All of us must, at some point in our lives, reach for something beyond our grasp. It is a grim reality that such efforts are doomed to failure, and yet we persist. How long until the most stalwart will flags? A year? A century? A mere sonata's length? Time is relative, yes, beat, pause, half step right. So it should come as no shock, inspire no pity when I tell you that I've dreamt of her for a dozen of your lifetimes. It is a mark of shame that I cannot recall the night we met - I remember there were lights everywhere - a hundred lamps or a thousand fireflies, it makes little difference. And yet, who could commit to memory a span of time, when one meets Eternity? I can see people swaying to a silent song that filled the night - they must have been entranced by her grace. I saw her from across the dance floor, and my heart... oh, my heart; progression, coda, cantabile: It was as if the blood froze in my veins. I had no fear of death, for I knew something stronger than my poor little muscle pushed euphoria through my feeble frame. She was Beauty. I walked across the hall, unperturbed by interrupted dancers and offended toes, and drew close to her bulbous figure. I can almost swear that a strand of her hair brushed my face - a hair that a number of my compatriots insisted was portruding from her chin, the infidels - and I felt my limbs grow weak. I opened my mouth to speak words of adulation, to lay my life out in her service. Instead, she turned her gaze towards me, her squinty eyes glistening like calm pools of water. I beheld her face with rapture unlike any I have ever known, memorizing each wart and wrinkle, tracing the line of her (sideways) oval face with my mind. Sadly, it was my destiny to fail - for how can a toad approach a princess? She opened her gorgeous mouth, revealing a stunning array of perfectly yellowed, crooked teeth, and spoke. I cannot say what she uttered; my heart was already too full for words (former "friends" have suggested it was something along the lines of "get lost, twerp" - the insolent devils), but the tone, inflection, pitch of her voice has been forever ingrained in my mind. Alas, our meeting was to be cut short, for my Lady had other affairs to attend to, of such grave importance that she felt the need to thrust me out of her way, sending my lovestruck frame into a large table full of hors d'oeuvres. A large arctic fowl sculpted out of ice collapsed off the table, striking me on the head, and all was night. When I awoke, she was gone. Yet, the memory of our meeting is as near to me as the breath in my throat. All day, the song of her voice filled my ears and thoughts, all night, I dreamt of her glorious jaundiced face. In my desire to hear that sweet voice again, I toiled for months on end until I was finally able to reproduce the sound. I had been an artisan, crafting fine musical instruments for royal courts. However, when I created the Elegiac Viola, I knew my career was over. I could never set hands on the tools of my trade again, for I had seen the pinnacle of my skills expressed in wood and string. I had always been a fair musician, but I knew nothing, nothing, half beat, tremolo, back pace. I was never able to find her, despite years of searching, but it is my dream that one day we will be reunited. Brother Jafar has assured me that she has long since passed away - but how can true love limit itself to the mortal plane? It is our destiny to be together, here or in the Next Life. This is why I have lent my services to the Shallow Guild of the Bleak Sunrise - in hopes that their arcane abilities will be able to join these two lost souls. Despite my diminutive stature, I have proven useful to the Guild on several occasions. Lady Maleficent has said that the notes I play are somehow akin to the Voice, in a fashion she has never before encountered. Mistress Ursula, who for reasons unknown refers to me as "that idiot," has set before me this current assignment, and my current companions. Say, you seem like a pleasant enough individual, perhaps you too would like to gaze upon the beauty that is my Love. I've rendered her visage in charcoal and ink faithfully from memory, untainted by the harrows of - what? What's that? She's an... an Ogre?! You fiend, I'll not have my Lady's honor thus maligned! Come back, coward, and face me! Come back!
Personality: I am a simple soul. My life without my Love is divided into measures, notes, beats, each a fraction of a fraction of the remainder. My life is music - it is with song that I fill the void left by her absence. Playing the Azure Chord gives me a semblance of peace, even in the midst of battle. Even this is illusory, ephemeral - the real peace I crave is the peace of her sweaty, crushing embrace. I wish I could say that the passage of these last thousand years has left no mark upon my soul as it has left no mark upon my face, but Time and Fate would never be so kind. My wanderings have carried my through lands both moderate and fantastic, through adventures more keenly bizarre than can be expressed by ink on parchment. Perhaps one day I'll tell you another tale, of pain and discovery, of how the body may harden, the mind may sharpen, and the heart remain as full and open as the piercing call of a sparrow at daybreak. I cannot rest - there lies at the crest of the next hill a new melody to master, a new song to which I can place the strains of her Voice, I am sure of it.
| Weak BELOW normal human strength -
can bench press 50 pounds (maybe).
|Standard Normal human agility.
|Weak BELOW normal human endurance.
Goes down easy and stays there.
|Superior Highly educated and ingenious.
A smart cookie.
Blasts of energy and power scorch and maim only those unable to hear their beauty. That which would rend apart a more fettered mind instead merely reminds me pleasantly of the brute strength of my Beloved. Each such force I encounter bolsters my spirit and lightens my step, lending a portion of her godlike grace to my every movement. Those with an open ear can and often do hear more than the obvious.
An Open Ear
An Open Mind
And yet, her Love affects not only my nimble nature but the whole of my existence. Through the centuries I have learned that if there are limits to a man, they are surely self imposed. If I so choose, the power granted to me by her memory can be lent to my fortitude, boost my constitution to mammoth proportions, act as inspiration, sharpening my thoughts - she was always my Muse - or indeed augment any of my other musical or physical abilities. This is the joy of an open mind - the ability to crush limits placed on emotion, ability.
- Power: Matter Animation
- Ranged Attack Attack usable at a distance (only).
The mere thought of it is almost more than I can bear. Every song I play has this chord at its core: soft, cold, chilling - I hear it a dozen times over in any given moment in battle. It would surely shatter ears ill adapted to its beauty, but I confess a bit of selfishness - this note is played for mine alone. None other can appreciate its beauty, and thus, none other need suffer its bittersweet embrace. It is the note rung by my Beloved, in that brief instant of Paradise when I heard her voice, before our... unfortunate separation. This is the pinnacle of my ability, and until I am reunited with her, the only possible expression of my love.
- Power: Vibration
- Multi Attack Attack can hit multiple times during one strike.
The hum of the Azure Chord reverberates in my ears, rising higher and higher as the battle rages on, as the song reaches its peak. The note falls into my open senses faster than an arrow leaves a bow - it is no use trying to strike me down before I hear the Chord, nor is it possible to interrupt the sound through other means - as a chord played for my benefit alone, the noise has no purpose but to reach me, and it shall.
Everyone has a weakness for music; as such, everyone has a weakness. Everyone will react a different way to a tune - even no reaction at all speaks volumes. For me to discern the level, nature of your Timbre is for me to tell whether you have a mind hardened by years of training, or arms of steel with armor to match, or a deadly secret kept wrapped in shadowed cloaks. Once the nature of your Timbre is known, it will be easy to decide the method of your downfall, and the direction to focus the energies of the Azure Chord. Though my eyes may seem fixed on what should be the stars - those cruel ephemeral spirits, stealing away from my sight to rest in her absent, limpid gaze - rest assured I can still see the flaws that run across your surface through to your core. Your transient existence is no enigma to me - I have looked into the heart of a tender young maiden and found a love that will last an eternity.
Waves of sound produced by my music can match the staccato rhythm of battle, halting shards of metal, fevered limbs, and waves of energy aimed at my person, spreading out like ripples in a pond. At the onset of any conflict, these notes are strong enough to deter weaker attacks, and slow larger barrages, but over time, the Still Note can rise in volume to match any attack.
- Power: Force Field
- Reinforced Defenses Defense blocks Armor Piercing attacks.
Follow the melody, follow my motion, decipher the pattern and learn to attack - half step back. The meter of my songs can shift abruptly, though the harmony of the song is preserved; my movements are erratic and can foil even the most crafty of eyes and minds. Deception is one of the highest forms of creativity in music: even a simple trick fools the ears and brings laughter and amazement.
I constructed this hymn for the fallen of the Shadow Guild. Brother Tchuuu enjoyed it immensely, or at least I believe he did. I could have sworn I saw him smile during my performance. In any case, elements of this melody are found in nearly all of my songs - it is an easy, ready tune to reprise as a bridge between more complex movements. It runs in the recesses of my mind, as a reminder of the misery that tugs at my soul even now. I can only imagine the grief that my Love's wayward spirit must feel, separated from her soulmate as she is. The thought of it makes existence all the more unbearable. It is, would be... difficult to pierce through these thoughts. It would be even more difficult to do so if I were to focus my energies on this Requiem.
Sound can be a dangerous tool. As easily as I can play a gentle tune to bring joy, I can bring crush the unwary or the unwise. Played loud, light, fast, the notes that spring forth from the Elegiac Viola can expand to stun and even damage my surroundings and my foes. I imagine the meaty fists of my Beloved smashing into the faces of my foes as this rhythm picks apart the unjust. I use this ability to quickly disable those who are weak of body and resolve.
- Power: Sonics
- Ranged and Melee Attack! Attack is equally effective at range and up close.
Played slowly, graciously, the Elegiac Viola produces a sound that soothes the acerbic tempers of beasts and causes a curious effect in the sentient and the intelligent. For some reason unknown, the sound of a lower chord, struck restfully, carefully, transmits a portion of my sorrow to the listener. Exposed to this sound long enough, even the most stalwart soul will be sapped of his will to fight, struck down by pain and regret. I use this method to deal with those who have found mastery over the physical plane, but few or no defenses to protect them from assaults in the realm of the mind.
- Power: Emotion Control
- Ranged and Melee Attack! Attack is equally effective at range and up close.
Ophion swore. They were getting feisty. She ducked a particularly... "amorous" lunge from one of the Vamps, swerved back on one foot and backhanded the offending Kainite into the nearest hard surface. She could hear His melody in the background, and the shrieks of the undead warmed her blood. Despite herself she found her rhythm beginning to adapt itself to the Battle Hymn rising from the distance. The tall grass parted with the breeze and another staked Vampire slumped at her feet. Suddenly the onslaught stopped, and the resulting stillness only put Ophion more on edge. The darkness seemed alive - the sudden silence and flickering glow of hungry eyes in a dizzying circle told the Huntress all she needed to know. They were being surrounded. She turned in a slow circle... and found herself alone. The shadows seemed to laugh. A low growl rose in her throat. "Where the hell are you, you little Catchoker?" She felt something tug at her tail, and turned in a fury. A small voice rose to greet her - "Down here." Ophion rounded on the grinning fool, a mixture of relief and exasperation passing over her stolid features. "Well then - let's finish the job."
Ghrazk's features widened in a macabre grimace. He had known that this task would have its onerous moments, and surely this was one of them. The little freak wouldn't stop talking. Endless prattle about his Love, the sorry condition of their surroundings, their likely foes... it was intolerable. Intolerable, and endearing. Something in his tiny form and blithe mouthings made the Horror picture a child in the blossom of youth. Despite the fact that Ghrazk knew Polemarchus was well over a thousand years old, his mannerisms outside (and often enough during) combat seemed those of a callow youth. The toothed grin of the monstrosity narrowed to a tight line. As frustrating as it was to deal with one who would have been his first victim in other circumstances, Ghrazk found himself growing more and more attached to the quixotic fool. He stepped into the shadows and waited for Polemarchus to turn around in confusion. Jumping out of the darkness with a fearsome mask plastered over his visage, he let loose a blood curdling howl and lunged for the Fey. Polemarchus paled and sprinted off with a flash, leaving the rest of the group smiling bemusedly in his wake. "My," remarked Lucius, "I had no idea he could move so quickly. I suppose he simply needed the proper motivation." The dark child's laughter, shrill and filled with demonic mirth, echoed throughout the valley.
Christopher Marlowe was, to be frank, quite tired of his current companions. He'd never been much predisposed towards any of them, and time had failed to make their existence any less of a burden on his ever-loving soul. The... "thing" at his side itched for their destruction, and it took more than a little force of will to cow the restless appendage. His eyes followed the little one. Polemarchus in particular was the worst kind of abomination: the kind that wasn't cognizant of its own malevolence - worse yet the kind that wouldn't shut up. His most perplexing and frustrating habit - damn the soulless wretch - was a tendency to play a single note on his overgrown fiddle at seemingly random intervals in their travels. He had made some claim about an ability to measure the dimensions of any venue, and find the pitch necessary to ferret out any changes to the surroundings. As far as Marlowe knew it was just a way of screwing with his head. Polemarchus would play a note whenever Marlowe walked into the room, play a note two seconds after Marlowe's restless dreams drove him from sleep, play a note whenever his gun got overly anxious. Silence and Darkness didn't seem to matter. Marlowe made a mental note that sneaking up on the little punk wouldn't be overly feasible. Still, there were other ways. Patience is a bloody virtue.