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Posted: Sep 11 2017, 07:48 PM
~26 • Sylvari • Corruption • Wanders
Once Upon a Time...
Standing at over six feet tall, Drust cuts an imposing figure. As a plant-based humanoid, his appearance is reflective of that; petal like extensions jut out from his cheeks and eyebrows, and his dark grey skin is a smooth bark in texture. It isn’t uncommon to see his lips curled into some sort of knowing smirk, and the way he carries himself often oozes confidence. Though he’ll maintain a polite enough demeanour, he isn’t one to back down from a point that he believes to be true, whether by way of verbal admissions, or physical cues.
Drust’s hair comes in the form of black thorny tendrils, with dark purple streaks running throughout them. As a sylvari, he also possesses the racial characteristic of bioluminescence. At night, or whenever he’s within darkened areas, crevasses and ridges along his body and hair will pulse with a purple light. This, of course, makes it difficult for him to sneak up on anyone at night, but hey. It looks pretty, and that’s all that matters.
Typically, sylvari clothing is shaped out of magically reinforced leaves and plants, and Drust’s is no exception. His black and purple outfit is stylized in the shape of a robe, with a cut across the middle to expose his upper chest. Long, dark leaves wrap around his shoulders, and a nigh constantly twitching vine extends out of his back, and can usually be seen curled around to his front. The vine itself is capable of manipulating small objects, though it seems to have a mind of its own as opposed to being under Drust’s direct control. He can manipulate it to a certain degree, but otherwise lets it do whatever it wants to do. It doesn’t bother him that much.
Going back to the clothing… it isn't the only plant based thing that the sylvari use. In fact, most of the technology, items, and the like that the sylvari craft are plant based in nature. These things are cultivated by what are known as shapers, who are sylvari with a knack for both encouraging the growth of plants, and influencing their growth to allow for multiple uses. This can even extend to grandiose accomplishments of magitech in the form of ships, which is how their races traverses the stars. It can also lead to far more nefarious items, such as pods that pour corrupting energies into whatever individual is unfortunate enough to be trapped within them. When it comes to the pods, they will not come into play unless permission is granted by the other writer.
There were times where Drust could almost remember the sound of his voice.
Such moments were fleeting; nothing more than a flicker within his mind, a flicker that never felt quite right. There was always something off about it. The tone, the words, the pacing, the inflection...there were many different ways that he could get those memories wrong, even if he’d always remember the very last words that Rynn had said to him.
I love you. I’ll see you tonight.
It was a promise that Rynn never intended to break. And yet...what developments that lie had led to.
The sylvari’s lips twitched into the tiniest of smirks, and with a shake of his head, he dismissed those thoughts. Rynn was dead, HAD been dead for years. He wasn’t immediately relevant for the moment.
He stared at distant, yet steady reading that their ship’s instruments had managed to intercept. It wasn’t that the energy signature was anything new to them, at least not in terms of identifying what it was. Oh, no. He knew damn well what that signature represented; at its source lay a Tree, one that was responsible for creating others like him. The odd thing about it was that there had never been any record of its existence before now. Had it just now blossomed? He’d travelled these stars before, and hadn’t seen this signature before…
Slowly, the signature grew stronger. Wherever it was, they were drawing closer to where it had taken root.
He was almost looking forward to learning more about this matter. Though their people had become widely spread throughout the galaxy since the fall of the Golden Age, there had always been a sign as to where more Trees would crop up, as far as he could tell. They regrew in places they’d been previously standing in before that darkness had spread across the galaxy; recovering and regenerating after centuries of rest. One by one, they’d blossomed anew, and with their blossoming, they’d brought forth his people once more.
But this… He’d NEVER heard of a Tree out in this sector. In fact, he’d heard nothing but terrified rumours about just who had passed through this area all those years ago. Assuming they could be believed, it was all the more peculiar that a Tree had managed to grow on a world that had been tainted by the Nightmare King.
It raised a lot of questions. If the Nightmare King had taken that world, did that mean that his corruption had spread to the Tree? Was he now amassing an army of twisted sylvari to his cause, so as to darken the stars with his fury once more? If so…
Subservience, no matter the yoke that bound them, was not a fate befitting his people. He doubted that a corruption crafted by the very man that had decimated the civilisations within the stars would be possible to reverse, and so the Tree’s destruction would be the only course of action left to him should it have fallen.
However, there was a possibility that he wouldn’t be forced to do such a thing. If the Tree had somehow escaped the Nightmare King’s corruptive influences, then it and the sylvari it created could still be salvaged. With it being a young Tree, it’d be much easier to influence its growth than it would with the others scattered throughout the stars.
Well. He’d get his answers one way or another when they arrived on Earth. Until then, he’d do what he could to rest, so that he’d be prepared for battle, should it be so required. He may not be able to sleep for very long when they did arrive.
Perhaps it was due to his stray thoughts of Rynn earlier that caused him to dream of these memories. Or maybe it was simply his mind revisiting old events, and processing all that had been lost, and everything that he’d become. Whatever the reason, the memories plagued him, one after another.
He remembered the frequent arguments they had; arguments that they always believed would lessen over time. They never did. They had been young, foolish, and had blindly focused on how in love they had been. They didn’t understand that their personalities would cause them to clash, or that their ideals lead them to hurt one another with vicious, thoughtless words.
It was a long road towards learning how to compromise, and even then they had difficulties. Yet, they persevered. Their words cut, but more than anything, they still loved one another. And that love demanded that they make things right between them.
I love you. I’ll see you tonight.
Out of all the promises Rynn could’ve broken, it had to be that one. He’d been taken; captured by one of the other starfaring races. Those despicable little rats that valued nothing but their own advancements and power. A sylvari’s very life essence was a potent, magical force, and if it was extracted from the body...it could serve as a fuel to propel their ships and science onward.
Rynn had been drained dry. His leaves had withered, and his brittle body crumbled at his touch. Drust remembered his choked apologies, his desperation to fix what he’d broken...but more than anything, he remembered the denial. He couldn’t allow himself to accept the truth that had been laid bare before him, nor the implications that followed.
That emptiness followed him, [i]defined him. It became an echoing hunger that demanded to be spread, and over time, he stopped considering what Rynn might say if he indulged in those impulses. Rynn was dead. And while he could never be brought back, Drust could soothe his own suffering.
What would Rynn think of him now? He couldn’t say for sure. Would there be horror? Denial? Or would the love they had shared bring acceptance, and a desire to be with him once again?
A bitter taste was left in his mouth when he finally awoke.
The courtier drew in a shuddered breath as he pressed his shaking fingers to his forehead, his half-lidded eyes dully staring at the ground before him. The phantom pain from those memories pulsed within him, seemingly with every ragged breath he took. In, and out. The agony of that loss, and of the years that followed rose and fell, and yet...despite it all, he grinned. To think...despite how long it had been, he could still fee like this. Oh, Rynn. Look what you’ve done.
Slowly, the sensations faded away. And just as slowly, he lifted himself out of his crumpled position, and steadied his breathing. Hm~
Drust stood with that thought, and once he’d gathered his things, he moved to leave his quarters. Time would tell what he would have to become when he arrived on Earth...but no matter if his purpose turned towards destruction or corruption, one thing remained true; his actions would result in salvation for his young brothers and sisters.
Drust’s magical prowess is thoroughly dependant on the emotional state of the people around him. At his base strength, he’s an accomplished necromancer and blood mage, capable of utilising all manner of life draining techniques, as well as inflicting rot, decay, and chill upon the bodies of those who aren’t prepared to counter his magic. Upon drawing his own blood, he can solidify it or reinforce it with arcane magics, turning it into weapons of various shapes and sizes to assault his enemies with. He can also turn those magics towards a more defensive purpose, and force his body to continue to live despite the injuries it sustains. If he’s forced to do such a thing, however, he isn’t going to be offering up much in the ways of a fight, as his sole focus will be on survival. And if things don’t go his way soon, he’ll do what he can to flee the situation.
The true threat that the courtier represents, however, is in his empathic nature. He’s an emotional leech, and should the people around him begin to feel strong emotions of any kind, he latches onto that sensation, and becomes stronger as a result. Happiness, fear, hatred, disgust...as long as the emotion is potent, he gains a direct buff to his magical abilities, and if he’s surrounded by enough sensations to draw from, he’s much more willing to cut loose in battle. He gains a fiery aura in the process, and though the fire also causes direct damage to himself, it makes it much more difficult for enemies to send physical attacks his way without risk of being burnt through those golden flames. And, given the aggressive state he’ll be in at the time, you can bet your butt that he’ll be chasing his opponent down to strangle them with his bare hands if necessary. The overflowing magic within him will also significantly boost his physical abilities, making him much stronger and faster, and as such much trickier to avoid.
And if his general creepy demeanour and actions aren’t enough to evoke an emotional reaction from others, he’s created a magical toxin that,can force a reaction should it reach the intended target. The emotion if often elicits is fear, and while he wouldn’t be able to tell you what the victim was seeing unless they were directly screaming about it, he can take advantage of that intense emotion, and become stronger for it. The toxins typically cycle out of the body in an hour or two, with the symptoms starting out strong, but lessening after the first twenty minutes. However, if the victim loses themselves to their hysteria, it may take them a bit longer to cycle down from that burst. And, of course, any healing techniques designed to cleanse toxins from the system would be effective at removing them from the victim.
And finally, though it would require him to thoroughly dominate and restrain an opponent, Drust can craft an empathic bond between himself and another. Of course, this will also require the permission of the other writer, as well as the permission of those tied into the character for such plots to proceed. The bond is a difficult one to break, and as Drust himself very rarely feels emotions of his own, the bond not only allows him to draw on the emotions of the one targeted at any time, but it leaves them with a constant emotional hollowness, no matter how far they stray from him. The bond can be broken should the other writer request it; we’d just have to come up with plots to allow them to be freed from this little brat. Typically, he reserves this technique for fellow sylvari, but can be convinced or pushed into using it on other races. He’d just be using it for a very different purpose if other races were involved.
To fully understand the Nightmare is difficult; it’s not so much the complete opposite of everything positive so much as it is the absence of positives. It’s an energy that binds those afflicted by it forever in its embrace, and is strengthened and sustained through every deplorable action that its servants commit. There is no known way to cleanse this corruption, nor would those afflicted by it be inclined TO be cured; to them, the Nightmare is both beautiful, and correct. It’s the purest definition of what they are as a race (at least in their minds), and they’ll stop at nothing to share that truth with those around them.
The Nightmare has a counter, however; the Dream. Like Nightmare, the Dream is an energy source that binds its servants together, though its purpose and expressions are far more noble than the Nightmare’s. Those connected to either the Dream or the Nightmare enjoy a minor protection against mental based attacks, though they’re not completely invulnerable to them. Indeed, attacks can come from within the Dream or Nightmare should someone be crafty enough to penetrate those defences and turn them against the ones bound to them. Personal willpower would come into play if something of the sort were to happen, but it’d still leave the target ultimately unsure of what their thoughts were, and what thoughts had been planted within them.
As for the origins of the sylvari race...they’re a plant-based humanoid species that are scattered across the stars, and given, “birth,” to through trees. When being, “born,” from one of the Trees’ many golden pods that they produce, sylvari emerge fully grown, and with enough of an understanding about the world and survival to forge a life for themselves (This process is a bit more involved in Earth-based sylvari, but Spotteh should get to that in her app). There’s no known way of them reproducing on their own without the Trees.
Unfortunately for most courtiers, their descent into Nightmare can very easily rob them of their senses. If they don’t learn how to exercise restraint or control, they become nothing more than mindless sadists that recklessly do whatever it takes to bring suffering to those around them. These courtiers are swiftly killed, and the rest of their allies are left to pick up the slack from their absence.
He has a minor contingent of sylvari that follow him from time to time, and more camps throughout the stars that he occasionally checks up on. Otherwise, he freely roams about on his own, and seeks out ways to further the Nightmare’s grasp upon his brothers and sisters. At present, he’s focused on the Pale Tree upon Earth, and the new breed of sylvari that came from her. It’s the first time that a Tree has gained sentience in the way that she has, and so he’s interested to see where this might take the future of their race.
AS FOR MORE CLARIFICATION. For starters, we have the Nightmare Court. The majority of the sylvari throughout the various planets are simply sylvari. They are brought into the world whenever the Tree they're from bears the golden pods they're birthed from, emerging from said pods with an adult body and understanding of the world around them. They have a very basic understanding of how things work, and typically pick up on things such as social constructs, manners, behaviours, and technology as they grow and interact with their surroundings. Some, however, venture too far, and try to understand things that they shouldn't. Though they wouldn't be familiar with the phrase, "curiosity killed the cat," it rings true for those sylvari that fall to Nightmare.
Not all sylvari within the Court have joined it willingly. Though many turned to Nightmare out of despair or anger, some were taken captive by the Court, and tortured until they relented. Yet, no matter how willing the convert may be, the corruptive properties of tapping into Nightmare ensure that they fully accept it in the end, and adapt to better compliment its ruthless nature.
Once within the Court, new converts are directed to commit horrific acts that numb them to any lingering shred of decency within them. After that point, they’re assigned various tasks, or take on an apprenticeship with one of the more senior members of the Court. Until they can prove that they’re able to spread the Nightmare’s dictates and influence further, their movements and permissions are restricted. Ultimately, the Nightmare Court seeks two things; to bring all the Trees that spawn them AND sylvari under the Nightmare’s influence, as well as to live independently of any other race. They’d even seek to conquer the other races, should they gain enough manpower to launch a full-scale invasion. Until then, they’re more focused on their own people, and the battle for their souls.
The introduction of the Tree upon Earth, the Pale Tree, will throw things into chaos even further. Before now, there has been no counter to the Nightmare. With the Dream that emanates from the Pale Tree comes a challenge that they’ve never been met with before, and a threat to their way of life.
Over the years, he shared his teachings with those who would listen; preaching peace above all else. There had been far too much violence, and he wished to see a world in which peace reigned throughout the land. Though he gained friends over time, ultimately his dream would never be realised.
Whether it be the magic that Earth possessed, or the purity of the sage’s soul, none can say. But in the end, that Tree heard the sage’s teachings, and accepted them into its heart. As it gained sentience, and continued to grow, it cradled and protected the stone tablet. The Dream too began to develop alongside its growing understanding of selflessness and chivalry, and when it grew capable of creating sylvari, it passed on the teachings that the sage had long since wished to offer to others, and loved her children as only a mother could. And thus, the Pale Tree fully separated itself from the growth patterns of the typical Trees that spawn the sylvari; binding those she views as her children under her protective care, and raising them to protect those who cannot protect themselves.
And just in time, too. With the war ramping up, and a vague understanding of just who the Nightmare King is, the Pale Tree can’t afford to let the world she cares for, or the people in the stars beyond to fall into darkness. The Pale Tree is young, however, and the sylvari she creates are even younger. Only time will tell if they’ll make a difference in the war, or be swept aside as so many were before.
About the Author...
Posted: Sep 13 2017, 06:17 PM
25 • Hyooman • Uhhhhhh • Oregon
MAKE YOUR CLAIMS!
SPLENDID!!! I'm so glad you're back, especially since you're bringing us another... nice... friend... <_< Can't wait to see him in action~