Campaign:Acts of Villainy/Solene of the Discordant Blades/Background
LOL I WROTE A BUNCH OF TL;DR SHIT THAT NOBODY WILL EVER READ. GRATS ME. OH WELL BACKGROUND FOR THIS USELESS SHIT.
Solene was born to fight.
Her 'previous' life as a Lookshyan began unspectacularly: born to an unassuming mortal family, she fought for every aspiration she ever sought. Her first notable forays began in the Intelligence Directorate. Though many had misgivings about her relatively young age; her speed, intelligence, and superior stealth won her her first assignments. It was there that problems began to crop up.
Though her agile nature made her extremely adept at being where she wasn't supposed to be, her brash, hotheaded personality led to several conflicts within the directorate and made her utterly useless as a social agent. Assignments dried up. Frustration was bred.
Then Teresu Zen Wu intervened. Taimyo of the Fourth Field Force, he swept Solene and several other less-prolific directorate agents up with the intent of finding bodies for a new set of experimental tactics revolving around stealth and rapid strikes.
The downside was the training hell required to meet the stiff requirements. Soon, what began as a field of twenty-five was pared down to five: one drowning, two fatal falls, one fatal collision with a warstrider, seven left with shattered bones in various limbs, two burned over sixty percent of their bodies, one shattered ribcage, and six severely wounded by a touchy First Age sentry cannon. Those who survived - or at least scraped by uninjured - did so with agility, strength, and stealth, and convinced their overseers that they were worth the risk. So much so, in fact, that to the taimyo of the Fourth Field Force's dismay, the taimyo of the First - Karal Linwei - claimed them right out from under him.
The five were fitted with Ashigaru Skirmish Armor, their names conveniently cleaned from most records, and were utilized with the purpose of covert strikes against command structures and logistics. For its part, the training only became more intense. They performed admirably in all hypotheticals and field tests, but they longed for a true proving ground. Before long, they received it: their true test came when the Realm's incursion hit home.
Though the commanding Dynasts were often out of their league, mortal sub-commanders became a choice target - their fang repeatedly broke into camps and wiped out entire command chains when least expected and most unwanted. Bounties were placed, Immaculate priests condemned them and spread rumors of Anathema shadows in Lookshy's mist, bringing the fight to a fervor pitch.
In this, Solene reveled - brutally efficient and taking every fight to a personal level that unsettled her fellows. As the Realm bolstered their defenses, the order was given to bolster them to Gunzosha armor and send them to further support the already imposing front lines - a high honor with a high price.
And yet, as she arrived to be set with the requisite Aegis-Inset Amulets and partake in the proper rituals, her would-be commander stopped her and informed her of the news. Dire news, in fact.
The officers above her had opted to postpone her while her fellows advanced, citing.. issues. Her unsettling behavior. Her isolated nature. Her terrible fervor for a fight - any fight - that bordered on obsession.
Wordlessly, she stalked off - eluding the soldiers sent to bring her back. She sought isolation to set her reeling mind in order, to formulate a new plan for advancement, but found nothing but fury.
Yet even in isolation she was found. A man in robes of gold and white approached her - and though her terrible rage urged her to destroy him for this trespass, she found herself strangely restrained. He spoke of what had just occurred, and of their terrible mistake. He offered power. Prestige. And best of all, a new fight - a fight to prove just what fools they were, a chance to show the world what they had forsaken.
As his disguise unraveled, the man turning into a great lion of jade, he offered the clincher: a chance to serve a truly intelligent master, not a tangled bureaucracy.
She accepted on the spot under one condition - that the demon come with her as she set one last affair in order. The Yozis, in turn, accepted out of sheer curiosity.
Returning to the commander that had turned her away, she gave into her fury - murdering him and the two soldiers with him, ripping the precious amulets that had been denied her from his flesh, taking the armor that was rightfully hers - and disappearing with cultist assistance before reinforcements could bring her to justice.
The rest of her talon found that their suspicions had been correct. Her rage had led her here: in truth, it had been a test of dedication and temperance. But the past was just that, and now Solene had greater things to be concerned with.
Such as the Infernal Exaltation.
Within days, she cracked free from the Chrysalis Grotesque, finding herself anew. An empty green circle blazed upon her forehead, and her new purpose tugged at her thoughts. A voice within chuckled at the sudden awareness, and whispered the tempting words that had brought her here.
"Come, and make Creation feel your fury."
In the time since completing her early training, Solene has been hard at work in Malfeas, preparing for clearance from the Ebon Dragon to let the Green Sun Princes loose in the East. Incursions into Creation have been all too short, as the Yozis have not seen fit to commit additional forces to Creation, but the time has allowed for much: the Aegis-Inset Amulets she claimed have since been adjusted for a more Malfean style and implanted, and the stolen armor coupled with the vast knowledge of her foremost ally among the Princes - Chain of Creation's Freedom, another Lookshyan-turned-Infernal - has led to the creation of several innovative and properly Malfean designs, chief among them the advent of Helltech Battle Armor. Other artifacts have been stolen, crafted, or otherwise procured, and her bold reclamation of a Solar manse not only procured the necessary hearthstone power, but also earned her favor enough to secure Infernal armaments she had long desired in preparation for the most significant battles to come.
Thus, Solene of the Discordant Blades bides her time impatiently: when not maintaining her own hellish panoply or training in preparation for her part in the Reclamation, she spends much of her downtime with Adraelii, the girl to which her Exaltation is tethered.
Adraelii is an exceptional schemestress for her age, weaving far-reaching plots among her fellows, and as a result has become somewhat of a minor princess at Things Infernal - not in the least enhanced by virtue of having her linked Infernal at hand with surprising frequency, as well as her teodozjia guardian, "King". Her 'tea parties' are the source of endless frustration for other Princes of the Green Sun, who inevitably find themselves dealing with the fallout of a carefully-spun plot to con some small trinket into Adraelii's possession. In this, Solene seems utterly amused - and perhaps it is this amusement that coerces the young girl to work even harder.
The Cost of Heroism
The frozen North is the purview of the Silent Wind. Creation does not always acknowledge this fact, but it does not avail them: Adorjan will end them whether they believe it to be so or not. It was in this frozen, blasted wasteland that the blades that would later become Catastrophic Freedom found their first uses. A master Dragonblooded smith of House Tepet forged the blue jade daiklaves for his warbound son over countless sleepless nights, imparting much of his strength into them in the hopes that a truly powerful pair of weapons would bring his son the victory he had always sought. He succeeded: the pair of blades were powerful artifacts of their own right, shaming others of their type. The act, however, had been imbued with such strength and emotion that a part of his soul was forevermore locked into them - the strain of which left the elder smith bedridden, never to forge again.
For his part, the prodigal son did his father justice the best he could: when dispatched to the North as part of the first wave against the Bull of the North, the Dynast used them to great effect in the battle of Krellen Ford, slaying significant numbers of the Bull's troops and earning a respect he had previously not known. Yet his rise to hero of the day did not last long - Samea's devastation and the ambushes of the next two months drew from the praise of heroism to fuel the mourning of the lost.
Perhaps it was this lack of morale that led to the grave defeat the Realm's forces later suffered at Fallen Lapis. Five Dynasts, the prodigal son amongst them, clashed against the Solar Fear-Eater and the Outcaste Mors Ialden in the wake of the complete devastation of the city. They did not succeed. The daiklaves were cast to the bloodied snow, left uncontrolled in the midst of countless furious spirits and ghosts, the shred of spirit within them raging. Raging at the loss, at the beings that could allow such a thing to occur, at Creation itself. It was then that the Tepet smith perished - overcome with grief and fury, the utter tragedy too much for his weakened soul to bear.
The blades would have remained forgotten and lost, hollow shadows of the nightmare that was Fallen Lapis on that day, but it was not to be. The countless fearful pleadings and promises of the dying called a demon to the surface: one of the Second Circle, to be precise. Talrynia, the Deception that Binds, the Messenger Soul of That Which Calls to the Shadows, rose to Creation - preparing to sweep countless members of the Tepet legions into Malfeas, assuring their desires of living to see another day.. but perhaps not as they intended to. However, a distraction saved a number of souls from Malfeas that day - while gently twisting a fallen Dynast into signing his soul away to the Ebon Dragon, she found a pair of jade daiklaves imbued with such emotion - and Essence - that she lost her focus, taking them and the previously signed back to Malfeas suddenly.
Though she examined them for days, she lacked the knowledge of weaponry and crafting to truly understand them - and so she consorted with another of Erembour's souls on the matter. Alveua, the Keeper of the Forge of Night, revealed the mysteries of the blades - and then suggested something novel. Vitriol.
Thus the blades were immersed in the essential material of Malfeas. The acid simultaneously burned away the impurities and the unnecessary emotions that had become trapped within, leaving only a seething, empty rage, a fury that seeks only to consume that which condemned all it ever wished for. Disappointed by what had become of blades once so beautifully multi-faceted in their despair, Talrynia left them in the care of the panoply of Hell, where they would later fall into the hands of Solene of the Discordant Blades.
She claims the daiklaves are properly Adorjani in their nature - and who can deny the uncanny similarities?
Talrynia, the Deception that Binds Demon of the Second Circle, Messenger Soul of That Which Calls to the Shadows
As Erembour follows in the Ebon Dragon's wake, calling the shadows to his service, so does Talrynia strike ahead - binding heroes and mortals alike in hopeless servitude to the Yozis and her mistress. Appearing as an aristocratic, fair-skinned female in elegant robes of silver and black, her alluring appearance is tempered by her nature: though she can easily lapse into the seductive behavior of many demons, she prefers a more noble personality - in part due to her own vanity, and in part due to her amusement at the frequent attempts of mortals to prove themselves worthy.
As her name suggests, Talrynia is ruthlessly manipulative. The deals and oaths she arbitrates of her own will tend to resemble elaborate traps more than mutually beneficial agreements, and her tendency to prey upon those suffering considerable anguish (sometimes of her own infliction) leads to a significant number of souls being trapped in service to the Yozis, much to the bemusement of the eminent manipulator amongst them, the Ebon Dragon.
Though she enjoys claiming that which mortals and Exalts alike often sign over all too easily, she derives a great pleasure from the act as well - rumors abound of a mysterious woman who visits debate halls and grand speeches and twists, coaxes, and manipulates those present into turning on a speaker who attempts to draw too much attention to himself. If they are driven to the point of actually slaying the speaker, Talrynia immediately seizes upon his life's force before it can escape (or worse, coalesce into a spirit - Talrynia despises ghosts, considering them immeasurably wasteful) and consumes the emotions and passions as a guilty pleasure.
Summoning: (Obscurity 2/3) Summoners call the Deception that Binds to arbitrate and examine agreements of great sensitivity. She can advise a summoner on squeezing the most benefit possible out of any given situation through exploiting weaknesses, and her reputation as a similarly zealous unraveler of plots makes her a favorite of a paranoid summoner: though she disdains foiling truly excellent plots, she will seek them out and inform a mighty sorcerer of them all the same. Less worthy summoners often find themselves enticed to counter such plots with equally elaborate plots instead, creating conflicts that Talrynia finds truly delicious to behold. Occasionally, Talrynia can be called into Creation unbidden by the desperate pleas of those on death's door: though she rarely is able to stay in Creation for more than a night, this is generally time enough to bind as many souls as possible and pursue her own pleasures.