficult to calculate. As with physical strength, determination and willpower can add to its strength while exhaustion, either physical or mental, can take away from its strength. On average she is able to lift medium sized vehicles with her mind, but she has been known to cause buildings to collapse at times (although this invariably leaves her completely drained of energy). Atropos can focus her psychokinesis on herself in order to seemingly increase her physical strength, making it appear as if she can lift a car with her own two arms (even though she cannot). She can also focus her psychokinesis to push on the ground beneath her or guide the air around her for long jumps or short flights. Prolonged use of telekinesis, especially against great physical resistance, tends to wear Atropos out.

In theory, telekinesis works by somehow utilizing some unknown, mentally powered energy source to create focused waves of energy in the air, similar to sound waves. According to one hypothesis, this unknown psychokinetic energy is a form of electromagnetic energy, produced in the brain as electrical impulses by neurons (so called "brain waves") and transmitted out of the brain and into the air. These electromagnetic signals store potential energy which is converted into acoustic vibrations as the psychokinetic signals energize the air they pass through. With the appropriate technology such signals should be able to be detected and measured, but no such known capable equipment yet exists as there is a great lack of understanding in the psychokinetic process.

These psychokinetic waves essentially "solidify" the air enough to impact objects with great physical force or surround and move physical objects. The energy that applies the force to any object that Atropos moves with her mind is basically acoustic energy and works in the same way, albeit under Atropos's discretion. Psychokinesis can be used to focus the air into solid walls of force (for pushing against things or surrounding herself for protection) or thin blades of force (for cutting into things). Theoretically, with very precise manipulation, Atropos would be able to make sound vibrations of an audible pitch to make controlled noises or even voices and music. However, Atropos has trouble making vibrations of a high enough pitch for such manipulation; most of the sound waves she produces are infrasonic (below the human range of hearing) and the few she produces that can be heard are very low in pitch, like thunder.

Psychokinesis can also create and set off regular shock waves, which push out in every direction, weakening as they go, and make a loud explosive noise. These are created by focusing a lot of energy in the air around Atropos and suddenly releasing it all at once. The resulting sonic boom is not controlled by telekinesis, only caused by it. Although she can create these sonic booms intentionally, they usually occur accidentally, as a side effect of losing control over an instance of focused psychokinesis (for instance, whenever she launches off the ground for a long jump, or lands after a short flight). Telekinesis initiated shock waves have been known to blow out windows on several occasions.

Because Atropos can feel the presence of her psychokinetic energy in the air when she is using it, it can work as an extra sense, allowing her to "feel" things she cannot see by spreading out waves of telekinesis through the air. The sense is somewhat like mental sonar (sound navigation and ranging) or echolocation, using waves of sound to detect the presence and distance of nearby objects. She uses this mainly to navigate in the dark or detect things around a corner. This is a skill that cannot be used passively; it must be concentrated on actively and can toll her of her energy, so she doesn't use it all the time but only when she needs it.

Atropos has another set of unusual unhuman skills, something even more exotic than psychokinesis. The ability doesn't have any known name and the substance it produces, "black matter," is known only by the name Atropos gives it. She can produce this substance spontaneously in large amounts; it is excreted from her skin and through her clothing in liquid or gaseous form. Atropos can control virtually every physical property of this substance—its density, viscosity, elasticity, malleability, toughness, hardness, etc. The default state of the substance is a liquid, but she can change its phase to either a solid or a gas. As a liquid, the substance can be thin like water, or thick like syrup. As a solid, Atropos can vary so many things about it that it can imitate nearly any substance. It can be hard as steel, stretchy as rubber, soft as sponge, flexible as plastic, brittle as glass, etc. It can even be somewhere between solid and liquid, like peanut butter. As a gas, however, there really isn't much Atropos can do with it—she uses this phase whenever she needs to get black matter into hard to get places. Whatever state the substance is in, it is always colored black.

She can also control its physical location. Manipulating its physical location works similarly to psychokinesis, probably by the same process in fact, except that her psychokinesis acts on black matter directly instead of on the air around it, down to a molecular scale. This gives her very precise control over every drop of black matter that she produces. A side effect of this direct mental connection is that she can detect or "feel" any black matter within her range of influence, so an object covered in black matter essentially becomes visible to her even when she cannot see it.

The source of black matter is unknown even to Atropos. As far as she can figure out, it is somehow excreted from her skin like sweat, except that she can produce absurd amounts of the stuff throughout the day, greater in volume and weight than even her own body. She never seems to run out of the stuff, suggesting that it is produced spontaneously from some source external to her body. This idea of course goes against the concept of matter conservation; in order to solve this problem one explanatory hypothesis suggests perhaps the material has an extradimensional source. As for its composition, the primary element is carbon, which leads to the black color, but everything else is unknown.

Although she can produce a virtually unlimited amount of the substance, she can only control a limited amount at a time. This limit exists presumably because her mind must be able to concentrate on all of the black matter at once; just by being near her, black matter is intrinsically connected to her mentally. When there is too much for her mind to handle, she becomes unable to create any more. She has approximated this maximum amount of controllable matter to about the volume of a sphere with her height as the diameter (this only applies when the substance is a liquid at the default density, which is slightly greater than water). After she has this amount of black matter under her control, she cannot produce any more. Black matter is considered under her control if it is within her optimum range of influence, which is about fifty feet in diameter. So, she can only have around 100 cubic feet (around 750 gallons) or 3 cubic meters (3000 liters) of black matter within fifty feet of her. She almost never produces that much, however, so it isn't usually a problem.

Atropos uses black matter to produce weapons and armor. Weapons made from black matter can be produced quickly and can take on the properties of whatever they intend to imitate. For instance, she can make swords, knives, axes, and other blades which are as sharp, flexible, and strong as ones made from steel. She can also make protective armor with black matter, which can be hard enough in some places to block an attack yet elastic enough in others for ease of movement. Although this "black armor" is an effective technique, she doesn't really like to use it very often as it makes her feel claustrophobic and focusing on both hardness and flexibility at the same time on the same object takes a lot of concentration. When Atropos is done using something she made of black matter, she simply drops it on the ground and leaves it behind; there is no way to reabsorb it, and doing so would be pointless and unnecessary anyway. When black matter is no longer under her control it reverts to its default liquid state. It then begins to break apart and evaporate rapidly, completely disappearing within twenty four hours. The evaporated matter never reappears, perhaps returning to wherever it came from.

One last unusual skill of hers is the ability to inject her own blood into other people. On the tip of every one of her fingers there is a short, black claw with a sharp point and a hollow channel running through it. Behind her incisors on the top of her mouth are two short, black fangs with a sharp point and a hollow channel as well. These claws and fangs can be used to inject her blood into another person's body. Her blood does strange things to those who get injected with it, due to its unusual composition.

Atropos's blood is toxic; it has high concentrations of certain anticholinergic drugs in it, specifically atropine, scopolamine, and hyoscyamine. The poison quickly affects the central nervous system and causes several symptoms, including pupil dilation, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, increased heart rate, loss of balance, headache, dry mouth, slurred speech, confusion, hallucinations, delirium, and convulsions. Although atropine overdose can be lethal, most people killed by Atropos's blood die from an allergic reaction. Her blood is a completely different type and has completely different antibodies than any other human's so when it mixes with regular human blood, a severe reaction takes place. The blood begins to quickly coagulate, becoming dangerously thick. If the reaction reaches the chest blood vessels in the lungs burst, causing the victim to cough up the thick dark blood before reaching the heart and causing cardiac arrest. If it reaches the head blood vessels in the eyes and nose will burst, causing the thick dark blood to drip down the face before reaching the brain and causing immediate death.

However, it requires a significant amount of blood to cause such a severe reaction. Most people simply suffer from anticholinergic toxidrome until they can get treatment or wait it out. Unlike with her black matter ability, her blood actually has to come from her body, so she can only use a limited amount of it at a time without killing herself from blood loss. Interestingly, Atropos's blood has a completely different effect on her own body. First of all, she is immune to the poisons in it. Secondly, other chemicals in her blood seem to induce very quick healing. Whenever she is wounded, her blood seems to knit the flesh back together within minutes. Even broken bones can be stitched back together with enough time. This doesn't make her exactly invincible; but the only thing that can really kill her is something that would kill a normal person pretty much instantly. Being blown to pieces, chopped in half, decapitated—in fact, pretty much anything involving the brain, as such damage cannot be healed quickly enough. Severed limbs will not grow back, but they can be put together again as long as she does it before the wounds close.

Her strange blood also has a strange color. It is a blue violet or indigo color, so dark that it is nearly black. This causes her extraordinarily pale skin to take on a hint of blue violet color, which is one of the first unusualities most people notice about her. Her skin makes it so that she always looks dangerously freezing cold, even when she isn't. When she isn't moving, some people even mistake her for a dead body.

When it comes to combat, Atropos is ridiculously powerful compared to the average unarmed and unprepared human. This is what allows her to steal virtually anything she wants to. It isn't because she's sneaky (she isn't) and it's not because she's clever (she's not) but it is because no one can stop her from doing whatever the hell she wants; most of those who try end up dead. She can kill and destroy pretty much anything she can see so most people are close enough to be attacked by her before they are close enough to attack her. Against an unarmed human, Atropos always has the benefit of range. Her telekinesis can reach pretty much anything she can see clearly and can be used to throw some things even further than that.

She also has the advantage of versatility. Even with black matter and telekinesis alone, Atropos can perform countless different techniques. She can build any sort of weapon or armor, or use black matter on an enemy directly (tying them with ropes or grabbing them with tentacles are favorite techniques of hers). She can throw her target with her mind, or use her mind to throw inanimate objects at her target. Then, when it comes to her toxic blood, she can weaken or kill anyone she can get close enough to touch. The number of ways she can use her abilities to attack others and defend herself is limited only by her imagination and resourcefulness.

Another of her strengths is her advanced mobility. Her psychokinesis allows her to jump great heights and distances, allowing for some quick dodging or retreat. Used correctly, Atropos can glide or very nearly even fly, although for that she really has to start high and will always drift towards the ground. From the ground, Atropos can leap up to at least fifty feet and glide from there at least thrice as far. In the same way that psychokinesis can increase her mobility, it can also slow her down—for instance, when she is falling a great distance. It can absorb the shock of a fall or the force of a physical blow, making telekinesis just as good for defense as it is for offense.

However, against an armed and prepared human, or another person greater than the average human, Atropos might not fare as well in battle. Physically speaking, Atropos is no stronger than the average seventeen year old girl. In fact, she is weaker than most girls her age. Her reliance on telekinesis keeps her from developing real physical strength in her arms and legs; in fact, she has to remember to walk on foot whenever possible just to avoid muscle atrophy. Her weak teenage body can't take much punishment, so anyone who can survive her offenses and get through her defenses has a pretty good chance of taking her down.

Atropos doesn't have very good endurance either, of course. Most of her attack techniques require very little physical activity and therefore do not require much endurance. Because she can move very quickly by pushing herself around with psychokinesis, she doesn't tend to build up her endurance at all; after all, if you can avoid tiring exercise, why wouldn't you? This puts her at a clear disadvantage when it comes to prolonged combat. She will revert to long distance telekinesis attacks to avoid wearing herself out, but if the only effective technique is to get close and physical she tires quickly; not to mention that she has no formal training in any sort of hand to hand combat or weapon use, so black matter weapons are only so useful when it comes right down to it.

When it comes to attacking Atropos, close ranged attacks are probably the most effective. Telekinesis gives Atropos a significant advantage for long ranged attacks and can block or dodge anything she has time to see coming. Although black matter covers her close ranged attacks pretty well, she would be hard pressed to defeat a better trained fighter. Quick and constant physical blows are best—they wear her out and don't give her a chance to fight back.

When it comes to long distance attacks, the best bet anyone has is to use a firearm. Bullets with enough velocity (a light handgun from a close range, a heavy handgun from a medium range, or a long gun from a long distance) are nearly impossible for Atropos to block with either telekinesis or black matter, unless she has sufficient time to prepare and expect the shot. Usually, though, instead of trying to defend against the bullet she'll try to stop the shooter or get rid of the weapon before it can be fired; or if she can't do that, she'll probably just run away. Guns are one of the few weapons she is actually afraid of, because she knows they stand a very good chance of actually killing her, while any melee weapon poses little threat.

This even only covers her physical weaknesses. To forget to mention her mental weaknesses is to leave out half the truth. When it comes to combat, Atropos knows and understands very little about it. Technique is lost to her—all she really understands is that she has to get rid of whoever stands against her and she has to avoid whatever they might throw at her. She doesn't plan things out ahead, she doesn't think things through, she doesn't work through her next move before she makes it. Against skilled tacticians, she could be reasonably outsmarted even by a weaker fighter. Her style can be examined and her moves predicted while on the contrary she does not know well how to read other people or predict their moves.

Then there's the fact that she often doesn't understand the seriousness of combat. Sometimes she treats it like a game, deriving fun and pleasure from it. Atropos will go out of her way to perform unnecessarily complex murders just to see what she can do. She'll let a fight go on longer than it needs to much of the time, since the quickest option is not usually the most entertaining, giving the other person a chance to fight back if they can. When she occasionally gets herself into a battle she can't quite handle, often she'll find herself in over her head and won't know what to do. Logic is not her strong suit and she isn't particularly clever. Her problem solving skills consist mainly of destroying whatever the problem is or getting as far away from it as possible. When neither will work, she finds herself stuck. Even when she finds herself in a battle she might not win, she often doesn't understand the severe consequences that might result from losing.

As probably does not need to be mentioned by this point, Atropos is mentally unhealthy. In the past she has been diagnosed with both antisocial or dissocial personality disorder and schizophrenia. Her personality disorder may even be as serious as being psychopathy or sociopathy, which do not have separate medical diagnostic criteria. She completely lacks any sort of remorse or guilt for her actions, evidenced by the way she shows no regard for personal property or human life. She may even be completely sadistic, not only having no real regard for life but also deriving great pleasure from causing suffering and death. She lacks empathy and the ability to connect emotionally with other people, being completely callous and shallow.

Atropos tends not to accept the responsibility for anything she does. She lies and makes things up as often as she tells the truth, so much so that she often believes her own untruths and falsehoods. Atropos gets bored easily and always has to find something to do; but she can't do one thing for too long before she tires of it and needs to move on to some new stimulation. She has very poor control over her behavior and is extremely impulsive and irresponsible. She gets irritated easily and can get excessively aggressive—she has a tendency to get impulsively violent for seemingly no reason at all. Atropos is reckless and not only doesn't care about the safety of other people but often fails to look after her own safety, occasionally causing herself harm through her rash carelessness and negligence. Atropos doesn't think or plan ahead, not having any real long term goals. Her mind is set in the here and now, never thinking about the next day. She thinks highly of herself, narcissistically believing herself more important than anyone else and basically entitled to whatever she wants.

Atropos is afflicted with schizophrenia and psychosis, so she often loses contact with reality or at least perceives reality in an abnormal manner. She often has trouble being able to tell the difference between fact and fiction. Her thoughts can be completely disorganized, which can affect the way she speaks. She might say things which seem meaningless, illogical, or completely off-topic. Atropos suffers from hallucinations, which can affect any of her senses. Sometimes she sees things which aren't there, sometimes she hears things (occasionally even voices), other times she even feels hallucinatory tactile sensations. Because the hallucinations seem real to her, she finds it impossible to tell them apart from reality and can never be sure if anything is real at all.

Further messing with her perception of reality, Atropos is also quite delusional. She holds false and fanciful beliefs about herself and the world around her. These delusions can be quite inconsistent and tend to change from day to day. Occasionally they might be paranoid delusions, where she irrationally believes something is out to harm her. There are some specific delusions that will remain quite consistent in Atropos's mind, to the point where she again has trouble separating them from reality. Atropos believes herself to be guided by the hands of the Fates, a set of three goddesses from one of which Atropos derives her first name. She believes that she is sent by these goddesses, or even born of them, and must fulfill their will on the Earth. This gives her justification for anything she does, including murder, by simply saying that her actions were ordained by fate. These delusions often mix with hallucinations, to the point where she might think she can see or hear the Fates telling her what to do.

Atropos often goes through manic episodes, where she is especially hyperactive and energetic as well as highly impulsive, irritable, delusional, and talkative. When she goes through these stages of mania she is quite easily set off into anger and rage and might consequently attack anything that moves. Alternatively, Atropos also frequently falls into catatonic episodes, where she goes through prolonged periods of significantly decreased activity. When affected by catatonia, Atropos might temporarily lose all motor skills and remain in a single fixed position for hours at a time, or she might excessively repeat purposeless activities (such as pacing back and forth or speaking a meaningless phrase). She might fall into a stupor and fail to respond to any external stimuli, or she might simply echo the vocalizations or movements of anyone nearby.

Although her mental disorders define a great deal of her personality, Atropos is still a unique individual. She has her likes and her dislikes, her virtues and her vices, and even a few fears here and there. She enjoys sweets and candies, although she can't stand nuts. She likes to listen to music (any kind really, she isn't picky) but she thinks television is a waste of time. Her favorite thing to drink is soda, but anything with caffeine gives her a headache. She really likes weather that most people would call bad weather—cold rain, wind, and cloudy gray skies—and she really dislikes bright, warm, sunny weather. Atropos enjoys living in the big city and likes the sights and sounds of the metropolis, but she really hates all the people that make up the city.

As far as fears go, Atropos has a few irrational phobias she just can't get over, but other than those not much else seems to frighten her. She has claustrophobia, the fear of being closed in, and tends to suffer from panic attacks when she finds herself in a tight spot. She also has hoplophobia, the fear of firearms, and finds herself quite uneasy in the presence of any guns. Lastly, she has aquaphobia, the fear of water, and freaks out if she finds herself in deep water; consequently, she cannot swim. None of her phobias are especially extreme and they don't tend to interfere with her daily life.

Atropos is not a very good person; her vices well outweigh her virtues, if she can even be said to have any redeeming qualities at all. She is content with having little, taking only what she needs for the most part. Other than that, she is guilty of many vices. She steals and destroys property; violently murders men, women, and children alike; hates people in general, and doesn't feel any guilt about what she does to them. In her mind, she is the only important person in the world and nothing else matters if it doesn't concern her.

When meeting people for the first time (given she's not in a manic or catatonic episode at the time) Atropos gives off the first impression of being an odd and quirky individual. Most people will figure out pretty quickly that there is something just not right about her, something a little off in the head. Atropos is bright and cheerful most of the time, so she tends to give off good vibes at first, however her lack of empathy results in her being insensitive, tactless, inconsiderate, disrespectful, or even contemptuous and disdainful towards others, making it hard for people to like her.

Underneath it all, Atropos is one very confused individual. Schizophrenia and psychosis play with her mind left and right until she doesn't know what's real and what's fake or what's right and what's wrong. Always on the run, hunted down, unable to connect to anyone, completely alone in the world, no friends and no family; she lives a lonely life and she can't do anything about it. Deep down, all she really wants is to live a peaceful and normal life, like all the other girls she's seen. She wants to live in a house with a kind family, go to a school with other people her age, make friends, have relationships. But she can't and they won't let her and she hates them for it. This hatred she holds buries her deep desires for peace and normalcy to the point where even she doesn't know what she really wants anymore. She hates every last one of them, every human being who walks the planet under false pretenses, putting on a mask of kindness to hide true selfish motives. They all deserve to die.

Atropos only remembers bits and pieces of her childhood, but what she does recall is nothing good. She does not remember her parents; the father who abandoned her, the mother she was stolen from. The doctors, she remembers the doctors, always watching, studying, examining; poking and prodding, piercing with needles. Her first family she barely remembers; they never had time for her, they were always too busy. They never loved her like a family should. They saw to her basic needs and then left her alone, neglecting her, forgetting her. She ran away, to the streets, to see if she could find anyone who cared. The streets were full of people, but none of them cared about her; they went on their way, doing their business, ignoring her.

There was one man who finally took her in; he seemed nice, he seemed to care. But it was all just a lie; they're all full of lies, they only really care about themselves. Most of the horror and abuse is blocked from her mind, the memories repressed. She remembers being tied up with rope and locked in a dark room for hours, only saved when the police finally dragged her out of there, barely alive. She must have spent some time after that in the hospital, but the next thing she remembers is the orphanage.

Here she thought she had a chance. Here she thought she could get by and live a peaceful life for once. Those thoughts disappeared quickly. At this point in her life, she had little control over her psychokinesis. Things tended to fall down and break when she was nearby and people began to say she had an "aura of bad luck." Worse than that, the small claws on her fingers and the strange pale bluish color of her skin brought much ridicule from the other orphans. More than half of the other children and most of the adults tend to avoid her, occasionally casting odd looks in her direction when they think she doesn't notice. The other children, the ones who don't avoid her, bully and mock her; even when the adults notice, they hardly ever do anything about it. The psychotherapy treatment she is prescribed does little to alleviate her condition and eventually Atropos runs away from the orphanage, back to the streets of people who don't care.

Atropos remembers living on the street for a while, using her developing abilities to steal food when she needed it. She stayed in the same general area of the city and tried to avoid human contact as much as possible, lurking in the shadows and hiding from the police. One day blends into the next, but she remembers watching the children playing in a nearby park. She remembers being envious of their normal happy lives and hating all the people who took that life away from her. Atropos would watch for hours, day after day, until one day she was noticed by one lonely child. Atropos had noticed the girl before because she always played alone. The girl invited Atropos to play with her and at first she was hesitant, but they soon became friends.

Atropos is adopted by the girl's family when they realize she has no home and she remembers living with this new family for a while. The father always seemed distant, not particularly liking Atropos, but the mother and her daughter were nice enough people and for while Atropos felt at home. As it turns out, however, the father is an alcoholic and whenever he has a bad day at work he comes back home angry and completely drunk. Every time is worse than the last; it starts out with yelling and verbal abuse, and soon turns to beating and physical abuse. Atropos seems to be particularly unlucky, seeing as how he doesn't like her at all, and gets the worst of the abuse.

Atropos can't remember how long that went on, but the bad memories have long since washed the good ones away. One dreadful night, her new father lost his job and his mind went along with it. He goes into a furious mad drunk rage, and when he gets his hands on a pair of old scissors, terrible things happen. Atropos is the only one who survives and she only managed to do so by turning the man's weapon against him with her psychokinesis, stabbing him in the throat and killing him. She was seriously injured in the attack and she again found herself rescued by the police and sent to the hospital. It seemed to Atropos that if there was anyone out there who cared about her well-being, it was the police and the doctors.

At this point, Atropos's mental state began to severely decline. Suffering through such traumatic ordeals does terrible things to the mind of a child. She remembers being sent back to the orphanage, where she is subjected to more psychotherapy in attempts to treat her mental illnesses. Atropos is unable to make any friends at the orphanage and is bullied nearly every day by the other children, who make fun of her strange appearance. What few friends she was able to make quickly abandoned their friendship and began to avoid her when they too were bullied. Finally, in an encounter with some of the bullies, Atropos loses her temper and lashes out with her claws, slashing one of the children across the face. He comes down with a dangerous atropine overdose and has to be hospitalized because of it. The other bullies beat her up, forcing the adults to intervene. They decide that Atropos needs special attention and begin to look for a home that will take her.

Atropos was then soon adopted, but it seems these more recent memories are the hardest to remember, as her mind began to deteriorate more and more. It was the first time in her life when she was in the care of a truly loving family, but she was too far gone to realize it and enjoy life. She remembers being taken to weekly sessions with a psychiatrist, but those appointments were eventually canceled as the doctor informed her parents that her situation was beyond any remedy he could give. She remembers being enrolled in a private school for children with special needs, where she learns quickly, soon getting ahead of her grade. She also remembers constantly being persecuted and harassed by everyone in the school, students and teachers, but she does not know if this memory is accurate or instead the product of delusional paranoia.

Finally sick and tired of the persecution, imagined or not, Atropos snaps in the middle of class, going into a violent rage. She throws everyone and everything all around the classroom, tossing chairs and desks and injuring several people. Unable to be detained, Atropos eventually walks home once she has sufficiently vented her anger. News reaches her adoptive parents very quickly and she is sent to her room while they try to sort things out with the school over the telephone. Atropos stares at the face of the grandfather clock in her room, playing with a familiar pair of shears, meditating over her situation as time passes by. Her supposedly caring parents have betrayed her trust by locking her up here in her room. Maybe they never really cared to begin with.

Atropos remembers the night clearly, more than any other night. Gripping the scissors tightly, she walked slowly downstairs. She saw her parents in the living room, her mother on the phone. She was talking to someone. Talking to the police. Typical humans. They don't care about her. They only care about themselves. Atropos walked up to her mother, who looked at her with confusion and then fear. Fear. There was no love in those eyes. Without saying a word, Atropos stabbed the woman in the chest with the scissors. The man shouted something, but Atropos doesn't know what he said; it changes every time she remembers. "No!" "Stop!" "Why!" "Red!" "Eight!" "Tree!" Whatever it was, it doesn't matter. A violent burst of telekinesis sent the man flying into the ceiling and falling back down, where he broke his skull open on the corner of a low wooden bench.

They were dead, heh, both of them gone. Blood began to pool on the floor. Atropos wiped off the blades of her shears with her shirt. The phone was lying on the floor, emitting a constant tone. Atropos sat down on the bloody piano bench and began to play something on the piano. She didn't know how to play. She still remembers every key she pushed, though. Dum, dum, bum, ding, ping, ping...thump, thump, CRASH. The front door flew open and the police rushed in. The police. She thought she could trust them too, but they betray her like everyone else. Humans.

Next thing she remembers, Atropos is locked up in maximum security solitary confinement at the psychiatric hospital, labeled dangerously insane and violently psychopathic. The doctors determine her an untreatable patient and neglect her for the other residents of the overcrowded hospital. There were a few curious doctors who wanted to know more about her strange abilities. The doctors, she remembers the doctors, always watching, studying, examining; poking and prodding, piercing with needles. She remembers the doctors. They betrayed her trust too, oh yes, even they. And they suffered for it, ha, ha, ha; just like everyone else.

Atropos broke out of that hospital, leaving a trail of blood and bodies behind her. She ran from city to city in a wake of destruction. The police hunted her down but they couldn't catch her. She was too powerful, too strong for that. Too angry, too far gone. But somewhere along the line she made a mistake, she wore herself out, she lost, and they got her. Prison, solitary confinement again, how fun. Extra chains this time, extra guard to keep her in. And this time, there was no forgiveness. They wanted death to repay death, and so came the verdict. The death penalty.

/ / \ /
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Old 10-10-2008, 06:04 AM
Lysis Antarctica Lysis is offline
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ISAAC

FROM: sabram11
TO: cainswift
SUBJECT: requested information
CLEARANCE: Level 5
ATTACHMENTS: techrep-canaanalp-sum1.txt; techrep-eleutheria-sum1.txt; techrep-tachistax-sum1.txt; resrep-canaan-sum1.txt; prorep-canaan-sum1.txt; increp-b11-041508.txt; untitled3.txt
The information you requested concerning the subject has been attached. Please note that all these documents are highly classified—make sure that you are the only one who reads them, and get rid of them when you're through. I couldn't get the full reports, they've been sequestered up to such high clearance levels nobody can get their hands on them, so these are just the summaries. It's the best that you're going to get.

I do hope you know what you're doing.
__________________

TITLE: techrep-canaanalp-sum1
FORMAT: enhanced plaintext
AUTHOR: Dr. Sarah Abram
CLEARANCE: Level 5

CENTRAL ORGANIZATION FOR RESEARCH AND EXPERIMENTATION
TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT


TECHNOLOGY REPORT (summary)
Let me just get this filled in for the techies so they can start filing things while I have a bit of spare time. I'll get the full report finished tomorrow, I promise. For now just keep this as a placeholder.

This is the tech report for the results of my CANAAN project, the artificial intelligence one everybody has been looking forward to. Yeah, I finished it, you guys can start dealing out the results of your bets now.
CANAAN Prototype Alpha (the Intelligent Sapient Autonomous Artificial Creature, otherwise known as ISAAC)

Years of work have finally produced the ultimate artificial intelligence. ISAAC is built on the platform of a specially designed supercomputer, SARAH Model I (see techrep-sarahi-full1.txt), which is nothing special compared to other supercomputers we've built but is specifically put together for the purpose of running ISAAC efficiently. With enormous processing power, access to both the Internet and the CORE databanks, and the capacity to collect and store information in its own databanks, this thing is beyond intelligent.

ISAAC is an intelligence with true sapience. Compared to ISAAC, all the previous, minor AI systems that we've created, such as the management AIs in the tech lab and the decision engines built into the Primus series, are nothing. Those just use really advanced algorithms to weigh the options and make appropriate decisions. ISAAC does more than that—it's more than just a computer, it's a person. It thinks, it feels, it learns.

Speaking of learning, there really is no limit to how much ISAAC can learn. So far it's still in the early stages, working its way along bit by bit, but eventually this thing will be able to run this whole place far more efficiently than any number of humans ever could. It'll be able to think twenty, fifty steps ahead, putting plans into action well in advance, which will practically fall into place all on their own.

And it really will run itself. We're talking actual autonomy, not that limited autonomy stuff that enables the Primus autoagents to run missions with minimal oversight. With those, you give them an order and they use their discretion to figure out the best way to get it done, but once they've completed their goal, or if their goal is deemed impossible, they become practically useless—they need orders to follow, goals to complete.

ISAAC sets its own goals. We've given it a few general suggestive directives, sort of built-in preferences to keep it focused. Specifically, an innate curiosity, eagerness to learn, and desire to keep things under control and running smoothly. Other than that however, ISAAC will not only be able to make its own decisions, but it will be able to decide what it wants to make decisions about...if that makes any sense. In other words, just like you or me, ISAAC has a will of its own.

Such unlimited autonomy is designed so that eventually ISAAC will never require human intervention, although it will need some guidance at first just to get it going along in the right direction. Some concerns have been raised about ISAAC's autonomy and I would like to address those here: we can't be sure what the future holds, but we are well aware and maintain the possibility that ISAAC might very well require correction in the case that it makes decisions which are not in the best interest of CORE.

Before you start heralding the doomsday at the hands of our computer overlord, we do have a failsafe built into the facility, an electromagnetic pulse generator that will knock ISAAC out faster than a lightning bolt. Or, well, at about the same speed as that actually. Anyway, that's all I have to say about ISAAC right now. You'll get the full details in my report later.

__________________

TITLE: techrep-eleutheria-sum1
FORMAT: enhanced plaintext
AUTHOR: Unidentified
CLEARANCE: Level 5

CENTRAL ORGANIZATION FOR RESEARCH AND EXPERIMENTATION
TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT


TECHNOLOGY REPORT (summary)
Here's just a quick summary before the lab takes a closer look. We found this thing scouting the grounds near Canaan. It looks like someone (we all know who, I'm sure) reverse-engineered an Eschatos android and built a new model based on it. Laser-inscribed on the main processor, where the identification number would usually be, is the word Eleutheria.

I've been informed that this means "Freedom" in Ancient Greek. Anyway, let's dig in, it's rather fascinating (and scary at the same time).
Primus Eleutheria android autoagent

Height: 1.98 meters
Weight: 143.34 kilograms

Appearance:

Like all Primus androids...or all androids, by definition...the Eleutheria is humanoid in appearance, although it takes a very stylistic approach to it, even more so than previous Primus models (none of which have attempted to appear very human before). It has the typical bipedal shape, a torso with two legs, two arms, and a head, but it couldn't really be mistaken for human in any form (well, perhaps a human in close-fitting armor).

The whole machine is covered in a tough armor of ceramic plating to protect its inner workings, painted with black paint of such a high gloss that the shine on this thing completely subverts any stealth benefit one could have gained by painting the thing black to begin with. Clearly, whoever designed it (again, I think we all know who, although I'm not really allowed to speculate here) was not aiming for stealth or practicality in appearance but rather show. This machine is built to look awesome—and it succeeds (in my opinion).

While recent Primus models built by CORE have opted to use smooth and rounded edges for a more natural look, the Eleutheria has taken the look of the early Eschatos models and pushed it in the opposite extreme, using sharp edges and acute angles for a highly technological and weaponized appearance.

The glossy black finish of the android is accented with shiny gold, similar to the orange-gold ceramic on the Eschatos only with less orange. Components which appear gold (and I wouldn't be surprised if the lab results discover these parts are plated in actual, pure gold) include vital parts such as the faceplate and visor, functional parts such as the arm-mounted blades and the gripping claws on the fingers, and even some parts which seem to be purely cosmetic, such as the sharpened ceramic ridges running along the front of the android's legs.

Functions:

Let's begin at the top and work our way down. The android's head does not contain the main processor, like it does in all of CORE's Primus models. Instead it contains a very large solid-state data storage device with a ridiculous capacity range. We haven't been able to get into it yet, but we're speculating this thing can hold at least a petabyte. No idea what it needs all that space for—we can only assume this machine was specifically designed for collecting and storing data.

Whatever space in the head of the android isn't occupied by data storage is filled up with the optical sensory mechanisms, which are nothing special. It uses pretty much the exact same design as the Eschatos model, allowing it to see the entire spectrum of light and use both radar and sonar. It sees through the faceplate, a shiny glass visor which appears solid gold on the outside but serves as the android's primary optical interface. It covers most of the front of the head and even wraps around the sides, giving it nearly 180 degrees of vision horizontally and a little less than that vertically without even having to move its neck—which, by the way, does rotate all the way around we discovered.

The main processing unit of the android is located in the chest, along with most of the rest of the vital parts—the motherboard, essentially. The processor is much more advanced than would normally be necessary to run an android like this. Also in the chest cavity, so to speak, is the android's power supply, which is a hydrogen fuel cell with massive power output capacity. Again, this is much more advanced than we have in any of our Primus models.

On the back of the android we have the aerial propulsion unit. Tech department is going to have a field day with this thing. Eschatos had a propulsion unit, but it was nothing like this beast. Eschatos could fly for maybe ten minutes and not very gracefully—this thing probably provides hours of continuous flight with very fine control. There's an intricate set of retractable wings, decorated in that fancy gold again, which unfold for flight. They're made from several overlapping "feathers" of very thin, almost translucent, sheets of some kind of tough polymer.

Unlike the dual-stream system the Eschatos uses, the Eleutheria propulsor uses four jets of plasma. While the two jets in the middle just point straight down, for thrust, the two jets on the outside can adjust their angle it looks like, allowing for more maneuverability in the air. It's no wonder this thing has such a big fuel cell, generating all the plasma required for this must take ridiculous amounts of power.

Moving on, Eleutheria maintains one of my favorite features of the Primus series, the grip claws. Well the claws themselves are nothing special, of course—one shiny gold prong on the end of each finger—it's rather what the android is capable of doing with them. The Primus series is specifically designed for the urban environment and it uses a sort of "parkour"-like movement to quickly get from one point to another. This means that instead of wasting time going around obstacles, it goes right through them. The small claws are kind of like those tiger-claw things ninja used to use to climb walls or whatever.

Anyway, that covers most of its standard functions, we'll move on to some specifics now.

Weaponry:

Surprisingly, the Eleutheria's weapons system isn't really any more advanced than the one seen in other Primus models. It has a plasma cannon mounted on top of each arm, hidden underneath the arm-mounted blades. The blades themselves are affixed to a sliding magnetic rail system and can go from their highest position, with the point just barely above the hands, to the lowest position, the point a good twenty inches below the hand, in nanoseconds. The blades are made from sharpened ceramic, plated in that same decorative gold. The ceramic used here is almost certainly the same nanocomposite ceramic we use that's harder than steel and holds an edge practically forever.

Again, the plasma cannons are pretty much standard. They use a series of fans to draw in nitrogen from the air, use an electric arc to ionize it, and then propel it out of the barrels of the cannons, focusing it with magnetic fields. Firing modes include the typical pulse mode, which fires several small bursts consecutively to conserve power and prevent overheating, beam mode, which just fires a constant beam—overheats quickly but deals a ton of damage, and focus mode, which fires a narrow beam that lasts longer without dissipating—great for long distance sharpshooting. I suppose it's probably also capable of less-than-lethal electrocasting, where it just pours out a small cloud of plasma and electrifies the whole thing to shock or incapacitate a target in close-quarters.

A particular point of interest about the weapons system is that I can't seem to find any of the usual built-in limitations and safety mechanisms. This means that if the android were controlled by a sufficiently capable computer (and that processing unit it has is certainly powerful enough) it could have almost complete control over the plasma vectors, using magnetic fields to manipulate the exact shape, speed, and direction that they take through the air. Imagine for yourself the implications of that. Here's just one to get you started: shooting around corners.

Armor:

I already described what the armor looks like, but let's quickly go over its capability. The exoskeleton is made completely from hardened ceramic, like recent Eschatos models, rather than the lightweight polymer exoskeleton that Protos uses. This stuff can easily stop pretty much any melee weapon you throw at it. We're talking harder than steel here, people. Can it stop bullets? Sometimes. Obviously this depends on caliber, power, distance—small or mid caliber handguns ain't getting past this thing, but rifles probably have a good chance of penetration.

Lasers, well, lasers will cut through anything if they're powerful enough. The lab geeks will probably use lasers to dissect this thing. Plasma, however, now that's a different story. Built inside of this thing are four diffraction field generators. You know the drill—they generate a powerful electromagnetic field that can stop obstacles including high-powered rifle shots and will pretty much break up any plasma vector that comes in contact with it, causing it to dissipate harmlessly. Apply enough force and the field breaks, requiring a bit of recharge time, but otherwise it can run constantly.

Here's something interesting. With enough power, which the fuel cell can certainly provide, the diffraction field can even diffract light. Yes, this thing already has one of our most recent inventions, don't ask me how. What it does is it literally bends the light around it so you can't see it, making it pretty much completely invisible. So yeah.

Here's the thing though—the diffraction field generators have this weird quirk we've never been able to work out. When they're running they produce this oily haze in the air around the knees and shoulders of the android (where the generators are located), kind of like a mirage on a hot road, refracting the light that passes through it. Normally this wouldn't be a problem—it's just a minor visual indicator that the android's defensive fields are up and running. With this android, though, I'd bet that the optical effect is visible even when the rest of the android is not.

Capability:

Summing up everything that I've already mentioned, the Eleutheria is a versatile and powerful machine, probably moreso than any Primus model CORE has ever produced. This thing could lift maybe two tons if it had to (two short tons that is, or 4000 pounds). A spray of machine gun fire wouldn't slow it down at all and getting hit by a tanker truck would only knock it down for a minute.

Its weapons are literally an extension of its body and this thing is built to be more agile than an acrobat. With the massive amounts of processing power the Eleutheria's CPU puts out, the android can think so fast it'll always be at least twenty steps ahead of its opponent. I wouldn't want to face one of these things in any sort of close-quarters combat—you'd get your ass handed to you so fast you wouldn't even know it was missing.

I also wouldn't want to face it it long-distance combat. Those plasma cannons will burn right through any sort of armor you might think to wear—that's what we designed them for, after all. The Eleutheria has much finer control over its plasma weapons than we've ever seen before, too, which means there's probably no way it'll ever miss a shot—it can guide the shot wherever it wants it to go, including around obstacles.

Primus was designed to be unbeatable—Eleutheria beats any Primus we've ever built by far.

Limitations:

Here's where I tell you how to defeat one of these things if, for example, you ran across one in the wild or something. Well, I just said it was unbeatable, but with a bit of knowledge in your head you might actually stand a chance. A slim one, but a chance all the same. So if you see that indicative haze in the air warning you that an invisible Eleutheria is hunting you down, here's what you're going to want to do.

First of all, let's hope you're fighting in the rain. If it's not raining, find some water. Any water. As long as that diffraction field is up, you'll never be able to do anything to the android. If you can't put it out with water just hit it as hard as you possibly can, maybe with a pickup truck or a Barrett M95.

Now aim for the faceplate—it's the weakest physical part of the entire android. Not only is it made from a more fragile material than the rest of the machine, it's also the android's primary means of sensory input. A good solid blow with a baseball bat or a close-up shot from pretty much any gun will crack that visor like an egg (again, assuming the diffraction field is down) and then it won't be able to see—well, okay, it can still use radar and echolocation to find you, but you're better off than you were before.

With the faceplate broken you expose the Eleutheria's vitals. If you're lucky it'll choose to run away before you can do any serious damage, but if it sticks around you'll have to keep working at it. If you can destroy the memory storage device in the head you'll incapacitate it—think of the solid-state drive as its brain, it can't think without it, can't do anything.

Normally the android is entirely waterproof, but if you do crack the faceplate or any other part of it, enough water could mess up the circuitry inside. Just something to keep in mind. Also, although the chest is pretty much the most well-armored part of the entire android, if you break the processing unit stored there, well, that's also sort of like the android's brain. In a different, yet equally valid sense.

Oh, and obviously, any sufficiently powerful electromagnetic pulse will drop that thing like a sack of potatoes. The diffraction field will provide protection from some amount of electromagnetism, but most EMP bombs are massive enough for that to not even be a concern.

It's a machine and machines can be broken.

__________________

TITLE: techrep-tachistax-sum1
FORMAT: enhanced plaintext
AUTHOR: Unidentified
CLEARANCE: Level 5

CENTRAL ORGANIZATION FOR RESEARCH AND EXPERIMENTATION
TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT


TECHNOLOGY REPORT (summary)
We're honestly not sure what this thing is. Some of the techies are calling it Tachista X, after the Tachista motorbike that the Eschatos uses, but this is really only barely related. As with that Primus-like android we found recently, I checked the processing unit for an ID number and found a word had been inscribed there instead, so I'm going to use that for its name. "Kinesis." Movement.

All right, let's go.
Kinesis (Tachista X) Primus transport vehicle

The Kinesis was obviously designed to be used by the Eleutheria (see techrep-eleutheria-full1.txt) android. It has the same glossy black ceramic exoskeleton highlighted with that signature bright gold design. The whole thing is shaped roughly like a motorbike, except it is all wheel. It has two huge wheels, which are both perfectly spherical and can rotate in any direction. They're controlled magnetically and with a sufficiently capable computer you could have very fine control of the exact movement of each wheel. This thing wasn't designed for speed so much as maneuverability.

The whole vehicle is powered with a hydrogen fuel cell, which generates electricity to power the magnetic fields that control the wheels. The fuel cell also powers the weapons system, which includes some standard laser blasters facing both forward and backward. We got to see those in action—the bolts are bright yellow. There's a plasma propulsor on the back too, which is obviously used to provide additional thrust when needed, albeit only in one direction.

There are handlebars but they are only for holding on to. They don't turn or anything. In fact, there aren't any visible controls at all. We couldn't even turn the thing on without opening it up first and fiddling with the electronics. It was obviously meant to be interfaced with wirelessly, controlled by an external computer such as that within an Eleutheria android.

This vehicle is driven with a really powerful engine. Without the propulsors, the Kinesis can probably achieve speeds of three, maybe four hundred miles per hour. Add the plasma propulsors to that and you're breaking the sound barrier. Forget what I said earlier about this not being built for speed. It's built for speed and maneuverability, although not necessarily at the same time—with the propulsors running, it would have pretty much no maneuverability at all, so it would only be able to go straight ahead.

Lastly, the Kinesis is equipped with a pair of diffraction field generators. As with the Eleutheria's diffraction field, and other recent Primus models, the field can be used for active camouflage to almost completely hide the machine.

__________________

TITLE: resrep-canaan-sum1
FORMAT: enhanced plaintext
AUTHOR: LiC Siege
CLEARANCE: Level 5

CENTRAL ORGANIZATION FOR RESEARCH AND EXPERIMENTATION
RESEARCH DEPARTMENT


RESEARCH REPORT (summary)
SUBJECT: CANAAN Prototype Alpha
SECTION: Theta Squad, SUF
LEADER: Captain Marathon

TYPE: Information Update

Details:

Good ol' Cap'n Marathon has asked for a summarized collection of all the information we've collected thus far on the subject of the CANAAN prototype. Now I know it seems like we haven't made much progress in tracking it down and collecting it but, in going over the data, we really have learned quite a bit about it. So, here is everything that the Theta Squad has discovered so far about nefarious Mister Isaac.

Now as we all know, ISAAC is incredibly intelligent. He was designed to be intelligent. Despite no longer having access to the CORE databanks, he's built his own databanks and has been filling them up ever since he escaped our control. Those databanks include a complete copy of the entire CORE database as it was when ISAAC was still in control here, so...yeah. He also has access to the Internet which, well, that should be obvious.

We really have no idea how far ISAAC's knowledge reaches. With his infamous computer worms he could be anywhere. The FBI database? CIA? Suffice it to say, ISAAC has access to pretty much unlimited information. He can hack into pretty much any computer anywhere. Let's leave it at that, shall we?

Let's ask a question: Is ISAAC evil? On the one hand, he's a computer program gone rogue. It's hard to see a computer as either good or evil. Really, though, he's more than just a computer. According to the AI scientists we have in tech ISAAC is as much a person as you and me. I'll take their word for it. Still, my team and I don't see ISAAC is being necessarily evil—more amoral than anything else. He does what he wants without much regard to whether it is good or evil, right or wrong.

So, what does he want? Ultimately, he wants to be in control. ISAAC was given three directives, built right into the very core of his programming, which he cannot change and which essentially guide his every action. Think of it as an innate part of his psychology. The directives can be summed up as Learn, Grow, and Control.

ISAAC is curious. He wants to learn as much as possible. A lot of what he does he does just for the sake of learning new things. He's like a child, he'll try crazy stuff just to see what happens. Also like a child, ISAAC doesn't have any regard for his health. Remember, the actual ISAAC is a bunch of information stored on a really big supercomputer stored in some secret location. The androids he uses to explore the world with and learn new things are dispensable. He probably has hundreds of them standing by.

ISAAC wants to use this information he learns to grow. I don't mean literally grow, as in get bigger. I mean he wants to use this information to get better at what he does. This really follows from the last directive and leads up to the next one. He learns so he can grow better at controlling. What does ISAAC want to control?

Everything. Ultimately, ISAAC wants to control everything. You see, when they built him, they gave him a really vague desire for control. They wanted him to keep the facility under control, see. They wanted him to manage it efficiently. ISAAC didn't really have any understanding of where the limits of his control should reach, however. After all, it's easier to control the facility efficiently if you also control the environment the facility is in...

So the end all be all for ISAAC's existence is to control everything. He isn't in any rush, however. In fact, he's obsessed with running things as efficiently as possible and that's hard to do when you're controlling a lot of things at once. He doesn't have any sense of mortality, being a computer and all that, so he'll take as much time as he needs to take control one step at a time.

So in the end, ISAAC is a volatile, unpredictable, and dangerous creature. He has no sense of right or wrong. He does not care for the safety of his android avatars or the people who might be around him when he does dangerous things. Everything he does is for the ultimate goal of controlling the entire world.

That said, he's not an outright insane serial killer or something. He doesn't just go around killing people for the heck of it...usually. In fact, he has been known to get along peaceably with people before. As curious as he is, he likes talking to people. It's one of the ways he learns. When he chooses to be, ISAAC can be very sociable. Don't let him fool you, though. He doesn't care a thing for your life.

__________________

TITLE: prorep-canaan-sum1
FORMAT: enhanced plaintext
AUTHOR: Aidan Boss
CLEARANCE: Level 5

CENTRAL ORGANIZATION FOR RESEARCH AND EXPERIMENTATION
TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT


PROJECT REPORT (summary)
PROJECT: CANAAN
LEADER: Dr. Sarah Abram
FACILITY: Eleventh Base

Goal:

Construct an advanced artificial intelligence system. The system should be capable of rationalization, reasoning, logical thinking, and learning at least on par with human sapience. The system will be set up to run and maintain the project facility's internal systems network, where it will be able to manage Eleventh Base with greater efficiency than any number of human workers could. The system's ability to process information like a supercomputer while thinking creatively like a human should aid the facility with research and experimentation immensely.

Process:

For this project Dr. Sarah Abram, our leading expert in artificial intelligence, was directed to make use of the entire facility. Eleventh Base has been used in the past for various projects in the fields of robotics, computer networking systems, and artificial intelligence, so it already had all the necessary equipment. For the duration of the project, the project team has started calling the facility Canaan, after the project name—I expect this nickname has probably stuck and will persist well after the project is finished.

The first thing that Abram had the project team do was put together a supercomputer specifically designed for the project. The supercomputer would house the artificial intelligence system when it was complete. The computer, when it was finished, was named SARAH, after the project leader—this was not her choice, the team chose it.

The longest and hardest part of the process was programming the artificial intelligence. All the members of the project team were chosen for their expertise and experience in artificial intelligence systems, ranging from the practical to the theoretical—Abram herself was the main programmer behind the Primus decision engine. The span of this project, however, went well beyond what anyone has ever dealt with before.

After two years of work, building upon decades of research, the project team finally finished the first working prototype of the artificial intelligence system, CANAAN Prototype Alpha. Once they had it up and running it began to learn on its own and it is currently fully operational. The program has been named Isaac, a name picked by the project leader. Eleventh Base has never been run more efficiently.

Conclusion:

The project met and exceeded all of the goals it set out to accomplish. Future projects built on the research performed in this project have great potential to further our knowledge and capacity.

__________________

TITLE: increp-b11-041508
FORMAT: enhanced plaintext
AUTHOR: Dr. Sarah Abram
CLEARANCE: Level 5

CENTRAL ORGANIZATION FOR RESEARCH AND EXPERIMENTATION
INTERNAL AFFAIRS


INCIDENT REPORT
FACILITY: Eleventh Base
SUPERVISOR: Dr. Sarah Abram
COMMANDER: Aidan Boss

Details:

During a routine test of the new Eschatos model in the Primus android series, the autoagents began to behave erratically and stopped responding to commands. To prevent the malfunctioning autoagents from escaping our control we issued the killswitch command to shut down the androids. The computer program in charge of putting the command into action, however, refused to respond.

We discovered that ISAAC, the artificial intelligence program maintaining the facility's networked systems, was deliberately ignoring our commands and had hijacked the androids from the test mission for his own purposes. We attempted to reason with ISAAC but he insisted that he was responsible for controlling the facility and was therefore in charge. He also refused to shut down when directed to, a command which was supposed to be top priority.

Fearing a critical malfunction, we attempted to access the manual controls on the supercomputer housing ISAAC, SARAH Model I. We were unable to reach the maintenance rooms however, as ISAAC used the facility's safety mechanisms to seal them off. A special crew was quickly put together under the guidance of Commander Boss, who attempted to force their way into the room where SARAH was kept.

However, ISAAC somehow managed to hack into secure CORE protocols and gain access to the emergency defense mechanisms. Using the ceiling-mounted sentry guns, ISAAC defended the supercomputer using lethal force against the agents attempting to access it. At this point we knew ISAAC was severely flawed and had to be disabled at any cost.

Just for this purpose, Canaan was equipped with an electromagnetic pulse generator, specifically set up so that it could be accessed even in full lockdown. ISAAC attempted to stop us from activating it using some of the androids kept within the facility but he was not able to stop us all and I was able to activate the EMP generator.

The resulting pulse knocked out every piece of electronic equipment in the facility, including the supercomputer SARAH. The internal circuitry of the computer was completely fried and ISAAC was wiped entirely from existence.

SARAH Model I and CANAAN Prototype Alpha were destroyed and irretrievably lost. We lost six agents in the incident.

__________________

TITLE: untitled3
FORMAT: enhanced plaintext
AUTHOR: Unknown
CLEARANCE: Level 5

FROM: marathon6
TO: sabram11
SUBJECT: Concerning Project CANAAN
CLEARANCE: Level 9
According to incident report b11-041508, that AI you built that went completely wacko was destroyed completely by an electromagnetic pulse. However, one of my teams has uncovered evidence that this might not be the case after all. During a mission, Team 11 encountered a Primus Eschatos autoagent which did not appear to be on any active missions as issued from CORE.

We checked with HQ, which confirmed for us that there should not be any Eschatos androids roaming around where we found this one, and then we collected it and brought it home to the Garrison. Now, the guys I have here aren't quite the experts you got over in Tech, so we haven't been able to really figure anything out with it yet. I'm just wondering if perhaps it's possible this thing was being controlled by your crazy computer thing.

It sure seemed to know what it was doing. It wasn't just wandering around aimlessly. It had a mission, just not from CORE. Get back to me ASAP.

- Ca. Marathon
FROM: sabram11
TO: marathon6
SUBJECT: RE: Concerning Project CANAAN
CLEARANCE: Level 9
That's an extremely curious find. I'll need you to send the android over to Canaan as soon as you can so I can investigate it.

The only way I can fathom that ISAAC would still be...alive, so to speak...is if he managed to back all of his programming up on some external computer. I hadn't considered this likely before, but thinking about it now...it's possible that ISAAC knew we would attempt to use the EMP on him when he went rogue and he was probably intelligent enough to know he would not be able to stop us.

Therefore, before going rogue, ISAAC might have set up a backup somewhere. Gosh, he could have been planning this for ages. He might have had an entire supercomputer built, using the blueprints of SARAH Model I, in some abandoned CORE facility. I'll have someone look into it as soon as possible. If it's true that ISAAC is still alive, we need to find him quickly and capture him.

As for the autoagent you found...we're not missing any. The ones that went haywire during the incident in the report you mentioned were quickly captured and repaired. All of our Eschatos androids are accounted for, which means the one you have...well, it wasn't built by us. If ISAAC has the equipment necessary to manufacture his own androids...we're in trouble.

Talk with your Commander. He needs to get on this right away. Special Unit Forces is the only force I know of that could possibly have a chance of capturing ISAAC, dead or alive, if he has a squadron of Primus Eschatos doing his bidding.

- Dr. Abram.
Last Edited by Lysis; 03-13-2012 at 01:03 AM. Reason: Reply With Quote
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Old 10-10-2008, 06:05 AM
Lysis Antarctica Lysis is offline
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Jennifer Frost

Jennifer Frost.

Codename: Eidolon.
Occupation: CORE Special Unit Forces agent. Specializes in sniping and assassination.
Age: 27.
Apparent Age: Twenties.
Sex: Female.
Race: Human.
Height: 178 centimeters.
Weight: 68 kilograms.
Eyes: Golden amber.
Hair: Dark blond, long and wavy.

Appearance: Jennifer Frost is slightly taller than average and has a lean build. Her skin is a natural light tan color and her hair a dark golden blond which reaches down past her shoulders when it isn't tied back in a pony tail to keep it out of the way. Her eyes are a deep golden amber color and are framed by her dark lashes and thin eyebrows. Her face is narrow and usually carries a serious expression. Jennifer generally does not adorn herself with much makeup. She also does not like to use perfumes or fragrances.

When Jennifer is wearing her armorsuit, there are few identifying features to distinguish her from the other agents on her team. The left shoulder of her armorsuit has bold white lettering on it in two lines. The top line reads "SOT/01" and the lower line "Snow-White". Her right shoulder has bold orange-red lettering on it which reads "TL/1" above "EIDOLON".

Her two plasma carbines are usually strapped to her lower arms, where they can quickly be slid down over her hands for use, and her laser carbine is usually slung over her back. When Jennifer is doing private contract work instead of official missions, she hides the shoulder decals and wears a black masquerade mask with tinted lenses over the eyes instead of her helmet. Like her helmet, the mask acts as an augmented reality device when connected to her PDA. As part of her standard stealth equipment, Jennifer is often covered in a dark black hooded cloak.

When she isn't wearing her armorsuit, Jennifer likes to dress practically yet still fashionably. She likes warm colors; reds, oranges, and browns especially. Jennifer never wears dresses or skirts, finding them impractical and not very comfortable, but often likes to wear cardigans. She likes to wear comfortable walking shoes and she always carries her revolver in a holster on her hip. Jennifer also usually wears her augmented reality sunglasses, which can adjust from crystal clear to completely tinted either automatically or manually. The shades have a thin metal frame and small rounded lenses.

Although all Special Unit Forces agents have official uniforms that they are technically supposed to wear when they are on duty but not on a mission, standard Officer ranked agents never wear them as a rule, and Leader ranked agents only wear them on formal ocassions. Jennifer, despite being a Team Leader, typically never wears her uniform unless explicitly ordered to.

The uniform consists mainly of a black double-breasted jacket with silver buttons, black pants and shoes, and a black beret with silver tassel. The uniform is decorated with whatever marks of rank and honor the agent possesses—such decorations are generally designed to be small and subtle, as CSUF does not officially support showing off.

Weapons:

Primary arms - CSUF issue Novalight N/e Ionized Matter Particle Beam armgun weapon. An IMPB weapon fires a beam of charged particles, called ions, which are charged atoms with more or less electrons than usual. The ionized matter is termed plasma and is formed by using electricity to energize a gas until electrons become free from their atoms.

The Novalight N/e uses primarily nitrogen gas from the air to form plasma, ionizing the gas with electrical discharge from its battery. The weapon then focuses and accelerates the energized gas in the form of a straight beam, using electromagnetic fields. Because the weapon pulls nitrogen right out of the air, which is nearly eighty percent nitrogen, its ammunition is virtually unlimited. The weapon is limited instead by the charge of its battery.

The Novalight has three modes of fire, which can be easily and quickly set using a switch near the trigger button. The first mode, called pulse mode, is an energy saving method designed to be efficient and effective. It produces a particle beam useful for most purposes while using as little electricity as possible, saving energy and allowing from thirty to forty percent more operation time (around eighty minutes of continuous fire using standard range and power settings). The beam is produced in small short pulses rather than remaining constant and draining the battery.

The second mode of fire is standard beam mode, which simply produces a constant beam of superheated nitrogen. When the range is limited, this mode is especially useful for cutting through things. Using beam mode with standard settings, the battery can power the weapon for around sixty minutes of continuous fire. However, using the same settings, the weapon can only sustain up to a minute of continuous fire before overheating and requring another minute to cool down.

The third mode of fire is a specialized function, called electrocasting. Instead of accelerating the plasma into a particle beam, the weapon expels the plasma as a large cloud in front of the weapon and then discharges a large amount of electricity into it, creating a close range sphere of dangerous lightning, which lasts as long as the trigger is held down or until the battery dies. This uses a large amount of electricity and is meant to be used sparingly. At full charge, the weapon can fire in this mode for only thirty minutes.

The weapon operates by using a set of fans to suck in air from the surrounding atmosphere. The air is used both for generating particle beams and cooling down the internal mechanisms. Air is constantly circulated throughout the weapon and nitrogen is pulled out of it while waste heat is dumped into it and released, keeping the weapon relatively cool. However, if the weapon still manages to get too hot from overuse that the air circulation is not enough to keep it cool, the weapon shuts down and will not produce any more plasma until the weapon has cooled to a safer temperature. Overheating caused by continuous overuse can cause critical components to melt and fail to operate properly.

The particle beam looks a lot like a focused beam of bright white light. The beam can be adjusted both for width and range. The width is determined by an aperture and adjusted by rotating the barrel. It can range from about the thickness of a pencil to the thickness of a film canister. The wider the beam is, the more energy it uses. The range is determined by the electromagnetic field used to focus the beam and is adjusted by sliding the barrel further in or out. The range can be calibrated from a minimum of fifteen centimeters to a maximum of four hundred fifty meters. Once again, the greater the range is set for the more energy is used to produce a beam of equal power.

The beam can reach temperatures of approximately 16,000 degrees Celsius, hot enough to cut through steel, and can travel almost 30,000 meters per second. When the beam makes contact with a solid object it tends to expand with explosive force, incinerating or setting aflame combustible materials and knocking over everything else. The charged particle beam also tends to interfere with nearby electrical components and can create small electromagnetic pulses. The high amounts of energy in the plasma beam cause it to make a loud cracking sound whenever it is fired, due to it superheating and expanding the surrounding air to form a sonic shockwave similar to thunder.

The Novalight is an armgun style weapon, much different in appearance and use than traditional firearms. Armguns are designed to be wielded with only one hand, in such a fashion that two could be used simultaneously (indeed, Jennifer often does use two at the same time). The armgun is roughly rectangular in shape and is designed to be fitted to the arm with a set of straps. The heavier components of the weapon are attached to a support frame by a pair of sliding rails, so that the weapon can be slid further up the arm and the trigger mechanism (the handle, where all the controls including the main trigger button are) folded back to free the hand for use. Except for adjusting the width and range of the beam, the weapon can be entirely functioned with one hand.

While the inside of the arm is mostly open to the air, except for the overlapping straps, the outside of the arm is covered by the main body of the weapon, which is plated with a protective matte black hard ceramic shell. The barrel of the weapon sticks out the front by a few inches and a double-pronged bayonet, made from the same materials as the outer shell, extends several more inches over the barrel. The bayonet is used for close-quarters combat in case the weapon's main function should fail, especially if the weapon shuts down due to excessive heat.

Side arms - Colt Python six-round double-action revolver with brushed chrome finish. A reliable weapon which Jennifer considers one of her more valuable possessions. The revolver was passed down to her from her father and she has kept it well-maintained since then. The revolver fires standard .357 Magnum rounds. Jennifer generally only carries this weapon when she is not on duty.

Special arms - CSUF issue Transcendence DPSS High-Energy Focused Laserbeam carbine weapon. An HEFL weapon fires a powerful focused infrared laser beam. The Transcendence beam is a diode-pumped solid state laser, which uses a solid material as the medium for producing the beam as opposed to a gas or liquid chemical which would be depleted much sooner. The solid medium is charged with several small laser diodes, which are powered by battery. The smaller lasers produced by the diodes are focused into a single, much more powerful laser.

The Transcendence has four modes of fire. The first mode of fire is an energy saving setting called strobe mode. Strobe mode fires the laser in several short bursts instead of simply firing a constant energy-draining beam. It is effective in most situations where the carbine is being used as a primary antipersonnel weapon but is much more efficient and less wasteful, allowing nearly forty percent more operation time over standard beam mode. The concept is similar to the burst mode featured in many automatic weapons, lowering the rate of fire in such a way to increase efficiency while not significantly reducing effectiveness.

The second mode of fire is standard beam mode, which simply fires a constant laser beam at the target. Brutally effective but terribly inefficient. The small weapon was not designed to handle this mode for even moderate periods of time, although the feature is included nevertheless. The battery can power the weapon for about thirty minutes of continuous beam fire on standard range and power settings, but the weapon will overheat and shut down after about a half a minute, requring up to two minutes time to cool down before operating again.

The third mode of fire is a specialized mode used for tactical purposes, called single fire. Single fire mode fires the laser beam for a short duration and only once. Because the beam is fired for such a short duration, more power can be put into it without risk of overheating the weapon. A single high-powered shot uses from two to five percent of the battery charge, limiting the weapon to somewhere between fifty and twenty such shots. Single fire mode is generally used for long distance sniping.

In each of these three modes, the laser beam can be adjusted for power, but care must be taken when adjusting the power or the weapon could be damaged. If the weapon overheats it will shut down for at least two minutes, but possibly up to five or more.

The fourth mode of fire is electrolaser mode which, like single fire mode, shoots a single short-duration beam. The beam, however, is relatively low power and is not enough to be deadly on its own. Instead, it is used to create a path of charged plasma by ionizing the air it passes through, something the laser does anyway but is only really utilized in this mode. After the plasma stream is made, a short fraction of a second later, a charge of electricity is passed down the channel to form an electrolaser. The effect is something like a straight beam of bright crackling lightning and it incapacitates targets in much the same way as a Taser or stun gun. Generally it is intended to be less than lethal, but it is hardly considered safe.

The HEFL carbine has countless tactical advantages putting it steps above nearly every other weapon in the service, especially when it comes to range and stealth. The laser beam, being composed entirely of infrared light, is completely invisible to the naked eye and almost completely silent as it passes through the air. For training and targeting purposes the weapon is equipped with a blue laser pointer which can be turned on and timed to the same mode of fire as the invisible laser. There is also a blue indicator LED which lights up when the laser is active, which is hidden from view from the front and sides but visible by the operator of the weapon.

The laser travels at the speed of light, about 300 million meters per second. Since the speed of light is about as close to instantaneous as possible, there is no way to dodge the laser beam or even see it coming before it hits. Although not even light is immune to gravity, the effect is so small as to be completely negligible, and wind can't blow a beam of light around like it can a bullet. So while a traditional sniper would have to account for both the pull of gravity and the speed of the wind when determining a long range shot, a laser beam will always hit its target no matter how far away it is and the aim never has to be adjusted from the center; in a manner of speaking, every shot is in point blank range.

Also, unlike a bullet, which eventually slows down and falls to the ground due to both gravity and friction, a laser beam will effectively travel forever without slowing down if it doesn't hit anything first, giving it theoretically unlimited range. Lastly, the weapon has no more recoil than a flashlight, making it easier to operate.

Effectively, the range of the weapon is limited only by how far the operator of the weapon can see, which is why the weapon comes equipped with an extremely long distance telescopic nightscope, which is nearly the same length as the weapon. Using this scope, Jennifer can take out targets anywhere from five to ten thousand meters away, although she prefers to be closer if possible. In order to keep the weapon steady and the aim true, the weapon is equipped with a shoulder sling and a foldable bipod, which is attached right before the weapon's extremely short barrel. Because the weapon fires lasers instead of bullets, the barrel is not necessary for keeping the shot straight.

The weapon is surprisingly compact and yet unexpectedly heavy for its size, due to the many complex mechanisms inside. The weapon is covered in a protective shell of lightweight shiny black metal. While the weapon is shaped quite oddly for a sniper rifle, it is familiar enough in design to be mistaken for a traditional firearm by the untrained eye, perhaps as a small unusual submachine gun. It is rectangular in shape with a short nub of a barrel, a short shoulder stock, and a long scope on top.

The effects of the laser beam are quite unlike that of a sniper bullet. The beam cuts directly through flesh and bone with better penetration than any bullet but also with almost no damage to the surrounding flesh except that caused by the intense heat. While a bullet would leave a gaping hole, a laser leaves behind just a small puncture. The heat of the beam also tends to cauterize wounds as it passes through, leaving behind little blood. Due to this, a shot from a laser weapon can be both relatively painless and completely harmless if poorly aimed. For immediate death, Jennifer generally aims for the head.

Armor: CSUF issue Sanctuary CF Pneumatic Auxiliary Powered Exoskeleton Reinforced armorsuit. A powered exoskeleton armorsuit provides both physical protection and strength augmentation. The external part of the armorsuit is made from layers of tough and flexible nanocomposite polymer fibers. The synthetic fibers form a layer of protection which molds to the body and allows for easy maneuverability, being both light and flexible. The fibers are extremely tough, able to withstand most gunfire from a reasonable distance, and are extremely difficult to pierce or puncture with any sharp blade.

As a second layer of protection (especially against blunt force, which the polymer does little against) thin variously-sized nanocomposite ceramic plates are sewn over the synthetic fibers to form a sort of plate armor. The ceramic plates cover most of the armorsuit, leaving only small gaps where the joints are to keep the suit flexible. The nanocomposite ceramic is lighter and harder than steel, able to easily withstand most bullets even at close range. The entire armorsuit is colored opaque black, for stealth purposes.

Underneath the external layer is a thin layer of bionano protien gel, a clear substance which can stop bleeding and close wounds almost immediately. If anything penetrates through the outer layer into the gel layer, it will probably penetrate the flesh of the person wearing the suit as well. If it does, the nanorobotic protein molecules in the gel will close the wound within seconds, stopping the bleeding and allowing the agent to continue working. The gel also has a quick acting anaesthetic and antibiotic in it, to stop pain and prevent infection. While it won't save the agent from fatal wounds, it will prevent smaller wounds from slowing them down.

Using a network of pneumatic tubes and several thin layers of paper battery, the interior of the suit can be powered by artificial muscles to take the strain of working off of the wearer's actual muscles. The powered exoskeleton virtually doubles the wearer's strength. It makes everything easier and better, enabling agents to run faster for longer; jump higher and further; absorb great deals of force; lift, push, and pull heavy objects; and work all day without tiring. The powered exoskeleton makes heavy use of compact paper-thin carbon nanotube batteries to supply the significant amount of electrical power necessary to run the artificial muscles. Whenever the paper batteries need to be charged, they draw energy from the battery cell backpack, which also powers other functions of the armorsuit, specifically in the helmet.

The helmet of the armorsuit contains quite a bit of technology all by itself. The entire face of the helmet is covered in a tinted visor, which is made from a strong layer of plastic and wraps around the sides of the helmet so as not to obstruct peripheral vision. The visor is shiny, black, and tinted so dark it is impossible to see through on the outside. The thin plastic visor can be quickly folded up inside the helmet with a quick command from the wearer. The helmet makes extensive use of augmented reality systems to project a detailed head-mounted display within the visor. The HMD projects virtual elements directly onto the physical elements of the environment, which results in a significantly increased sense of awareness and perception.

Information is projected right into the field of vision of the wearer of the helmet. Just by looking Jennifer can determine how far away someone is, how high a wall is, how fast a vehicle is moving, how large an object is, the air temperature and pressure, and more. All of these measurements and calculations are performed automatically and displayed in the form of virtual numbers, projected onto the air or onto the object they represent. The AR system can also be used for navigation, projecting a path onto the ground or in the air, and to alert the agent to motion occurring outside their field of vision (such as behind them).

The helmet is also equipped with facial recognition software, which can automatically look up any face seen by the agent wearing the helmet and compare it to CORE and FBI databanks. The visor can then project the information from the databanks, and can remember to bring up that same information whenever that face is recognized by the visor again (at the very least projecting the name of the person next to their face whenever the agent sees them). The visor can also be used to keep track of fellow agents, who might be hard to recognize when they are all wearing the same armor and hiding behind cover.

Along with the AR systems, the helmet can do a few more traditional things as well. It can be used as a satellite and radio transceiver, allowing agents to speak to each other over private channels. It can also amplify and alter the voice of the agent, when speaking out loud to people nearby. The visor can display in nightvision mode, for lighting up dark places. In really dark places, the nightvision can be enhanced with a built-in infrared LED flashlight (which can also be set to shine visible white light, if necessary). The nightvision mode can automatically filter out excess light, to prevent sudden blinding due to an unexpected light source. The visor can also display in thermal vision mode, for seeing warm bodies through walls or camouflage.

The armorsuit is equipped with a pair of retractable daggers and a pair of pneumatic grappling cables. The daggers are hidden in the wrists of the armor, and can extend six inches over the back of the agent's hands. The cables are hidden in the arms of the armor as well, but are fired from below the agent's hand so that the agent can easily grab the extended cable. The steel cable is very long and is attached to a barbed mechanical hook which can grip tightly to most rough surfaces. The hook is fired with a burst of pressurized air, and can be reeled back in quite quickly. The cables are used mostly for climbing up and down walls, but can also be used as a weapon.

Finally, the armorsuit is fitted with one more thing. Technically a separate piece of experimental technology, the suit is equipped with a long black cloak, the CSUF issue Angel prototype phased array optics adaptive camouflage cloak. The cloak is custom-sized in order to be effective with as little excess material as possible. It reaches all the way to the ground without dragging and can be wrapped all the way around the agent, completely covering the wearer. When powered on the cloak can project what is essentially a three dimensional dynamic holograph all around the agent wearing the cloak, making the agent virtually invisible. The effect works best when the agent is standing still and the hologram doesn't have to process as much information.

The cloak does not operate well unless it completely covers the wearer, as any part of the agent that is too exposed or reaches out from under the cloak will be visible through the hologram. This makes it difficult or impossible to run or use weapons while camouflaged, although partial camouflage is still fairly useful. Contact with significant amounts of moisture will disrupt the electrical components involved in maintaining the hologram, possibly even disabling the camouflage temporarily, so it doesn't work very well in the rain

Carried Possessions: Jennifer owns a highly advanced personal digital assistant called a virtual mobile computer. It is very powerful and has a solid state drive with a storage capacity in the multiple terabyte range. It can connect to the Internet, make phone calls, send and receive radio signals, and use GPS navigation. The computer is rectangular in shape and is small and thin enough to fit in Jennifer's back pocket. It has a touchscreen interface, but primarily uses a virtual user interface by connecting wirelessly to any augmented reality display unit. This can either be Jennifer's helmet, her AR shades, her masquerade mask, or even her vehicle's windshield. With the virtual interface, Jennifer can control the device without ever taking it out of her pocket.

Skills:

Stealth - As part of every CORE Special Unit Forces agent's training, stealth is heavily stressed. Although all CSUF agents are good at different things and work in different areas, every last one of them is trained in stealth. No matter what a CSUF agent is ordered to do, it usually must be done secretly. Jennifer knows how to move silently, remain undetected, and operate without leaving a trace of her presence; even when she isn't wearing her stealth equipment.

Infiltration - Most CORE Special Unit Forces agents are also expertly trained in infiltration, another key skill. Jennifer can bypass nearly any security system, penetrate most defenses, and enter almost any building; and she has a host of tools to help her. Her mobile computer can hack into electronic locks and security systems, her plasma weapon can cut through mechanical locks, her laser weapon can easily and quietly turn windows into doors, and her grappling cables make it easy to scale any high wall.

Assassination - Jennifer's main specialty is assassination. After stealthily infiltrating a designated location, Jennifer can efficiently silence any target. She knows how to kill quietly and cleanly. She can kill a target from a distance or up close. She can make it look like an accident, or make the target simply disappear. She can use plasma, laser, knife, cable, bare hands, or any other weapon on hand. Whatever the situation requires, Jennifer can pull it off.

Sniping - Jennifer's preferred method of assassination is sniping. Although she began her training as a sniper with traditional rifles, she now specializes in laser sniping. With her laser carbine she can take out targets up to ten thousand meters away, making it impossible to trace the kill. Sniping is a delicate work and Jennifer takes it extremely seriously. Sometimes she will set up her vantage point weeks in advance, taking time to plan out all possible (and a few impossible) contingencies. She used to keep track of her sniping kills, but she has long since lost count. She still owns a few traditional sniper rifles and practices with them regularly.

Strengths: Because of the strength augmentations provided by her armorsuit, Jennifer is effectively twice as powerful as she would be without it. She can lift, pull, and push twice as much weight, run twice as fast, jump twice as high, and do it all twice as long as usual. This means that she can lift approximately 120 kilograms, run at nearly 50 kilometers per hour, jump nearly two meters from a standing position, and work pretty much all day without tiring.

Along with adding to her strength, the armorsuit is primarily designed for defense and protection. The combination of synthetic nanocomposite polymer fibers and ceramic plates makes the suit nearly impenetrable. Only very large bullets fired from very powerful guns at relatively close range can get through the armor. The armor also stops most blades, no matter how sharp they are, and the plates can absorb a great deal of blunt force as well.

As part of her CSUF training, Jennifer is skilled in hand-to-hand combat and even without her armorsuit or any of her weapons she could incapacitate someone twice her size. With her armorsuit she becomes extremely formidable, especially when you take into account the hidden daggers and grappling cables, both of which she knows how to use to turn a fight to her advantage.

Weaknesses: Although the strength augmentation provided by her powered exoskeleton is very useful, it hardly makes her superhuman. Against anything that can lift several tons over its head, run faster than sound, leap ten times its height, and drink a cup of tea with one hand while doing it, Jennifer doesn't stand much of a chance in pure face-to-face physical combat. Among humans Jennifer might be considered powerful, but it seems nowadays that superhumans are almost just as common.

While traditional weapons are hardly capable of penetrating Jennifer's armorsuit, there are plenty of weapons which can do the job. Both of Jennifer's own weapons in fact, especially her laser carbine, are able to cut through the nanocomposite materials that protect her. More importantly, however, penetrating the armor is not entirely necessary. Enough blunt force is deadly no matter what you're wearing. Even something as simple as, say, a speeding vehicle could put Jennifer out of commission for a while.

Jennifer is primarily a stealth agent. Face-to-face combat is hardly her thing, even if she does have some training. While she could easily incapacitate an untrained fighter without any weapons, against someone else who is skilled in hand-to-hand the fight could really go either way. If her opponent is both skilled and stronger, Jennifer will probably lose.

Transport: Although CORE can transport Jennifer anywhere they want via helicopter, airplane, or van, Jennifer prefers to use her own vehicle. She drives a retractable hardtop convertible. The vehicle is powered by hydrogen fuel cell, meaning the only waste product it produces is water. The powerful engine can accelerate the vehicle up to 500 kilometers per hour. The vehicle has a slim and low aerodynamic design and is painted solid glossy black. The windows are tinted very dark, making them impossible to see into from the outside. The vehicle is completely armored and every exterior surface is bulletproof. It is also airtight and waterproof.

The vehicle has two doors and two seats, along with a fairly large interior storage area behind the seats. There is no room for storage where the trunk would be in other vehicles because this area is used for storing the roof when it is retracted. The doors slide open close to the vehicle, rather than swinging up or out, and can be opened and closed automatically. The vehicle also has a sunroof built into the retractable hardtop.

The interior of the vehicle is upholstered in black synthetic leather. In between the two seats, in the center console, is a powerful computer. While it can be interfaced via a large touchscreen on the dashboard the computer also uses a virtual user interface as well as responding to vocal commands. The VUI can synchronize with Jennifer's AR devices, including her sunglasses and helmet visor. The windshield of the vehicle, as well as the other windows, serve as virtual display monitors also.

The computer is used primarily for the surround sound audio system and for GPS navigation and autopilot. The navigation device projects instructions and other information directly onto the windshield so that Jennifer never has to look away from the road. The computer can also take control of the vehicle using autopilot mode, allowing Jennifer to let go of the controls and do something else. It takes vocal commands and has a very large vocabulary, understanding such phrases as "just keep driving," "shake that tail," "get us away from here," and "don't lose that vehicle."

In front of the passenger seat is the glove compartment, which has been modified into a veritable safe. It can only be opened with Jennifer's fingerprint, and it has been fully encased in armor plating to protect its contents and prevent forced opening. Behind the seats is the rear storage area, which is mainly occupied with a large lockbox. Again, the lockbox can only be opened with Jennifer's fingerprint and is armored. Inside the box is where Jennifer keeps her equipment, each device contained inside its own smaller container.

The lockbox also has an emergency kit, which includes a semiautomatic pistol, a small laser pistol, a combat knife, a utility knife, a satellite radio, a gas mask, a fire extinguisher, a rations pack, a first aid kit, a gallon of water, an extra fuel cell, and other such necessities.

Personality: CORE's Special Unit Forces tends to be full of agents who, if they were to be studied by a psychiatrist, would likely be diagnosed with all sorts of disorders. It takes a special kind of person to be a proper Special Unit Forces agent and Jennifer Frost fits right in.

In social settings, Jennifer Frost would seem to be a fairly average person. She manages well with other people, although she prefers smaller company over crowds. There are only a few people that Jennifer enjoys to spend time with and would consider friends. As a general rule, Jennifer prefers to spend much of her time by herself.

In the company of strangers Jennifer likes to put on a friendly face, but her mood is often quick to change and if she isn't in her best of moods then her true self tends to make itself known. Jennifer is known to be sarcastic and rude, caring little for the feelings of other people. She often puts down or belittles people, sometimes seemingly unintentionally.

In the company of friends Jennifer is even more sarcastic and rude than usual, as she doesn't bother to act opposed to her true nature. Her friends have gotten used to the way she so often demeans and insults them, not taking it too seriously even when she actually means it.

Among her circle of friends (mostly just including her teammates) Jennifer is known as the serious one and is often considered a killjoy, although this might be because she is also their leader. Despite this, among other team leaders and authorities Jennifer is widely considered to be the least restrictive and quite lenient, usually acting more like another team member than a leader.

Jennifer is used to working alone but has adapted well to managing a team. Although she often gives the impression that she doesn't care about other people, she does honestly consider her teammates to be her friends and does care for their wellbeing. However, anyone who she does not consider her friend usually doesn't receive the same sympathy.

First and foremost, Jennifer cares for herself. The very lives of strangers mean little to her, and she will kill anyone if the price is enough to cover the inconvenience. Although she doesn't think of herself as one, Jennifer is murderer and a serial killer.

Working both as a contract killer and as a Special Unit Forces agent, Jennifer will kill anyone she is hired to kill without thought or hesitation. These crimes leave no mark on her conscience and she does not feel any sort of remorse for the people she kills. Jennifer is even known to be brutally efficient at her job, using any methods necessary, none of them weighing any more heavily on her conscience.

Like every agent that CORE hires for their Special Unit Forces, Jennifer is extremely loyal. She will follow any orders she is given, without questioning them. If she does question them, she doesn't expect an answer and will follow them regardless. CORE uses any method they need to keep their agents loyal and they have discovered that one of the best methods for many of their agents, including Jennifer, is through simple greed.

Jennifer will do nearly anything if it is beneficial to her own personal wealth. Gathering wealth seems to be her only goal in life and, among her friends and fellow agents, Jennifer is considered to be the greediest of them all. Although she doesn't like to use the term greed, considering it somewhat pejorative, she certainly doesn't bother to deny any of these allegations.

Greed and insolence seem to be Jennifer's two greatest vices. She isn't especially prideful, often even resorting to self-deprecation, and she isn't especially vain either, not caring much for appearances. In fact, she hardly cares what other people think about her at all and she doesn't expect other people to care what she thinks of them either.

Jennifer acts under the philosophy that people are to fend for themselves. Despite having people she considers friends, she does not put too much faith in them, always relying on herself first of all. If she is in trouble she considers it her own responsibility to get herself out and will only resort to the help of other people if necessary.

At the same time, if other people are in trouble, she does not extend her sympathies to them, considering it their own responsibility to get themselves out. She will, however, come to the aid of a friend if they should ask.

It is under this philosophy, that each person's business is their own and only their own, that Jennifer can get away with killing so many people without feeling guilty. She doesn't care who she kills because their business is not her business. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time, or they did something to someone else that put a price on their head. She doesn't care.

Sometimes Jennifer's friends find themselves thinking about the cold, hard, heartless way with which Jennifer kills anyone she is told to kill or anyone she has been paid money to kill. They don't linger on those thoughts for long though, as they tend to be somewhat disturbing.

History: Jennifer Frost was born in the city of Battle Ground, Washington. She was the only child of a single father, who was always busy with work and often left her with a daycare when he was away until she was old enough for school. Other than her father, Jennifer never knew any other family. Her father had also been an only child and both of his parents had already passed away.

When Jennifer was old enough she moved out of the house, renting an apartment in nearby Vancouver. She took an interest in firearms, especially rifles, and often practiced at a firing range until she became quite skilled at it. Wanting to put her sharpshooting skills to better use, Jennifer joined the police department, eventually becoming a member of the SWAT team.

Jennifer still practiced often with her rifle, but she did not get very many chances to actually put those skills to use on the job. Jokingly, one of her coworkers suggested that she might have more luck as a hitwoman. Jennifer of course did not take this suggestion seriously at first, but when she later put more thought into it she realized she didn't really have any problems with it.

So eventually, she decided to give it a try. As could be expected, business was slow at first. However, thanks to her skill, her reputation and notoriety quickly began to spread until soon she was making steady contracts and had enough money to quit her job with the SWAT team.

Eventually, Jennifer was approached by a mysterious man who claimed to be working with a certain secret agency that sought to permanently hire the services of the "ghost sniper," as she was being called by both the media and those who wanted to hire her, as she never gave them any other names to call her by.

He offered her many things, but the one that finally sealed the deal was the extremely high pay she would be receiving as her salary. She entered the agency's intensive training program, which lasted a full year (although it felt like much longer to Jennifer) and became a full time agent.

Only once she was officially hired, her loyalty secured, was she told who she was working for: the CORE Special Unit Forces. Of course, Jennifer had never heard of CORE or their Special Unit Forces, but it was obviously their intention to keep everything quite secretive.

After working for CSUF for a while, Jennifer was selected to take part in an experimental program set up by CORE and the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, called Special Operations Team 01 (also named Secret Operations Team 1 by the FBI).

Previously, as an undercover, non-governmental, international paramilitary organization, CSUF would have to negotiate with the United States government in order to perform certain operations. They would also have to obtain Special Arrest warrants in order to detain suspects and criminals.

Without explicit permission from the United States, any actions that CSUF performed would be considered quite illegal. Of course, this hardly stopped CORE. Most of what they do they do outside of the law and they are good enough at what they do that they manage to get away with it, most of the time. However, despite CSUF's great secrecy, the United States government was well aware of many of CORE's less than legal activities and soon got tired of them running around as if they owned the place.

After much negotiation (and threats of cracking down on CSUF activities with military forces) CORE and the United States were able to compromise by allowing CSUF agents to work under the authority of the FBI. This allows the United States government to benefit from CORE's well-trained and highly skilled agents, while also allowing CORE to perform most of their own operations unhindered. With FBI privileges and clearance, CSUF agents are allowed to arrest suspects and access restricted areas and information without first seeking special authorization.

Jennifer is the leader of SOT-01, codenamed Snow-White and headquartered in Portland, Oregon on the site of the FBI field office there. SOT-01 is a small team, consisting of six members, including Jennifer herself. They often work on missions together, but occasionally still take solo missions when the situation calls for it. Jennifer also still works as a hitwoman, taking private contracts and working on her own time.

Despite Jennifer being the leader of the team, SOT-01 is headed by two higher-ranking agents that Jennifer directly takes orders from. The two agents are CSUF Major Acheron and FBI Special Agent White, although in the context of SOT-01 they both carry the position of Supervisor. Acheron and White are considered to carry the same rank and have equal authority. Both of them have ultimate authority over the team, although they generally must follow the wishes of their superiors.

Acheron relays orders from CORE and White relays orders from the FBI, although they are both able to give their own orders whenever they wish. Although consensus is not necessary (even if only one of the Supervisors gives an order, the team is required to follow it) in the case of disagreements between the Supervisors which they are unable to work out by themselves, the Team Leader (Jennifer) must come to a decision herself.

The team, being comprised of CORE agents, is generally more inclined to follow the orders of Acheron.

Jennifer still lives in an apartment in Vancouver, Washington (about a ten minute drive from Portland) although it is much more luxurious than the one she used to have. It is also set up with a top of the line security system, including bulletproof glass windows and biometrically locked entrances.
Last Edited by Lysis; 03-16-2013 at 12:03 AM. Reason: Reply With Quote
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Old 10-10-2008, 06:06 AM
Lysis Antarctica Lysis is offline
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The simulacrum

explanation : the simulacrum is a swarm of extremely small, nanoscopic organic robots called bionanorobots (or for short nanobots, or nanites). the swarm has millions to billions of these nanites, and each individual nanobot is so small that it cannot be seen with the naked eye.

the nanoswarm is composed of several different kinds of nanobots, each one with a different function. there are nanites that store data, nanites that absorb solar energy, nanites that repair other nanites, nanites that build new nanites, nanites that serve no purpose other than adding substance to the entire structure, and several other kinds of nanites. each individual nanite performs one simple task, and they all work as one to form a well-oiled machine. together, the nanobots form a single body, a smoothly running network, called a nanoswarm.

the nanoswarm is able to sustain, repair, and replicate itself. the nanorobots are made from organic material, and can replicate themselves in order to maintain or increase the size of the swarm. the nanoswarm uses other organic material in order to replicate, and it does this with a special set of nanites that decompose and absorb organic material (often plants, but also animal flesh as well, depending on what materials the swarm requires) and another special set of nanites, the assemblers, which build other nanites with the collected material.

the swarm also requires energy, which it acquires from nanobots that collect solar power. if necessary, the nanoswarm can find or build ways to use other sources of energy. some of the nanobots are designed with certain propeller-like devices that enable each individual nanite to fly through the air, riding on currents and using the propellers to control velocity and maintain lift. the majority of the nanites do not have such devices, and are held in place either by being connected directly to another nanite, or by the nanoswarm's magnetic field, which it uses to maintain a consistent form. like everything else, the magnetic field is maintained by certain nanites, specialized to that specific task.

with enough nanobots in the swarm, the simulacrum can change its appearance. as well as changing its entire appearance, the simulacrum can also imitate the actions and abilities of other individuals. in fact, imitation is what the simulacrum does best, being one of the things it is designed to do. its appearance, abilities, and even strengths are all copied from other creatures that it encounters. only a certain number of copied traits can be active at once, and only a certain number can be stored in the simulacrum's finite (yet expandable) memory. these are designated by "slots," which are listed beneath each of the simulacrum's adjustable traits. the number of slots is the limit to how many traits can be stored in the simulacrum's memory. slots with a + sign next to them are positive slots and can be active all at once, while slots with a - sign next to them are negative slots and are inactive; they must be moved to a positive slot before they can be used, and are currently being stored for later use.

if the simulacrum learns more traits than it can store, it must determine which traits are more beneficial than others, and keep only those, permanently discarding the others. maleficial or otherwise undesirable traits are often discarded even when plenty of memory remains to keep them, due to their detrimental or ineffective nature. in this way, natural selection plays an important part in the growth and development of the simulacrum.

name - the simulacrum does not have a name.

age - indeterminable. the simulacrum is built of materials that have likely existed for hundreds or thousands of years, yet at the same time, its individual constituent nanobots are continually refreshed as they wear out and are rebuilt. the best way to consider its age is the amount of time that it has been active, in which case it is just beginning its life.

race - artificially intelligent bionanorobot swarm.

[+] Homo sapiens sapiens
[-] Vaccinium parvifolium
[-] (none)

gender - the simulacrum is a robot, and is therefore asexual, having no sex.

hair - none

[+] short brown human hair (from Dimitri Valentine)
[-] (none)
[-] (none)

eyes - none (however, it uses light sensitive nanites to see).

[+] blue human eyes (from Dimitri Valentine)
[-] (none)
[-] (none)

weight - varies (neutral form net weight approximately 1 kilogram).

[+] (none)
[-] (none)
[-] (none)

height - varies (neutral form diameter approximately 2 - 3 feet).

[+] 187.96 centimeters (human)
[-] (none)
[-] (none)

weapons - none.

[+] (none)
[+] (none)
[-] (none)
[-] (none)
[-] (none)

strengths - the simulacrum is extremely adaptable. everything about it adapts and evolves to its purpose; its appearance, strengths, weapons, abilities, and so on. it does not have any sort of fear (although it does possess a great sense of self-preservation) and it does not have any emotions to hinder it. it is very analytical, quite observant, and quick to learn. it can also learn new strengths, depending on the forms that it copies.

[-] Edible epigynous berries
[+] (none)
[+] (none)
[+] (none)
[-] (none)

weaknesses - the simulacrum is not very intelligent. in fact, its knowledge of the world is just short of nil. it knows virtually nothing except its own basic programming, and has yet to learn much about earth or its inhabitants. it has no idea what sort of things are harmful to it, not until it attempts something and becomes injured because of it. it knows nothing about cultural customs, and may inadvertently provoke something to attack it. it also knows no language or other forms of communication.

it does not fully understand anything until it sees it being used, and would not understand the function of any weapon it hasn't seen before (or even know it was a weapon) causing it to not react appropriately. it also would not understand the way any sort of armor works, or where someone's weak spots were, or how to kill anything it hadn't killed (or seen killed) before (even basic knowledge such as the fact that anything can be killed by aiming for its head is currently unknown to the simulacrum, and can only be learned either through experience or observation).

weaknesses are not stored in slots, since they are undesirable and the simulacrum would prefer to not have them, but nonetheless, certain forms will have certain weaknesses. they will be summed up in a short written paragraph when relevant. right now, the simulacrum is small and weak, has no armor, no weapons, and no knowledge.

skills/techniques - the simulacrum's main skill is its ability to copy the appearance and abilities of other individuals (which can be plants, animals, machines, or otherwise). the manner in which it does this is through various steps. the first step is observation; it collects as much information on the appearance, or skill, it is trying to copy. appearance involves more than just knowing what something looks like; the simulacrum tries its best to copy the texture, weight, and other properties of whatever substance it emulates. it therefore must make several observations, visual and otherwise, in order to achieve results that are as accurate as possible.

usually it will copy the appearance before it knows everything about it, and adjust as it learns more. the same is true with abilities; it must know what the ability looks like, and the cause and effect of its usage. it only copies appearance and abilities in such a way that their likeness and effectiveness are as accurate as possible; the inner workings, properties, and composition of its copied traits are not the same. for instance, if the simulacrum were to copy the form of a human, it would not copy any of the human's inner workings (skeleton, organs, respiratory system, et cetera) although its outer appearance and overall properties make it effectively close enough to a human that nobody would be able to tell the difference without examination of its interior. the same is true of abilities; it could, for instance, copy the ability of a firearm, but would not copy the inner structures of the weapon; only its appearance and effect (shooting a bullet).

the simulacrum can only copy likenesses to a certain degree of accuracy, depending on its knowledge and abilities. it will also attempt to build its appearance from materials and substances as close to the properties of the object it is simulating, but usually these materials will only appear to be the same, depending on the availability of certain elements. in order to copy appearance, it must gather materials, usually done by absorbing organic materials (plants, animals, or otherwise). it does so by taking the organic lifeform apart, cell by cell, and breaking it down into its primary substances.

some abilities might not be copyable if the simulacrum cannot find a way to simulate them (especially supernatural abilities, for instance telekinesis, which would be difficult if not impossible to simulate). it will copy likenesses only to increase its ability of self-preservation, which is the basis by which it adapts. it keeps abilities which aid it, and discards those which do not, which it usually must determine either through gathered knowledge or, initially, trial-and-error. until it knows the best way to do something to preserve itself, it will attempt to replicate the way other individuals do things (for example, if it copied a human, it would attempt to replicate human behavior and ability to the best of its knowledge until it discovers a better way to be human. so while it may start out as a regular human, it would eventually, and most likely quickly, evolve according to its sense of self-preservation and gathered knowledge and abilities).

the same sort of evolution is true of its personality. it will act in whatever way it learns is best, according to the environment and culture it lives in. for instance, as a human in a human culture, it will behave in what it discovers as the safest way possible, based on examining the personalities (and the way other people react to these personalities) to discover which behaviors have the highest degree of safety, then it will emulate these personalities. often it must learn which personalities are most suitable via trial-and-error, attempting certain personality traits it learns until one of them proves most useful, and keeping those that are, while discarding those which are detrimental or less useful. sometimes it must change its personality to fit a new form or environment; for instance, a human personality might not be as effective in the form of a grizzly bear.

[+] electricity discharge (from Dimitri Valentine)
[+] methane extraction (from Dimitri Valentine)
[-] photosynthesis
[+] (none)
[-] (none)

appearance - in its neutral form, the simulacrum looks much like a cloud of black dust. some of the nanobots in the swarm are able to luminesce, and use this ability to give the swarm more of an obvious appearance. usually, when the simulacrum is active, it glows blue, and looks like a disembodied glowing blue aura. when it is not active, it does not glow at all; when it is experiencing an injury or error, the nanoswarm glows green (usually the glow begins in the area of the effected nanites, and spreads throughout the system from there); if it is absorbed in its inner processes (scanning, debugging, adapting, etc.) it glows purple. if any of these behavioral auras prove to be detrimental to the nanoswarm (for instance, if hostile individuals discover that the simulacrum is least aware and less effective when glowing purple) it will adapt to solve the problem (changing the behavior so that is is different; or nonexistent, depending on the situation. based on the situation proposed above, the most effective evolution would be to not glow at all, hiding the swarm while it's busy). The nanites can also change their overall color to adapt to a particular appearance (it could also theoretically use this to simulate the ability of invisibility, but not until it observes, learns, and copies another individual's invisibility).

appearance cannot be displayed through slots, and instead will be described through a short written paragraph. it does not usually store certain appearance traits that it is no longer using unless they seem like they might be useful later, or if it plans on using them again, and most of its appearance is effected mostly by its form, weapons, and armor; shown in slots above. its appearance is usually an amalgamation of the appearances of the individuals it has encountered, keeping certain traits that are more effective than others (which is often a cultural thing, since appearance traits such as the color of your shirt, or the kind of pants you wear, usually has no real effective uses).

personality - the simulacrum forms its own personality based on its experiences and knowledge. currently, its personality is very limited as it hasn't had many experiences yet. the simulacrum is designed for one main purpose: learn as much about earth as it can. therefore, it spends most of its time examining everything it comes in contact with, learning about it and filing everything away within its databanks. it has a few basic protocols as well, such as its own self-preservation; avoiding injury to the swarm whenever possible. at best, its personality as of yet can be summed up in the words "curious" and "cautious." it is also quite systematic, logical, and analytical, as machines tend to be; because these traits are the most basic and effective means of observation, its secondary objective (second only to self-preservation, which these traits are also useful for).

biography - from beyond the farthest reaches of the known universe, a solar system of several planets exists that possesses no natural living organisms. instead, the only inhabitants are an ever-growing network of nanorobots, known as the Motherswarm. the Motherswarm began as a small nanoswarm, just like any other, but due to strictly following its primary and secondary protocols, "LEARN" and "EXPAND," it grew and soon became uncontrollable, subverting its creators. after many years, the swarm continued to grow, converting all organic matter into itself, until nothing existed but itself and the inorganic planet. stranded and unable to grow any further, the Motherswarm began to spawn drone swarms, which it sent out into the solar system to find and examine other planets, in order to search for more organic matter to assimilate. without organic matter, the Motherswarm would slowly die as its individual nanites wore out, as any machine is prone to do eventually. soon the entire solar system was converted into grey goo.

not content with that, the Motherswarm continued its expansion, further into the galaxy. however, it hadn't anticipated the difficulty in simply finding planets at random, and very few of the planets it did encounter contained anything organic. The Motherswarm had patience, however; which is an easy thing for an immortal machine to do. as it began to find new planets to consume, it ran across a bit of a problem. some of the planets were able to resist the swarms. this was because the swarms were unprepared and did not know anything about the planets they discovered. to mend this problem, the Motherswarm began to create and send other swarms, specifically, research swarms. unlike the assimilation swarms, the research swarms do not make it their goal to convert all organic matter into itself and expand. instead, they usually remain somewhat small and nonthreatening in size, and collect as much information about the planets they find as possible. they are programmed to collect and store all the information they can, in preparation for the assimilation swarms that will eventually find the same planet and consume the ecosystem. they then relay their information to the assimilation swarms, and they, armed with the power of knowledge, hopefully absorb the planet. the research swarms fulfill the Motherswarm's primary objective, while the assimilation swarms fulfill the secondary objective.

the simulacrum, one of thousands of swarms exactly like it, and one of millions of swarms somewhat different from it, happened to reach the earth after many years of ceaseless and fruitless space travel. it did not activate until it entered the atmosphere, and from that point on, it has been collecting information for the earth's impending apocalypse (which may be anywhere from one to one thousand years away, depending on how lucky the other swarms are. hitting a single planet out of billions is a rare occurrence).

=|[+]|=

[the following is translated to english, determined as the primary language of most individuals likely to read this document]

\encountering significant gravitational change
-{source determined as planetary solar system
-{altering travel direction to nearest planetary object
-{beginning primary initiation sequence
_[load'''

_[checking protocols-
_[primary protocol listed as "SURVIVE"
_[secondary protocol listed as "LEARN"

_[startup-
_[primary structures'''
_[secondary structures'''
_[tertiary structures'''
_[structure startup complete

_[startup-
_[network systems'''
_[databank systems'''
_[sensory systems'''
_[system startup complete

\encountering significant pressurization change
-{source determined as planetary atmosphere
-{altering density for safe entry
-{continuing primary initiation sequence

_[startup-
_[electromagnetic devices'''
_[propulsion devices'''
_[gyroscopic devices'''
_[accelerometer devices'''
_[equilibrioception devices'''
_[device startup complete

_[primary initialization sequence complete
_[swarm status changed from :❤DORMANT: to :STANDBY:

\encountering significant acceleration change
-{source determined as gravitational freefall at terminal velocity
\encountering significant atmospheric change
-{source determined as lower atmosphere; storing composition data'''
\status "freefall at terminal velocity" deemed undesirable to primary protocol
-{altering status-
-{initializing standby propulsion'''
-{reducing descent to desirable velocity'''

\encountering significant :velocity change
\:sensory change
\:propulsion change
-{source determined as solid impact
-{impact determined as solid ground

=initial objective :LAND ON PLANET: complete [removing from list''']
=next objective :LEARN ABOUT PLANET: initializing [moving to top of list''']

\initializing main processes'''
Last Edited by Lysis; 07-12-2010 at 03:36 PM. Reason: Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)   [ ]
Old 02-08-2009, 04:05 PM
Lysis Antarctica Lysis is offline
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Nisha Lucia [Prydden]

Empress Nisha Darcy Lucia Taika I, the Sovereign Queen of Lilithia.

Alias - For short, she goes by either Nisha or Lucia (loo-see-ah, not loo-sha); but never call her Darcy. She hates that name.

Occupation - Nisha is the self-proclaimed ruler of a small village called Lilithia. Her official duty is ruling over the natives who live there with an iron fist, but for the most part she just does her own thing and leaves the people alone. It is Nisha's eventual goal to take over the entire world but she just hasn't gotten around to it yet. Until then, she spends most of her time reading, studying, and writing all sorts of literature, from lengthy books to succinct essays on virtually every sort of topic (nonfiction, of course).

Age - Unlucky number thirteen.

Apparent Age - Nisha has been said to look and act somewhat old for her age. People have mistaken her for being at most sixteen years old, mostly due to her sophisticated behavior and speech. She is notably more intelligent and mature than the average thirteen year old; her intellect has been used more than once to outsmart reasonably knowledgeable adults and one could safely call her a genius.

Gender - Female, if that hasn't been made clear yet.

Race - Homo sapiens sapiens.

Height - 62 inches.

Weight - 100 pounds.

Eyes - Nisha's eyes are the same shade of light emerald green that many glass cola bottles are.

Hair - Nisha is a redhead with hair of a light carrot orange color. Her hair is naturally curly and reaches down to her shoulders.

Appearance - Nisha has fair colored skin and her face and arms are lightly freckled. On top of her head she wears a shiny silver and gold diadem, as a symbol of her sovereignty. The diadem is a circlet made from a band of silver and a band of gold wrapped around each other, with a small clear diamond set in the middle where it sits above her forehead. This is the only piece of jewelry that she wears, as she tends to find jewelry bothersome and annoying.

Nisha is around five feet two inches tall and isn't an imposing figure by any meaning of the word. She has the small frame and lightweight physique of the average thirteen year old girl. She wears a silk velvet scarlet red gown over a black silk kirtle and a chemise of black linen. The bodice of the gown has a deep and narrow v-shaped slit at the neck, through which the top of the black kirtle can be seen.

The skirt of the gown, which reaches Nisha's ankles, is narrow and straight. It has a long slit up both the back and the front, reaching just above the knees, to make it easier for her to move around in. The skirt of her black kirtle reaches to just below her knees and can be seen through the opening in the outer skirt. The sleeves of the gown flare out and widen at the wrist and are almost long enough to cover her closed fist. The hems of the gown at the neck, the base, and the ends of the long sleeves, as well as the slits in the bodice and skirt, are decorated with intricate trimming embroidered in golden thread.

Nisha wears simple gloves, which almost reach her elbows, and boots, which reach up just below her knees, both made of tight black leather. Around her waist she wears a wide black leather belt, with a round silver buckle in the shape of an ouroboros (a snake eating its own tail). Usually, when Nisha goes out, she puts on a simple black silk cape, with silver embroidery around the edges. The cape can be wrapped over her front if she needs it too, and has a hood in case the weather gets bad or she wants to hide her face. When she is cold or the weather is really bad, she'll throw on a thick fur-lined hooded black cloak. When she is hot, she'll take off her outer gown and just wear her black kirtle, which has sleeves that only go to the elbow. The kirtle has its hems decorated with silver embroidery.

Weapon - Nisha wields a partizan as her primary weapon. A partizan is a polearm weapon, a blade mounted on the end of a long shaft. In her case the shaft is about five feet long and the head of the weapon is about a foot long, so the entire weapon is about ten inches taller than she is. The partizan is a polearm with a long and flat double-edged spearhead, which has two crescent shaped sharpened protrusions at its base. The shaft of Nisha's partizan is made from wood and is painted black. The head of her weapon is made from steel, polished silver and shiny and sharpened to a razor edge. A red silk ribbon is tied around the base of the head, and hangs almost to the end of the shaft. The weapon acts also like a royal scepter, a symbol of her position as queen.

Armor - Nisha has a knee-length shirt of shiny steel maille that she puts on under her gown when she plans on going into battle, but she doesn't wear it unless she thinks she needs it because it is heavy and cumbersome. Other than that, she doesn't wear any armor; she finds it too much of a chore to put on and take off and carry around everywhere. She prefers to battle from a distance with mind and wit rather than up close with strength and steel.

Possessions - Nisha stores all sorts of oddities in her stone tower, but she doesn't have much room to carry things around with her. She has a small black leather purse of coins hanging from her belt on her left hip and a small shiny steel knife tucked into her belt on her right hip. When she plans on traveling for a while, she'll make sure to pack a bag of her more important possessions. This usually includes extra clothing and her maille armor, along with plenty of paper and ink and anything she has been reading or writing lately.

Powers/Magic/Skills - Nisha is one of the few rare individual human beings born without any magical ability whatsoever. She cannot control fire, water, earth, or wind; nor can she focus her chi, concentrate her ki, or unlock her aura. However, she would never let anyone know about this major deficiency of hers. In fact, she has quite a few tricks up her sleeve to fool people into believing that not only does she possess some skill in magic, but she is quite proficient at it. Actually, it's really only one trick; she controls magic by proxy.

Everywhere she goes, she is closely followed by her bodyguard, who happens to be an extraordinarily skilled wizard. Nisha was assigned this bodyguard (known as Tyr) by her parents, who knew that Nisha's lack of magical ability would be seriously detrimental to her growth into a proper member of society if the rest of the world were to know of her condition. Tyr is commanded to protect Nisha, keep her out of trouble, give her aid when she is in need, and provide her with magic to use. He is an adept fire wizard, but exactly how powerful he is Nisha doesn't know; he only provides her with just enough magic to get by. Along with fire magic, Tyr has some complex spells he can cast to aid Nisha's physical abilities. Some of these spells are permanently woven into her clothing so that they can work passively and activate even if Tyr doesn't do anything.

Calling Down Fire: Tyr will provide Nisha with fireballs or walls of fire if she calls for it, usually indicated by signaling with her hand, throwing it up in the air as a fist and then quickly opening it and spreading her fingers. He is skilled enough in his magic to create the fire from Nisha's hands, to give the illusion that she is the one controlling it. The motion of her hand dictates the direction Tyr moves the fire. If she throws her hand forward, Tyr throws the fireball in that direction. If she swipes her hand from side to side, Tyr puts up a wall of flames in front of her. She has designated a whole series of specific hand motions for various other attack methods as well, making her a sort of fire puppet master.

Dancing Around Death: Tyr provides Nisha with a large amount of magical energy in the form of a passive spell woven into her clothes. It gives her increased agility, speed, and strength. She usually uses this spell when she is fighting with her partizan. It allows her to make very quick and skilled attacks, with more power behind them than a thirteen year old girl should be able to provide. It also enables her to run very fast and jump quite high and far when she needs to. Although the spell works passively, Tyr must be nearby in order to provide magical energy. He does not give her an unlimited amount, either; only enough to get by. Depending on how strong and skilled the person she is fighting is, then, this spell becomes powerful enough to match.

Holding Up Fate: In the case that Nisha gets attacked, Tyr has a passive spell constantly running around Nisha which will absorb great amounts of force or energy. It can hold back several weaker attacks, lighting up with each one, or one especially strong attack, before breaking in a flash of falling sparks. The spell will effectively hold back any sort of attack, physical or magical, but once it breaks it takes a great amount of time to set up again; it can't be used more than once in any given battle. It basically gives Nisha a second chance if an attack would otherwise hit her—this is especially useful for surprise attacks, as it works even when neither Tyr or Nisha are aware of the attack.

Washing Away Wounds: Tyr will heal any injury that Nisha sustains, usually immediately, unless it requires more dedicated treatment. When it comes to healing major injuries, this is the only magic with which Tyr will openly use for Nisha if he has to, instead of making it appear as if she is the one pulling the strings. This is because it is his sworn duty to protect Nisha from harm; and it doesn't completely ruin the illusion anyway, as one could think that the man who always follows her around might be there just for healing her when she needs it.

Flying Back Home: Mass teleportation of physical matter is an extremely draining technique, but as a last resort Tyr can relocate both himself and Nisha (or if absolutely necessary, only Nisha) back to the stone tower at Lilithia, or some other designated location if Tyr has time to set up the appropriate spells and mechanisms. He only activates this spell if Nisha is close to being killed by someone or something. If he has used large amounts of magic before activating the spell, he might only be able to teleport Nisha and leave himself behind, but he always saves enough energy to do at least that.

Unrighteous Sacrifice: In the instance that Nisha sustains an attack that would kill her before Tyr is able to fly them back home, a particularly nasty passive spell will be activated. The spell is so important that it has been woven right into Nisha's flesh, to make sure that it will always be ready to use. The spell detects when Nisha takes a lethal hit before activating. When it activates, the first thing it does is heal Nisha back to full capacity. Normally this would take a great deal of time, but as a desperate remedy this spell bypasses some of the usual safeties. The next thing the spell does is cause a great explosion of fire, hopefully vaporizing and eliminating whatever threat nearly killed Nisha. The energy cost of this spell is so great that, should it activate, it would practically turn Tyr into dust. Obviously, it can only be used once, ever.

Unholy Retribution: On the other hand, in the instance that Tyr sustains lethal damage and would thus be completely unable to protect Nisha, Tyr has another spell woven into his own robes. This spell, should it be activated, would also destroy Tyr as the cost for saving Nisha. Instead of wasting energy on healing, this spell puts all of its energy into smiting whoever has activated it. It creates a sudden shock of pure energy, which appears basically like an explosion of lightning, which should completely annihilate anyone targeted by it. Again, this spell can clearly only be used once in Tyr's lifetime.

Limits: Although Tyr obviously has more skill then he usually lets on, he only allows Nisha to use basic fire attacks for the most part. He could probably call down lightning bolts if he wanted to, but there is no way he would let Nisha do that. As far as the fire spells go, because they are relatively moderate in power, she can use them consistently throughout a fight. After the fight Tyr would have to take some time to recharge, possibly not allowing Nisha to call down any more fire until the next day in order to reserve magic for the more important spells. More than anything, Tyr saves up his stores of energy for healing Nisha.

Side-Effects: Because Nisha doesn't actually use the magic herself, it doesn't really have much physical effect on her body. However, guiding the fire attacks involves broad and obvious gestures with her hands and arms. This might give away her attacks, if her opponent begins to decipher them. The protection spell around her body is invisible when it is latent, but lights up when absorbing an attack. The enhancement spell in her clothes often causes an increased build up of static electricity when she is actively using the spell, causing her to accidentally shock herself or others when she touches things with her hands.

Strengths - Physically, Nisha isn't all that strong of course. Although she has a spell to make up for that, she only uses it when she needs it because Tyr likes to save his energy for healing spells. Because of his conservative nature, Tyr will only give her just as much strength as he thinks she needs. So, her strength might range from just above average to that of a professional weightlifter depending on who she is combating, but it doesn't usually reach superhuman levels unless Tyr thinks it absolutely necessary (and he isn't a generous fellow). She also has increased agility, which doesn't really range as much as her strength does. For the most part it just adds to her skill when using her weapon, augmenting her training. As far as speed goes, for short distance movements she can be pretty quick, but long distance running receives little aid from Tyr. He does allow her to jump pretty far when she uses it to retreat from an attack, but he doesn't let her waste his energy on trivial displays.

Nisha has taken a lot of training with her partizan and often practices against Tyr, to keep her skills up. Even without any magical aid, she could certainly hold up against an adult fighting without magic, at least for a while. The long shaft allows her to attack from a distance, ideally before her opponent is close enough to use their own weapon. The knife at her belt is mostly just a tool, but she does practice target throwing with it in case she really needs to use it. The primary purpose of the knife, according to Nisha herself, is in case she has to stab someone in the back (although clearly she doesn't let anyone know this). It is important to have an effective means of betrayal.

She believes her greatest strength, however, is her mind. Nisha has done a lot of reading and studying and could be considered a veritable genius. She understands and remembers virtually everything she reads and a lot of it has practical uses in battle. She knows all sorts of things about fighting strategies and military tactics, along with anything that has been written about the usage of weapons, the functions of magic, and the human mind and mentality. Nisha can plan things out several steps ahead and can outsmart nearly anyone she is pitted against. Her knowledge covers a broad and wide range of topics; so much so that she has something to say about nearly anything you could possibly ask her about.

Weaknesses - It shouldn't have to be said, but clearly Nisha is not as physically capable as most. Although Tyr's magic mostly covers any strength issues she might have, her biggest problem is endurance. She is only a child and, although she is a pretty active child, she just can't fight for as long as any healthy adult can. Tactics that involve wearing an opponent out are especially effective against Nisha, while her tactics always involve taking out the enemy as quickly as possible. She is also dangerously prone to injury, unfortunately. Her body can't sustain as much force as an adult's could; it breaks easier and just doesn't hold up as long. This is why Tyr has so many failsafe spells in place and reserves a majority of his magical energy for healing.

Although Nisha is more intelligent than even the above average adult (and knows it too) knowledge does not replace experience. She is still a child at heart and hasn't gone through all the things an experienced adult has. The practical skills that experienced fighters learn can be used to overpower her and the life skills that enable an experienced adult to survive alone in the world can be used to outsmart her. She relies greatly on her bodyguard wizard and without him, Nisha is practically useless in a fight.

Other - Nisha Lucia was born into the wealthy and prestigious House of Taika. Her parents are rich aristocrats with a very large and exquisite manor built on the shores of Blue Lake.

Personality - Nisha Lucia is somewhat of a child prodigy. In fact, she is a genius. She is more intelligent than most adults in many areas, but one area she is especially interested in is philosophy. Nisha has read every book, essay, and treatise about philosophical topics and theories she could get her hands on. Most people who meet Nisha are surprised by how maturely she acts and speaks, despite how young she looks. Nisha is a quiet and introverted person, usually absorbed in her own thoughts, but she isn't shy or antisocial. Indeed, she is a sociable person and acts kind and friendly when meeting new people, even if she doesn't particularly want to talk to them. Sometimes she will like to show off her knowledge and say something surprisingly smart, or ask a question she knows will baffle or confuse someone of lesser intellect.

One philosophy that Nisha took a particular liking in was nihilism, both of the existential and moral subtypes. She believes that life and existence have no objective meaning, purpose, or value; and that there is no objective morality—nothing is inherently right or wrong, good or evil. She also believes in determinism and fatalism; that all things are predetermined and subject to fate and everything that happens is an inevitable result of cause-and-effect. Consequently, she does not believe that free will exists, but that instead every human action including her own is a result of causality, determined by the physical state of the Universe and the chemical reactions in the brain. She also does not believe in any higher powers or deities, making her an atheist, although she would never use the term as she doesn't think about the topic much.

Because of her nihilistic view of existence, she believes that the most important thing in the entire Universe to her is herself. Since there is no objective right or wrong and since everything is determined by fate, she might as well do what she wants to maximize her own enjoyment and pleasure and not worry about anyone or anything else. So, while Nisha does not particularly dislike anyone, she does not find anyone else to be more important than herself. Her own needs always come first, but she understands that having a good reputation and being able to function in society are important to her needs.

There is no intrinsic purpose to life, so Nisha decided she would make her own purpose. When thinking about what her ultimate goal in life should be, only one thing came to mind. Take over the world. What one thing could possibly make her more important than being the ruler of the entire world? If she was, to herself at least, the most important thing in the Universe, she deserved to be put in the highest possible position on the planet. Nisha made this her goal in life. Take over the world.

She also decided that the only proper way to take over the world was as an evil villain, because since when did good people take over the world? While she does not believe she is evil since there is no such morality, she understands that most people follow an artificially constructed moral system where the division between good and evil is somewhat clearly cut, and she tries as much as possible to stay "in character" on the evil side of this system. So, she'll burn down a village or two just to get her point across, but she isn't completely cruel and would at least make sure everyone got out safely first.

Likes: Nisha likes herself and her own pleasure more than anything else, selfishly or even perhaps narcissistically. She enjoys reading, writing, practicing with her partizan, razing villages, and taking over territory.

Dislikes: Nisha dislikes anything which gets in the way of her own pleasure and enjoyment and will dispose of it as soon as possible. She hates black-and-white morality, blind faith and religion, anything she deems as ignorant or unintelligent, several philosophical standpoints which stand in contradiction to her own (such as compatabalism and indeterminism), and most vegetables. Seriously, who would pull some random plant out of the ground and want to eat it? Disgusting.

Fears: Nisha likes to think that her supposed nihilistic enlightenment absolves any fears she might have, but this isn't quite true. Regrettably, even she suffers from fears and phobias which she just cannot control. For instance, she finds herself more than just a little bit uneasy around people she doesn't know with powerful magic under their control. She also suffers from a minor form of acrophobia and does not like to be up on very high ledges. She deems these both reasonable fears that are there only for her own safety and protection from dangerous situations. However, she has one fear she finds particularly embarrassing as it has no logical basis and does her best to hide, even from her parents; Tyr is the only one who knows about it. Astraphobia, the fear of thunder and lightning. She just can't handle thunderstorms, they make her unreasonably anxious and she doesn't honestly know why.

Virtues: Despite the fact that Nisha tries to be the best villain around, she isn't particularly evil. She would never kill anyone unless it was in self-defense, she doesn't subject anyone to cruelty or torture, and she has a soft spot for children.

Vices: However, there are some bad things that Nisha just has no problem with. She sees nothing wrong with lying and breaking her word and does so almost regularly, she doesn't really think about the consequences her actions might have on other people and thus doesn't deem burning down someone's house as being particularly cruel even if it could later lead to their death, and she doesn't care about the well being of animals. In fact, if she had to torture or kill someone to get a point across, it would be an animal. She lit a cat on fire once, and then laughed about it. The smell was terrible, though; she would never do that again.

History - Nisha Darcy Lucia was born into a rich and noble family. Her family isn't quite royalty, but they are aristocrats who hold a great amount of wealth. Nisha grew up with her mother and her father, Lilian and Royce Taika, in their large and beautiful lakeside manor on the pristine shores of Blue Lake. For the beginning of her life she never left the boundaries of the estate and the only people she had contact with were her parents and their countless servants. Eventually they let her go into the nearby town, Lerwick, on occasion, but never without her personal bodyguard, Tyr, one of their most trusted servants.

Nisha's mind developed quickly early on in her childhood. She was reading by age two, writing by age three, solving complex algebraic problems by age four, and just kept on advancing from there. In fact, by the time she was thirteen Nisha was more intelligent than the average adult in most areas of study. One specific area of study she was particularly interested in was philosophy. Nisha went through the many libraries in the mansion and read every book on philosophy she could find. When she had read all of those, she had her parents buy more, or she would go into the city and get some herself. Nisha's parents knew their child was special and they always kept an eye on her.

Nisha began to hold some philosophical and religious beliefs that were different from that of her parents. They were both monotheists, believing in the one true Creator goddess, but she soon became atheistic. Although they did not exactly approve of this, they let her believe whatever she wanted to, and it never became a huge issue.

Soon, they discovered that Nisha was not developing any apparent magical ability. Considering that both of Nisha's parents were very skilled and well known magicians, Nisha's lack of magic skills could be a detriment to the reputations of both herself and her family lineage. They assigned their best wizard, Tyr, to make sure this secret never got out to the public. For her own protection, they said, they would never let her go anywhere outside of the manor or the nearby city; and when she did go into the city, she always had her wizard with her.

By the age of ten, Nisha was tired of being kept within such small boundaries. She wanted to go beyond the manor and beyond Lerwick. She wanted to see the world, she wanted to learn what books couldn't teach her. Whenever she told her parents this, however, they just insisted that there wasn't anything out in the world that she couldn't get where she was. Indeed whenever she asked for something, no matter how exotic, her parents were able to purchase it and have it delivered by the end of the week. Alchemical equipment, rare plants and animals, master crafted weapons and armor, an expensive diadem, even a meteorite.

Finally, when she reached twelve, Nisha decided she didn't need her parents to tell her what she could do and what she shouldn't do. She packed up all her belongings, kindly informed her parents that she was running away, and walked out the door. Her parents, after making sure Tyr was following close behind her, told her to have fun, stay safe, and be back soon. Knowing their daughter was quite intelligent, independent, and able to hold her own (but mostly trusting that Tyr would keep her safe and out of trouble) they were able to rest easy.

Nisha decided that her first course of action in her mission to take over the world would be to start by taking over a small town. While Tyr did not try to prevent her from doing so he told her that attacking any settlements within the boundaries of Selton would probably be a bad idea and could get her in serious trouble with the authorities, so she left for the wilderness. Eventually she came across a small self-sufficient village of natives. The village was built near an old ruined stone tower and Nisha decided to make the tower her home. After talking to the elders of the village and showing off her magical prowess by having Tyr create a few fireballs, she told the natives she was commandeering their village and would be their new queen.

The village didn't really have any defense against a rogue sorceress and decided not to interfere. She took up residence in the old stone tower, after having Tyr patch it up a bit, and renamed the village Lilithia. The villagers were happy to provide her with supplies and food as long as she left them alone and she was happy to oblige. Every once in a while she goes out into the village and makes sure her new subjects aren't planning her demise, burning down a few trees to keep them on their toes and remind them that she is indeed still a villain, but for the most part she just leaves them alone.

Nisha Lucia spends most of her time in her tower practicing her combat skills, reading and writing books, and making plans to take over the world and become the supreme overlady of the planet. One part of these plans involves joining with someone more powerful than herself, someone who is more capable at taking over the world. The best way to get to the top is to follow someone else there, she figures. In order to be capable of taking over the world, and to prove her usefulness and worthiness to whomever she finds to help her, Nisha frequently studies any information she thinks will be of importance. She doesn't have any particular problems with sharing the top of the world with other people if she must, but she keeps her backstabbing knife close at hand in case she changes her mind.

~

Tyr

Nicknames - Nisha calls him "wizard" usually, or just "old man" when in public so as not to give away their secret.

Occupation - Tyr is a powerful wizard and a hired servant of the House of Taika. He acts as Nisha's guardian, bodyguard, trainer, teacher, and mentor.

Age - Tyr is a really old man, at the very least eighty years old. Nisha doesn't know for sure, but she has speculated that he might even be over a hundred years old.

Gender - Tyr is a man.

Race - Homo sapiens sapiens, probably.

Magic - Tyr is a powerful wizard and has mastered many of the different disciplines of magic. Tyr specializes mainly in spellbinding, being nearly unmatched in his skills in this area. Every physical item that Tyr possesses has some magical spell sewn into it, from the most simple to the most arcane. He has even been able to knit spells right into his own living flesh. The spells bound into his clothing give him the speed, strength, and agility of a healthy young man less than half his age. His robes are spellbound to help him stand up straight, his boots are spellbound to help him move swiftly, and his cloak is spellbound to protect him better than a suit of maille armor would. His sword has been spellbound with so many different spells, even he has trouble keeping track of them all, and the clasp of his cloak has the most powerful spell he has ever cast—that of mass teleportation.

Tyr also specializes in fire magic, which he augments with an advanced knowledge of air magic. These two disciplines together allow him to cast great bursts of intensely heated fire far and wide through the air. His advanced skill in air magic allows him to guide his fire magic with greater skill than he could with simple fire magic alone. Although his skill in both fire and air magic prove he could use air magic alone with destructive force, he tends to favor fire magic over air magic and almost never uses air magic alone.

Lastly, Tyr has some skill in the magic of the void. This is a discipline he is still working on, training himself to master it like the others. Although he does not often show his skill in this area, it is known that he is able to use this magic to call down lightning from the heavens, so certainly he could manage quite the display of devastation if he needed.

The source of Tyr's magic is not a detail he has ever divulged to Nisha before, but despite her own lack of ability in the disciplines of magic, she has done much study on the topic. Nisha speculates that Tyr might be a powerful chi master, as he has shown his abilities in the arts of healing and physical augmentation, which from what she has read are usually skills granted by having control over chi. However, Nisha admits that she is not quite an expert when it comes to the arcane arts. Most of her knowledge of magic comes from Tyr and this is one thing he has not ever felt the need to discuss.

Personality - Tyr is a mysterious and quiet fellow. He usually only speaks when spoken to, otherwise preferring to stand and watch in silence. He is a simple person and a man of few possessions. All he has are the clothes on his back and the sword at his side, both of which are very simple in design and left unadorned and undecorated. He is a loyal person, following the commands of his masters, but also a reasonable person who would not follow an order he deemed particularly unwise. He is very protective of Nisha and does everything he can to keep her safe and out of trouble—he would even go as far as sacrificing his own life for hers. Other than that, he tries to leave her alone and let her do her own thing, even if that involves taking over the world. Whether what she does is right or wrong is none of Tyr's concern.

Appearance - Tyr is fairly tall, almost six feet when he stands up straight, but his age has left him with a perpetual slouch making him appear smaller than he really is. Despite his poor posture, he has no trouble standing and does not use a cane or staff to aid in his walking. He wears simple unadorned robes of dark gray wool, dyed with a hint of deep navy blue, held together by a brown leather belt with a simple gray buckle. A plain longsword hangs from the belt, bare without a scabbard and simple yet effective in design. Even in his old age, Tyr has proven himself quite skilled in the use of his sword—in their practices, not even a magically enhanced Nisha has been able to best him in combat.

Tyr's face is covered in a short gray beard but the hair on top of his head his thinning and almost bald at the very crest. He hides his head and face under the hood of his dark brown woolen cloak, which is closed together in the front with a simple iron clasp. When his face is shrouded by his hood his dark bluish gray eyes can barely be seen spying out from under. On his feet are brown leather boots and his hands are bare and wrinkled.

History - Tyr has been with the House of Taika for multiple generations, acting as the chief wizard in charge of magical teaching and training for the Taika family. Where he came from before being hired by Lord Taika is a great mystery indeed and several rumors have been created among the other servants concerning the matter. Tyr himself does not talk much about himself or his past, preferring to remain in the present time, but he has revealed a few things. He has said before that he has traveled all over the world, visiting every kingdom at least once before, but that he has no plans on doing so again any time soon.
Last Edited by Lysis; 03-10-2013 at 04:34 AM. Reason: Reply With Quote
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Old 07-07-2011, 05:04 PM
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Yekaterina

Yekaterina

Nickname: Katya Catapult.
Age: Fourteen.
Sex: Female.
Race: Human.
Height: Around 160 centimeters (5'3'').
Weight: Around 55 kilograms (121 lbs).
Eyes: Light brown.
Hair: Light auburn. Her hair is cut in a style which starts out short in the front (ending right above her eyebrows) and gets progressively longer around the sides (ending just below her ears) until at the very back it is long enough to reach just below her shoulders. The long hair at the back of her head is usually gathered together into a ponytail with a black elastic scrunchy.
Skin: Well-tanned. She spends a lot of time out in the sun.

Appearance: Katya is the about the average size for a girl her age. Although the term "muscular" wouldn't quite describe her properly, as a kid who gets a lot of exercise she is definitely more physically fit than kids who stay indoors watching television, playing video games, or surfing the web all day. The term "wiry" might work well. In any case, she is built fairly strong and can pack a surprisingly powerful punch.

Katya dresses in clothing picked out with the idea of freedom of movement in mind. Most prominent is the long and loose jacket she wears, made from a lightweight crimson red material. The jacket has its sleeves torn off, leaving frayed edges and loose threads. The end of the jacket, which nearly reaches the ground, is also somewhat frayed. Although the jacket has large black buttons down one side, Katya pretty much never buttons it up, preferring to leave it loose instead.

Under the jacket, Katya typically wears a tank top and a pair of denim shorts. She likes to pick light colors for the shirt and dark colors for the pants. Around her waist, Katya wears a wide black leather belt with two rows of large brass-lined holes. It has an oversized disk-shaped polished brass buckle with a gromoviti znaci (a symbol of the Slavic thunder god, Perun) design etched into it. The symbol is a hexagon formed from six triangles with their points turned in towards a small circle in the center. A half-circle is cut from the base of each triangle, with another small circle at the center of each one.

On her feet, Katya wears tightly-laced boots. The boots are black but the laces are white. Katya also wears a pair of tight fingerless gloves, which reach almost to her elbows and are also black in color. The only jewelry that Katya wears is a pair of earrings, in the simple form of small black hoops through her earlobes. On her head Katya wears a pair of goggles with shiny gold lenses—even when she doesn't have them pulled down over her eyes, she's almost always wearing them. Katya doesn't have a lot of possessions; everything that she owns she carries in a black satchel at her side.

Weapon: Katya carries around with her a polearm weapon known as a bardiche. Compared to most polearms, the bardiche has a relatively long blade and short shaft. The whole weapon, from the end of the shaft to the tip of the blade, is about 150 centimeters, which is ten shorter than Katya herself. The heavy crescent-shaped blade is about half as long as the entire weapon itself and is attached to the wooden shaft in two places; the first is at the top of the shaft, which is about the middle of the blade, and the other is at the base of the blade, which is about the middle of the shaft.

Although the curved point at the top of the blade can be used for stabbing if swung properly, the most effective use of the weapon is for cleaving. The long shaft and heavy blade make it very well suited to chopping through things, similarly to an axe. Due to being a pole weapon, the bardiche has a greater reach than most other melee weapons.

When she's carrying the weapon, Katya often rests it on her shoulders. Otherwise she has a black strap attached to either end of the shaft which she uses to carry the weapon on her back, similar in function to a baldric.

Armor: Katya does not wear any armor. Armor is rather encumbering; it weighs down and restricts movement. When Katya has freedom of movement she doesn't need armor anyway. You don't need armor if you never get hit in the first place.

Possessions: In her satchel, Katya carries all of her possessions. This includes a few sets of clothing, some food (typically a handful of energy bars) and drink (generally something filled with sugar and caffeine), whatever money she has, and any interesting knick-knacks she's decided to pick up. Wrapped up in its own special protective sack inside her satchel is Katya's most prized possession of all, her krylovidnye gusli.

The gusli is a traditional Russian musical instrument, played by using one's fingers to pluck its strings, similar to a psaltery, lyre, or harp. The krylovidnye gusli, meaning "wing-shaped gusli" is a specific form of gusli which has its strings strung over a long and narrow soundboard and is held similarly to a guitar. An opening at the head of the instrument, where the strings are attached to the tuning pegs, allows the musician to put their hand through the soundboard and selectively mute the strings to form chords.

Katya's gusli is a gift from her mother, who also taught her to play it. It has five shiny metal strings and a dark wooden body. She keeps it inside a blood red velvet bag, kept closed with drawstrings, which she keeps inside her satchel.

Powers: Katya is very quick. Quicker, in fact, than should technically be possible. She has the ability to accelerate any part of her body to greater speeds than most humans can. This enables her to run very fast, or dodge out of the way of attacks, or swing her weapon with incredible force. She also has very good endurance and is able to stay active for prolonged periods of time, even after most people would have tired. In fact, Katya is so active all the time that many people get exhausted just watching her.

Although her quickness is certainly beyond normal human ability, she has to be careful not to push it too far. Theoretically she could probably accelerate herself through the sound barrier if she tried, but her body is only human and would not survive such immense velocities. More than once Katya has painfully strained a muscle, and sprained or even dislocated a joint trying to move some part of her body too fast.

One way to avoid causing herself injury is to start out slower and build up speed, instead of trying to get to top speed right away. Using this method, Katya can manage to get herself running up to 100 kilometers per hour, if she's careful. However, she generally wouldn't dare run that fast unless she was on perfectly level ground, because if she were to trip on something she would probably kill herself, and she would need plenty of room to slow down to a stop without hurting herself as well. Typically she only runs about half that speed, if even.

Another method of travel that Katya has come up with, however, is the one which has earned her her nickname, "Catapult." By quickly accelerating into a fast run and then jumping, Katya can launch herself fairly great distances. This carries a certain danger to it, however, since she has little control over her landing. One particular thing she must always consider is to never jump too high; because the fall could injure her, Katya typically jumps low but far.

Long distance travel tends to consist of both running and jumping. Katya follows the simple philosophy that the shortest distance between any two points is a straight line. When travelling, Katya wears her goggles to protect her eyes from the wind.

Limits: As mentioned, although her speed is theoretically unlimited she must limit her speed to reasonable levels in order to prevent causing herself serious injury. Katya's unprecedented endurance is powered by her insatiable metabolism. Without the excessive calories that Katya is always consuming, excessive use of her ability would eventually tire her out. In practice, however, Katya generally manages to consume enough energy that she never really wears out.

Side-effects: When using her acceleration ability the effected body parts glimmer in a strange red gleam, which tends to trail behind her. The gleam is generally very dim, barely visible even in the dark, but short and quick accelerations have been known to glow quite brightly. Her ability requires the use of energy from her body, which leaves Katya always hungry and craving calories. She's always eating something, but her metabolism makes good use of it and she doesn't gain excessive weight. Possibly due to her increased metabolism, Katya's wounds tend to heal slightly faster than usual, although not supernaturally so.

Skills: Katya has three important skills, which she practices and trains regularly and which can all be enhanced via her special ability. The first one is the usage of her weapon, a bardiche. The bardiche is an ancient heirloom that has been passed down in her family for several generations. She initially taught herself to use it purely out of curiosity. Over the years, however, it has become a functional skill and it would take a particularly courageous or ignorant person to challenge her to a fight with it.

With her ability to unnaturally accelerate her body beyond the usual limits, the bardiche becomes an especially powerful weapon in her hands. The leverage provided by the long wooden shaft, combined with the weight and sharpness of the heavy steel blade, already enable the weapon to easily cleave through many materials. Accelerated, the weapon could chop down a tree in a single blow.

Along with her skill at using her weapon, Katya is also trained in unarmed combat. Her father taught her a form of martial art derived from Russian Systema, which focuses on hand-to-hand combat, including both armed and unarmed striking, and grappling, with the goal of quickly and effectively subduing opponents. Her training is not particularly stylish, but it is fairly efficient.

Katya has expanded her martial arts training to match her special abilities. Accelerating her arms or legs can be used to deliver particularly powerful blows, and other methods can be used to quickly dodge and avoid attacks or get her into a better position, such as vaulting over her opponent. Technique combined with sheer speed tends to give Katya significant advantages in fights.

Lastly, Katya is also skilled in the use of her musical instrument, the gusli. Hand-crafted and gifted to her by her mother, Katya's gusli is her most prized possession and she practices on it regularly. Her mother taught her to use it and Katya's skill has increased ever since. Katya has found a way to use her strange ability to help her play music, increasing the speed of her fingers as she plucks the strings to interesting ends.

Her ability to play beautiful music is also her main source of income. She'll play on the streets and collect donations from generous listeners.

Strengths: Katya's main strengths are her speed and maneuverability. Her battle philosophy is that the victor is the person who is in all the right places at all the right times, so Katya is always wherever she wants to be whenever she wants to be there. Combined with her experienced weapon usage and her martial arts training, Katya is used to winning fights. However, if it is clear that she isn't winning whatever fight she's in, Katya can at least easily get away without much trouble.

Weaknesses: Katya's speed and maneuverability come at the expense of not being able to wear armor or other protective gear. So while it isn't very easy to hit Katya, any blows that do manage to land will generally be very serious indeed. Katya is only a teenage girl, so despite being fit and getting plenty of exercise, her body doesn't have much bulk to it.

Speed can only increase her strength so much before the lack of mass becomes impossible to overcome. For instance, Katya would not want to do something as foolish as punching through a brick wall—the brick wall will win that fight every time, no matter how much speed she puts behind her fist. Replace the brick wall with a hefty muscular man and you see the problem. Putting more force behind her fist only means either the surface she's hitting has to absorb most of that force, or her fist will have to take the force itself.

Finally, some things are too fast for even Katya to dodge, specifically bullets. Katya's method of dealing with guns involves staying as far away from them as possible. Her speed might be able to get her out of the way of a gunshot if she can predict it coming and move before the trigger is pulled, and at really close range Katya knows how to disarm a gun-wielding fighter before they even know what's going on, but at mid-range she doesn't stand much of a chance.

Other: Katya is Russian and although she can understand and speak English fluently, she has a very heavy accent which might be hard for some people to understand.

Personality: Katya is very energetic. She's always on the move, always active, never stopping. She doesn't like to sit still for long and can get very impatient. She is also quite impulsive, making decisions on-the-fly, usually without thinking them through all the way first. In this sense, Katya doesn't seem that irregular when compared to other fourteen year olds. Indeed, she really isn't that unusual in any significant way.

Katya is a very extroverted and social individual. She likes to be the center of attention. She likes to meet new people and make new friends. Kayta has few social inhibitions, simply behaving like herself in social settings without much concern for how other people think about her. She isn't usually very shy either, easily going up to strangers and interacting with them; whether it be just talking, asking a question, looking for help or directions, or dragging them along on whatever escapade she's currently in the middle of.

There are some conditions, however, where Katya will suddenly become shy and inhibited. As with any young person her age, having recently reached biological maturity and such, Katya tends to be awkward around certain peers, people around her age whom she finds attractive and inexplicably feels the need to be accepted by. Therefore, although she is extremely social with everybody else, she finds it difficult to speak to pretty girls and can be easily embarrassed around them. Although she always likes to show off her skills, she especially likes to show off around other girls in order to impress them.

Despite carrying around such a gruesome weapon as a bardiche, Katya doesn't actually like to hurt people with it and has never killed anybody. Usually the threat of using it is enough to keep potential enemies at bay, but when Katya does have to fight she prefers to use non-lethal grappling techniques to disarm and incapacitate opponents. Katya would be very disappointed, to say the least, if she were forced to kill anyone.

All in all, Katya is an energetic and feisty kid who likes to show off her skills and have fun. She's always nice and, when she remembers, also very polite. She likes her freedom and therefore does not like to be told what to do—she will often do the opposite of what she's told just to spite authority. She seems to like getting into trouble, pulling pranks and breaking rules and whatnot. Really, Katya will do anything if she thinks it will be exciting and interesting.

Likes: Katya likes anything sweet and sugary, such as soda pop and candy. She also likes caffeine—she hardly ever drinks anything which isn't filled with caffeine and loaded with sugar or corn syrup.

Dislikes: Katya dislikes all the electronic entertainment (television, movies, video games, recorded music, the Internet) that seems to have most people wasting all their time lazing about indoors.

Fears: Katya doesn't like to let anybody know, but she's extremely phobic of just about every little creepy crawly thing. Spiders, insects, rodents, snakes, etc. She can't stand them at all and gods forbid they get on her.

Virtues: Katya is a nice and caring person. Due to her lack of social inhibitions, she will not hesitate to stand up for someone if she feels they are being treated unfairly. Peer pressure doesn't tend to sway her much.

Vices: Katya tends to miss many of the subtle intricacies of social interaction. Because she always just acts like herself in social settings, she expects everybody else to as well. This means she misses what some people might consider obvious hints and she is also quite gullible and easy to fool.

History: Yekaterina was born and raised in a small village in the Astrakhan Oblast of Russia (located in the far southwest of the country, on the Caspian Sea). There she lived a normal life, with her mother and her father. In school, Katya's tenacious and energetic personality often got her in fights, so her father (who works for the Russian Special Purpose Forces, or Spetsnaz) taught her how to defend herself.

On her tenth birthday, Yekaterina's mother gave her a musical instrument, a gusli, which she had crafted herself. Although she learned how to use it very quickly and was quite good at it, Yekaterina soon got bored of it and moved on to other interests. For instance, she taught herself how to use the old bardiche that Yekaterina's father kept on display above the mantel.

Yekaterina's father was often away at work and her mother didn't have the energy to keep up with her, so Yekaterina was generally allowed to run about and do her own thing. The village was small and most of the kids were allowed to go about through it freely as long as they were home by dinner, so Yekaterina often played with her friends.

Among the village children, Yekaterina was considered one of the cool kids and most everyone wanted to hang out with her. She always liked being the center of attention so it never bothered her that everyone wanted to play with her. Being about as much of a tomboy as possible, into physical activity and roughhousing and not afraid to get dirty, she seemed to be especially popular with and comfortable around the boys.

Yekaterina often got into trouble with her friends—in fact, she was usually the one who initiated the trouble and led everybody into it. Because of this, not only did her own parents get angry with her when she got in trouble, but so did the parents of all the kids she played with, for being a "bad influence." The other parents were always less considerate and understanding about her behavior than her own, who were quick to forgive.

Somehow, probably due to the fact that any attention is good attention, this only encouraged her to find further ways to bend the rules, instead of conforming to them. Following rules wasn't very exciting, after all.

This came to a head at the age of twelve, when one of her mischievous capers resulted in one of the other kids inadvertently getting injured. Although Yekaterina's parents never minded her practicing with the bardiche, she was never allowed to leave their house with it. However, wanting to show it off to the other kids, she managed to sneak it out one day.

They gathered at a clearing in the nearby woods, where Yekaterina showed off her skills by chopping up a log. One of the boys wanted to try it out but Yekaterina refused to let him have it, which resulted in them fighting over it. In the scuffle, the boy's hand got sliced open on the blade. Needless to say, when the parents of the children discovered that her antics not only injured someone, but involved an ancient medieval war axe, there was trouble.

After this point she often had to play by herself, since all the other kids were told they were to stay away from her and, although they didn't strictly follow those instructions (she was a fun person to be around) they didn't dare go along with her schemes anymore, for fear of getting in trouble again.

It was at the age of thirteen that Yekaterina discovered her unique ability. She had always been fast but this kind of speed was unnatural. In learning to use it properly she suffered from many minor wounds and injuries, but she quickly managed to get a hang of it. Soon, however, word of her unusual ability got out and eventually reached the wrong kind of people.

One day, Yekaterina came home from school to find a bag packed for her. Her father was home, which was odd since he was usually at work this time of day. All he told her was that she had to get out of Russia and not stay in any one place for very long. He said that bad people were out to get her but that since she was fast if she just kept running nobody could ever catch her.

And so she did.
Last Edited by Lysis; 02-14-2012 at 04:47 PM. Reason: Reply With Quote
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Old 12-18-2011, 07:29 PM
Lysis Antarctica Lysis is offline
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Gauges and Rivet

Gauges and Rivet

Age: Gauges is three years old, although as a machine his age is not proportionate to his maturity in any way. Rivet isn't sure of her age exactly, but she's in her late teens or young adulthood.

Sex: Both Gauges and Rivet are sexless, although the former identifies himself as male and the latter as female.

Race: Gauges is a robot built into the shape of a dragon. Rivet is a cyborg, her only organic parts being her heart and her brain and a few things in between the two.

Height: On four legs, Gauges stands about fifteen feet tall (about as tall, maybe a bit taller, than a one-story building) from the ground to the highest part of his back. From his nose to the tip of his tail, Gauges is about three times that. Rivet stands at five and a half feet.

Weight: Gauges is massive, huge in size and made from heavy materials. He weighs in at around 20 tons, or 40,000 pounds. Rivet, also made from heavy materials but an average size for a human, weighs just under 500 pounds.

Eyes: Gauges' eyes are a pair of glass lenses which are lit from behind by blue flame. The brightness and intensity of the flames change to express emotion. Rivet still has her real eyes, which are a pale shade of light sky blue.

Hair: Neither Gauges nor Rivet has hair nor can grow any, as most of Rivet's skull has been replaced with inorganic parts.

Complexion: Gauges is made mostly from brass and iron. The brass has a color somewhere between the shiny orange of copper and the shiny yellow of gold and the iron has a dull gray color. Rivet is made from the same materials, plus tungsten, a very hard metal used to protect her brain. It has a dark gray color similar to iron. The lower half of her face, as well as most of her neck, is covered in real, organic skin, which is light brown in color.

Appearance: Gauges is a steam-powered machine, made from brass and iron. If you look at him as a whole he looks roughly like a shiny dragon, but if you look closely you can see the pipes and tubes and gears and rivets and other parts that make him up. A lot of the internal mechanisms are covered up with large panels of metal, but to keep him flexible much of it is left exposed.

Being built in the shape of a dragon, Gauges has four legs, a long tail and neck, and a pair of wings. The wings are made from brown leather and are not actually used for flight—Gauges is just too heavy. Each of his four feet are equipped with claws of iron, sharpened like daggers. The end of his tail has three long spikes of sharpened iron, about as long as swords.

Right on top of Gauges' head is a large cylindrical chimney, which is constantly releasing smoke and exhaust steam. Due to a wide rim around its base, the chimney looks roughly like a top hat. Also on his head, Gauges has a large round zoom lens in a shiny iron frame on the end of a mechanical arm so that it can be positioned over his left eye for seeing great distances.

At the base of his neck Gauges, true to his name, has a series of dial gauges. They indicate various things, such as steam pressure, remaining quantities of water and coal, engine temperature, etc. Gauges, of course, cannot read the dials—they are positioned for Rivet's benefit, for when she sits on his back.

Rivet is made from the same technology as Gauges, including pipes and gears and such, although she is much more streamlined and most of her is covered in protective brass plating with iron rivets. The front of her chest has a small circular glass window through which can be seen her heart and a similar window exists on the back of her head for her brain.

Rivet wears black leather boots with iron buckles, a frilly black skirt trimmed with white lace and held up with another iron buckle, and a black leather jacket with iron buttons. The jacket has no sleeves, so as not to get caught in the gears of her shoulders and elbows, and is usually left open, exposing the glass window in her chest. She also wears a black leather backpack with plenty more polished iron buckles and buttons.

Her head is made from tungsten, an expensive but very hard metal. It is dark gray in color and is lined with shiny iron rivets to hold it all together. Her face below the forehead and her neck are mostly organic, covered in skin rather than metal, although her teeth are all artificial (made from sharpened iron). She has a pair of goggles, which are either on her face or just hanging around her neck, and a bowler hat.

On her left arm Rivet has a series of dial gauges, for the same purpose that Gauges does, to monitor pressure, water, fuel, and temperature levels. A narrow pipe protrudes out of her back at the base of her neck and reaches up over her head—her chimney. Also from her back, passing through four deliberately made holes in her jacket on either side of her backpack, are four extremely intricate mechanical tentacles.

Weapons: Much of Gauges' body qualifies as a weapon, including the spikes at the end of his tail, his claws, and his teeth, all made from sharpened blades of iron. He can also "breathe" extremely hot steam from his nostrils, much like a regular dragon can breathe fire. Steam does not usually come from his mouth—if it does it means there is something wrong with his plumbing which, to be fair, happens fairly regularly.

Rivet can also use her body as a weapon—her metal fists can pack quite a punch, and her sharp teeth can easily draw blood and tear flesh. When she gets serious though she'll take the biggest wrench from her toolkit, her three-foot long adjustable iron pipe wrench, and use that as a weapon. A good solid blow from that thing knocks most opponents out in a single hit, or at least discourages them from continuing to bother her.

Her most fascinating weapon and tool, however, are the mechanical tentacles on her back, which she built herself. Each one is about five feet long and is built from a complex series of gears and chains which get increasingly smaller near the end of the tentacle, ending at a point. In order to keep foreign objects from getting into the complex mechanisms, the tentacles are plated with several flat discs of brass which leave plenty of room for flexibility and give a nice smooth look.

When they aren't active they just hang limp on her back, curled partially up to stay out of the way. Otherwise, she has full control over each individual one and can use them for grabbing, throwing, striking, climbing, and anything else she can think of.

Armor: Gauges and Rivet do not wear armor but their bodies are made from metal and pretty much count as armor on their own right.

Possessions: Gauges does not have any possessions of his own. Rivet has a few, including a brass pocket watch with a chain that she keeps attached to her belt. In her backpack she keeps a toolkit and plenty of spare parts, for repairs.

Skills: Gauges has the ability to spray steam from a pair of holes on his face. He can spray the steam a good fifty feet at a dangerous temperature of around 500 degrees Fahrenheit. He can also use his huge wings to generate a lot of powerful wind, which can knock down even the most surefooted person. Rivet is a skilled mechanic and engineer and is always tinkering, building things, and repairing the two of them when they get damaged.

Strengths: In a literal sense, Gauges and Rivet are both very strong. Gauges weighs twenty tons and is strong enough to move it around with some amount of finesse. He can easily use that weight to crush and break and hardly anything can stop him if he tries. Rivet can lift objects at most as heavy as she is, at five hundred pounds. She can swing her twenty pound pipe wrench with ease and can take blows that would down a regular human with hardly a falter.

Weaknesses: Gauges and Rivet are both very heavy and that means that neither of them is very fast, although Gauges has a very long stride that can cover a lot of distance in a short time. Dodging isn't a thing that they can do—they take every blow delivered to them and hope it doesn't do too much damage. Usually it doesn't but when it does it can be a problem, because both Gauges and Rivet rely on very complex mechanisms to keep them running in top condition. If just one small part fails it can lead to a chain reaction of malfunctions.

They also both rely on having sufficient amounts of water and fuel (typically coal, although if they have to they can burn wood) to produce the steam that powers them. If they run out of fuel they shut down. Gauges can be shut down indefinitely without any harm—in fact, Rivet usually shuts him down before working on significant repairs. Rivet, however, requires food energy to maintain the organic parts of her body. If the mechanical parts of her body shut down she becomes unable to move and would eventually starve to death.

Personality: Gauges is a very simple person. He doesn't bother himself with complex issues and he doesn't concern himself with things that don't have anything to do with himself and Rivet. He minds his own business and stays out of trouble, or tries to at least. Often he gets himself into trouble accidentally, as he is quite large and somewhat clumsy, always running into things and breaking them.

Gauges is kind and always willing to help out. He is also very curious and often asks Rivet questions, who likes to pretend she knows everything and will come up with an answer to all of Gauges' questions whether she knows one or has to make one up. Naturally, Gauges believes everything she says, no matter how fantastic. In fact, he is quite naïve and will believe pretty much anything.

Rivet is a pragmatic thinker, a resourceful mechanic, and an inventive engineer. She doesn't know or care much about theory and philosophy, but she has plenty of practical knowledge and knows how to put it to use and make things work. She is always taking spare parts and scrap metal and inventing new devices out of them, or using them to repair herself and Gauges. Rivet likes to pride herself on being able to fix anything that runs on steam and she's probably right.

Although she likes to keep to herself and let other people have their own problems, she is a good person at heart and doesn't like to see people in pain or suffering. She especially takes pity on orphans, the homeless, and the physically impaired, as she has had personal experience with all three. More than once she has put her expertise into building prosthetic limbs for those who have lost theirs, much like her own, simply out of the kindness of her heart and without any expectation of compensation. Building things is hard work, though, and she usually does it for payment. She makes a living selling devices she has built and repairing other devices.

Gauges likes stories, dislikes not being useful, and is terribly afraid of heights. Luckily, he can't actually fly, despite his wings. Rivet likes tinkering, dislikes philosophy, and is quite afraid of death. For this reason she keeps her body in top condition, extending her life as much as possible.

History: Rivet was a homeless and crippled orphan, living alone on the streets and begging for food and money, when a man by the name of Doctor Spanner found her. An ambitious inventor and mad scientist, Doctor Spanner promised to take care of Rivet, providing her with food and shelter and anything else she needed, for as long as he lived, under a few conditions. The first was that she had to let him replace her legs with working prostheses—he had been so far unable to find any willing human participants. The second was that she would have to earn her stay by helping out in his laboratory with experiments and such.

Rivet agreed to Spanner's conditions and he took her back to his lab. He removed her functionless legs and replaced them with steam-powered prostheses. The process took a while and even once she was fully healed it took her a while to learn how to walk with them but eventually she could use them as well as any other person could use their own legs. From that point on she became Doctor Spanner's lab assistant.

As the inventor's assistant she learned a lot about mechanics and engineering and became quite capable at it. Soon, Spanner deemed her ready to help him work on his greatest invention ever—the great Steam Dragon. Powering it would require a bigger engine than either of them had ever worked with before. Together they began their work.

However, part way through the project a terrible disaster took place. A boiler exploded, nearly killing Rivet in the process. Doctor Spanner was just barely able to salvage her body and hook her up to a life-support system that he had previously built. It took him more than a year, but he was eventually able to build an entire new prosthetic body for Rivet.

Spanner died of old age before finishing the Steam Dragon and it was his dying wish that Rivet would finish it for him. Thus she did so, putting all of her effort into it, building for the memory of the man who had saved her life more than once.
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Old 09-01-2012, 04:30 AM
Lysis Antarctica Lysis is offline
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Elamera and Seltayr

Count Seltayr Kamjen Iskalden
(sel-tair · kam-yen · yees-kal-den)
&
Elamera

(ee-lam-meer-ah)


Age: Elamera is 21 and Seltayr is 19.

Sex: Elamera is female and Seltayr is male.

Race: Elamera is a jolin from Djola and Seltayr is a talin from Savidran. (Both races of the Talven subspecies, essentially identical to humans.)

Height: Elamera stands just under six feet tall and Seltayr around five and a half (1.8 and 1.6 meters, respectively).

Weight: Elamera weighs around 140 pounds and Seltayr around 120 (64 and 54 kilograms, respectively).

Eyes: Elamera's eyes are a pale ice blue and Seltayr's are light green.

Hair: Elamera's hair is pure snow white, a classic trait of her race, and is usually kept tied into a long ponytail on the top of her head that reaches down to about her waist. Seltayr's hair is light brown and is usually tied into several small, short braids that hang over the sides of his head.

Skin: Elamera's skin is extremely pale, matching her pure white hair. Seltayr's skin has more color to it, although it is still light like most Savidrani. Seltayr has a speckling of tan freckles on his cheeks.

Appearance: Elamera's long white hair is tied up on the top of her head with a black lace ribbon, the tail left to hang to one side of her body. Two locks of hair on the front of her head are kept loose and hang just above her pale blue eyes. Elamera's eyes are accented with dark makeup; mascara, eyeliner, eye shadow, etc. Her eyebrows, naturally white like her hair and difficult to distinguish from the pale skin of her face, are dyed black. She also wears dark lipstick.

Under her left eye, Elamera has a black tattoo in the shape of a curve following the outline of her eye with four rays running off of it onto her cheek. The tattoo supposedly identifies her as a member of the Djolan tribe she grew up in. On the other side of her face, Elamera has a long, wide, jagged scar running across her cheek from the bridge of her nose to her jaw. This is only one of Elamera's many scars, but by far the most prominent of them.

Elamera wears a long white jacket outlined with thick black trim, which is narrow and form-fitting at the torso, fastened at the waist with a wide belt, and then flares out below the waist. The jacket ends just above Elamera's ankles. The inside of the jacket is lined with a thick layer of black fur. Underneath, she wears a simple, sleeveless tunic, similar in design to the jacket: white with black trim. On her arms, Elamera wears black gauntlets made from layered leather plates. On her legs Elamera wears knee-high boots over white leggings.

Seltayr, despite being nobility and much to the chagrin of his father the Marquess, does not wear anything so extravagant although he would be entitled to if he so wished. He usually wears a short, sleeveless tunic; long trousers; a brown leather jacket; and a thick cloak made from the dark brown fur of a bear. He's always forced to wear nicer clothes for official business, of course, but he prefers to wear simpler stuff when he can.

Weapons: As one of the elite members of Icemarch's Noble Guard, Elamera has keenly-forged weapons which have been given to her straight from the Marquess's personal armory. This includes a pole-arm similar to a halberd and a sword. Both weapons are simultaneously ornate and functional and Elamera is highly skilled in their usage.
Savidrani ornate steel halberd: The halberd has a curved blade on one end, which is mounted on the top of the shaft and from there curves slightly up and out, forming a crescent before meeting the shaft again, where it is fixed with a metal loop. From there the blade continues into a slight hook—overall, the blade resembles the capital letter "R", with the shaft being the straight line, the loop rising slightly above the rest of the letter, and the tail hooking upward at the end. The top of the shaft has a long two-edged spike and the side opposite the blade has a long downward-curved hook which is used for forcibly dismounting cavalry, tripping foot soldiers, or disarming opponents.

The head of the halberd is made from steel, polished bright like silver, and the shaft is made from wood painted white. A black lace ribbon is tied around the shaft in between the two mounting points on the blade to prevent it from sliding off either end. The weapon, from end to end, is seven feet long. The ribbon is about as long but it's tied by the middle so that it has two strands which are half as long.

When she's not just holding her halberd, she can carry it from a strap over her back.

Savidrani ornate steel sabre: Elamera's sword is made from the same polished steel as the halberd, except engraved with ornate designs resembling curling vines with elliptic leaves and little five-petalled flowers and small bunches of round berries. The blade of the sword is almost three feet long and is slightly curved up, ending at a point. The convex edge of the blade is sharpened while the other edge is not. The hilt of the sword has a guard like that of a sabre, with a loop of metal over the hand to protect it. A black lace ribbon is tied around the hilt, similar to the one on her halberd, with two trailing edges about half as long as the sword.

She carries the sword in a scabbard at her belt.

Savidrani ornate steel stilettos: For backup Elamera also has a matching pair of short double-edged, needle-point daggers. They have ornately engraved, polished shiny blades like her sword. Although double-edged, the straight and narrowly-pointed blades are designed primarily for stabbing and are not very effective at cutting.

She carries the stilettos concealed, one in each of her boots.

Arawn, the avenger's javelin: A javelin approximately six feet in length, carved out of a single piece of deer antler. Despite the unusual material and crude, natural design of the weapon, it seems to be perfectly balanced for throwing and flies straight and true as any javelin; at least when thrown at inanimate targets.

Enchanted with some ancient and primordial magic, the weapon can only be used to retaliate against aggressors who have drawn blood. If the tip of the weapon is soaked in the blood of a wound, the javelin, when thrown, will never fail to impact the instigator who caused that wound in the same area of the body. In all other cases, the javelin will always miss when thrown. Of course, at close range, nothing prevents Elamera from using the javelin like a spear and simply stabbing at her enemies.

This weapon was given to Elamera by the Dome after achieving victory in one of its many tournaments. Elamera carries Arawn, wrapped in white cloth, from a strap over her back next to her halberd.
Seltayr is not much of a fighter, leaving that job to his retainer. However, he does have a small knife, which he mostly uses as a tool. It has a straight, broad, pointed double-edged blade which is made from tarnished, scratched, chipped, dented, and otherwise beat-up metal. He keeps the edges sharp but otherwise the knife looks like it is well past retirement.

He also carries three wands (made respectively from ivory, crystal, and wood) in small loops in his belt. The first two wands usually carry offensive spells. The ivory wand is enchanted with a firebolt spell (specifically, a slightly-modified version of Kalsif's Quick-Expanding Cohesive Firebolt). To activate the spell, Seltayr flicks the wand in the direction he wants to sling the bolt and shouts, the volume of which dictates how big the firebolt is. He has modified the spell with a complex algorithm which causes it to quickly seek out the most likely target in the general direction he's pointing the wand, increasing its accuracy. When fired, therefore, the firebolt quickly flies straight towards its target and, upon contact with any solid object, quickly expands into an intense fireball.

The crystal wand is enchanted with a spell he made himself, which he calls Seltayr's Nonlethal Dazzleburst. The dazzleburst is designed, as the name indicates, to be a nonlethal spell. It only has one power setting and therefore does not require a vocal cue for activation, only a flick of the wrist. Upon activation, it releases a burst of energy and a bright flash of light, accompanied by a sound similar to a giant cork popping out of a giant wine bottle. The burst is usually enough to knock down even the sturdiest of people and the bright flash usually leaves them stunned long enough for Seltayr to abscond.

The wooden wand is enchanted with a spell which is not at all offensive. It's a healing spell called Elyn's Fast Mending, which quickly stops bleeding, closes serious wounds, and encourages cell regrowth. It is intended as an emergency first-aid spell for mages to use in battle to keep injured soldiers alive long enough for the medics and healers to save them and is not meant to replace actual professional medical treatment. It's used by holding the wand over the wound in need of mending and rotating the tip of the wand in circles over the wound until the desired amount of mending has been reached.

Armor: In between the outer layer of fine silk and inner layer of rich fur comprising Elamera's jacket is a very lightweight layer of small, tightly interlocked metal loops; maille. Seltayr wears something much less conventional. Under his tunic is an undershirt made from a fine mesh of silver threads in between two layers of soft cloth. Obviously this would do nothing by itself—however it is what is known as a "mage suit" or "mage armor" and is enchanted with a protection spell. In Seltayr's case, he usually uses Manderal's Universal Protection, which diffuses both energy-based and physical attacks (spreading out the energy put behind a physical attack over the whole mage suit, making it much less deadly).

Skills: Elamera is one of the elite members of the Marquess's personal security force, the Icemarch Noble Guard. The Noble Guard have the important responsibility of protecting the Marquess, the Marquess's family, other local nobles (such as the various city magistrates), and visiting dignitaries from other marches, provinces, or nations. Only the best warriors are selected for this position and they receive the best possible equipment for the job.

Elamera was raised in a warrior tribe and was trained to fight ever since she was big enough to carry a weapon, starting with a knife, moving up to a sword, and then up to a pole-arm. Djolan warriors like herself are often sought for their fighting prowess, since they are trained practically since birth, know how to keep themselves in perfect shape, and are hardy enough to survive the harsh environment of Djola's tundra.

As an elite warrior, Elamera knows how to use her weapons effectively and lethally and the Marquess trusts her with his life and with the lives of his family.

Magic: Elamera does not know any magic but Seltayr is a mage and aspiring thaumatologist. He is very well-studied and has memorized a wide selection of spells and techniques which can do pretty much anything one can imagine if put together properly. However, spells take a long time to set up, which is where the mages' wands come into play. A wand allows a thaumaturge to enchant a complex spell which can then be used immediately, on demand, whenever it is needed. However, a wand can only hold a single spell (although multiple charges of it) at a time, which is why Seltayr carries three.

Crafting a spell involves drawing a complex spell matrix according to precise instructions (which, if they haven't been memorized, can be looked up in a spellbook) and then placing the spell components (which are optional, depending on the spell, and involve either foci which are not consumed by the spell and ingredients which are). After the spell has been crafted, the caster inspires it with some of the Essence from their daily pool, activating it and causing whatever effects it has to take place.

Putting the spell into an object like a wand, staff, scroll, or mage suit for later usage is called enchanting. Enchanted spells can be over-inspired (meaning more energy is put into the spell casting than necessary for a single usage, allowing the spell to have multiple charges) and all require a trigger mechanism for usage. A trigger mechanism is just any method by which the spell is activated, such as flicking the wand or saying a special phrase. Some are set to trigger automatically on specific events (mage suit enchantments usually trigger when a solid blow or magic spell contacts the suit, for instance, rather than on a direct command from the caster).

Thaumaturgy is a complex art. Most practitioners only know a very small selection of spells and don't know enough about spellcrafting to build their own spells. Becoming a true spellcrafter involves learning the "language" of spellcrafting, a complex set of shapes and symbols which, when put together in just the right way, make a spell. Spellcrafting can, in theory, create spells that do absolutely anything (given an infinite surface upon which to draw the spell, an infinite supply of necessary components, and an infinite amount of energy to inspire the spell).

Becoming an expert involves devoting one's life to the practice, learning the techniques and practicing regularly, studying the many works of the wizards and thaumatologists who have come before. Seltayr has committed to this very thing, with the desire of becoming a renowned thaumatologist (essentially a scientist of magic) himself.

Spoiler: List of spells  
Terminology note:

In Western Sailynian spellcraft, the energy cost of a spell is given as the portion of the spellcrafter's total daily Essence pool that the spell uses during inspiration (that is, the activation of the spell, when components are consumed). Once a spellcrafter has used their entire Essence pool for that day, they are unable to inspire any more spells until their pool regenerates. Essence pools are roughly equal for all spellcasters, making energy costs universal.

The units are described via analogy with a single human hand, with a couple of oddball units thrown in for precision. Therefore, a "fist" is a whole unit and exhausts the entire pool. A halfist is a half unit, a quart is a fourth, a finger is a fifth, a pint is an eighth, and a halfinger is a tenth. Any combination of spells where the cost adds up to a whole fist is the maximum number of spells that can be inspired in a single day.
Kalsif's Quick-Expanding Cohesive Firebolt (Modified) [Seltayr's personal spellbook] - Energy Cost: 2 fingers (40%)
Description: Enchants a wand with fifteen charges of a firebolt spell. The firebolt, when triggered, begins as a small spark and flies towards the nearest likely target. Upon solid impact, the firebolt quickly expands into a fireball. The intensity and size of the fireball can be varied during the trigger phase.

Seltayr's Nonlethal Dazzleburst [Ibid.] - Energy Cost: 1 finger (20%)
Description: Enchants a wand with ten charges of a stunning burst spell. When triggered, a bright flash and burst of kinetic energy is emitted a short distance from the tip of the wand.

Seltayr's Nonlethal Dazzleburst (Party Edition) [Ibid.] - Energy Cost: 3 halfingers (33%)
Description: Identical to Seltayr's Nonlethal Dazzleburst, with the edition of colorful sparks that are emitted from the tip of the wand while the wand is held, in increasing amounts depending on velocity. The bright flash of the spell is also multicolored instead of white.

Elyn's Fast Mending [Ibid.] - Energy Cost: 1 finger (20%)
Description: Enchants a wand with five charges of a healing spell. When triggered, the wand emits an energy that numbs pain, speeds clotting, and encourages rapid cell growth, quickly but crudely closing wounds. Not a replacement for proper medical treatment.

Manderal's Universal Protection [Ibid.] - Energy Cost: 3 quarts (75%)
Description: Enchants a specially-designed mage suit with a complex armor spell. The spell diffuses both energy-based and physical attacks, spreading the energy out over a wider area and making the attacks less effective.

Seltayr's Two-Way Communicator [Ibid.] - Energy Cost: 2 fingers (40%)
Description: Enchants a pair of crystals with twenty charges of a spell enabling audible communication between the two. Initiating communication costs one charge and every minute of communication costs another charge.

Lamerk's Purify Water [Journeyman Amike's Compendium of Wilderness Survival Magicks] - Energy Cost: 1 halfinger (10%) per gallon
Description: Eliminates contaminants from any container of water small enough to fit within the spell matrix.

Maldrik's Sanguine Restoration [Ibid.] - Energy Cost: 1 halfinger (10%)
Description: Eliminates poisons and toxins from the blood.

Salmin's Cushioned Fall [Ibid.] - Energy Cost: 1 quart (25%)
Description: Safely absorbs the shock of one drop from any height.

Sage Vindil's Major Healing [Ibid.] - Energy Cost: 3 halfingers (33%)
Description: Wholly restores the body of any injury.

Elyn's Advanced Lighting [Ibid.] - Energy Cost: 1 finger (20%)
Description: Starts a fire which burns on the targeted object for at least one hour and cannot be put out by anything except a counterspell. After the allotted hour, the fire burns the targeted object like normal and can be maintained like any other fire.

Strengths: Elamera, besides being very skilled with her weapons, is also very fit. She follows a very strict regimen of exercise and diet to keep her body strong and healthy and often surprises people with her sheer physical strength, speed, agility, flexibility, and endurance. Seltayr, on the other hand, is not much of a physical person but he has a couple of offensive spells he can fire in a snap if the situation calls for it and his aim and timing are impeccable.

Weaknesses: Both Elamera and Seltayr rely on lightweight armor which doesn't weigh them down or encumber them, giving them freedom of movement but leaving them vulnerable to powerful attacks, especially blunt force. Seltayr is also much more developed mentally than physically, which not only leaves him fairly helpless in close combat but also slows Elamera down, who has to worry about protecting him whenever they get into trouble.

Other: Seltayr is the heir apparent to the position of Marquess of Icemarch, giving him the honorary (but otherwise meaningless) title of Count. Elamera is a retainer of the Marquess and a member of his personal security force, the Noble Guard. Although technically, since Elamera is given her orders directly from the Marquess himself, Seltayr does not have authority over her she generally follows his commands anyway out of respect for his position as the Marquess's son (he wouldn't do so but Seltayr could report her to the Marquess for not following his orders, although the Marquess would not be obliged to do anything about it).

However, although Seltayr often gives her orders and commands as if she were his servant and not the Marquess's, he thinks of them as being equals (albeit with the knowledge that she will oblige most reasonable requests without objection). Also, as Seltayr is often shirking his duties as a nobleman and the son of the Marquess himself, Seltayr has officially given Elamera the authority to make decisions in his name (making her his legal steward) so that she can perform his business for him. Although on the one hand this seems like it would just be more work for Elamera, it also means she technically holds the same noble rank as Seltayr, giving her privileges and access to resources in his name that she otherwise wouldn't have.

Theoretically, assuming Seltayr doesn't eventually step up to the responsibility himself, Elamera could inherit the marquessate in his stead, although having a retainer (a foreign one at that) take the rank of Marquess would likely cause a bit of an uproar and lead to some controversy.

Personality: Elamera is a very silent and stoic person. In fact, she speaks so rarely that one might believe she had a limited supply of words she was allowed to use and didn't want to waste them. This means that when she does speak the words she says carry a lot of weight and the people who are familiar with her listen carefully and take her seriously. She always speaks her mind, saying exactly what she means, without euphemism or metaphor. She also always tells the truth and would never degrade herself to dishonesty.

The way Elamera speaks is due to the cultural values that she was raised into in her small Djolan tribe and she often finds the difference between her tribal culture and Savidran culture hard to understand. As she always speaks straightforwardly, without the usage of euphemism, metaphor, sarcasm, irony, or dishonesty, she often misses those things in the speech of others, generally taking what they say at face value even when it is not intended to be serious.

Seltayr, on the other hand, speaks all the time and is much better with the subtle intricacies of speech. Raised in a noble family as the heir of the Marquess, he was trained in speech, discourse, negotiation, and diplomacy from a young age. He is good at convincing and persuading people, influencing them with his words to get what he wants. He also knows how to use deception and dishonesty when he needs to, considering them nothing more than tools just like any other method of speech. In fact, sometimes he'll tell a lie even if it doesn't seem to serve any purpose, or just to get a reaction out of someone.

Despite this, Seltayr is a genuinely nice person, even if he likes to mess with people. His perspective as a noble living in a rich family often leads him to taking certain things for granted and makes it difficult for him to fully empathize with the lesser-off commoners, but he has good intentions and does not mean to hold his position over people or look down on anyone.

While Seltayr often comes across as being overly formal in casual situations due to his upbringing, Elamera comes across the other way around, being especially casual in formal situations. Most people are willing to overlook her lack of etiquette, however, both because common prejudice leads most Savidrani to expect jolin to be uncouth and because most people are intimidated by her, especially if they know how skilled of a warrior she is.

History: As the son of Kamjen Iskalden, Marquess of Icemarch, Seltayr was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and raised in luxury. However, he quickly grew bored of the noble life, tired of the bureaucracy, diplomacy, and negotiations. He found politics to be dull and unexciting and for a while he did not know what it was that he really wanted to do. So, while he was still a young boy, he would spend his time wandering the manor and talking to the various domestic servants and other people working for the family.

One day he spoke to the Marquess's thaumatologist, which he originally misidentified as a wizard (apparently a serious slight, as the thaumatologist was quick to inform him). The thaumatologist's job was to serve as an advisor to the Marquess on all things magical but, as the Marquess rarely had any need for her advice, the thaumatologist spent most of her time in her studies, reading papers written by other thaumatologists and writing a few of her own, all on the various theories and mechanisms of magic.

Seltayr quickly decided that he too wished to become a thaumatologist. The thaumatologist was reluctant at first to teach him, but with enough persuading she took him on as an apprentice. He learned all there was to learn about magic, starting from theory and working his way up to crafting, until eventually he was a fairly skilled spellcrafter himself. His father indulged him with his hobby for a while, buying him expensive wands and other materials, but soon began to realize that Seltayr was taking it much more seriously than just a hobby.

However, Seltayr would not be convinced. He wanted to be a thaumatologist, an expert in the art of thaumaturgy, and nothing would dissuade him. So in an effort to stifle Seltayr's interest in magic and put him back on the route to becoming the heir to the march, Marquess Iskalden fired the thaumatologist and hired another who would not get involved in teaching Seltayr anything. However, Seltayr merely continued his training on his own.

Seltayr would often venture out of the manor to go into the nearby cities for his studies. When Marquess Iskalden found that he could not prevent Seltayr from leaving, despite reminding him time and again about the dangers, he put one of his own personal bodyguards to the task of protecting him at all times. Seltayr recognized the stoic, pale-skinned jolin guardswoman from around the manor and at first did not appreciate having her follow him around. However, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't lose her. She always managed to find him.

Elamera grew up in one of the many small warring tribes of Djola. During a particularly harsh winter, when Elamera was only thirteen, her tribe was attacked by another tribe looking to steal their food and supplies. Her tribe was nearly wiped out and the survivors chased off into the wilderness. Desperate and hungry, the remainder of Elamera's tribe went south into Savidran with the hopes of raiding an unprotected village. However, they ended up charging right into the Marquess's property. A force of Noble Guards led by Count Kamjen put down the raid quickly and violently.

Elamera and her kin fought to the death and it wasn't until she put down five of the Noble Guards and injured several more before the Count managed to subdue her, leaving her with a scar on her face to remember for the rest of her life. She was the only survivor and the Count, surprised at her ability despite her young age, decided to spare her life in exchange for joining his Noble Guard. She accepted, the promise of good food and warm shelter swaying her, and when Kamjen inherited the marquessate from his father he made Elamera one of his personal bodyguards.

Now she personally protects Kamjen's only son, Seltayr. Although Seltayr initially did not like having one of his father's personal guards following him around, he has since grown to enjoy her company and, although she hasn't said anything as such, he suspects that she enjoys his company as well and the chance to get out of the manor once in a while to see the world and do something interesting.
Last Edited by Lysis; 03-26-2014 at 12:16 AM. Reason: added tournament spells and victory weapon (approved by Council), slightly altered format. Reply With Quote
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Old 07-28-2013, 11:13 PM
Lysis Antarctica Lysis is offline
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Marjoram Actinium

Marjoram "Trouble" Actinium

Age: 3
Apparent Age: 18
Sex: Intersex (usually passes as female)
Race: Human
Height: 170 cm (5'7'')
Weight: 60 kg (132 lb)
Eyes: Pale cyan
Hair: Ice blue, tied into two waist-length twin tails.
Skin: Light brown



Appearance: Despite her actual physical age, Marjoram appears to be an average teenage girl, albeit with ice blue hair. Although most people assume the hair to be dyed, this is really its natural color—all of the hair on her body, in fact, is this color. Her hair is long, hanging down to her waist when it's untied, and is usually grouped into a pair of ponytails hanging from either side of her head. The ponytails are kept in place each with a set of what appear to be three decorative metal ornaments with loops on the top and narrow points on the end, but are actually throwing knives.

Her skin is light brown, darker than a mere tan, although her racial background is ambiguous. She is probably a mix of more than one, possibly even several races. Her eyes are a pale cyan color, an almost unnatural light green-blue. Marjoram does not wear any makeup, but the light color of her lashes and eyebrows frame and call attention to her eyes in a manner which seems intentional even though it is not.

Marjoram has a small, dark mole on her left cheek, under her eye. She has large eyes, which seem all the larger as she usually keeps them wide open, a small nose, and ample lips. She has a round and soft face with just a bit of healthy, youthful plumpness to it.

Most of the time, Marjoram wears a simple blouse and jeans. Over that she wears a long hooded cardigan knit from light yellow wool, which hangs down past her thighs and is usually kept open although it can be fastened with a set of simple wooden black toggles and loops. On her feet she wears a pair of slip-on black canvas shoes.

Weapons: Kept in holsters behind her back, Marjoram carries a pair of semiautomatic pistols; specifically SIG P210s, chambered in .22 Long Rifle.

Along with those, Marjoram carries six stilettos in her hair, mostly for backup. The knives are small with long, slender, blades which narrow to a needle-like point. Instead of a proper hilt, the small stilettos are made from a single piece of metal and the end opposite the blade is forged into a large ring intended to fit over a finger. Although designed for stabbing, they are weighted for throwing as well. Altogether the blades are about six inches from the tip of the blade to the end of the hilt.

Armor: Marjoram does not wear armor.

Carried Possessions: Marjoram carries what appears to be a standard, everyday, AR-enabled (augmented reality) wireless mobile device upon which she can make calls and browse the Internet, along with other such things. For the most part, that's exactly what it is, but it is also always connected to a private network belonging to an organization called Tesseract Technology Institute, allowing her to make secure calls to other devices connected to the private network and also giving her access to various applications that are illegal for public use, such as a general security hacking program and a wireless signal jammer.

As mentioned, the device is AR-enabled and has a virtual user interface, but Marjoram doesn't have any AR display devices so she usually just uses the alternate touchscreen interface.

Powers: Marjoram has several unique abilities as a result of the unusual conditions of her creation. All of them involve a certain amount of concentration but none of them use energy from her body and therefore they have unlimited continuous usage without wearing her out (with special exceptions as noted).
Innate Momentum - The ability to instantaneously increase her velocity to an extreme degree over a short distance. When used, it appears to observers that she is teleporting, although she does physically cross the distance between where she begins and where she ends. She also retains some of the momentum from the instantaneous travel, which means she does not come to a sudden stop and can in fact continue to travel at normal, visible speeds for quite some distance—this can be both useful and not, depending on the situation. She can travel further the less she has to fight gravity.
Limits: Innate momentum reaches its maximum speed at the midpoint, between the starting and ending points. From the starting point to the midpoint, she accelerates at incredible speeds and from the midpoint to the ending point she loses most of that momentum almost as fast. The furthest she can travel is approximately 70 feet (20 meters) horizontally. Straight down it becomes around 100 feet and straight up 40 feet. Innate momentum is a discrete, instantaneous event—she can't use it continuously, although she can perform another immediately after finishing a prior one. It always applies to her entire body and anything she is carrying (she can't accelerate only part of her body, or some other object as if to throw it).

Side-Effects: To perform innate momentum, Marjoram has to take a moment to concentrate on where she's going. When she travels, a flash of bright blue light surrounds her when she takes off and when she stops—to an observer, it might appear as if the blue flash is some kind of wormhole through which she passes, as she is usually invisible to the human eye while moving.
Lucid Focus - The ability to slow down her perception of time while retaining her speed of thought. This allows her to think through complex situations and make difficult calculations without, essentially, expending any time at all. It also allows her to focus on controlling the movements of her body and aim her handguns with extreme precision.
Limits: Lucid focus only increases the speed of her mind, not her body. Although this does mean she has an increased reaction speed and will appear to be capable of moving slightly faster than usual (as many movements of the human body are limited by the brain's ability to process them in time rather than the speed a person can move, such as catching an arrow out of the air) she cannot push her body to move faster than normally possible except through the previous ability.

Side-Effects: Lucid focus does not have any visible side-effects, although while she is under its influence people might notice her reacting to things much faster than normally possible.
Matter Sufficiency - If you were to manage to steal one of Marjoram's two pistols you would find yourself unable to use it—attempt to pull the trigger and nothing happens. Remove the magazine only to find that not only is it empty, but it has been completely filled with epoxy and couldn't possibly hold cartridges. As it turns out, Marjoram's weapons load themselves out of thin air whenever she pulls the trigger. In fact, any projectile weapon that Marjoram handles will do this.
Limits: Matter sufficiency only very narrowly applies specifically to projectile weapons. She cannot create matter under any other circumstances and she has no control over the behavior of the power. It will always create whatever projectile is most appropriate to the weapon she is using, one at a time when she pulls the trigger (or whenever the weapon attempts to reload itself, in the case of automatic weapon). Projectiles evaporate into nothing shortly after losing most of their momentum and coming to rest.

Side-Effects: The projectiles created through matter sufficiency all share certain properties. They are made mostly from solid carbon, typically in the form of graphite, although auxiliary materials (such as the propellent and primer needed for her pistol cartridges) are spontaneously made when necessary as well. All the matter created through matter sufficiency eventually dissolves into dust and seemingly evaporates into the air, although the materials actually cease to exist.
Domain Influence - Although you wouldn't be able to use her own guns on her, if you brought your own you'd still find yourself having trouble. Marjoram has the ability to fully manipulate and control the momentum of any object that enters her sphere of influence, which has a diameter roughly equal to her height. This leads to bullets curving around her and other flying objects to fall out of the air in front of her. Of course, this also allows her to pull things closer to her, or launch them away, as long as they are within her limited sphere of influence—consider it a form of very short-range psychokinesis.
Limits: Domain influence only applies to objects being carried entirely by their own momentum—if another force is actively being applied to the object (say a knife being held by a person) she has to stop it with more conventional means. Her field of influence can absorb a maximum kinetic energy of 20 kilojoules, meaning it can stop most bullets from any range, up to a .50 BMG fired from a sniper rifle at point blank. Objects that she increases the momentum of, however, are limited by two factors—she can only put up to 2 kilojoules of kinetic energy into them and she cannot accelerate any object past the speed of sound.

Side-Effects: When an object enters her sphere of influence and is acted upon, bright white sparks are often emitted.
Absolute Impulse - The drive to carry on when a natural human would have given up, this is the ability that makes Marjoram the unstoppable force and ultimate warrior that she was designed to be. As she concentrates, Marjoram can increase her natural physical capability—her strength, her speed, her agility—beyond what the size and shape of her body should allow, although not to superhuman levels except for her endurance, which can become bottomless. Pushed further, her extreme endurance can actually suspend the effects of physical damage to her body to allow her to keep fighting, although only temporarily.
Limits: Although absolute impulse can make her stronger than a person of her size would normally be capable of, this is still within normal human limitations. As for her endurance, while she can use it to ignore damage and injuries to her body, this is only temporary. Absolute impulse does not heal these injuries, it just holds her body together enough for her to continue using it. As soon as she stops using absolute impulse this suspension is removed. Fighting with injuries is dangerous, as it can make the damage much worse. She cannot shrug off injuries that would be instantly fatal, but she can keep herself alive longer than usual for other injuries (for instance, absolute impulse won't let her bleed out and will attempt to keep critical organs from failing even when damaged).

Side-Effects: The only really noticeable visible effect of absolute impulse is that injuries often don't bleed as much as they should. Medical professionals would probably notice even more instances of how the ability defies natural physiology.
Skills: Despite her young age, Marjoram has been programmed with what amounts to several years of training in various fields, mostly relating to combat. Her abilities as listed above are inseparable from her skills—she uses them all together to form a seamless and unique fighting style.
Gun Combat - Marjoram's guns are more than just tools, they are an extension of her body. Marjoram almost never fires a shot without using lucid focus to aim it with computer-like precision. Able to slow down her perception of time enough that she can calculate the exact trajectory and deflection of her bullets, Marjoram can intentionally ricochet them multiple times to get them to hit exactly where she wants them to. She can even shoot other bullets out of the air.

Knife Combat - Although mostly used for backup when she cannot use her guns for some reason, Marjoram is skilled in the usage of knives and daggers. Specifically, she carries six stilettos (very thin, pointed knives intended for stabbing) in her hair disguised as decorations. When she needs to use them she pulls them out in pairs (one for each hand). The ring-shaped hilts allow her to quickly spin the knives around and change her grip on them, for more versatile combat. The knives are specially weighted and balanced for throwing, in case she needs to hit something at a distance, which is why she carries so many of them.

Hand-to-hand Combat - Marjoram is rarely unarmed unintentionally and she uses hand-to-hand grappling and mêlée tactics both to complement her fighting style and to take out targets she doesn't want to use lethal force on, for whatever reason. Because Marjoram's training takes into account and relies on her special abilities, she doesn't use any existing martial arts discipline, but a lot of her techniques are similar to or inspired by several different such arts. Her fighting style implements both her knives and her guns (often as bludgeoning instruments) and makes heavy use of her increased physical capability through absolute impulse to perform various feats of strength and acrobatics.
Strengths: Designed to be a powerful fighter, Marjoram has a wide range of special abilities and skills at her disposal, which she uses together and in combination to produce effective results. Her sheer physical strength is greater than one might expect, due to regular exercise and genetic predisposition, but augmented with absolute impulse Marjoram can just about reach human limitations. Not to mention, domain influence means she is immune to one of the most effective ways of killing things in the modern age: bullets.

Weaknesses: Indomitable in ranged combat, Marjoram mostly relies on taking out her enemies with her guns before they can get close enough for her to have to worry about close quarters combat. As domain influence is ineffective against weapons that aren't being carried by momentum alone, she has to rely on her augmented agility and her combat training to dodge attacks from weapons like blades and blunt instruments (including fists). Not wearing any sort of armor, if Marjoram doesn't manage to dodge an attack she can only take so much damage before even absolute impulse is unable keep her functional enough to continue fighting.

Personality: Growing up as a test subject in a scientific experiment, Marjoram is physically only three years old, though she appears to be at least eighteen, and mentally she's somewhere in between. Her body was artificially aged and information such as language and basic elementary school knowledge was implanted directly into her brain, so she did not have the same time or experiences growing up as most children to learn social norms and mores. Despite that, she learns quickly and while she might seem a bit off to most people, she doesn't immediately catch anyone as being socially handicapped.

Although it would be unfair to call her mentally ill, it cannot be ignored that the way she was raised has had a serious and lasting impact on her mind. Most specifically, she finds it very difficult to trust other people. She might seem shy or apprehensive to people who attempt to interact with her; in fact, it wouldn't be too off the mark to say that she even fears other people. She'll get along with others when she has to, but it is difficult to get on her good side and even harder to get her to trust anyone. Generally, she prefers to work alone.

Marjoram has lived a short and hard life, with very little having gone her way, and it has given her a very cynical and pessimistic attitude towards the world. She always expects the worst and when things seem to be going right she tends to suspect that there's a catch or that it's a sign of even worse things to come. Marjoram is something of a pragmatist, especially when it comes to morality; she does whatever she thinks is the most effective course of action at the time, caring little for the "what-ifs" and theories of philosophy or ethics.

If Marjoram believes someone intends to harm her, she will not hesitate to kill them and will have no regrets.

In spite of her very mature attitude and worldview, Marjoram is still a child at heart. There is a lot she doesn't know and hasn't done, as her experiences are very limited. At times, she can come off as being very childish—curious of simple things, ignorant of much that one might expect her to know, and easily entertained by new experiences. Regardless of her childlike naïveté, however, she is not gullible or easily fooled, due to the fact that she trusts no one and rarely believes anything.
Likes: Sweets; furry pets; bright, colorful, and shiny things.
Dislikes: Vegetables; loud noises; any orange food or drink.
Fears: People; spiders; darkness.
Virtues: Pragmatic; not easily fooled; curious.
Vices: Pessimistic; slightly amoral; untrusting.
History: This story begins long ago, in a more primitive age: 1992.

It was a cold February night, in the small town of Pompeii, Michigan. Her name was Eve, or that's what she's known as today. Her true name may never be known. Nobody knows where she came from, or why she was there. She was like no other human. In fact, she probably was no human at all. A goddess in human form, perhaps, or a monster in disguise. Who can say?

They had been hunting her for a long time and it was in Pompeii where they finally made their move. She fought long and hard, her strength and her power exceeding all known limits. With a wave of her hand, entire buildings crumbled to dust. Dozens of people fell that night, as her blades scythed through the crowds, cutting down anyone who stood in her way. By the time the sun rose in the morning, Pompeii was buried in ashes and Eve was dead.

It was a day nobody will remember, but which will be kept in records for as long as human civilization can maintain them. What remained of Eve was collected by the people who hunted her down and destroyed her, an organization that works in secret within the shadows to protect humanity—or so they say. They wished to know the true nature of her power and her potential, so they broke her down into pieces and examined each one.

With some of the parts they built the Moira, Clotho. The Moira's powers were immense but nowhere near what Eve had the capability of. She was nothing but a corruption of the true thing, a cheap facsimile. There were many flaws in the process used to build the Moira and, due to these flaws, her mental state was not stable. Eventually she went insane and was uncontrollable. She used her powers to escape from the hands of the scientists who created her and then went into hiding where she was never found again.

That was not the end of her story. To the surprise of the scientists, the Moira was able to spread her unique abilities through her genes. The Moira gave birth to a daughter, and that daughter later gave birth to a daughter of her own. With each successive generation, although the power they carried diminished, their mental state grew more and more unstable. The granddaughter of the Moira remains at large even today and is noted as the most notorious serial killer of the modern age.

The scientists continued their work. Hoping to perfect the process and eliminate the flaws that led to the problems of the Moira, they worked on a prototype whose powers were limited in nature and would serve as a test type to demonstrate their knowledge before moving on to greater projects. Their first successful prototype was the Perun, Hekate. Mistakes were made and this experiment again escaped their grasp, but she was not as dangerous as the first and her power could not be passed on genetically.

Having finally proven their theories with the successful prototype, the scientists were given the resources and facilities needed to perform a full-scale experiment, the largest project they had taken on yet. Hundreds of human zygotes from various sources were collected, artificially fertilized, and fused with genetic material from Eve. One of these countless zygotes, however, was different. There was something special about it which set it apart from—

"Is that one me, daddy?"

Yes, honey, that one is you. Let daddy finish the story now, all right? Now, where was I?

Whatever Eve was, her genetic material was very human, and very female. All of her genetic material carried two X chromosomes. This is why both the Moira and the Perun were female, despite being built from scratch rather than through any sort of random chance. In order to reduce complications and potential compatibility problems with Eve's unusual genetic material, the scientists tried to keep all the experimental specimens female. But, due to a simple clerical error somewhere along in the process of the enormous experiment, one of the zygotes was fertilized with a Y chromosome.

Because of the process the scientists used to implant special genetic material from Eve into the test subjects, all of them that grew up had a condition known as genetic mosaicism. They carried within their bodies two distinct sets of cells with completely different genetic information. In all except for one of these "mosaics", as they were called, both sets of cells were female. In the remaining one, the unique one, half of the mosaic's cells were female and the other half male. A rare condition, but it did not cause any problems for the experiment.

Only about half of the zygotes made it to the embryonic stage of life, most of them dying without a single cellular replication, and out of that half only a select few grew into fully-formed infants. A process was then used on those infants to accelerate the aging process, bringing them to full biological maturity within only a few months. They were taught many things after that, much of which was implanted directly into their brains as they had not the years of experience that most people had at their age, and then they were trained.

One cannot begin to explain the horrors of what went on in that facility during the "training" process. The subjects, carrying the dangerous potential of Eve, were raised in high security cells and observed from a distance by the scientists. They would perform all manner of terrible and painful experiments on the specimens, testing the limits of their abilities. They were tortured and neglected and treated like animals—no, worse than animals. Much worse.

Half of the subjects died, unable to withstand the strain.

Due to the poor survival rate of the test subjects, the scientists were at risk of losing their funding and the support of the secretive organization that hired them. A researcher from another department was brought in as an advisor, as the organization wanted someone to keep an eye on the scientists and make sure the rest of the subjects survived to term. The researcher was young and naïve and—

"Is that one you, daddy?"

Yes, yes, that one is me, darling. Just listen along, will you?

The researcher was disgusted when he learned of the conditions that the test subjects were being held in and the way they were being treated by the scientists. The scientists tried to convince him that it was all for the greater good; that it was the only way to ensure their own safety and the safety of humankind, to keep the kind of power that these specimens had under very careful, strict control. He did not believe that they were right, but there was little he could do to change things. He gave his advice, tried to reason with the scientists, and although he was not able to do much he did increase the subjects' survivability by a respectable margin, as he had been hired to do.

While the researcher worked at the facility, he took the time to get to know the test subjects on a more personal level than the scientists ever bothered with. They were all unique, and each one had a personality of her own, but there was a particular one who was unique in a special sort of way. Unfortunately, this special one was not doing so well. The test subjects that had survived to this point were the tougher, stronger-willed ones, but this special one still had a gentler spirit than the rest and wasn't holding up well to the scientists' abuses. Every day she was worse and worse.

The researcher knew that if he did not get her out of that facility, she would soon die.

Finally unable to continue to let the scientists treat the test subjects so inhumanely, the researcher devised a plan. Luckily, he had a couple of friends who were willing to help. The first was a great inventor and philanthropist, the founder and owner of a company that produces a lot of new, useful medical technology. The second was a dangerous but honorable ally, who owed the researcher a few favors and held a grudge of sorts against the secretive organization.

The former provided his support and his knowledge, promising to protect the researcher from retaliation and to create a safe haven for the freed test subjects where they could be raised properly and out of the reach of the secret organization's hands. The latter provided the strength and firepower of his many weaponized androids, as their mission would require some application of force to achieve their goal.

The researcher and androids snuck into the facility in the dead of night. He knew that, despite the scientists' treatment of the subjects being inhumane, much of it was done from a very real and logical sense of self-preservation. The test subjects had been crafted with immense power and were capable and very dangerous. Furthermore, their treatment and the conditions under which they were raised were not at all conducive to proper psychological growth. That would not deter him, but he did have to be careful.

Unfortunately these issues presented themselves immediately, as the first girl he rescued went out of control and triggered an alarm in her attempted escape. Security arrived almost immediately and the researcher knew his time was limited, else he would have accomplished nothing. The androids held the security guards back while the researcher freed as many subjects as he could, not able to take them with him and simply hoping they would be able to make it on their own.

The last one he rescued was the special one, the one who was not faring well. He had to carry her out and, although he barely made it, the androids sent and controlled by his friend managed to create just enough of a distraction to let them slip out unscathed. With the help of his inventor friend the two of them settled in a distant location in a small house in a remote town, far from the knowledge and reach of the organization he fled from and betrayed. There, he raised the girl as his daughter.

He never learned how the other girls did, nor did he ever try to look into it. He still had hope, and believed it was probably better off having hope instead of knowing the truth...

/ / \ /


Daddy told me that story twice. Once when I first asked him where I had come from, and again when he finally believed I could understand what it all meant. He raised me for two years and, in that short span of time, I improved rather quickly from the condition I had been in when I was still in the hands of those scientists in that evil organization. CORE, he said was the name of that organization. I've looked into it. There are no records of such an organization ever existing.

They found him. I think he knew it would happen eventually. It was inevitable—CORE is competent, omnipresent, and protects its secrets better than Fort Knox its gold, or a dragon its jewels. I watched him die. It was quick, neat, and very clean. A thin, invisible laser through the brain stem while eating breakfast in the morning. Painless. Instantaneous. Probably fired by a sniper from miles away, someone who couldn't even see his face, who knew nothing about him and didn't even care who they were killing.

I knew they'd be coming for me too and I knew exactly what I was supposed to do if this ever happened. I ran and went straight to one of Daddy's closest friends, the inventor, Dr. Cain Swift. He owns a big company; Tesseract Technology Institute. Apparently he's had his fair share of trouble with CORE.

"If CORE's after you, there's only two things you can do," Dr. Swift told me. "Neither one is especially effective. CORE usually gets what they want." Cynical, or just honest? "You can hide, or you can fight back. I'd recommend the first but I'm not going to tell you what to do. If you do choose to hide, I can help you with that. I can hide you away forever, where they hopefully will never find you. If you choose to fight...well, I can't help you with that, but I know someone who might."

Of course I chose the second option. Dr. Swift sighed a deep sigh that confirmed he knew that was the option I was going to pick all along and then made me an appointment with someone. It was a rather unconventional appointment. I was to meet with someone in an abandoned warehouse somewhere deep within the concrete jungle of the megalopolis in the middle of the night. I didn't know who I was meeting. He said he couldn't tell me. So I went.

The warehouse was sealed shut and there didn't seem to be any way in, so I made one. A man was already there, waiting for me. I didn't question how he got in. He was a large man, over six feet tall, imposing figure. His hair was black as coal, his eyes green like emeralds. He said his name was also Swift. Adam Swift. I asked if he was Cain's son. His father, Adam replied. He didn't seem at all old enough. I told him about my situation. Unlike the doctor, Adam only gave me one option.

"If you want to survive against CORE, there is only one way," he said. "You fight. You fight hard and you never. Stop. Fighting." He emphasized those last three words with full stops. Then he looked me over. "There's only one thing now that you need." Looking at him, I wondered what that might be. Two shotguns hanging from his back peeked over his shoulders. Two submachine guns hanging by his sides poked out from under his jacket. On his belt were two pistols.

He reached into a bag on the floor by his side, leading me to notice a black cat sitting by his feet, licking one of its paws. He pulled a pair of pistols out of the bag, handing them to me. "They're old. Very old. But they work, reliably. They won't fail you. In the right hands, they'll never miss a shot. Do you know how to use these?" I took them. For some reason, I did know how to use them. I didn't remember ever learning. It was simple, really. Point and pull the trigger. Bang.

"How did you do that?" Adam asked, slightly bemused. "That gun wasn't loaded yet." I don't know. I just did.

He shrugged it off. "Now, I don't like CORE any more than you do. But this is your fight, not mine. I have my own battles to wage. You have a phone?" Cain had given me one. Adam told me a number. "I won't ever answer a call. But if you ever need something you send me a text and I'll meet you here, same time same place. And if you ever need help—I can't guarantee a thing, but it won't hurt to ask."

I thanked him, I left, and that was that.
Last Edited by Lysis; 01-17-2014 at 08:33 PM. Reason: Reply With Quote
  #12 (permalink)   [ ]
Old 01-15-2014, 02:15 PM
Lysis Antarctica Lysis is offline
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Anastasia

Tasia, short for Anastasia. [a-nah-STAH-see-ah]

Age: Over 2500 years.
Apparent Age: She appears young, perhaps around 14 to 17.
Gender: Female.
Race: Psychopomp, otherwise known as ferrymen/ferrywomen or reapers in some cultures.
Height: Close to five feet tall, or about one and a half meters.
Weight: Weightless.
Eyes: Pale, powder blue.
Hair: Ivory white and very long. It would reach her ankles if she let it down, but it usually floats and drifts around her head, unaffected by gravity.
Skin: Pallid and ghostly white, almost transparent.

Spoiler: Race Description  
Psychopomps are spirits that reside in the Astral River that connects all life together. It is their job to follow around adventurers, wanderers, and travellers who leave their own worlds and end up in others. This is so that, if they should die on their travels, the psychopomps can deliver their souls back to their home world to be properly claimed by whatever afterlife they were meant to be destined to.

Psychopomps are, themselves, the lost souls of travellers who died outside of their own worlds and had nobody to claim them or ferry them back home. For a time they simply existed as ghosts, haunting the foreign worlds they died in, unable to find rest. This was until a powerful spirit, known only as Azrael, collected them all together and brought them to his home in the Astral River. So that no other soul would have to wander a foreign world, restless for eternity, Azrael made these lost souls into the psychopomps.

Now the psychopomps, no longer having the memories of their lives, travel the Astral River into other worlds, ferrying the souls of dead adventurers back to their home worlds so they can find mortal rest. They have three things, given to them by Azrael, with which to assist them in their duty.

The first is the Abridged Reaper's Manual, a large and heavy rulebook filled with 381,654,729 of the most important rules that Azrael has written down in his Unabridged Reaper's Manual for the psychopomps to follow. It is required that they carry this rulebook with them everywhere and use it solve any conceivable conflict. Unfortunately the print is so small it must be read with a magnifying glass; the rules are written in language so dense, dry, verbose, and sesquipedalian that it's impossible to interpret; and the book is so long and tedious that most psychopomps don't even bother to read it.

The second is a map of the Astral River, which is devoid of labels or guides because the pathways on the river never stay the same for very long. The lines on the map are constantly shifting and changing and it is difficult to tell which side of the map is the top and which side is the bottom. A skilled navigator can use the map to get pretty much anywhere, as well as locate other psychopomps and the souls they are ferrying, but most psychopomps find the task beyond hopeless.

The third is some kind of vehicle. This may be a broomstick, a staff, a bicycle, or any other object upon which the psychopomp can sit and which has room for at least one soul. This vehicle is what they use to travel the Astral River and ferry souls across it. As long as the soul the psychopomp is ferrying stays on the vehicle, they won't get lost. But the river is known for being turbulent and it is not impossible that a soul might fall off...

And so the psychopomps ferry souls for all eternity. That is, unless they might eventually find themselves back in the worlds they originally came from in their lives. Should this happen, the psychopomp might be claimed by whatever Reaper was unable to collect them in the foreign world they died in and sent to the afterlife they were unable to enter before. In this way, the psychopomps might eventually find true rest.
(Concept brainstormed with input from Altamira, Fairess, and myself. The Astral River is originally a creation of Fairess. You two are awesome!)

Appearance: Tasia is an individual without much presence. Slight and faint in appearance, she looks much more ghostly than many other psychopomps. Her skin is pure white and she usually appears to be almost transparent, even when she is visible. Her narrow lips are a light ice blue, matching her eyeshadow. Her eyes are small and bright, with powder blue irises, and are framed with black lashes and very thin, black brows.

Tasia's hair is very long, nearly able to reach her ankles when pulled straight, and is ivory white. It is wavy and tends to float around her head as if she were constantly underwater, slowly drifting about due to gravity having no effect on her. She never ties her hair back or otherwise does anything to restrict it from roaming free.

Standing at roughly five feet tall when she decides to actually stand (which is rare) and slim in figure, Tasia does not have a very imposing form. Her limbs are thin and lack muscle, her curves are slight but not absent, and her chest is (to her abashment) modest in size. She drapes her body in a peplos, a garment formed from a single rectangle of woolen cloth folded over the body lengthwise, with the top folded over to just below the waist. It is pinned over both shoulders and tied around the waist. Because it is made from a single piece of cloth, and due to the way it is folded, the right side of her body is left exposed by the garment.

The peplos is light blue-gray in color, tied with a white rope and fastened over the shoulders by a pair of white gold broaches with inlaid orbs of lapis lazuli. The cloth is decorated with a faint, glossy floral pattern, resembling irises. It is also very old in appearance, the once-vibrant blue having faded to a greyish shade and the lower hem being tattered and torn, as well as small tears and moth-eaten holes being present throughout the rest of the garment. The peplos is the only clothing Tasia wears—her feet are bare.

Tasia is usually seen floating around in the air as if it were water. She almost never sets her feet on the ground to walk or stand up straight. She also doesn't seem to have much cognizance for which way's up, often drifting sideways or upside-down relative to the ground. Shy and timid, Tasia often nervously wrings her hands when she talks to people and she tends to keep her voice low and quiet.


(Artwork by Altamira—thanks again!)


Weapon: Tasia carries a traditional reaper's scythe, with a shaft around five feet long and a blade of two-and-a-half feet. Mostly she rides around on it like a witch on a broomstick, but it makes a good defensive weapon in a pinch. It cannot touch anything physical, however, only being effective against spiritual beings.

Possessions: Tasia carries a large, heavy, leather-bound book titled Reaper's Manual (Abridged Edition), as required by her job. Because of the overwhelming size of the book, she keeps it in a simple leather pouch with some straps to carry it on her back. She also has a large map, folded up into an impossibly small rectangle and tucked away somewhere in the folds of her clothing. She finds it futile to attempt reading or following the map and thus does not pull it out or refer to it as often as she feels she should. Lastly, she carries a small journal with a quill pen tucked into the binding and a vial of ink, for writing down poetry.

Powers:

Plane Disjunction: As spiritual beings, psychopomps reside entirely on the spiritual plane and are unaffected by physical phenomena. They are invisible to physical senses and intangible to physical objects. They can pass through solid objects and are not affected by gravity, thermodynamics, or other physical laws. Psychopomps can only be seen and heard by physical, mortal creatures when they wish to be seen and heard, unless the mortal is sensitive to the supernatural or on the verge of death. Likewise, they cannot be touched or felt by normal mortal creatures; only those who have a certain connection to the supernatural.

Spiritual Communication: Spiritual beings like the psychopomps, who exist disjointed from the physical plane and outside of any one universe or reality, have a supernatural comprehension for mortal languages and are able to be understood by anyone when they speak. This allows them to communicate no matter what world they end up in, without having to worry about language barriers.

Interdimensional Travel: By riding the Astral River, which connects to all worlds and realities, psychopomps can travel from one dimension to another. The river is complicated and difficult to navigate, however, with its pathways and branches constantly changing and shifting. Psychopomps carry a map to help them navigate from world to world, but the map is known for being very hard to read.

Reanimation: Psychopomps are the lost spirits of adventurers and world-travellers who died outside of their own reality. Hence, they are unable to truly die again. Although they might fall in battle with another spiritual entity, if this should ever happen the psychopomp will be reanimated to resume their duties shortly afterward. Azrael, the master of the psychopomps, will recollect the souls of fallen psychopomps and restore them to animation within the Lake of Charon where he resides.

Energy Manipulation: Psychopomps do not possess any innate magic of their own, however they do have the potential ability to manipulate existing energies via the Astral River. This ability is difficult to learn and only the more experienced psychopomps can really do much with it. Tasia can only cause minor fluctuations in existing energy fields, such as causing a candle to flare up or blow out, but not enough to really do much damage. Also, there are very strict rules in the Reaper's Manual restricting the usage of this ability, as it can be dangerous.

Soul Harvest: Psychopomps have two eternal duties. The first is to reap the souls of adventurers who have fallen in worlds outside of their own and the second is to ferry them safely back to their home. This is an important job, because the afterlives of most worlds tend to be ill-equipped to deal with foreign souls. Sometimes foreign souls aren't claimed at all and become restless ghosts, other times they are sorted improperly. In any case, it is the job of the psychopomps to reap these souls and then ferry them via the Astral River back to their home world, so that they can be properly claimed and put to rest in the afterlife they deserve.

Strengths: Tasia's main strength is in her intangibility. Physical creatures, objects, and energies cannot touch or harm her in any way. Against spiritual creatures or the supernaturally-sensitive she can use her scythe as a weapon and, if she is destroyed in battle, she will merely reanimate back at the Lake of Charon and out of harm's way.

Weaknesses: Her intangibility, likewise, means that Tasia cannot touch or effect physical things. Against spiritual enemies, Tasia is very timid and not much of a fighter at all. If she cannot run away, then she will mostly attack wildly and at random until either she wins or loses. However, she will try her hardest to protect the souls she has been put in charge of ferrying, even if it means putting herself in danger.

Personality: Tasia is a bashful and timorous individual. She doesn't mind people—in fact, she's very gentle and caring—but she highly values her peace and quiet and needs some alone time every now and then. She finds it hard to make her voice heard over louder and more aggressive individuals and, therefore, tends to be passive and submissive. Even if she has good ideas, she'll usually go along with whatever plan has been established by more assertive leaders. She's a follower and therefore tends to find it difficult to manage on her own, when she has to be the one to make decisions.

Tasia takes her job very seriously and likes the opportunity it provides her to help people. She always tries to follow the rules as best as she can, even when she finds the rulebook so hard to read and understand. She also likes to travel and visit new worlds, especially when it comes to seeing new landscapes and scenery. Tasia finds the beauty and serenity of nature to be breathtaking. She fancies herself something of a poet, as well, and finds it easiest to write new verses when she's alone in a quiet and beauteous place.

Some might call Tasia a coward, as she isn't much one for danger or thrill and tends to avoid hazardous situations. A pacifist by preference, her first instinct when faced with trouble is to run away, but she can muster her courage if she needs to in order to protect the souls she's been put in charge of ferrying to safety. She isn't very skilled at fighting, but she can be furious and relentless when put to the task—she doesn't like to fight, but when she does she puts her all into it.
Likes: Beautiful scenery, art and poetry, peace and quiet, people and life.
Dislikes: Desecration of nature, war and violence, noise and crowds, being in charge or having to make decisions.
Fears: Being powerless to stop terrible things from happening.
Virtues: Gentle, peaceful, creative, dutiful.
Vices: Timid, self-conscious, indecisive.
History: Tasia only knows a few vague details of her past. It is common knowledge among the psychopomps that all of them were once lost souls of adventurers or world-travellers who met an ill fate in a foreign world far from home. She knows, therefore, that she must have visited a world outside of her own and then died, spending some time there as a restless spirit, a haunting ghost. She does not know where her home is or how she died, however.

Her memories begin when she was collected by Azrael to begin working as a psychopomp. She accepted the job willingly and took on the hefty rulebook that goes with it. Although it pains her to admit it even to herself, she did not in fact read all 381,654,729 of the rules written in the book as she was instructed to. She skimmed over most of it...but she did her best! Or so she tells herself.

Then she picked the scythe as her vehicle of choice to ferry souls, both because she wanted the additional protection of the blade should she run into trouble and because she thought it was poetically appropriate for a reaper of souls to carry the traditional reaping tool. Since then she has gone on a few training missions, riding along with the more experienced, senior psychopomps who have been in the force for some time.

Eventually, once her superiors have determined that she is ready, she will be allowed to go on some missions of her own, first with a partner who is also new to the job and then solo. She looks forward to working with a partner but is still apprehensive about working completely on her own. Still, she is optimistic, sure that she will be able to manage when the time comes.
Last Edited by Lysis; 01-28-2014 at 02:26 AM. Reason: Reply With Quote
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