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Gorgon
Born: August 22, 2018 Forum Topics Started: 0
Race: Demon Forum Posts / Replies: 2
Affiliation: Sine Metu Mail Replies Sent: 198
Home City: Jerusalem Mail Sent: 46
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11/20/18 at 4:20 pm
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Khellen's Biography
Ademre

Ademre exists far to the northeast of Temerant’s great nations, and as such does not constitute part of “The Four Corners of Civilization”. This land can be a cruel home that demands tenacity and fortitude from her children, the Adem. It is surrounded on three sides by the great Stormwal Mountains, and vast stretches of rocky, barren fields comprise the majority of its landscape. To the northwest there is only the sea, a constant source of howling winds and battering rain. While the summers are warm and border on pleasant, the winters are bitterly cold and are marked by surges of perilous tempests from the sea.

Life in Ademre is centered around a village’s school. While most possess their own low, sturdy abodes whose austere construction is dictated by the severe weather conditions, children and adults alike are clothed, fed, and instructed within these most sacred of havens. From a very early age, children are taught the foundational code of conduct that is the Lethani, a way of life that defines every choice, action, and thought of the people. Alongside this mental discipline, they are also trained to perfect the Ketan, a series of movements that encourage proper form when training and fighting. In every village, the school provides a singular education in the ways of their particular path.

It is customary for Adem children to first complete their education in the path of their village, and to then travel from one village to the next, learning the ways of each path in turn. Once fully trained in the most suitable path, a series of tests and challenges may be requested to determine whether an Adem is fit to “take the Red” and venture into the lands beyond. For those who choose this mercenary’s life beyond the Stormwal Mountains, it is most common and expected practice that all excess wealth be sent back to the school to provide for future generations.

The Village
We are an isolated clan, even by Ademic standards. We live furthest to the north, occupying a steep, mountainous vale inhabited by few other species. To the best of my knowledge, we have never accepted the presence of outsiders, even fellows of Adem heritage. It has always seemed strange to me that we do not share our ways with our people, for this is how I have always thought of them; this is how I have been taught to think of them. It is our heritage. They are our people. It is, however, my village, shared by my immediate kin. We do not teach others our path, though we are free to seek mastery of the paths of our sisters to the south.

This self-imposed seclusion limits trade to those few of us willing to travel back and forth between the villages, spending what little the school has amassed to provide her children with the necessities. Unfortunately, our supply of coin has been steadily dwindling as the seasons seem to grow harsher. The small, rocky gardens we rely on have not yielded harvests sufficient to our needs these past years. The animals grow thin, forcing our people to broaden their range and prolong their hunts. The young cry and the old seem downcast as all are forced to limit their meals, replacing sustenance with water and training.

I am the first in many years to complete my training here and have hoped to support my people since the first strenuous winter. My mother, Caeth, spent more than a decade beyond the mountains, fulfilling her duties as a mercenary and providing our school with enough funds to keep our people well-fed and thriving. She returned only to bring me into the world, much to the delight of our kin. It is strange, of course, for an Adem woman to ripen so late for the first time, and her “belated maturity” remains a source of good-natured banter among the elders of our village. She has so effectively provided for us, however, that no one even thinks to mock her further.

Having contributed so much herself, I had thought Caeth would approve- even encourage- my willingness to follow in her footsteps and take the red. It came as a surprise and disappointment to both myself and the elders when she expressed her expectation that I first master the paths of our relatives to the south. I have felt the weight of my kinsmen’s developing necessity for years now, and while I both adore and value my training ever so highly, the needs of my people come first in my eyes. If I could simply be allowed to take the red, to do as my mother before me, I could provide so much in return. The children would not cry; the elderly would not go hungry. Surely, she must know this. Why, then, does she hold me back?

Haert
It is my fourth year studying the way of the sword tree, and my training here is nearing completion. While at first my presence was met with mere toleration- even anger by some- the blooming of fellowship between myself and the village elder, Shehyn, eventually put most hesitancies to rest. Shehyn empathized with my intense devotion to home and kin, and offered to oversee my training herself once my demonstrations of the Lethani satisfied her.

Being the first in so many years to achieve mastery and venture forward had been no small affair. While we Adem take great pride in our comprehensive solidarity, taking on a member such as myself somewhat out of the blue would strain any family. How can one expect complete acceptance without offering the same in return? In my case, as it is forbidden for me or my immediate kin to share our path, my arrival here provoked more than a few flared tempers and soured feelings.

Again I found an ally in Shehyn. She remains sympathetic to my plight, understanding that this precedent was neither set by me nor possible to break. In all honesty, her unusual compassion in this regard continues to intrigue me. I have spent many sleepless nights wondering what insight she might truly have into my peculiar heritage. She seems much more knowledgeable than I have ever imagined an outsider to be, and I have yet to scrounge the courage to ask after the true extent of this knowledge as I do not wish the upset the balance of our relationship.

The teachings of the Letantha are very similar to my native path, as predicted, with but a few key aspects distinguishing them. It is frustrating to recognise these similarities and to be unable to explain the parallels to my fellow students. Eventually, while these students came to respect my ability and trust my character to some extent, the underlying wariness pains me still. I love the people of Haert as dearly as any I have known, Shehyn particularly. We Northerners have never shirked our duty to nurture the kinship that defines all Adem, and as such, I have spent these past four years holding true to these beliefs and demonstrating our shared identity.

The Man
He finds me outside the borders of Haert before the first snow of the season. I am training alone, as I often do, performing each evolution of the Ketan as slowly and deliberately as possible, perfecting even the most subtle of movements. So engrossed in this discipline, every sense attuned to each minute shift in form, I notice the intruder only when he speaks my mother’s name. The simultaneous touch of the stranger’s hand on my shoulder brings my sword to my hand, and I turn into the slight force he exerts to bring this weapon to bare. The honed edge of my blade grazes the pale skin of his neck, slicing through several strands of snowy hair in the process. There is no fear in the strange eyes that return my gaze; it is almost as if he does not realise the danger he is in.

“Caeth,” he says again, a small grin curling the corners of his mouth as he states her name with a familiarity I have never before heard. While he exhibits many of the distinguishing Adem traits- long, light hair, a fair complexion, pale eyes- it is this facial display of pleasure that marks him for what he must be: a foreigner, a barbarian. Even after four years of guidance and instruction, Shehyn only rarely graces me with such an intimate display of emotion, as is proper and civilised. My free hand speaks clearly in a gesture he is no doubt too uncultured to understand- Disgust. - and to my intense surprise, his smirk broadens in response.

“You haven’t aged a da-..” The man pauses, a quizzical look replacing obvious amusement as he takes a purposeful breath. He speaks the common tongue, and while I have learned this language to the same extent as all Adem it has been many years since last I practiced. I remain still, relaxed and ready to strike at the slightest provocation. His head tilts away from my blade, his brow furrowing. I watch his nostrils flare, the lids of his eyes drawing closed as he inhales, and feel an odd wave of self-consciousness as it becomes clear he is identifying me by smell alone.

“You must be hers then. I always wondered why she left.” Despite the quiet menace the man exudes, I find myself curious. Caeth had spoken so little of her time beyond the Stormwal Mountains; she had grown increasingly averse to recounting these experiences as I neared unity with our path. It is obvious that this man knew her then, and intimately. Much to the chagrin of our fellows, she had never taken much physical interest in those around her, despite the Vaevin that so commonly accompanies her level of prowess. Knowing this, it is fascinating to consider the possibility that she had found some measure of enjoyment- or at least contentment- with this alien. It is very uncommon for one of our own to engage with a barbarian; the mere consideration of this taboo is curiously intriguing.

“Did she ever mention who fathered you?” Faintly hued orbs meet mine before narrowing, the smirk deforming his thin lips once more. I have, of course, heard of this “father” figure the barbarians are known to believe in. The Adem are not ignorant of the cultures surrounding them, although this particular conviction remains one of the most foolish in our eyes. Women ripen naturally upon reaching maturity; males have nothing to do with the birth of a child. This is why women have always been recognised in our society as superior in both combat and consciousness. Men do not have such an outlet for their Vaevin, and the accumulation of this anger renders them prone to outbursts of rage and poor decision making. This is the main reason only females reach elder status in our villages: men are simply too weak-willed to lead.

It takes me a moment to fully dissect the question, and by the time I realise what he has asked he appears to have recognised his mistake. His eyes roll upwards, lazily focusing some distance beyond the bridge of his nose as he raises pale fingers to his temple. He looks wholly put out, and my indignation over the man-mother inquiry devolves back into simple curiosity. He does not conform to any Ademic standards, but his obvious understanding belies sense. Ademre consists of one protected people; the individuals making up her population remain both politically and philosophically segregated from the whole of Temerant, electing to isolate their unique civilization from those uncivilised nations encompassing them. It is forbidden to enlighten the primitives beyond our borders, so how is it that this man recognises his own folly?

Suddenly, so fast that I do not even see him move, the stranger’s hand is gripping my sword. His bleached digits coil around the blade itself, drawing crimson rivulets down its whetted edge. A dull, throbbing shudder emanates from my gut, as if from a blow. My gaze flicks to his other hand, to his legs… nothing else has moved. I step back into Chasing Stone, hardening my stance as I withdraw my blade. I make no effort to keep from harming him further, and he reacts to the deepening gash with a shudder of his own. I am sure that he does not physically incite the second bout of painful convulsions in my abdomen, but this episode comes as less of a surprise and my stance does not falter again.

“A’kethsis.. you dare!” The man snarls in a sudden rage, reaching once more for the shining blade. I struggle to maintain a steady grasp on the hilt of my pride and birthright as the corded leather shaft trembles in my hand, pulsing wildly with an energy not my own. I bring my left hand to Rhintyr’s pommel, my right foot sliding weightlessly rearward and bending at the knee to complete Climbing Iron. My familiarity with each aspect of the Ketan is absolute, and I draw strength from the thrumming pommel of the weapon enhancing each stance. With a detached sense of surprise, I realise that the shuddering of my frame, now consistent, is emanating from the blade itself. There is something different about the Rhintyr in my hands; there is something wrong.

The barbarian surges forward. Without thinking I drive the blade in a sweeping slash, my left palm guiding the sword with smooth certainty through its deadly arc. My retracted right foot propels my body forward and I deftly avoid his outstretched arms. The blade slips through the silken clothing of his side to deeply lacerate the tender skin beneath, and a stream of new blood stains Rhintyr’s edge. I know beyond any semblance of doubt that the wound I have inflicted will prove fatal if left unchecked, and I relax back into Chasing Stone after pivoting back to face the aggressive intruder.

My steady gaze provokes another snarl, but he does not approach me again. After taking several moments to weigh his options, the man simply bows his head and growls once more. He reaches slowly downward and towards his un-wounded side, and for a moment I fear he has drawn a weapon. Instead, he sweeps the hem of his cloak about his person and dissolves into thick, inky smoke. Despite decades of training, I simply cannot keep the astonishment from my face as each tendril drifts towards the hard ground and begins to dissipate. I maintain Chasing Stone, completely unsure of what to expect, long after the last of the sooty mist has disappeared. I strain every sense at my disposal, attempting to discern his whereabouts, all to no avail. Finally, I let Rhintyr fall to my side and relax my stance.

I move to lean against a nearby rock, contemplating this incredible interaction. I remove a thick cloth that hangs loosely from the back of my belt and make to begin cleaning Rhintyr. To my utter confusion, I find the blade pristine. The sword still trembles faintly in my grasp, though I am relieved to finally realise that the subsequent convulsions have ceased. A tension I was not wholly aware of relaxes at this, and I slump awkwardly against the curve of the large rock at my back. Trembling muscles lower me gently to the ground and I remain seated, alert but pensive, until the beginnings of dusk stain the sky.

Eventually, a soft flicker draws my gaze back to Rhintyr, the sword resting serenely upon my crossed legs, and my breath catches in my throat. Six beautiful, glowing runes appear to have been etched into the fuller of the blade. I watch them for a time, their hue shifting gradually from a familiar inky blackness to the pure crimson of blood, and finally settling on a strange, rich amber. I reach forward with quivering fingers and caress the gleaming fuller…

Somewhere deep in my mind, deep in my very soul, a voice I do not know quakes throughout my being:

“Finally.”

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Last five threads posted in:
ForumSubjectLast Post
ContestsDungeons and Raffles and Prizes, oh my!
Created by Cersei Lannister
10/11/18
Josie Nathan 10/21/18 Peeking her head around the corner of the dungeons, from the cell she escaped, Josie looked quick for a guard. Not seeing one she nearly sprinted to the cell where Khellen had been stuck, giggling as she looked through the bars. "Looks like you could use some help, now." Grinning she stuck her toy wand in the lock of the cell, easily springing it open and taking a step back. "Don't hurt too many guards on the way out!"

You managed to break out Khellen.
Dr Van Helsing 10/10/18 Hmm, ok I'll play along, but you choose.
Dr Van Helsing 10/10/18 Unfortunately we Elders cannot trifle in the affairs of mortals!
Dr Van Helsing 10/10/18 Going well, just a bit bored.
Dr Van Helsing 10/10/18 Hola!
Daelin Renwood 10/09/18 I enjoy your profile.
LillyEmperium 10/08/18 Congrats on POD
W_Kat 10/08/18 Congrats on PotD!
Mackenzie 09/14/18 Sometimes, I think about staging an intervention. But then I'm like, 'Naaaah. Better not.'
Mackenzie 09/14/18 You know, I really feel that Jewel likes to sleep on actual down feathers. Less restrictions.
Samantha Winchester 08/31/18 "Hello my name is Samantha Winchester and on behalf of Channel 4 CNFOXBS I would personally like to welcome you to the realm. If you should be in need of anything please by all means ask me."
Actives (20) Fresh Blood (1) View All The Fallen (0) Graveyard
Seraphina Morning Star, Luciana Morning Star, Iria Visile, Cristina Scabbia, Raven_D, Ashlyn Starling, Khellen, Evie_Black, LillyEmperium, Edward Brollachan, Lylith_, Kyla, Nemesis Wolfe, Parisa Tournier, Mallory Quarters, Zombie Parisa, Tide Pod, R, Masque Harley Quinn, Gens Revenge  Luciana Morning Star   
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