Category: Tertia Worldbuilding

The Factions of Tertia – New Fate

TRICKSTER OF DISASTER – ‘THE HIDDEN’ BINKO

Binko is the alias of the mage who beckons the Misaligned Realm. Binko is, of course, not his true name. Binko’s true name is lost behind hundreds of fake lives and identities that he created during his time as a mortal. Binko was always exceptionally talented, even as a child, but his issue was always that he had a tendency towards boredom. He lived a life in search of fun, he had no other goals or passions other than simply finding ways of enjoying himself. Yet, inevitably, he would always become bored with the things around him. The environment, the people, the pass-times; he failed to find anything that could hold his attention for long.

For a long time, it was believed that Binko was the first Magia child born to an unexceptional and mundane family of toymakers and carpenters. As it turned out, this was just one of the fake backstories that Binko made up during his time as an investigator. Binko spent his younger years travelling around after he dropped out of education at a young age. He wanted to be able to immerse himself in every culture he possibly could, learning every lifestyle and tradition just to keep himself interested. While he journeyed, he made his money by infiltrating cults and leaking information about them to authorities. For his own sake, he made sure to note down all the kinds of rituals that the cults performed.

During this time his interest in the craft of magic piqued, he moved from Crobayoris to Pradas and started making his life as a magic researcher. He was able to enjoy himself because of the idea of experimentation, that as a researcher he could always find something new that would refresh his interest. He would infamously carry out dangerous experiments, often on himself since there were no other willing subjects. His peers told him that such reckless experimentation would damage his mind and body but, to Binko, the threat of boredom was so much worse.

Binko’s greatest achievements in the field of discovery were based around undoing magical mutations, both on himself and on others. Binko wasn’t satisfied with this as he saw it as erasing something potentially new and interesting. As a way of further exciting himself, Binko also famously participated in Vasara’s combat sports, where he proved himself to be unfairly powerful compared to the rest of the competition. He was a genius in his studies and a powerhouse in combat, which led him to be known as one of the most powerful mages Tertia had ever known. This was why he was chosen by Nelaime and Karye to be one of the three to fight alongside them against Gonel.

After Gonel was defeated, Binko’s motivation grew to heights it had never reached in the past. The idea of a realm of Demons, and by extension other planes as well, was titillating for Binko. These planes could be entirely new, function by totally different rules and could provide sensations that could not be felt on the mortal plane. Just theorizing about it was exciting, so Binko worked harder than he ever had to reach these new platforms of joy. Fortunately for him, the boundaries between planes were still brittle from Gonel’s intrusion and he was able to come across a realm that was practically made for him. The Misaligned Realm, a plane of utter chaos where no two creatures were the same or stayed the same. Everything down to the very fabric of the realm was in constant flux, logic was dead in this place, never meant to be understood. It was perfection.

Binko immersed himself in the realm, he researched it as if trying to find the answer to an impossible puzzle. He poked holes in the realm so he could see more, to find patterns that didn’t exist. Then, he figured out a single thing. The nature of the creatures there, he drew back the curtains and realized how they functioned. That was enough, with that knowledge in hand he allowed himself to be drawn into the realm and it became his new home. Still, Binko was not done. Far from it, now that he had found an endless well of fun he made it his duty to share his elation with the people of the mortal realm. The Misaligned Realm was being drawn to Tertia through the holes he had made, it was as if the chaotic plane could smell the disarray brewing among the mortals. Binko gave the realm a helpful push and as the boundary broke opened, the war on alignment took its new form.

Although the Misaligned Realm was defeated and sealed, Binko has not given up. He continues to pass between the realms, manipulating people’s lives to make them just a tad more ‘interesting’. One of his methods of doing this is through ‘accidentally’ dropping his powerfully enchanted deck of cards on the paths of random adventuring parties. His end goal, though, is for the Misaligned Realm to rip open once again and plunge the world into total anarchy. He wants everything to be as malleable as it is in the chaos he lives in, a reality where imagination is power and everyone is a god.

FATUNDRORCAVUM

Cav is Binko’s own personal Aberration, spawned by the trickster through the method of drawing from the Misaligned Realm’s own will. The study of Aberrations was always a side-project in Binko’s mind, the sheer element of mystery surrounding them was enough to keep his interest even after moving to the Misaligned Realm. He theorized that the dream folk of Sleeper’s Parley were a branch of Aberration and the sample size was large enough for him to do ample research. Once he figured out the process of new Aberration coming to be, he set the goal of creating one himself. A creature that is a spirit and yet not, one unbound from the logic of the realms who could act entirely on its own whims. Binko wanted to know what it would do, born into an existence where it could do anything. It would be his endgame in motion, the first before all living things become gods.

Though, its imperfection would be that an Aberration could not be born without any bias. The most key component of Aberration are the thoughts and feelings they derive from, so it would always have some form of direction to its existence. The closest thing to a solution that Binko found was to use the will of the Misaligned Realm, thus creating an entity predisposed to chaos. The goal was to make it unpredictable and unpredictable so it was. Binko performed his perfected ritual and Fatundrorcavum manifested as what was essentially a misaligned kin unbound by physical form. In that instant, it had an innumerable amount of appearances at once. If Binko were not who he was then his mind would have been overwhelmed in an instant.

‘Cav’, despite its successful incarnation, was a failure with regards to Binko’s goal. After the moment of summoning, Cav normalized into a single, conceivable form. It was meant to do as it willed and surely enough when it was set out it would cause mass chaos, yet it was disappointingly submissive to Binko. Believing at least one living entity to be a necessary component in the creation of an Aberration, he and his own will were mixed with the Misaligned Realm’s. This bound Cav to his own soul, effectively making the Aberration an extension of his own being. Cav would only do what Binko wanted, which made it a complete wash-out in Binko’s eyes.

Regardless, Cav’s abilities have proven interesting to spectate as its presence alone warps reality around it. It isn’t just its image that’s random, the very space around it becomes subject to aimless anomaly. If made to stand in one place for too long, Cav will create a bubble around itself where reality twists and separates from all other existence. Due to being bound by Binko’s directions, he uses Cav as a tool through which to cause more chaos. One of the things that Cav has shown itself capable of doing is taking on someone’s form and perfectly emulating them. Thus, Binko will have Cav go and pose as some random person for a time as reality unsettlingly warps around them.

When Cav isn’t performing such a mission, Binko has it set to ‘do as it wants’. Cav’s one saving grace is that, when left to its own devices, it will act unpredictably. In line with its origins, it leans towards the escalation of confusion and destruction in the world around it. It sets fires and watches them grow, metaphorically speaking. Or, sometimes, entirely literally. It depends.

*Note – The assortment below doesn’t represent all of the losers that Binko has duped. Only some of the more notable ones.

[THE LOVERS] MATRIARCH CHAREMI

Fatima Charemi is one of the five matriarchs of Kildu, an extremely powerful Magia bound by Binko’s will for the sake of her polyamorous lovers. She is the youngest of the matriarchs and attained the position shortly after her mother, one of the previous matriarchs, died of age. Only the age of 10 at the time, she was raised by the people her mother considered as servants. She was never comfortable with how her mother treated them, even when she was taught that she should act the same way. Especially regarding the male servants, who her mother practically abused at any given opportunity. The smiles they always forced unnerved Fatima. She wanted them to be actually happy.

As she became the youngest matriarch in Kildu’s history, however, she had nary the time to address the problems she had with servant treatment. She was constantly surrounded by the other big influencers of the country who did not nothing but voice their amazement towards Fatima’s heritage and prodigal potential. Their faces were not genuine either. They were always angry or jealous beneath the surface of their expressions, they believed Fatima was not worthy of the position. She just wanted people to be comfortable and happy, she wanted people to be genuine with her. If that meant hearing the suppressed uproar then she would accept that, anything was better than the lie of a life she saw herself as living.

Despite her efforts at speaking out, her life barely changed at all. While her peers weren’t happy with it, she was expected to fulfill the role she had inherited. She was brought under the care of matriarch Sephyr, who personally trained her to become the powerful, guiding figure she would have to be. Concurrent to her training, there were several young servants being taught to serve Fatima for when she became old enough to live on her own. Five boys and four girls made up their number. They were trained by the servants of Fatima’s mother, the regular process for when a new matriarch came into power.

She worried what would happen to the old servants when the training was done and confronted Sephyr about it. Sephyr promised that she would bring them under her wing, yet Fatima remained uncertain. She asked if it would be possible for the servants to remain with her but this request was denied. Fatima’s focus was to be on the new generation, not on those from the age of her mother.

Some years passed and Fatima properly matured and asserted her position as matriarch. She moved back into her mother’s old mansion alongside the servants that were trained for her. For the first time, she was free to do and act as she wished. The servants stood to attention, their teachings ingrained after the previous few years, a fact that Fatima intended to quickly change. She insisted constantly, day after day that they act casually around her when not in the public eye. At first they were almost robotic as all of their movements were practiced, though Fatima’s persistent demands did spur them into easing up.

Cedric, Arlin, Aldrick, Jasper, Alvad, Nadine, Vivian, Hera and Stella. Those were the names of her servants, Fatima cherished all of them. Once her mansion’s friendly atmosphere was firmly established, something else started to bloom. Fatima’s bond with her servants grew and she encouraged them to bond with each other as well. Naturally, their relationships began to become more intimate. The servants would blush whenever she requested they take her hand, she started to hug them and give them kisses on their cheeks. It was an odd way for a matriarch to act, most in the past were too caught up in their own superiority to bother with such affections.

After speaking with several of the servants personally, Fatima came to a conclusion about what she was feeling. She gathered them all up and with cheeks bright red she confessed that she loved all of them. She didn’t want their relationship to be that of master and servant- she wanted them to be in a relationship as equals. If they would have her, as lovers. They all mutually reciprocated her feelings and from then on that’s what they were. Her lovers.

She lived what was essentially her perfect life from then on. She loved her lovers, her lovers loved her, they loved each other and all the feelings were true. They could all be open with each other, they had no need to hide anything. Their trust in each other was absolute, it was everything Fatima ever wanted. That was, until, a particular matriarch gathering wherein she found something quite out of place. The meeting itself went fine, it was a standard political affair, what was off was an enigmatic deck of cards that manifested upon the matriarchs’ round table. The other matriachs had already departed and Fatima was about to follow suit before the deck caught her eye. Curious, she drew a card from the deck. The Wheel of Fortune.

Suddenly, the world around her changed. Time seemed to stop as the round table flipped up and turned into a spinning wheel with various sections on its face. As if driven by an inexplicable compulsion, Fatima spun the wheel and it landed on a section titled ‘the Lovers’. The world returned to normal and when Fatima looked back to the table, the deck was gone. Instead, there awaited a pile of nine diamond-shaped trinkets. Concerned, Fatima quickly caught up to Sephyr and led her back into the meeting room. She asked her elder matriarch what she thought of the trinkets, to which Sephyr was unable to provide an answer. Given Sephyr’s status as Kildu’s matriarch of knowledge, this was particularly concerning.

Sephyr carefully collected the trinkets and told Fatima she would attempt to figure out what they were and where they had come from. Fatima thanked her former carer, though as Sephyr took the trinkets Fatima felt like something had been stolen from her. She felt a void in her heart, a feeling not dissimilar to the ones that she felt as a child. Worried, she quickly returned to her mansion to find that all of her lovers had fainted. She attempted to wake them and cast every healing spell she knew but it was no use. They were completely comatose. On their bodies were the same diamond trinkets that she had given to Sephyr.

Fatima’s first priority was getting them proper care. On her own, she brought all of them to the finest hospital in the country and begged the doctors there to find what was wrong with her lovers. They immediately got to work, unable to turn down the request of a matriarch. She stayed with them for the entire night, though the doctors could determine nothing about their condition. The next day, she went to meet with Sephyr in hopes that she’d have information on the diamond-shaped trinkets. With a pained expression, Sephyr admitted that the trinkets had disappeared overnight.

Fatima was certain that the diamond-shaped trinkets had something to do with what had happened to her lovers. However, any time she attempted to take the ones that were found on her lovers’ bodies, she felt herself losing consciousness. Not knowing what to do, Fatima cried as she recalled the memories she had with her lovers. With Cedric, with Arlin, with Aldrick and Jasper, with Nadine, with Vivian, with Hera, Stella and… Who else?

That night, a voice wormed its way into her head. She knew not the origin of the voice but what it offered were answers. Before her, a gateway to an unknown realm opened and the voice beckoned her in. Lost and overwhelmed by distraught, she followed the voice into the unknown. She emerged in what seemed to be a casino and before her was a man with black skin and white face paint. She saw that her lovers had also been brought into the realm, all seven of them and… two others? The monochrome man explained to her the effects of the card she had drawn.

Wheel of Fortune – Lovers; an effect that granted the diamond-shaped trinkets to both the spinner of the wheel and their soulmate(s). The trinkets were equivalent to the lovers’ lives, if one were destroyed then the life of the bound soulmate would end. If one were lost or given away, however, the giver would gradually lose all memory of the bound soulmate. Subsequently, that soulmate would also enter a comatose state where they would be ensnared by nightmares of cold, lonely isolation. Carelessly, Fatima had given away all of the trinkets instantly.

Fatima asked the man what she could do, to which the man requested she calm herself. He knew how to undo the effects of the deck, though he would not do it for free. He offered to keep the lovers alive and to do undo their curse only if Fatima acted to his will. Her lovers were the world to her, in her mind this wasn’t even a choice. She accepted the man’s conditions and he opened the way back up to Tertia. Since then, her political motives have been more than a little suspicious. As a matriarch, her words and actions represent the will of the country. In recent times, those words and actions have only become more aggressive. Despite the objections of the other matriarchs, it seems only a matter of time before her carelessness plunged Kildu into war. Fatima doesn’t care. To her, the four lovers under the care of the monochrome man are far more important than the country.

[STRENGTH] ‘SCALECRUSHER’ SELENDRA

Selendra is a Skaal whose parents were among the first Kanotian immigrants. Considered one of the first ‘pure’ Skaal, Selendra was spoiled from birth and handed anything she would ever ask for. However, the goal she chose to aim for was one that could not be simply given. She wanted to unlock the full potential of her dragon-blooded body and become as the hermetics were. In emulation of them, she spent her childhood learning the ways of sorcery. Her clan provided her the grimoires and tomes that she would use to become a respectfully powerful caster. However, the one thing they refused her was the chance to participate in physical training.

This was suspicious, even in the eyes of young Selendra. It wasn’t even an issue of gender, the boys of her generation were similarly denied such opportunities to hone their bodies. At first she shrugged it off and just used the time to study magic but as she matured she put the pieces together. The Skaal were still few in population, thus the original settlers planned to keep Selendra’s generation too weak to leave on their own. They would be forced to stay and reproduce for the sake of making more pure Skaal. Selendra refused this fate, she wanted her life to be much more than just waiting to have children. Confident in her magical abilities, she ran from the clan and stowed away on a ship set to head for Crobayoris.

When she reached the continent, she had no direction. Crobayoris was a large and varied land, on her own she had no chance of navigating the various countries and societies. Especially considering her weakness physically. Fortunately, the country she had been brought to was Chwalu, a place experienced in giving homes to the lost. She was able to feel comfortable in Chwalan society as the dragons who lived alongside the people reminded her of her homeland. She journeyed around village to village until she caught word about a new city that was being built to the country’s south. Qing Mai, a settlement governed by a monastery of monks.

Selendra immediately made it her priority to get to Qing Mai. She knew that she had to join this monastery, it was the perfect opportunity to train her body properly. In her mind, a dragon’s scales were meant to be tougher than any armor. If she wanted to reach the full potential of a dragon, her body had to live up to that tale. When she got there, the two heads of the monastery accepted her without a second thought. She quickly presented talent under their tutelage and forged a rivalry with an Ignia named Varya, who had joined the monastery shortly before her. The two constantly pushed and motivated each other to improve for the sake of getting an upper hand in their frequent ‘sparring’ matches.

Selendra’s goal was set in her mind. While she found happiness in the monastery unlike what she felt back on Kanotia, it was not where her end goal lay. She knew she would return to Kanotia one day and resolved to defeat one of the dragons of spectrum peak when that day comes. She would be one of history’s mythical dragons, recorded in books of legend until the end of time. She gave herself the title ‘Scalecrusher’ based on the reputation she foresees herself attaining. One with the strength to crush the scales of dragons. A nickname that Varya made fun of her for constantly.

The next big event in Selendra’s life came in the wake of a particular group of adventurers. This party had defeated a witch that plagued the forest that surrounded Qing Mai and were asked by the monastery to resolve another problem that had fallen upon the city. The disappearance of all the Aljani who had gone there. Selendra pursued and aided the party as they uncovered and resolved this mystery, though the adventure would not end there. What they came upon was a portal that took Selendra and the party to an unknown area of the Dull. There, they were left with one path to follow, which led them directly towards Binko’s deck of disaster.

Selendra and each of the party members drew from the deck and were subject to various effects as a result. Selendra was fortunate and drew Strength, which simply made her grow larger and more powerful. She wasn’t particularly happy to just attain that power for what she thought was free, though it did bring her a step closer to her final goal. The party ventured further into the Dull and encountered an enemy none would expect to face. A purple hermetic dragon, one the world did not know existed. Selendra was overcome by her will to fight the beast and was effortlessly dealt a serious wound.

After she was rendered unconscious, a gateway was opened that brought her, the party and the dragon back up to the surface. A great battle took place, one that would have implications the whole world would see, yet Selendra was not a part of it. She slipped into the waters surrounding the monastery, utterly defeated. In her unconscious mind, a whisper preyed on the regret she felt in defeat. It promised it would make her stronger, strong enough to face such enemies with a not-so-pathetic result. That it could make her dream a reality, if she would do what it said. When she awakened, she followed the voice’s orders and left Qing Mai.

Since then, she has been unquestionably carrying out Binko’s will. She fights who he wants her to fight, observes what he wants her to observe and places objects where he wishes them placed. Her overall sense of passion has diminished greatly and she never fully recovered from the mental blow she suffered from her loss. The gap between her and the hermetics seems so great, on her own she would have no idea how to bridge it. That’s why she relies on Binko’s voice, the last thing keeping her from believing her dream an impossible one.

[TEMPERANCE] ALDER BAEYERTZ

Alder Bayertz is the name of a legendary Argil soldier and architect who led the construction of Pradas’ Memorial of Heroes; a place where the defining moments of various adventurer’s lives are recorded. This Alder and that Alder are one in the same, though he is no longer certain that name is his. Alder’s tale began during the time of the war on alignment, when Pradans resorted to doing anything to protect themselves against the misaligned kin. Pradas suffered greatly from the war on alignment due to the continent’s reliance on magic. Their greatest military strengths were rendered useless against the bodies of the misaligned kin and the continent’s rich resorted to hiding in heavily fortified bunkers to survive.

Those who were left on the surface were expected to either fight or be preparing to. Countless children were taken from their families and drafted into the growing army being trained in Ushtarak. These clumsily appointed soldiers were not expected to win the battles they fought, they were simply bodies to distract the misaligned kin from those who were ‘important’. Alder was one of the children made to join this meat grinder, though he would not suffer the fate that those underground anticipated. Despite the rushed training, Alder was one of the few who were able to keep up with it and excelled in the bleak conditions. For those who were drafted alongside him, he proved that they could make the most of the situation and even gave them hopes at victory.

In the first real battle he participated in, Alder and his accompanying troops were actually successful in slaying a group of misaligned kin. While this group was small and several of the soldiers met their end, the battle was enough to further prove that they could make an impact. They were capable of defeating the misaligned kin, which further motivated the improvement of the troops. Alder was a hero who practically single-handedly saved western Pradas with his example. He was set to walk a path of certain death but instead forged a new way and beckoned countless others to follow.

When the war ended and the rich Vasarans and Serikaat members came back to the surface, they offered Alder endless praise and decorative titles and trinkets. Alder was still absolutely sickened by the previous decree of these people. He would never forget the drafting and the intention behind it, so he denied every offensive attempt at reconciliation they offered. He fought alongside the warriors who died for them and there were countless others who were forced to experience pointless deaths. In their honor, along with other survivors of the war, he built a giant memorial at the training grounds he was drafted to. In honor of those who lost their lives, who fought to keep hope alive up until the very last moments of the battle.

After the memorial was done, Alder fell back into a life of architecture. While the battling was done, the effects of the war could still be seen all around. Villages, towns and cities had been destroyed all around, so Alder put his skills to use and dedicated himself to rebuilding. While he was still a revered figure, he did his best to stay out of the spotlight. He did not see himself as being any more worthy of praise than anyone else who survived the war. His actions were only his own, he did not create the perseverance and bravery that was needed to survive in that time. Every so often he would visit the memorial and pass the respect he had received on to the marked names. He did this until, on one of his visits, he found a deck of cards at its base.

An odd thing to leave at a memorial site, he thought. He had reservations about disturbing the cards in case they held some kind of significance but his inquisitiveness got the best of him. He would just look at one of the cards, he told himself as he drew from the deck. Temperance. For a moment, Alder experienced absolute clarity. In an instant, the things that weighed on his mind were dispelled and he remembered perfectly every moment of his life. Every name, every face, every battle, every emotion; everything. Inspired, he quickly produced some carving tools and etched names into the memorial that he had previously forgotten. When he was done, he realized there was a locket tied around his wrist.

A curious item, one that Alder knew he did not have previously. He pieced together that the locket was likely what allowed him to recall those lost names and for that he was thankful. He looked to where the deck of cards had been previously and saw that they were gone. While confused, he believed that the one who left the deck there had good intentions thanks to the effect that he had experienced. He proceeded to remove the locket from his wrist and place it where the deck of cards was, hoping that it might provide the same clarity to any other visitors. He left the memorial with a smile on his face, though the next day he would not be the same.

His memories were gone. On the day after that fateful trip to the memorial, Alder Baeyertz had completely forgotten who he was. He got up and wandered around, aimless and confused. He knew no one and all his actions were guided by muscle memory. It became quickly apparent to the people around him what had occurred, though they had no way of helping him recover the memories he had lost. They showed him objects that were important to him and brought him back to the memorial (the locket was not present) but nothing would spur his emptied mind. After being told the stories of Alder Baeyertz, he did not even believe that he could be such a great person. Over night, the person he was had gone.

This was frustrating not only for the people trying to help him but for himself. He didn’t believe himself to be the heroic ‘Alder’ and he did not know what his values or goals were. A few nights after this memory loss, he was greeted by a voice in his head. He did not recognize the voice, though it was easily able to convince him that they were once friends in the past. The voice claimed to be capable of restoring the memories that Alder had lost, though he would have to do some things first. Well, Alder wasn’t one to turn down a request from a friend, so he accepted without even hearing what it was he had to do.

Alder’s life now sees him completely under Binko’s thumb. Binko did restore some of his memories, but only the ones of his hatred for the Vasarans. Alder now spends his days rallying against the elitism in Vasara, his acts ranging from simple strikes to all out riots. Were it not for his legacy this would not be effective but many others follow behind the example of Alder Baeyertz. That’s how it always was, though he does not know that. In his mind he is a warrior fighting against a corrupt society, in Binko’s he is an agent of chaos who will bring great discourse to the people of Pradas.

[THE MOON] LOCKE ANGEL

Locke Angel is a famous athlete who made his name participating in Pradas’ battle sports. Particularly, he was a national champion in mixed magical arts, which was essentially the simplest of the battle sports. To keep things interesting, many of the continent’s battle sports have particular rules or limitations applied to them. E.g. one of the battle sports only allows the usage of self-buffing magic and another is a ranged-magic sport that takes place on a square stage composed of many destructible pillars. Mixed magical arts is the simplest in the sense that most forms of magic are allowed, given the spell effects aren’t instantly lethal, designed to do permanent damage or curses. The stage is also most commonly a simple, even arena, though special tournaments will spice things up by periodically tossing enchanted weapons onto the field.

Locke made a name for himself early when he won a junior mix martial arts event at the minimum entry age of 10 years old, defeating participants as old as 15. This wasn’t an unexpected result, however, when his heritage is taken into consideration. Locke was the son of Sherra Angel, one of the guild of politics’ judges. The judges of the Serikaat are known to be among the strongest fighters in the world, capable of dealing justice to even the most brutal of criminals. Locke proved that strength ran in the family, a fact that he would absolutely never shut up about.

As a figure in the public eye, Locke was an unlikable as he could possibly be. He was the type to expect victory in each of his bouts and whenever he’d win he’d act as if it was his birthright. He truly believed that fate chose him to be great and that he would never be defeated on an even stage. Even after he became a national champion with a perfect win record, fans of the sport were constantly vying for him to be taken down a notch. Defenders of his claimed that it was just a stage persona, though anyone not thirsting after his unnatural attractiveness could see that he was truly just an asshole.

He never faced true conflict in his life. It pained people to admit but he was undoubtedly the best in the mixed magical arts scene by a significant margin. Though, despite his placement at the top, Locke began to feel utterly unsatisfied. Despite his belief that he would always win, he wanted to truly fight for it. He knew that his mother would always go out and hunt foes who could pose a real threat to even her and he wanted to experience such a bout. That’s when he found out about the other side of Pradan battle sports. The dark underbelly, where the already bare rules of mixed magical arts were tossed away and anything went.

These illegal matches went on all the time and even the likes of cultists could participate in them. These dirty battle sports were ruthless, all types of magic were allowed and there was nothing stopping anyone from killing. These sports weren’t for the sake of game, they were real fights to prove dominance over another. Of course, Locke did not fear the potential consequences of participating in these dirty matches, for to do so would presume that he thought losing was a possibility. In his first underground match, half of his face was ripped off without any hope of it ever being fully reconstructed.

Locke left the recovery room with several feelings he had never experienced before. Confusion, anger, frustration, pain, embarrassment; he could not process how underground scum could get the best of him like that. He knew he could not return to the surface with the wound he had been dealt. His mother would be disappointed and the world would know that he had been beat. It would make others believe themselves capable of being on his level and that was unacceptable. After toiling in his own rage for several hours, he became tired of it and brought himself back into focus. He had hidden his face and booked himself a night in some no-name hotel, a place far below his usual standards. On the desk next to him was a deck of cards.

The cards reminded him of a practice he had heard of wherein cards were used to predict the future. To take his mind off of his lost fight, he decided to use them to try and determine where he’d go from there. Though, the card he drew would be the first and last. The Moon. He felt his body and blood turn cold and saw the skin on his hands rapidly become pale. The inside of his mouth tickled and as he ran his tongue across his teeth he felt that his canines had grown and become sharper. Moreover, he felt thirsty. He downed water that he also had on the desk but it did nothing for him. He had to drink. He swiftly burst out of his room and the first person he saw was the hotel owner, just about to lock up. The owner asked him what was wrong before Locke quickly and instinctively latched onto him and drained the blood from his body. Two liters was enough to sate his thirst.

The owner was still alive but just barely. Locke snapped back into focus and realized just what he did. He was confused but also invigorated. He felt strong. Stronger than he’d ever felt before. The confidence that he had lost returned to him as he strode out into the night to return to the underground battle ring. He picked a fight with the same guy who had beat him just the day before and he cockily accepted. He claimed that he’d take the other side of Locke’s face, what he didn’t expect was the supernatural power that he had gained. In this rematch, Locke paid the underground fighter back by ripping off his entire face.

Locke had never heard of a transformation like the one he had undergone. He was like a creature of fiction, though what kind he could not ascertain. Not that he much cared, considering the transformation allowed him to retake his place at the top of the battle hierarchy. He did find some limitations to his new body, such as being unable to enter buildings without permission and being completely unable to stand sunlight, though he had no issue with working around these problems. After he won several more dirty battles, a voice spoke to him in his head. The voice claimed to be the one who gifted Locke his new abilities after sympathizing with the pain of his defeat. The voice played to his ego by claiming that it agreed with his superiority and just wanted to give the little push to keep him on the top.

Locke was not particularly thankful, though this was of no matter to the voice. The voice claimed that it would continue to guide Locke’s growth and give him more power should he participate in the fights the voice told him to. Locke saw no issue in this, no opponent he could face would be able to defeat him anyway, he thought. Since then, Locke has returned to being the controversial figure he always was. He stands at the top of the sports world both on the surface and in the shadows. Frustration builds as does his win streak and his victories over certain opponents mean he’s in the eyes of some very powerful groups. He looks to become a point of convergence where these groups will clash, nevertheless Locke still intends to come out on top.

[THE SUN] CAHSO

Cahso was the only living child born from a Knusan family who was obsessed with achieving immortality. This obsession loomed over the family since a time far gone, only around a century after the old gods fought against the hungering creature. It began with a cult of people who followed an Ignia named ‘Ordancil’, who had successfully managed to achieve immortality despite not being an old god. This cult was small but obsessed with the knowledge that Ordancil held, they would not give up on following her until she revealed her secrets. Eventually, Ordancil managed to lose the cultists and escaped someplace unknown, but the cult still did not give up.

With no figure to guide them, the cult aimlessly experimented on themselves for generations upon generations in hopes of attaining their goal. They tried anything they could, even the most dangerous of rituals, to no avail. Cahso’s family was one of those that suffered most from the experimentation. Well, with the exception of those who died. The rituals performed by Cahso’s ancestry had resulted in their compatibility with magic actually weakening over time. They slowly lost the perks of their Magia bodies as generations passed and as a result Cahso was born basically human. Not only had this family failed to achieve immortality, they had effectively cursed their lineage.

The surname that Cahso carried made him an outcast even within the cult. The family he was born to was lowly considered due to the failure that would ever loom over them. That said, Cahso knew nothing else in his conditioned life. He still acted as a member of the cult and carried on his family’s want for immortality, though he was barely regarded as even existing. In the worst times, the cult would not feed him and he would be forced to go out and hunt his own meals. He could not stand being ignored and became a troublemaker, which came at the cost of many threats of exile. The only reason he was kept around was because he showed some talent with instruments. His place in the cult lay on a scale of how annoying vs how entertaining he was.

He lived in a world where it would be no different if he had never existed. A fact that was seen by an emissary of another plane.

This emissary approached the still young Cahso shortly after one of many incidents where he had been chased away from the cult’s meeting grounds. They claimed that they knew multiple methods for how to achieve immortality. Cahso, still impressionable, was taken by the emissary’s words and allowed himself to be led into a nearby forest where he promptly lost consciousness. When he awoke, he was in a plane beyond his own. A place where nature extended as far as the eye could see and beyond; the Expanse. Who awaited him there was the plane’s creator, Twylth Rozka.

Twylth knew of the struggles that Cahso’s family had gone through and how his body had practically become an insulator of magic. What she offered him was something he couldn’t refuse; she would remove Cahso’s inherited curse and allow him to use magic as he willed. All he would have to do in return is cultivate that magic and become powerful. If he did so then she would grant him the immortality he so sought. It was a no-brainer for Cahso, he would be given magic and all he had to do was get good at using it. He gladly accepted, the pact was made and he was returned to the forest where the emissary led him.

He let this fateful meeting get to his head. He returned to the cult and began to parade himself as some kind of chosen one as he spun the basic spells that he was capable of mustering. He saw himself as above the activities of the rest of the cult, with a true end goal in sight. He was no longer bound to them, he had magic and so he chose to go off on his own adventure. He combined his new magic with his musical prowess and taught himself the bardic ways, using such performances to earn nights at bars and inns throughout the land. Until he caught wind of the stories of a master thief who went by ‘the Fox’.

He first heard the name the night he crossed into Esnaquan territory. Their wanted poster was on the wall, the depiction of their masked face wearing a cocky expression. Cahso was drawn into the various tales surrounding this ‘Fox’, for the first time he felt something along the lines of admiration. The tales told that the Fox was fearless, they would send calling cards to the places they intended to infiltrate and always got away by the skin of their teeth. It was like they were putting on a performance rather than conducting a heist. Cahso followed the stories, hoping to come upon a place marked by the Fox’s signature calling card.

Fortune found him when he finally managed to track the Fox’s moves. It was in the Esnaquan Museum of Merchantry, where the faces and stories of the country’s most renowned self-made people were recorded. The Fox had placed their calling card on one of the exhibits and security was at its highest. The problem was that Cahso himself had no way in. He attempted to charm the security force into letting him stand guard with his gathered knowledge of the Fox but they refused. Cahso realized that to catch up to the Fox, he would have to think like the Fox. He planned his own route and waited for the real Fox to make their move. When the confusion started, Cahso made his way in as well.

Cahso and the Fox managed to catch each other’s eyes in a fleeting moment, though they had nary the chance to stop and converse. The Fox made their swift and skilled escape and Cahso managed to disengage from the museum security as well. The next time they would meet was when the Fox struck a technology fair co-hosted by scientists from both Esnaquizar and Skarva. The highlight of the fair was going to be the first train departure ever in the country, which is when the Fox would make their appearance. They would sneak onto the train and take the belongings of the patrons right off of their bodies without them noticing.

When the train left the station, both the Fox and Cahso had managed to infiltrate it. Cahso spent the ride on the lookout, he’d seen the Fox before and knew the stature to look out for. For the first half hour, he saw no hide nor hair of the Fox and wondered if they had gotten onto the train at all. Growing increasingly more impatient, he stood and marched back and forth between the coaches. The patrons were all on edge due to the Fox’s mark and as soon as they felt the slightest suspicion towards Cahso, a panic burst out. They believed him to be the Fox, something the real Fox could not stand for. It was meant to be their show, so they promptly revealed themselves like an actor coming to the stage. This only caused the disarray to escalate and, with not much space to run, Cahso and the Fox were forced to leap from the train and run off into the distance.

This time, the two had a moment to stop and speak with each other. The Fox was initially miffed as they believed Cahso to be trying to take their thunder, though the misunderstanding was quickly cleared. Cahso simply wanted to see the Fox’s showmanship first hand, and what spectacles they were. Cahso was inspired and suggested that the two collaborate to further spread the Fox’s name. He would use his bardic talent to spin tales of the master thief, sing their praises and even frame them as some kind of protagonist. The Fox was not one to turn down the chance to connect to a wider audience and accepted the alliance.

The two traveled together for a time, making the Fox more notorious with each subsequent settlement struck. Then, they came upon Qing Mai. There, the two of them banded together with an Akora, a Skaal and a dream folk carrier to form the party that Selendra aided. The party made a grand performance at Qing Mai’s theater, depicting the grandiose tale of how the Fox bravely defeated the witch of the Qing Mai forest. The intended for the same place to be where the Fox would strike next, yet they would have the opportunity swept from under them by another thief who went by ‘the Wolf’.

They defeated this faker without ever learning his true name, though in his final moments he managed to inflict the Fox with the curse of lycanthropy. After that was the party’s unplanned trip into the Dull. When they came upon the deck of disaster, Cahso drew the Sun. In his mind he understood immediately the function of the card, he could use it to make a single wish. The wish he wanted to make came to him instantly, he wanted to be immortal. Once the wish was spoken, the card burned away and his wish would be granted the next time he was bathed in the light of a morning sunrise. His chance of getting there dropped significantly when the party encountered the purple hermetic.

After everyone was transported back to the surface, Cahso and the rest of the party were swept into a battle with the hermetic. While they managed to do significant damage to it, they were conclusively overpowered by the creature. This would have been the party’s last moments were it not for the passing whim of an old god. After an interference by Rohakoa, the party were faced with even more chaos. A gateway to Iaxus had led its hideously powerful creatures to the city and an emissary of the Deepest Fear was on their way as well. In their attempt to escape the city, the party would face off against this emissary.

Once again, the party was brought to death’s door. Though their luck was not spent, fortune struck as a faction named Vantablack intervened. This mysterious faction proved powerful enough that even the Deepest Fear did not risk engaging them. The Akora escaped, the Skaal went with Vantablack and the dream folk carrier was abducted by the Deepest Fear. Cahso and the Fox were left laying there, their blood stained the grass of Qing Mai’s border. Cahso would have bled out in this aftermath, yet death would continue to refuse him. The skies were clear and night was ending. Dawn broke and the light of the sun filled the horizon. In its embrace, his wish was granted.

Now an immortal, Cahso owes his existence to Binko. Feeling a kinship with the trickster, he bends to Binko’s whim, at least so long as the requests suit him. In his mind he has resigned his dedication to Twylth, though a pact cannot be so easily undealt. He still spins the tales of the Fox wherever the winds take him but in-between he has a new long term goal. He wants to find a way to completely unbind himself from Twylth’s pact and live the truly free immortal life he imagines.

[JUDGEMENT] FENNEL ‘THE FOX’

Fennel is an Elinvar rogue who made a name for themselves as ‘the Fox’ by performing great heists around the region of eastern Crobayoris. She grew up as the middle child of a large family who ran an inn in Farfasa. Though she was born to an Elinvar family, she and her siblings never really subscribed to the customs practiced by their father. Though, what they were interested in were his songs and stories of adventure that he would frequently excite the children with. Farfasa is the land of adventurers, the world’s greatest was even born there, so Fennel’s father’s tales were plentiful and always exciting.

It was her father who inspired Fennel to go out and become an adventurer herself. She left home and started out with some basic monster hunting and general community aid, though she felt as if something was missing. There was a certain wonder to each of her father’s tales that she just couldn’t emulate with the feats she achieved. There needed to be more mystique and flair, something to spice up the generic adventuring life she had fallen into. In the daylight, she continued her work as an adventurer-for-hire but behind the scenes she planned for a new name to take the scene. A mysterious phantom thief known as ‘the Fox’.

The intentions behind her taking up this vocation were by no means spiteful. The Fox never stole to obtain the object being stolen, their acts were always for the sake of the show. The excitement of the heist and the stories that came from them were exactly what Fennel had been looking for. Once she knew this was the lifestyle she wanted, she began to spread word of the Fox. For each new place she came to there was a process. First, rumors would spread. Next, a calling card would appear at the place the Fox would strike next. Then, the heist would take place and everyone would be around to see it.

Fennel would never stay in one place for too long, progressively going farther from home as the Fox found new places to mark. She went all the way to Esnaquizar, where she would experience a wrench in the Fox’s usual formula. When she decided to perform a heist at the Esnaquan Museum of Merchantry, she found that she was not the only invader at the scene. While this invader made the heist easier to pull off, it took attention away from the Fox’s grandiose performance. After the fact, Fennel didn’t think much of it. A one-time weirdness, she thought, until she chose to place a particularly daring mark on Esnaquizar’s first ever rail journey.

As the Fox managed to get onto the train without a hitch, they thought everything was going to go smoothly. Shortly after the departure, they started sleight-of-handing objects from the pockets of the various patrons; then they saw that same invader from the other night. The Fox was certain in that moment that the invader was following them, though for what reason they were unsure. They couldn’t risk this person being some kind of vigilante trying to bring them to justice, so they chose to lay low until closer to the end of the journey. Unfortunately, this plan didn’t pan out when the mysterious maybe-vigilante started to draw attention to themselves. An uproar started and once again the spotlight had been stolen.

The Fox, unable to stand for this, revealed themselves holding the various items they had already managed to swipe. Immediately realizing just how dire the chances of escape were at that point, the Fox and the enigmatic follower leaped from the train and tumbled into the dirt before running off into the horizon. They laughed together for half a moment before the Fox took up a defensive stance. The mystery follower revealed their name to be Cahso and explained that he was something of a fan of the Fox’s work. He suggested their alliance and the Fox agreed. The rest of their history was the same as above, up until the moment when they were left to lay bleeding at the outskirts of Qing Mai.

The card that Fennel had drawn from Binko’s deck was Judgement. She was bestowed a horn by an emissary of Etrivaal and promised that she would receive divine aid if the horn were to be sounded in a fateful battle against evil. In desperation, she attempted to sound the horn in the battle against the Deepest Fear, though help did not come. She was left lying with lethal wounds, it seemed as if the Fox’s story had reached its final chapter. With the last of his breaths, Cahso decided to play a requiem for the two of them. Passively, his magic found its way into the song and a spell was cast that sent Fennel to the Expanse.

There, she was personally held in the arms of Twylth Rozka. Twylth admitted that she found amusements in the escapades of the Fox and wanted to see them perform more. Twylth offered to heal Fennel’s wounds if she would form a pact with her. Fennel did not want to die there. She wanted the Fox’s name to be known by the whole world. She wanted to see her family again. So, she accepted Twylth’s deal and a pact was forged. The suppressed magic of Fennel’s Elinvar body was drawn out and Twylth used it to alter Fennel’s body. The curse of lycanthropy afflicted by the Wolf was re-appropriated to give Fennel the ability to turn into a fox or demifox.

Various other magical abilities came as a result of Twylth’s spellcrafting. By the end of it, Fennel had practically become half-Fae. With these new tricks, Fennel was sent back to Tertia and the Fox started to make appearances once again. Binko’s influence on the Fox’s actions aren’t obvious even to them, yet the places they mark are subconsciously guided by that voice in their mind. Fennel’s path is no longer her own and it is up to her to realize that before the consequences become too severe.