The once simultaneously disdained and revered Daubers, otherwise known as the Demon hunters of Redigat. Their legacy started during the age of Gonel’s invasion when they acted as defenders against the monsters of the underworld. Admiration towards the Daubers grew as they dedicated themselves to indiscriminately defending the people of the world, even as Gonel’s magical corruption spread and grew more powerful. When the Demon was slain, the Daubers made it their mission to purge the evil that had set itself in Tertia. They wanted to wipe out Gonel’s corruption, even if that meant the genocide of all who had become Aljani.
Despite their fanatical sense of justice, the Daubers became one of the world’s most powerful factions in that age. They were seen by the world at large as heroes for their selfless efforts during the colorless war as necessary to the survival of the people as the heroes who defeated Gonel. The people of Tertia believe that, if it weren’t for them, Gonel’s corruption may have spread far more rapidly and taken over the entirety of Crobayoris. People from all over wanted to join the ranks of these heroes and the Daubers became an adventurer’s guild on the level of the Serikaat’s guild of pursuit. At their peak, the Daubers were even greater.
Yet, this age of prosperity for Redigat and the Daubers would not last. While the masses joined with heroic aspirations of clearing out evil from the world, few expected the eccentric nature of the faction’s core. The pure-blooded Daubers, the ones born in Redigat and those who battled in the eye of the colorless war. They defined ‘evil’ as anything with so much as a hint of malevolent energy in its form. Aljani were the best example for this, in truth they were just unfortunate people who were afflicted with Demon’s magic but the Daubers saw them as being evil as Gonel himself. Their view on the matter was that calamity would be drawn to the world again if even the tiniest fragment of the Demon’s magic remained.
The crusades to hunt down and slaughter Aljani resulted in a majority of the new recruits quickly making their exit. The Daubers would call them hypocrites, willing to scorn and look down upon the Aljani yet too irresolute to follow through. The mass drop in numbers only served to motivate those who remained, for it would be the nervelessness of the complacent that would bring the world to ruin again. They had to be the ones who would do what it took to secure Tertia’s future. In their eyes, there was no guilt or innocence, only the truths of good and evil.
Nevertheless, regardless of the stern stubbornness of the Daubers’ mentality, their numbers only continued to dwindle. With time, less were willing to respect the heroic legacy of the Daubers and they were named a band of outlaws in most of Crobayoris’ countries. Though its members made a great effort during the war on alignment, the Daubers were not ready to face the evil that followed. Redigat was the first country the nightmares targeted. When they had only a vague view of the world from the dark place they resided. At first, their mental attacks were random as they took hold of any body they could get. The bodies taken all gathered in Redigat, the place in the world where the boundary between dimensions was at its weakest.
Of all the wars the deepest fear have incited, the conflict with Redigat was the most difficult for them. They did not have the advantage of their mental breakdown strategy and their coordination was scattered at best. Even still, they managed to slaughter a great number of Redigat’s warriors in the surprise attack. The Daubers, as expected, took to the front lines but were slaughtered as the stronger nightmares joined the fray. For all of their bad reputation, the Daubers were respectable for their bravery. Unwilling to run, the faction’s members fought to the last before being wiped out. Redigat was taken and the legacy of its heroes was no more. At least, that’s how the world sees it.
REVENANT OF REDIGAT – VALE RAVAN
Survivor of both the war on alignment and the invasion of the deepest fear. The strongest captain the Daubers ever knew. Haunted by the moniker ‘Revenant of Redigat’, Vale is believed to be some kind of specter or Aberration. Few accept that Vale has truly avoided death throughout all her impossible battles. She was born in the age when the misaligned kin were already in the world. Into a life of constant running and turmoil, leaving behind soldiers who would die fighting for the survivors. The Redigati people were hit particularly hard by the invasion because of their inability to find refuge in the Dull. A fate brought upon them by the actions of the Daubers.
The Daubers took to actions as their ancestors did before them. A great evil had come to the world and thus they fought with an undying sense of their own justice. They were one of the first groups to find that misaligned kin could be killed with physical weaponry and used this knowledge to reflect the Daubers of the past. With everything they had, they protected the people of Redigat, but they could not erase the reputation they had already made for themselves. Even the Redigati had grown tired of the Daubers and were outraged that the group’s reputation had ruined the nation’s relationship with the Nepheline.
For children like Vale, it wasn’t healthy to be surrounded by such hopelessness and scorn. She did not understand the hate that was projected towards the people fighting for the lives of everyone. She needed a light. Something to look up to and give her hope. She saw such a thing in the Daubers. So long as they kept fighting, she wouldn’t give in. That’s what she decided. If it came to it, she would even become a Dauber herself and become her own guiding light. Vale grew up with resolve in the midst of a seemingly hopeless battle. She trained herself, honing her body to its absolute peak. When she was 14, she ran from refuge to join the battlefield. If the Daubers were how she thought they were then there were no conditions to join them. Just a will to fight evil.
Without a word to anyone she stepped on a live battlefield, picked up a weapon and started fighting like she was meant to be there. In the chaos of the conflict, she was a warrior like everyone else. When she finally met a misaligned kin up close she did not fear it, she cleaved its body apart with an ax and watched its body fade. An impossible battle for a girl so young, one would assume. This was her ceremony. When the misaligned kin were cleared from that area, she was already a Dauber. There were no questions and none of the other Daubers looked down on her. Her youth was of no concern to those who saw only the attributes of good and evil. Vale Ravan was most certainly good.
She grew into adulthood a hunter of misaligned kin. Though they were unpredictable beings, Vale’s proficiency at adapting to each one and finding their fatal flaws was unmatched. She was an ideal Dauber, capable of fighting evil no matter the form it took. When the misaligned realm was finally sealed, she was given the rank of captain. She was the spearhead for a new generation of Daubers, a position she intended to use to reclaim the fame they once had. Having not been drawn into the Daubers through rhetoric of Aljani being evil and other passed down superstitions, she was a fresh mind. An individual with her own sense of good and evil.
The whole world was open to her. Although she was an experience war veteran, she felt like a bright-eyed adventurer just starting their journey. Before she left Redigat, she found and spoke to her family one last time. They had thought her dead, little did Vale know she would be hearing that a lot. She confided in them her position in the Daubers and her will to bring them back into a position of respect. She gained their support and after a few days she set out. The war was over but Vale, in the name of the Daubers, would not rest. In this age, Tertia was more vulnerable than it had ever been. Many nations were worn down to the point that the lightest shove could make them break. The need for protectors was still high.
Vale journeyed to every country in Crobayoris. She fought opportunistic monsters and uprooted cultist groups who were intent on expanding their power. Cults were particularly bad in this age, Vale saw more than once groups of cultists making innocent people pay for ‘protection’. Cultists were selfish, they had remained hidden throughout the war on alignment and thus came out unharmed. They could manipulate the people of Tertia by offering to use their conserved power for protection in the tired age. It always came at a cost; of food, of lives, the cultists took more than they earned.
Vale battled against such injustices, first in Crobayoris and then in Pradas. She could not help everyone, she had only one lifetime to bring aid to two whole continents, but she hoped that in spreading her name she could at least deter cultist activity. Then, in Pradas, she fought her second impossible battle. A bout against the mightiest known cultist in all of Tertia. The high-matriarch of the cult called Keratitis; Itha Mordigan. Infamous for her tendency to commit crimes in public, confident that none could stop her. Even the Serikaat’s judges have tried and failed to restrain her. Fighting her was seen as a fool’s errand.
Vale was such a fool, with a passion that would not allow her to overlook a woman like Itha. She challenged the high-matriarch and managed to fight her to a draw. Vale wasn’t able to decisively win but it was the first known occurrence of Itha actually being tested. The fact that the high-matriarch was weakened to such a point that she also couldn’t finish Vale is a testament to the latter’s ability. Unfortunately, the group that Vale had been journeying with were killed as collateral to the conflict. In her time of recovery, Vale resolved to finish the battle with Itha that she started. She intended to carry out this promise immediately, though something else took precedence.
Word was spreading of an odd affliction that was overcoming random people in Pradas and Crobayoris. These people had awakened unlike themselves and were all making a journey to the west, seemingly to the west-most point of Crobayoris. Vale realized that Redigat may be at risk being a western country and rushed back to her homeland. When she returned, she found a battle already lost. Unknown beings had taken over and the Daubers had been eradicated. Only the last breath of Redigati forces remained, it was clear to see that the battle was hopeless. Yet, it was not the nature of a Dauber to turn away from a fight against evil. Vale joined the fray, the third impossible battle of her life.
She cleaved through hoards of nightmare folk, a one-woman army against this unknown enemy. For all she knew, no other Daubers remained. As she promised herself, she had to become her own guiding light. Her shine broke through thousands before she came face-to-face with one of the deepest fear’s executives. Aphen, the one who represents a fear of the dark. Aphen was responsible for a majority of Dauber deaths during the battle, having been attracted to their penchant for ‘good’. They rejected the darkness of the world, feared that it would take over. Aphen was able to invoke fear even in Vale, the only difference between she and the other Daubers is she was fast enough to run away.
After leaving Redigat behind, Vale was overcome with deep regret. First, she had failed to protect her allies from Itha and then she had disgraced the Daubers by showing fear against evil. She was the last of the faction and yet uncertain if she was worthy to bear its name at all. Her friends were gone, her family was gone and evil had won. Evil had-… that was a thought she wouldn’t allow to stick. It was a part of the Daubers’ creed, to be the ones who would fight evil even when the rest of the world was unwilling. Vale was the last, possibly the last line of defense between Tertia and the deepest fear’s victory. If ever there was a time to rebuild the Daubers, it began here.
Thus, she began her adventure again. This time, with the aim of rebuilding the Daubers as an army specialized to fight against the deepest fear. Her feud with Itha would have to wait, for she had found a greater calling. One which would see the Daubers become heroes again. When she heard of the battle for godhood, she decided that she would not attempt to gather the orbs but instead destroy them. With factions such as the deepest fear and the various cults in the world, she could not risk any of them coming out victorious. Mortals do not need ascension to resolve their issues, they simply need a faith in justice.
Vale’s immediate order of business after she ran from Aphen was to monitor the activities of the deepest fear and find out more about them. They were an unknown enemy, at this point Vale didn’t even know that they were living nightmares that had taken over bodies. She remembered from her journeys that the isolated ruler of Atzea had a magical item called the ‘lonely eye’ which she used to watch over her lands. She climbed the mountains of Atzea to request that she be allowed to use the eye. Aware of the urgency of the situation, Atzea’s ruler complied and Vale was allowed to watch the movements of the deepest fear from afar.
Atzea’s ruler, a tremendously strong caster, was the one who determined the nature of the nightmare-folk. She and Vale watched as the curse of the night washed over Poslati and its people were kept awake until they were too sluggish to fight. Vale hopelessly watched as the Poslati were eradicated without even being able to put up a fight. The Atzean witch asked if Vale wanted to go to that battle just to be defeated again and Vale replied yes. As a Dauber, she couldn’t just watch and do nothing. The ruler of Atzea complied with Vale’s foolish wish and teleported Vale right into the midst of the battle for Poslati. Vale defeated many nightmare folk but she had decided her goal was not to win. She gathered survivors and protected them as she guided them out of the country.
What she couldn’t have predicted was the persistence of the curse of the night. The nightmares that kept the Poslati awake continued until they couldn’t handle it any more. Of the ones that Vale saved only one survived; Jin Silver. Prior to the invasion, just an average Poslati teen with dreams of becoming a sports star. He was independent thanks to the neglectful nature of his parents. Both of them were gamblers who lived up the night life even after Jin was born. Rarely were they ever awake or around to properly raise Jin, so he had to raise himself. He tried his best to excel so they would care for him more than their crumbling lives at the casino but nothing he did worked.
The most effective way to become famous and have all eyes on you in Poslati was to become a sports star. Whether the sport be physical, magical or both, so long as you were good you’d get cheers from the crowd. Jin’s dream was to be such a star and have his parents cheering from the crowd one day. He never expected that there wouldn’t be a crowd at all. When the curse of the night took hold, his parents just didn’t leave the casino. The only thing that could distract them from the despair was their addiction to gambling. So, they did that instead of caring for the mentality of their own son. They were left behind when Jin was rescued by Vale but he still saw them in the nightmares.
Jin was so tired. He saw the other Poslati give up and choose to die around him and he felt like the same fate awaited him. He just couldn’t commit himself to it, though. He wasn’t sure why at first but something was stopping him. After a couple more days in Vale’s care, he figured it out. He had found someone else to impress, someone he knew would watch him because they were watching over him. The hero that had saved his life. He saw the sadness in Vale’s eyes, the slow acceptance that her efforts were in vain as the other Poslati offed themselves. Jin thought if he could make her happy just by being alive then he would stay alive, no matter what curse befell him.
He went to sleep that night and the nightmares came. He saw the visions of his parents, laughing as they deteriorated on slot machines over and over. All the while, behind them, he suffered all forms of discomfort and torture. No matter how he screamed, they would never turn to him or try to save him. It hurt him so much but he refused to will himself awake. It felt like an eternity but he slept until he was rested. At the very least, he wouldn’t die of sleep deprivation. Vale acknowledged the effort that Jin was putting into surviving and decided she would bring him to see the Atzean witch. However, when the two reached the peak she was meant to be at, Atzea’s ruler was no longer there.
Jin was struggling. The journey to Atzea’s peak had taken a great toll on him and he had to fight the nightmares every time he fell asleep. Vale wracked her mind for what she could do but the only place she could think that might have a solution was Tesson, all the way over in east Crobayoris. Vale didn’t think he could make such a journey, she wasn’t even certain he would make it back down the mountains. Jin assured her with unfounded certainty that he would, even though his mind and body were at their weakest. There were no other options, if Jin was going to survive they would have to make the trek.
He pushed his limits constantly. Physically to match Vale’s pace and mentally to fight back against the curse of the night. The time was shortened thanks to Vale’s insistence securing several carriage rides but it still took months. By the end of the journey, Jin no longer feared the nightmares. It was just another part of his day, albeit an uncomfortable one. The mental strength necessary to do what he did is monstrous. The two made it to Tesson and Vale convinced the locals to look into Jin’s curse. The people of Tesson had disconnected themselves from Sleeper’s Parley long ago and fortunately the curse was a similar matter. Two powerful witch doctors were able to dispel the magic and Jin was able to properly sleep again.
Vale had intended to part with Jin there and let him live his own life but he refused to leave her side. He had to pay her back, he had to make her proud. Jin had begun to see Vale as the mother figure he never had and he didn’t want to be separated from his mom again. He pleaded for Vale to train him, to which Vale easily accepted. Jin had fought a battle that she couldn’t even begin to imagine in his mind and scaled mountains with his young body. She told him that he was already a warrior- no, a Dauber. His training began as he became the second member of the revived Daubers.
He remains Vale’s apprentice to this day, awaiting the time when he can fight against evil and definitive prove himself to his mother. As of current, though, their numbers are too few to combat the rapidly growing Circadia. Having learned the dream-dispelling ritual from the Tessons, he and Vale spend their days rescuing people from the countries targeted by the deepest fear. The two of them are the most effective saviors of the lost countries but their countermeasures aren’t permanent. The deepest fear’s influence will keep on spreading and just dispelling some nightmares won’t stop them. A great battle is coming and Jin is ready for the day it does.
The survivor the world doesn’t know. Elbis Leyek of the Daubers’ circle of Sfumato, a group of what were essentially assassins. The Daubers were not all righteous warriors who took to the front lines as shields against evil. Assuming so would be assuming that they had a sense of fairness. The idea of ‘fair’ is not within the boundaries of good and evil, when it came to eradicating evil it was best to not give them a chance. No trial, no jury, just execution. The Daubers justified this way of functioning with their of self-justice, believing their own conclusions to be absolute. Once they had determined something as evil, it was evil and had to be erased.
While the Daubers were extremely single-minded they weren’t ignorant to the ways of the world. They knew that going after and murdering people they saw as corrupt was illegal and something that would damage their reputation. That’s why the Sfumato existed, as a specialist group that would act towards the Daubers’ will from the shadows. Assassins who would exclusively go after ‘evil’ beings such as Aljani, whether they were ‘innocent’ or not. The Sfumato weren’t the ones who would be hailed as heroes for protecting the people in times of war, they were the necessary measure taken to assure that the Daubers could accomplish their objective.
The most heinous acts committed by the Sfumato came during the times of war. Both during the colorless war and war on alignment, this shadow group wasn’t in charge of fighting on the battlefield and rescuing people. Their task was to make sure that the wrong type of people didn’t get saved. Anyone the Daubers saw as harboring evil had a good chance of not making it to shelter. They would always ‘accidentally’ trip up and be ripped apart by a monster or just so happen to lose their head somewhere along the way. That kind of thing just happens. Elbis was one who played this role during the war on alignment and he reveled in it.
He was the manifestation of the off-putting eccentrism associated with the Daubers. Though his task was that of an assassin, he would decorate himself with the horns of Aljani he killed as if he were some kind of warlord. He took great pleasure and satisfaction in his direct acts of ‘good’. When the war ended he just couldn’t sit still, he would go down into the Dull on expeditions to hunt Aljani-beasts for sport. He’s been known to say that if he could summon Demons like Gonel into the world that he would, just so he could kill them. An insatiable sociopath fueled by a warped sense of greater good.
He and the other Sfumato fought in the battle against the deepest fear, tasked with singling out and blindsiding the more powerful threats on the battlefield. Elbis was more than happy to slaughter the evil that had revealed itself but things didn’t go as planned. The moment said powerful threats came, the Sfumato and all the other Daubers were rendered powerless. The one named Aphen singlehandedly eradicated the front line forces but the Sfumato were accosted by one named Szuvix. The Dauber assassins surrounded and believed themselves to have the upper hand over the nightmare but it felt invincible. Every wound dealt by either side made it stronger until the members of Sfumato were either defeated or chased down.
Elbis and two others escaped from the battlefield. Individually, each of them saw the inevitable downfall of the Daubers and knew they could not afford to be wiped out completely. They would not be able to carry out their justice and protect the rest of the world if they just fell uselessly in that fight. However, Elbis was frustrated. His need to carry out justice and get his thrill burned within him, a feeling only intensified by the embarrassment of defeat. He took his blade and he killed the two other survivors for turning their backs to evil, something a Dauber was never meant to do. The fact that they had betrayed that rule must have meant there was evil blooming in their hearts.
In the wake of the battle against the nightmares, Elbis elected to forget all about Redigat. The Daubers were justice and justice was not bound by the arbitrary borders of countries. There was justice to be done all around, most of all far away from the deepest fear. Elbis’ mentality has only degraded over the years as he forces himself to forget about the spread of Circadia. He has accepted that the nightmares are an evil he cannot defeat but he uses ignorance to never admit it. He tries to replace the thoughts of victorious evil with thrills of heroism by slaughtering cultists and Aljani and anyone he seems a criminal from the shadows.
Elbis has heard of Vale’s survival but sees no reason in trying to contact her. He doesn’t believe that she can do anything to fight against the nightmares either, no matter how strong she is. Elbis is a broken man who has already convinced himself that the world is doomed. With the rest of the Daubers gone, evil has prevailed. His own sense of justice has only become more warped and broken just so he can pretend his actions still matter. That he can make a difference in the world and purge evil for good. His body may be strong but his mind is shattered. He avoids the truth and that makes him more bane than boon to the people of Tertia.