The Shattered Dream
The Paladin Foregone
Praeco ad novus ordo
Age: Looks to be in her late 20s, but has been around for over 40.
Race: Human; part Light-realm, part Dark-realm... and rather crispy.
Height: 1.75 meters.
Weight: Clocks in at over 90 kilos without her armour.
Fluent in both Universal/Common Standard and Kougengo, the native tongue of the Light Mountain. Knows very little Pallivian, language of the Darkling Maw.
A tall and slim, pale-skinned woman, garbed in an unusual mix of clothes for a brawler/swordswoman. She wears a thick, black longcoat over a navy waistcoat, grey dress pants, and a white silk shirt. Her feet and hands are clad in dark, form-fitting boots and gauntlets, the latter of which are wreathed in aureate energy lines of energy. Neither of them are removable, though some of the upper leg plates are detachable.
A metal pauldron, trimmed with gold and coupled with another two plates, sit on her right shoulder and bicep, embellished with a golden triangle, framing a single eye. This same emblem is on the top of each hand, as well as the silver pin fastening her golden, collar ribbon.
The paladin’s armaments are immediately obvious on a first glance. A series of golden belts holds her blades, a pair of pure, white katanas. Further down on Aurelia’s forearm is a small, diamond-shaped blade, strapped onto her forearm’s sleeve.
Her physical characteristics are a bit unusual, even among the realm’s inhabitants. Aurelia has long, purple hair pulled back into a neat braid, with a single strip of silver-grey hair complementing her fringe. Her eyes shine unusually bright, filled with the same energy that wraps around her gauntlets. Thick, black magical burns mar her body from below the neck, though they look far worse than they actually feel.
(Image credit - @darjeelingdraws)
Daitenmei, The Grand Decrees:
A pair of crystalline blades that Aurelia apparently ‘found’ during her first few days on Tengamine Mountain. Each katana is roughly a meter long, with the blade making up 75 centimetres of the weapon. As with most Divine armaments originating from the Peak of Heaven, each sword appears to have been forged from a single piece of flawless, quartz-like material, handle and all. Aurelia has made her own addition, however, attaching a black tsuba above the grip of each weapon.
Each blade possesses a rather keen physical cutting edge, though not quite on a supernatural level. They are especially effective at slicing through magical wards and barriers, though this depends on how quickly and forcibly they are swung. The blades will also ‘sing’, glowing and radiating illusory, golden flames.
Additionally, they are completely unreactive to magic and feel exceptionally heavy to most, besides their primary wielder or especially magical beings. Aurelia can call her blades to and from their sayas with a mental command, materializing them into her hands with a split second delay. She can also respawn them into their sheathes from any location by gripping them and focusing momentarily.
Nisekami no Tenohira, Condemned Intervention/__________, ___ _______ ____:
Both blades can be magically fused to form a much larger, two-handed sword, along with a set of sleek, magically-generated plate armour on the first transformation. There are special requirements the first time the blade is formed, but they can be split and combined fairly freely afterwards.
For the first formation, Aurelia needs a few seconds of concentration to channel energy from her Spear into the twin blades. The plate armour will materialise on completion of the sword, seemingly linking with Aurelia's existing gauntlets and leg armour, and fitting underneath her coat, but over her shirt and trousers, slightly impairing her mobility and agility. Despite forming over her clothes, the armour feels as though it’s directly on top of her skin. Damage that breaks through might just transfer straight on to her and ignore the layer of clothing in between altogether. It won’t disappear until she’s able to forcibly remove it, which will only be viable in a safe area, away from combat.
The two-handed sword measures at roughly 1.6 meters long. It becomes double-edged, but loses some sharpness and the anti-magic edge of predecessors. However, the sword does gain an anti-magic aura, radiating from where the crossguard meets the blade. The aura can be called upon to envelop the blade at will, and used to intercept magical attacks. Obviously, the sword will no longer fit in Aurelia’s sayas, but she gains the ability to summon and banish the sword out of thin air. The delay is similar to its twin katana form, being roughly a second either way.
Though the armour appears to be the same as Aurelia’s gauntlets and boots, it’s effectively a magically generated facsimile. It will still hold up decently well to most glancing attacks or slashes, but a couple of direct strikes or a powerful blunt blow is enough to damage or even shatter some plates. Additionally, the gaps between the armour plates are vulnerable to nearly anything sharp and pointy; an accurate thrust with a letter opener would be able to break through.
Koumetsubou, the Dying of The Light:
A Divine Weapon of Darkness, stored as a spearhead and strapped to Aurelia’s sleeve. While it is rather sharp and can be weaponised in a traditional sense, its current owner only uses it as a magical battery. She has never used it to stab anyone, nor does she intend to.
The magical energy that surges from Koumetsubou’s activation is incredibly deadly to your average human. Consistent overexposure, nevermind use, will have increasingly potent side effects on effects on one’s health. Despite her claims that she’s ‘far above average’, the self-proclaimed paladin requires more than an inkling of insulation from the Divine Lance. This manifests itself in the pad that Koumetsubou is bolted to, and the armoured plates on her right arm. The pad itself is fairly simple in appearance and just provides an insulated surface to hold the Lance. It’s rather durable in the sense that it’s very difficult to damage through both traditional and magical means.
Aurelia’s pauldron is far less durable, but provides a similar function. It has a mild magical dispersion effect and prevents any long term damage to her health. The dispersion effect is not strong enough to have any effect on your standard evocation/damaging spells, such as a fireball or energy bolt. It will have some effect on anything that specially targets Aurelia’s right arm for whatever reason, but otherwise, it’s magical protection in magic is rather negligible. Physical protection is similar to what you’d expect from relatively thin plates of metal; they’ll provide some protection from small arrows and slashing attacks, but more forceful blows will warp and break through them.
Koumetsubou powers all of Aurelia’s equipment and it can also shore up her stamina in a pinch. Regardless of how it’s used, the sensation is very unpleasant and there are hazardous side effects if its power is abused; nausea, headaches and internal bleeding are only the early symptoms of overexposure.
(L) Arcturus, Blessings Upon You:
After channeling energy through her left gauntlet for a half-second, Aurelia floods her body with magic, breaking free from any active magical movement-impeding effects and gaining improved mobility while the device is active. The increase in movement speed is just enough to allow her to gain ground on your average sprinter. However, the improvement in her balance and turning ability is nothing to scoff at, as it’s been able to prevent many near-inevitable groundings and collisions.
Additionally, a basketball-sized vortex of magic forms itself around her left fist, devouring any non-solid ranged attacks that touch it. In the case of an energy beam, only the part of the attack that touches the vortex will be swallowed, whereas the rest will remain unaffected. Solid projectiles are completely unaffected.
The device will either deactivate after five seconds, or if Aurelia is struck with sufficient force. It must be activated by turning her left hand into a fist, and she must remain unarmed for Arcturus’ active duration. Fighting while it’s active isn’t totally out of the question, but it may exacerbate the strain that the spear’s magic places on her body. She tends to avoid it if possible, though a quick ‘out-of-my-way’ sucker punch might be necessary to help with a disengagement. There is also a split second after the ability ends where she cannot summon her blades from their sheathes.
When she’s armoured, Arcturus’ initial channeling time increases to two seconds. Furthermore, the mobility she gains is decreased slightly and the size of the vortex shrinks to that of a handball.
(R) Polaris, Roar of the War God:
The device fastened on to the forearm of Aurelia’s right gauntlet. Supercharges her next punch with magical energy, releasing a rough cone of explosive energy. The total range of the blast is roughly four meters, starting from Aurelia’s fist to the tip of the cone.
The attack is substantially more powerful depending on how close they are to Aurelia. Anything that is towards the sides or end of the cone will probably be thrown backwards a few meters or knocked off their feet, depending on their weight and protection. Anything directly in front or closer to the blast’s origin will be thrown much further and will receive much more damage. A punch from Polaris is capable of crumpling plate and breaking through stone walls. Additionally, mild effects similar to the last projectile eaten by Arcturus will be inflicted to anything struck.
Like Arcturus, the device will only activate under specific circumstances. In this case, Aurelia has to pull her fist back at least four feet and is unarmed. Aside from Koumetsubou’s effect on her body, each punch also puts immense strain on Aurelia’s right arm through to her lower back and has to be used sparingly. She cannot use the ability while moving or unbalanced, unless she wishes to send herself flying.
Combat and Physical Ability:
Physically, the Shattered Dream is a formidable match for any human in close quarters, except when challenged on the racetrack. Aurelia’s both strong and heavy enough to subdue any human with brute force, though the former varies depending on how hectic the situation is. When things get really bad, she’s been known to send people flying across the room. Her speed, however, is nothing to write home about. Pretty much anyone capable of running would be able to outpace her in a sprint, and her agility is pretty average, due mostly to her burns and armoured limbs. The paladin also has outstanding reflexes, though a good part of this is due to her abnormally keen perception.
She’s very skilled in the use of both her swords and her fists, though she is better at the former and prefers the latter. Her unarmed fighting style is not especially refined; think someone that gets into far too many bar fights and is well versed in street fighting. A particularly skillful and quick martial artist is probably not an ideal matchup for her, presuming that they don’t just get Polaris’d away.
In direct contrast, her swordplay is especially quick and graceful, allowing her to match the best of the realms when combined with her other strengths. Despite her stellar technique, this where her body and armour fails her, as it doesn’t allow her the speed or agility she’d like. Aurelia can manage a pivot, spin or dashing lunge on occasion, but trying to keep up a breakneck style like that is probably going to make her fall over. That said, she’s well aware of her body’s current limits and resigns herself to taking things much slower, playing defensively against smaller, more agile swordspeople.
As mentioned, Aurelia’s perception is at a near exceptional level. There’s nothing supernatural about it, however, as it relies purely on her observational skills. To be specific, it’s her auditory and visual perception that are noteworthy; the others are more or less average. When combined with her reflexes, it allows Aurelia to prepare for whatever her foes throw at her, even with the exceptionally late notice.
(+)Empowering Duress—Kuwaeru Kyouatsu:
Improves Aurelia’s physical ability as her perceived combat conditions grow harsher. For example, these include factors such as numerical disadvantages, damage taken, battlefield conditions, along with others. In essence, it works similar to a magic-induced adrenaline, increasing her strength and reflexes in response to how stacked the odds are against her.
As noted above, however, Aurelia is the sort of cookie that loves a good fight. A grazed knee or a petulant opponent throwing sharp objects are unlikely to be enough to activate the ability. The pressure that she’s under will have to be enough for her to feel remotely threatened to have any effect.
Compared to people born under the other Signs, shadowborns have the least significant physical boons granted to them. Generally, they gain a slight increase in strength and enhanced durability, at the cost of increased Light-sensitivity and weight. Aurelia’s case is an extreme take on all of this.
Her base strength has increased slightly beyond that of a normal human, meaning that most people would be ill advised to wrestle with her. In regards to durability, her bones have increased substantially in both density and weight, which has the side effect of slowing her considerably. Tying in with this is her pain tolerance. While most darkborn are good at bearing and continuing through pain, Aurelia’s an outlier. She’s able to get up and continue fighting through wounds that would keep a normal person down. That’s not to say that she can’t be incapacitated or killed; a strong blow to the head is still likely to knock her out, and stabbing her thoroughly through the heart will still kill her. Just reconsider what you would consider a ‘decisive’ strike.
As mentioned, nearly all of her body from the neck and downwards is covered in black, magically-inflicted burns. Though they do look uncomfortably painful, they aren’t as bad normal burns. They’re far less sore and irritable than normal burns, and they don’t restrict her movement very much. They are incredibly sensitive to magical damage, however, especially Light-based attacks.
Lastly, her healing potential is far beyond that of most shadowborns. Aurelia’s capable of healing from the vast majority of wounds, some of which would normally cause permanent damage—her burns are a good example of this, as they will heal with enough time. The two downsides are that any healing spells—save Earth or Darkness-aligned magic—will have no effect, with Light magic guaranteed to do more harm than good. The rate that she heals most wounds is also very slow; much faster than a magicless creature, but still taking months or even years for a full recovery. Bones are the one exception to this, as they'll be completely mended in a few days.
(-)The Dying Light—Boshou:
A long-term side effect of Koumetsubou, believed by its fanatical—not to mention impressively misguided—worshipers of old to be the Lance’s Blessing. Results in severely corrupted mental resistances and the inability to feel or sense most other types of magic. Damage inflicted by Light-based magicks is increased significantly, and their projectiles gain a very slight homing effect when aimed in Aurelia’s direction.
Still, not everything about it is terrible. There are two small upsides.
The first is that the ability is that it will usually alter how mental attacks will affect her. For example, a spell intended to make its target drowsy might make Aurelia hallucinate instead.
The other positive effect is that any mental probe will find a slight distortion when reading Aurelia’s thoughts, in a similar fashion to a weak radio signal. While it won’t stop a competent mind reader from gaining access to her thoughts, it will most likely affect how clearly they'll read them.
The Sacred Spear’s affliction will eventually fade, presuming the affected limits further exposure to its aura. Strapping it to your sleeve, however, is probably not in line with those interests.
Aurelia’s growing authority made manifest, gained by her increasing number of conquests. Powered by Aurelia’s unwavering belief in her ideals and goals, with its intensity based on her resolve. Eligibility of her allies is determined on Aurelia’s accepted standing and ranking. For example, allies that hold little authority in a command structure would gain the biggest benefits, whereas combatants that are of high standing gain none. The latter also applies to entities that oppose any authority or refuse to belong to any form of hierarchy whatsoever.
Unfortunately, the ability is tied directly to her home realm and has no effect in unknown realms.
(+)The Privilege of Command—Shuryou-no-kenri:
(-)The Burden of Leadership—Tousou-no-kusari:
Likes: Birds, karaoke, rhythm games, and fighting. Especially fighting.
Dislikes: Eggplant, scaly animals, and choral music. And animal/leopard print. And pointless questions.
If you had to fight 1 elephant-sized turkey or 10 turkey-sized elephants, which would you pick?
“Who would fight a turkey? You’re a monster.”
Thoughts on using a fork as a comb in a pinch?
“Only if it’s clean. ‘The sauce acts as gel’ is never a valid proposition, even for subhumans.”
What's the best way to hide a body?
“I prefer to drop my opponents off at the ER, not the morgue. And that’s not my answer, you psychopath.”
You're tasked to dig a hole as deep as you can in 1 hour. What are you using?
If you could give any one person the punch of a lifetime with no repercussions, who would you punch?
“You’re looking mighty tempting right now.”
When was the angriest someone's ever been at you?
“How exactly do you determine angriness? Is there a scale or a unit of measurement, or something? Pass, next question.”
Would you rather wade through a lake of mud or wrestle with 2 crocodiles?
“Done both. The lizards always had it coming to them.”