This RP is a continuation of World Walk. Reading that RP is not required, as necessary information is explained here, but it would further your understanding of the world and the characters. @Kreska is my co-GM. He holds as much authority as I do, so listen to him if you please. I mostly handle the progression of the plot, while he has final say on the structure of the Scales and similar issues. ------ Megethos. A continent caught in the stride of progress. In the years 1453, called the Year of Doors, an eccentric scholar by the name of Darrius discovered a set of writings while exploring previously-buried ancient ruins. They were supposedly manuscripts of magic; details on how to bind a Dimension to yourself and gain the ability to cast spells. While these were more specific than other such finds, they were nothing unusual. Many ancient works had such claims. Darrius, however, was obsessed with the idea of a power out of this world. As he always did, he followed the instructions contained in the writings by performing the Ritual described. And found himself transported to another Dimension. Darrius soon found himself the most powerful person on the planet. Able to bend reality to his will (albeit in a very limited fashion at first), he spread news of his abilities across the continent and changed his name to Magus. At first, only the most gullible believed his wild claims. But as his powers grew, he visited large cities and performed undeniable feats of magic. The world realized that this madman had stumbled on something very revolutionary. While Magus himself refused to divulge the Ritual's secrets, his copies of the original manuscript were stolen soon after his abilities were confirmed. At first, governments hoarded them as the most valuable things in the world. Kings, politicians, and elite soldiers becoming mages over the coming two years. Then, an unknown thief infiltrated a secure Royal magical academy and copied the process, releasing it to the public. The difficulty and cost of the Ritual was the only thing that stopped everyone on Megethos from becoming mages practically overnight. As it was, a great many learned the secret and over a year various magical institutions and schools sprung up like weds. There was nothing anyone could have done to stop it, and soon the conversion was complete. Megethos would never be the same. In 1470, called the Year of The Tower, 17 years after magic re-entered the world, strife tore apart the continent. Monsters, beings presumably escaped from other dimensions, were sighted everywhere, ranging from the famous haunters of Kosma to the strange aberrations called needlemen. War ravaged the continent as nations fought for control and power in the new magical world, and death counts were high. Natural disasters struck with surprising frequency, and scholars believe that the constant disruption of the planar barriers may be interfering with nature. Amidst this chaos, Magus, the original sage, called a meeting at his Tower in the Fragments. Several hundred mages survived the trek there to listen to what he had to say, but it was revealed to be a terrible deception. Magus cast a spell that rebound the foci of all present, save a few, to him, drawing the combined magical power of everyone in the Tower to himself. He soon left for Kosma and vanquished the High Archmage Noir, taking control of the powerful Magocracy for himself. Now the most powerful man on earth, he declared himself the Grand High Magister, announcing that all nations would submit or be crushed beneath his heel. Thus began the War of the Magister. A World of Magic: Megethos is a medieval fantasy world composed of five nations and a contested area where many smaller groups reside in splintered land. Alixies: Laying in the temperate south, Alixies is called the Silver Capital of the World. Its king was one of the first mage after Magus, and it was the first nation to build magical colleges, leading to a high rate of magical literacy. It thrives on trade, bordering Arandland, Estillia, and Velaria. It is a monarchy, the position of king passed down the bloodline. The mages of Alixies tend to learn simple practical spells, or illusions for use in entertainment. The national currency is the silver Talent, an ornate and fanciful coin accepted almost everywhere. A quirk of the southern Ailixien mountain ranges is that they run full with gold but silver is rare, leading to the latter being more valuable in the nation. Bronze and gold Talents exist, but gold coins are mostly used for trade with other nations and is worth even less than bronze in Alixies. The current king is an indecisive man named Marlin. Alixies has been largely spared from the war so far, as Velaria lies between it and Kosma, meaning that until that country is quelled Magus must march his troops through hostile ground to reach the Silver State. However, small skirmishes at the border are still common, and it is only a matter of time before the battle escalates. Despite Magus' clear announcement, King Marlin has announced that Alixies is officially neutral in the war, and it is taking no offensive toward Kosma. Arandland: On the eastern edge of the continent is Arandland, the oldest nation of Megethos. The legends say it was founded by a powerful warrior-king named Arand. Of course, due to recent events, the history books have been rewritten to claim that Arand was the first Spellknight. Such is the fickle nature of events gone by. The nation is a monarchy heavily based on tradition. Some would call it a tyranny based on how absolute the word of the king is. The Arandish currency is the Crown, made from gold, silver or bronze. The Arandish are a stoic, hardy people, known across Megethos for their strength, even if their intelligence may be called into question. The current ruler is a scholar named Everett who defies the stereotype (and the norm) by being more of a mage-king than a warrior. Arandland is putting up a valiant defense against the marauding Kosman forces, but is slowly being pushed back because of its relative lack of mages compared to other realms. Rumors say that Everett is studying a powerful Abjuration Ritual that will place a ward on his country, but their veracity is unknown. Kosma: Standing proudly in the north, Kosma is the newest nation to vie for international power in Megethos. In 1462, the entire magically active population of northern Velaria rose up and rebelled in one fell sweep. The official government was ousted quickly and a new one established. Newly formed Kosma is a magocracy, which has two projound impacts on the nation: It has the highest portion of magically capable citizens, and its leadership changes very often, sometimes multiple times in a year. Whoever can defeat the current High Archmage in a magical duel is crowned, regardless of gender, race, nationality, or any other factor. Most of the time the old ruler is killed in said duel. Originally, anyone could challenge the current ruler at any time. However, the High Archmage would never have time to rule because they were spending all their time fighting. Nowadays, a massive tournament is held every three months, and the winner earns the right to challenge the High Archmage. The Kosman currency is the unique Tear. Tears are tiny, carefully carved blue gemstones that are abundant across the nation's mines. Before, the expense of refining them made them an impractical currency, but magic offers an easy way to mass-craft them. Before Magus, the High Archmage was an enigmatic but capable woman named Noir, who is said to have survived her duel with the Magister but fled. Magus did not follow the custom of the tournament, but his victory was so absolute no one would challenge his rule. His first act after declaring war on the world was to use powerful magic to raise the capital of Kosma into the sky, renaming it Darriusell. The citizens (those that are allowed to leave, anyway) use magical elevators and teleportation devices for transport between the ground and Darriusell. Velaria: Velaria is a tiny stretch of land caught between Alixies and Kosma. It is a crippled nation that was caught in a fight for succession before Magus' rise. It used to be much, much larger, but the rebellion of the Kosmos shattered it. The previous, childless, queen committed suicide in 1468, and quickly afterward everyone even distantly related to the throne began the war for it. However, they uncharacteristically united upon the Kosman attack, and have been putting up fierce resistance, preventing Kosma access to Alixies. The Velarian currency is the Shekel, barely refined (but carefully weighted) bits of precious metal. Estilia: West of Velaria is Estillia, a nation founded on war and ruled with blood. Created in 1203 when the warrior Zarath raised an army and forcefully united the divided city states of the land, it is constantly embroiled in conflict with itself and other nations. Today, it is the greatest center of war magic in the world, with entire academies scattered across the country dedicated to it. The mages of Estillia are known for the Order of the Blue Sword, a cult of spellknights with an almost religious loyalty to the king that wield incredibly powerful combat magic. The Estillian currency is a heavy gold coin called the Daric. The current ruler is an eccentric man named Fen that has taken personal control of the Blue Knights, leading them himself. Estillia was not originally attacked by Kosma, but Estillian forces, led by the Knights, have pushed into Kosman territory in a terrifying offensive. Initially this attack made great headway, but Magus rallied his forces again and pushed the Estillians back in a series of battles that still rage across western Kosma. The Fragments: To the far west past Estilia lies a huge stretch of land that has no central government. It was formerly a nation named Mageia that once ruled the continent until many nations banded together in 1134 and felled it. The legends say that Mageia knew the secret of magic, but it was lost in its destruction. Previously dismissed as a fairy tale, scholars are now re-evaluating the old stories with a sneaking suspicion. Now, many kings and would be conquerers claim to own the Fragmens, but none hold very much of the territory, and it is considered a dangerous no-man's land by sensible people. Many people have fled here for refuge since the beginning of the War of the Magister, but it is inevitable that Magus will attack the scattered towns of the Fragments if Estillia falls. Planar Magic: The Revolution In 1453, Magus changed the world when he was the first in centuries to tap into another plane of existence and bend its power to his will. When the secret became public, magic swept across the world. The Ritual: Everyone who wishes to practice magic must perform a magical process called simply the Ritual. It involves using a specific mixture of ink to draw a pattern on a large plate of pure silver, then burning logs from a rare tree and laying them around the glyph. The caster then stands in the middle with the desired Focus in hand (or otherwise on their person) and chants a specific incantation that takes roughly thirty minutes to recite due to length. Any pause more than around thirty seconds disrupts the magic and requires the caster to start over. When the final word is spoken, all components (except the Focus) are consumed and the caster is transported to another unclaimed plane of existence. A link between them and that dimension is formed, laying the basis for spellcasting and allowing them to instantly transmit themselves to that dimension no matter where they are on the Material Plane. Any other mage nearby, however, can piggyback on the translocation with a thought, and follow them. Foci: To cast magic, a mage must have the Focus they specified in the Ritual. It is irrevocably tied to them and their dimension. It can be anything from a necklace to a dagger. The one restriction is size; the exact dimensions haven't been accurately recorded, but in practice anything larger than an average shortsword doesn't work. Most mages choose something small for ease of transportation, regardless. The Focus is physically indestructible, but ceases to exist if the bonded Mage dies. Connection and Sound: The strength of a mage's connection with their dimension varies, ranging from weak to very strong. Connection does not influence the power of spells cast, but rather the energy expended to cast them. The act of reaching across dimensions to draw power is physically tiring, and the stronger a Mage's connection the less so. However, stronger connections have a downside--every time a Mage casts a spell, it emits a magical "sound" that other mages around them can hear. While it isn't physical and is merely felt rather than heard, it is still unmistakeable. Every Dimension has its own "sound" that the connected Mage shares, and the stronger their Connection, the "louder" their spells are, alerting other mages in a larger radius. While the differences in sounds are subtle, if one hears the same Mage cast spells enough it is easy to be familiar with their sound and recognize it later. When in a Dimension, there is a perpetual magical "buzz" of its sound, masking the Dimension's owner's spellcasting. The Dimensional Framework: Every dimension is connected in some way, but such connections are hard to utilize and hard to see normally. The Framework is a network of Dimensions willingly connected by their Mage or creator so that anyone in one can see any others connected and travel to them instantly. This is extremely useful for Anchored Dimensions (Artificial Dimensions created by powerful mages tied to a point in space in the material plane through which one can enter and exit it), which are used to cross great distances effortlessly. The advantage of conecting your dimension to the framework is being able to access Anchored Dimensions for teleportation near-instantly, but the disadvantage is any other skilled mage being able to find your Dimension and follow it to you easily. Ritual Spells and Essence: Certain powerful spells are Ritual spells, and have a set of additional requirements and take time to cast. Most Ritual spells must be performed in the caster's own dimension, require special material components at hand, and take at least ten minutes to cast. Ritual spells include: Dimensional divinations (simple divinations such as detecting nearby living creatures are not Rituals, but any that involve looking through the dimensions are). Lingering enchantments (while simple spells will suffice to create a magical effect around something for a few moments, enchantments lasting much more must be Rituals). Dimensional manipulation (while the manipulation of a Dimension while you are in it varies, to change the dimensional framework or affect a foreign dimension, you must cast a Ritual). Mass spells (Mass spells are akin to normal spells except that they affect huge areas. They can be cast anywhere, but are incredibly draining and will exhaust even a mage with a very strong connection. Only the most powerful of mages can cast mass spells). Essence is the inherent trait of a dimension that represents how fast it produces magic. While all dimensions produce magic fast enough that Essence doesn't matter to normal spells, Ritual spells use so much that it does matter. Essence ranges from Weak to Very Strong and determines how long their owner's Ritual spells take. Note that Rituals cast outside of the caster's own plane (those that even can be) take much longer. Malleability: Dimensions can be altered physically as the material plane (usually) but they can also be altered magically, as determined by how malleable they are. The terrain of Thought dimensions can be altered by simply envisioning the change in your mind. Word dimensions can be altered by firmly describing the change out loud, Spell dimensions can be altered by casting a very simple dimensional spell, and Ritual dimensions can only be altered by powerful, long incantations. Only the terrain of dimensions can be altered this way; living creatures and inherent traits such as gravity cannot be. Now the year is 1471, and most of the continent is locked in a furious battle with the powerful forces of Kosma under The Grand High Magister. Only Alixies and the Fragments have been spared so far, and that cannot last. You are a member of a small but growing military force called the Scales, formed by three mages who escaped the Tower intact a year earlier, Demi Sviatla, Taras Ashur, and a woman known only as Lavender. They are aided by a knowledgeable Arcane Scholar, Vance, and their objective is to end the war by personally defeating the Magister, whether that means fighting through his forces or not. What separates them from the nations currently battling Kosma is their personal experience--and the secret of Artifacts. Vance has uncovered the ancient Mageian art of creating Artifacts, powerful magic items that each have a Plane bound to them from which they can draw magic, allowing their wielder to use magic even if they are not a mage, and supplement their own magic if they are. Before Artifacts, items could only be enchanted with minor magicks for a few days at most, but the extreme power of these objects may be enough to turn the tide, if enough can be made. However, the process of creating Artifacts requires rare components that cannot be bought, and The Scales's relative lack of resources makes this scavenging very time-consuming. You are a high ranking member, who has shown themself to be capable, whether that be in combat, espionage, magical research, or strategy, and you are in line to receive an Artifact when the next one is created. Perhaps, with your abilities and the talents of the Scales, strengthened by the magic of the Artifacts, the Grand High Magister can be defeated and the world spared from his reign. The Scales: The Scales is a private military organization, headquartered in central Alixies but at least covertly active abroad, created with the sole goal of defeating the Magister. It was formally founded in 1470 by Demi Sviatla, Taras Ashur, A woman known only as Lavender, and Vance Velts. Sviatla and Ashur were two people who escaped Magus's tower after he cast his spell, Hawke's ritual making them resistant to its effects. Lavender was a mercenary hired by Magus to manipulate the Fragments and create the ideal conditions for his plan, but betrayed him upon learning of his true plan. Vance is an arcane scholar and former Velarian spy who learned of Magus's plans before anyone else, but was unable to halt them. Driven by the loss of friends and a desire for revenge, the group used their connections across Megethos to earn the loyalty of several independent forces, allowing them to assemble a sizeable army. After moving to Alixies, the Scales began covertly recruiting. Whether you were among the first to arrive or a relative latecomer, you occupy a position in the Scales high enough that you have at least some say over the deployment of forces, and may be likely to lead squads of said forces on operations. The divisions of the Scales are as follows: Estillian Knights: By impersonating his father, Taras Ashur was able to recruit several Estillian knights and their retainers to the Scales. While small in number compared to other divisions, the Knights are a force to be reckoned with, as Estillians are masters of combat magic. The most offensively inclined division, the Estillian Knights are usually deployed when the forces of Magus must be met head-on. They are disciplined and extremely loyal. Crime Lords: Lavender used her connection in the extensive underworld of Megethos to gain the loyalty of several crime lords across the world, each of which contribute everything from smuggles to assassins to thugs to the Scales. While their open fighting force is lacking and they are more independent than other divisions, they provide financial and utility aid, especially in acquiring the rare components needed in the creation of artifacts. Mercenaries: Actually several divisions, mercenaries hired with the simple resource of gold make up the bulk of the Scales' fighting force. While not as effective as the Arands or Estillian knights and divided into difficult-to-organize troops, the mercenaries are plentiful and mostly reliable whenever the Scales need to bring military might to bear. Their biggest drawback is the fact that their loyalty only goes as far as they're being paid. Velarian spies: Less a division and more a select group of trusted and skilled individuals, the Velarian spies serving the Scales number less than ten but are among the most effective agents in the world. Before the dawn of magic, Velaria had the greatest intelligence service in the world, but it disintegrated over time, spies going their separate ways. Vance used his old connections to track them down and convince them to join the cause. Velarian spies are incredibly skilled at every aspect of infiltration, magical and mundane--they are the best of the best. A Velarian spy can go almost anywhere and find out almost anything, but it will take time. Arandish Nobles: Aaron, a long-time friend of Vance's, used his status as an Arandish noble to convince several others to join the cause. A total of four Arandish Lords answered his call, bringing all their resources of gold, retainers, and most importantly, soldiers to the Scales. After the mercenaries, they are the largest division. Arands are not as skilled at magic as other peoples, but their martial skill is totally unrivaled. The Arands are masters at the art of the siege, both defending and attacking, and can hold a position for weeks if food holds out. Arcane Scholars: Arcane scholars across Megethos tend to keep in touch to share research, and Vance and Hawke used these connections to contact several dozen scholars and convince them to join the cause. While small and not very effective in combat, they are all adept mages and contribute to the further development of utility magic to serve the Scales, particularly in finding less expensive components for the Artifact ritual. Their magic makes them serviceable at reconaissance, but they are at their best holed up, studying, in the Keep. Artifacts: Artifacts are powerful magical items beyond anything that could be created previously. They can take the form of almost any item, and are as indestructible as Foci. They are not bound to a single person, and any creature holding one can use it (with the proper knowledge, such as command words). Artifacts grant the follow capabilities: Abilities: Every Artifact grants one unique passive or active ability, often activated by command word if active. These range from creating a barrier of force to shooting lightning to anything else you might think a magic item could do. Spells: Artifacts can channel spells from the dimensions they are connected to, but have several limitations compared to actual mages. Firstly, these spells have cooldowns. The louder a spell is, the longer it takes until the Artifact can channel spells again after casting it. Artifacts have Connection scores, just like mages, but this score determines how loud chanelled spells are and how long cooldowns are. Additionally, Artifacts can only channel specific categories of spells, such as fire and wind, and simply fail if a wielder attempts to channel a spell outside the Artifact's parameters. So far, only the founders of the Scales are known to have Artifacts, but rumors have reached Demi and Taras that the Bluecloaks, an elite, mysterious division of mages Magus uses to enforce his laws across Kosma, fight battles, and spy on other countries, also have access to Artifacts. Name: The Pearl of Scrying Owner: Lavender Description: The Pearl of Scrying is a pink pearl about as big as an adult's fingertip. It feels cold to the touch. Abilities: When held in a clenched fist, the Pearl disconnects the wielder's senses from their body, causing their physical form to slump to the ground. The wielder can then move the center of their senses around to perceive things around them, essentially controlling an invisible and immaterial Arcane eye. This eye cannot move more than one hundred yards from the wielder's body, but can see, smell, and hear just as well as the wielder can. This form can be retained indefinitely, but the wielder's body is not in stasis and does require food and water. If the pearl is removed from their hand, they are instantly snapped back. Otherwise they can return at will. Spells: The Pearl of Scrying can channel Force and Divination spells. Connection: Weak Dimension Sheet: Name: Whitemaze Description: Whitemaze is a labyrinth that seems to stretch on infinitely. The walls and ceiling are made of a polished white stone that resembles marble. The walls are painted with intricate sky blue patterns, each wall its own mosaic. At the center of the labyrinth is a wide room stocked with living amenities. Lining one wall of this room is a series of bowls of water, mounted on pedestals. When the water in one of them is disturbed, it forms into a image of a certain part of the labyrinth, showing anything happening in that area. The marble cannot be altered by normal forces, even magic, unless a ritual is performed to manipulate the dimension. If the floor is removed in any place, it leads to a sheer drop to a sea of white light several hundred feet below. Lavender doesn't know if there is anything beyond nothingness in said sea. Essence: Very Strong Malleability: Ritual Notable Traits: Ward spells do not function. The corridors of Whitemaze are forever changing, continually altering themselves, even when people are walking along them. Every room and corridor except the central living space is trapped in some way, whether it be a magical trap or a more mundane one, such as swinging blades. These traps cannot be triggered by one carrying the Pearl of Scrying. Name: Garden of Hope Owner: Demi Sviatla Description: Inspired by her friend Laurelle using tattoos as her focus, Demi sought out to make a tattoo of her own using ink that would hold magic enough to make it an artifact. The "Garden of Hope" (although the flowery name embarrasses her, Demi could think of nothing else) is one of these such tattoos, a criss-crossed pattern of budding vines running across her shoulders, originally painted in heavy green ink but having faded a bit after the ritual was performed on it. When Demi is in her dimension, Vada, the plants bloom into bluish flowers. Abilities: The Garden, being always attached to Demi, is more privy to her willpower than others when willing one's self into another dimension. This means that if someone who has knowledge of artifacts tries to warp themselves to Skystream by grabbing Demi's shoulder, they will first have to engage into a battle of will before warping unless she is already willing. Additionally, the magic that Demi's tattoo channels can be lended off to other mages very temporarily, so that even a mage with a weak connection can summon an orb of lightning or gale-force wind without much trouble. Spells: The tattoo channels lightning and wind spells. Connection: Strong Dimension Sheet: Name: Skystream Description: Skystream, as its name suggests, is what appears to be a river of clouds (often swelled with electricity) flowing through the night sky. Bolts of lightning of various colors can be seen traveling in the distance, and their march through the sky can be visibly watched because of how far away they are. Terrain is precarious at best, with islands of stone and dirt traveling through the river constantly, few of them permanent. Gravity is uncertain as the river has a gravitational pull but winds in various directions as it travels through space. The river is inhabited by fishes and eels, all of them seemingly immune to lightning, and can be swam through almost effortlessly given that someone who falls in it is not too busy being electrocuted. Lightning magic itself is amplified to the point of bending reality— using a strong enough spell, one can even divert the river in another direction. Essence: Very Strong Malleability: Word Notable Traits: Larger fish are hostile, sometimes beaching themselves in an attempt to bite would-be victims. Lightning magic is amplified and has strong magnetic pull, affecting gravity. Fire magic does not function. The river has high gravitational pull except inside it, where gravity is very low. Name: Arm Keeper Owner: Taras Ashur Description: A somewhat elastic woven cord that is easily tied together, colored a light blue. It is usually fastened to Taras's sword and his wrist: the name "Arm Keeper" has a double meaning in that it keeps him from being disarmed, but also in that Taras somewhat expects his arm to be dislocated by something pulling on it one day. Abilities: Surrounding the Arm Keeper is a sort of small forcefield that brings anything in it to a constant speed. This serves to dampen the effects of force magic (lest someone try to disarm Taras and send his sword flying from his hand) as well as give Taras's strikes even greater crushing force. Spells: The Arm Keeper channels ice and other coldness-related spells. Connection: Moderate Dimension Sheet: Name: Metalchest Description: Metalchest is the inside of a large rectangular prism, although its exact size it not known and the distances too far to see more than two walls at a time unless one is at one of the corners. The floor appears metallic, giving the dimension its name, and the level of light is low, the box illuminated by trails of varying luminescence that seem random at first but are actually trails left by spheres that bounce around indefinitely. The spheres are made of various types of stone and each has its own center of gravity. The spheres that travel faster tend to be hotter in temperature, the colder ones having water or ice permeating them often. Water that escapes spheres forms small pools of ice in the metal landscape, which has just enough irregularities and dents to form the pools. About half of the spheres are inhabited by several tortoises whose shells appear to be made of the same type of rock as the sphere that they came from. Essence: Strong Malleability: Thought Notable Traits: Gravity is very low except around spheres, whose gravitational pulls vary based on speed. Tortoises are easily provoked and have a strong bite, but are not much of a real threat because of their slow movement. Fire, ice, and force magic are amplified; all other types are weakened greatly. Important NPCs and Organizations: Marlin: The king of Alixies is totally cowed by Magus and thinks that if he doesn't fight the Magister, his country will be spared. This is unlikely, and his generals and court members are attempting to convince him to fight, to no avail. Chances are he will surrender as soon as Magus rallies any kind of significant unified force against him, allowing Kosman forces to wash across Alixies like a sea. If the Scales are to survive, this cannot happen, so convincing Marlin to grow a backbone is imperative. The Bluecloaks: The Bluecloaks are an enigmatic division of the Kosman forces Magus instated in the last six months. They consist of twelve powerful mages, each traditionally garbed in a blue cloak with the symbol of Magus, an unfurling scroll. They range from generals to assassins to enforcers to spies, filling all manner of functions, and rumors say that each member bears an Artifact, although evidence for this cannot be found, as they are elusive. The Scales are bound to run into the Bluecloaks sometime, so their members must be prepared for a fierce battle. Hawke: An Arcane Scholar who developed the Ritual that prevented Magus from stealing the founder's Foci, Hawke is an eccentric man and a friend of Vance. He is a well known figure among the Scales, and frequently leads other scholars in their ranks on expeditions. He is a colorful, excitable character, and knows a great deal about magic. Other entries will be added to this list as relevant. The Rules: 1. Obey the GMs. That's @Kreska and I! 2. DO NOT God mod. Keep your character's limitations in mind, including how loud and tiring their spells are. 3. Don't power-mod without permission. I define power-modding as taking control of another person's character. Collabs are fine--the key word is permission. 4. Live up to the Intermediate posting level. I don't expect perfection or super-long posts, but at the very least use adequate grammar, third person, past tense, and at least one decent-sized paragraph per post. 5. Be realistic. Even in a world as high fantasy as Megethos, some things still need to be realistic. A big one is injuries--I see a lot of fiction where a character can get shot several times or cut up with a sword and keep fighting, as if it was an RPG with hit points where the only penalty for damage is critical existence failure when you hit zero. Consider stuff like ruptured blood vessels when hit by an attack; would you be at risk of bleeding out? What would the consequences of taking a magical fireball to the face be? And so on. If you're not sure about something, ask! Especially if it pertains to injuries, as I'm a medical student and will probably know at least the basics. 6. No meta-gaming or meta-knowledge! Meta-gaming is when you see the RP from your perspective instead of your characters, and meta-knowledge is a specific type of it where you give knowledge that you have to your characters when they shouldn't know it. An example of metagaming would be taking a huge risk (that your character wouldn't attempt) because you know that I as a GM don't like killing characters. 7. Be respectful toward your fellow players! We're all in it for fun; let's not forget that. 8. If you have a question or suggestion, absolutely ask! If it relates to the Scales, Kreska is the best one to ask. If it's about the world or magic, ask me. For anything else, either of us will probably be able to answer. I write RPs for the players as much as myself, and I love feedback to improve things. It's your game as much as mine! Characters: Valentyne: Name: Sharon "Lavender" Jules Gender: Female Age: 31 Focus: A tiny white opal, embedded in the skin of her right arm. Nation: Kosma, moved to the Fragments Connection: Moderate Appearance: Lavender is of average height and has a sturdy, athletic frame that can take a punch. Her tanned skin is caucasian. She has long pink hair, perpetually tied back in a ponytail, and hard, dark blue eyes. She wears a long sleeved v-neck pink shirt, tight leggings of the same color, and a white and lavender trenchcoat (left unbuttoned and open). She has a scar in the shape of a semicircle on her upper right arm, a reminder of the time she cut herself open to embed her Focus and make sure it was never stolen. She has another ugly red scar, a long, straight line on her stomach. She wears a katar (punching dagger) on the inside of her coat where she can reach it quickly. Her expression is always flat and emotionless, and she speaks in deadpan. Personality: Lavender is purposeful, determined, and apathetic. She doesn't like people as a general rule, and doesn't think anything of killing. She tries to plan for the long-term, usually playing the part of an enforcer but carefully manipulating entire criminal organizations from the shadows so that she can reap the awards without suffering the consequences if they're busted. She doesn't tolerate disobedience from her underlings in the Scales and is very good at getting her point across, giving her a reputation among the divisions she commands. Her career has taught her to be careful and never to rush into anything, but to know when to move quickly. Backstory: Lavender was born in northern Velaria to a common woman, a poor, humble soul that was content with her lot in life. Even from a young age, she made the girl sick. Lavender, or Sharon at the time, couldn't stomach the sheer ignorance and lack of ambition in her mother, and when she was fourteen, stole away from her home, following the growing rumors of magic in the world. She stole to survive in her travels, although regretfully, and only took as much as she needed. She reached the court of the king in the south, and there beheld her first mage. Sharon had snuck in a side door with a servant, shadowing him to the throne room, where an illusionist was putting on a show. From this moment, Sharon resolved to find out how to become a mage herself. In a few years, she had learned the Ritual and gathered the components, falteringly performing it when she was sixteen. By this time, she was streetsmart enough to know not to choose some gaudy jewelry as her Focus. She instead chose a tiny white opal. When she had successfully performed the Ritual, she cut her arm open and embedded the gem beneath her skin where no one would ever find it. She still bears a white scar over the spot, and the opal has never moved from there, ensuring that Sharon always has control of her magic. She attempted out to carve a legitimate place for herself in society, but could never climb Velaria's harsh social ladder and found herself repeatedly resorting to thievery. She was on the verge of despair when she heard Tara speak. Tara was a duchess in northern Velarian who preached about the tyranny of the Velarian monarchy and how magic was the most important thing in the world. Sharon was entranced by her words, and was an easy recruit when Tara rallied the Velarians around her to oust the monarchy. Sharon barely survived the brief war, suffering serious injuries that prevented her from fighting in the last battle, and likely saved her life. After the creation of Kosma, she felt disconnected from the magocratic society. Regretting her passion during the war, she left the country and traveled to the Fragments. At first, her time there was difficult. She stole what she needed, but that was harder there than other places. She took the street name of Lavender and decided to become a mercenary, putting her skills from the war to use. In a year, she found she was dissatisfied with simply fighting for someone else, and decided to work for herself. By this time, Lavender was jaded, unphazed by killing and crime, and caring mostly for wealth. She began manipulating entire organizations of thieves and mercenaries, finding she could wrap them around her finger with ease. In time, she became more practiced at this, and soon she was controlling at least half the criminal organizations in the Fragments, besides bandits. Over the years she expanded her influence until she perhaps the most powerful person in the west, but almost no one knew of her involvement because she was so careful. However, one person found out. Magus needed someone with a specific set of skills to manage several groups and carry out various assassinations and thefts. He paid a great sum, so she didn't ask questions. She orchestrated the theft of Hawke's Focus-strengthening ritual, and made a copy of it before it was recovered by Demi Sviatla, Taras Ashur, and two other individuals accompanying them. Wondering why Magus wanted the ritual out of Hawke's hands, she investigated and performed it herself, irritated at its seeming lack of effects. Regardless, she continued to work for the Magister, slaying several key figures who could have disrupted his plans and guiding mages toward the Tower. She herself was present there when Magus cast his spell to rend away the Foci of the mages present. However, Hawke's ritual allowed her to keep her use of magic. Realizing his betrayal, she helped Demi and company escape the Tower with her knowledge of it, although one Laurelle, another member of the group, stayed behind to keep Magus from following them. Lavender never learned of her fate, although she suspects the obvious. Now, Lavender manages the covert divisions of the Scales, directing spies and thieves and the like. Other Info: Dimension sheet: Name: Sirone Description: Sirone is a logic defying multitude of floating islands, drifting slowly across a vast blue sky. Their size ranges from a few hundred yards to several miles, and they each exert their own gravity based on their size. Thus it is possible to jump directly from smaller islands to another islands, catching their gravitational field. Each island is largely dominated by a stream of water. Water in Sirone seems to ignore the gravity of the islands, instead always being drawn the same direction, giving the Plane a definite "down." This causes the rivers to flow off the ends of each island, making the sound of rushing white water perpetual. The rivers slowly erode the islands they are on, eventually breaking through them and sending soft chunks of muddy earth spiraling into the air, to be caught by the gravity of other islands. The islands orbit around a massive orb of stone hanging in the "center" of the Plane, giving them pre-determined paths. The stone sun is always drenched in flowing water. Because of the individual fields of gravity, islands catch other islands every once in a while, creating a binary island and often interconnected waterfalls. If one moves below the floating islands far enough, one will find a massive ocean stretching as far as the eye can see, thousands of feet below the stone sun. This ocean seems to stretch endlessly downward, but this cannot be tested because of the water pressure preventing anyone from swimming very far down. Essence: Moderate Malleability: Spell Notable Traits: Water magic is amplified; Earth magic does not function; Gravity is much greater than the material plane. Name: Vance "Fen" Velts Gender: Male Age: 48 Focus: A tiny bone, as if from a small animal, hung on a string and worn like a necklace, usually invisible in his robe. Nation: Velaria, moved to the Fragments Connection: Weak Appearance: Vance stands at almost six feet, with a sturdy frame that has been tempered by years of practice, barely slowed down by age. He has an unremarkable face, the kind people barely notice and don't remember. His eyes are storm-gray and reveal no emotion, and his short, ragged, unkempt hair is a dirty black color. His face is decorated with unshaven stubble, giving him a rather casual visage. He wears a light, loose black robe with heavy sleeves, and a nondescript black cloak. He also wears, on his right hand, a silver ring set with an unknown blue stone that glows softly when he fights. Whenever he's expecting trouble, he wears a longbow, arrows, and a shortsword. His expression varies from casual and nonchalant to serious and focused, and rarely anything else. His voice is soft, and he rarely speaks up. Personality: Vance is serious, determined, enduring, and holds grudges. He almost never raises his voice, instead speaking in a focused, no-nonsense monotone. Experience has made him cool in the face of danger, and even grisly sights don't bother him. He is jaded and cynical, tending to be a bit of pessimist, but he has a thoroughly analytical mind and can tell when a situation is hopeless or in his favor. He's a natural leader and has a head for logistics, but often misses more human factors, like the possibility someone will make a mistake and get caught up in emotion. He always assumes his enemies will act rationally, which has gotten him in trouble more than once. He cares for people, however, and will use an inferior strategy if it saves more lives, if need be. He has a personal vendetta against Magus and is completely dedicated to spilling the Magister's blood. In combat, Vance takes his calmness to an extreme, compartmentalizing everything away but his objective. He only speaks if necessary to communicate with allies, and pursues his enemies with a frightening single-mindedness. As long as he's in the rush of adrenaline, he can totally ignore pain, even trauma, to get the job done. Unless he has a specific reason to keep someone alive, he always fights to kill, aiming for vital spots with his arrows. Backstory: Born of humble origins in southern Velaria, Vance was a mischievous child, playing pranks and stealing gifts for his parents from vendors. As he grew older and the family struggled with poverty, he stole food instead. His teenage years were difficult, spent mostly on the street trying to keep his small family afloat. When he was nineteen, a relative died, a haughty uncle of distantly noble blood and great wealth. He had no will, so his possessions went to next of kin; since he was childless, this meant his brother. Instantly Vance knew a world he'd never seen; a world of castles and keeps and intrique and politics, a world where he didn't have to steal anymore. He found he didn't mind stealing, however, and he kept in practice. Through a friend of the family, he discovered the existence of an actual academy that Velaria trained the nation's famous spies. Knowing now what he wanted to do, Vance used his family's now weighty name to get into it when he was twenty-two. It was like no actual academy, a rigid program that taught the man the bow and the sword, as well as honed his diplomacy, his deception, his stealth, and a host of other skills. When he was officially instated as a royal spy when he was twenty-six, he was the best. Within a year of examplary service, and many secrets pillaged from other kingdoms, he was a full fledged spymaster, commanding the Velarian intelligence service and supervising the academy himself. In 1453, on the command of the Velarian king himself, Vance infiltrated Magus's magically warded home on the material plane and took everything on the Ritual that he could find. However, on the way out Magus caught him, and what resulted was a terrific duel of arrow against spell, Vance a master archer, but Magus only a novice by the stanards of present day. Vance put an arrow in his shoulder and escaped, with intricate knowledge of how the man's magic worked, as he was very attentive. He performed the Ritual himself, becoming the second mage in the new age. After it was delivered back to the crown, it wasn't long before it spread, through intrigue, trading of secrets, and diplomacy, to the elite of every country, and after that even the common man could became a mage. The political scrambling and wars that resulted in the several years after this fact troubled Vance, and eroded his loyalty. He vanished from Velaria in 1455, and even his own students could not track him. He became an arcane scholar, delving into magical secrets and his own dimension, and made many discoveries, all published anonymously. Finally he made a journey to the Fragments and lived there for years, hiring mercenaries to help him excavate Mageian ruins. One of these mercenaries was a former Arandish knight named Aaron, a man the old spy quickly became friends with. Aaron was also a mage, and had left his country because of the discrimination, so he had come to the Fragments. The two traveled the Fragments together, Aaron handling the mercenary bands the scholar so frequently hired and Vance studying the magic they found in the ruins. In 1468 he came across a breakthrough--a still enchanted Mageian item, a ring. Studying its magic, he found that a mage had bound a small portion of dimensional essence (presumably from his own Focus) into it, allowing it to draw on the same well of magic to produce a limited effect, and without the enchantment ever wearing off. This gave Vance the idea of binding an entire Plane to an object and creating artifacts, but in 1470 he was forced to interrupt his research on that for a higher priority. In this time, Vance had kept a close eye on Magus, since the two had hated eachother since they first battled in the Year of Doors. His spies, both mundane and magical, reported that the first mage was creating a ritual unlike any seen before. An incomplete copy was found outside the tower and stolen, and Vance realized what the man wished to do. He commisioned another scholar named Hawke to create a ritual he had already set the foundation for, a spell to bind one's Focus to them even further and block Magus's spell. He himself, during this time, studied the ritual and learned much from it. When Hawke's research was done, the called mages were already close to the tower, and Vance was too late to save them. He had planned to cast a mass spell before they entered Magus's dimension, protecting them. As it was four people obtained and cast the ritual Hawke created, as well as escaped Magus's tower. One of them would not join the cause, but with the others, Vance finished his artifact research and helped found the Scales. While technically Lavender leads the Velarian spies of the Scales, Vance can and often does command them, but the two don't step on each other's toes. He personally, along with Hawke, leads the arcane scholars they recruited. Other Info: The ring Vance carries is a Mageian relic salvaged from a ruined city. While not a full-fledged artifact, it can briefly project a shield of force out of his hand when he wills it to. This ability has something of a cooldown, however. Vance is a dead shot with a bow, able to use it effectively in ambush from long distances and in direct combat, even in very close range. He is not as skilled with his shortsword, but uses it competently enough to defend himself, although without magical interference his defeat from a skilled swordsman is inevitable. He often uses spells to augment his arrows, making them project ropes or sheathing them in elemental effects. Dimension sheet: Name: Vordai Description: Vordai is an endless swamp--a mass expanse of twisted and knotted trees, fallen among the mire, thick underbrush that seems to wrap around one's feet as they walk, and pools of stagnant water. The dimension is strikingly monochrome--everything is a shade of black and gray, making details difficult to ascertain in the darkness. No matter where one is, strange sounds, like warped bird cries, emit from every direction, although no actual animals can be found. As one travels further from the center of the swap, they start to hallucinate, at first seeing only flickers of black at the edge of their vision, but soon seeing horrors emerging from the darkness as they travel miles away from the center. Vance believes that it could go on infinitely, and that eventually the hallucinations would shred the mind. At the center of the swamp is a stone platform magically suspended in the shifting soil. There is a staircase leading down into an extensive network of caves, carved by Vance, that serve as his living quarters, storage, workshop, and so on. Essence: Weak Malleability: Ritual Notable Traits: Magic that manipulates (but not creates) light is amplified, earth magic is amplified, and gravity is about twenty percent stronger than the Material Plane's. Vance has spent years fortifying Vordai with so many defensive spells that it's nearly impenetrable and almost impossible to detect--the only feasible way to enter is to follow his thought when he travels. Name: Aaron "Nobleheart" Richardson Gender: Male Age: 42 Focus: An unadorned steel dagger, strapped to a sheath on his thigh. Nation: Arandland Connection: Strong Appearance: Aaron is tall, with a thick, muscular frame. He has caucasian skin, tanned by many hours in the southern sun. His hair is short enough that he doesn't have to bother with it and sandy blond. His eyes are brown and have a wary look to them. His face is long and heavyset, which, along with his stubble, gives him a gruff visage. He has scars all over his face and hands, and usually fresh cuts. He usually wears a gray tunic and trousers, but always carries his two-handed sword and dagger anyway. When expecting combat, he wears a full set of full plate armor, complete with helmet. Personality: Aaron is normally gruff and blunt, a man of few words who prefers to let his actions speak. He has a strong sense of compassion, a trait of his Arandish upbringing, and finds it difficult to pass by someone in need. He has a cursory familiarity with strategy, but is very much a field commander, not a general. He has an inspiring presence and great charisma, an expert at using rhetoric to boost his troops' morale. He has respect for the unspoken rules of war, and won't kill unarmed opponents or harm prisoners, and forbids the people under him from doing so. On the other side of his persona as the field captain, Aaron can be eloquent and refined, showing his mastery of the language with a perfect old Arandish dialect. He could keep a noble entertained as well as any merchant prince. He prefers to keep this side hidden, being slightly embarrased of his nobe background. Backstory: Aaron was born to the wealthy Arandish noble Sir Richard, who was the pinnacle of chivalry. A respected knight in all the land and famous as far as Estillia for his exploits, the boy grew up in his shadow, amidst everyone's expectations that he would be just as great. His education's focus on combat was even heavier than most Arandish children's, and he was more skilled than the average soldier by the time he was a teenager. He joined his father's retinue officially at sixteen and fought in several wars with other Arandish Lords, proving his worth on the battlefield. His life after that was a blur of steel and blood; as a growing nobleman and heir to his father's estate, he was expected to lead the troops into battle, and lead he did. His natural charisma lended itself to the role, and his skill inspired his men as much as his words. He decided that he wanted to live like this always--a commander on the fields of blood. Then, when he was twenty-four and still fighting, two unthinkable events happened: The discovery of magic, and the ruination of his father's reputation. Sir Richard turned out to be a crime lord that had manipulated Arandland for money for years. This fact destroyed Aaron's confidence and faith, and he left almost immediately. His ruined father disinherited him, but ironically this only strengthened Aaron's reputation as a great and noble warrior. When no evidence could say that Richard's son was involved in his crimes, he was lauded for his lawfulness and morality, and welcome to stay at most noblemens' houses. Aaron took several of them up on their offers of hospitality, and when he was twenty-seven, he learned magic under the tutelage of the older lord he was staying with.He primarily studied the most practical of magic: force magic. Able to use force to move objects, he became even more of a terror on the battlefield, his signature technique becoming a signature spell that encased him in a raging field of force, knocking aside projectiles and bowling over foes, while it bent around him and his weapons without impeding him. Facing discrimination from half the country for his heavy use of magic, he left the country and put his skills to work as the head of a mercenary band, eventually making his way to the Fragments. He was hired by a scholar who went by Fen to protect a party of workers while they excavated a Mageian ruin for artifacts. While small talk was minimal at first, eventually the scholar's discovery of Aaron's penchant for magic led to them talking while in the ruins. The knight had more magic of arcane research than most mercenaries, having looked into ways to augment his weapons and armor, although he was ultimately unsatisfied with the temporary enchanments. The two traveled the Fragments together, Aaron handling the mercenary bands the scholar so frequently hired and Vance (as his name actually was) studying the magic they found in the ruins. In 1468 he came across a breakthrough--a still enchanted Mageian item, a ring. While much of the magic was lost on Aaron, he could appreciate that it brought them much closer to Vance's goal of permanent magic items. He helped with the scholar's plans to stop Magus, unsucessful though they ultimately were. With the Tower incident, Aaron was called on to collect the services of the Arands, as his name still held much weight. Now, he commands the military divisions of the Scales, although he frequently leads the Knights themselves personally in combat. Other Info: Dimension Sheet: Name: Blindvale Description: Blindvale is a place of darkness. There is an areas several kilometers across where magical light functions, and this is constantly lit by permanent magical fire. Beyond that, sight by any means is totally impossible. The farther one goes, the more the senses are dulled. First, hearing fades away. Then smell, then taste, and finally even touch is numbed, leaving anyone who ventures that far in a state of total sensory deprivation. Within the "Circle of Light," as Aaron calls it, is a huge structure that takes up most of the ground. It appears to be a castle of Arandish style, but is made entirely of steel. This keep mirrors Aaron's one in Arandland. The interior is cushioned with stone, adding further to the structural strength and making more tolerable living conditions. Aaron confesses that even though it will likely never be attacked, he wanted to create an unassailable fortress and was only able to do it in Blindvale. Essence: Moderate Malleability: Spell Notable Traits: Light magic does not function outside the Circle of Light. Anything that manipulates minerals is amplified and made easier to control precisely. Kreska: Name: Demi Sviatla Gender: Female Age: 21 Focus: A small silvery amulet with an inset azure gem. It is always fastened snugly around Demi's neck almost without exception. Nation: Estillia Connection: Strong Appearance: Demi is of average height, yellowy skin, dark bluish hair, and eyes just as blue. Her usual outfit consists of a purple robe cut at the sides with a blue undershirt and brown shorts underneath, thigh-high boots and stockings, dark red gloves ending at the palms which are kept on by armbands, and plenty of straps fastened around most of her clothing to hold it on snugly. Demi's hair is always tied back in some way, usually with some of it still hanging free. A faint green pattern of flowering plants is tattooed across her shoulders. In Vada, Demi's appearance stays mostly the same, but her hair becomes a brighter blue hue and the flowers tattooed on her grow and bloom. Personality: Although Demi's cheeks are blemished from tiredness and her thoughts wander into worry more often than ever, she still plays the part of the genki girl well and maintains an upbeat façade, which often bleeds into her personality as a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. As always, she is very materialistic and becomes dead-serious if her possessions are tampered with. Backstory: Demi was born to a well-to-do Estillian couple who had married against the will of both of their families. As such, they lived primarily in her mother's own dimension, Zemlia, to avoid the judgmental scorn of the various siblings, uncles, aunts, and parents seeping into their daily life. On the day when Demi finally became eligible to participate in the coming-of-age Ritual, she received a wonderful amulet from her father. He instructed her to use the embellished, orange-tinted gem as her Focus, and to keep it safe and close to her no matter what happened. Demi readily accepted. Her father began to sprint away as soon as he thought that he was out of Demi's field of vision. Catching a glimpse of him, Demi wondered what had happened and found her mother on the floor sobbing. Demi's father had thrown his and her mother's foci into the sea, her mother explained. Demi's parents had gone against tradition and honor to marry each other and have a child, and went to Zemlia so often to escape the pointing fingers of accusation that always surrounded them in the "real" world... which had become less and less real to them. Over fifteen years they had drifted away from all of their acquaintances as they had lived raising Demi on their own. They had been living in a dream, said her father, and he felt that it was time for the dream to end. They would almost certainly never go to Zemlia again. After she had done her share of crying and attempted in vain to console her mother, Demi set off the perform the Ritual at last and was reprimanded by everyone present for being so late. Nonetheless, Demi performed the Ritual to the letter, and it sent her into what appeared at first to be the opposite of Zemlia: a nightmare, not a dream. It was a clammy, craggy place full of bizarre creatures. The stone structures resembling ruins dotting the landscape everywhere didn't help, only serving to remind her of what she and her mother had lost. Demi named the dimension Vada, a word for "water" in the family's heritage language, and resolved to make it a beautiful place that she could show to her mother with pride. But as her mother fell into depression quickly and her health declined, Demi knew that she wouldn't be around to see the final result. The amulet's gem had become bluish after the ritual, and the watery glow of Vada seemed to contrast starkly with the golden memory of Zemlia. When her mother died, peacefully and quietly but wrapped in despair, Demi resolved to climb the highest of Vada's stone towers. Possessed by a ravenous hunger to find what lay beyond the sea of clouds at the top as soon as she started climbing, she found herself immobilised by Vada's reverse gravity before long, pressed against the floor with the magical clouds tantalisingly close. She felt herself fainting and her vision grew dark... as someone began dragging her back down the tower. The red-headed young man who had saved Demi's life explained to her that he had followed her into Vada by means of a divination spell: he claimed that he had done it innocently, wanting to test out the method without getting himself into danger. Demi later found out that the boy was an apprentice spell-warrior named Taras. Later, they often practiced magic together in Vada or Iceflow, Taras's dimension, as they became familiar with each others' dimensions and learned to detect the dimensional links. A few months later, Demi visited Brice, a raggedy-faced local sage. Or at least, he claimed to be a sage: he didn't seem to have any of the documents of certification that the other local sages seemed so proud to put on display. Taras had begun to hint that he wanted to be more than just Demi's friend, and she besought Brice to help her cut ties with the hot-headed apprentice knight, afraid of what he would do when he surely thought that she owed him her life and she didn't share his feelings. Brice quickly prescribed Demi a repertoire of obscure and bizarre-sounding warding incantations to practice, but above all he told her that isolation was key. If Taras could not find Demi in the first place, he would have quite a bit more trouble following her about, dimensional connection or no. Whether or not anything the dubious sage told her was true, Demi took it all to heart and thanked him before setting out. She filled her pack full of things: things that would help her on her journey ahead or that simply held sentiment. In honor of her parents, she would protect her possessions at all costs and answer the summons of Magus. Demi started her journey alongside Laurelle, a magic-using thief whom she had met a few months ago after noticing a rather large estate emptied of its contents. Feeling a lack of purpose in her mundane life since her mother died, Demi offered the thief dinner instead of apprehending her. Though Laurelle's amusement at Demi's invitation was obviously a bleak, deadpan amusement, a few glasses of wine later they were talking their way long into the morning. Despite their differing personalities, the two became fast friends, even sharing a kiss during their journey to Magus's tower. They were joined by Skye, a troubled young Estillian knight, and Taras, who had grown disenchanted with the azure knights after watching his commander betray Skye and leave her for dead. Demi and Laurelle became inseparable, much to Taras's chagrin at first, but to Demi's surprise he soon showed understanding and gave her space. The party of four reached Magus's tower, and the event happened in which Magus stole the foci of everyone present but themselves and Lavender, who had cast Hawke's ritual upon their selves so that they could resist the powerful thieving magnetism. They escaped the wrath of the original sage narrowly— sans Laurelle, who had stayed behind to create a distraction. Demi was beside herself for the rest of that day, readily accepting Taras's shoulder when he offered it. Skye left without explanation, leaving behind a sword, which Demi took into her own care. Demi, though stricken by loss, became fearsomely determined to find Laurelle and defeat Magus after taking a few days to process what had happened. Aided by Taras, Vance, Lavender, and some others, she became somewhat of a figurehead in the group that would come to be known as the Scales, putting her hobby of writing to real use through political letters and propaganda. Though she still preferred the magic-amplifying staff as her primary weapon, she also trained to a cursory competence in use of the sword that she now possessed, even though she still mostly used it as a catalyst to cast spells. The time for serious action was fast drawing near, and Demi was going to be prepared for its coming. Other Info: (Anything that doesn't fit somewhere else.) Dimension sheet: Name: Vada Description: Vada earns its name from the word "water" in the language that Demi's family claims heritage with. At first glance, Vada has the appearance of a mix of cliffscape and light stone landforms with the appearance of ancient ruins. It is pockmarked with hot springs almost all around, their edges eroded into milky-colored shoals. Flora consists of dark-leafed, vine-like plants that grow from the springs, climbing the stone structures toward the sky, which is filled with clouds of the mist that emanates from the springs. The most unique animal in the area can only be described as a cross between a rabbit and some sort of reptile. They presumably feed on either the small, tawny birds that fly here and there looking for the reddish fruit that the highest plants sometimes drop, but it is unknown how they actually get to the birds fast enough to eat them or if they even eat at all. The "razards" (as Demi lovingly dubbed them) seem mostly content to bask by the springs most of the time, only having been caught doing anything else (swimming, bashing their heads together, or perking up and scurrying away from some invisible force) several times. Despite the razards' and birds' propensity to stay above the water, they both seem to have amphibious characteristics. Tiny fishes and sand critters exist, but they are never found in Vada's main body of water; only in isolated pools or streams. Fossils embedded in the stone become abundant closer to the main body of water, so perhaps they were eaten by razards or driven out by the same unseen forces that the razards are so wary of. The most notable trait of Vada is its shape: the world is a mostly-hollow disc of unknown width, with about ten meters (~30ft) between each side filled with water as well as a sparse lattice of stalagmite-like structures connecting the sides of the disc. This is the source of most of the hot springs, although there are also streams and rivers that are propelled by inertia provided by gravity, with the water falling off the disc and looping back to the other side. The warm mist emitted by Vada's hot springs is imbued with a certain energy that is a tell-tale sign of the dimension's essence, which ironically amplifies fire magic and electric magic. It eventually floats up and collects into clouds that cover the entire sky, which is occasionally penetrated by only the tallest of the stone towers. The native life seems to thrive on the mist, with the razards fleeing at the slightest breeze that blows it away and the vines climbing the stone towers to reach toward the clouds. In spite of this, the middle of the disc (the source of the steam) is conspicuously devoid of permanent life, with only the occasional surface animal swimming through it to travel to the other side of the disc. A will to climb toward the sky seems to be shared by the wildlife's characteristics— in addition to the razards, even the fish, sand fleas, and birds all appear to have small ears or horns pointing upward. Any person who stays in the dimension for more than a moment finds their hair perking up on either side into a form that uncannily resembles downy ears unless it is held down tightly. Gravity on Vada is almost inverse to that of the material plane, being nil at the very middle of the watery center, slightly less than that of the material plane at ground level, and intensifying as one travels skyward. Near cloud level, most people become immobilised by their own weight. The light level is predictably akin to the material plane on a cloudy day, although the water coming from the middle of the disc continually shimmers as if it was a sunny day. Because of this, the hot springs emit a warm light, which the razards often bask in. Each side of Vada's disc has its own color of stone— the "top side" as Demi calls it (where she first appeared and has explored more of) has terrain colored light grey whereas the "bottom side"'s stone is more of a brown. Essence: Moderate Malleability: Spell Notable Traits: Disc shape; inverse gravity; mist limits visibility at long distance unless it is particularly windy; heat-centric (fire electricity etc) magic is amplified; light magic does not function. Razards are normally docile but are drawn to magic, sometimes becoming hostile when faced with large amounts of it. Name: Taras Ashur Gender: Male Age: 25 Focus: Technically a short sword, with a large curved blade similar in shape (not size) to a podao's. The weapon is weighted and the handle (pommel? shaft?) long enough that it can be carried with one hand but used for fighting with both hands. It was initially questioned by Taras's cohorts for not being small enough to maneuver quickly or straight enough to stab, but it makes up for this by being formidable against armor. There is a faint motif of roses etched in the middle of the blade, a trademark of the Velarian smith from whom it was commissioned. Nation: Estillia Connection: Moderate Appearance: Taras is not naturally muscular, but has a fair bit of bulk and a wide stance due to rigorous training anyway. Red hair, grey eyes. A dark blue jacket, black pants, and brown boots and gloves make up what part of his normal clothing is visible: above it is a set of dark and sturdy scale armor, which rarely comes off. Personality: Composed at best, hotheaded at worst, Taras almost never lets anything other than determination show on the surface. Each thing he does is made to seem as deliberate and full of intent as possible. That being said, his tendency to obsess over whatever he does often gets the best of him, leading him to go to extreme lengths to solve basic problems, some of which may be better off left unsolved. Backstory: Taras was born the son of an esteemed Estillian strategist, his family not otherwise sticking out as rich or prestigious. The family name was barely starting to gain traction with his father's victories, but it was a disappointment to everyone involved with them that the son apparently had no gift for strategy. Taras simply found the gifted command classes that he was ferried into to be boring. At first, he did seem to show promise— but when his parents refused to let him become a knight's apprentice instead, he began failing tests intentionally. He also began putting on muscle as he trained himself rigorously in whatever way he could. Eventually, he showed up to a mock battle between knights-in-training uninvited and delivered victory to the losing side using surprise attacks. Taras was lauded by almost everyone present as the undisputed victor until the senior knight who was overseeing the mock battle identified him as an outsider and not an actual apprentice knight. It only made his performance seem more impressive to everyone else. He was sent home and his actions referred to his father. Realising Taras's passion for battle in general, not just the equations that went on behind it, he told his son that he would finally be allowed to become an apprentice knight if he swore an oath to him to be the best possible in whatever he did. For indeed it was around this time that Taras was becoming interested in magic and the possibility of one day performing the Ritual. He accepted and their deal was done through a "ritual", which supposedly was one that made oaths unforgettable and drove the target person to seek retribution at all costs if they failed to fulfil their promises. Whether it actually worked or was simply done through trickery to impose upon Taras that his father was putting a huge amount of trust in him to let him veer away from a life of writing strategies behind closed doors, Taras had no clue. It was the first ritual he had taken part in. Taras's second ritual was to be the Ritual— the one that would let him use magic and truly begin on the path to knighthood in the Order of the Blue Sword. His focus: an ornate and well-made sword that he and his father both had put much of their money into making sure it was the best possible weapon. It stretched the size guidelines for foci, and those present were surprised that a weapon so large was capable of becoming a focus at all. Although Taras became proficient at using magic to improvise weapons and augment his existing, now-unbreakable one, he still wasn't as naturally good as it as he would have liked. Because of this, and also because he was fast growing from an adolescent into a young adult, he resolved to find a partner to practice with. There was someone in the knight academy already seeking his presence frequently, but he decided that it wouldn't do. No, he would need to befriend someone from a more purely magically-inclined academy. That was how Taras eventually came to follow a young woman, Demi, into her own dimension and eventually save her from her own curiosity. It was a creepy thing to do, following someone into their own slice of space and time, but Taras decided not to dwell on that as he and Demi became fast friends, practicing magic in each others' dimensions where various types were at their strongest. He offered to teach her some basic facets of physical combat, but Demi was visibly scared by just the idea, so it ended up that he lectured her on strategy when they weren't talking about their daily lives or practicing spells. Strategy— the thing that Taras had initially shied away from but later turned out to deliver him exactly into the places where he wanted to go. It was why he paid no mind to Demi's sudden disappearance at first: there was surely a reason that he would eventually uncover. He realised when he joined up with a platoon of knights who were set to defend the Estillian border from bandits of the Fragments— she had surely gone into the Fragments to answer Magus's call, which had been issued a few days prior. Taras decided to put duty first, until one of his very superiors within the knights committed an act of supreme dishonor. He could barely believe his eyes when he saw the commander knock a fellow knight helpless and then order a retreat when the knights could have achieved victory then and there. It was all so contradictory, and Taras's pride would not let the commander's actions go unseen— or so he thought as he challenged Brandt to a duel. The commander led him on to think that he would win, causing great spectacle among the whole platoon. But it just meant that everyone witnessed Taras's humiliating defeat as Brandt made an easy comeback and embarrassed the "traitor" sorely. Somehow, Taras escaped into the Fragments... but he was so much worse for wear that it pained him to even think about it. Was he, as a knight, supposed to help the dastard who had driven him out cover up an act of complete evil? He didn't believe so, but he knew that only more humiliation— and probably imprisonment— awaited if he returned to the Estillia. The only thing he could do was set out into the Fragments to answer the call of Magus— despite not being a prolific mage. He recalled the ritual oath that he had made to his father years ago. In accordance with the oath, Taras would do his best at whatever he set his sights on. And he decided that he was meant to be far more than a simple knight. Magus's tower was reached by Taras, along with Demi, his fellow knight Skye, and Demi's friend Laurelle, and Magus's act of mass theft happened. Seeing Demi's morale torn to shreds by Laurelle's self-sacrifice and Skye's abandonment, Taras finally got something like the closeness with her that he thought he had always deserved. They supported each other heavily for the new month, when everything felt hopeless. But gradually, they both began feeling that they could— would, in Taras's case— get back what they had lost after the founding of the Scales. Demi began writing political documents and Taras returned to Estillia to slyly pose as his father and recruit several knights to the Scales' cause. Even if it took such vile trickery as impersonation, Taras was determined to fight the good fight against Magus's forces, for Demi's sake if nothing else. Other Info: There are probably better examples of weapons to say that a sword's blade has the rough shape of than a podao, but I'm not a buff, so oh well. Dimension sheet: Name: Iceflow Description: Iceflow seems to be a hellish volcano-scape at first, until one looks around for a moment. Streams of lava, usually cyan-colored, lazily trail down the slopes and into some unseen reservoir— but the lava is freezing cold to the touch. What at first appears to be soot clouding the sky is actually a dusty snow made of the same substance as the lava. Vegetation consists of yellowy lava-weed that sprouts up in the streams' wake as well as needly evergreen trees. There are also structures of a reddish metal that resemble trees and grow out from areas near the lava, which has magnetically-repellant properties. The lava repels metal so well, in fact, that someone in armor could jump over and end up floating over any pool of it that collects at the bottom of the mountains' slopes. Notable lifeforms are huge horned beetles with wings larger than buzzards' and claws resembling human hands, as well as snakes which mostly congregate in the pools of cold-lava as the substance sits and thaws out before disappearing into the earth. Gravity on Iceflow, in a nutshell, is noticeably greater than the material plane, but that wouldn't truly describe it. Instead, any exertion of force is magnified. People jump higher and land harder, the beetles flying above send gusts groundward with the flapping of their wings, and of course a simple magic incantation can produce more than just a simple spell. Essence: Strong Malleability: Ritual Notable Traits: Cold-centric (ice wind etc) magic is amplified more than other types of magic; fire magic is not amplified at all. Laws of physics are amplified as well. Slightly higher gravity than the material plane's. Name: Lena Suguhara Gender: Female Age: 18 Focus: A silvery chain-bracelet fastened tightly around Lena's right arm just above the elbow. Although it is usually hidden under clothing, she wears an identical, non-magical bracelet on her left arm to deter any guesses that one of them is a focus. Nation: Estillia Connection: Moderate Appearance: Measuring in at a lower-than-average height, Lena's figure appears petite at first glance. However, a cursory examination shatters the image of a diminutive hyacinth to instead show a well-trained and physically fit young lady. Her skin is mildly mottled with freckles and her eyes a grey-blue. Her hair, held up by a mess of pins and hairclips, is dark brown with a naturally white tuft in the front, and a pair of tiny earrings are perched near the tops of her ears. Outside of battle, she wears a short teal dress with shorts and boots underneath. A pair of white arm sleeves adorns her arms for the purpose of covering the majority of the scars that exist on each. In battle, the traditional Estillian style of light plate armor so popular with young knights is strapped around her torso, limbs, and forehead, with the armor on her arms being noticeably bulkier and more comprehensive. In Brightwood, Lena's hair becomes as bright as the bark of the trees around her and her eyes shine a cyan hue. Personality: Lena is loud and decisive, almost obsessively so. She chooses to act before letting her mind wander thanks to having had to bear the consequences for indecision several times in her life. Anyone who befriends Lena is soon surprised to find that she is actually gentle and afraid of offending people. Moreover, she loves eating and frequently resorts to— and accepts— offers of food and eating together as tokens of kindness and camaraderie. Backstory: When the martial-arts master Suguhara moved from a secluded monastery in the mountains of Estillia to a city for the sake of the woman he loved, he never dreamed that he would return to his old life. However, after his wife died giving birth to triplets, he found himself quickly feeling out of place in modern society. Naming the children Luna, Lena, and Lana, he took them back to the isolated temple grounds, the only place that he knew. Rather, he had lived in civilisation before— but the temple was such a comfortable environment that Suguhara knew like the back of his hand that none of his former peers questioned him when he returned with children. Lena and her sisters grew up relatively normally, getting into all of the trouble that all children get into— but with a heaping helping of education in martial arts and spiritualism. It was what their father knew best, after all. However, when the girls started hitting puberty, Suguhara realised that he did not want them to spend their lives isolated from society— they deserved to make a difference in the world, like their mother had always wanted to before them. Despite his dislike for magic, believing it to be the vehicle of sinister trickery more often than not, the girls' father sent them one by one to visit a sage and perform the Ritual. He then sent them to academies— and they performed well enough that Lena found herself being recruited by an academy of apprentice knights while Luna and Lana both attended an academy of magical arts. For the first time, Lena was separated from her sisters by a huge distance— her academy was kilometers, miles, hectares away from the school that her sisters had gone to as well as the temple that her father, now ailing, lived at. She felt like a stranded bee, something that was made to work in groups but inextricably severed from the hive-mind to which it once belonged. However, she resolved to flourish in this newfound independence. Using a pair of "borrowed" training-swords, she stubbornly made her way to the same clearing in the mountain foothills each day to train herself. The Art of the Flying Sword was a tome that taught a discipline that her father had heavily warned against: a combination of wind and force magic that allowed a mage to wield multiple swords, one in the hand and two or more swirling around them in a storm of steel. Her first mistake, almost right after whispering the first incantation to make the swords move, was felt by the blades tearing a gash across each of her arms after her spell had not propelled them far away enough from her body to float at a "ready" stance. It was the type of rash self-injury that her father would have punished with aplomb. Somehow, that only motivated Lena. Lena's arms never went without bandages wrapped around them and often needing replacement after that day, until finally she received her set of armor, which had almost as much unspoken sanctity as the magic-enabling Ritual at the knight academy. It showed that she was accepted: that the people there thought she was worth it. She visited home soon after to bring her father the good news personally, and found Luna living at the temple grounds again, tending to their father's failing health. Luna, she found, had not fit in well at the academy after Lana had taken leave on a self-finding pilgrimage, so she had taken it upon herself to return home and accompany their father during his final years— it was clear to them all that he was fast growing tired of life. Luna and their father both wished Lena well, holding a celebration for her that thoroughly livened up the normally-quiet monastery. She bade them goodbye after a night— and came back home to find a grand call to arms issued by Taras Ashur, who was supposedly a well-practiced tactician. When she saw the man speaking, Lena knew— this was someone for whom she could fight. She was one of the first knights to accept his invitation, not aware that the group called the Scales wasn't some Estillian government-sponsored strike force. All of her things packed, she made a last-minute decision to send a letter back home to Luna to tell her where she was going. Whether or not their father should know she decided to leave to Luna's discretion. Although she only had so much food to offer, Lena grew quickly to treat each of her peers with utmost respect and idolise the Scales' leadership. The practitioners of flying-sword arts within her academy mostly being older students who had detected something off about Taras's invitation, Lena was one of only a few in the group of knights who had answered the call and also the youngest. The scabs and cuts on her arms having faded into scars now that she had armor, Lena waited for orders with bated breath, eager to prove herself. Other Info: (Anything that doesn't fit somewhere else.) Dimension sheet: Name: Brightwood Description: Brightwood is a vast forest of white-barked trees, whose foliage ranges from bluish colors to a yellow-green. The trees are interrupted only by rivers cutting through them and the odd clearing here and there. The sky, when visible through the trees, is a greenish color. Notable wildlife includes a tree-dwelling creature that can best be described as a cross between a cat and a monkey, which tends to congregate in groups. Their pelts have the same consistency as the colors of the foliage, and from time to time they engage in territory fights. Bright green frogs inhabit the rivers and their surroundings, seeming relatively normal in appearance save a pair of human-like eyes. The only man-made structures in Brightwood are a tiny but stately Estillian-style house inhabiting one of the clearings and a few small wooden shacks elsewhere. Lena suspects that Brightwood itself is one gigantic tree— traveling east or west, one finds their self back where they started after just over a kilometer, and traveling north one experiences thinner air. It is unknown how tall the "tree" is or if it has a base. Essence: Weak Malleability: Word Notable Traits: Tree shape; light magic is amplified in places where the foliage is not too thick; water magic is amplified; fire and lightning magic are weakened. Dark magic does not function. Catkeys (monkats?) are aggressive only if provoked, usually very blasé toward any human visitor. The frogs are attracted to magic.