Bugbear in the Playground
Re: The Return of the Scarlet Empress OOC
That was an amazing way of choosing the final applicants. This is going to be great.
The Penumbra That Shrouds the Dread Inferno
Theme Song: Inside The Fire
Darkness erupts from her skin, surging around her form like a dancing bonfire. Tendrils and flecks of darkness disjoin themselves from the central flame, morphing into screaming faces of the dead before quickly vanishing.
End slavery by slaughtering slave owners; killing every last one of said men, women, and children, of all races and in all realms of existence.
Amarakia (Utter Loathing), Miasa (Love), The Walker in Darkness (Hatred and Fear), Dragon-Blooded (Hatred), Opiates (Addiction), Jaki Cristo (Haunted Regret), Shattered Mirror of a Thousand Regrets (Respect and Gratitude), The Guild (Hatred), The Binding Shadow of Pleasure and Pain (Rage), Red And White Roses Strewn Across The Fields (Spite)
All her life, the only thing ____ ever wanted was a chance, a single opportunity to improve her lot, to make her world better, to allow her to live a life of dignity. She never expected to become rich, to have luxuries, she just wanted the chance to be treated like someone who mattered. ____ never received that chance. Every day in her life she was treated as something to be used, not a person to be valued.
____ doesnít know who her parents are. All she knows is that her family sold her when she was barely a month old. ____ís owner was a wealthy Dynast, named Amarakia, from Serrat. The Dynast was a whimsical individual who managed her slaves like toys, casting them about in different directions and giving them new duties constantly. This made it difficult for any of her slaves to form attachments, and punished them with separation if they did.
Despite this, ____ managed to acquire one close friend, Jaki Cristo, a fire haired boy who hailed from the Wavecrest Archipelago. She wasnít old enough to love him, but they managed to make their lives bearable, and even fun at times. So when ____ formed a daring plan to escape, one that was almost impossible with one person, let alone two, she shared it with him. A few weeks later they both attempted to escape. They failed. They were captured quickly, ____ís plan might have worked if she was by herself but it was simply unfeasible with two of them.
Both of them knew that a harsh punishment was going to be involved, and both were frightened out of their wits. ____ simply tried to endure, but Jaki broke under the pressure. He tried to curry favor and lessen his punishment by telling them what ____ís plan had been, how she had convinced him to attempt it, how she had done everything. Amarakia believed him, and the situation amused her greatly, so greatly that she decided to make it even better.
Amarakia told ___ exactly what Jaki had done, breaking ___ís spirit, all while showing only the faintest hint of glee. Amarakia then gave ____ a life or death choice. Either ____ would execute Jaki immediately, or ____ would suffer the same fate. ____ chose life, and gained heartbreaking vengeance for the betrayal. Killing Jaki is one of the few things that haunt the woman that ____ has become to this day. The memory of his pallid face and soulless eyes staring at the girl who strangled him is the source of many of her nightmares.
After this affair, Amarakia deigned to treat it as an event of no import and sent ____ back to work in the mansion, a mansion where all knew of and many had saw what she did to Jaki. These were hard harrowing years, but ____ persevered. She was made to do the worst work, the hardest, most dangerous, and most disgusting tasks available, but she endured. Despite this ____ was attractive, and human nature being what it was she was not left lonely. She even had a child, a little girl named Miasa. It became the one ray of hope she still had in the world, the one source of joy in a life where everyone she knew hated and used her.
And then she was sent away to a different city and mansion, and prevented from taking her child. All she did was drop a vase, but for the ever whimsical Amarakia that was enough. Cruelty was an art for her, and when reminded of ____ís existence she jumped on the chance to make ____ís life worse. She knew that the true art of pain lay not in the physical, but in the death of hope as the spirit withers away.
A lesser woman would have given up this point. Her child taken away, driven from all the she had ever known, ____ declared that enough was enough. She knew she could not do anything immediately, but she would not stop fighting. In a strange manner, being sent away was a blessing.
____ was able to start anew, with people who did not know her past. ____ began to organize a rebellion. With nothing to hold her back ____ was able to let loose her natural talents. ____ began ferreting out other rebellious slaves, approaching them, and convincing them to organize and unite against their oppressors.
Her work paid off as she slowly formed a nuclei of rebellious individuals, all of who discreetly spent years recruiting for their cause. During this time she taught herself how to fight, taking what little hours of the night she had to herself, and passed these lessons on. She also developed other talents to aid the rebellions; those of the assassin, of the thief, of the poisoner. She served as the warmaster of the rebellion, and also as its greatest weapon. She silenced those who tried to betray the cause, and she killed the masters who came too close to discovering the rebellion.
Inevitably, rumors began to spread. The rebels knew that their masters would learn of the rebellion soon, and so ____ called her righteous army to order. In one single evening they rose up. The guards and slave keepers, weakened by poison and with many of their leaders assassinated, were overwhelmed with ease. All the slave holders in the city died that night, even the two Dragon-Blooded. To ____'s regret Amarakia was not present for this night of slaughter. The victory festivities were immense, the greatest event that ____ had ever remembered. Everyone knew that worse was yet to come, but they felt confident they could hold out against anything thrown after them.
They were wrong.
The cities in the Deshan slave states are made mostly out of wood, but with great encircling walls of stone. The reason for this is very simple; in the case of a successful slave rebellion, it is a trivial task to burn the city to the ground and kill every last slave. All the army has to do is watch.
A full brotherhood of five Dragon-Bloods stood at the sole gate of the city, taunting the inhabitants of the burning streets to try to make their way through them to get away from their fiery demise. Hundreds died attempting this very thing before ____ reached the gates of the city, flames licking at her heels.
Witnessing the grinning, laughing, disgusting Dragon-Bloods surrounded by mountains of corpses ____ did not even spend a moment in thought before she launched her assault. She utilized her years of practice, jumping from shadow to shadow, launching arrow after arrow, in a rapid onslaught intended to catch these monsters by surprise. For a brief moment ____ knew her purpose in the world, it was her destiny to break these evil beings, and lead the remnant of her people away from their deaths.
But this moment passed. The lead Dragon-Blood barely even looked her way as he shot forth a pair of arrows from his bow, severing both of ____ís tendons. ____ heard him brag to his fellows, but she could do nothing but lie in agonizing pain over the corpses of her followers and watch as the fire consumed the city. Finally the blaze reached the stack of corpses, finishing its onslaught with the burning of those already dead.
And so ____ died in a pyre made of those that she had lead to failure.
And so The Penumbra That Shrouds The Dread Inferno was born in fire and blood.
The Walker in Darkness is the deathlord that gave Penumbra her second breath. He had been watching her for some time, and so had positioned a large force of undead lying in wait to ambush the army burning Penumbra's city. These undead attacked at the same moment that Penumbra rose from the pyre, the hungry ghosts slaughtering the army as Penumbra slaughtered the Dragonblooded brotherhood.
After the battle, a Daybreak caste Abyssal named Shattered Mirror of a Thousand Regrets greeted Penumbra. He guided her back to The Walker in Darkness, and tried to teach her some basic information on the way. It didnít really stick, but Penumbra appreciated the attempt.
Penumbra spent two years serving the Walker in Darkness. Under his tutelage she perfected her talents, becoming a shadow that could kill the most protected of foes without ever being seen. She was taught how to hunt her quarry, how to trap them and prevent any of their allies from helping. She acquired greater knowledge of where best to strike organizations, how to cripple them with a few well-placed assassinations.
For these years, Penumbra served the Walker in Darkness well. Shattered Mirror had told her of the Monstrances, and warned her how they could be used to harm her if she disobeyed. He also told her of The Walkerís defenses; of how he kept each Monstrance separate, warded, and guarded in different manners. The extent of these defenses meant that a renegade prepared to destroy one Monstrance had little hope of destroying the others.
Penumbra understood well that the Monstrance was just another chain wrapped around her, a spiritual one instead of a physical. So during this time she did not let a hint of disobedience show.
Penumbra had only one ally amongst the Walkerís court, Shattered Mirror. Shattered Mirror is an incredibly affable and empathetic Abyssal, a wonderful oddity that made Penumbraís life under her new master tolerable. She didnít care much for any of the Walkerís other Abyssals, though she was only outright hostile with two of them.
One was a Moonshadow caste named The Binding Shadow of Pleasure and Pain, a former guild factor who had run vast portions of the drug trade across the Deshan slave states. Drugs are used as a means of control in these nations; almost all the slaves in these nations are addicted, and so the drugs can be withheld as punishments or incentives to work harder.
Penumbra is not an exception, a fact that she truly hates. Shadow exploited this facet of her personality many times, manipulating her as a way to pass the time. It didnít always work, but it caused Penumbra to seethe at his presumptions. She might have hated him anyway, as she loathes the The Guild, but his actions cemented her anger.
The other was another Day caste known as Red And White Roses Strewn Across The Fields. Red is a very different type of Day caste from Penumbra; he is a spymaster and socialite that takes to the field only when necessary, preferring to let his minions do the job.
The animosity between Red and Penumbra came as a result of The Walker pitting them against each other. Time after time he arranged things so that oneís mission would interfere with the others. Neither of them realized this immediately, and so it appeared to them that the other was deliberately interfering with their own work.
Eventually Red pieced together what was happening and informed Penumbra. He was willing to let the matter be settled. Penumbra pretended to agree, but the damage had been done. She associated feelings of frustration and anger with him, so she did not actively try to ruin his works, but she was very careless when she knew he was involved.
It was at the end of her second year of service that Penumbra found the opportunity to destroy her monstrance and escape. The Walkerís citadel was attacked by a circle of Solars, intent on destroying him. When Penumbra saw The Walker go out to engage the Solars, she took her chance.
She did not know how to get past The Walkerís wards, but Shattered Mirror did, and he was more than willing to help her. With his aid, Penumbra was able to destroy her Monstrance
Unfortunately, The Walker returned to his citadel in a rage before the two of them could go destroy Shattered Mirrorís Monstrance. He had been alerted when Penumbra bypassed his wards, and broke off his battle with the Solars to return and punish her. Incidentally, this also meant that some of the Solars were able to escape, something that enraged The Walker even more.
Penumbra managed to escape his grasp, with additional assistance from Shattered Mirror, but she had to leave her companion behind. Penumbra owes Shattered Mirror a great debt, and is still looking for a way to repay him; she would try to free him, but she knows the limits of her power, and they pale in comparison to The Walker.
Penumbra has traveled far across the North and East nations along the coast of the Inland Sea since she has left The Walker's service. She has been indulging in her heartís desire; killing slaveowners wherever she can and destroying Guild operations at every opportunity.
Penumbra has acquired a fearsome reputation as a result of her rampages. No one knows what she looks like, or even anything about her, except for the fact that she is an unseen bringer of death that leaves only corpses in her wake. Rumors have assigned her many names and the Realm is well aware of her existence, though they are as hampered by lack of identifying information as the rest.
Appearance ●(●) Ė The Black Exaltation did not repair Penumbraís horrific burns; it only returned her body to full functionality. The burns cover large portions of her body, though not all. Penumbra wraps herself in a full body layer of clothing to hide these burns, and she is careful never to let them show. (Mechanically this is a mundane disguise to raise appearance by 1)
(f)Archery ●●●●● (●●● Bows)
(f)War ●●●●● (● Asymmetric Warfare)
(c)Stealth ●●●●● (●●● In Darkness Ė Shadow Cloak Technique)
Low Realm (Native), Old Realm
Backgrounds and Equipment
Penumbra has started to deepen her communion with the Neverborn.
The Walker in Darkness crafted many armaments for Penumbraís use when she exalted into his service. The soulsteel used in these artifacts was made out of the souls of the army that had incinerated Penumbraís rebellion.
Artifact ● - Dragon Skin Weave - Soulsteel Chain Shir
The lynchpin soul of this artifact is the Earth aspect that stood at the gates of the burning city. Flecks of minerals and gemstones are embedded into the soulsteel links.
Artifact ●● - Dragon Quintessence Crucible - Soulsteel Hearthstone Bracers
The lynchpin soul of this artifact is the Water aspect that stood at the gates of the burning city. Waves of a sickly green coloration, reminiscent of poison, roil across the bracers.
Artifact ●● - Dragonís Heartstring Bow - Soulsteel Short Powerbow
The lynchpin soul of this artifact is the Wood aspect that stood at the gates of the burning city. The bowstring of this bow is blood red, and the grip is a scaled pattern of viridian flesh.
Artifact ●●● - Soaring on the Dragonís Scream - Belt of Aerial Mobility
The lynchpin soul of this artifact is the Air aspect that stood at the gates of the burning city. Close inspection reveals that the beltís rings are connected by a solidified link of air, and do not touch any of the otherís.
This artifact almost always consists of a belt formed of links of blue jade, and in First Age versions of this artifact, these links are usually inlaid with small amounts of orichalcum. When the wearer commits three motes of Essence to the belt, it sizes to fi t and can thereafter be comfortably worn with any garment. Anytime the wearer reflexively spends three motes of Essence to empower the artifact, she rises an inch or so into the air and can walk on air for the rest of the scene. During this scene, the wearer can walk safely over water, quicksand, pools of acid or rivers of molten lava. Alternatively, she can will herself to rise up into the air in a form of movement that resembles walking on air as much as it does true flight. The character can walk or run normally, and in combat, she can use both the move or dash maneuvers at her normal movement rate (which she can enhance with Charms normally). The character can use this item to move in any direction, including up or down. Moving using this belt requires no more concentration or effort than normal walking or running. This beltís buckle contains a setting for a single hearthstone.
During the First Age, many Exalts wished to move swiftly and easily through the towers of Chiaroscuro and to the vast floating palaces that floated above the largest cities. Others used this item to enter and leave skyships with ease. In addition to being a convenient form of movement, there were also entire talons of Dragon-Blooded warriors who used these artifacts to allow them to serve as troops on board skyships. They could rapidly deploy from the ship to the ground as well as easily attack and board other flying vehicles as part of vast aerial battles. Today, these items are diffi cult but possible to create, and many dozens survive from the First Age and the Shogunate.
Artifact ● - Propelled By The Dragon's Flame - Perfected Boots
The lynchpin soul of this artifact is the Fire aspect that stood at the gates of the burning city. Streaks of dim red and orange flame dance under the soulsteel surface.
Penumbraís Operational Base
This artifact has been made since the early days of the First Age, but most modern examples were manufactured in Lookshy. Almost half of the Dragon-Blooded ground troops fielded by this martial state wear a version of this artifact. Once the wearer commits one mote of Essence to this item, these boots become the most comfortable footwear she has ever worn. This artifact keeps the wearerís feet cool and dry in all conditions, and she will never develop blisters while wearing them. In addition to comfort, these boots also allow the wearer to both run and march considerably faster than normal. In combat, the wearer adds three yards per tick to all move actions and six yards per tick to dash actions. When walking long distances, the wearer can march at a speed of 10 miles per hour and can cover up to 100 miles in a day, allowing the wearer to overtake carriages and to easily keep up with all but the fastest mounted characters. In addition, the wearer adds two to her Strength when calculating jumping distances. This bonus adds directly to the wearerís Strength if the jumping distance is multiplied because of Charms, additional artifacts or anima powers. One of the primary advantages these boots provide for Lookshy is that heavy infantry who wear these boots can easily keep up with cavalry troops, allowing Lookshy forces to be exceedingly swift and mobile.
Manse ●●● - Grove of Briars
Penumbra encountered her lunar mate, Symphony of Chimes, not too long after she escaped from the Walker in Darkness. Unfortunately for Symphony, this meeting was not amicable.
It is a sad fact of creation that the Exalted are granted their power for greatness, not for goodness. Symphony is a ruthless Exalt with little conscience; he is a cunning and subtle manipulator cares who only for his goals, and not for those ruined in his path. This would not have made Penumbra hostile in of itself, but because of this trait Symphony was heavily engaged in the Guildís slave trade, which made him into Penumbraís target.
Penumbra spent a season ruining Symphonyís operations before she became aware of his existence. She quickly began her hunt, catching up with him at his base, a carefully tended manse. Symphony was not prepared for her assault, and barely escaped with his life. The only thing that saved him was that his spirit shape is a badger, which allowed him to burrow his way out of Penumbraís reach.
Penumbra has since claimed the manse where the battle took place. The manse is well-defended; it was built to fend off assaults without the owner having to worry. Penumbra spent a long time ferreting out all of the manseís secrets, and has given its Animating intelligence new directives. Should Symphony ever go back to his old haunt, heís in for a rude surprise.
- Hearthstone: Orb of the Unnoticed Predator
Last edited by Incendius : 07-28-2012 at 08:00 PM.