MadCast: Angelix

Blades in the Dark - Alicevil Shrike

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This is a character background for the table top game being run by Munsa for a Blades in the Dark Vigilantes crew (aka The Deluded Avengers).

I am playing a Whisper by the name of Alicevil Shrike, whose Vigilante name is Stormcrow.

Here is the story introducing my character's heritage.  There will be another story subsequent to this explaining her background, including: How she arrived in Doskval; The reason for her Vice; Her subsequent experience as a Sparkwright.

Enjoy!

The storm had been raging for three days straight. The Tycherosi bloodhunter ship Sangnarok had been through worse weather, but this was definitely a contender. Peering out over the dark thrashing expanse, Captain Shrike shivered in anticipation. For those who could read the seas, and her clan had long possessed that ability, the pattern was clear. A Leviathan was rising. 

The screaming wind blended into the thunder of the ship's blood drums, amplifying their allure, and the sea boiled in response. Sailors lined the gunwales, their eyes fixated on the depths below as the ballista crews prepared to anchor the ship. Sangnarok suddenly jolted up, its flat bottomed hull lifted out of the ocean on the back of the monstrous creature, and the seasoned crews immediately fired their poison dipped harpoons fore, aft and midships into the tough hide. Heaving in on the lines, the sailors tied off the harpoons, securing the ship to its temporary dock. 

Shimmying down on knotted lines, the crew rapidly begin drilling through the barnacles and flesh. Surgically removing large swaths of hide, they took care to avoid the slow moving tentacles, limbs and maws that protruded from the titan's back, all the while searching for a vein. The anesthetic on the harpoons quickly seeped in until the only movement near the ship was that of the ant-like sailors scurrying about the monstrous sea demon's back.  

A shout broke the feverish mood as a driller dove aside to avoid a sudden gush of hot red toxic blood and, as the stream's pressure subsided, the crew quickly inserted a hose into the vein.  Satisfied that the ship was as safe as it could be given the circumstances, Captain Shrike gave the order to connect the hose into the Sangnarok's pump.  The holding tanks below deck began to rapidly fill, forcing the lighter salt water ballast out through the tank top valves and outboard under the supervision of the engineer. On the weather decks above, a smile crinkled the Captain's eyes as she observed her daughters Alicevil and Dusk assisting in the mayhem, struggling to haul the heavy pumping hoses for the busy crew. This had been their clan's legacy for over a century, and her daughters had clearly inherited the Shrike spirit.

A steady background presence, the blood drums continued their ritual beat, encouraging the demon below them to remain on the surface while the Sangnarok sated itself like a giant steel tick. A slight decrease in the wind, barely noticeable, was the first indication that something was amiss. Raising her eyes to the closest submerged edge of the Leviathan a hundred yards away, Captain Shrike's lips hardened into a thin line. A slight wake was steadily growing as the monstrous beast slowly picked up speed, a behaviour hitherto unreported by any of her ancestors. Never before had the sea demons prematurely broken the blood magic ritual. Fearing that the creature might also submerge, Sangnarok still fasted to its back, the Captain didn't hesitate. Slamming the ship's bell in rapid succession, she raised her voice "Emergency Cast Off! Back to the ship, stand by to cut lines! Seal the bloodtanks and release all hoses! THIS IS NOT AN EXERCISE!"

The clan moved quickly, keenly aware that every second mattered. Only immediate obedience had saved countless generations of their ancestors when the gods had started rolling dice. The Leviathan's wake began to churn as massive tentacles rose to the surface behind it, swirling in deceptively huge arcs. As the creature's body began to undulate, waves swept in from the edges, battering the Sangnarok's hull and washing away the few blood hunters who had not finished their climb back into the ship. Anger and concern etched themselves into a stern grimace on the Captain's fair face as she gave the order to cut all lines, freeing the ship from the back of the Leviathan.  The ocean surged in, forcing water back under Sangnarok's hull and lifting it rapidly into the air. The bloodhunter ship slid down one massive swell after another at extreme angles, and any sailors not secured to the deck found themselves washed off into the cold briny sea as the entire ship was momentarily submerged. Her harness clipped in and secure, the Captain ignored their alarmed shouts and continued to direct the crew's frantic efforts to extend the Sangnarok's stablizing pontoons. Barely recovering from one watery slope before tilting over and swinging like a pendulum down the next, the Sangnarok nearly capsized with each movement of the demon spawn below.  

Sangnarok's spark drive had been disabled during the hunt, but roared to life as the blood drums ceased their cadence, fully releasing whatever tenuous grasp might still have existed over the Leviathan's will. Regaining some modicum of control over the Sangnarok's movements as the pontoons locked into place, Captain Shrike ticked through her mental checklist. Normally, looking for clan members who had fallen overboard would be top of the list, but under these circumstances it rated fourth or fifth highest concern at best. Then Fate laughed at her feeble attempts to logically analyze the situation, as a sudden change in the light wrenched her attention  away from the ship. 

Like a dawn that no one had witnessed in human memory, the length of the southern horizon was glowing with an iridescent pale green light, almost as if Hades had opened its gates to consume the world. As the light intensified, Captain Shrike cursed the loss of her kin and directed full power to the propulsion, issuing a course to the helmsman that would open lateral distance from the Leviathan. The light behind them narrowed marginally in scope so that it no longer seemed to span the entire horizon, but the Captain's sharp eyes picked out a more disconcerting feature. 

The wake of the Leviathan, now rocking their ship, was but a pittance compared to the tidal wave rapidly approaching their ship from the south. The Leviathan, a fearless demon master of the sea, had broken the Sangnarok's blood ritual magic in order to flee this danger. The tidal wave, while potentially devastating to the Sangnarok, was all the more terrifying for what remained unseen. Every hunter knew that a tsunami could visibly lift the water level if it was close to the shore, where the height of displaced water travelling along the ocean bottom became higher than the water's depth. For such an event to occur in the middle of the ocean, either the world itself had finally broken, or some creature of unimaginable size and power had risen from the deep. The Leviathan's departure hinted at the latter, and Captain Shrike felt the grave looming as she ordered the spark drive to a near catastrophic power level. Finally convinced that nothing more could be done to increase their odds of survival, she accepted the roll call from the executive officer.  The crew solemnly silent, she struck the bell before calling out the name of each clan member who would not be joining them for the journey home, one by one ritually committing their souls to the deep.

Another fifteen minutes passed, the spark drive holding true, before the now brightly luminescent wall of water reached the Leviathan's frantically pulsating tendrils. A moment later a massive serpentine head and neck lifted a thousand or more feet out of the water, its gaping maw exhaling clouds of steam and green fire onto the Leviathan below. The Leviathan's pained roar, a song no human had ever before heard, ended seconds later as it was swallowed whole. In an instant the ocean darkened once more, the monstrous sea serpent leaving only a vortex in its place as it rapidly dove back into the deep. The initial tsunami caused by the serpent's approach subsided, but not before narrowly missing the Sangnarok. The remaining twenty mile long wake it had created raced on, but Captain Shrike kept the ship moving ahead of it until the threat had subsided. Turning towards home, their clan's luck fully expended, Captain Shrike finally took a moment to mourn the loss of her daughters, a tear nearly gracing her eye as she saw to the business of getting her ship back to Tycheros.

Edited by MadCast: Angelix

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In case folks are wondering about the constant revisions, I tend towards run on sentences that don't get edited into shorter, byte sized reading bits until later drafts. Or is it bit sized reading bytes?

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54 minutes ago, MadCast: Munsa said:

Don't forget, there is no Sun, only the shattered remnants of a broken star, so these pirates basically do this in the damn dark.

Yep... by starlight... and in a storm 😃

 

That's the reason for this line:  Like a dawn that no one had witnessed in human memory, 

Edited by MadCast: Angelix

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Folks, a little background, as I haven't gotten around to writing the story of her arrival to Doskval.

Heritage: Tycheros (weird) - demonic telltale - Her eyes are solid dark purple, surrounding void black pupils that contain drifting constellations and galaxies, and she has feathers instead of hair. Are they an ancient inherited memory of humanity's loss, sea charts to unknown wonders or terrors passed down through her bloodline, or a window to another reality?  Alicevil does not know. Details: Her family comes from a long line of Leviathan Hunters, though aside from Alicevil and her sister, the entire clan perished at sea while Alicevil was still a young child. Alicevil has been tormented by guilt since she was a young girl, because although she fought off a spirit's attempt to possess her, she was subsequently unable to protect her younger sister from the same fate. Her younger sister has been missing for almost two decades. Raised in Tangletown. Heritage point - Finesse

Background: Academic - A Sparkwrights field researcher. You see potential to blend electroplasm with technology, or Spark-craft, in everything you do.  You see the Sparkwrights work as a practical application of your own powers as a Tempest. You are interested in determining if the ghostfield and spiritwells themselves are a valid source of renewable energy that could be tapped to power the lightning barriers, though every possible use of this power is worth exploring. Background point - Tinker

Heritage Story: 

Age 13, drifting at sea on a raft of Leviathan hide littered with still blinking eyes, countless hours on watch observing dark sinuous waves that hinted of creatures within, weeks of draining herself dry every day running current through ocean water to separate the salt and make it drinkable, whilst generating a gentle breeze to keep their derelict vessel's sail filled and pushing them towards land. Alicevil and her sister eeked out enough nutrients by gnawing on the flesh of the leviathan hacked from the creature, but even for those raised in Tycheros it was nightmarish subsistence. Made shore only to narrowly avoid possession and immediately lose her 6 year old sister.  Method for removing salt is called electrodialysis. Psychic break after ghost takes her sister. 

Background Story: 

A decade passed before she had recovered enough to even think of using her tempest power and, realizing that her mundane methods of searching for her sister were not going to bear fruit, or solve the issue of her sister's possession, she decided to become a researcher with the sparkwrights so that she might better control her power and increase her odds of finding her sister.  Tentively, she began to explore her capabilities once more, and consider their application in light of what she learned with the Sparkwrights as a field researcher.  However, as her knowledge grew, so did her burning desire to put her newfound skills to use and find her sister. After numerous expeditions in search of her sister resulted in missed deadlines and lack of work progress, the Sparkwrights regretfully fired her, informing her that if she were able to get her life sorted out, they would consider taking her back into the workforce. 
 

Edited by MadCast: Angelix

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