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 Dark Designer's Fan Character Concept Thread 
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Minion
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Joined: August 31st, 2012, 3:17 pm
Posts: 62
Location: London, England
I've been working on some of my own characters for the Relic Knights universe, and I'm ready to start posting them here for your delectation. First up is a fleshed out and re-envisioned character that I first posted here as my ideal Tell My Story character. So without further ado, here is the image of Hadrian "Firewall" Stonefield and his back story.

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Within the Black Diamond Corporation the Military Division is only the second largest, next to its administrative sector. Consisting of thousands of employees, the Black Diamond monitor and archive the actions of many people – both internally and external – for potential bargaining and blackmailing purposes in the future. Within the admin workforce there are various specialists; security experts, programmers and hackers, who all find their place in the machine that is the corporation. For most of the administrative staff, they will spend their monotonous lives in the various Black Diamond offices in the inner cities of the core planets, but sometimes it is necessary to draft the most highly skilled into the combatant arm. Of these elite individuals, one man has earned considerable renown as the swiftest hacker in the business.

Hadrian “Firewall” Stonefield is an expert programmer who specialises in real-time patches and hacks into enemy technology, causing major software malfunctions and blocking communications. Although his skills are formidable when turned against the enemy, his primary concern is always his own safety. He possesses some of the best defensive hardware money can buy, and he always deals with the biggest threats to himself first; scant hours before the conflict he will create a blindspot in their targeting system to occupy. This cautiousness should not be mistaken for cowardice however, as such is his trust in technology and his own talents; he eschews standard Black Diamond combat armour, preferring to wear gaudy shirts and sandals instead.

The irony isn’t lost on Hadrian that should he ever turn his mind to it, he could have the Black Diamond Corporation wrapped around his little finger, which is part of the reason he is on the payroll as one of the most highly paid IT professionals they employ. And so it is he can often be found providing interference for the front line by stalling engines, jamming guns and shutting systems down to devastating effect. With Firewall on the field, the corporation’s enemies rue their over-dependence on electronics.

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Kickstarter Backer, Shaun1985. Eventual Black Diamond mercenary, Cerci Speed Circuit freelancer and Star Nebula Corsair.


May 12th, 2013, 12:26 am
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Minion
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Joined: August 31st, 2012, 3:17 pm
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Here's my second set of characters for Relic Knights, this time for Cerci Speed Circuit. As before, I've written a short bio. Any feedback and constructive criticism is greatly appreciated! Also as a special treat, I'm including not only their picture and backstory, but also some alternate colour versions I tried.

Anyway, that's enough from me, here are Raven and Paloma, the Sisters Gemini:

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Due to an incredibly improbable coincidence, the Sisters Gemini are singularly unique. The girls were born on a dwarf planet which shares an elliptical orbit with a roughly similarly sized moon. The two orbit each other around a common barycentre, akin to two bolas trapped in an eternal dance around their star. Due to the nature of their path, the two bodies often eclipse each other completely from the light, but rare is a total eclipse, when the world is plunged into twilight. Children born in the darkness of twilight are betrayed by their paler skin, especially when compared to the golden complexion of children born in full daylight.

When the girls’ mother went into labour, it was the middle of the day and the sun was at its zenith. Paloma was born in the heat of the midday sun, scant minutes before they were plunged into the darkness of a total eclipse. 5 minutes after her older sister, Raven came into the world a child of twilight. Despite the fact they are identical twin sisters, Raven’s pallid tone always betrays her, and she often bears a darker mood to match, feeling that she dwells always in her sister’s shadow. Paloma on the other hand is full of vitality and zest.

Both possess a powerful urge to succeed and are fiercely competitive with each other, but this has only served to bring them closer as sisters. On the Cerci racetrack, they are often ranked in immediate succession on the leader board. This is partly down to their near equal skill on a jet bike, but mostly due to the fact that most racers do not make the mistake of coming between them twice…


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May 15th, 2013, 10:34 pm
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Denizen
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I really like the sisters!


June 29th, 2013, 4:58 pm
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Minion
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Pride365 wrote:
I really like the sisters!


Cheers, I'm definitely painting up a couple of my Cerci racers to represent them. I'm going to use a duplicate head as a sneaky way of portraying twins, and solving any problems we have with variety!

Here is my third installment, long time waiting, but I've been holding off until I could get the backstory just right. I'm finally happy with the character's name, backstory and image all at once, so here he is: Marshall Shadow Strider!

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As part of their pledge to protect the galaxy, the Shattered Sword Paladins maintain a galactic mobile order of knights, whose duty it is to keep watch over and mingle with the inhabitants of the planet to which they are assigned. When the population of a small frontier world was threatened with being overrun by smugglers and bandits, the distress call was answered by a paladin called Shadow Strider. When he arrived the outlaws ruled through fear, and the townsfolk were initially dubious that a single paladin could possibly save them. However, he possessed an innate link to the Esper, and after only 2 days Shadow had brought the planet back from the brink of chaos. So it was that the planetary government named him marshal and placed him in charge of law enforcement.

It was during his time as marshal that he became a Relic Knight – albeit a controversial one. While investigating a tip-off, he was ambushed by bandits. During the furious gunfight that ensued, the ground trembled and collapsed beneath him, plunging him into the ruins of an ancient civilisation. The concentration of Darkspace here was palpable, and as he made his way through the corridors of the temple, he discovered the Stallion of Pride.

Before him, in the centre of a huge chamber and surrounded by ancient equine statues, he could see a great robot in the form of a horse. As Strider entered the room, the air thrummed with stagnant electric energy. He approached the relic, and lightly placed his hand on the muzzle of the great steed. At that moment, his vision was overcome with a great light emanating from the horse, and he was forced to stagger back, partially blinded. He could hear the whirring of mechanisms which had lain dormant for decades, possibly centuries, and when his vision returned to him he no longer saw the equine android but a bipedal warrior, his horse head the only clue to his previous form.

The Stallion bowed to him saying something in an alien tongue, then charged. Shadow jumped out of the way, leaving the horse warrior to demolish a statue with the momentum of his assault. As the marshal rolled back to his feet, he instinctively channelled the Esper of his ancestors, calling on the power of mighty spirit creatures to help him withstand the next onslaught. The automaton charged again, but this time Shadow stood firm, and met the charge head-on. The Stallion was caught off guard by this tactic, and temporarily lost his concentration in the tussle. In this moment Strider saw his chance, directing the strength he had borrowed into an almighty punch that sent the robotic warrior flying.

As the Stallion got back to his feet, the marshal expected another round, but the noble horse merely bowed again in acknowledgement of Shadow's martial prowess. He started to speak again in the same gruff language he had used before, but as he continued, Shadow started to recognise words and phrases, until he could no longer tell if the horse had started speaking in a more familiar tongue or whether he was remembering the forgotten words of a distantly recollected culture. The Stallion beckoned him closer, initiating his transition back into horse-form, allowing the marshal to ride upon his back. He was barely in the saddle before the steed was galloping through the labyrinthine ruins, which started to crumble and collapse as if they were somehow aware that their purpose was at an end.

They emerged out onto the prairie, and scant seconds later the cavern behind them folded in on itself, a final exhalation of debris escaping it's ravaged mouth. They travelled for hours, the sky above them transitioning through the blue of day, the orange and red of dusk and the purple of night in a dream-sequence of orbiting stars and constellations. Eventually, rising in the distance, Shadow could see an ancient pillar of rock. It appeared to have been carved by giant stonemasons into a totem pole of snarling beast heads, crowned at the top by the likeness of a graceful eagle with outstretched crags resembling majestic wings.

The Stallion led him to the base of the natural edifice and planted himself, sternly guarding the route to the top as Shadow started to ascend. At first the trail led a winding route around the pillar of stone, but as he got closer to the top he was forced to ascend the sheer rock face with little more than skill, the few footholds he could find and the subconscious aid of his Esper spirit. Scant metres from the summit, dawn broke and golden light flowed like treacle across the land. As Strider breathlessly admired the view, a withered hand reached out to assist him onto the beak of the craggy bird of prey.

An ancient mystic greeted him as the new day settled in. The elder divulged to Shadow that they were both descendants of the human tribes who once reigned over the planet, and that his entire life Shadow had been fated to return and claim the Stallion of Pride as his cypher and companion. At the top of the totem the shaman taught him how to consciously tap into the spirit powers, which until then he had only accessed instinctively in times of danger. Calling on the ancestor creatures, the shaman imbued Shadow with the primeval energies of nature. From that moment on, with SP providing support as both his deputy and steed, his relic and his cypher, Shadow took it upon himself to defend the helpless. Wherever there are outlaws oppressing humanity, wherever pirates and bandits ply their trade, he shall be there to fight them, for with him he brings the power of countless ancestors so that he may never be alone.

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Kickstarter Backer, Shaun1985. Eventual Black Diamond mercenary, Cerci Speed Circuit freelancer and Star Nebula Corsair.


July 2nd, 2013, 11:14 pm
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Minion
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Ok guys, so this is the big one! This has taken me a while because I had to design not just one or two but 4 characters, each with personalities that have to work both individually and in connection with the others. I took ages even just deciding on their names! I finally locked them down though, and have written the story for the academy at which they all work as wizard-teachers, which follows the group shot, as well as individual character art and a brief story for each of them... oh and although I never mention it anywhere, yes they do use their bows as wands :3

This has been probably my most in depth character work since I started this project, and I'm really proud of how many layers I've managed to fit in. I have taken quite a few liberties with regards to the Relic Knight universe, so apologies to Soda Pop and anyone who doesn't share the same interpretation of Esper powers as me! Any comments are welcome!

So, without further ado (as fond as I am of adding superfluous amounts of ado), here they are:

The United Doctrine Academy House Head String Quartet - The Four Seasons!

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The United Doctrine Academy was formed when the founders of four disparate schools of magick, each a practitioner specialising in a different Esper force, came together to train wizards under one single college. The individual ideals and practices of each original magister have been kept alive in the four school houses, training students to embrace their individual strengths. While all wizards and witches of the Doctrine use the Esper of Essence, most find that their powers tend towards a secondary source, one of the other Esper traits that permeate the universe. When pupils join the UDA, known to the students as 'Yuda', they are sorted into one of the four houses according to their personalities and sorcerous abilities.

The first house is Dryad House, which is the largest house due to the fact that they receive the majority of students with no secondary power bias, in addition to their own. It is the nature of wizards who practice green magick, the Esper of Creation, to be welcoming and kind towards all. The symbol of Dryad House is the circle, often depicted with several smaller circles inside or as a spiral, representing their specialism in healing magick and their power over natural forms such as wood and rocks. The green wizards love for creation and natural things can make them seem distracted or even callous towards humans, particularly those who practice in destructive arts. This has lead to Dryad House often clashing with the red wizards.

The second house is Phoenix House, which in complete contrast to their rivals in Dryad House is the smallest. This occurs because wizards who can control the Esper of Entropy in addition to their inherent Essence ability are rarer than those able to control a closer related magick, yet such wizards are often more powerful for it. Red wizards are passionate and quick to temper, and will often be the first to draw wands in a confrontation. The symbol of Phoenix House is the triangle, intersected in different designs by three lines, although it is usually depicted with three vertical lines from top almost fully to the bottom, representing the fire from which their legendary namesake springs in rebirth. They specialise in destructive magicks, harnessing fire and lightning to obliterate obstacles and opponents alike. Although they are often brisk and stubborn, wizards of the destructive arts are also industrious and single-minded, meaning they are great leaders and can often be found in the front lines of any battle.

The third house is Amphisien House, who specialise in the use of Chaos Esper. They are the second largest due to the compatibility of Essence and Chaos, and due to receiving some of the overspill of students with no secondary talents. Students of Amphisien house are flighty and fickle at best, but devious and deceptive at worst, as changeable as the wind which forms the basis of many of their attacks. Like the wind, it is not simply their own power which poses the biggest threat, but their manipulation of objects and of others. The symbol of Amphisien House is the eye with two pupils, which represents the legendary beast with two heads, constantly at odds with itself, from which they get their name. Orange wizard's magick is as temperamental as they tend to be, meaning it can be devastatingly powerful, but waxes and wanes within a moment.

The fourth and final house is Yeti House, who are practitioners of the Esper of Law. Blue wizards are calm and composed, a trait which grants them greater control over their powers as well as unmatched focus on their schoolwork and exams. For this reason wielders of blue magick are also high achievers academically, and often the most widely read in arcanical lore. The symbol of Yeti House is the diamond, resembling an implacable block of ice, and is regularly represented on their personal effects in the form of ornamental precious stones. Blue magick is possibly the most subtle of all, utilising snow, ice and water to great effect. Whereas lightning can destroy a rock with a single strike at high power, the constant stream of flowing water can wear it down over time, or by flowing into gaps it can freeze and split boulders from within. They believe that a sustained attack over time can overcome any foe, and the one thing Yeti House has in abundance is patience.

The only force which is not taught at the UDA is the Esper of Corruption, being that it is the antithesis of Essence. It is not unknown to find wizards who are able to contain the power of these two most disparate of energies, but they are rare, with barely a handful occurring in each generation. They are possessed of phenomenal abilities and tend to be viewed with suspicion by their peers, which forces so called purple wizards to keep their true nature a secret while they try to fit into the House to which they are assigned. They usually find themselves sorted into either Phoenix House, where they can unleash a greater measure of their potential, or Yeti House, where they will learn the discipline to keep their powers in check. While most wizards at the academy draw their power from the elements, purple magick is rooted in unnatural forces, using shadows to wither and decay corporal bodies from behind the veil of reality. Practitioners of the Esper of Corruption are masters of deception, and it is even rumoured that one of the House Leaders is in fact a wielder of purple magick in secret...

The Head of Dryad House - (Dr) Chloe Braddock

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Chloe Braddock has always believed in a more personal and casual approach to teaching, which is why she chooses to be on first name terms with her classes, despite the fact she has a doctorate in Healing Magicks. She is fortunate in that everything she tries to do, she executes with as much skill as someone who has practiced for years. It is no surprise then that when she joined the Four Seasons quartet, she instantly took her place as first violin.

Chloe tries to embody the spirit of Dryad House by providing the best role model she can to her students. She is caring and kind, earning herself the nickname 'Mother Nature' although she is easily distracted and often away in her own world. She graduated from the UDA in the same year as the current head of Phoenix House, who always tries his best to excel over her, but her natural aptitude for everything always means she leaves him trailing behind. To top it off, she barely realises how hard he has to try just to keep up with her, which just aggravates him more.

Despite her upbeat and friendly exterior, everything she strives for is to make up for her unhappy childhood. Her parents were never nurturing or encouraging, and everything she achieved went unnoticed and unmarked. Now she is determined that no student will ever feel the way she did, and because she is determined never to fail, no student ever does.

The Head of Phoenix House - Dr Tristan Hayes

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Dr Tristan Hayes is the Head of Phoenix House, and master of the destructive arts. He is ill-tempered, strong headed and a sore loser, none of which should amount to a great teacher, yet he gets results. This is largely due to the fact that students will do everything they can to avoid one of his infamous detentions, which are as close to torture without actually being illegal as they could be. The main area he excels in is in warfare, and all facets therein. He teaches magical history, theoretical warfare as well as self defence classes; of course, he believes the best defence is a good offence and that the best way to avoid being caught off guard is to launch straight into an attack before your opponent has a chance to. That being said, he is never subversive and you will always see his attack coming, though whether or not you are well-trained enough to avoid it is another matter entirely.

He has a long-standing grudge against Chloe Braddock, who is so flighty that she often flits from hobby to hobby, taking to it with ease. Until she decided to try her hand at teaching he was considered the brightest young teacher on the faculty, and he once was the concertmaster of the quartet founded by Professor Kuroyuki, both titles he has since lost. His greatest resentment is that he is forced to play second fiddle to someone who has played for less than half as long as him, having been forced to play from a young age by his strict parents. There are those that whisper that underneath the bitterness and jealousy lies a respect and perhaps even attraction that he will not face up to, something he emphatically denies. But despite their differences in opinion and demeanour there are some similarities, such as their passion for education and their dedication to perform to the highest level, which even Tristan begrudgingly appreciates.

The Head of Amphisien House - Miss Perdita Abandonado

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Miss Perdita Abandonado is the youngest teacher ever to take the mantle of House Leader, a feat achieved by pure willpower and dedication to her work. She is the highest-achieving student ever to graduate from Amphisien House, a faction notoriously unable to stick to their studies long enough to even complete their scholarships, let alone reach the status of teacher. Her success stems from her resoluteness not to follow in the footsteps of her older brother Maldito, a UDA drop out who fell in with a group of pirates of the Star Nebula Corsairs, earning himself a black mark in the alumni register. Despite her determination, she is constantly struggling against her own piratical urges, occasionally losing herself to the moment, later coming to her senses with a new item to add to her loot pile, but which she has no idea in what way it was acquired.

Perdita finds she has a challenging task ahead of her in keeping the Orange students on task, especially as her own lessons rarely follow the plan she futilely sets herself. Despite the fact they may not be studying exactly the topic they enlisted for, the one thing that does not change is her enthusiasm for her current tangent, meaning her students always leave the school with a well-rounded knowledge if nothing else.

The Head of Yeti House - Professor Kuroyuki Nobuo

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The oldest teacher at UDA is an enwisened soul by the name of Professor Kuroyuki Nobuo. Nobuo has been responsible for the founding of several now-integral UDA traditions, including the string quartet of House Leaders, the Four Seasons, in which he plays the cello. Due to the infeasibility of the instrument he single-handedly developed a magickal golem to transport him and his string-piece into battle, forging ahead of the others upon a bipedal chair with muscular reptilian legs. Ambling around on an automaton would be seen as a hindrance to any other wizard, however Nobuo's mastery over blue magick is said to be so complete that he can freeze time itself, appearing to dodge attacks in the space of a single blink of an eye, and earning himself the moniker 'Father Time'. In fact, there is little left of the Esper of Law for the Professor to study, so he has started to branch his studies into other areas. Being the most senior wizard at the college means he has access to the most secret areas of the library's vaults, and his research has lead to the rediscovery of a part of himself that he had kept concealed and almost entirely forgotten. He is possessed of a will far greater than that of any other wizard to pass through the gates of the academy, yet the hidden tomes contain secrets that may have been better left unknown...

_________________
Kickstarter Backer, Shaun1985. Eventual Black Diamond mercenary, Cerci Speed Circuit freelancer and Star Nebula Corsair.


Last edited by DarkDesigner on August 9th, 2013, 11:20 am, edited 1 time in total.



August 5th, 2013, 12:15 pm
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Bottle Cap
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Joined: September 13th, 2012, 10:56 am
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Good job! I like the little details like the freckles


August 6th, 2013, 8:15 am
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Minion
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*Looks around* Hm, I don't think anybody noticed me updating the original images because I forgot to add shadows. Excellent, the perfect crime.

abaddon wrote:
Good job! I like the little details like the freckles


Thank you for the complement! I'm really proud of how her freckles turned out in particular :) They'd be ruddy hard to paint on an actual miniature though!

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Kickstarter Backer, Shaun1985. Eventual Black Diamond mercenary, Cerci Speed Circuit freelancer and Star Nebula Corsair.


August 9th, 2013, 11:22 am
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Minion
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This will probably be the last character I do for a while. I still have plenty of ideas, but I've got some other projects I want to work on for the moment. But anyway, onto the meat of the post. For this character I decided to write his backstory as a narrative instead of the style I had been using. He's ever-so-slightly based on a character from popular fiction, let's see if you can get it within the first couple of paragraphs...

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You could say I had a rough childhood. I don't know much about my earliest years, 'cept that I was adopted by my Dad, who is a Paladin with the Shattered Sword Order. That meant he was away a lot, and like most kids without a parent, I had to be educated at a state boarding school. Now, that's nothing special, and I know that, but there's something else you should know about me, which meant that my coming up was a bigger ordeal than any other kid, fact, end of.

I'm a big red demon. From my first year at the school I was twice as tall as the next kid, which is bad enough whatever colour your skin is. And I don't even want to mention the horns... You could tell from the first minute that I was adopted, and kids don't have the same subtlety adults do. And when you're twice the size of everybody else, that just means there's more of you to hit, but I didn't want to hit back. Let's face it, I'd kill 'em, and I'm no murderer. That's what I learnt from my Dad. Just 'cause you got power, doesn't mean you have to use it. It's all about restraint. It's about honour, and justice.

Eventually kids get bored when they know they can't get a rise out of you, so my later years at the school were pretty lonely. Nobody wants to sit with the big red kid, who knows what space germs he's got? Been on this planet as long as anybody, still got space germs. That was until she joined, the one ray of light in a school full of psychos. Lucie her name was, Lucie Blanchett. I never sought her out, and why would I? New kid joins the school, first thing they learn is not to talk to the red guy. Except her. No, she sought me out, she knew that out of everyone there I needed her the most, and boy did I need her.

Well the next year everything changed. All the guys who used to bully me seemed to have 'matured', got over their hang ups. Pretty convenient. She never fell for it though. Hated posers as much as I did. Well, eventually we finished our training and join the order. Her idea of course. I mean, even with my Dad there already, who would accept a big red monster like me? But they did. They admired my fighting skills, but most of all they valued my discipline, my ability to hold back all the damage I could wreak. I never felt so accepted.

That is, until the day they came back for me.

I'd been with the Paladins for nearly a decade, protecting the weak and helpless. I was assigned to a small scout party. I had the muscle, my Dad had the experience, and Lucie had the courage to keep us all strong. We had other guys assigned to us, depending on the mission. We needed a pilot, we got a pilot, we needed a stealth expert, we got one of those, we needed a Paragon... you get the idea.

This particular mission we were headed for a border planet, at frequent risk of pirate raids. That was nothing new, they've got defences enough for that. But this time was something different. My Dad, he gets a sniff of danger, a sense of something more nasty approaching. But where most people's instinct would be to run, he goes towards. Said it felt like destiny.

I hate it when he says that.

The weather had taken a turn for the worse, the rain was coming down so fast you could barely see 5 feet in front of you. Every so often you got a glimpse of something when lightning streaked the air, but aside from that the darkness was total. We were all stationed at strategic points around this one town, built in the middle of a maze of rocky outcrops. Natural defences, see? The residents could find their way around with their eyes closed, but any one else tries it and they'd be lost for days, just to pop out the other side never having encountered nothing worth looting. Except, these pirates didn't want anything on the inside.

I was getting creeped out. Our orders were to stay where we were and keep radio contact down low, but something wasn't right. It'd been too long, too quiet, I dunno, maybe I've picked up my Dad's sense for things. Or maybe I just wanted to hear her calming voice again. I pressed the button on my collar to call Lucie. Nothing, just static. I try again, nothing, not even a hiss through the teeth to say 'Not now, you know what our orders are, pitch off''. I'm about to try again when the lightning flashes up the silhouette of a group of giants standing in a loose mob right up close to me, and I didn't even hear 'em coming.

No, not giants. Not compared to me. They were my size, red too. In fact they looked just like me, 'cept for my armour.

“Who're you?” I called out, challenging them to answer.

“My subjects call me Warlord Mamaro-To” a deep, gruff voice answered, and as my eyes adjusted I could see that the one who spoke was the biggest and meanest looking guy there.

“But you may call me... father.”

“What?” I heard myself ask before I'd even fully thought about what he said.

“Your name is Tsunogi and you are my son” he spoke again “But there will be time for that. Come.”

“I ain't going nowhere. Tell me now.” I knew one thing, I was staying put til I had backup.

“You are stubborn, but I guess you get that from me. Very well.” The warlord coughed, and you could tell it was 'cause he wasn't used to using this language for so long. “A great number of years ago one of my rivals infiltrated a minion into my personal guard. It seems their plan was to steal away my infant son to deny me my heir, and to train him as an assassin whom I could not bring myself to kill.”

I held my defensive stance as I listened, cautious but keen to finally learn where I came from.

“The minion was vague on any further details... even under torture... but we eventually learned that our kind had been defeated and driven away from their outpost by the humans, abandoning anything that would hinder their escape. Including you.” He coughed again. “But, my son, this day we have come to welcome you back into our clan”.

“How can I know you're telling the truth” I asked, still not fully trusting this group of strangers.

“Look around you. But for that human armour you are the perfect example of our fighting race.”

I scanned around at the other figures. Physically they looked like me, sure, but their clothes were wild and feral, and their eyes lacked anything I recognised in myself.

“You are a Noh warrior, embrace your destiny!”

That word, the one Dad always used. I could feel myself getting angry that anyone could decide my destiny but me. I kept it in, controlled myself and just uttered one word.

“No.”

Mamaro-To snarled, but a smile soon returned to his face. “Very well. If you will not willingly discard your human life, we will have to take it from you.” He barked something in an alien language and the warriors either side of him parted to allow two more forward, each of them holding a human prisoner; my Dad; Lucie.

“NO!” I screamed as I tried to run forward, but at that moment I realised I was rooted to the spot by some kind of black magic, stuck in the same defensive pose, suddenly totally defenceless.

“What are you doing?” I shouted angrily.

“It is inevitable that you join us. It is your destiny. In fact, it has already happened.”

As he spoke, another figure came out of the darkness, but not in the same way the others had. It was as if he was pulled together from shadows, pushing into this world from a world of darkness. His very existence here made the current darkness seem even darker. But there he was, a Noh warrior, right in front of me where he hadn't been a second ago, 'cept he looked different to the others in a somehow familiar way.

Then it hit me.

He was me. He had been almost completely stripped of my sacred paladin armour, the remaining pieces vandalised with angry looking runes. He had a mean look to his face, the sort I'd pull if I'd got out of bed the wrong side to find I'd been given toilet-cleaning duty. The worst thing about him was looking into his eyes. There was nothing good in those eyes. They were alien eyes. Filled with hate.

At a nod from the Warlord, the warrior holding Dad threw him forward. He was badly beaten and stumbled straight to the ground. Without ceremony, the shadow-me thrust his halberd straight through Dad's breastplate. I heard a soft thud as the blade carried on through to the soft earth on the other side. “DAD!” I cried out as he coughed blood.

“He is not your father, he is just a weakling human. I am your father, and I demand respect! He is your fate.” Mamaro-to's face was screwed up in the nastiest dog-snarl I'd ever seen.

“He is not me” I cursed through gritted teeth, as I felt purpose and justice surge through me. “And I am not one of you.” Control came back to my limbs as the dark magic flinched away from the energy that now filled me.

“You may be my father, but you'll never be my DAD!” I shouted at the top of my lungs as I sprang into action, my halberd a blur as it separated the copy's head from it's body. As the dark version of me slowly collapsed to the ground it dissolved, bringing light back to the clearing.

As if the darkness had been holding them at bay, the light brought with it a whole squadron of paladins who all burst into the clearing.

The Noh were already cowed by the sudden brightness, but the arrival of reinforcements broke their nerve and many of them turned to run, only to be cut down by the approaching sword sworn. As for me, I was a storm of motion and precise fury, striking down the remaining Noh who dared to stay and fight. In the middle of it all, with my brothers-at-arms fighting alongside me, I felt like I finally belonged somewhere. At some point in the confusion, even the Warlord slunk away, until the only trace of the warhost that remained were their dead and their heavy indented footprints.

Realising the battle was over, I turned to run to where Dad had been struck down, but as I got closer I saw Lucie was kneeling over him, with a strange blue light glowing from her hands. I stood dumb as an ox for ages, watching her use healing powers I never knew she had. Everything started to click in to place, like how she always knew what to say to raise spirits, how cuts and bruises would stop hurting the minute she applied a balm, the way she always made a guy feel 10 metres tall. It was like she just knew how to find what was wrong and what it needed, the same way she had found the one guy in the boarding school who was hurting most and helped him just by being there.

I couldn't see any change in Dad though, and I was afraid to ask the question. “Will he...” I managed eventually.

“He'll live” she said simply.

That was all she needed to say. I collapsed to my knees next to them, as Lucie continued to work her magic.

I still haven't caught up to Mamaro-To for what he almost did to my Dad, nor has he dared to show his face for fear of what I'd do. Not even sure myself, doubt my famous restraint would be enough to hold me back if he did. Several of our men and women died in their raid that day, so he has made our most wanted list either way.

They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and that's just what happened with Dad. He's fitter than ever, and his brush with death seems to have strengthened even his already, frankly, quite creepy foresight. Seems you can't escape destiny.

As for Lucie, well I owe her my life for saving my Dad, and there won't be a day goes by I won't show it. And that's really all there is to say.


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The Demon Paladin

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Darkspace Demon Tsunogi

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Kickstarter Backer, Shaun1985. Eventual Black Diamond mercenary, Cerci Speed Circuit freelancer and Star Nebula Corsair.


August 19th, 2013, 7:10 pm
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