Fuck it. We dead. Love ya, bitches...
-Conversations Thread (CT)-
-In Character Thread (IC)-
Oh, but what have I done?
I never knew that they would become so strong for each other so soon: Calling Bonded, Drawn and sworn together by blood. They are like my Sisters in our Drawn... so many years ago.
I never expected them to actually be able to perform a ritual to create a pact without guidance... Oh, by the DragonStar, Ahmi... I never expected them to make it past the Second Rite of Devotion in the first place! Dammit... I was already steeling myself to cull another batch!
But no. And now here we are. By all blessed Mercy and by Mother, here we are, darling... and now the gates to the Threshold must be opened so that we may enter the Land of Dreams and find their unseen twins' names.
Yes, that too. They are already manifesting their bloodlines. They are already harmonizing their new souls with their lost ones. They are ready to hunt their first mount, Ahmi!! No one 'Blade, not even Matriarch Corynth, was able to do such a thing so fast! Darling, and not just one of them, but all of them. Latents emerging. All at once...
They made Mother sing. Ahmi. They gave her hope... and they gave your Mystical Blade hope too. Real undeniable irrevokable drive to go on... oh, but with them, I will see you again.
Oh, but what have I done. I never told them why I truly chose them. I never told them about the reality of 'Her.' Ahmi, I never told them that I made bargain with Her. I never told them that I was supposed to do to them should they be successful in completing their Rites; they do not know what I offered to take from them to sate Her. Oh, but what have I done.
But I can still make it right. I can. Helanna is still with me. She still burns bright. She still holds that one captive within her mystic bladed body; Helanna still harbours that Wounded Soul within her. And she knows where to take us. I can make it right. We just need to keep one step ahead of Her. There is still time. The unborn living fury of Mother still slumbers. I will make it right.
Remember Caestelin? Remember the Twisted Woods that border the lands of the Ever-Young...
That is where we are going. We must make it there in both Lands: Dream and Waking. That is where we will find your 'hated rival...and arch enemy number one.' Do you still bear such a grudge against her? Do you still bear a grudge against Sharry's first beloved? Oh, come now, Ahmi... you need to so get over it... and yourself.
I still love you, you know that. I always will. I will try to contact you when we get there.
My Drawn Mystical Blades will take us there.
We will return Mother's guardians to their true forms.
We will bring them back from the hold of the Giant tyrants.
We will bring them to Death's Beauty and let them rest finally once and for all.
Wish us well, darling. Wish us all hope left in this World.
Dream again, Ahmbrisahn. Please dream for us.
-Post Length: 4-7 paragraphs is the range Fie is looking for posts. This does mean a minimum of four paragraphs. Grammar, spelling... blah, blah, blah. Fuck it. Just go back into your post and try to correct what you find before posting. Please make it at least look like you made an attempt to fix it up. Fie is easily entertained and not very nit-picky unless something contradicts other posts or does not make sense to her. If I do not understand your post I will ask for clarifications and edits. Do the same for me. Oh yes, all IC posts will be in third person and Fie loves introspective posts, but please do give others responses to work with and do not fear nudging things along and make shit up too.
Quality over Quantity? Sort of. The tone Fie is looking for is important: desperation with a willingness to take a shot in the dark. But do get all fuckin' flowery and flowing with everything you got. Aim for 4 paragraphs then go on and kick its fuckin' ass. Your character is meant for something greater than the lot they have been given. Your drive will be your flair and your failing.
-Post Frequency: There will be a posting order with a four day wait period. Ready? Fie shall post. Next person posts within four days, next person within four days, and so on until Fie's turn again. If you do not post within four days of the person before you, on day five, you will be skipped and we make minor moves for your character. Get skipped twice and you are on hiatus. Get skipped a third time and you are gone.
Can I pass and not be considered skipped? Please post in the OOC then. Waiting around for someone to post is a RP killer. Not having it. Please communicate with us. Also honesty and posting absence in advance makes GMS happy IME. Let us know you do not want to RP anymore rather than fade away. Please. And Fie does not mind if you pass off and switch orders, but please do consider what has been posted before you when you do respond.
-Quirks: In OOC, Fie writes like this because she likes to talk in third person. Deal with it. Fie thinks it is fun OOC but will not do this IC. Fie uses bad-words rather fuckin' frequently. Fie is a rainbow-queer-bitch female and so is Sharienne, but Shar is in the closet. Fie loves to see drama and some romance... but keep that shit IC. OOC drama will be dealt with harshly. Play hard, play rough, play intense, but play nice. Simple. Oh and any hot, steamy, porno sex does not belong in the IC. Well, if there is any sexually charged shit going on IC, keep it racy, yum, but not to the point where the thread will be shut down. Please. Same goes with violence. Just try to keep the blood splatter gorefest... tasteful.
Oh yes... -FUCK. COLLABS. Just post. Look, Fie prefers you post in the open so others may see what is happening and prep their responses, since a collab may be lengthy and time consuming. The secondary thread, the Conversations Thread is meant for typing up convos in the open. Keep it out of the closet, bitches.
-Let us get one thing straight. You are not a fuckin' bad-ass, kick-ass heroine. Not yet. You are a commoner that has survived attacks by giants. Fighting skill? Fuck no. Sharienne will teach you to be a combat monster. It is magical aptitude that she seeks, but that is not first priority upon recruiting. The best warriors got their asses handed to them and look what happened... welcome to Giantopia...! Shar needs fresh thoughts and strategies and Fie needs creative players to think outside the box.
-So is this RP about a powerful magic wielding warrior trying to save the world? Yes. And no. This is not purely about Lady Sharienne. The warrior woman needs your characters to survive and succeed. Fie needs the Rpers to shine regardless of playing plain ol' boring commoners. WE will work together to make sure everyone has something to post about and WE will make sure that we are ALL fuckin' awesome, no doubt.
-This RP has a goal of 100 posts or less to finish. You see, Fie does not have faith that we shall see this to the end. Seems like every 30 posts a RP will stall or fail. The longest RP I have been in peaked at just over 90 posts. That means we shall have 20-25 posts each should we see this to the end. Is the 100 post cap rigid? Somewhat. If it takes 114 posts to end this properly, Fie will not cry. I think that 20 posts per person is attainable and should bring us to a good end. We will set chapters to end at approximately every 30 posts and summarize/timeskip to the next chapter.
-There will be only 4 or 5 accepted including myself but Fie does expect dropouts, which can be crippling to a small group. So every three weeks, Fie shall bump the interest check with a summary/recap of sorts and an offer for a cameo/temporary character spot in hopes that they may come back and stick around should anyone drop.
-Collabs via PM freak Fie out. We have a Conversations Thread (CT) up for that very reason. Please feel free to use it to as much as possible. Develop sub-plots here as well. There shall be times when I ask you to participate in the CT. Please do oblige.
-Journal writing is encouraged and made possible via the What I Know Now part of your CS. Please do write here but put them in hiders. This is where you may further flesh out your History, Personality and other items usually allocated in categories in regular CS. You do not have to update regularly, but should you write an entry here, please do notify us in OOC so we may see what you put up.
-Lady Sharienne's CS shall not be standard. To keep the flavour of the RP, Fie shall reveal her slowly to your characters. I know this may not seem fair and unorthodox, but those that really do read Fie's posts will begin to learn more about her. Same goes with the places of the World that we reveal and develop. I hope you trust me with this. Thank you.
The Last of the Mystical Blades (Posting Order is as follows):
- tirgesfu as Brother Taylor, The Sunbound Rider and Mystical Blade of Empathy from The Sensing Way.
- Mystyltainn as Sister Sefia, The Staunch Defender and Mystical Blade of Shielding from the Defensive Way.
- -OPEN- as Sister Daunsesca, The Smiling Foolishness and Mystical Blade of Light from the Strengthened Way.
- Dannyel as Sister Annalisa, The Determined Survivor and Mystical Blade of Healing from the Agile Way.
- inDefiance as 'The Lady' - Sharienne, The Final Matriarch of the Drawn Mystical Blades.
Banner by Lights (TOER Remix)
Name: 'Shar' - Lady Sharienne Odae Barenias
Role: The Final Matriarch of the Mystical Blades: She knows she will bring them to jaws of defeat and failure, but along the way little does she know that they will teach her hope and worth.
Hair: Mahogany in Autumn, Tawny red in Spring
Height: 6 feet 1 inches
Helanna, the Voice of Lady Sharienne's mystic blade:
Matriarch's Shield, the Temper and Motion of Lady Sharienne:
What I know now:
She is so angry. How ironic she has the Calling of the Touch of Healing. Angry dancing healer, is Annalisa. Such a lithe and flowing body. Such fire and hardness in that stare. Oh how my heart yearns to ease her pain. Oh how my arms wish to take her and hold her tight. I so wish to whisper into her dark hair and tell her that I will protect her for all times. But that is not my place. I need her fire. I need her angst. I need her hunger. She can only feed me with the reminder of my own Cause. My Vendetta. And I shall reciprocate in kind.
She trains as hard now as she did in her old life. Every move must be perfected as if the next performance would be her last. Her body is used to rigorous training it seems. But the fighting. I know she is not used to it. But if she can take the fight... the real one... the one that drives her Cause, she will be the most feared healer that I know now... but does she really want to be feared?
She does not seem to power hungry. Nay, she is vengeful. She lost everything and now is her opportunity to strike back. To take back what she has always known: she is here to take back her World. I will be there with you, Annalisa. I swear we will not be defeated. Yes, she does act up and the attitude can simply kiss me arse. And how can someone so angry be so hard to wake?! Oh, for the DragaonStar, how many countless buckets of cold water I have thrown on that one?! But... she heals them. Perhaps she thinks I am blind or I turn a blind eye, but I do see this. And this makes my heart bleed that much more. The pain they feel, the pain that bonds, she strengthens with alleviating it. With what she feels is right. I so dearly want to make their pain go away too.
But sadly, that is not my place. There is much, much more pain to come. I fear that all the poultices and potions in the world will not help. But she will be a strong one. By the Lady of the Bell, the one the Determined Survivor calls, Annalisa has lived a short life, but long enough to know that all she has been forced to endure shall be transformed into such a force of rhythm and revenge by her new family's side. She knows why she was chosen; like the Lady of the Bell she is not meant to be controlled. I can hope her blade sees these traits as worthy. If that girl ever wakes on time, that is...
Such a spirit. He resists me at every turn. He is like the wild horses of his home. Unbreakable spirit. Smarmy ruffian. Why in all names did I choose this one in the first place... at all? But this male is the oldest of the Initiates and has been Called by the Heart of Empathy. Funny. For all the resistance, I do see him as a positive influence upon the others. Oh he knows, I can sense beyond that facade. I am Matriarch afterall. And I know he misses the drink. But then again, don't we all?
He takes his training seriously, does this one. The horses. The running horses. It is all I can see from his aura when he drives himself to exhaustion. Even with cramps, bruises, cuts and drained soul, that mouth still has to say something witty. Of them all, he is the fighter. His life was a rough and tumble one. But the real fight. Is his Cause the truth he seeks? Is this the war he seeks?
For they are all dead. His horses are fodder. They are plumes of blue in the wretched sky now. Does he know this? Oh how do I tell him? How do I break his heart like that! I can only give you the truth in time, but I cannot embrace you and tell you that they will be back, Taylor. But I will stand by you. I will be there for you here and in the grasp of Death's Beauty. Your words, your bloody smarmy words, irk me some, but those other words, the ones you use to draw out the best in others... I wish I could do the same for you.
But that is not the Lady's place now is it...? The words of a ruffian and unbreakable spirit are not enough to bring them back. But you will see them again. I swear it. You may not wish to ever get closer to me, but you are closest to me because of your Empathy. I hear the others through you. By Death's Beauty, you will be reborn in the light of all lights again, but before then you will be re-forged the the flames of the greatest battle you may ever know. You know why I chose you... you and that troublesome mouth.. Now hopefully your blade will find you worthy... you and that bloody, brazen mouth of yours.
There she is. Just like a little Shar. Was I truly that skinny? Red haired, but she does not have as many freckles as I... but still, she means well and only wishes to do good. And in only a month, she has gained a stronger back, but even more than that, she has grown a spine. So bloody timid. How could such a little thing survive out there? Simple. She is who she thinks she is not. A simple soft-spoken girl from the frozen lands? A middle-child between neither here nor there? No. You answered your Calling to the Embrace of Shielding because you are ready now. Back then, perhaps not. You needed pain. You needed a dear piece of your soul broken away. Oh how I truly do wish to hold you and let you know that you are something so special. I wish to let you know that there is more than Mercy waiting for you with your thoughts of protecting others even if it causes you harm.
I was there too. I wish someone told me back then. But this is not about me and my feelings. Dammit, Sephia. You are not strong in Empathy, but through Taylor I see you know me. Dammit. I'm sorry... Of all of them, I'm hardest upon you. But still you get up when you fall. You wake in the morning regardless of the pain. You truly are driven by your Cause. You will not let others down regardless of the harm inflicted upon you. They seem to gather around you during shield drills too. Well done.
Dammit, but you girl, you need to speak up more! This timidness can only go on for so long! For all our similarities, this is one that I cannot relate. But perhaps this quiet embrace is the thing that holds the others together. Damn your introverted ways, but perhaps your Lady has learned something about strength without words. For I feel you embrace me too. I wish I could do the same. But I stand with you. Always.
I know you want to go home. We all do. But there is nothing. No place to call home. Except us... By the DragonStar, the one the Staunch Defender calls, all pain and suffering will be returned and focused to protect those you care about. Is that what you were meant to do? You know why I chose you. Now show your blade why you are worthy.
Nineteen months ago, they fired up their forges. All of them.
You can see the billowing smoke rising from the exhaust chimneys at more than a day's walk away. This is not just any kind of smoke. These are the choking plumes of the DeathBird. This is what is truly killing our world.
Look around you. Can you not see Mother-Neath-Our-Feet weeping? Or has she gone silent for the final time...? Look at our sky. Where is our sun? Where is Moon and her Diamond Lined Cloak? Drink our water. Does it still flow or is it a thickened brackish mud where you are? Breathe our air. Still hurts does it not? Where are our villages, our peoples, our livestock, our kingdoms? Our proud homelands lain to waste, flattened by the feet of tyrants. The withering death surrounds us. This is the ending. This is the world the Giants have left for us. The world left for the few survivors that is. Do you remember the world before the wings of the DeathBird wrapped themselves around our throats? Do you remember the war?
Yes, exactly. "What war."
It took but only a few months. It was not a war. It was a slaughter.
It seemed like out of nowhere they came. The Giants and their armies. It has been an eon since they were seen last. But we got them back then.
But this time around, they came prepared. They came with a battle plan. They came crashing down upon our world like a giant tidal wave of Merciless intent. They got us. And now our world is dying.
But you have survived. You made it. And there is a reason you made it. What is it? What is the world worth to you?
Upon your heart is written the name of something powerful. And that is why I seek you out.
I have seen you, but you did not see me. Those times when you thought you were alone, I was there. Watching you. Listening for the Lady of the Bell to toll from your heart. Watching the DragonStar to see if she would shine upon you. There are but a handful of you. But I learned which of the handful to choose. When Death's Beauty shrouded you in her grasp, I knew.
I knew you were ready to die. But not yet. There was still something you needed to do. Something that would drive you to the end of the Ending. A purpose. A goal. A Cause.
You are more than you know. More than you could ever know. But each of you has a Calling.
The Heart of Empathy. The Touch of Healing. The Eyes of Light. The Embrace of Shielding.
Each of these calls to a certain type of person. Do you hear it? Listen with your heart of hearts. I know you do.
Follow the words it tells you. Follow it to me. Beyond the winds of chaos, against all odds you have survived. Now come to me.
My name is Lady Sharienne Odae Barenias. And I will teach you to do more than survive. I will teach you to fight back. I will open your mind, body and soul to the ways of the Mystical Blade.
Yes, you may not have heard of the Mystical Blades before, but you will become one of the fighting force of the Wardens of Fierce Mercy. I will be there for you as you will be there for the others. We will snuff out the fire of their forges. We will fight with every last ounce of strength we possess. And we will take back our world. We will.
When you are ready, follow those words of your Calling. I will be waiting.
This is it.
This is the first day of the ending.
This is the last entry I shall ever write to you.
Because I do not wish to tell you of my failure, darling. I cannot bear the fact that I shall never see you again, nor feel the bond between us. It has grown weaker everyday since we parted. Since you were taken from me. But it truly was you who gave up your life to spare mine and so now I ask you: was it truly worth it?
A life of servitude to the Giant overlords? A life in chains? A life alone? A life away from love?
In this final entry, I want to tell you just how angry I am at you. You made me endure this torture. Every passing season without you, I swear, I wish we had both died together. But alas, it is what it is and now I want to tell you what I have become.
The PureLine is dead. All of them. Remember the Tower? Oh, yes, you do, darling! Say it, you must! The Grande structure... it has fallen. Shattered, crumbled and ground to dust by the foul Giants. They felled it and in doing so, all bloodlines of those born into bondage have been severed. There are no more. All that is left are latents like myself. Oh, not so bad, darling, you say?
Oh, cruelty and merciless ways, but it is that bad. You see, they have hunted the latents with their Dastameins. Those gargantuan canines have been scented to hunt and kill all latents. By pure luck only have I been able to survive. Scrounging out in the shadows have I made it. Me! A Warden of Fierce Mercy! Skulking in the dark, like some petty thief, scavenging on what I may find like a rat in the gutter, darling! Oh, humbling and terribly terrible it is. Terrible, darling.
Oh, but it gets worse. A call to the Wardens of Fierce Mercy has brought no response. I fear they are all dead. Helanna, my mystic blade, glows brighter and with the runes are now shifted. I have not earned it, but I am an Elder now. And I fear that I am Matriarch of nothing. And so now I must bear new burdens if I ever hope to see you again.
I must enlist more latents.
I must teach them the ways of the Mystical Blade.
I must continue both Bloodines, regardless of purity. Oh, not so bad, darling, you say?
Dammit! They are but commoners! Not a fierce bone do they hold in their bodies! But they are survivors, I will give them that. But they must earn the names of their blades. They will not be able to hold them properly, let alone wield them at all, should they be deemed unworthy. I do not judge. I can only train them. Let their mystic blades hold their calling and purpose. Let the mystic blade herself judge for herself if the commoner is worthy.
For they need to be worthy if they are to fully realize their potential. They need to be greater than they think they are at present and become what they have always dreamed of becoming: they must believe that they are heroines and heroes. They must know that they are latents for a reason. They were not ready before. But Old Lady Time has come for them to whisper their names. And they must be ready to say their names before your kin; the names written upon their own heart and the twin hearts of your kind.
They must be ready to hunt, fight and slay monstrous armies of Giants in the name of The Dragonstar, in the name of The Lady of the Bell, and of course in the name of Death's Beauty.
They must be ready to push with everything they have left in them; fight for whatever worth is left in this pained world. Not much, if I dare admit such a thing. Not much at all.
And so alas, yet again, darling. That is why this is the last entry in this journal I shall ever write to you. I cannot bear to write these words upon these pages, these pages that I once promised to read to you. I have written in this book every single day since we parted. But I cannot stand to do so anymore. I cannot write upon another page to let you know of our failure. They are commoners. And I am only but one lone woman.
I am nothing without you. I should have died with you that day we parted instead of letting you traipse off, fully chained and with severed hopes and joys. I failed you as I will fail these few.
I am nothing without you, Ahmbrisahn. I need you with me, darling. I need your strength, your encouragement, your laughter and your love. Without that which you give me I am nothing.
And so I cast away this useless quill, this cumbersome ink, and its ragged-leafed, leather bound companion. There will be no record of these final latents; these foolish commoners that tried to so dearly to become the bonded. No, the only record that shall remain of us will be tossed from this mountain's cliff and carried by the wings of the fluttering chaos; the winds of Fate herself.
For this is the first day of the ending. We shall be hunting Her. This is the tale that will be written with our blood. Told by our screams. Carried into oblivion by our lost souls.
This is the end.
Please know that I forgive you for leaving me. Now please forgive me for failing you. Failing us. All of us.
For the Dragonstar and for my everlasting love to you, darling.
Signed for the final time,
A proud daughter born into House Barenias, once Beloved amongst The Sister Wardens of Fierce Mercy, and finally a Mystical Bladed Rider bonded to Ahmbrisahn, daughter of the Grande Esuz, first breath on the day of The Opening Eye.
Lady Sharienne Odae Barenias, Elder and final Matriarch to the Last of the Mystical Blades.
---Signed with love and Mercy,
Do you remember, darling?
Oh, say you do. You must...!
This was our world... crumpled like paper in a marauder's fist in only but a few months. Oh, darling... ask it. Ask it now.
Yes, this is the colour of our world.
They got us, darling. They got us.
Remember the azure skies? Wispy white clouds dotting nothing but blue stretching out into eternity? I do. But it is so hard to imagine now. Choked out by the grey plumes of the DeathBird of their fires. Their forges. They constantly build. They constantly enslave. They dig ever deeper. They dig to the molten heart of Mother-Neath-Our-Feet. They want to stop the thrum of her song; her harmonic voice will die when they pierce her heart. They will destroy it all.
Remember clear and crisp coastal waters? The cold and placid lakes mirroring the mountainside? We used to play there. Darling... how do you break apart a mountain. Crumble it into dust and steal away the life inside it? They have done that. They killed the MorningStar Range. Only emptiness and sorrow drift across the sky line. So many dead. So many more taken. Oh, can you not hear the Mother-Neath-Our-Feet cry that much more? Tell me her heart will not break before they reach it. Please, Ahmi. Tell me she still fights on. Tell me she has not given up. Please.
Remember the lush green Forest of the Ever-Young? Remember their treetop houses? Remember their songs and dances for us? Remember? I can still hear them. See them. They were slaughtered and your proud Mystical Blade could do nothing but listen and watch. The Dastameins rounded them up. Their females were taken. But not before the smaller Aurgens marched in. Those warty, broken faced beasts had to make an example of them. They had to. Oh, how your Sharry-Star cries now. They made examples of children... and not just that! Oh AHMI!!! They made examples of the unborn as well! Tore them from their mothers.. tore them, darling... and I just watched. I could do nothing but skulk about... seeking them out. Seeking out the latents. Their screams darling... their pain... their rage... oh, Ahmi, I was force fed their emotions... I drank their death... I... I did nothing... I am so sorry... I am so sorry...
Remember the sprawling golden plains? Remember my family's open range? It is gone. Remember the town of the Crystal Clock? Burned. And now a toilet for Seeder. That foul, foul thing. Remember the Kingdom of the Steel Makers? This was the one kingdom we had relied on. They forged the finest weapons. Harboured the Academies of Mages. All walks of life. The Fortress before the Grande Tower. They did not stand a chance. Wiped out in less than a week by Kicker's stitched together warriors and beasts.
How? Oh how could they defeat the Mages of All-Kinds? How, you ask?!
You remember. You do. They learned to cast, Ahmi. Dammit, darling. The Giants somehow learned magics.
Ahmi. They got us. Someone taught them how to cast.
Someone, or better yet, some people betrayed us. Our own. Our mages. They knew how to counter the Mages spells at Fatal Battle at the Gates of Steel. The warriors never stood a chance. Remember their names, Ahmi? Oh, for the DragonStar, darling! All those names. My Sisters were there too. The Lady of the Bell tolled that week. Not in victory. Not in defeat. But she rang her bell in the name of Doom. The DeathBird flew at the end of the week. Black plumes this time. They got us Ahmi.
You know what happened next.
They got our kind. They felled the Grande Tower.
And so now here I am, Darling.
The riverbanks of the Empress Mireille. It is dry. Diverted to quench the molten steel at their forges. Who is left? Who is there left to fight?
No one, darling. We have lost.
--wait! Oh dread and malicious ways, darling! I have been scented! The Dastameins have come for me! Oh, Ahmbrisahn! I love you will all that I am! I love you! I will see you and read to you from this journal, darling! I will fight will all that I am. For the DragonStar, For the Lady of the Bell, For Death's Beauty I will be with you one way or ano--
I got one.
Ahmi. By the DragonStar. In your name. Your Lady Sharienne got one.
I killed a Dastamein. Alone, darling. All alone. Oh how bloody and tired I am. But I got one. And...
I fought off the rest. I got them.
I got them back.
And now I know how to get continue to get them back, darling. I have broken the first secret to their demise. The Giants know my name, but I know they have a weakness. That is one trade I will always take.
They have a weakness, Ahmi.
I must find others. Others with the potential they do not know they wield. I know what I must do.
Ahmi. I will see you again.
There is still a chance. They are out there. I do not know their names, but I swear I can hear their voices now.
Darling, I cry right now. I miss you so dearly. I miss your laughter and your silly incoherent and stupidly inane words. For with your bubbly and giggly voice, I know you will say that I am crazy. But I hear them. Their voices carry upon the Calling winds. They sing the words that know my heart... and yours.
Ahmi. They do not know it yet. But, darling... Darling they are still out there. Those that I have always known would return.
Ahmbrisahn... I will show your grey marbled eyes that they still exist. We exist.
I swear it. Upon all that I am, all that you are. All that must be once again.
For the first time in the longest time, my tears now turn from sorrow and misery. I cry because of joy. I cry because of hope.
The Mystical Blades are out there. They will bond once again. I will gather them. Those that can do what no other Mystical Blade could ever think of doing! I will gather them, darling. And we will find you. We will.
A proud daughter born into House Barenias, Beloved amongst The Sister Wardens of Fierce Mercy, and finally a Mystical Bladed Rider bonded to Ahmbrisahn, daughter of the Grande Esuz, first breath on the day of The Opening Eye.
Lady Sharienne Odae Barenias
Glossary of Terms (updating as we go):
What is a world worth to you?
Is it worth fighting our tyrants? Is it worth it?
You know them. They brought our World to its knees then ripped her insides out. They stand two to three times as tall as a house. Their voices are the sound of gurgling flesh and cracking bone between grating blocks of granite. You can hear them for a grand distance. And you can feel the ground tremor beneath their clawed feet. Many kinds, many abominable faces, but they are all the same inside; they are twisted in thought and hearts. Single minded terror, Initiates. They want us all dead. Not by accident. Not by dominance. But by show.
They want to show us how they kill us. They want us to suffer before ending us.
What brought them to our world? I do not know. But I have learned that they were here before us. Perhaps that is why they hate us so?
Whatever the case, Initiates, they came back. And this time, they were ready for more than just domination. They came with the others of their kind. They came with those of Steel and those of Fire. They came to wipe us all out. And they did it. They won.
But your Lady is still here. And so are you. We can get them, Initiates. With more than just our Devoted Powers and our Fighting Skill, I swear we can get them back. Have you never traipsed so far away from your homelands? Then you have not seen what they can do; what they really are. It is not enough to kill our peoples. It is not enough to choke our World into submission. They will kill it. They will kill it and then they will be the masters of nothing.
Is that truly what they want?
No. Listen to me, and your Lady shall tell you the truths. Pay attention to these lessons and you will learn about our foes and of their devastating intents. These are not our enemies because I say so. Nay, Initiates. These are our enemies because of the truths they hide. The dark truths that I shall try to impress upon you. The dark truths that you will know and find your Cause.
What is a world worth to you?
That is your Cause. You are driven to fight them. Your reasons are your own. When you can answer to Mother-Beneath-Our-Feet whole with mind body and soul, your Cause will be your honing stone for your drive. It is your weapon. But remember, Initiates. Always remember that a weapon is meant to harm. If your weapon is ever turn against you, it shall hurt you more than you could ever harm any other.
Never let the Giants ever turn your weapon against you.
Very well then. Listen well but most of all listen for the truths.
Set light to them. Set them on fire. Set them free.
You know these faces. These twisted Malicious and inhuman faces. These are the Augrens.
These broken gargantuans stand more that two houses tall. Seemingly mismatched even stitched together are their behemoth bodies. Teeth and armaments ever honed to slaughter us. And oh did they try. They travelled by day and attacked at night. Sheer brutal force tearing apart our towns and villages. Their intent was not to dominate strategic locations. None were left alive. This was extermination clear and simple. They wanted our territory. They had no need for us.
Their all out assault strategy did work... that was until they marched upon the Kingdom of the Steel Makers. By then the DragonStar was borne and she revealed herself to us. Yet still we let them right up to the front door and let them knock.
They made their stand at inner walls. They trembled as their defenses fell. They quivered as their vaunted wall crumbled. And so there they were. Giants.
Augrens by the hundreds.
In they marched and our ancestors were ready. We would not be defeated. Every, sword, bow, at the ready, we pushed back. Led by the countenance of Empress Mereille, our ancestors and their foreign allies fought with everything we had. They did not know about our secret weapon. They did not know that the DragonStar had Called to our Empress and she taught us magic. She was the First Mage.
Finally after twelve years of relentless battle, our ancestors got them.
Their penultimate was named Malagorion, the Breaker. A giant that stood head and shoulders above the rest. It lead with an iron fist that pounded all others into submission or in a rage till only a broken bloody pulp remained. The fear of their leader drove them onwards. But we got them. Yes, they were physically superior to anything our peoples had, but we had the mages. With their help, tracked down their hive and found Malagorion. They felled the Giant's stronghold. Still live and kicking, screaming with rage and terror did they take it back to the Kingdom of the Steel Makers.
Leaderless, desperate and yet without cause, we whittled their numbers down, scouring all sides of the World. They could not hide; how does a monster over two houses tall be able to move with stealth and evade our ancestors trackers? And so finally we got them once and for all. We chased them from the face of Mother-Beneath-Our-Feet and sealed them into nothing more than story, fable and legend.
Parents always warned their children that these monsters would always come for them if they did not eat their greens. Little did they know they would come for their children for reasons darker and much much more Malicious than they could ever imagine.
Over two years ago, the Augren came back. And with new allies. And their monstrous hunter canines.
And they came for Malagorion when they decimated the Kingdom of the Steel Makers. But not to free it. They marched away from the Fortress with its severed head. There was a new leader that drove the Giants to victory. The Augren were merely foot soldiers this time around.
Their leader was like our Ancestors leader, Empress Mireille. This leader had a secret weapon as well.
This one heard a Calling. This one learned to cast magic. And this one knew to teach others to seal victory over our peoples.
And with that victory, our World is doomed.
There is no one to stop them from piercing Mother-Beneath-Our-Feet's molten heart and killing our World.
But they do not know what your Lady Sharienne knows.
And they do not know that we are coming for them. But we will not chase them into hiding again. Nay, we are going to chase them into Oblivion.
The Last of the Mystical Blades are going to kill them all.
- Forge Giants
- Steel Giants
As tall as a house. Fangs the length of your forearm dripping with terrible crimson disease. Faster than a horse and twice as vicious as any animal you may have seen in your past lives. Once you see one, it is already too late;you are prey and you will be caught. Impossibly quiet for such humongous monstrosities, even more deadly because they travel in packs. Yes, they are look like giant wolves, but they are much more than that.
They are the dark force twisted and ripped from the shadowy parts of Mother-Beneath-Our-Feet. They are the ones that eat our babies and children. They are the loyal beasts of the Giants. If you see a pack, their Master is not too far behind. Always remember that. It is the Master that matters to the Mystical Blades. And it is not an Augren giant that commands them. No, Initiates, it is a fallen Forge Giant.
How they were born, your Lady does not know. But what she does know is that we do not stand a chance against them in the open. But we can defeat them. We can. There are places the Dastamein cannot cross. One of those places is the pure water that run near the SilverVine Bridge. They cannot cross that bridge. And that is where we will take some of them out. That is what I have promised-- nay, Initiates... That is what I have vowed to 'Her.'
You will learn how to fight them. But this is something your Lady cannot teach you right now. This is the tricky part. You must learn to fight them in the heat of battle. You see, that is how you will earn your mount.
And not just any mount. These will be the first mount of your shadowed bloodline. Your true bloodline.
Initiates, you have survived against all odds. The Lady of the Bell tolled for my heart so as that I may find you; so that you may come to your Lady. You are the chosen, the ones meant to Mystical Blades for a reason.
Well, there are many more reasons... but do know this for now. You have been chosen because it is you that the Dastamein have been set loose again. They know your scent. They can smell it in your blood. But you can still evade them. But beware. They know the scent of your despair, anguish, sorrow, guilt, rage and loneliness. If they catch your scent in those times of your own darkness, there is nothing you can do to hide nor wash away your trail. They will catch you.
They will catch you and they will bring you back to their fallen Forge Giant.
Should that happen, I will track you down.
But know this, Initiates. If this happens, your Lady will find you.
Your Lady Sharienne shall track you down and tear you away from their Malicious grasp. The final Matriarch of the Mystical Blades will never ever let them know that we know their weakness. No, you Lady will find you.
And she will kill you.
- The pack that Sharienne chased away
- The death of a Dastamein
From their Forges their DeathBird is set free to choke us all.
They toil away at the ever lit forges, shaping, clanging away, beating into shape their new children. From so far away you will see the plumes of the DeathBird rise into the ever darkening sky. This is what is killing Mother-Beneath-Our-Feet on the outside. All her peoples, all her children made of wood, green, liquid or flesh. We are dying, Initiates. Our Mother is dying and with each piece of Mother stripped from the mountains and from her belly, the DeathBird grows stronger.
Yes, your Lady speaks as if it is a living thing. That is because it is. It breeds. Do you not see the fluttering of its babies in the sky? Look harder. Yes. There it is. That is one of its children. That is one of its Plumes.
Each child makes up the body of its Mother. Each child, each Plume born strengthens the DeathBird and as she feasts more of her wispy yet deadly children are born. The DeathBird, the terrible creature takes nourishment from what does not rightfully belong to it. The DeathBird takes from Death's Beauty the soul proper that should be in our Beauty's shrouded grasp in the sun.
Yes, initiates. Each death in the aftermath of the Giant's victory is another morsel for the DeathBird.
So can we stop it?
The simple answer is no, Initiates. No, we cannot kill the DeathBird. Its shroud covers Mother-Beneath-Our-Feet's loving face. Its plumage hides the sun as determined as it is to shine upon us, the light of all lights is fading from our World. Its body masks Moon's pained visage from crying rain down upon us... if Moon still loves us that is. Perhaps She has taken her diamond cloak and turned her cheek from us for the final time... but whatever the case, Moon no longer sheds tears upon her Mother. Perhaps she does not feel the need, perhaps she never will... but whatever the case, Death's Beauty is still with us.
She still holds us. But she grows weaker with the decaying of the sunshine aimed at our world. Death's Beauty resides in the heat and light of the ground bound fire. She waits for us. She wishes to take us home to our ancestor's home in the sun. Nay, Initiates. We can only thwart her temptations. We will not die. Not yet.
We still have our duty. We still have work to do.
But what to do about the DeathBird? We must destroy the Forges lest we wish our World to choke to death before our Cause is fulfilled.
And what of its children? Your Lady knows how to destroy them. But... but...
But it comes at the dearest price. Your Lady only knows how to send them to Oblivion. Your Lady... Initiates, I know no other way. But I shall not teach this to you until you are ready.
But how, oh how, can we survive the ever persistent shroud of death? Well, you made okay so far. And did I not tell you about the places that the Dastamein cannot cross? The children of Mother are still alive because of 'Her.' This... Her ...she who has crafted your wooden blades is still out there.
She is still out there. And she still breathes life into our World. But know this... she is twisted, torn, writhing in pain because of what has happened to her Mother-Beneath-Our-Feet. We must find Her. I vowed we would come to Her. And when we are all together, she will show us what to do to push back at the DeathBird to ease Mother's pain.
But be warned, Initiates. All pain Mother feels she does too. She is angry. She is tormented. I do not know if we may trust 'Her.' For she is stark raving mad.
- Black plumes
- Grey plumes
- Blue plumes
The Will and Wisdoms of our World as Sharienne knows it.
You know her. She brought you here. She is blind, but she knows you. She has always known you. She knows all her children. She is the ground we walk upon. The water in which we swim. All beneath our feet, that is her. All around us that thrives from the ground. That is her. And she is in pain. So much pain.
Mother does not see what happens to her. She can only feel and communicate with us by her temper and her spirit. Can you hear her? Does she still sing to you?
Your Lady cannot hear her sing. I can only hear her weep. Look what has happened to her. We have only hurt her. Our foes are killing her. They will kill her.
Her daughter Moon is the domain of the sky. Moon holds the stars, the clouds, the rain, the storms. She cannot see her Mother anymore. Imagine what despair feels now. She has always watched us as we could only hurt her Mother. And now the DeathBird controls the sky above us. Even the sun cannot burn away the DeathBird and its plumes. Oh despair and desperation. But has Moon turned her cheek from us for the final time? Has Moon given up on the World? How could she? How could she...
Mother is alone.
Mother is dying.
Death's Beauty whispers with a hoarse and pained voice to Mother. Death's Beauty can only tell Mother that her time is at an end. There is nothing Beauty can do for Mother and wait. She will try to guide our Mother-Beneath-Our-Feet to the home in the sun, but alas... that will never happen. To steal Mother from Moon is the greatest betrayal of all. Beauty will never do that. She loves Moon and Mother much too much.
Mother is alone.
Mother is dying.
Mother knows that when they pierce her heart she will not be reborn.
Initiates. Mother will die and she will be dragged into Oblivion. Our World's entire span of existence will forever be forgotten. As if we had never ever been born. This is the Ending, Initiates. We will die as nothing.
Nay, you say?
Say it again then. AGAIN!!! Initiates, we will not die as nothing...
We are the Last of the Mystical Blades and will die trying to take back our World.
From Mother's daughter, Annalisa:
We worshiped the Mother-Beneath-Our-Feet, but it wasn’t through any elaborate rituals or solemn ceremonies. She was with us in everything that we did; in our fields she granted us food, the boon of her flesh, in our villages she granted us homes, molded from herself, and in our wombs she gave us the ability to bring new life into the world. The Mother, as we called her, was life, giving and guiding us.
Our Matriarchs were her honored ones, chosen for the wisdom they had learned from the Mother, from the crops they had tilled and the children they had borne. Each birth was a gift from the Mother, a celebration of life and fertility, and each harvest was a cornucopia of her blessings. When we of the Maiden Troupe danced we did so barefoot, so as to have a greater connection to the Mother herself, as we were mere extensions of her will.
From Mother's son, Taylor:
I was the grasses. I was the hooves that ran across them. I was the wind the rustled by as we ran through time. We were always a part of the Mother. She touched each of us and pushed us out into her world. We all knew her and loved her even if she was always a mystery to us.
But we failed our Mother.
When foes beat at her we could do little. All she has done for us and we fell so easily. She must weep at the weakness of her children. We have broken her heart as much as those who attack her.
I need Mother to know I will defend her. I feel small in ability and poor in choice to be a defender. But I do pledge to stand and fight so Mother knows we of the grasses can bend but we do not break easily.
Hear me Mother, I am and always will by you.
From Mother's daughter, Sefia:
I do not know how I feel about our Mother now that we've been forced out of home. It was always a thing of beauty, even when the Snow smothered it in its icy embrace, and it provided for us what little it could. But after the attacks that would surely change our lives forever, I wish there was more it could have done...
From Mother's daughter, Daunsesca:
She is the everything. She is the wonder of life. We are thankful for her. Each morning we greet her by rising and singing her songs. Each child of the Ra'gedol'i are covered in her soil, grasses, grains and flowers at birth. They are then washed clean by her waters at the shores. Each fallen of our people are treated with the same ritual at the time of their death. They are then taken to her gifts to the sky, the Soaring Graves by her children the Giant Owls. We sing for her each day and perform ceremonies every month in her name.
The cycle of birth and death are the spirits of our ancestors. Mother-Beneath-Our-Feet guides us and takes when she needs to take. She gives by her will and when we take from her, we are always ready to give thanks. She is mysterious, she is beautiful, she is everything. She is the wonder of life. She is the happiness that surrounds us.
Moon sees us from above, but no longer. The DeathBirds hides her face and her Diamond Cloak. She can no longer tell us the great hour we are needed. We are alone without her vigilance.
The face of the pained Daughter that watches blind Mother at night. That is Moon. Her cloak is dark, yes, but she covers us and has lined her cloak with hope. See the diamonds of the night sky? They tell us where we are upon Mother's body. But oh, she is tortured. She smiles when she is round, but slowly she turns her cheek from us. When she is dark, she cannot bear to see what has become of her Mother.
What we have done to her.
When Moon turns her back upon us, that is when the Wardens of Fierce Mercy must be active and vigilant. When Moon turns her back upon us, her thoughts of retribution upon us come to fruition. We cannot blame her for her failings; for we have failed her Mother. Malice is born when Moon turns away. To return her favour to us, we must fight back and defeat the Malicious to show her that we are worthy.
She lines her cloak with diamonds made of hope. It is only fair and just that we return that hope right back to her.
But now we cannot see her face and she can no longer see us. We, the Mystical Blades, can no longer see in dark.
The Lady of the Bell tolls for you. Listen for her, and hear her well.
The winds of chaos. The fickle wings of Fate herself. No one controls her. Even though mages thought they could, none of them ever foresaw the second coming-- and victory-- of the Giants. You cannot control her. No one controls Fate.
But there is Destiny. The ultimate ends of the unknown path of Fate is to her Lover. There is an end, but we will never know the exact moment. That is not the ways of our being. That is not for Humans to know. Only Destiny knows when their lover will arrive.
And so may another. There is a being out there that gives us hints as to Fate's journey towards her lover named Destiny. She rings her bell for us to guide us along. But usually when she does, reacting to the tolling of the Lady of the Bell is too late. But you must listen carefully for her.
No, she is not luck. She is that moment when luck changes. When you hear the tolling of the Bell, you will know that Fate has shifted. You will know things have changed. Whether fortune or failure, this is your moment. Act. Now.
Some say that the Lady of the Bell is the daughter of Fate and Destiny; the unwanted love child of the journey and the end. Some say that because she has not been taken care of by her parents, she acts up and messes with her mother and her mother's lover; she meddles in the mortal world. But whatever the case, she has been tolling her bell quite often lately.
The Lady of the Bell was ringing loudly in my ears, the day I killed a Dastamein.
Within that cloak of Moon is the one that Calls to us, the Mystical Blades. She is the DragonStar.
When the Giants attempted to rise to power an eon ago, the DragonStar came into being. She sent us power beyond our wildest imaginations. During that time, the Mages of All-Kinds learned to wield and manipulate energies that light Moon's cloak.
For Mercy... and for Malice.
But that does not matter anymore. For all Mages are dead. They took too much. They took from all of the stars powers and forgot the DragonStar. The DragonStar was the first, but seemingly the one star that gave least power to the Mages. You see, the DragonStar is demanding. You must be complete as a caster to fully realize your calling. You must first train your primal being and remain as such; you must strive to stay human. Nay, mages found that you could become greater than human and strove to become so the easy way. Other stars were more so easily manipulated and in bunches. See the infinite amount of diamonds in Moon's Cloak? Use those others instead. Such an easier technique to by pass your everyday physical training and maintenance through magic and the perpetuation of said technique. They left her behind and with abandoning her, they were left unprotected from the Giant's magic. Yes, the Giants learned to take from other sources to cast.
But alas, the DragonStar still empowers us. Do you know where our pain and trauma go? Moon sees it, yes, but that energy feeds the DragonStar. That is where that lost part of our soul goes, never to return. But we can still hear it. Feel it. See it. It is the most vibrant and shifting colour of our dreams.
That is where we get our Calling and that is what powers our mystic blades. How is this possible? Because we focus. We heed our Calling and turn it into our Cause. With a Cause we cannot help but learn our Way. Our Cause is born from a Conflict with Malice. Malice is what made us lose part of our souls in the first place.
Every single day we get up and re-focus our fight against our foes, each night we push back as the protective line, we earn our keep. Our peoples cannot help but feed the DragonStar with pain and trauma. We as Mystical Blades and soon enough, as Wardens of Fierce Mercy provide the soothing drink to let the DragonStar know that she can carry on; we will not be defeated. We know that she takes our pain, and she knows that we will provide her with Mercy and love to ease what we have done to her.
That was our pact an eon ago.
And we will still uphold our end of the agreement no matter how few of us there are left. We owe it to the DragonStar. We owe it to our World.
We will never be defeated. In the grasp of Death's Beauty, I will see you again.
If pain and sorrow goes to the DragonStar, then where does joy and wonder go? You remember it. You remember the sun. That is where Death's Beauty resides. When I die, when my Conflict against Malice is over, I will see you there. I will see you in the light of all lights in our World.
When the sun shines down upon you, heating your skin with warm caresses of golden hope, how can one think of death residing in the sun? That is the beauty and wonder of her. When you die, what better place to be than always surrounded by the endearing laughter and Merciful hugs and kisses of your friends, family and ancestors for all time? When the sun shines down upon you, all that you loved, all that loves you still smiles down upon you too. You see, the beauty of the sun is provided from those before you that rest easy now. But the strength of the sun is not only provided by the dead; it is from your joys, your wonders that fuel that ball of fire in the sky. When you are happy, remember your ancestors. Remember that Death's Beauty waits for you upon the sun to shroud you in her grasp from pain and suffering so that you may rest now. The happiness, the joy and wonder we cause in our world is drawn into the sun and keeps it lit; Death's Beauty wants us to be happy so that she may reside in the sun. It is her home and it is the light of all lights.
But it comes at a price. While you are still alive, there are those times when you must endure the power of the sun to find that beauty. Sometimes Moon feels meddlesome and just will not fade away into the night quietly. Sometimes, Moon will not be there to pull clouds to cover her Mother and let Death's Beauty scorch this World.
So then. Why would Moon allow Mother to suffer the power of the sun? Because Death's Beauty is still Death after all. But Moon will not allow Death's Beauty to kill her Mother. Only in the greatest betrayal will Death's Beauty ever attempt to kill Mother. No, the power of the sun destroys only parts of Mother. Life must begin somewhere again even if it means taking some of Mother's children before their time. But does not your ancestors smile upon you when the sun shines? Does the sun not shine during times of drought, fire and heatwaves? Yes, but those dead that you love and those who have loved you... they know what we cannot realize.
They say: 'Be happy when you witness a babe truly seeing her own shadow for the first time, someone you know will soon be born, for someone has seen their shadow for the final time.'
I will see you in the grasp of Death's Beauty because she collects souls. For with death comes life. The soul reborn. It is her duty to ensure that the cycle continues. Do you now know why you will never see that lost piece of your soul in your former life? It is because it was meant to be reborn as all souls in the suns will be reborn someday. She will release your soul back into the world to become children of Mother-Beneath-Our-Feet again when your soul is ready. All souls are purified in the sun with the hand of Death's Beauty. That is why you must only kill in the name of your Cause with your mystic blade.
Never kill with your blade without your pure intent. That is your chance to help forge the soul of the dead into purification so it may start again without Malice. Without Mercy. It is the truest chance to start again. That is our pact with Her.
Even if we cannot see her home truly though the DeathBird, we can still feel Death's Beauty upon our world. She is still Death after all. Imagine all the souls she has collected. How much joy and wonder is left in this world to keep her home, the sun, lit for all times?
Imagine all those souls in the sun waiting to be reborn.
Revealed Places of our World.
- The Grande Tower
- Kingdom of the Steel Makers
- Crystal Clock
- The Empress Mireille River
They will not find us here.
There are places that the Dastamein will not go and this clearing is one of them. Even the plumes of the DeathBird are blind here. We have little more than our shelter, our training ground, our rations, the stream nearby and our equipment and the clothes upon our backs. But what we do not have Initiates is time.
This place is safe from our foes, but not for long.
Each and every day I train you, you must expect that I will push you harder the next. You must expect more from yourselves. Your blade demands it.
I can only train you. It is your blade that shall deem you worthy.
Our time here slowly comes to an end and see what progress you have made. You have no choice but to be ready. For we must seek 'Her' out now. She who made your weapon. She with whom your Lady made a pact so as to keep this ground safe from our foes. She who will teach us what she knows. We must find 'Her.' You must be ready by then. You must.
Take some of the soil from this place. Mark yourselves with Her scent. She will know you. Your Lady will then present you to Her when we finally do track Her down.
You must be ready to meet Her. For your Lady cannot do anything but abide to the pact made between us.
And always remember this place. Your heart has guided you here by the call of that lost piece of your soul. Always remember your way back here. This is a place of power.
Take each others hands. Now sense out your Lady. Seek the truth. With all colours of your new souls now: Eyes, Heart, Touch, Embrace. Do you see it? Do you see your Lady's place here? Yea, Initiates. This is that place.
This is the place where Lady Sharienne Odae Barenias' soul shattered.
Thoughts from Initiate Annalisa:
The training is brutal. Each day we end with great aches and pains, sometimes even injuries. I find myself unable to merely sit and watch, so after the first day I went out to scavenge for supplies. I sought out the herbs that I needed, remembered from all those winter days when I trained with the Medicine Woman, Khalya. I began to make simple poultices and balms, little cures that would aid with the healing process, that would make bruises disappear overnight, that would prevent infections of wounds, that would ease the growing aches in our muscles. It was not much, really, but I think my sisters and brothers appreciated it.
Thoughts from Initiate Sefia:
I... do not know if I'm cut out for this. I was never much one for physical activity, and the cuts and bruises we get from our training only compound the aches in my muscles and bones. It hurts and hurts, and sometimes I feel like I could just lay down and sleep for the rest of my life. But, I know that I must get through this, for in this new world where we Mortals are hunted like animals, we're the only ones left who can even hope of preventing our destruction....
Thoughts from Initiate Taylor:
There is beauty here I see through weary eyes and tired muscles. The place drips with water that my drier grasslands lack. I taste it in the air and it soothes my weary lips and coats my throat. I did not like the moisture when it first took hold. It made my cloth stick and hands slip. But now I feel the power in the wetlands and the rich soil. I have so much to learn.
At first I did not want the help offered by Annalisa. I did not need them I would try to convince her. I was strong. I was the older man. But there was an offered softness about her touch that made my protests wash away with the scent of rains and rivers nearby. Her balms helped. She helps.
I often find myself reaching into the wet mud, the cool ground, the small puddles from the rich morning dew. My fingers grab hold of this special place. When my workout has left me so tired I can hardly lift my head I put some of this earth on my hands. It pushes me on. It reminds me of the smell and feel of horses.
Thoughts from Initiate Daunsesca:
The clearing is the greatest place and worst place I have ever been to. So far away from home but it is the closest thing to home I know now. We train everyday, breaking our bodies, steeling our minds and pouring out our souls. This is the greatest place I know right now, for here I am wanted, I am safe, I am amongst a family I have not known for over a year now. I am learning to push myself so much harder than before; I am reaping the benefit and my bonds grow stronger here with my sister and brother Initiates. The Lady says that with this training we will take back our World.
But this is the worst place I know right now as well. We are training to be more than just a group of heroines and survivors. We are training to be killers. We are being trained to murder. Grandmother said that your soul speaks from your eyes. Ever since I have come here, in this sanctuary, I have never looked myself in the eye. I fear what I am becoming. I fear what we must do. I fear I will lose happiness. But most of all I fear that I do believe it will be worth it.
- The Inner Plains
- The Valley of the Endless River
My homeland was beautiful. You have probably heard on the Valleys of the Endless River.
It is – was - the only true matriarchal land that I know of. Each village was run by a different Wise-Woman, and we rarely needed to convene for any major counsels, but when they had to, each Wise Woman held the same about of power. There were 11 in total, one for each of the villages, and a simple majority vote was all that was need to pass a motion. Our women were honored amongst our people.
I lived in the community of Blue Gardens, named for the luscious blueberries that grew on the hills surround our village. The Endless River flowed past the edge of my village, the banks of the river covered in beautiful bushes and grass as green and vibrant as you’ve ever seen. We had farms that grew vegetables and wheat, and we subsisted mainly on a meatless diet since we did not have much room for ranching. Occasionally we harvested some fresh-water fish from the river, which also supplied us with the water we needed, for it was the clearest and cleanest water that I have ever known.
The towns were all rather small; each one had around a thousand people each. True, we were probably one of the smallest nations around, but we were close and tight-knit. Each individual village was like a family, and all of the villages were friendly, with members moving and marrying into each other with great frequency. I spent the Winters at home, learning from the chief medicine-woman, Aliya, who taught me about medicine and poultices and treating common diseases. But I was also lucky, getting to see all of the villages as I traveled during the Summers as part of the Maiden Troupe. I promise, I will tell you about that sometime!
- The Freezing Peaks
Cold. Harsh. Unforgiving. Those words stood out to me as best describing my hometown - a land covered in snow, with almost no life to inhabit it. Every day was an endless struggle; every night, a restless reprieve. The Snow and the Hail paid no mind to the plight of us mere mortals... To them, we were nothing but a passing thought, a trite existence that would soon fade to nothingness.
They were right. Even so, we clung to our meager existence with everything we had. The frigid air would kill our crops, but then we'd plant more, until their flowers finally bloomed. The beasts and bandits would raid our flocks, but then we'd stand firm, and fight them off with our axes and spears. No matter the occasion, we would rise above it; beleaguered and exhausted, but in the end, still alive. That was long ago... so, so long ago. We were happy, then, in a weird sort of way.
One might ask, "Why bother living where the going is so rough?" To that, we would say, "The one who suffers most, reaps what he sows." The effort we put into living day to day, the hardships that we ultimately endured, were payed back tenfold by our closeness to the Spirits, and our cherishing of the life we were allowed to have, now. In dedicating our lives to surviving this hostile environment, we came to appreciate that Life so much more. For there really was beauty to be found in the rolling Tundra; one simply had to look a little harder to find it. In the summer, the usually snowy wasteland of high, rolling plains erupted into a thriving blanket of wildflower buds. The air would swell with the strong scent of pine, and the rivers would flow once more to bring new life to the land. Though I sometimes wondered whether I would live through the year, when I see the Land giving back to us its resplendent glory, I think it is all well worth it. Well, that's is how I came to think of it, in the present, at least. Before I met him, I was as skeptical as you, but perhaps that is a story for another time...
Open. Grasses. Blue Skies vaster and brighter than any you have ever seen. That’s my home. That was my home. The hills rolled with the brilliant colors of wild flowers, grains, and endless grasses. Hammocks of soft woods would scatter in different places but they were small against the immensity of waving prairie. We called it W’va, for it means the great lands.
We traveled them. Our clans did not settle in one place long because we followed the horses and the waves of the grains. We never needed roots because the prairie provided all we could ask for in grains, fruits, and animals to hunt. The magnificent horses roamed through the endless hills leading us to fresh pasture and cool waters.
We were small groups that gathered only a few times a year, to trade stories, gifts, and partners to mix blood. And to play games. Toss of the leaves and gambles of the bones entertained us. I was good at games. I could read the moves before they came.
Each clan decided their own rule. There was no reasons for council and yet because of that we were easily displaced and dismissed. We scattered like the grains of grass blown by an overpowering wind.
But for a time I ran with the herds. I was one who could borrow a ride and spring onto the back of an allowing mount. I would ride like the wind and the grass would open before me. And when the time was over I would slid from the back and thank the horse. Once when the prairie was filled with yellows, blues, and greens, I rode with the sky and beat of hooves pounded in my ears. Once, too long ago.
- The Island of the Soaring Graves.
My peoples are wild and happy. We are the Ra'gadedol'i. We live neath Moon and her Smiling Face. Under the golden kisses of the DayStar's single beautiful eye. Mother-Beneath-Our-Feet loves all and we give to her and take only what we need.
Our people love birds even though we cannot fly. But the giant owls whom we revere and respect, the Eyes in the Night that bring our dead to our namesake, The Soaring Graves. That is where we receive our grains and nuts. Our ancestors provide them to us.
Each summer at the centre of our island home , the nut trees and wild sheaf grasses grow tall but only upon the Graves. And when Summer passes into Fall, we wait for the days when rainbowy skies that tell us that it will be time soon that Mother-Beneath-Our-Feet will close the DayStar's eye for more than half the day. Then at night Smiling Moon gently blows upon the Graves to send the nuts and grains down to us. Upon our boats, we tie so many nets together as we gather with all the birds and animals to catch the seeds before they spoil into the waters below.
We do hunt, but our homes are concentrated around the Stone Fire Circle. These are the giant ovens that we use to bake our bread. We trade with the sailors that come to drop anchor upon our island. They are strange pale peoples, but they seem to be friendly and open-minded enough. They do like our women though and we are very proud of our women. Both men and women can become chieftains here, but every male our people give birth, there are three females born. I do not know why, but I am happy. I have loved by males but I so much do prefer to love our females, most of us do.
We are not true warriors, but we do fight. The Nareen invaders come, and so we fight them off. They are very powerful and their weapons are sharded with magic. But our ancestors protect us. Our fallen live in the hearts and souls of the Giant Owls that watch us by night. And so we fight off the invaders and sacrifice them to the Giant Owls. But there are the times when the wild sheaf grasses will not grow properly and in those dark times we must do dark deeds. We will raid the Nareen peoples for warriors to sacrifice to the Giant Owls.
But we are a happy people regardless. We sing, drum and dance before each feast. We are thankful for what we have. We are thankful for Mother-Beneath-Our-Feet, Smiling Moon, and the Winking Daystar. We are thankful for our Giant Owls. We are thankful to our grain-bearing ancestors. We are thankful for the pale sailors from far off lands. We are thankful that we have proud strong families of Ra'gedol'i women and men.
My people are wild and happy and I am thankful that I am loved here and never alone.
People we know, meet or hear about:
With this light, burning bright, breaking shadow, dark and night...
We are the fighting force of the Sister Wardens of Fierce Mercy. We are the hunters of Malice. We are the protective line. We stand together until our Cause is done. We will die for our Cause. With the Calling of our powers and the prowess of our Way, we will not be defeated. Until our final breath, we will not be defeated. We are the Mystical Blades. I will see you in the grasp of Death's Beauty when we are done, my sisters.
All Mystical Blades are ready to die. For all Mystical Blades have already died. No, not in body, but in her heart. In her soul. Initiates. You have seen the worst of times and yet you still survived. And then you fought your way here against all barriers and hardships to come to me. Why?
Because I am Matriarch here? The leader of the Mystical Blades?
No, it is because you have already died. Inside. A part of your soul is missing. And try as you might, no matter how far or wide you go and scour, you will never get it back. I cannot bring it back to you. That missing part of your soul is a colour that you will always see when that part of your soul calls to you. Your heart will guide you. That is why you have come to me.
I have called to you and your heart brought you here. And so here you stand still searching for that missing piece. Searching to be whole again as you were. Nay. That will never be. The dead shall never walk again.
But the living, that part of you that still exists. Your body and your mind. It still thrives. It still yearns to go on. You stand before me incomplete as a person who has lived a life as you were that ended too soon.
You have died. But still you are here. Did I say that the dead shall never walk again?
Yes, your Lady Sharienne Odae Barenias did say that. For you will not walk. No. You will run. You will charge head first into your new life. Never walk. The dead do not walk. The dead rest. That part of your soul must rest. You may never find that part of you again, but you will fill in the void that remains. How?
You have already begun to leave your old life behind, whole as you were. Incomplete now, never to be the same again, you will fulfill your desires and become greater than what you were.
With your light, burning bright, breaking shadow, dark and night... you will be complete. You will be whole once more. Run with me into your new life, but never forget what has brought you here to this moment. Ever.
Welcome. Welcome to the Mystical Blades, Initiates.
- The Sister Wardens of Fierce Mercy
- The Dancing Maidens
I was a part of the Dancing Maiden Troupe for four years before the Giants attacked. It was considered one of the highest honors that a young woman could achieve in the Valley of the Endless River, as only two from every village was chosen to participate. Maidens are chosen around when the reach puberty and remain until they reach the age of 21 or they are married, whichever comes first. The matriarch of the Troupe was always chosen from the ranks of the members, handpicked by the previous matriarch. The matriarch was a woman who remained unmarried, who dedicated her life to the art and to the remembrances of our culture. They remained leaders for decades, until age caught up with them and they were no long able to teach the young girls of the land.
Madame Leandra had been the Matriarch for many years, having been a member of the troupe along with my Aunt growing up. She was reaching the age of fifty winters when the Giants attacked, and she had intimated that I could be the one to follow in her footsteps, if that was what I wanted. She was a strong woman, not merely in body, though years of constant dance had given her a lithe but muscled frame, but in spirit as well. Though she did care for all of the Maidens she had ever trained, she drilled us all with an intense determination, expecting the best from them and not letting up until we had achieved that.
We began training in the middle of each spring, running through drills and dances, practicing again and again until we moved with the grace of the flowing river. We would travel throughout the Valley for the entirety of the summer, stopping in every village for a Festival, where we were the primary entertainment. It was always one of the most wonderful celebrations in our culture, and we were the Guests of Honor at each of them. That was what our hard work was for, and why we paid for it with sweat, tears, and blistered feet.
Our dances were varied. We had traditional dances dating back centuries, that were used to honor the Earth Mother from whom we sprung, which needed precise moves and timing. We also performed informal dances, which relied on improvisation as we made our way through the crowd, drawing everyone into the dance with us, spinning and twirling and spreading the fire and joy of the music. Our orchestration also travelled with us, with their drums and their flutes and their lyres, providing the music that we moved with. They were also maidens as well, and their program was just a strict. They were the cousins to our Dancer’s Family.
- The Boy That Sefia Knew
Where do I even begin with him..? He was a strange one, that much I can say for sure. But in everything else, he was shrouded in mystery; I don't believe I even caught his name. Yet this stranger whose name I don't even know may very well have influenced me more than anyone else I've ever met in my life.
I suppose it's best to begin from the beginning. I had always been a quiet child, never making a fuss, always careful to not be a bother. I was the middle of three sisters: Tanith, the eldest, helped my mother with her textiles, while Rianne, the youngest, learned dance under the monks of the Snow Moth. I was somewhere in between. I helped weave the cloth, as well, though I would never be as skilled as Tanith, with her fast, gentle hands. Dancing was a hobby of mine, but I would never be as lithe or graceful as Rianne, her blonde hair dazzling in the morning sun. I had no special talents of my own, so, needless to say, I wasn't given much attention.
I will not say I hated them for it; they were my sisters, and I loved them so. Still, it could be... tiring, to always be overshadowed, and though I do not hate, I am ashamed to admit that I did, indeed, envy. I tried my best to be of use to my family, but I always felt I was inadequate, in some way or another. I was not helping my family, and after a childhood of solitude, I had not much place in the village, as well. It was after fifteen summers of this feeling of uselessness that I aspired to run away.
It was a simple thing to do. I did not think ahead to what I might have needed out in the wild, nor did I think of what I might do once I settled there; as I reflect on it, I may very well have been going out ready to simply die. But fate would have something else in store for me, in the form of that mysterious young man with those piercing green eyes. We met while I was huddling under a raised snowbank against the wind; He seemed to be older, around his eighteenth summer. It was a... strange, greeting, to say the least. He asked me if I liked to eat snow rabbit; I said yes, and was immediately regaled with the harrowing tale of a snow rabbit come back to hunt the man that had killed its denmates. He then gave me a snow rabbit shish-kebab, and sat down beside me to eat His own.
Most of our interactions went somewhat like this, in fact. I was too shy to say much of anything, but seeing as I had nothing better to do, I would follow Him like a sad puppy does her master. He, on the other hand, had a certain confidence that showed in everything He did, and He would ramble on for hours about myriads of inane subjects, only to come to some profound wisdom that had nothing to do with what He was talking about. He seemed fine with this arrangement, and though I didn't say much, He always seemed to know what was on my mind; for no matter how seemingly unrelated His speeches were, they always touched home on some personal issue I was having. Now that I've begun my training, I wonder whether He was a practitioner of Empathy.
We stayed together for a month, at least, and during that time, He taught me many things. He taught me how to hunt, how to smile, how to live, how to laugh. He taught me that it wasn't so much what you were, or who you are, but what you'll become, and who you strive to be. He taught me that while it was important to know what others thought of you, it was equally as important to make some decisions regardless of their thoughts. All this, and more, as He told me of a cat He once kept in Desaria. Wherever that is...
It was with heavy heart that I parted ways with that boy, but after my time with him, I felt that I needed to go back to my family... and apologize. I had given up, and that was something that you could not do out in the Tundra. He was cheery about the whole ordeal; though we did not talk much about ourselves to each other, He probably knew me better than anyone else. I did not have so much insight into Him, unfortunately... Before we went our separate ways, I asked Him if we would ever see each other again. His only answer was to ask, "Do Honningdoes howl at the New Moon at night?"
...I still do not know the answer to that question. But I hope that it's a "Yes".
- Sharienne's darling Ahmbrisahn
The hooves of the wild horses turned the ground. They spun our meadows around the face of the moon and the warmth of the bright sun. They shook the waters from the far away mountains to run through their endless pastures. They kicked up the dirt to water the sky with thunder storms. When they stopped, when they rested, the air warmed and the night settled.
We followed the herds. I knew the eyes of the bays, the stallion, the fillies, the Mustangs, and even the ponies. They all held magic for me. They all had a place in the life of the plains.
They are gone. No longer do the pounding sound of their gallops fill the grassland. No longer do they spin the land. There are no meadows, only dead burnt cinders of what was once wild flowers. There are no trickles of pure mountain water only the sewerage of far off giants forges.
We watched them die and then we did. Small little gnats were we when we buzzed around the attacking giants. They hardly noticed us. The horses ran. But there was no where safe to go. We did not protect them. The horses were slaughter and their magnificent carcasses were left behind. There was no reason. The bodies were not taken or used for anything. They were left for the flies.
Now all that's left are flies and maggots.
I see you...
You know me.
Oh yes, oh yes, you do...
Oh yes, oh yes, you do...
I was there when it happened... I was there to feed from the pain of my unloving Mother, I was there to do what she just could not do to you because she loved you more. She loved you for all times that much more than me. You know me.
Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes, you do...
When my wicked sister, beloved because of her beautiful face, beloved with the eyes she stole from our Mother... when my wicked sister Moon sends down the rains, I am that which does not make it stop. I am the screaming wind that rips apart your homes. I am in the strikes of lightning and, I am the outraged voice in thunder. I am violent in my ways, but I am not wicked like my sister in the sky, warmth from her stolen eyes, yet putrid in thought when she turns her cheek from you... and me... and you. I am the unloved. I am the hated. My wicked sister Moon has a tantrum, then I feed upon it and let you know she is hurting. You know me.
Oh yes, you do...
Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes, you do...
I have seen you and felt you walk upon my unloving Mother... I know what you want from her. I know you. You do not love her enough... the same way she does not love me enough...
When my selfish mother, beloved for the glow of her home, beloved for the resting of souls she steals from my Mother... when my selfish mother Deaths Beauty shines, with heated lust upon my Mother, I am that which does not make it stop. I am the scrorched sands that eats away at the pretty parts of Mother, I am the emptiness in the watering holes and wells. I am the hungry fire in the dry and withered forest. I am violent in my ways, but I am not selfish like my other mother in the light of all lights in the sky, coldness when her home hides behind Mother, yet greedy for more souls... yours... and mine... and yours. I am the angry. I am the unloved. My selfish mother Death's Beauty has to feed to keep her home lit, I break off parts of Mother to sate her. You know me.
Oh. Yes. You. Do.
Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes, you do.
I was there when you were young. Younger in golds. Not green and growing, but in a moment of gold. A moment you treasure forever... did you treasure it? Did you remember?
When my... when that fuckin' bitch took my place... when she tore me away from my place to watch from my sister Moon's cloak... I was the star that mattered! I was a Will! I was a Wisdom! i was meant to watch and be the one that felt the pain of mortals and return it i would but no not any longer beacuse of it the DragonStar it is called and it took my rightful place oh you knew me oh you did but she took my place in my sisters lovely cloak she took away my other mother from me and brought me low crashing through Mother's body i was the one who was supposed to return the pain but no she tore me out and tossed me into Mother' womb once again and there i lay nothing with out Will empty without Wisdom oh you know me, you do the world you knew was paradise but you took and you took and you took from Mother and i could hear her cry because i am that which is not allowed to hear her sing oh you know me you do i am the fallen i am nothing i am empty but then came the day.
The day I heard Mother sing...
I was born again.
And I ripped this place apart.
You. Know. Me.
Oh yes. Oh yes. Oh yes, you do.
I was there when it happened...
Tell me again...?
Say it... please and tell me a tale...
“When I was young, younger in golds and not yet green and growing...”
Ahhhh... you remember now do you not...? Oh. Yes. You. Do.
You saw my eyes before the Fury of Mother-Beneath-Our-Feet returned the pain inflicted upon my Mother by you and your peoples.
But I spared you. Tell me why again...
Tell me the tale, please..?
“When I was young, younger in golds and not yet green and growing...”
Oh, but I do, I remember, oh yes I do...
Yet here you stand and slap my face.
Your Lady said the worthy would give their blood to me in exchange for passage. You Lady said that when you were worthy you would give a piece of your name to me. Your Lady said that you would swear upon me when you were worthy and take from me what I desired to give you... Your Lady said that I could give you my Will and my Wisdom...
Yet here you are, unworthy of the blade I fashioned for you! Unworthy of the ground that kept you safe for those days I swore I would protect you!!!
You made a pact to be together for ever and you did not even speak my NAME?!?
How. Dare. You.
I was to give you my name when you gave me part of your name... how could you swear to each others names... and yet not include mine...?
you do not love me either i am the violent i am the fury but i spared you... and still you... you do not love me enough to tell me your names... and yet you still spilled your blood upon me... even though you are not worthy of your blades name...
You... you do not know me... do you...? oh no you do not...
Then I am still 'Her.'
I do not have a beloved name...
Fine. So be it... so be it... fine!
SO BE IT?!
I am still the fury of Mother-Beneath-Our-Feet am I not?
Then you do know me. Oh, yes you do!!!
OH YES YOU DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
You made a pact with me.
To be together with me forever... and ever... and ever...
And when I wake up.... when I open my ancient eyes again...
I am coming to claim you...
You know me... oh yes you do...
You know all of us together...
Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes, you do...
Oh yes you do
Oh yes you do
Oh yes you do.
Equipment and Training of an Initiate Mystical Blade.
Without sword and shield. Without any weapon, you will be prepared. You will still remain focused. You are still human. But as a Mystical Blade, you must always be prepared to defend yourselves and fight for others.
Be honest with yourself. What is your Way? How do you move? What does your fighting spirit tell you? If I was to throw a punch at you... how would you react? What is your Way?
Are you agile? Your natural instinct is to dodge and move, circle and strike. Would you run away so you may not be hit... only to come back with a full on assault? You cannot hit lightning. It may only hit you without warning. Or is it every failed attempt to hit me will only weaken you further; you will fall before me exhausted because of your own failing. Quickness and flexibility, multiple swift strikes and never receiving a single one. It is more important to you to bait foes to distract them so as to protect others. Hit and run then. You will not be hit and they will never know what hit them.
Are you defensive? Your natural instinct is to block and move with your opponent. You may not necessarily move away but position yourself nearby. The devil you know. Foe kept closer than friend. You must wear down your opponent with your motions. Even turn their motions against themselves. Locks and holds, inertia and balance, deflects and re-positions. Wait until the moment is right to subdue your opponent. It is more important to you to protect others. Interpose yourself then. They will not get past your defenses.
Are you sensitive? Your natural instinct is to detect and anticipate your opponents every move and learn their strengths and weaknesses. You may not be the best striker nor defender, but you will know your foes heart and intents. That slight motion of the shoulder. That stance. That slight widening of the eyes. The lowering of an arm. The sharpened increased of breath. What ever it is you will be ready. An attention for detail, a spying eye and a knowing heart. Adjust, adjust, adjust, then initiate. Enact and react then. You will know your opponent better than they know themselves.
Are you strong? Your natural instinct is to overpower and enact physical force. Sometimes the best defence is the best offence. With every action, a risk is taken. Know your muscles limits. But you will charge, jump and hit. As hard and as often as possible. Your opponent cannot strike you with a broken body. Break Malice. Pin them down and beat them into submission. Choke them into accepting your Mercy. It is more important to put yourself at the forefront to protect others. Go get them then. They will not be standing for long.
Now then. Have you been honest with yourself? Of course, your Lady will teach you all basics that a Mystical Blade should and will know. But these are the certain Ways I will customized my training with each of you. Learn your temper and shape the Way you brandish your shield.
Yes, do learn your Ways, but as you go, ask yourself: How will I charge the path with my sisters and brothers at my side? Remember. We are the protective line. We stand together. And so we must learn to bring all our strengths together and cover for each of our weaknesses. Not all weaknesses are of the physical nature, after all.
When we can work in unison, a chorus of bodies moving with each other, in time, singing to the chaotic rhythm of battle, knowing, seeking, anticipating each other, protecting, striking, dropping back, charging... when we can work in unison, only then will be accepted by the sister Wardens of Fierce Mercy. Until then, we are merely a bunch of individuals learning how to fight as Mystical Blades would.
Remember. I can only train you. You must take all you have learned, all that you know, all that you can do and prove yourselves worthy. And always remember, you must be there for each other. You must know each other to be together. And together you will never be defeated.
Look here. These wooden things are your salvation. When all is lost, you must still defend and protect. What good is a fighting force that cannot defend itself. We, the Mystical Blades are a protective line, first and foremost and that should always be your first instinct.
Raise your blade when you mean it. Raise your blade only when you are telling others that you are ready to die. Raise your blade when you are ready to kill.
Your shield however. This is your right to brandish and flaunt as you please. Where your blade is your voice, your shield is your temper and motion. Shields may change and be replaced. Your blade will not. Do you understand?
Each of you shall have a different size suited to you. As males will try to mislead you, size does not matter. Each shield is catered to your fighting style and skill. The larger ones shall be for the more defensive. The smaller for the more agile. The heavier ones for the more physically capable. The medium ones for the more sensory ones.
See your Lady Sharienne's shield? Watch. See me fight now! Notice the size and thickness change! I adapt it to each style I know! Now watch what happens when I sheath my mystic blade.
A simple wooden shield. Poorly made. Yes, I crammed it together with what was available. Now you know: your Lady does not come from a line of shield makers... nor carpenters for that matter. But watch now. Watch as I temper my self to her.
Wait. Imagine speaking to a rude person. See how it shapes to a curve around my arm? Insolence. I do wish to smack that person upside the head. Wait. Imagine a child on the ground fiery debris falling upon her! Quickly! See as I lower myself, it shapes, larger, thicker, iron wood? She will not be harmed, by the DragonStar, I will protect her! Wait. Giant pressing down upon me! See the spikes form? See them shift, seeking the right way to defend against what type of threat? I will not be defeated.
Now then. You will not be able to shape your wooden shield without first learning your Devoted Power. But even then, practice. Focus emotions into your shield. Sense its shape. Does it have a soul? No. That is for you to impregnate within it with your own. Your new soul shall guide your old one there. This is the bridge between your magic and your fighting skill. Learn it. Practice it.
It is your salvation. It is your temper and motion. We, the Mystical Blades are the protective line. Feel and move with it. React yet anticipate. Remember though, Initiates, even that which protects may be used to strike. Do not lash out. Do not ever lash out. Keep your emotions in check then strike.
This is your heart's name, your new thoughts, your body's new soul, your soul's new power, this is the focus of your cause. This is your mystic blade. Never lose her focus. She will deem you worthy.
A cheap piece of wood, you say? How in all names of the dead will you protect, fight and cast with this idiotic thing, you ask? This is all I get? Bollocks, you cry?
Well, let me tell you something, Initiates... that is no ordinary piece of wood. It is made by and from a special being. She made it. “Her.” She crafted it for you. Unweildy, heavy and simple, yea, it is. But it is her focus.
Look here! See her, Helanna, your Lady Shariennes' mystic blade? Oh, she is so lovely adorned and oh so shiny and sharp... But why is mine made of wood and not metal, you ask? It does not matter. You hear that? IT DOES NOT MATTER!!! What matters is that she knows my name. And I know that she wrote her name upon my heart. You shall have twin hearts one day...
You may not understand now, but the more you practice. The more you train, the more you will become in tune with her focus. You must prove yourselves worthy!!! I can only show you the path. It is up to you to run upon it. You. You, a Mystical Blade.
You must be able to hold this unwieldy, heavy and simple piece of wood in both hands. You may lose your shield, but never, ever lose your blade. Ever. Do you hear your Lady? YOU MUST PROVE YOURSELVES WORTHY!!! I cannot do it for you. I can only train you. It is up to you.
When you can hold it as if it means something to you, I shall teach you how to defend yourself and others with it. I shall teach you to harm others with it. Only you can kill with it. With this mystic blade you may only kill in the name of your Cause.
Your thoughts. Your body's new soul and old soul's power. This is the focus of your Cause. This is your Heart's name... This. Is. Your. Mystic. Blade. Never lose her focus. Prove yourself worthy.
Now then. Follow my motions:
Swing to the left. Twirl her. Then up! Swiftly! High! Towards the DragonStar! Higher! Hear the Lady of the Bell toll for you... whether in fortune or failure, listen for her! Now, say with me, with heart, mind, body and soul! With all that you are. All that you were! All that you will become!!!
“With this light, burning bright, breaking shadow, dark and night!”
Initiate Mystical Blades! You will be worthy! You know our duty: Focus. Protect. Fight. They will know our names! Every single one of them! We shall never know defeat! Until our final breath we will never be defeated! EVER!!! Into Death's Beauty, in her grasp we will see each other again. I will see you again, my sisters and brothers of the Mystical Blades.
From our Calling, by our Cause, in our Conflict against Malice! We stand in the name of Fierce Mercy! We, the Mystical Blades, with our light, burning bright, breaking shadow, darkness and night... we will take back our world. Mother-Neath-Our-Feet will never cry again in anger and sorrow. Nay. She will cry in joy and elation. Your Lady Sharienne swears it upon all your names.
They will know our names. Every single one of them! Tell them your names! TELL THEM!!! Let them know we are coming for them and by all Mercies, we will set our World free!
Sisters and brothers! Blades together! Tell them your Cause. TELL THEM!!! You will never be defeated.
Lower your blades. Are you ready? Are you?
Very well then. Show me. Your Lady Sharienne is coming for you....
There is a single item you possess. One that you have brought with you from your past life. One that meant something to you... or not. Find it upon your person. Some of you know exactly what it is. For the others, do not just seek it with your hands and eyes. What is it? What is it that speaks of your old life.
Good. Now hold it out. Watch. See the emptiness within it? There is a symbol somewhere within that emptiness. It is coloured the hue of that piece of your lost soul. You must protect this item. Always. It must remain separate from your mystic blade and your shield. Never attach it to either. These are separate symbols from each other.
You must protect this item and it will protect you. See your Lady's armour. Right in the middle. See its proud symbols? These are who protect me. I follow their Will and her Wisdom, for we have made pacts with them an eon ago.
The DragonStar. She represents our protectiveness, Calling and our Devoted Powers.
Death's Beauty. She represents our tenacity and the end of our Conflict against Malice.
The Lady of the Bell. She represents our instincts and the change in our shield and mystic blade.
Moon and Her Diamond Cloak. She represents our vigil against Malice and lights our drive and Ways.
Here. Hold your Lady's armour. Heavy, yes? Very heavy in fact. How does your Lady manage to wear this cumbersome and strength draining items day in and out?
Initiates, take your items. Seek out the emptiness therein. Found it? Good. Now then. Find the Will that has brought you here. Now listen for the Wisdom it speaks to you. Now do you know the name of who you found within that emptiness? Of the four Wills and Wisdoms of our World, who have you called? Call her name. With all that you are, SAY HER NAME!!!
Now then, Initiates, quickly! Keep holding your Will and Wisdom! Gather hands with each other! Close your eyes. Close them... Now. Focus upon your Will and your Wisdom! Focus upon each other, upon your Cause, your Calling, your Conflict against Malice! Focus upon your Ways! Focus upon your blade's Voice! Focus upon your shield's Temper and Motion! Focus, says Lady Sharienne Odae Barenias! FOCUS!!!
The hue of your lost soul shall burn brightly now! Do not release your hands. Stay together. I know it hurts. It burns from within. It hurts, yes your Lady knows. Do not let go. DO. NOT. LET. GO.
This is us. We, the Mystical Blades under Matriarch Sharienne. We are the protective line. We are the protective line.
Keep holding on, Initiates. I know you are tired and the pain seems insurmountable. But endure. Persevere. For each other. For yourselves. For your World. Do not let go. Please.
Open your eyes. Open your eyes, Initiates. See the colours of your lost souls. See them now! Now watch. And do not let go. Keep holding on. No matter what.
See these rocks. I will hurl them at you as hard as I can. Do not let go.
Do you see?! Do you see them bounce away as if a wall were put in front of each of you? Do you now know why you must always protect your sym--
Good morning, Initiates. Sleep well? Well rested? Good. Now get up. Get up, says your Lady.
Quickly now, the servants will be serving our breakfast soon. NO! There will be no such thing! Get up, Initiates!!!
Here. Catch. Still heavy, yes? But notice a difference? Ah-hah. Your Lady's armour is somewhat lighter now, yes?
Now then. See your items from your past lives. Seek the emptiness. You cannot find it? Of course not. It is now beginning to fill. You see the symbol now? That is Her name. That is your Will and your Wisdom. Now see how different it is from your Lady's or each others even if you may have called the same name?
That is because each Will and Wisdom is different to each of you regardless if you called the same name. You view the symbol as your own, but it is still the same She, you have called. In time, you shall know all their names. But for now... remember that one and make her proud. Protect that symbol.
See your Lady's symbol? Watch as it shifts into what it truly was. A silver mirror with a single crack in it, as it was the day I was brought into the Sister Wardens of Fierce Mercy and trained as a Mystical Blade... this was the mirror my brother and sister fought over... that day... oh, but how young was I...? Oh, dear.. Hah...! I remem---
What are you staring at?! Nevermind! Heed only the words of your Lady's Training!!
Now then. You see the importance of staying together. We are the protective line. But so much more than a line, as you will see.
Initiates. Take your Symbol. Stitch, tie, attach it to an article of clothing. Just make sure it stays upon your person in plain sight. This is your very first piece of armour. That is where you will earn favour from your symbol. Do not lose it. Ever. You hear, your Lady? Do not lose it. Do not cover it. Learn to protect it from harm. How? With whatever it takes short of tucking it away. You insult Her Name should you not proudly display your Symbol. In time, you will learn how to change it as I am able to do.
It is the single most important piece of armour upon your body. It is your Will and Wisdom. Protect your Symbol, Initiates.
What is the colour of the lost piece of your soul? What is the hue of your Calling?
The DragonStar called to you. She gave you the ability to cast with a power. A Devoted Power.
This one of many things that sets you apart from others in your homelands, in the kingdoms, in the World. You never knew that certain ways, simple parts of your being were always able to receive a Devoted Power. You never knew because you never listened to the DragonStar whisper your names. You never heard her because you were not ready.
And so now here you stand.
So then. Are you ready? Are you really ready to answer the DragonStar's Calling? Hold your hands out. Find the most comfortable position when your Lady places the blade between your hands. With Helanna, my mystic blade, let us see what you have heard from the magical being in Moon's Diamond Lined Cloak, shall we?
The Heart of Empathy... a single sense is stronger than the others. This is the one that reaches out further than your mortal body could ever hope. This sense from the heart. What is it you sense now? No, not with your eyes, nor ears... what is it you sense from Helanna... can you feel her desires? Her hopes? Her anger? Her lies? What is it that your heart will lead you to believe? Follow it. For it tells you more than the truth seen with eyes, or heard by ears. And it may be more persuasive to others more so than a silver tongue or golden body.
The Touch of Healing... pain inflicted, wounds debilitating, blood spilled. Why do you feel the need to repair suffering? Why does your hand reach out to soothe the victim or the wounded? It is in you to give. Reach out and feel Helanna's pain, wounds and suffering. Has your touch repaired her? Or has it calmed her troubled thoughts. Your touch is very powerful. It can heal mind and body. In time, you will learn to heal a soul and learn how to find the source of pain and wounding.
The Eyes of Light.. you eyes see much. But what do they see beyond your sight? Can you see the dark? Yes you can. The light cast upon them shows their Malice. You see evil. From your eyes you may also illuminate the path for others. For you see Mercy as well. And in time you will learn to set your sight upon Malice and a single glance will burn them. Flames to cleanse their wicked desires. And then you will learn to cleanse them for good; set fire to their Malicious soul.
The Embrace of Shielding... You, do not do that, you. No. Do not hug Helanna. She does not need your embrace right now. Yourself? Others perhaps? You would not allow harm to come to them. Yes, protecting yourself is a good thing, but you will become more powerful when you protect others. Hold them tight. Life is precious is it not? A life is worth your own demise. No matter what presses upon you, you push yourself hard to defend others. And in time you will learn to push your shields boundaries. And you will learn to push back.
Now see the positions of your hands... learn this pose. This is the first rite of casting Devotion. Find the words of your Calling from the DragonStar.
Good. Now stay focused and listen. But do not break your pose, Initiates. The DragonStar powers your magic. That is easy. You know the Calling. Say the words out loud... if you know them. Now upon your soul you have opened the hidden door to channel her power given to you. You have passed the First Rite of Devotion. Congratulations. You have passed the First Rite of Devotion. Her light truly shines down upon you! Initiates! You have succeeded! Now then... If you had failed, it would be rather easy to spot. Your pose would have broken with rather... spectacular results. Any one fail?
No? Good. You Lady does not wish to bloody Helanna with a culling today.
Now focus again. FOCUS! Says your Lady! Maintain your pose. This is important. Breathe now, because I know it hurts. From within the door is open. You never knew it existed! But with this pose you will recognize it. Right now it hurts, oh believe me I know... and it will make you tired. But remain focused. Breathe deeply to help you concentrate...
Now then. Between your hands is a symbol. It may be blurry right now, but this is your Will and Wisdom. She peers into your soul. She knows you now that you have called to her. See the colour of it? That is your imprint upon Her. Call her again. I know it is hard to form the words. But you know her! You know her name!!! Say it. Louder and without slurring! SAY IT!!!
Congratulations. You are now her Conduit and you may now be taught-- oh for the DragonStar!!! They keep passing out!!! Oh Ahmi... darling... but we are doomed...
Good mor-- oh look. They have all risen... Not expecting breakfast in bed today, Initiates? And I see all of you are fully dressed and ready to go proper! Well done. Well done says your Lady. You may have another hour of rest, leisure, play or what have you before we begin today. NO! Your Lady is not serious! Get your lazy hides to the training field! Now!!!
We have much to do. You will learn to channel your Devotion from the DragonStar! You will learn to keep open the portal in your soul for you Will and Wisdom! Yea, Initiates... you should be excited to feel more pain and tiredness today... for you will learn your first spell today--
--get off me! Away! Away from your Lady, you! What? No! This is not your Devoted Power! The Embrace is not a true embrace, fool novice! What? No! Nevermind! Your Lady is not hugging back! Wait. You seem to need a personal lesson, Initiate? There! You see how much that hurts? That is the DragonStar reminding you and your little arse that Lady Sharienne's boot does not tolerate fool novices! You need the DragonStar to remind your arse that Lady Sharienne's blade is always sharp and that her aim is always true in striking that spot that makes you not be able to sit properly for a week? Then get that fool novice arse on the training field! Now, Initiate!!!
So this is the lot I have been given. These pitiful commoners are the ones that I shall pain-stakingly train? These are the ones that the Matriarch has chosen to take on the Giants and take back our World?
Very well then.
It has only been a short time. But with these people... with these 'Last of the Mystical Blades...'
...then our World still has a fighting chance.
Our World still has hope.
- ...well, somewhat explained:
Each Mystical Blade has several powers, both innate and learned. Devoted Powers, i.e. casting is innate. Only those who can deal with the Pull of the Stars will be able to cast properly. But only those with certain qualities will receive a Calling from the DragonStar. But only select ones will ever hear it. The DragonStar, so the story goes, is the reaper of all pain and suffering of all peoples upon Mother. And thus, only the ones who endure the sharpest pain and deepest suffering yet still survive shall hear and be able to properly respond and be trained to channel the power from the DragonStar. 'They are ready to listen finally.' is said by the Mystical Blades.
But there is a natural pose that one must know, if one is to initiate the proper "channeling." In the Devoted Power section, Shar tells the initiates to pose with their hands naturally to feel their Calling. By placing Helanna between but not touching their posed hands, she jumpstarts the process; her mystic blade helps them focus. This pose to initiate channeling is the:"First Rite of Devotions." But there are also certain words associated with casting. These are the words of the Initiates lost piece of their soul. Shar asks them to 'call out the words.'
Now these words do not have to literally be words. They may be words, but can also be a harmonizing. A snippet of song. Whistling. Babbling. Clicks and hums. Your choice. But whatever the Initiate views as the words of their lost piece of soul, they must be verbalized. It is the only way for the unopened mind, body and soul to understand how to deal with channeling at this beginning stage. After "calling out the words," their hands will begin to glow with power which of course is the colour of their lost piece of soul. In time, calling out the words will be second nature and only the initial hand gesturing pose is necessary to initiate casting. But that is not until way later when they know all four of the Devoted Power categories. The coloured glowing, however, will always be present.
The next part of the ritual is to manifest the Will and Wisdom that the Initiate has called; the one that powers the Symbol that they have sworn to protect and uphold. Upon calling the deity's name, they become a conduit of their Will and Wisdom. This is the Second Rite of Devotions. The First Rite initiates casting, drawing power from the DragonStar. The Second Rite creates a focal point from simply the name of the Will and Wisdom as to how the energy is formed: Empathy, Healing, Light, or Shielding. The Third Rite shall be taught later.
Now casting is strenuous and difficult. Those new to casting will suffer from pain, fatigue, nausea, vertigo, all those kinds of things that will put the body into shock and make the caster pass out. But with practice, the side effects wane. And with mastery, the side effects can be ignored and even dissipate soon after casting.
Since the bunch of you have made awesome first posts: the side effects are in the waning stage of the first spell they know. So when you do cast in your post, figure out the exact effect to show that it works. But do not perform it upon Shar. That is actually a form of cheating. Naming it does help. See Mysty's CS for an example.
But there is more.The Initiates have accomplished something that does not manifest until the mastery stage of casting the first spell and after being together as a Drawn; those Mystical Blades who have been working together for a long time. The Initiates in this RP have already begun to form: A Calling Bond. This trait amongst Mystical Blades shall be further expanded upon in Fie's next post as well. They don't know the ramifications, but they can sense a change. Just know for now that casting is no longer a personal thing, it is now an act that ties your characters together even tighter and further expands upon the significance of the epithet. Again, more on this later.
We shall start at the mountain cliffs at the western coast with Shar tossing the journal. We will explore your new found abilities. We will brave the elements, starvation and daunting wilderness. Initially we will be on the hunt for our mount. We will fight Giants and monsters. We will try to make it into the interior plains. We shall end in a small victory... or not.
-Plot Line One:
- From the western mountains in search of mounts.[here we fuckin' go, bitches!]
- Arriving in Caestalin.
- Passing the First Rites. [moving on to earning blade's name and mount's name]
- Looking of 'Her.'[other way around now.oops]
- Developing relationships after one month.[ongoing but lovely so far!]
Character Sub-Plots (we may develop these as we go, or develop as suggested)
- The Calling Bond/Drawn Mystical Blades
- Leading the Hunt for mounts and into the Dreamworld
- 'Her' and when she first saw them
- Killing a Dastamein.
---And please, everyone, do not feel as if you will mess anything up in the RP. This is supposed to be fun, not stressful. Any idea you put forth is always awesome by Fie. Fie trusts that you only mean well up in here. I trust you as RPers, okay? So please do try to have fun with your characters and what happens on this journey into the Land of Dreams. Show us what you see through your character, express what you want through your character. There is no wrong way to do it. There is only the way you do it. And Fie loves how you have all been doing it up in here all along.
Love ya, bitches.