|Full Name:||Dran Benjamin|
|Theme Song:||OKGo - The Unrequited Orchestra of Locomotion|
|Quote:||"If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice."|
Dran, on the surface, seems like the guy to go to when you want to talk about nothing and still have a conversation. Without seeming like he is paranoid, the mage known as Brandywine has a knack for making something out of nothing... and still seeming to make sense. He revels in tearing apart the flesh of the universe and putting something better, more meaningful, back together. He is always moving, even when standing still... which can put those who feel the need to occasionally relax and just calm themselves off balance and at unease.
The universe is a body, and the surface is just skin. Its soul is the living world. The most anyone can perceive is just skin. Mages should be surgeons, seeking to heal the body. To look at the flesh, blend the medicines, heal the wounds, and if required... to cut into the body and find the disease with your own bare hands. Those who don't seek to delve into mysteries that the body hides need to be nudged in the right direction. Ascension comes when the body and soul are healthy, pure, and in balance.
- Physical: Strength 2, Dexterity 3, Stamina 3
- Social: Charisma 4, Manipulation 4, Appearance 2
- Mental: Perception 3, Intelligence 3, Wits 3
- Knowledges: Academics (Communication Studies) 1, Investigation 2, Medicine 4, Occult 1, Rituals 1, Enigmas 1
- Spheres: Forces 2, Life 3, Mind 2, Prime 2
- Arete: 3
- Willpower: 6
- Banality: 5
- Backgrounds: Avatar 5, Dream 1, Arcane 1, Sanctum 3, Library 2, Resources 4, Node 3
- Virtues: Conscience 3, Self Control 2, Courage 5
- Merits: Manifest Avatar (3), Mansion (3), Concentration (1)
- Flaws: Lifesaver (3), Strangeness (1), Too Curious, (3)
Competent Level (2: 45 Freebies) + Attributes (15) + Abilities (4) + Willpower (1) + Arete (8) + Background (12) + Spheres (7) = spent 45
Merits (7) Flaws (7)
2 Spheres from Seeking
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|What||Type||Who||Approved by||Finished||Slot Status||Explanation|
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Advancement History Edit
- Charisma (Oratory)
- You are born to speak to crowds, who line up and pay big bucks to have the opportunity just to say they were there. - As this is an attribute it is mostly something that comes naturally to Dran. Something he was born with. However, working his way through school, in overcoming some shortcomings in his learning abilities he honed those natural strengths in his Charisma.
- Dran has a natural affinity for speaking to others, both at a conversational and public level. It was something he had to recognize and harness to protect himself from any who would want to take advantage of Dran after his parent's death. From that moment on, he has always been careful of his words and has learned to be, outwardly, who others wanted and needed him to be, while still maintaining an internal sense of self.
- Manipulation (Sympathy)
- Just the right expression, tone of voice, and words and you have people wanting to be everything you need them to be.
- In addition, Dran has spent a lot of time exposed to people that were able to speak so elequently at the Living Body, that one might mistake the lot of them for having the Manipulation of cult leaders, rather than just being dedicated and rightous people. This not only rubbed off on him, but there was a concerted effort made for Dran to be able to convince others of his ideas through words alone.
- Medicine (General Surgery)
- The Living Body sings to you its mysteries and wonders. You understand the song as easily as reading a map of a crossroad in the middle of the desert.
- Doctors are educated people who spend the vast percentage of their lives learning... both from the mistakes of others, and their own. Dran always seemed to be the kind who learned very well from other's mistakes without having to make much of his own. He has been a doctor for only about twelve years now, but the life of the Awakened made his education that much more intense. Each day led to the learning and training of weeks. His focus on medicine throughout Dran's life led him to becoming great, despite his natural drawbacks. Someday though, he expects to surpass those and become one of the best.
- Resources (Credit Rating)
- Banks are falling all over themselves to give you their money. For anything.
- Simply put, Dran has been a savy investor in the money he has recieved and earned through his life. From the very beginning of his independence at a young age, he was careful with his funds. He precisely picked out what credit cards he would seek out and accept, and use them exactly as he needed to for his own purposes, while improving his credit rating. It all seemed part of a plan, as eventually he needed his impressive funds and that impeccable credit rating to secure the mansion he has purchased to live within.
- Life (Blade) [Removed]
- While the knife in the murderer's hands is a tool of destruction, the scalpel in the surgeon's hands becomes an instrument to heal.
- Prime (Flame) [Removed]
- The pure essence of energy in a form that shows its power in so many ways. It can burn and destroy or give warmth and light.
- Mind (Oratory)
- Words are power. In the hands of a Mind Mage, this is not just a saying, but a deep truth. The right words can drive a man to fear, or inspire them to greatness.
- Forces (Breath)
- Breath is just the wind of the soul, and wind can topple giants. Through studied control, one can use their breathing to many great effects, both without and within.
"The human condition is a weak and frail state. Modern medicine has made leaps in the right direction, but it has been too long since we have had a medical revolution. The healing of the body is being hindered in the times it is needed most. Stem cells are hampered by the frightened and religious, and despite breakthroughs in other more natural areas, biomechanics are still thought of as the way to go. I am going to change all that. I know the techniques, the way to bridge the flesh and soul. All I need... is the power." Dran Benjamin parent's both died due to organ failure after surgery needed because of a car accident. It was this occurrence when Dran was only fifteen that drove him towards becoming a doctor with an obsession that bordered on, and occasionally crossed over to, unhealthy.
Dran's natural talents for being well liked personable, and convincing would have served a salesman very well. Instead, they were also very helpful for a skilled and bright young student to help propel him through school, grad school, university and medical school at a frantic pace. He had a natural gift for the art of medicine, even if his skills as a student were sometimes lacking. Though he always seemed to get the help he needed through the right thing said with just the perfect level of charm and abilities to draw out sympathy in others. Eventually, he overcame much of his need to rely on others and gained skill and knowledge to mirror his talents in their own right.
It was not long, in relation to many students making their way to a career as a doctor, before Dran was a talented surgeon and medical researcher. His awakening came at the age of twenty-eight on his path towards making sure his parent's failure wasn't repeated. It was a lecture given by a Russian scientist on the nature of the 'human machine' and the bio-mechanics of what makes us alive, that created the spark. The lecture was tainted by slight sphere magicks of influence, the speaker himself being a Mage of the Etherians. Dran eventually would follow his footsteps, but not quite in the same way. He never believed in sacrificing the flesh to the machine. The Etherian was attempting to awaken those with the spark in them to his ideals... he only half succeeded.
After his late night awakening, when he suddenly had a breakthrough and healed a rat's diseased heart by methods that simply shouldn't have worked, at least not as well or quickly as they did. His "avatar" at first only appeared in dreams. It was visions during his sleep of his parents. Sometimes calm and alive, offering ideas in calm and collected manners. Other times dying and cut open on the operating table, showing off parts of their bodies like a professor examining a cadaver with a class. Always did he seem to draw insight, drive, and direction from these dreams. These dreams have been nightmares, things of splendor, but they never seem to calm. If anything they constantly become stronger, more vivid, and deeper of meaning. His "Avatar" has been constantly obeyed, and has become strong.
It was only a month in that his “Parents” showed him a place that he had never been. A small town on the edge of a forest on the border of Nevada and California. Waking, Dran knew the path and followed it immediately to the place shown to him. This was the place where Dran met the Living Body Chantry. A group of Verbena medicine men and women who worked to heal the local wildlife and those pledged to safeguard the forest and its living children. For a small ‘hospital’, their numbers were incredibly talented healers, with much wisdom. He spent the following four years there, learning and growing… Through ritual, formal education, drugs, sex, communing with nature and all the combinations therein his already nature-oriented views strengthened and shaped by what the Mages of the Living Body taught him. They showed him the basics of the defensive art of Aikido.
Here, Dran’s gift for speech blossomed. He was not wanting for lack of love or attention. There came a time that he was no longer able to grow here, his Father, in a dream so vivid, showed Dran a hospital in Thailand. In its operating room, Dran’s mother was laying... her body flayed open from head to toe and something wrong was being done to her insides. Dran awoke in a rage. He shared his story and bought a ticket that day.
Once in Thailand, even with a highly paid interpreter, research into the hospital at first drew nervous looks and people ignoring him entirely. Dran would not be deterred. Eventually he was able to discover exactly the place he was looking for... where people that were not wanted went for routine procedures and didn’t leave. Rumors were that families would receive financial compensation for the unwanted children sent there. It was simply referred to as Last Hospital by the locals, the reasons obvious.
Dran for a small while watched those who would enter and exit the hospital and feel for their energies. The healthy would enter, and /if/ they left, their patterns just seemed somehow wrong and different. This is when Dran has his interpreter admit him as a lost vagrant tourist. He put himself into a magickal state of near-sleep, a seemingly drunken haze made believable by the smell of alcohol soaked through him.
He was rushed to ‘surgery’, where he was left alone with an impossibly tall man in scrubs, face obscured. This doctor was wrong. He never spoke and he bled out energy from his pattern that Dran didn’t even have to try to feel. The wrong man approached with a syringe full of something that most likely would have put Dran to sleep for real. When the tall doctor approached and was about to place the needle to Dran’s throat, he sprung to life, using the carefully concealed scalpel to sever the tendons in the tall man’s wrist.
The tall wrong doctor seemed to try to scream as he dropped the syringe, but no sound came out. He scrambled away to get to a big red alarm button, but Dran rushed the man, tackling him to the ground and ending his life with another slash to the throat. It was the first time Dran had taken a life instead of giving it. He thought he should feel sick... but he couldn’t. Something about this man needed to die. It wasn’t right for him to live. Dran searched the man’s pockets, finding nothing he looked around the room. He found in an ice chest by his medical bed a black heart. Literally a heart that was black as onyx. It was beating slowly, even being outside of a body. The tall man apparently sought to put this heart into Dran’s flesh, making him just as wrong.
Dran was filled with some anger and passion that was outside of himself. He recognized it from his dreams. This was his so-called Avatar, the force his Parents left behind to guide Dran. It was their rage and anger that fueled his own. He went through the hospital, seeking more ‘wrong men’... and he found them. He snuck up on them as they performed blasphemous works and ended their existences on this living Earth, no more to taint her body and her spirit. Those who were being worked upon that he could repair, Dran did... but there were some that all the young Mage could do was work his will to release them from their horrific suffering.
Finally, Dran came upon a locked door with screaming heard within. There were footsteps coming from around a corner and Dran had to act fast to get inside. The wood of the door would give way better than the steel of the lock, so Dran poured vulgar strength he didn’t know he had into his fingers and rendered a hole in the door large enough to reach the lock. The sound was covered by the suddenly much louder and horrified screaming coming through. He unlocked the door, opened it and stepped inside. And then he wept.
The room wasn’t like the others. There were children, from pre-teens down to babies... crawling all over each other in a pit made of steel and lined with blood soaked barbed-wire. On the other wall was a dumpster bin, filled to capacity and overflowing with severed limbs, removed organs, heads, and things that could not be identified by sight alone. Along the back wall were the screaming and moaning chained up adults, now made naked horrors with amputations, augmentations, grafts, and other desecrations of the flesh.
In the middle of the room, a monster did his work. He looked to be more machine than man. His head was a plate steel helmet with a glass dome within which his brain pulsed visibly. His hands were automated multi-tools that blurred away in their detestable crafts. The bottom half of his torso and his legs looked like some kind of bizarrely modified Segway. This creature of steel and flesh was obviously a part of some Technocratic magick gone wrong. Dran knew this, even knowing as little about the Technocracy as he did.
Dran snuck up on the man who was ‘operating’ on the source of the horrible screams. He moved slowly, using subtle Prime magic he infused the blade he held with raw power. Dran prepared himself by reaching out through the ether to feel for the lifeforce of the Machine Man, and though it caused him to want to retch and recoil, he continued on. Standing right behind the man, as he had done too many times for Dran to think on now... he was about to strike, when the upper torso of the man swiveled around with amazing ease. Dran was hit by one of the creature’s arms and with a gash across his chest, was flung to the ground.
Here though, an epiphany struck Dran. He knew the tang of his blood was in the air, and that same blood was on the enemy’s blade. Rather than run forward and attack, Dran touched his own scalpel to his wound and gathered up the blood there. He channeled the magick of Life into the blood and blade and flung it at the Machine Man who was approaching quickly. When it made contact, there was a sick groan of Life and Paradox... both from the Machine and Man. Dran had caused the body to see the implants as wrong and they were starting to be rejected. If there was only a little work done on this Thing, perhaps it would not have been so grand, but all the modifications built up Paradox that was begging to be released, and Dran gave the way.
As the Machine Man started to sizzle and smoke, he also began to glow red hot... then hotter to grey and white. He was going to go ‘critical’. There was nothing Dran could do except somehow feel the pain of all in the room enter his mind. It was overwhelming, and this kind of thing, his spheres sometimes acting on their own, happened from that moment forward.
Dran knew everyone in that room would die. Except maybe the degenerated children in the pit, at least those underneath the top layer. There was nothing he could do. Until, there was. He, far more calmly than he was a moment before, walked over to the Cyborg and understood something. He grabbed the scalpel from where it stuck out of the little patch of flesh it found in the creature and ended the work he had begun.
The body began to calm and cool and ever so slowly the Machine Man seemed to ‘reboot’ himself. Before that could happen, Dran used a more mundane method of killing him. He pulled out and cut wires that sprayed and leaked foul fluids. He sliced deep into flesh wherever it could be seen, including the creature’s eyes. Dran watched as he deflated and wailed in new pain. Unable to move, the creature screamed now in agony mirroring that he had caused others. Dran saw no way to outright kill the Cyborg without vulgar magic, but felt that this was enough.
When he saw that the work on the Machine Man was as thorough as possible, Dran stepped over to a phone on the wall and called authorities in Shanghai, rather than locals. He explained what he was seeing, the wailing and screaming in the background, and where he was. Then Dran calmly left the horror hospital. As he was walking away, twisted doctors were rushing into the room where he had turned a mockery of life into a mockery of death. This was the first sending of Dran Benjamin. Things changed after this.
Back in his hotel room, as Dran was packing, there was a knock at the door. Dran was incredibly startled when a man then walked in to the room that Dran recognized... right through the closed door. It looked like his father, but somehow wasn’t. “Don’t worry about packing,” the man spoke words of strength and it was like Dran was dreaming again. This was the Avatar that was in his dreams. Here, in the real world, while Dran was awake. A moment later, the Avatar was instead his mother and spoke in a voice of pure compassion, “You can always get more clothing, your life will be harder to replace if you do not leave right now.”
Dran was startled, confused, and frightened, but he was not a fool. He gathered just his carryon bag and left. As he was entering the elevator, the other one opened and walking away from Dran towards the room he was just in, was a man in a black suit holding a rather ominous looking briefcase. The elevator door closed, and Dran was safe and alone with the horrible thoughts in his head of ‘necessary’ killing. He decided then that it was the last time. He would not take another life without great cause. He would not end the suffering of another in death if he could do so in life, no matter how difficult it might seem. Dran Benjamin would become an emissary of Life to make up for past mistakes and failures.
Back in Nevada, Dran found that funding wasn't so important anymore except in securing a place to do his healing. Dran secured his first lab by secretly curing the president of a local state University of his inoperable lung cancer by intricately removing, and then replacing the portions of organ that were 'infected'.
Despite how grand this was, Dran knew he could do it. It was complete human organ replacement of the things that simply could not function without perfection that interested him. The brain. The eyes... the eyes. Something about the eyes was important to Dran. He couldn't imagine being blind. The idea frightened him, bringing memories of slicing deeply through the eyes of the Machine Man. Having to witness a blind person for a time drove Dran to need to leave rooms and splash water on his face. Now years later at thirty-one, Dran's practice was locally well known and other doctors were even sending him clients from their practices for things he was renowned for being practiced in. Dran’s work finally drew the attention of other mages. Etherian 'doctors' who saw the potential in Dr. Benjamin's research. They hoped their approach would be sufficient, and he would join them... they hoped he would be a willing participant. Dran, when confronted with answers as to just what he had become, was rather uninterested really. He had amassed his own fortune already, so when told of their libraries of research, laboratories that would put the University's to shame, and colleagues a plenty to collaborate with... he told them he was here to heal the Living Body as it was created by Nature, not change it into something else created by silly men with no respect for the Soul.
Thought of the Living Body caused him to return to the place where he had learned so much, stronger in his own power now. There he met, for the first time, his five year old son, Daniel. His mother was a Verbena Medicine Woman by the name of Vala, who traced her lineage back to Viking witches of old. Dran had only lain with her once, and it was shortly before he left. This apparently was enough. The fertility of two Verbena so strong with the life magick overcame the odds of a single pairing and a child was born. He was a prodigy, young Daniel. His dreams were already plagued by visions of things that had to be explained to him by others. He was already awakened. The Verbena of the Living Body knew who the father was, but given the gifts and challenges of young Daniel, decided it was best to raise him there, among their wise council and away from the more dangerous life they saw ahead for Dran.
At first, Dr. Benjamin was furious at the secret. Soon however, this anger gave way to great relief. He felt some shame and sadness at not being there for his own son, but also was glad to be free of any burden of raising him. Daniel knew only a large family that would never abandon him. Dran knew that if he was Daniel’s only family, his death or leaving would be as devastating to the child as Dran’s parent’s death was to him. He was introduced to Daniel as a part of his ‘family’, but Daniel knew right away that their connection was deeper than that. He hugged Dran’s legs and called him by his nickname of Brandywine in the original Dutch ‘Brandewijn’, earned years before among the Verbena of the Living Body, though no one had yet told him that name.
The two were close in the way an older and younger Brother might be, and Dran did what he could to teach the child. In particular, Dran was a great help when nightmares of things impossible flooded Daniel’s sleep. But in the end, Dran had to decide that the Chantry was right. Daniel should be raised by the village, not the man. He said his goodbyes, spending a night alone with Vala to discuss the future, for the Witch had a powerful talent for Time and Entropy magicks as well as Life. She spoke of a place that Dran had to go to. A grand home that lay in wait for Dran, with a fountain of pure life within. It was a place long ignored, overgrown with weed and disuse. Dran would bring it back to life. His father, or rather the Avatar that resembled his father was there the whole time. Telling him to return to his work. To leave the child to their care. Then there was his mother, urging him to listen to the Witch’s prophecy and that the Avatar would lead him to the place he sought.
That final night, in Dran’s magic mushroom laden dreams, he left his body and went somewhere else, guided by his mother. He felt disconnected from reality, but in touch with something much deeper. There was a great void. Far in the distance were pinpricks of red, blue, black and white. He could only see them because distance and light had different meanings in this place. He was told to choose his path and the red called to him. He journeyed towards the red in the impossible distance and on the way he saw God.
He sat then with God and spoke of the meaning of Life. Of blood and bone and flesh. They spoke for an eternity about all creation, and returning to the natural beginning. He learned about the pattern of his own body, and through this he gained understanding of the patterns of others. Dran knew, somewhere deep inside that this was real though somehow different from reality that he understood. God then said, “You will be tested once again, Brandewijn. Your conviction will be challenged. You must take what you have learned here, and earn it in the world of flesh.” Here, Dran awoke alone in the forest. He knew he was in the real world, though he knew not where.
Dran walked for what felt like a full day, and he was not free of the massive wood. He used what little survival skills he had learned to keep himself alive, though not that well nourished aside from what he granted himself with use of his Life magicks. This journey went on for another three days of perpetual dusk, the sun and moon blocked just right by the thick canopy of trees. The only life around him was those trees, and the animals that had rightful claim to this place. He felt that life and bolstered it. Trees would grow quicker in short spurts as he passed them and his energy would flow out to the animals and nourish them. More than once, he had to work his healing magick upon himself for eating the wrong plant. All this made Dran tired.
He must have been here for a week of seclusion and though he should have feel frustrated and depressed at his predicament, Dran felt somehow purified. He was communing with nature. Truly joining with it for the first time. The Verbena was not the most talented at this process among his people, no, but he managed to make it work. Out here, his money and his social prowess were meaningless. Out here, all that mattered was being right with the Living Body.
It was another seeming few days and finally Dran, a much thinner man than when this all began, was laying upon the ground. His body was hungry and thirsty. Dran knew all he had to do to bring his energy back was sap it from the living world around him. He could not bring himself to do that though. Not here in this sacred place. Many times the temptation to kill just a small squirrel, as a manner of survival, struck him. Every time, he crushed that temptation under the boot of conviction. Now, he potentially lay dying. Dran realized he was at peace since he awoke in these woods. His Avatar had not spoken with him once. Only Nature was his companion. Dran closed his eyes and felt his own pattern in its completeness without any distractions. He was one with himself... and he remembered God... and he died...
Then, he awoke. This was the second Seeking of Dran Benjamin.
He was back with the people of the Living Body, Daniel was kneeling over his face and staring down into Dran’s eyes where he lay on the ground frail, hungry, and thirsty. They said he had been gone for just over a month and asked him of his journey. All he could tell them was that he found himself. This was enough for the more learned of the Verbena. The younger less experienced Mages of the Chantry asked more questions to which he only could answer, “When your time comes, this will all make sense.”
Free from previous personal shackles and at peace, Dr. Benjamin was reunited with the constant presence of his duel-faced Avatar, who led the way to an old home in Diamond Valley that has been bank owned for a strangely long time. Dran’s first act was to take a sizable chunk of his finances and buy this old mansion, hiring a crew to renovate it back to its original building plans. Living in the servants’ quarters until the work is done, Dran Benjamin sees to learning what life in Crystal Springs is all about.
People of Note Edit
- Daniel Brandywine
- Dran's son. A rare and bizarre child who Awakened at an age so young his whole world has been that of an Awakened Mage. He has never known what it is like to be a Sleeper. Dran knows that Daniel is his, but has hardly seen the child. Likewise, Daniel knows there is a connection between himself and Dran, but does not know that Dran is his father. Daniel is being raised in a communal fashion by the Living Body Verbena chantry of Nevada.
- Daniel's mother and powerful Verbena mage. Dran spent plenty of time with Vala, but only one night in her bed. That night was enough and Daniel was born. Vala is normally a very serious woman, who loses herself to passions seemingly outside of herself under the influences of strange rituals. Dran and Vala are no longer lovers, but they are friends.