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Greyshoulder's Journal

Posted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 4:17 pm
by BlackLynx3
This book is usually somewhere deep within the magical pockets of a certain adventurer or somewhere in her house. It is a black book, with a crimson seal, purple rune-like letters titled "Journal" in a dialect, and has her name written in crimson near the bottom of the front cover. The back cover has what appears to be a drawing of a portal, and the first page a photograph of her and Aria, a childhood friend.

(NOTE: The information inside catalogued is generally not known ICly besides those it is shared with or in the event of her permanent death.)

Entry One - How I came to Exist

Posted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 5:39 pm
by BlackLynx3
Lordy it's weird, writing about myself these days, but here I am now. Given I have so many secrets it's not easy to just write this all down in honesty as just myself. Me, Taneal... Who keeps herself to herself and just tries to go through the days one at a time. Yet I find myself connected with so many people, many friends, a few enemies and at least one somewhere in between. Those that do not know me and end up in Cellsvich soon eventually encounter me or we see each other in passing, and those that do...well. That's a story for another day and entry.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. I suppose an introduction and where I come from shall do nicely.

My name is Taneal Heerani Greyshoulders, Cellsvich local, blacksmith, legally registered mech repairer, adventurer...and as of this writing, I am the last female descendant of the original Greyshoulders bloodline. My house was that of minor nobility, and ancestrally originated from Karatynn, the magical and technological capital of the world. Because my family had managed to stir up so much trouble and gotten themselves into a lot of hot water, they had decided to immigrate 300 years ago into the Empire, which was just a fledgling nation and a new power in the world at the time. Fast forward to my time, and when I was born, I had an older brother named Vislan, and my three sisters (who were triplets, imagine that) came after about five years later. Before Vislan, I, Seraphim, Vera and Arabella were born, my mother, Hera Greyshoulders had seduced a Lispoolian Priest, Maxmillian Ortizian. Eventually they were married, and she convinced him to leave and set up a power base back in Cellsvich to achieve power and wealth.

All in my family can trace our ancestry to our house sigil, The Red Lady, named Vella Greyshoulders. What remains of the documentation describing her and her achievements in life and in death is difficult to translate at best, given they're written in Polaran, not entirely clear and the fact her lifespan was during a time before most had bothered to write anything down beyond historical records, reciepts, and of course, your usual tomes. She lived in an ancient time, and was the first known Vampire of my family. Yes, you read that right, an honest-to-gods Vampire. Coined by her as the Gift, the reason she became one or how she came to be one isn't known, but it was said she intended to use the Gift to better mankind, so they might prosper with our aid.

Personally, I think it was noble idea, but the cost to your humanity is very high indeed. I am a little biased of course, given how my own loss of humanity went and how that vision over time became corrupted as each generation grew more powerful and wealthy from our efforts...but I digress.

Before she eventually died (permanently), she had made a proposition to her children about passing down the gift in a way that wouldn't cause the line to die out. Eventually, her great-granddaughter made it an official family tradition to pass down the Gift.

Here's how it is usually supposed to work. The Gift is passed down via a standard vampiric ritual after the Lady of the House has already married and had children. We learned very early on not to deviate from this path, as doing otherwise meant threatening the line and causing it to die off and merge with another. Usually, only the lady is supposed to receive the gift, but men of the family did sometimes receive it, usually in times of dire need or difficult periods, usually when war broke out or disasters caused issues. Those who did not, eventually grew their own trees and became other family branches or lines, or ended up dead-ending through their own means. Sometimes, a generation or two would skip receiving the Gift altogether, usually to confuse our enemies, or keep the fertility going if there were troubles spawning the next generation. It's weird to put it like that, but It's hard to describe it in another way.

My grandmother Lucille (who terrified the living daylights out of me, by the way) was the living daughter of the original family who set roots in the Empire when it was new, had grown my mother up to be much like her, Cold, beautiful, and among the most diabolical manipulators of people I have ever been born to witness. Hera was very, very good at getting people to do what she wanted, and was even as a child very used to getting her own way. She raised my brother and triplets to be very much the same, but if she had one fatal flaw, it was not taking everyone seriously, and she was more impatient as a person.

Growing up in our estate in Cellsvich, I don't remember much early in my life. What I do know was that I rarely ever smiled, probably due to the oppressive air of my environment, and though I can't always clearly recall why, most of the time I never really felt happy or safe at home. I didn't accept things my parents told me at face value as often as the others and always asked about why certain things were this way and that. My father was weak-willed but also a busy man, and when mother was not dressing me up from birth to be an aristocratic rich girl, she had little patience with me and was more interested with manipulating people more and making sure any trouble I did get into was swiftly dealt with.

And so life went. I eventually went to school, made little gains in friends due to my noble status, and generally was very miserable growing up. Having no friends and little to look forward to in my mind made me feel that way. It wasn't becoming of me according to my family to seek friends among the 'common rabble' or persue what I thought interested me and to instead focus on wealth and status. Eventually, I turned twelve and Lucille had died shortly prior to that. My outlook on life was very, very low indeed, despite the perceived illusion that I was lucky to be born in such elite company...or at least as elite as you can be as a minor noble house. Then, a couple weeks after I turned twelve, my life had it's first real meaningful turn of events that shaped me to the person I am now.

After every school day, I would go out to the market district of the city, then go home with errands my mother had written on a list for me to gather and check them off. This particular day was a Friday, and there was a horrific gale out. Unfortunately, my mother would not tolerate me coming home empty-handed, and in the midst of the storm, I eventually became lost because it was hard to see and I was cold. I had collapsed on a random outdoor stair, and was just shivering when another young girl approached me.

Entry Two - How I Reset my Life

Posted: Sun Sep 08, 2019 1:15 am
by BlackLynx3
This girl was and still is spiritually a very important person in my pitifully short life. A refugee from a Gold suffering from the aftermath of the War, hailing from a sand-buried villa called Lotus, Aria Kurita was an Onigan who had emigrated to Sigrogana with her family. As it turned out, her family lived in a small house right next to our estate, much to the annoyance of my mother, though of course these things I only found out later. She approached me and asked why I was sitting in such cold, windy, miserable weather. I told her I was lost and couldn't go home until I had picked up the goods I was supposed to get.

My memory is fairly hazy on what exactly we said to each other for what must have been ten minutes, but I remember her helping me up and us struggling through the heavy rain and wind to the market before going home. We ended up becoming fast friends, and over time, we got to know each other much better. As soon as her family had settled in amid protests from good old Mom and Pop, she began to teach me things about life from her eyes each day. Eventually, I came to want to know more, and after awhile, began to forget my misery shell that was my overbearing expectations. I began to smile much more, and not dread waking up each morning. I still had difficulty making friends at school, but did end up making a small circle of friends and ventured more and more outside of my perceived comfort zone.

Aria also taught me how to defend myself, a skill that came in handy multiple times as some of the populace not only still hated anyone from Gold, but also thought I was an easy target to rob. However, an exchange goes two ways, and for all her skill and street-wise mind, she was not always able to completely blend in with the local denizens, as an outsider by nature. So, I began to teach her how to blend in, the intricacies of the social dynamism that makes up how the average Imperial thinks, and of course we both grew up speaking Onigan and Common not long after we became fast friends. We got in all sorts of trouble as we sometimes let our mischievous sides run rampant. Among my favorites were ruining some of my family's attempts at monopolizing the smaller shipping companies in increasingly complex ways (My parents were trying to strangle the local economy and trying to enthrall the city that way as an endgoal). Aria's favorite things were coming up with clever, well-thought out pranks and generally causing large messes. That said, we tried to not let our shenanigans hurt anyone, even as young kids.

Often before going home at the end of the day and before putting up with the stifling environment of my home life, we would sit on top of the clock tower and watch the sunsets together, and just talk about serious life things or just philosophy. At first she wasn't entirely comfortable with it, but after teaching her how to read and write in books, she became much more into it and we shared life stories as well. Life was good, at least for awhile. Four years went by.

On my sixteenth, my mother summoned me one evening to her chamber, and told me she had something to show me now that I had 'come of age'. She had mentioned this thing once or twice before, so I was somewhat prepared, but did not expect to learn about the family tradition. Interestingly enough, though my house derided the original aim of the ancestor these days, they did not ever deny it's significance, or who she as a person was. She was revered, in a strange sense yet only barely respected as what you may call an OG. In addition to telling me about the 'Gift', she told me she would be going on a vacation with my father to a summerhouse in Alstalsia. There, she would receive the Gift and was to test me as the oldest daughter by giving me control of the house while she was gone. The staff around our place when she left looked very relieved. We had a good couple dozen around the estate and they all hated Hera so much, yet couldn't leave the property or resign, likely due to various blackmailing or manipulation. Vislan didn't care much about her leaving, it meant he could go out with his million and a half girlfriends and go full hog, playboy that he was. My younger sisters didn't really get out of the house much, being they were fine learning socialite skills and whatnot.

I learned two things when Hera came back two weeks later. One, she looked hungrier, beautiful but in a way that could paralyze you with fear, colder in tone and she was constantly watching everyone around her that wasn't her husband, son or triplets with complete contempt. Because of this, I decided that then and there, I could not at any cost receive the Gift. Two, she became much more impatient and power hungry and became much more vocal or blatant about it...probably because of her constant need of blood to keep her ass from misting. I didn't like what this so-called "Gift" had turned my mother into.

All was not well with Aria's world either. On top of increased taxes, Aria's family started getting death threats from what appeared to be powerful people. I couldn't see her as often because my mother started tightening her grip around my life even more, but when I did eventually see her, we exchanged our worries and found out very quickly that someone was trying to scare her family into moving somewhere else. To their credit, they chose not to in spite of the letters and one of my other friends, who was a rookie training to be an Inquisitor, began to privately investigate the letters.

A couple more years passed without too much in the way of incidents, but my mother eventually got it into her head that I needed to marry and must have summoned literally over two hundred potential suitors, all of which I refused. Some were arrogant, abusive toads. Some were kind, caring young men who wanted to help me go to somewhere other than the oppressive home I was living in. Some were simply scared witless by my mother and were so relieved that I was an exception to the rule that they were just happy I wasn't some sort of power-mad maniac and didn't mind that I didn't want their hand in marriage anyway. All in all, it was an exhaustive experience, and because Aria by now had really opened my eyes, I started to really want less and less of anything opulent....a trait I still tend to have to this day, as is reflected by my own home in Lispool.

Things really began to go bad as my 18th approached. Enraged and frustrated by my constant, low-key defiance and unwillingness to be married off, my mother began to scheme something and what she eventually did was something that still sickens me just thinking about it. See, I mentioned Vislan was a playboy and had a lot of girlfriends. What I didn't add was that he was entirely wrapped around Hera's finger, and therefore, she asked him to become my suitor, and force my hand by deflowering me in my sleep. If he was successful in this, she would have something to blackmail me with, and have some measure of solid control in my life. Scumbag that he was, he had no qualms about this and snuck into my room that night, the night before I turned 18.

Unfortunately for them both however, I was a light sleeper, and had been for the past two years thanks to my paranoia of her feeding on me. As soon as his hand reached my undergarments, I hooked his chin with my foot and began to grapple with him. He was caught completely unprepared, and I came very close to ending his life that night. Perhaps things would have been better if I did, but I decided that blackmailing him for this attempted theft of my virginity would be enough to dissuade any future attempts and would, if leaked, be enough to utterly /obliterate/ his reputation in Cellsvich and most of the local nobility. After threatening him, I kicked him into the wall outside of my room, slammed the door shut, and there he stayed for the rest of the night while I barred the door with a stool under the handle.

A side effect of course, was that he complained in the morning, and was quite steamed that his younger sister bested him in what he saw was a show of dominance...and so the day went on in much the same manner as most of my birthdays, quiet, barely noticed and exactly how I liked to spend them: Away from the house.. The next night, I had a terrible nightmare that left me shaking, which was unusual considering most dreams rarely ever scared me. I eventually woke very early in the morning, and couldn't go back to sleep, So, I resigned myself to staring out of the window until the sun came up. A couple hours later, I see someone in the yard coming out of the tool shed. As he leaves, his hood gets stuck on a tree branch, and falls.

His features weren't clear and I couldn't see his face, but the orange mop of hair meant It was definitely Vislan, and he was now walking to the edge of the property for Gods-know-what reason. I could have followed him, but by the time I could have made my way to the door, he'd already have been gone, so I sat and watched until he disappeared out of sight at the far end of the gates. He had no tools, so I hoped to god that he wasn't up to anything at this time of the morning.

Fifteen minutes later, I hear Aria screaming. Then silence.

Two minutes later, her house was on fire and Vislan is walking back towards the house. He was absolutely covered in blood, holding an axe, and the horrible, sadistic expression and glance at my window said it all...he was coming for me next, and I felt that I wouldn't be able to stop him this time. I needed to leave.

And this time i needed to disappear for good.

I began by timing my opening the window, and when he entered the house, I jumped out of my window even though it was some twenty feet below into the yard. Remarkably, I didn't feel a thing thanks to the adrenaline rush, and managed to leave the estate behind without so much as a sound or any indication to Vislan that he was too late by the time he reached my room. I remember running past the burning house, and though it grieved my heart, I needed to keep running. One of the last things I did as my previous status was anonymously tip off the Guard that my brother had killed three people. Eventually they did arrest him, found him guilty and stuck him in prison for a good couple decades....he's very lucky that they didn't execute him.

The moment I departed the estate without looking back, I left behind everything I knew or possessed beforehand, including any Murai and just had a sword, bread, the plainest clothes I could find, and forced myself willingly to start off with a new slate. Sadly, the brutal murder of Aria was the impetus needed to start my life over. If I were to console myself, I can safely say that this is not the last time I would see her.

Entry Three - How I lost my Humanity...then found it again

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:37 pm
by BlackLynx3
After leaving, I took everything I knew about living on the streets by myself and for a few years, just did odd jobs for some of the townsfolk and tried to not get into more trouble than I was already potentially in. I reveled in my newfound freedom and anonymity, it was amazing to be free and just do whatever the hell I wanted at first. After a few years, I eventually met Atlas, and a few other people who really helped me start off as an adventurer. I started with a longsword because I liked the reach it had, but eventually was gifted my very own Raijin, again from Atlas.

A while later, as I was learning how to better forge myself in both combat and mind, I joined the Hero Academy, and while the stigma and the fact that the people who went there weren't really there to learn how to be heroes was very true, I can confidently say that in my time there, I learned a lot of valuable things about life, learned a little about what true 'heroes' are and do, and 'graduated' in a sense by helping repel some attacks and the last major siege on the city. Unfortunately, the school fell apart soon after these events and when Warrick died, that was it. Now it's a shell of it's former self. Chiyo's one of the last guards still tied to the place, and I doubt it will rise again.

Before the siege happened though, an attack on the Hero Academy did occur. It was something to do with probing defenses, as at the time some terrorists were using Grief Parasites and such to sow chaos...

Oh right, I suppose I should explain about the parasites too. To start off, Grief Parasites are among the worst things in the world that can get to you. Presumably native to deep Egwyn or remote areas in Alstalsia (their origin isn't entirely clear), When embedded in a host, they quite literally eat into you and take control of you and your body via powering themselves by all the horrible experiences, feelings, negative energy and grief they can find in their hosts. Left untreated, they will eventually devour their host from the inside out, reproduce in the corpse and swarm to the next one by the hundreds of thousands. Mercana and fire are about the only things that can kill them as they are resistant to most forms of magic, and there's usually too damn many of the fuckers to squash or step on.

The sick people who use these are mostly known as the Black Falcons. They have not been as active lately, but it would be foolish to forget about them. Their objective, and that of the Mad King they're reported to serve is to challenge the Emperor. All in all, the casualties were surprisingly light, but it was a close thing. Much of the city was burned, Sanctuary hospital was blown up, I got blown up three times during the fight but was kept up to fight off the army some more, and by the end of it, we had lost much of the city, Itadeki lost a brother to this army, and much paranoia swirled in the aftermath while it was rebuilt. For my part, I did my best to help get people unstuck from the rubble and rebuild the city into something larger, better protected and of course, have thicker walls.

I suppose that's the first time I was called the Black Sun on the field by some of the local townsfolk who did see me fight. It was apt, I wore and still wear black a lot, and I had recently learned I could shoot lightning. Combined with the Onigan style fighting, and my preference for balance, I found the name suited me as any other title. It's not an official thing at all, but just something I find resonates and has meaning to.

After the siege, I found out a few things as the rebuilding happened. One, my brother in prison had seen firsthand the attempt by the enemy to take Arjav, and had a sudden revelation into what he was doing in his life. He began to send me letters, and I started to visit him. It was....difficult, at first. But seeing him shell-shocked and mellowed did have a bit of an effect on me, and helped me see that we both needed healing. He still hates Onigans and won't tell me why, but it's slightly less prevalent. I also found out that everyone in the family estate had died in the fire during the attack, and burned to death. Unknown at the time, my mother had merely misted, but she found out about my role in the attack, having not known where I had gone for the past ten years or so, and when she did, she was livid and plotted to have her revenge on me for sabotaging her machinations.

About three months after the siege, I was minding my own business and setting up the groundwork to start my own company, when I noticed *someone* following me around at night. Before this, Vislan was visited by Hera, and she scared him enough to send me a letter to see him. She had demanded him to tell her of my whereabouts, but of course, he didn't know where I lived, so she had to find out through other channels. Just when my friends and I had figured out who was following and made plans to foil her, I was ambushed in my own damn house, and kidnapped by my mother for her revenge. Fortunately for my friends, I had killed one and managed to leave behind just enough evidence for Anima and Ignatius to follow the trail to where I could have been taken.

I was taken to the summerhouse in Alstalsia, and there were a lot of corpses of the family staff around, and more were chained up in the storeroom nearby. Gore was abundant and I realized why I was here now, of all the places I could have been taken. My mother had prepared a room to give the Gift to me forcibly, as she had decided to curse me before I could have the chance to lead a happy life, marry, have children, et cetera. I did make an escape attempt, and nearly got away had it not been for the goons my mother had hired to make sure the place was sealed. I was then knocked unconscious and bound up.

I don't remember much while I was out. At some point, I was given the vials of blood as per the ritual, but wasn't awake. However, I did feel the effects, and it's a pain like no other. I still have nightmares just remembering the night I finally and truly lost the humanity I had fought so hard to keep.

Imagine that you're burning and drowning at the same time. You can't breathe, taste, see or hear anything but the roar in your ears. Your entire body turns to ash as your mortal coil unravels and burns away, only to be reforged into a perpetually infinitesimally stretched line. Then imagine this process goes on for the next six days, and all the while, there is a dark sense of hunger that never, ever goes away.

That's what it felt like to lose my mortality. When I initially went under, I also felt some sort of presence of...someone. It was old, powerful and I could not see them, but they were laughing. At my futile attempts to struggle or fight, and out of contempt. I like to think that maybe Huggesoa was there laughing that night, but it could simply have been me hearing my mother as she went on to slay the rest of the staff and goons surrounding the house to sate herself during the ritual, barring those in the storeroom for me when I eventually did wake up.

I considered simply dying. It is possible to die in the ritual, and the process is not 100% guaranteed to have a successful outcome. Hera would not have cared either way, as she would either control me entirely (in her twisted logic) when I did eventually wake as what she saw as her true creation. Alternatively, if I died I would no longer be in her way and she could resume her machinations for Gods knows how long, until she finally croaked or got skewered by the Church Knights. I likely would have decided to simply succumb to the darkness and enter the Maze if Aria did not appear on the final day.

I still to this day do not understand how or why she found me, or how she appeared from beyond to speak to me. I was in so much pain that is was so hard to focus on what was or wasn't real. But I did see that she was definitely there, and the exchange went something like this.

"It's not your time yet, Taneal. You cannot die just yet."

I told her that I was extremely tired and that I was in so much pain I could barely fight anymore, much less keep myself alive.

"If you die, your mother will do more than hurt you, she will hurt the world and destroy everything you tried to build," she said. "If you managed to survive however, you will have a chance to send her to Lazurus and make a true difference to the world. Your heart will be heavy and you will suffer unlike most do in their lifetimes. But if you can stay your feet and manage to heal the world around you, you will finally be free in soul and spirit. Never again will anyone suffer your fate, and your power will have a purpose."

I thought on this for what felt like an eternity. It was true, if I could muster the strength in me and stopped Hera somehow, managed to live with myself and restore my own balance, I could prevent anyone else from experiencing my pain and also not let her run rampant in the world. But I also knew the cost of this sacrifice, and I eventually told Aria that i didn't know if I could go on. The pain was still nearly impossible to bear. It still is even now, when I look back. But then she did something I didn't expect. She leaned in, hugged me, and said, "When your time comes, and you have achieved true peace with yourself, we'll watch the sunset and explore the Maze, just like we used to back home. Don't let your mother take your happiness away, or the world risks losing everything and more to her and her ilk. We *will* see each other again."

As far as I was concerned, that was all the strength I needed. Meanwhile, Anima and Iggy had managed to find out where the house was, and when I woke up, they got to witness a side of me that arguably most don't get to witness much. The other me that I've been told is beautiful, frightening, and full of anger when I confront something. Now I faced Hera, and she ended up boasting and attempting to command me for the last time...before I used what strength I had before collapsing to ash her completely. After I did, my friends had found the storeroom, and though the urge was strong, I had, at great cost to myself unbound and freed my staff without feeding on them. Of course, because I didn't, I was close to misting again, so we left to Anima's home after burning the summerhouse down to remedy that.

Ever since then, I have been healing from the trauma of these things in my life. Because of the weight on my soul and the grief that is slowly healing, I am always physically tired, though emotionally not too much has changed...yet it has to an extent. I'm number than I used to be to these things and my apathy has absolutely gotten me into more than my fair share of trouble. I'm still as human as I can be in everything but bodily form, and ironically met more vampires and the few others I have shared my story with who helped me heal from these scars. I loathe being among the walking dead, having to cause pain with my necessary feeding, and when I do, the victim and myself sometimes suffers flashbacks when I draw blood.

On the same token, as time went on and on, I learned to accept that there is nothing I can do about what I am until the day I finally scatter to the wind. However, the one thing I could do and still endeavor to do is leave the world in a better state than when I found it, and I have to use my new powers for good. I don't know if this cursed gift could ever hope to better the mankind that I'm still somewhat a part of like Vella intended it originally to be, but I can't not try either. Not doing so otherwise goes against everything I believe in or stand for, and I desperately just want to be better than all of my previous family have been for the past few centuries. Reclaiming the honor of my house is a very heavy burden, and it does not get easier as time goes on, but as the previous generation fades away from memory, it becomes a bit easier to do good.

Sometimes, I just ask myself what Aria would do. It's a difficult question to answer since she is no longer here.

Since the abduction, I kept myself busy, and tried to avoid dwelling too much on the past. I found Mu'Randa, a spiritual familiar who decided to bind himself to me after we met in a summoning house. He's not a youkai, but rather a spirit made black thanks to his previous master, and we agreed to help each other heal until I leave.

Three of the original staff came back to my place and asked if they could stay with me, offering to help keep me fed in exchange for a roof, food, and the chance to serve under someone who was kinder than their previous master. This wasn't an easy decision for me either, for a couple reasons. One, at the time I was feeding on bandits to keep the hunger away, and two, I was conflicted with keeping them safe versus keeping the city safe from my need to survive. Feeding itself, while necessary for my own survival, is still the one thing I hate the most, and I still could ask them to leave...but the advantages outweighed the cons and I chose to let them stay. I treat them fairly, and they return in kind, and my hunger only needs to be sated twice a month in two week intervals. Certainly much safer than bandits, but I feel no less guilty and weighted. It's a burden I have to live with and if they choose to leave of their own free will, I have no trouble with that, given I can revert to bandits if I absolutely have to. We trust each other more than I would most people, and though it hurts, they help ease my grief.

I still have my sword, and it's name is Ki'minkek, which roughly translates to common as "Serving the Light even on the Path of the Dark". It serves me well, and has never broken. I'm still under-strength compared to a lot of people even in spars, but I am still strong enough to help protect innocent people, from both myself and others.

I started a mercenary company, made some honest business with quite a few people and organizations, and had a hand in getting rid of Ephemeral, a new bunch of terrorists who wanted to hurt the Empire and by extensions, innocent citizens. The Nil'kemorya (Falling Leaf Warriors) then was disbanded after business became stagnant, and I joined the Blades shortly after that and giving everyone severance pay.

Vislan was released on parole for his help in recovering me by giving information and trying to warn me in the first place about Hera's intentions. He mostly wanders now, seeking guidance from Mercala.

These days, I blacksmith, repair mechs, reverse Hexes and speak over a dozen languages among other skills. I unfortunately had a recent falling out with Ardnaid. That's a story for another entry, but the gist of it is that I lost her trust and frightened her on a private matter that I still very much have regrets about. I doubt she will ever come to trust me again, but I still don't want to give up trying to just start over with her again. It just means that I need to either earn her trust again....or simply just let her go if her deep distrust of me and vindictiveness trumps any redemption I could possibly come up with or be asked to do. I have to remind myself too that sometimes it's ok to just let people go and that every living person may have an enemy or two.

Not everyone chooses to forgive, after all, and if Ard decides I'm not worth it, that is her decision and one I can hardly blame her for and don't hold any grievance over.

Holding grudges just isn't in my nature, unless the person in question truly deserves it.

March 3, 345

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:55 am
by BlackLynx3
I woke up this morning in my home. It started off quietly and I do not need to feed again, having done so two days before. It's a relief to me, and my staff are keeping the place warm as usual. I cut wood with them, gardened in my little greenhouse in the front yard, and had some tea before departing Lispool for the Empire.

I made a breakthrough recently with the machine, and found a book with the vampiric symbols I need to open the first door. I have not opened the door yet, as I am worried where it will lead to. As the door within the Gate Hub has been inactive for so long, much like the others, I think I am justified in my concern. The gateway itself is a strange thing, and I still wonder how my family could have activate it or gotten it to work. I may ask Hettie, Gwen and Lilia to come with me again on this one. Maybe Amber might come with this time. If anything does happen, Hettie is a powerful Geomancer, Amber is dodge city galore and can summon an army of what amounts to bees that shoot more bees out of their eyeballs, and even my under-powered ass can give her support. The other two are strong in other areas, like examining weird shit.

Anyway, I talked to Itto again, and he was hanging in the Arena as usual, along with his sister, which was interesting. He and I sparred again as usual and amazingly, he and I were so close in the match that I was nearly ready to fall by the time I finally whittled him down. It was a lot of fun. Others showed up, and I quite enjoyed making idle chat.

I filled Amber in about Acacia and what happened to Chiyo when she happened by, and though I figure some Blades know about it, I'm sure I made a good call by letting her know about what I knew about that mad doriad and her cabal. Thankfully, with Adam out of the picture, she and her group will do less damage. I did a few more spars, each more a less a failure or close match. Doesn't matter as much these days, I spar mostly for fun and to practice...but it would be nice if I could do better without sacrificing so much.

I spent most of the day in the Arena, then went back home. I'm going to enjoy a nice tea and sleep for the next....what, 72 hours? I don't know. I'm a vampire, who gives a crap how long I sleep?

Dossier: Blades of The Promised Land

Posted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 5:45 am
by BlackLynx3
The Blades of the Promised Land are an adventuring guild, headed by Neron Magnus, a former Onigan-Sigrogana war veteran. It's an organization that prides itself in reliable personnel, a professionally structured and operational system and runs on a system of contracts. As the largest recognized adventurer's guild in the Empire and sponsored by the Imperial Guard force, they have a little more influence than most groups in the public eye, but are fluid enough to let Guard matters stay as that, assist them when called to, and their members free to join and leave at random. Most who enter there will come from a variety of backgrounds but wish to join for similar reasons, and though the interview sessions are thorough, they are fairly forgiving in nature and most appreciate the applicant's willingness to prove themselves.

Essentially, they have an organizational structure that goes like this. Neron, the guild Leader is the Commander and runs the entire operation as smoothly as he can. Typically, he involves himself in only the most dire of threats but also runs occasional training sessions and helps other members to improve. His Head Cavalier and Investigator are below him, the Senior Cavaliers and Investigators are the most direct commanders of the majority of the Guild. And below them, the Cavaliers and Investigators themselves. The Guild Girls/Guys handle secretarial duties, job requests and payment, and there is also a Field Medic subdivision that keeps them patched up or just enough to get the injured to Sanctuary. Most contracts vary from important tasks to the incredibly mundane, some are simple as they are supply runs with a lower base murai value payed by the recipients via the Guild Girls, others are specific bounties, investigations or lower ranked threats with a midline payout, and the most dangerous and high-paying ones are the highest rank missions dealing with specific groups, threats or stuff Guards need their assistance with. They can also be bounties that are more lethal than usual.

Cavaliers are your muscle, the combat oriented troops of the guild with varying backgrounds. Most will serve the Guild's interests and otherwise keep the people safe and stay within decent graces with the law. If someone screws up, they will reprimand them for it.
Investigators on the other hand are the brains, the thinkers and the detective bunch. They help deduce incidents and there are also ways to improve their brainstorming if they get particularly stuck. They aren't often combat focused but can fight and tend to rely on their Cavalier subordinates, both as escorts and reinforcements should something go wrong.

They do have some disadvantages. Because they're so large, communication, even with the messenger birds and PDA system is sluggish at times. The contracts are also not always flowing, and it has a tendency to stagnate and leave the few there snagged up immediately. If the guild gets too bloated or the individuals have their own reason to, some will simply leave the guild and allow others to join, and this insures the Blade's longevity and allows it to shift their gears back into place. They are not guards and are susceptible to vigilantism if they're not careful, and that can lead to complications with their sponsors.

The Blades have many enemies, but also a few good allies with whom they work on a professional, work-standard mindset. Enemies (past and present) include the Black Falcons, Ephemeral, Bloodlust and formerly the Seven Deadly Sins mechanations before they were assisted out of their predicament. Allies include the Imperial guard (for obvious reasons), Los Cazadores and the Black Swans Vigil unit among others. They have a strong bond with Sanctuary as the hospital has saved their members countless times, and there are even freelancers, intel brokers and bounty-hunters (all of whom for the sake of privacy will go unmentioned in this journal) that work independently and occasionally give the Blades a bone. Their own network is fairly good, as the Investigators are among some of the leading investigative and forensic experts in their field and line of work. All secrets in a case they are involved with will eventually end up unearthed or at least referred to and archived by the Investigators, and any delightfully devilish plots will eventually be uncovered.

More than once they have been attacked, and in every single event so far as of this writing, they have managed to wall up and push their attackers back, coming out stronger than ever. Generally speaking it is wise not to antagonize them too much unless you're a madman or a particularly careless criminal. Even former members or capable passerby will sometimes help them fight off adversaries, though how welcome the response is depends on the time, place and individuals. Neron and his subordinates have proved cool-headed and are excellent leaders. In my time as a Cavalier there, I had the pleasure to experience the best and worst of their line of work, and while looking back I realize how silly some of the mistakes I made there, I can safely say I ended up better for it and a wiser person. I still have several friends employed by them and can turn to them if I need their assistance with an issue, and vice versa if I happen to be in the area.

Bottom line, the BoPL are the yardstick most smaller companies are measured up against, and are outside of the guards, the closest to a legitimate, lawful organization within the Empire.