A City Betwixt There she stood, her feet planted firmly on the golden wall that encircled the city of Aurinc. Her brilliant golden armor glinted in the light, the sun gleaming off of ever curve and facet of its surface. Her eyes peered through her visor at the distant horizon, and the swirling grey storm that was quietly building at its cusp. More would be coming, as they always did. They were newcomers to this strange, foreign world, lost and confused, just as she had been so long ago. How long ago had it been? She had no way of knowing, time seemed to pass differently here. It felt like years. She would go and meet the newcomers, as she had done a thousand times before. She would be their guide to the golden city, it was her duty, one of many. She watched as the storm grew stronger in the distance. The storms always preceded the arrival of newcomers, as far back as she could remember. There was no reason behind it, as far as she knew, but the appearance of the storms had never been wrong. The truth of why the storms hailed new arrivals, and of why they always seemed to arrive at the same place, was a mystery to her. In truth, it didn't concern her much. Her duty was to the ArchSeraph, and to her brothers and sisters. She would see them safely back to Aurinc, and set them on the proper path. As she watched the storm, armored footsteps clanked up the steps behind her. A familiar figure joined her at the wall's edge: her lieutenant. “Another storm's setting in. Seems like they're coming more often now, doesn't it milady?” Miranda turned her gaze towards the young man for a moment before looking back to the swirling mass of grey. “Yes, it would seem so.” She answered shortly, and her lieutenant seemed a bit dejected at her lack of desire for conversation. “Isn't that strange, Captain? You don't suppose something could be happening.. you know... on the other side?” Miranda remained turned towards the storm. “That's not our concern, Simon. If it is, we'll see it when we get there. For now, our concern is with the newcomers.” A pale light began to glow within the tumultuous storm before them. That was the sign that the newcomers had arrived. “I'll be heading out to the old temple to greet them, watch over the city while I'm gone.” Simon turned towards her. “Are you sure you wouldn't like me to come with you? I'd be more than willing to help.” Miranda shook her head. “No, Lieutenant, I'll be fine. You stay here, I shouldn't be gone for long.” Simon nodded, though his hopes had obviously been dashed. “Very well then, take care, Captain Armis.” IC THREAD: OPEN SIGNUPS - A City Betwixt Welcome (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Welcome (open) Welcome (close) Welcome to A City Betwixt! This thread will center around a group of newcomers to The Grey Expanse, a purgatory-esque world where the spirits of the dead go after death. In this afterlife, people are tasked with hunting demons: human spirits that have fallen to their own darkness. By purging the demons, humans hope to cleanse their own souls, and eventually return to their own world to be reborn. Rules (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Rules (open) Rules (close) 1: Be considerate of your fellow players, we're all here to have fun. 2: If you have to leave for an extended period of time, please let me know so we can avoid freezing other characters. 3: No autohitting/autokilling. 4: If you have an problems or questions, don't hesitate to talk to me, I'll help in any way I can. 5: Don't make a character insanely powerful.(Basically, just avoid one-shot abilities and we'll be cool.) Character Sheet Format (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Character Sheet Format (open) Character Sheet Format (close) Name: Age:(At time of death) Soul Clarity:(See the section on Soul Clarity for more information) Appearance:(Description or a picture are fine) Personality: Weapons/Belongings: Abilities:(Magic and whatnot goes here) Short History:(optional, but just a small blurb on the character's former life) My Characters (Move your mouse to reveal the content) My Characters (open) My Characters (close) Name: Oliver Renalt Age(at time of death): 27 Soul Clarity: Green Appearance: Oliver is a tall, thin man, standing a few inches over six feet in height. He has a lanky, willowy build with long, spry limbs consisting of lean muscle. His spine is slightly curved, likely from a lifetime of poor posture. He has pasty, porcelain-toned skin, a trait that makes him particularly susceptible to sunburns. His hair is also a stark shade of white and is rather long, reaching slightly past his jaw. Though not unkempt, it obviously has not seen a pair of scissors in quite some time. His features are well defined, though not overly pronounced, and if not for his almost sickly pale complexion he might be somewhat attractive. His eyes are a deep shade of violet, and the area around them is somewhat discolored from a combination of chronic insomnia and regular illness. Oliver's clothing befits his former station as a priest of Creth. He wears a black cotton vest, somewhat formal in appearance, which fastens with a row of large pearl buttons running along its front. The vest is worn over a long-sleeved shirt of white silk, with a black tie fastened around the collar. Oliver's leggings are simple black trousers with a plain black belt tied about the waist. His shoes are black leather traveler's boots with pointed toes and a slight heel. The former priest wears a black felt hat with a wide, round brim, a useful tool for keeping the sun out of his face, but also a symbol of the church's enforcers that was often met with apprehension and even fear by the common folk. A pair of black wire spectacles rest on his face, their round lenses framing his eyes. His hands are nearly always wrapped in bandages, though this is to hide the altered state of his arms, and not for any sort of injury. Around his neck, Oliver wears a thin golden chain attached to a locket. He typically wears this beneath his shirt. Inside the locket is a miniature portrait of a young woman. Personality: Oliver is typically a mild-mannered fellow, unwilling to cause unnecessary problems. He is somewhat pessimistic, though is unlikely to voice this viewpoint without prodding. He was dissatisfied with his lot in life at the time of his death, and this feeling has persisted. Despite this fact, he is not a gloomy man, and is more likely to laugh at his own misfortune than to publicly bemoan his fate. He routinely uses sarcasm or humor of the self-depreciating and mildly dark variety to cope with his troubles. While his own problems weigh on his mind, he is fairly pleasant to others, and won't hesitate to help someone in need. He seeks to do some kind of good in the world, even if he questions the point of doing so. His life left him with the idea that people should help one another, though he is unconvinced that there is a greater purpose for such actions. The events of his life killed his faith in any greater meaning beyond the temporal world, so the existence of any sort of afterlife is surprising, and more than a bit confusing to him. Weapons/Belongings: The Priests of Creth rarely used weapons in their work, and Oliver maintained this habit long after he left the Church. Instead, he was quite well-trained in martial arts. With the alterations that were made to his arms, he was more than capable of dealing with an armed opponent. As a wayfarer, Oliver carried little more than what was necessary. He has a traveler's bag, made of battered brown leather, that typically hangs at his hip. Contained within the bag are various odds and ends necessary to his former life, including tools for cooking, a razor for shaving, a sewing kit, and a tinderbox. In addition to his necessities, Oliver carries a small, leather-bound journal. Abilities: When he joined the Church of Rivers, Oliver underwent a ritual to become a priest. In accordance with an ancient sacrament, his arms were altered through a mix of arcane and scientific means. The spells that were woven into his arms hardened his flesh to a point comparable to steel, if not more so. The process was long, arduous, and quite painful, and robbed Oliver of most of the feeling from his elbows down. His arms are covered in inscriptions, seemingly burned into his arms, starting near the elbows and running down the entire length of his forearms. The symbol of a crescent moon is plainly visible on the back of each hand. There seem to have been a few attempts made to cross out the inscriptions with a sharp implement, likely a result of Oliver's distaste for the Church later in life. The inscriptions, written in a strange language, repeat the same line of an ancient sacrament important to the Church of Rivers. Translated, it reads as follows: 'Blessed is he who would defend the Faith. Unto him I shall grant hands of iron, so that he may bring forth judgment unto those who would defy me.' In this new world, Oliver's hands have also been covered in deep, wine red stains, perhaps a mark of guilt for all those he slew with them. In life, Oliver never had a need for weapons, as his hands were more than capable of combating bladed weaponry. The priest was trained from a young age in a series of different martial arts to make use of the power of his arms, and often used them to deadly effect in his service to the Church. The stains upon his hands, while a constant reminder of his sins, also seem to have given his flesh a resistance to magical and elemental attacks, perhaps because the heretics he slew were often supposed witches and sorcerers. Short History: Oliver never knew his parents, and grew up in an orphanage in his home country of Creth. The orphanage was funded and staffed by members of the Church of Rivers, a prominent religious group within the country. From his earliest years, Oliver was indoctrinated by the Church, and, unsurprisingly, decided to become a priest when he grew old enough. In the orphanage, Oliver had only seen the benevolent and caring side of the Church of Rivers. As a priest, however, he learned of the darker duties of the clergy. He hunted down and executed those who the Church viewed as heretics. At the time, he believed what he was doing was right. The Church, as well as the holy writings they held so dear, assured him that heretics only meant ill-will toward the people of Creth, and that he was protecting the general public by serving as a tool of justice for his goddess, the Mother of Rivers. Oliver served the Church wholly for most of his life, until he yet a young woman named Annaline. He fell in love with the woman, and soon they were married. Oliver continued his duties for the Church, but he now had something the Church had never given him: a family. His wife gave birth to son, and for some time the family lived happily. Unfortunately, this happiness was not meant to last. While Oliver was away on Church business, a plague struck the city where his family resided. He returned to find the entire town quarantined by his fellow brothers of the Church. He waited until night before sneaking into the city. By the time he reached his home, however, his wife was on her deathbed, and the plague had already taken his son. Shortly after his arrival, Oliver was discovered and removed from the city due to the quarantine, denying him the chance to even be with his wife for her final moments. The loss of his family led Oliver to question the legitimacy of the Church's teachings. He asked what kind of benevolent goddess would allow such a thing to happen, but was met only with non-answers and assurances that it was all part of some greater plan. Unconvinced, and utterly disgusted, Oliver abandoned both the Church and Creth, and became a wayfaring traveler. Free of the Church's influence, he began to question whether the cruel actions he had taken as a priest were justified. A great deal of sadness and guilt hovered over the man, and poor luck seemed to follow him wherever he went. His eventual death came in a fluke shipwreck. He died still questioning his place in the world, and firmly believing most of his life had been a mistake. Name: Anabel Trist Age: 20 Soul Clarity: Crimson Appearance: Anabel is a fairly ordinary girl, standing only a few inches above five feet in height. She has a light peach complexion, and her skin is dotted with a number of freckles. Her hair is strawberry blonde, and hangs down in wavy locks reaching her shoulders. Her eyes are a brilliant sky blue, but nearly always seem downcast and sad, likely a side-effect of her lonely life. Her features are soft, delicate, and not very pronounced. The former executioner has a slight frame, one that doesn't seem to lend itself to much physical strength, though perhaps there is more to her than meets the eye. Anabel's attire is fairly simple. She wears a cloak of a deep burgundy shade, which she often wears with the hood up, hiding her face in its shadow. Beneath the cloak, Anabel wears a soft vest, made of tanned leather dyed white, over a simple white button-up shirt made of cotton. Her trousers are somewhat tight-fitting, and made of black cloth. The young woman's footwear consists of a pair of soft shoes, made of tan cloth that expose her ankles. While comfortable, they were clearly not designed for extensive travel. Personality: Anabel is a shy, quiet young woman. As an executioner, she led a lonely, solitary life, and had few true friends. Thus, she was often alone with her thoughts. The guilt of her past transgressions has worn on her considerably, and the burden of her sadness is easily apparent. She wants nothing more than to escape the evils of her former life, and to finally be free of her guilt. Some part of her has always yearned for an ordinary life, to be accepted by others, and to have someone care about her well-being. She always hated the idea of taking lives, and the thought of violence makes her uncomfortable. Weapons/Belongings: Anabel's only weapon is the blade she used as an executioner. The sword is a long, straight, single-edged weapon comparable to its owner's own height. Though the sword's considerable length makes it a bit unwieldy, it is surprisingly light. The blade is fairly thin, and incredibly sharp, and its shape, reminiscent of a shaving implement, earned it the name 'Great Razor'. The weapon has no guard or pommel, and seems to consist entirely of one piece of pale grey steel. The tang of the blade has been wrapped in bright crimson silk to serve as a hilt. Abilities: Great Razor: In life, Anabel's sword was merely a tool with which she did her duty. In the afterlife, however, the blade seems to have taken on a life of its own. The blade 'speaks' to Anabel whenever she uses it with the voices of the executed, thus, using the weapon is quite traumatic for its young wielder. Even so, the weapon also grants Anabel a great deal of power, allowing her the angry spirits of those she slew to fight through her. The blade seems to cause wounds far beyond its natural capabilities, chewing through flesh like a living beast. Blood seems to excite the sword, making its attacks more ferocious, but also making its effect on Anabel more pronounced. Short History: Anabel was born in an island nation called Esterl. She was the daughter of the Crown's executioner. In her early years, she lived a somewhat normal life, though she was often shunned due to her father's bloody occupation. Despite this, her father treated her well, and she wanted for very little. In time, however, her father fell ill and died of a terrible fever. As the executioner's only child, she was forced to take over his position. Her duties bothered her deeply, but she strove to uphold her father's name and title. Still, the cries of the convicted haunted her dreams. An explosion of crime began in the young executioner's homeland, and more and more often she was called upon to do her duty for the Crown. Her nightmares grew ever worse, and soon the guilt of what she had done, what she continued to do, became unbearable. Most avoided her out of fear or distaste for her occupation, so she was left alone to deal with the voices that seemed to grow ever louder every night. Eventually, the burden broke her. One night, unable to cope with the ghosts of her victims, she took her own life with the same blade she had used to spill so much blood. Soul Clarity (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Soul Clarity (open) Soul Clarity (close) Soul Clarity: Soul Clarity is a color system used to measure the state of a person's soul. All humans have a hunger within them, and as this hunger overtakes them, their Soul Clarity becomes darker. When a person's Clarity degrades to black, they become a demon. Typically, the condition of the spirit is tied to the condition of the mind, and as a person's mental state deteriorates, so too does their soul. For many, the only escape from this downhill slope is to cleanse one's soul and mind by finding a new purpose in the afterlife. The primary method of purification, a cause championed by the ArchSeraph Argyle and his followers, is the hunting of those who have fallen to their own sins. It is only through destruction that a demon can be purged, and many find vindication through bringing peace to these wayward souls. Grey: Clarity level of the formless greys. Greys are human souls that have lost their sense of identity and float aimlessly through the Grey Expanse. (Unavailable for player characters) White: The Clarity level of one ready to leave the Grey Expanse. A person with white Soul Clarity has escaped all the burdens of their previous life. (Unavailable at the start) Gold Green Crimson Violet Black: The Clarity level of soul-devouring Demons. Demons are human spirits that have given in to their primal hunger, and devour the souls of others to gain strength. (Unavailable at the start) (Note: You cannot begin the thread with a Black or White Soul Clarity. I'd also strongly recommend avoiding Grey, unless being a formless ghost is your thing.) Information (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Information (open) Information (close) Gods of The Grey Expanse Argyle: God of light and salvation Aylieth: God of Moon, Knowledge, Brother of Argyle Lucentia: Goddess of illusion and deceit, Daughter of Aylieth Acasia: Goddess of nature and the unwanted/abandoned Arrnauk: Lord of the Deep and the Drowned Othni: God of fire and war Piara: Reclusive Goddess of the mountains Old Gods The Old Gods were those present for the creation of the Grey Expanse. Orix: The first god, tied to creation, destruction, and chaos Verdinia: Primordial Goddess of the land and seas Nebe: Primordial Goddess of the heavens Zushia: Primordial Goddess of life and flame Locations Aurinc- Golden City of the ArchSeraph Argyle Leviza- Pale City of Aylieth, the Faerie Prince Siov- The Sunken City of Arrnauk, laid waste by his own rage Damaz- The domain of the fire god, Othni Abrizia- The wooded abode of Acasia Yehka- The holy mountain of Piara Itima- An old, abandoned temple where newcomers to the Grey Expanse arrive. Notable NPCS (This will be updated as we encounter more NPCS) Miranda Armis: The Captain of the Seraph's Guard. Miranda has served Argyle for a very long time, and is one of his most powerful soldiers. She serves the ArchSeraph dutifully, and takes her job very seriously. She also greets newcomers to the Grey Expanse. Simon Euri: Simon is Miranda's second-in-command in the Seraph's Guard. He is a fierce warrior in his own right, and quite loyal to the Captain. Lore (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Lore (open) Lore (close) In the beginning, the world was formless, shapeless, a tumultuous, swirling void. There was no darkness, no light, only a storm that never faltered or waned. From the depths of this storm, life emerged. The first god, Orix, was born amidst the thundering tides, a flicker of life in a frigid world of grey. The newborn god slumbered deeply in the chaos of the formless void, and as he slept, he dreamed. He had a vision of the beginning that was to come, and of the end that would eventually follow. The child of the storm saw the world he would forge from nothingness, and awoke. He was reason born of disorder, clarity born of chaos, and with his will he would subdue the maelstrom. He took hold of the formless storm, bending and shaping its form towards his own machinations. He subjugated the void, and quelled the seething tides. The storm became clay in his hands, and from its essence he withdrew the pillars of his new world. He split the maelstrom with a horizon, placing the heavens above and the firmament below. From the earth rose Verdinia, Goddess of the land and sea, who upon her birth shaped the earth. From the heavens came Nebe, who dotted the sky with stars and brought celestial light. As the world formed before him, Orix took hold of the storm's final surviving aspect: its fury. From this fury was born Zushia, and she brought with her life. With the storm's essence she created life, but also flame, a force of destruction and rebirth. Having completed his labor, Orix fell into a deep slumber. While Orix slept, the Primordial Goddesses continued their work, perfecting their new world. They crafted many great wonders: shimmering seas, towering mountains, brilliant stars, and dense forests. They also gave birth to new gods, and entrusted their children as wardens of their creations. Nebe's children were entrusted with the affairs of the sky: Argyle was entrusted with the sun and the light of day, Aylieth was given sovereignty over the moon, and Absia was made goddess of the night and stars. Zushia entrusted the care of the natural world to her daughter Acasia, and granted unto her son Othni the might of flame. Verdinia made her son Arrnauk the stoic watcher of the seas, and to her daughter Piara she gave ownership over the stony mountains. These new gods, the children of the primordial goddesses, shaped the world in their own ways, using their great power to create cities and creatures to dwell within the world. For a time, there was an age of great prosperity. In time, Orix awoke from his slumber, but something in his dreams had changed him. With no express cause, he devoured the primordial goddesses, absorbing their strength. The new gods, outraged by Orix's treatment of the goddesses, banded together to destroy the old god for his crime. Their battle was fierce, and shook the new world to its very foundations. In the end, the gods were able to defeat Orix, but even their combined force was not enough to truly destroy him. So, they divided him amongst themselves and locked him away so that he could never harm his creations again. Shortly after the defeat of Orix, however, strange beings began appearing in the world. They called themselves 'humans' and claimed to come from another world. According to the newcomers, they had arrived in this new world only after dying in their own. In time, many of these humans came to worship the gods and their might, others, however, rejected the new world entirely. They crept in the dark, becoming twisted and feeding on the souls of their brethren. The gods, and the humans that followed them, fought back against these demons, and with their united force quelled the blasphemous uprising. Demons, however, continued to exist in the shadows. Humans, it seemed, were doomed to eventually become twisted when left without purpose. Many of the gods sought to provide this purpose through their own means, but the differences in their methods created a rift of distrust between them. Some, it was said, had even begun making use of demons to elevate their own power. The demons were an ever-present problem, and one that had to be alleviated. Argyle, the god of light, provided a solution that drew much of the human populace to his cause. He discovered a method of measuring the clarity of a human's soul, and determined that, upon reaching true purity, it was possible for them to be cleansed of their innate darkness. Argyle began tasking humans with the destruction of the demons, giving them a sense of purpose and a righteous cause to rally behind. Through these acts of atonement, they could rid themselves of their past sins, and escape the burdens of their former lives. While ordinary humans could become purified through their own labors, demons could only be purged through their destruction. Those who followed Argyle's path were not only working towards their own salvation, they were providing it to their fallen brethren. Argyle's discovery was met with uncertainty by the other gods, but many humans saw it as a glimmer of hope. After all, it was said, with a pure soul, a human could return and be reborn in their own world, or perhaps even ascend to a higher plane.