~ Winning character contest entry ~
The air in the swamp was nearly unbearable, the humidity so high and thick that even the most adapt race to this climate would have said it was horrid. The moon was hanging low in the sky and not a cloud could be seen.
In the darkness of the swamp if you listened closely you could hear voices softly whispering back and forth. To the unskilled ear this would have been passed off as just creatures in the swamp, but to the trained ear of a warrior there was an army hidden deep in the belly of the swamp.
General Kail Tor waited quietly in the heart of the swamp, listening intently to the sounds of the voices. Kail’s army waited for his orders to move out. Kail had hand picked the troops who were with him on this night. A fraction of the troops he normally went to battle with due to the surroundings and placement of where this battle would take place.
Kail knew that inside a swamp the element of surprise and speed was the biggest factor to winning a battle.
Two days worth of waiting and planning had gone into the preparations for this battle. A band of roaming undead had cropped up over night two weeks prior and had been killing caravans and convoys of both supplies and troops. If this group of undead were to grow any larger the region would quickly be lost and this was something that could not take place.
Kail had come from a long family history of Dalgarian Battle Priests. His training had started generations before his birth. Each generation of the Tor family grew stronger and better equipped to fight and prove themselves worthy of Dalgar. Being a warrior was something Kail did not take lightly and if his sheer mass and size on the battlefield wasn’t enough to show it, then the methodical and meticulous ways he went about preparing and studying for battle would.
Standing at a towering eleven feet two inches in height, weighing around nine hundred pounds and being as wide and thick as the trunk of an adult redwood, Kail Tor was one of the most menacing minotaurs in the region. His parents had been well pleased with his growth and adaptability in the ways of both war and worship. “The key to a strong warrior is balance with that of his weapons and his worship.”, had been his father’s favorite quote.
As the night grew darker Kail’s men stood as best they could in the thick mire of the swamp. The warriors who accompanied Kail on this night had long ago grown used to the stubbornness, tenacity and determined way that Kail approached every battle. Standing there in the swamp with mud and water and filth clinging to the legs and bodies of his men, Kail stood motionless as though a single breath had been taken in and hours ticked by on that one moment.
With the sounds of the voices growing louder Kail knew it wouldn’t be long before the battle would erupt. His men were well-trained and patient warriors, but like him he knew his men’s hatred for the undead and their dedication to Dalgar would cause even the most experienced warrior to leap forward to soon.
An undead horde was nothing to underestimate no matter how many troops you brought with you. Kail knew that even though Dalgar was with him and his troops, the power of Omnus was nothing to take lightly. Kail had seen larger armies charge into battle against the undead, only to be overwhelmed by that power. The undead looked so unorganized and untrained that many could not understand their ability to work so well together and to have such seasoned tactics.
With the voices finally reaching a level that was comfortable enough for Kail, he began to double-check all his equipment for the last time. His massive forearms were properly covered in large thick bracers made of steel and the sharp pointed spikes placed neatly around the wrist region of the braces nicely doubled as a means for counter-attack after a block. His legs were covered from the tops of his hooves to a few inches below his knees with a lighter grade of steel meant for stopping arrows and other projectile weapons. Upon his chest was a blackened steel piece of plate mail with his family’s crest intertwined along with the crest of his settlement.
Kail’s weapon bearer moved forward quietly and quickly removed the blue and purple trimmed flowing cloak that marked Kail as both a general of Dalgar and as a priest. With his cloak removed, Kail lifted his massive battle-axe from the ground where he had safely planted its shaft into the mud. The axe was one of many of Kail’s family heirlooms and had been rumored to contain many blessings and enchantments upon it. The size and weight of the axe made the average man feel dwarfed in size and there wasn’t many among Kail’s troops who could lift the axe as a whole. Axe in hand, Kail tightened his right hand around the middle of the axe’s shaft. His left hand gripped a large javelin from the hands of his armor bearer.
The moment was drawing nearer and soon blood and water would flow. Kail’s thick black pelt shimmered under the light of the moon from the small beads of sweat that dripped from the heat. Kail’s deep crimson red eyes and bright white teeth and horns presented an almost demonic floating face in the night as he sneered with a euphoric evil grin. The single ring through Kail’s nose marked with ancient words and markings was given only to the leader of the warrior priest among the followers of Dalgar. The sigils upon Kail’s horns mirroring those of his family and settlement crests were also marked with promotions and accomplishments upon the battlefield.
Through the slight mist that had risen slowly from the top of the swamp, Kail spotted the one he had been waiting for to show. Kail knew that whenever the undead sprang forth a living follower of Omnus was always nearby and the fastest way to cut the power of the undead was to break the link between the living vessel and that of the raised Omnus followers.
Kail motioned for his captains to ready the troops. When all was set, with a great heave and precise accuracy Kail let fly the javelin from his left hand. The nose of the javelin split through the body of the Omnus priest and pinned the convulsing body to a large tree. With their link being broken in that area the undead warriors were at a momentary loss of command. Kail’s arches rained forth a shower of arrows dropping the misguided undead in large numbers.
Kail finally lifted the large axe high in the sky and in a giant rushing roar the army broke from their lines. Two days worth of waiting over in but an hour’s time, worth it’s weight in gold and glory. For the undead horde had been expelled and with only a handful of Kail’s troops meeting their final resting place, the battle had been another victory.
Kail lifted high his axe once again and as he stood in the midst of his troops he snorted “Shol’ock Dalgar”, which in the ancient tongue meant Glory and Victory to the Mighty Dalgar, and his men raised their weapons and clanked their shields in a resounding response of ‘Shol’ock Dalgar’.
You approach the opening of a large lava tube high in one of the crater walls of the pirate settlement of Jelar'ah. Your heart pounds as you step into the shady coolness inside. You pause to let your eyes adjust to the darkness.
The tube slopes down gently and then suddenly widens into a cavern. As you peer into the darkness, you can see something at the back of the cavern glittering in the faint light filtering into the lava tube. You take a step closer and realize it's a large mound of treasure. You take another step and a section of treasure moves, and you understand that not all that glitters is gold. Some of the glittering is coming from the bright, sapphire blue scales of a fully grown, male stellar dragon.
The dragon was sleeping, curled on top of his treasure hoard, but hearing your approach he whips his head around and lifts his sinuous neck until he is looking down at you out of one great, green eye. His other eye is covered by a large black patch that bears the mark of a citizen of Jelar'ah, a cracked skull held together by a gemstone. Above and below the patch are the ends of a jagged scar.
"What do you want?" the dragon asks, fiercely protective of his hoard.
You swallow convulsively and manage to croak out, "I am a citizen of Jelar'ah and I am looking for Crag."
The dragon relaxes somewhat and says, "Arr, I be Crag the pirate dragon, scourge of the seas of TerVarus."
You continue, "My captain has learned of a particularly rich and well guarded convoy of ships sailing in a couple of days. He wishes to liberate the treasure from the ships with the least amount of trouble. Since I am the newest member of his crew, he sent me to petition you for help. He understands that you will want a share of the plunder after we return in exchange for your assistance."
Crag nods as if he expected this, "Aye, I will take fifty percent of the booty."
Without really thinking about it or meaning to, you say, "Twenty-five percent."
Crag's lower jaw drops open in surprise and his one eye blinks slowly, then he laughs deeply. You cover your head with your arms as fine grit sifts down from the cavern ceiling.
"HAR, HAR, HAR, HAR," Crag laughs. "You're a brave lad. Very well, for the laughther likes of which I haven't had for quite some time, we'll say thirty-five percent and call it square."
Crag stands and walks down off his hoard. He shifts his wings on his back and sits, curling his tail around in front of his claws. "Tell your captain that when you sail, I will be in the sky above ready to lend my support."
Crag notices you peering curiously at his legs and laughs again, "HAR, HAR, HAR! Expecting a wooden leg?" He grins and his tongue lolls out between his sharp teeth momentarily. "That's a myth, me bucko. The only thing wrong with me is this," and he lifts one forleg to point at his patch. "And even that you can't be too sure about," Crag continues with a draconic grin and he lifts the patch, revealing the scar that jumps from his brow ridge to his cheek bone, but that misses the perfect green eye that now winks at you.
"Get on with ye now, ya scurvy bilge rat. I need to prepare for our upcoming adventure," Crag says and returns to his treasure hoard. He curls up once again, but watches with his uncovered eye until you've left the lava tube.
Sun beams filtered through the leafy canopy, raining light upon the lush colors of early autumn. With a heavy heart Aeia Darkstrom, youngest and only remaining child of a mercantile house in a far away land, sang softly: a mournful tune. She was sitting upon a large boulder, smoothed by snows and water and covered in a velvet of moss. Her hair hung loose and free, flowing along her shoulders and glistening in the sunlight. It's raven coloring shimmering in the afternoon light. Small plants with delicate purple-blue flowers blossomed around the base of the boulder and vines curled up it's sides, mingling with the moss. The faint coolness of autumn hangs in the air, causing Aeia to dress warmly in a blue woolen jacket with black woolen pants.
Her fingers began threading their way effortlessly through the air in a complex pattern and she stopped singing and began murmuring quietly to herself, a spell incantation. A soft green aura surrounded her fists as she finished the incantation and around her perch atop the boulder the plants began to grow, increasing in size and height in moments. Small petals burst into existance, vines strengthen and grow. Leaves and moss grow larger and spread across, hiding the boulder.
In the end, Aeia lept from her perch upon the boulder and in her spot filled quickly with lush greenery that soon half-covered the boulder. But one of the few parts uncovered by plant mass was a small engraving upon the boulder written in flowing elvish script.
May his wings never falter, may his love never cease and may the gods themselves agree to take him up and place him in the stars.
And may he always be remembered by those whose lives he protected to the end.
Aeia read the inscription twice over before allowing a small teardrop to fall. Without a word she turned, leaving the only remaining monument to her brother's existance to sit in the autumn sun and absorb it's heat. But she would never leave his memory behind, she feels him with her.... always.
It was a fair day, neither too hot nor cold. This very day, an adventurous mood had come over me. I have lived within Lucia my whole life, and had only ventured out about a mile from the gates as long as I could remember. I decided to head east from the northern wall this fair day and for the most part my trip had become a bore.
As I continued my trot I had this eerie sense that I was being followed, though I hadn’t heard nor saw a single living thing since the groundhog a quarter mile back. I felt like I needed to be reassured that no one was following me, so I turned around, and as usual, nothing was there. But once I turned back around, there was a man about 5 feet in front of me. I tell you, this spooked the crap out of me! Who was he? He stood as a normal man, but something wasn’t quite right about him. He freaked me out simply by looking at him. He wore all black; Black shirt, black pants, black shoes, black gloves, and black cape. He had many pouches on him, hanging from a golden belt, so I suppose he was a ranger of some sort, but why would a ranger wear all black? But that wasn’t the weird part about him. Attached to his arms were these metal braces with 3 protruding blades coming from them, clearly a resourceful weapon, as it allowed him full use of his hands as well as being lethal as any other weapon. The strangest part about him was the helmet he wore. It was like another head over his head… an emotionless face, and an ordinary skull. What was the point? You could not see a single piece of skin on this man, but why? He was so… mysterious.
All he said was “Gold… then turn back.” Due to my adventurous mood, I yearned to explore on, and had to I ask, “Why should I?” The man then… I don't know... he changed... he grew… his arms grew... his legs grew… I don’t know what he changed into, but whatever it was, it was a lot bigger then what he used to be. To tell you the truth, I really didn’t want to see what he was changing into, so I dropped my moneybag, and ran like hell back to town. You know… A short while later I heard of a few important books missing from the Great Library. Perhaps that shape-shifting thief had something to do with it?
Tired and desperate, Bruxail pondered how he got himself in this situation. There had not been a time that he remembered feeling afraid for his existence, but the thought had danced through his mind and would not cease. He felt imprisoned, hopeless, and ashamed.
Most of his long years, he spent helping others and coming to their aide in his work for Caduceas and was not used to thinking of himself. However, he was doing that this very moment. All he could think about was how selfish this attitude was and how ashamed it made him feel.
Struggling to overcome the anxiety and sense of helplessness, his mind started racing with thoughts of years gone by and memories both good and bad. He had lived a long dwarven life, which would be many human lifetimes already, as his long white beard would attest. His father was so proud when he was born, swearing to bring him up as a great warrior. He looked a lot like his father with his stout body, broad face, puffy cheeks, and a pug for a nose. He even had his father’s forest green eyes. The only problem is that he had his mothers’ disposition which is what eventually made him choose the life of the priesthood early on in life. His father obsessed with the decision he made to become a priest and made it known many times his dislike of the temple. Over time, as he performed more and more services for Caduceas and helped many lives, his father came to accept the fact that his son was in the right profession. He couldn’t help but think of how his father would perceive him now, his only son, thinking of whether to save himself or the many followers in his group.
In a flash, his mind snapped back into focus as if all his thoughts had passed in an instant. Clear as a mountain stream, his decision came easily. Pushing his way back through the crowd, he came face to face with the spirit demon. Raising his arms from beneath the great white robe, he called upon the power of Caduceas. Holding the monstrosity at bay with a great white light, he struggled against the blindness it was inflicting. Yelling to the others, he instructed them to continue the path and that it was not much further to safety if they ran quickly. They began to protest but he insisted this was the only way unless they all wanted to die. Reluctantly, they continued on.
Reaching a glade, the group of followers felt freedom from the haunted woods which was the domain of the spirit demon. Knowing he would not leave the power of the woods, a sense of safety filled their hearts, as well as a sense of loss. They could see the great light from the woods, and as they stared at the light, they could see it diminish slowly until it was finally out. A great glow came from the sky, a solid beam of light that was gone almost as quickly as it came. They knew Bruxail had left to join Caduceas.
The west wind had traveled this course millions upon millions of times, moving the wisps of cloud, and slowly but surely shaping the rocky landscape of the coast. And so it was with some surprise that she found herself roused from her familiar half-slumber at the realization that her path was now blocked somewhere. Faster than any mortal could register, she searched herself, found the source of the discomfort, and transferred her awareness there. Indeed, up among the wispy clouds there was something blocking her path. Annoyed, she adjusted, feeling about the outside of the thing and tasting the textures. When she finally realized what it was she had encountered, her annoyance changed to curiosity. Seizing a nearby gull, she looked down through its sharp, circling gaze. There, hanging majestically in the darkening sky, was something she had not seen in almost a millennium. A great floating castle, suspended in unapologetic defiance of the laws of nature had drifted into her well traveled path, its black brick and mortar reflecting the reddish sundown glow like dried blood on marble.
Circling in for a closer inspection, the gull's eye caught sight of a figure looking out at the distant landscape. He was tall, even for an elf, with his race’s trademark pale skin, and his jet black, slightly neglected hair fell loosely to just below his shoulders and outlined a square, royal looking jaw. His all black cloak flapped behind him, and as the wind felt herself rushing past it, the rich golden embroidery seemed, to the gull's eyes, to shimmer and change magically as it flowed. He held himself easily, and even at rest he seemed to exude confidence and an unconscious sort of arrogance.
The wind circled the small gull lower and lower, and finally let it come to rest upon the wall of the castle, not a stone's throw from the man. And here her puzzlement deepened. As he glanced at the movement of the landing gull, his locked eyes with those of the bird. In those deep, dark blue eyes she saw small specks of gold, floating free as though suspended in liquid. At his hip, dominating the scene without effort, was a jet black hilt which seemed to absorb the light around it. Its blade was housed in an equally black scabbard adorned with the familiar golden markings. His tunic was a dark gray, his pants and low fighter's boots as black as night.
He was an enigma. His dress suggested wizardry, and in her section of the globe, black was the color of sorcery, not war. Yet the markings about his person were those of a witch, though of no God that she recognized. And his weapon was an imposing long-sword, not the weapon of a sorcerer or a witch. For many long moments she studied him, framed against the bloodstained clouds, his hair and clothes billowing behind him in her quick trot inland. His gaze remained on the gull, until finally the ghost of a smile crossed his thin lips. “Ah, welcome sister wind,” he said in a deep, highly cultured voice, and bowed low to her in courtly manner. His every move dripped with irony. “You are, of course, always welcome in my home. If you would like, I’ll have my servants show you to the common room.”
A witch indeed. She took the gull to the air, and sent it off into the western sky, carried along by her sharp, cool travels and the sound of deep, whole-hearted laughter from behind.
“There was no need to get up you know.”
The Orc didn’t answer as he took the bottle of wine from the tray and turned away from her. He gave a small grunt as he reseated himself by the open window, propping himself against chair and wall at a lazy angle, and she saw his stitches had reopened since her last visit. The short-sleeved white shirt he wore lay open and beneath his bare chest the bandages that looped his stomach were marked with red. As she watched he bent down to scratch a bare ankle but noticing her gaze straightened in his chair and reached out again for the bottle he’d placed on the table.
“I said there was no need to get up,” she repeated, “if you’d called out I would have brought it in for you.”
Again he didn’t respond but gave her a brief glance, one eyebrow arching slightly over dark eyes. Aoefa couldn’t tell if it was an expression of amusement or anger and she found herself smiling nervously until his eyes flicked back to the bottle as he lifted it to his mouth. The Orc was scruffy, his clothes crumpled though clean apart from wine stains that dotted his shirt. He had dark, auburn hair held back in an untidy topknot, loose strands falling on either side in front of ears that angled back like those of a hunting dog. A feral look that was heightened by sharp canine teeth that rose from either side of his mouth, the perpetual grin they created made bitter by the absence of humor in his eyes. Beneath his mouth three pale lines ran from his lower lip to his chin, old scars, possibly smaller versions of the wounds that had laid open his stomach.
He wiped a hand across his lips and nodded towards a small kitchen where a table and cutting block were overhung by a variety of foods in hanging baskets.
“Fetch a cup.”
His voice was deep and rough-edged, carrying a weariness that reminded Aoefa of the elder deacons of her order although his face didn’t look as old. There were lines around the eyes but his features were sharp, his body tall and wide across the shoulders where his shirt was stretched by thick muscles. The weapon nearby probably accounted for those. Standing against the wall was a sword as tall as Aoefa herself, its dusky blade single-edged and incredibly broad, a flat tip making it look like an oversized chisel Ogres might use for quarrying stone. The innkeeper had also noticed it that first night and told her it was a Thecla, a blade used by Orc farmers for slaughtering and dismembering cattle. He’d said a blow from it was capable of beheading the largest bull or oxen though he hadnt been aware they were also employed in combat. A veteran himself he’d shook his head as if in judgment of a poorly pulled ale and muttered “Too heavy, too slow”.
Aoefa set the tray of cheese and bread on the table within the Orc’s reach, walked to the small alcove and retrieved a wooden goblet. When she returned he was rubbing the muscles at the back of his neck and there was an audible crack as he rolled his head to stretch the joints further. Sighing he reached out, took the goblet from her and placed it on the table. He poured wine with one hand while the other pushed aside his shirt and untied a small pouch that hung from his belt. The movement revealed several scroll cases tethered there, the ivory tubes no doubt containing the maps and notes he’d been reading during her last visit. Most of what she’d seen had been scrawled in the rough Orc alphabet but one page written in Human had been titled “Migratory Patterns after the Dragon’s Teeth”.
She watched as he drew two small blossoms from the pouch and crumbled them between his thumb and forefinger so that the fragments fell into the brimming cup. At least two bottles of wine had been sent to the room each day he’d been there and until now she’d thought him merely a sot like so many warriors. She recognized the flower though, Cymbelline or “Lady’s Touch” as it was known to some of her order. It was rare but when found could be used to unburden those who had suffered traumatic events; violated women, orphaned children and other innocents were the ones they usually reserved its soothing effects for. She’d heard it was also popular among the Dwarves as a balm to ease the black madness of their Berserkers. Aoefa didn’t know whether he suffered from grief or rage though she guessed perhaps the former. On the first night, when he had been half-delirious with pain, she had seen a mating band on the wrist he now covered with a stiff leather bracer. Orcs had the spiral patterns burnt into their skin when they took a life-mate in much the same way humans exchanged wedding rings and elves heart-jewels. She didn’t know much about Orc culture but had studied the love rites of most races and knew such bands were symbols of pride, not something to be covered up. She’d been treating him for almost a week now without even an exchange of pleasantries, strange that only now he was almost healed she found herself curious as to his identity.
“They said your name is Brannigan.”
Aoefa was confused, “Brannach-gan?”
“Just Brannach,” his eyes dropped down to the cup cradled in his hand, “Gyn is a title…no need to use it here.”
“What does it mean?”
Again the Orc’s brow rose in the same expression of dark amusement. He didn’t answer or look up from his cup for several long moments but then turned towards her, his eyes meeting and briefly holding her own.
“Take a seat.”
Aoefa did as she was bidden. The only other chair at the table had a vest of scale armor draped across its back. Its fittings were a dull crimson and as she sat she saw this was the metal itself rather than paint or ceramic as she had seen coating other such garments. The rents that had laid it open were now invisible, fixed with crafts unknown to her. She leant back against the hard metal, felt it give slightly and realized it must be padded. Until that moment she’d always imagined warriors wore their steel shirts bare over everyday smocks. She smiled foolishly to herself but stopped when she saw Brannach’s eyes on her.
He was watching her intently, one hand resting on the necklace at his throat though he let this drop to the table as she met his gaze. Aoefa had admired the necklace since she first saw it. It was of the type favored by the Arrwics, several parallel rows of bone and bead worn tight around the neck. Often feathers were attached to the lower rim but they were missing in this case, replaced instead with several small metal discs, each no bigger than her fingernail. There were perhaps a dozen in all but she could see a number were missing, the short chains they had hung from swinging free in places.
“I’ll be leaving today,” Brannach began.
Aoefa was surprised at the irritation she felt. “I don’t think you’re in any condition to travel, at least not before I reset your stitches.”
Brannach cut her off with a shake of his head.
“There’s somewhere I have to be and a set time to be there. You needn’t worry about this,” he waved a finger toward his stomach, “you did fine work, believe me…I owe you.”
The Orc came to a stop as though unsure how to proceed.
She’d had similar professions of gratitude from patients in the past and the standard response came quickly to her lips. “No thanks or payment are ever required for the servants of…”
He held up a hand to stop her again and with the other reached up to his necklace and took hold of one of the small metal discs. A quick tug snapped it free of its chain and he placed it on the table, two long fingers pushing it towards her across the rough wooden surface.
She reached down and picked it up. It was very smooth and surprisingly heavy, there was an image on the front, crossed swords behind a shield bearing a flame. She turned it over but the only mark on the rear was an unfamiliar Orcish glyph.
“Arolian?” Aoefa hadn’t thought the ShieldBearer a popular patron among the Orc tribes.
Brannach reached out and closed her fingers around the token. It was the first time he’d touched her and he withdrew his hand quickly as though the gesture was uncomfortable.
“Keep it safe. If ever you have need of someone like me or find yourself unsure what to do with yourself go to either Hyarla Town or the Inn at Gentry’s Cross. If I’m not there you’ll find others who know my whereabouts. In any event you’ll be safe there, you and any who travel with you.”
Aoefa wanted to reply but something held her back and instead she just nodded and stepped away from the table. At the door she turned back towards him, he was looking the other way now, out through the window where the rain clouds were beginning to clear.
“Why do you hunt them?” she didn’t think he would answer her and for a moment this was the case, then he turned to face her and gave a weary smile.
“Be glad it’s a question you still have to ask.”
Aoefa paused and took a last look at him as he sat with his back to the wall, one arm resting on the table with his cup close nearby, the other across the back of his chair, the towering blade standing within easy reach. Giving the Orc a last smile she stepped outside and closed the door behind her.
True Name: Obs'tuecaf
Age: Middle age adult
Size: 5' 7"
Occupation: Curator of the great library/ Deals in black market goods and services.
Primary motivations: Enjoys the acquisition of Knowledge, items and money. Also is fond of a good mystery or puzzle.
Skills: Has a basic understanding of all known languages. Has a rudimentary understanding of most skills asses the value of items. Pick locks skill. Pick pockets. Can use small bladed weapons. Uses poisons on blades. Has your average thief based stealth skills.
Obs'tuecaf lives two distinctly separate lives. One as Urithal an elf and the curator of the library. As the curator Urithal is constantly on his feet moving through the library swiftly and silently. Setting things right and keeping books and items organized. He is identified by his dark royal blue robes flowing around him, the long thick platinum hair his head and his bright eyes that match his robes. Under those robes, hidden from view he carries a half dozen small throwing daggers coated with a narcotic. This particular narcotic has been known to paralyze even the largest of bipedal creatures. He never wants to be bothered with idle conversation and will cut anyone short who can't get right to the point. He will turn his back and walked away from those who he considers to be wasting his time. The only time you find the elf at rest is playing chess near the libraries main entrance. He will only play those of few words and high skill. A glass of wine is ever-present at those times of "rest". Urithal also travels a great deal to acquire knowledge, books and artifacts. He is always looking for ways continue the expansion of the Lucian library.
Obs'tuecaf's second reality is that of a human black marketer. Which is no easy task in Lucia, being there are strict laws and penalties against many of his activities. The human thief and black marketer is Kaushal. Kaushal conducts himself very differently from his counterpart. He has black hair and dark eyes that are too close together. He has an unshaven and greasy look about him and often smells a bit. Kaushal will do about anything for money except kill. He can only be contacted through a Sharwen bartender who gets five percent on anything Kaushal makes.
Obs'tuecaf keeps this two live very separate. He does not let one intrude on the other. Anything he obtains as the Curator will always go to the library and never be sold. Anything he obtains as Kaushal will never end up in the library. This is not out of some moral sense that he does this, but because he doesn't want anyone to connect the two people. Only a half dozen people know that Urithal is in fact a Doppelganger, but they have no idea of his second life. No one knows the Human Kaushal is a Doppelganger. Only one person has ever connected the two separate people and he isn't talking. Because he now resides in one of the loveliest crypts of Lucia.
The Geminian Twins
Aidan was born an hour before midnight on June 11th and his sister was born exactly at midnight on June 12th. With their black hair (Aidan's cropped short and Aeia's flowing down onto her shoulders) and emerald-blue eyes the twins are truly beautiful people. They were raised in the House of Darkstrom, a mercantile house in the kingdom of Aerin. Unfortunately, Aerin has since been destroyed.
As they grew older the twins' interests began to diverge from one another. Aeia chose to become apprenticed to a great wizard named Arbornan and was a quick study while Aidan chose to follow in his father's footsteps and learn the business of trade. He also was taught by his father(who was once a mercenary) the arts of swordplay and hand to hand defense. Being a fairly priviledged child he also learned to ride horses and was taught archery as he grew older.
It was a mere year before the collapse of Aerin that the twins left their homeland, fleeing for their lives. A man named Claine, who was a pupil Archmage Arbonan, turned against his own master and killed him. Claine had been obsessed with young Aeia since she arrived to learn magic under their master. Aeia rebuffed him and fled, returning to her family home, secure in the knowledge that he could not find her there. Unfortunately, her logic was wrong, Claine found her home and attacked it, slaying the guards and killing her parents as they fought to protect their children.
It was just before Aeia and Aidan escaped that Claine uttered a curse, infusing a magical wasting disease into Aeia's body. It took nearly half a year before Aidan managed to bring his sister, who was weakening day by day, to the cozy hamlet of Greenfort and there a visiting elf alchemist gave them a potion to cure her ailment.
Since that day Aeia has become well again and began her own Herbalists shop, which serves her community well. Aidan became a mercenary like his father to bring in money for his twin and is often gone for months at a time before returning, a large bag of gold in hand. It is with a heavy heart that Aeia views that past, but is with hope and light heart that she sees the future.
And though the twins pray to different gods, both hope that one day the chaos will end and the world will be safe for all.
In “another MMORPG” I played a rogue. This rogue had a pretty simple philosophy You befriend me and I would do anything for you, but if you became my enemy, I would do anything to you. That choice of you becoming my friend or enemy was almost always up to you. It was all in how you behaved towards me, that simple. I didn’t have to “stay in character” and use old english language to come across as a role player. I simply always stuck to that single philosophy whenever I played. For that, I received MANY praises for how I dealt with people – both good and bad. I had people return to me and actually tell me they enjoyed dying or being robbed by such a menacing and evil person. Yet, I would lay down my life for a friend and did it many times without question or hesitation.
Another example is I had a mass murderer. I gave him the philosophy that he was stuck in this foreign land and hated everyone for it. My “signature” if you will was after killing someone I would search their loot and if they had any ale on them, that would be the only thing I took. Otherwise I would take as I seen fit. My character needed large amounts of ale to deal with his grief of living in such a “horrid foreign land”. Many people that I killed I am sure thought of me as a griefer, but many of times those that stopped whining long enough to see how I played would congratulate me on how I played such a great killer of “brits”.
Now, don’t let those two examples get you to thinking that I only played homicidal grief characters. Far from it. I played many different characters ranging from the above to a druid that defended the (what he perceived as) the needless slaughter of NPC animals to a tradesman that loved to do nothing but make things and chat to an old frail man that had no skills whatsoever but loved to try and help people in any way he could.
What I guess someone could take from all the above is that you come up with a philosophy and some goals that you want your character to live by and stick with it. It does not need to be on such a granulated level that it is reflected in the way you type or your immediate actions at all times. From my experience even the most dedicated will slip up and that’s perfectly fine. What’s important (to me anyway) is that over time, people will come to know the character and his/her ways of doing things. It’s much like real life in that a first impression never tells you all the things of a person that you will learn should you spend a lot of time with them.
Role playing will always be defined differently depending on the person you ask. What I am hoping for in TOA is that people will begin to play the role of their character without even knowing it. You do that by encouraging them, by storylines and in game methods, to come up with a “theme” or philosophy that they can stick to.