It took me a bit longer than I had hoped, but I finally decided on the key characters that I wanted to create. Anyone reading my blog likely isn’t surprised: Theladas and Jerricah are the premiere characters in my writing. I was debating for a very long time if it would be worth making my templar alt now.
But then it hit me: as unlikely as it is that someone would name their character “Jerricah,” she and Thel have names that matter to me. Ry can go by any convolution of his name, as can ‘Aria.
I’m on the Azphel server. I was pretty undecided on the server front, so I went reading through some guilds online. Turns out that Dark Echo was looking to get some quality work done in the game right-off, and they had an opening for a Chanter. I jumped on the opportunity, and suddenly had a server choice made for me. I’m happy with it so far: the other guilds on the server seem like solid competition, and my guildmates are all pretty stellar. Some of you may know Anikka, over at Sin Healing (go say ‘Hi’ if you don’t!); it’s gotta be good if it has bloggers, right?
Anyhow, now that I have these characters created, I figured I’d share some background on them with you. These are (partial) backgrounds for Thel and Jerri in Aion:
Theladas was raised under the relatively traditional Asmodian adage: the only way to survive is to fight. He came from mundane (non-Daeva) parents, so his resolve to fight for survival was all the keener – there was no immortality to protect him. As a child, he sparred regularly with his father. The duality of a Quarterstaff as a practical tool (walking stick, or readily converted into a hoe or rake with a metal attachment) and a fighting implement led both Theladas and his father to favor them. Theladas often considered blading the ends of his stave in order to add some additional power, but he didn’t have any exceptional skill in crafting.
Theladas learned fighting from his father and morality from his mother. He rolled his eyes at her lessons; he resisted the concepts of generosity and service with the whole of his being. The outside world taught him that any such vulnerabilities could cost him his life: he didn’t understand why taking such a risk could ever be worthwhile. Nevertheless, he humored his mother. He had some elementary practice in acting, too: no normal Asmodian could eat his mother’s cooking with a straight face.
Shortly after Theladas turned twelve years old, his home settlement was besieged by the Balaur. The city went up in flames, and Theladas lost both of his parents in the melee. His mother was killed before she could even leave the house – one of the dragon-like beasts tore through the wall and killed her in the atrium. Theladas’ enraged father forced Theladas into a closet before charging out to seek vengeance. He allegedly defeated three of the Balaur before they devoured him in the town square.
Bitter, angry, and orphaned, Theladas had no choice but to serve as a priest’s servant at the nearby city in Adelle. He loathed the work and stress, and was rarely given any more attention than an obtrusive slave. He lived on meager rations, as he was forbidden to hunt for himself, and was thoroughly alone. He wept for his parents daily, and cursed them afterwards. He hated them for making him care, and he hated them for abandoning him so recklessly.
Some months later, one of the priests of the temple took notice of Theladas. Her name was Allison Mews. She took Theladas aside one day during his work, after catching his unique way of sweeping the floor (it was much like swinging a quarterstaff, she thought). Sure enough, Allison found that the boy had training with a weapon. Theladas almost too readily told Allison his story: he’d gone for months without telling a soul. The next day, Theladas was roughly shoved away by his old owner, and Allison took over as his caretaker.
Over the next year, Allison worked with Theladas to hone his fighting skills. She also taught him how to meditate. In the meditative state, she told him, he could potentially protect himself and others with his willpower alone. Theladas didn’t quite understand her point at first, yet he soon began to feel what it was she spoke of. After a harsh day’s work, Theladas would meditate as Allison had taught him, and the aches in his shoulders would lift. He learned more and more about controlling this new strength, with Allison providing advice and assistance as necessary.
Theladas never fully understood why Allison offered to help him. He asked her about it regularly, yet her reply was always the same. She would shake her head and smile, saying, “I’m just doing Marchutan’s work.” Theladas knew she was lying, but ultimately ended up respecting her reasons. He knew she wasn’t trying to kill him, at least, and had no qualms with taking advantage of an opportunity. And so Theladas learned, and practiced, and practiced more, and injured himself in practice, and practiced more.
Theladas was well past his fourteenth birthday when he was out running an errand for Allison. His journey sent him across the island of Ishalgen: to each person he brought a missive, he was resent to another person with yet another letter. Theladas was grinding his teeth pretty hard by the time he passed through a graveyard. A purple glint then caught his eye: Theladas had discovered the crystalline prison of Munin.
Munin watched expectantly as Theladas approached. At once, he saw something in Theladas’ eye that was more than mundane. “I never thought I’d see another Daeva grace my path,” he said to the boy. Theladas stopped short, eyes narrow.
“Who’re you talking to?” he asked.
“You, of course,” Munin said with a scowl. “Do you see anyone else around?”
Theladas rolled his eyes. “Then you’d better stop looking through that purple thing – it’s messing with your eyes. I’m not a Daeva.”
“Oh, but you are,” Munin insisted.
“Daevas don’t come from mundane parents; everyone knows that,” Theladas said, glaring at the ground.
“Then where did the first Daevas come from, hmm?” Theladas looked back up at the man’s question. “They didn’t just fall out of the sky, you know. They’ve been a real part of this world for a long time, but they came about by chance. From mundane parents, no less.”
“So?” Theladas asked, impatient to get back to his work. Thinking about being a Daeva was making him envious.
“So, don’t let your parents define who you are,” Munin told him. He then pounded on the purple glass of his prison. “How about a deal, then?”
“You go back to Allison Mews, and ask her why she’s been taking care of you-“
“-How did you-“
“-When she tells you that it’s all about Marchutan,” Munin went on, ignoring Theladas with a wave of his hand, “ask her if she would take care of you if she didn’t know you are a Daeva.”
Theladas stared at the man in the purple crystal for a long minute. “What’s the deal, then?” he said at length.
“If she has been telling the truth, then she’ll simply laugh it off. If she laughs the thought of you being a Daeva away, then you know I’m wrong; you can go wherever you like, and serve your mundane life out however you like.”
“Go on,” Theladas said, a bit reluctantly.
“Mmmm, but if she has been lying,” Munin said with a wry smile, “If she has been lying, then she’ll tell you at once when you ask her that question. She will tell you, just as I have, that of course you have the blood of a Daeva in your veins. And when she admits it, you come back here and I’ll see you onto the next step in your Ascension.”
Theladas slowly started to turn from the prison. “What’s in it for you?” he then asked, stopping dead in his tracks. When Munin didn’t answer, Theladas added, “Why would you want to help me?”
“Why, so that you can help me, too,” Munin said with a grin.
Theladas hurried back to Allison’s chapel quickly, his brow furrowed in contemplation the whole way. “A magical man inside in a giant, purple crystal is the expert on Daevas now?” he asked himself lamely. “What is this world coming to? I don’t even know why I listened to him.”
But Theladas couldn’t help his curiosity and, hide it though he tried, his hope that there was something more to his life. Allison’s eyes went wide when Theladas asked; she knew at once that he had met Munin. However, true to the old man’s word, Allison admitted to knowing that Theladas was more than a normal servant boy.
“You’d best go meet with him again,” Allison instructed. “You have a long road ahead of you.”
Not a week after he had met Theladas, Munin had a second curious visitor. A young girl, dressed in fine robes and with the palest complexion he had ever seen. Her hair was a pale blond, vibrant in its luminence. Her eyes were an oceanic blue, and were presently filled with apprehension.
Unlike Theladas, the girl approached Munin’s prison with intent – she had come here to find him. Munin smiled warmly at the girl. “What’s your name, young Daeva?” Munin asked.
“I-I’m Jerricah,” she replied quietly. Her eyes were wide with wonder at the massive purple crystal. “And I’m not a Daeva. N-Not yet.”
“Ah, but you are an Albescent,” Munin said, tilting his head to the side. Jerricah nodded once. “That must be hard.”
“My family hates me,” Jerricah said, dropping her gaze quickly. “I’m nothing like my big brother, Yanis. He got the dark skin and dark hair; I got this curse, instead.”
“It’s not a curse, dear,” Munin told her.
“It is,” Jerricah insisted. “I can’t go anywhere without being ridiculed. Sure, being able to manipulate energy at will is handy, but lots of people can do that – they just have to study for it. I paid for it with this-” she gestured at her body, almost in disgust, “-instead.”
Munin couldn’t help but chuckle. He raised his hand in apology when Jerricah’s icy eyes locked on him. “I mean no offense, dear lady, but I think you underestimate just what a gift it is you have.”
“Looking like one of them is a gift?” Jerricah scowled.
Munin shrugged. “Outward appearances won’t mean much once you actually pursue your path. The mastery of energy that you already have far exceeds what most sorcerers are ever capable of. You’re only what, twelve?”
“Thirteen,” Jerricah corrected, standing up straighter and crossing her arms.
“Thirteen,” Munin agreed. “Do you have any idea what you’ll be capable of in ten years’ time? The very elements themselves will be at your beck and call. Ice storms, walls of fire, earthen monuments, and wind strong enough to shake the mountains shall leap from your fingertips. Albescents have a blessed strength with magic, an attunement and intuition for the elements that no one can ever understand. No number of books, and no number of hours spent studying can ever give you that. You may look like an Elyos, but an Asmodian Albescent who rises to her call is able to fight with unmatched skill.”
Jerricah sighed heavily. “I’m never going to have a normal life, am I?”
Munin raised his hands helplessly. “Sorry, kid; I don’t deal in normal. Last time I tried that, they put me in this prison.” He laughed at his own joke, but Jerricah was still staring at the ground. After a moment of silence, Munin raised an eyebrow. “Was there something you wanted to say to me?” he asked.
Jerricah looked at Munin, slightly confused.
“Something you wanted to ask me, maybe? Or did you just walk out here to mock me in my jail cell?”
“Oh!” Jerricah started. She shook her head and forced a smile. She then bowed deeply before Munin. “I have heard that you are able to help the men and women who are ready to ascend with the road to Pandaemonium. I implore your guidance in finding my way to immortality.”
“So you’re serious about this?” Munin asked.
“Yes, sir,” Jerricah said, still bowed.
“At such a young age, are you sure?” Jerricah didn’t move. “Why not go to one of the Guides in town?” he asked. “I’m but a poor prisonmate, after all; why come to me?”
“Because you are wiser than them.” Jerricah said.
“Don’t lie,” Munin said with a roll of his eyes.
“I didn’t,” Jerricah began. She trailed off, feeling Munin’s eyes boring into the top of her head. She sighed. “I can’t go to any of the Guides. My parents have forbade my ascension; they’d have me slave in the basement for all eternity. I cannot stay here any longer.”
“And so you hope to escape your home by rushing into the world?” Jerricah nodded slightly. “Out of the frying pan and into the fire if you ask me,” Munin said, apparently losing interest.
“Please, Munin,” Jerricah said, standing up and staring Munin in the eye. He could see her determination at once. “Please grant me guidance. I cannot go alone; I don’t know the way. But I cannot stay here, so I must go. Please.” She watched Munin’s expression closely, her small hands balled into fists.
“Well,” Munin said slowly, letting his voice drag. With another glance at Jerricah, Munin threw his hands up in defeat. “Who am I to deny a lady in distress?” he asked of the air. Then, with the responding bow that Jerricah had been waiting for, Munin said, “I’ll do what I can to guide your way to Ascension.”
At once, Jerricah’s face lit up in a smile; Munin laughed. “You should smile more,” he told her, “it suits you.”
Plenty more to come, but I think that should give a little background to these kids.