|The Blade Dancer|
|Full Name:||Rhianna Byrne|
|Full Title:||Bearer of the Deathsong, Chela Errant, Tuatha de Medb of the Corriguinech Aided|
|Theme Song:||E. S. Posthumus - Mosane Pi|
|Quote:||"Great questions will not be resolved by talk, but by iron and blood."|
Overall, Rhianna is one of those caring yet blunt people that sees nothing wrong with telling a close and trusted friend that they're being a dumbass, or pointing out that the emperor has no clothes. It sometimes leads to her being somewhat confused when her well-intentioned 'advice' draws bad reactions. Subterfuge and subtlety are, for the most part, completely lost on the woman, though she's gotten pretty good at spotting falsehoods, given her line of work.
In relaxed settings, Rhianna tends to be rather quiet and contemplative, her blunt demeanor dramatically offset by a deeply philosophical mindset. She will happily while away the day sitting in a sunbeam and watching butterflies, or clouds, or reading... She enjoys quiet company, though certainly won't turn down rowdy parties or the like. You just have to drag her into them in the first place.
When agents of evil are nearby, though, the steel comes to the surface. Many people that know Rhianna's public face have been shocked and appalled when the battle fury has her, watching her screaming curses with bared teeth and flashing eyes. While not precisely a vicious fighter, she is certainly ruthless, and does not shy away from tactics that many would regard as dishonorable, if it means that the fight ends with her opponent dead and her not.
Rhianna ascribes to the Grand Tapestry theory of Reality. Namely, that all Reality is composed of "threads" made up of things like people, object, events, even time itself. Some threads are tiny and lost among the greater weaving, while others are strong, thick cables that seek to drag other nearby filaments into themselves. Some "leak" and stain those nearby, for good or ill. Some are tangled and others frayed or broken. As one of the Chakravanti, she has been taught some of the weaver's craft, as it were, and scours the Tapestry for inharmonious threads, untangling knots, trimming loose ends and realigning slipped patterns.
- Physical: Strength 3, Dexterity 5, Stamina 3
- Social: Charisma 3, Manipulation 1, Appearance 0
- Mental: Perception 3, Intelligence 2, Wits 3
- Talents: Athletics 2, Dodge 3, Empathy 1, Insight 1, Integrity 3, Intimidation 1, Resistance 2, Sensitivity 2, Vigilance 3
- Skills: Drive 2, Etiquette 1, Larceny 2, Leadership 2, Marksmanship 1, Martial Arts 2, Meditation 2, Melee 4, Research 1, Stealth 2, Survival 1
- Knowledges: Academics 1, Cosmology 1, Enigmas 1, Investigation 2, Lore (Mage) 2, Medicine 2, Military Tactics 1, Occult 2, Rituals 1
- Spheres: Avayavin 2, Tamas 2, Tejas 2, Manas 1, Cit 1
- Arete: 3
- Jhor: 1
- Willpower: 8
- Backgrounds: Avatar 2, Arcane 1, Resources 1, Wonder 3
- Merits: Ambidextrous (2), Iron Will (3)
- Flaws: Primal Marks (2), Vengeance (2), Disfigured (2)
Expanded Descriptions Edit
- Academics (History)
- Rhianna's favorite subject in school was always History, and she loved reading about ancient cultures, pursuing the subject even in her free time.
- Drive (Cars)
- While she had only recently learned how to drive normally upon her Awakening, part of Rhianna's training with the Euthanatos involved the rudiments of combat-driving. While she'll never be a stunt-driver, she can do some things in a car that most folks wouldn't ever think to try (largely because most of them are highly illegal).
- Lore (Mage)
- Rhianna has mostly been taught about her fellow Traditionalists, but she's also gained some learning about the organization of the Technocracy, if only because of her direct and forceful opposition to them.
- Marksmanship (Pistols)
- Though her training focused mainly on hand weapons, Rhianna was taught the rudiments of how to use a pistol. She's a passable shot, but nothing that'd turn heads.
- Martial Arts (Hard Style)
- While she hasn't been taught any of the "standard" styles known in the mundane world, Rhianna was schooled in hand-to-hand combat by an Akashic and developed an affinity for a variant of their "Do" which takes the form of an acrobatic, "hard" style, emphasizing rapid movements, nimble evasions, and crushing impacts.
- Melee (Blades)
- Nearly since the moment of her Awakening, Rhianna was taught the ways of combat, especially wielding a blade. Be it daggers, swords, a switchblade or a crudely sharpened shiv, she knows how to get the hurty end in the other man.
- Dexterity (Grace)
- No matter what she's doing, Rhianna's the sort that always looks like she's dancing. It's an unconscious thing, expressing in everything she does, even if she's just standing still.
- Melee (Swords)
- While she's relatively deadly with any sort of weapon in hand, where Rhianna truly shines is with swords, and the Deathsong in specific. While she tends to show a fencer's grace with the nimbler one-handed weapons, her chosen sword (or vice-versa as the case may be) favors a much more brutal style, tending to involve lopping off limbs.
Merits & Flaws Edit
- In the incident that led to her Awakening, Rhianna suffered severe lacerations to her face and body as a result of shrapnel. Luckily, she didn't lose her eye, though it was a near thing. As it is, heavy scarring mars her left side from hairline to ankle. She refuses to have the damage magically smoothed away, wearing it to remind her of the evils that can be done to innocents.
- Primal Marks
- Black hair, black eyes, beak of a nose, birdlike mannerisms, and somewhat bloody-minded. If you know any Celtic mythology, the math shouldn't be hard.
- The Technocracy raided the chantry that supported her after her traumatic Awakening, killed her mentor and several close friends, and did their damnedest to kill her as well. She has something of a gripe with them.
- By performing odd-jobs during her travels (as well as literally living out of her car for most purposes), Rhianna usually has enough spare cash to pick up a few things if the need arises.
- The Bloodsword known as Deathsong, "given" to her by her fallen mentor, Darius. Though she only learned about it after the fact, the blade bonded to her the instant she picked it up, and they've journeyed together for the past year or so, ever since her home chantry fell. See #History and #The Deathsong for more.
- Tamas (Entropy)
- (Discarded) By watching the apparently random fall of feathers, Rhianna can gain some insight as to the way a given thing's luck is twisting. She keeps several tethered to her hair and clothes, and lets them show her where the "threads" she needs to tug are to influence that same luck.
- Avayavin (Correspondence)
- (Discarded) Though she's only just broached the edges of what this Sphere can do, Rhianna's already formed a theory of sorts as to how it works. Namely, she regards all "doorways" as being connected, be they actual doors, pockets, ragged holes knocked in floors or a discarded cardboard tube. The metaphysical representation of a "passage" is what's important.
- Tejas (Forces)
- When you go down to the basics, the sphere of Forces is all about things smacking together. Gravity is your feet smacking into the ground (or vice versa, really), fire is created by molecules smacking against each other with enough energy, and light is merely photons bouncing off of things and then smacking into your eyes. As such, what better focus for this sphere than weaponry? Partially out of respect for her fallen mentor, and partially because of the soulbond, Rhianna favors the Deathsong for this.
- Manas (Mind)
- As part of her early training, Rhianna was taught certain meditative techniques to open her perceptions and her mind. Along the way, she learned how to "compress" certain mental exercises so that they could be triggered by a certain phrase, basically a sort of meditative shorthand. In this case, a small section of a prayer for enlightenment.
- Cit (Spirit)
- Largely the same as her focus for Mind, but in this case, the prayer is one from the supplicant to their ancestors for guidance.
Common Rotes Edit
- See the Soul's Burn (Entropy2, Mind1, Spirit1)
- This coincidental Effect offers a hunch about the subject's state of soul. It is not telepathy, and will not reveal a person's deeds, just the state of his spirit. Everyone has some minor sins on her soul; real targets - including Nephandi, Infernalists, mass murderers, rapists, etc. - bear corrupt ripples which spread as their guilt compounds - the Jhor.
- Touch the Tapestry (Correspondance1, Entropy1, Forces1, Mind1, Spirit1)
- By activating this rote, Rhianna opens her perceptions to their full extent. This state can be somewhat overwhelming in some situations, like the deep city and other crowded and chaotic zones, but it can also offer her incredibly useful insight. When you know exactly where everything nearby is, how fast and in what direction it's moving, any nearby intentions, emotions, and hidden beings... well, let's just say that the easiest way to avoid a threat is to know that it's there.
The Deathsong Edit
- The blade is enchanted with primeval energy, making it impossible to so much as chip the edge, as well as to make it able to wound even the strangest of foes (Matter2 effect, durability; Prime2 effect, aggravated damage).
- Air keens through grooves and holes in the blade when swung, resulting in an unnerving, unearthly howl during battle (the "Death Song") causing terror in those that stand against it (Mind2 effect, fear).
- Combat Stats: Difficulty 6, (Strength + 2A) damage. Arete 3.
- The blade must taste blood if drawn, or it will refuse the sheath, turning on its wielder if no other blood is to be gained
- Any blood will do, but unless gained from combat the blade gets somewhat cranky and tries to push its bearer towards fights, making them short-tempered and irritable
- Anyone other than the chosen bearer (see Soul Bond, below) attempting to wield the blade immediately falls into a berserk frenzy and will strike friends as readily as foes, ultimately ending with them sacrificing themselves upon the blade unless it can be wrested from them
- "Wielding" in this case means attempting to use the blade in a combat application. Simply picking the thing up and carrying it will not inflict this frenzy, even if unsheathed. However, any and all aggressive actions, even intentions, involving the blade will result in frenzy.
- Note that this does not confer any combat-stat bonuses at all to the poor sod in question apart from allowing them to ignore wound penalties as per normal.
- The berserker is completely immune to natural mental influence in this state. Their mind is completely shut off, leaving nothing but instinct-level fury (Rage, the Beast, etc). Treat this exactly like a Garou Berserk Frenzy.
- If the chosen bearer is killed in this rampage, the current wielder becomes the new bearer (unless otherwise precluded, see above) but take half the damage they inflicted in the killing blow on the chosen bearer themselves, rounded up (i.e. if they killed the previous bearer with an attack that did 7A, they would immediately take 4A).
Soul Bond Edit
- If the blade's chosen bearer is separated from it for one full turn of the moon, wracking seizures seize them, inflicting 1A (unsoakable, impossible to heal) per night until either the blade is returned to them (at which point the "wounds" can heal as normal) or they die. This is spiritual damage and does not itself manifest as physical wounds, though symptoms can sometimes include vomiting blood, bleeding from the mouth, eyes, nose, ears, etc., or spontaneous bruising.
- Upon the bearer's death, the blade will attach itself to the next available candidate (see below for criteria) without so much as a by-your-leave
- Not precisely cursed, but the blood-hunger combined with the soul bond has given the blade something of a dark reputation
- The blade is highly picky about its bearers, and will not accept anyone without a pure and fighting spirit. Creatures of darkness (Nephandim, BSDs, vampires, etc) that attempt to somehow force a bond with the blade will immediately be seized by the wracking-seizure death noted above as the blade makes its displeasure known and devours them from the inside out
- Nephandim killed in this way usually end up not reincarnating as widderslainte as their Avatar is so traumatized by the event that it flees the influences of the Outer Gods for fear of it happening again. The Bloodswords are not gentle.
- Vampires with high Humanity (8+ at least) may be able to bond to a Bloodsword, but the event is always somewhat traumatic as the blade scours their soul to make sure they are a suitable host. If rejected they will survive but will develop at least one Derangement due to spiritual scarring. If accepted they immediately gain one point of Humanity. If at any time they drop back below 8 Humanity, the scouring recurs, though they do not gain any more Humanity in the process. This soul-searching should be RPed out, and can result in further Humanity loss, or even gain, depending on what happens. If at any time they drop to 6 Humanity or lower, the blade violently rejects them and attempts to drive them into sacrificing themselves upon it. If they resist (Willpower roll, difficulty 9, at least (10 - Humanity) successes required) they immediately fall into wracking seizures and die slowly. The only way to evade this death is to somehow repent and increase their Humanity back over 6, usually through direct action against Evil and/or defense of Innocence. Once their Humanity reaches 7 or higher, they may begin to heal the "wounds" gained during their penance.
- Gaian shifters may attempt to bond to a Bloodsword (an attempt to Dedicate it counts, as some shifters have found out by accident and to their sorrow). Roll Gnosis against a difficulty of 8. The shifter must also fit the above criteria (no pacifists here, puppies). At least one more success must be gained than the shifter's permanent Rage (i.e. a shifter with Rage 5 must attain 6 successes). This reflects the Curse and the Interregnum. If failed, the shifter takes 1A for every degree of failure (in the above example, if only 3 successes are rolled, the shifter takes 3A) as the sword violently rejects them. This damage can be soaked as per normal. Needless to say, the bonding process also fails, but the shifter is only in danger of their life if a botch occurs. In such an event, the wracking-seizure-death sets in.
As much as humanity at large seeks to deny it, there are things in the night that still hunt the human race. Still regard them as prey. But humanity has some that will not go gently into that night. Some that would stand and protect their fellows from the predations of the nightmare beasts. It was to those chosen that the Bloodswords were first given. The histories of the thirteen Bloodswords are long, violent affairs. The weapons were old during the Garou's Wars of Rage, and islands of defiance during their Interregnum. Through the years, they have found their way from one warrior to another, one set of bloody hands replacing the last to do what needed to be done, for the survival of the human race. Down through the ages.
Rhianna was born in Belfast, not so very long ago as history reckons things. She grew up during the Troubles, though she and her parents managed to avoid most of the violence and upheaval of them. Most. In the end, they just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. An uncaring explosion caught their car on one evening that had nothing to differentiate it from any other, except for the fact that it was the evening they died.
Rhianna remembers dying. Remembers the agony of shrapnel embedded in her torso, the panicked gasping for air through lungs that refused to inflate, through the blood flooding her throat. Remembers with odd clarity the slight break in the clouds overhead as she lay in a spreading pool of her and her parents' blood, and the way the sun backlit them. And then she remembers darkness.
In that darkness, there was a voice. Not the voice that popular culture had told her to expect, not some God, not her dead relatives or loved ones. The voice was female, strong, somewhat rough, telling her that she had a choice. She could give up, lie down and die and be free of pain. Or she could live and fight against the darkness, the sorrow. Drive back the night that had taken so much from so many. But it would have to be her choice.
Rhianna's back arched up off the ambulance's floor as she screamed back to life under the abuse of the medic's hands as they beat her heart and lungs into working. Her recovery was not swift, not easy, but she was alive. Several surgeries were needed to remove all of the shards of metal and set her shattered ribs, but she was alive. Her parents were dead, her life in shambles, but... the voice had not fallen silent. Death was not an end. It was merely another step along the path.
The Euthanatos found her easily, for one of their number worked within her very hospital's morgue, guiding the poor, confused souls of those cast violently free along their way. He came to Rhianna's bedside in the dark of night, when the other patients in the wing had gone to sleep and the staff was at a low ebb, and he told her things. Things about the Traditions, about the Ascension War, about what had happened to her. And he offered her something that the rough, strong voice never could. He offered her aid in her battle against the darkness. He offered her a family to replace the one that had been stolen from her.
When she was released from the hospital, Rhianna was not nearly as adrift as she normally would have been. The local chantry gave her assistance in setting affairs in order, in clearing up the legal difficulties of being barely in her majority and having to deal with suddenly taming not only her own life but that of her late parents. Their wills were up to date, at least. Or, at least, they were when the lawyers looked them over. Fortuitous, maybe. But sometimes the wheel of Fortune has a guiding hand. And, in a way, things were easier this way. There was no need for explanations to confused parents, no need for a disappearance. Rhianna simply packed up her things and went to the chantry, all clean and tidy.
Her training there was as routine as such things could be. She learned the lore of her Tradition, the Euthanatos, the wardens of life and death, the balancers of the Wheel. She learned of the other eight Traditions, met their members, learned something of their beliefs. She could even respect some of them. But she knew her path, walking through the valley of death to guide those she could towards the light, and protect those she could from the shadows. Her primary mentor at the time, a man called Marius, was a wise and respected Mage, though somewhat old-fashioned, especially when it came to combat training. He eschewed the modern dependence on guns, disliking all the various things that could go so conveniently wrong with them. After all, didn't his own Tradition hold the Sphere of Entropy? No, far better to use a weapon that could not jamb and never needed reloading.
For the next few years, Rhianna worked with the others of her Tradition within and without the chantry, as well as combining her efforts with those of others from outside the Chakravanti. She even joined a cabal for a time, stalking the streets of Belfast to weed out the corrupt and the horrible, purge the fallen and rescue the innocent. A Seeking came and went. But the Wheel turns, and nothing can remain the same forever.
Her chantry was raided by the Technocracy, her peers and teachers falling before the onslaught as they bought precious moments for the acolytes and apprentices to flee to safety. Every soul that could be brought to bear to dam that tide of death was, and it was nearly enough. Rhianna's own mentor joined the fray at her side, and this was the first night that she witnessed the Deathsong. And the first step upon the new road of her fate. She fought beside Marius, caught up in the howling whirlwind of magic and mayhem, dancing to the song of his blade, and they left a trail of shattered constructs and mangled bodies in their wake. But all things must die, in their time, and Marius' number was up this night. He died with his blade buried in the back of a HITmark, pulling its aim away from a fleeing group of nonAwakened and their shepherds, but this time he struck perhaps too deeply. A plasma conduit ruptured, and the ensuing explosion left a steaming glass crater a full three meters in radius. Rhianna didn't even have time to scream her mentor's name, still caught up in battle. But his blade came sailing from the roil of nuclear fire to embed itself in the ground next to her, as though in invitation. An invitation she was not loath to accept.
The Blade Dancer took her first step along her new path.
In the end, that particular chantry fell, but the combined efforts of its inhabitants had saved many lives and much knowledge. The fallen were mourned, as is the right and proper way of things, but life went on. Life /had/ to go on. To do otherwise would cheapen their fellows' sacrifices. And so, Rhianna shouldered the Deathsong, and walked her path. The chantry's remaining members decided they were too well known in this area, and that the United Kingdom was simply too small for them to easily hide as a group. With heavy hearts, they went their separate ways, each Tradition banding together and going to other chantries, other counties, other countries. Rhianna went with her fellow Chakravanti, those few that remained, and ended up in Denver, Colorado. From there... something was wrong. That strong, rough voice in her mind told her of things out of balance, of a darkness coming from the west. She delayed as long as she could, seeing her fellows settled or on their way to further points, but in the end, she could not deny the urgings within her heart.
And now, her feet tread the streets of Crystal Springs.
- Rhianna hits town, grabs a drink after a long drive and finds a few surprises. (backdated for continuity) Log
- Our wandering Euthanatos gets in touch with her local contact, gets the skinny. Log
- A meeting with the local garou liaison, as it were. (backdated for continuity) Log
- Rhianna blows back into the Toothless Gryphon, firehose-briefs Zeke, with commentary by Roz. Log
- Lily Snow
- Watch this one, got Jhor clinging to her, and probably not human with that aura.
- Michael Corelion
- A swordsman, hm? And Awakened, by the look of him. Interesting.
- Nicholas Grey
- An interesting man. Not at all what she was expecting from a garou. She'll have to see if she can learn more about his people when she gets the chance.
- Rosalind Jaffe
- Nice lady. Weird aura, never seen that pattern before...
- Winnifred Foster
- A fellow sister, and very helpful. Managing to keep herself well-balanced, too.
- Zeke Shelton
- He seems like a good kid, but needs to grow more of a spine. Orphan or not, shrinking and mumbling doesn't do anyone any good.