Dain [The Mantaris / Card Master]

Discussion in 'Recurring Characters' started by Paladin_girl, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. Paladin_girl

    Paladin_girl Between the Chapters of a Dream Staff Member

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    Name: “Alaria” Dain Arinanst. Commonly known as “Kinslayer”.

    Age: 19

    Race: Human.

    Theme Tune:
    [​IMG]


    Appearance: Dark-skinned, dark eyed and dark haired, Dain is usually noted for foreign complexion, with a serious, yet stoic gaze. Her pitch-black hair is left undone; the ends somewhat choppy and messy which flow disjointedly down her back, slight curls touching around her tanned cheek and waist. Her sharp, deep purple eyes reveal a pensive young woman who seems to bear more burdens and experience than she dare speaks aloud. Should one look closer, one can see that her left eye is far darker than her right. Her proud stance seems almost militaristic and strong, which seems one of the few key features to her background, save for her battered armour. What seems more striking however is the mark at her arm, twisted, jagged and ugly, as if created with a knife, crusted blood circling around it.

    Dain bears a paler face for a desert girl that cannot be called either beautiful or ugly, yet in some aspects, can be seen as pretty, a complexion of a knowledgeable, yet innocent girl, at times, even looking motherly. Her lips tilt only very slightly if she is amused or upset. Perhaps this is safer, for when she is angered, her face becomes easily twisted into a harsh snarl, yet self-restraining and in pain. Depending on the situation, Dain appears either relaxed and calm or alert and stiff. Her movements are slow and planned, though rather boyish, as if she has never learned any femininity.

    The armour is battered and seems to need constant attention, consisting of a simple, red breastplate with silver inlay that circle around the mark of the Vanir, consisting of a snake eating its tail around burning wheat - yet it is this mark that seems to be the most battered and the most dented, almost seeming to be on purpose. Over the right shoulder is a guard of similar colour and material, the silver inlay damaged and beaten. Beneath this armour is a white tunic that goes down just above the knees, while around the waist is a black, tightly-done corset. On her thighs are two hidden metal guards. Her travel boots, like her gloves, are leather, but are hardened and done up rather tightly, only going up to her ankles.

    Around her wrists are leather braces underneath two brown, leather fingerless gloves. Over her shoulders is a faded, scarlet cloak that ends at her heels, ragged and torn, appearing almost like a scarf, which she uses to cover her mouth and nose at times. Around her neck on a leather lace is a small trinket shaped like a blackened dagger with a blue feather within glass embedded into it. Beside this is what seems to be a shield-like trinket, with a regular pattern embedded within it. Upon her upper left ear is a cuff, with the rune mark of “Peorth” inscribed upon it.

    Personality: Quiet, pensive, studious, modest, kind. Yet, for all that is good within her, it is shadowed by her desert pride and arrogance, which she uses to hide the softness is within her heart. Dain is a person who could be seen as reticent, for she dislikes close acquaintances, yet, for whom she sees as vulnerable, she is compassionate.

    She is surprisingly sensitive and naïve, easily hurt, but yet again, this is masked by her sheer coldness to others. She tends to remain calm when everything else is dire, yet can snap coldly and abruptly at the smallest of things.

    Despite this, she will never be cruel or unfair intentionally. But will be elusive and sometimes, a little standoffish, which at times, makes her difficult to talk to.

    Background: There are very few things that Dain will ever tell others about her past, the majority, if any, being rather militaristic. Her skin colour is oddly toned for a young woman raised and fought in the desert. It is both she and her armour which are battle worn and the sheer stoicism upon Dain's face in battle which shows her experience in combat. The other side to her past is the twisted mark on her arm, which has always given her pain, bleeding when she feels intense emotion or fights in battle. The other side of her is the great compassion she feels for the vulnerable – especially children or those that grieve. At times within her thoughts and considerations, there is some slight softness upon her face that appears only briefly. This, is what seems to be the only things she reveals.

    Equipment:

    Daksheen (The Death Blow in Dalen, the tongue of the desert-dwellers. Pronounced “Da-ha-ka-shin”.) : A weapon consisting of the length of a spear and the powerful blade of a sword, the hilt wrapped in fine, red leather, in the centre having the same mark as that on Dain's arm. Like a bow or quiver, this is placed upon her back.

    Card Pouch: Consisting of five cards created from Dain's own blood. A hefty price to pay, but perhaps the most useful. Should one of these cards be destroyed, it can weaken her. Should all be destroyed, the result can be lethal.

    Magic / Abilities:

    V'rena, Va'Ha and Va'Hesh: Three basic healing spells with the 'Hulzu' card.

    A'qu, Vanis A'qu, El'vanis A'qu: Water manipulation spells.

    Ra'ha, Ma'ha, Ragna'ha: Fire manipulation spells.

    Songstress cards: Placed together with the other three cards can create a stronger spell. But this is at the cost of both voice and mental strength.

    The Rage: This is a focus attack by Dain that basically turns her wild – she will viciously attack with all that she is until her opponents (if she can tell the difference between friend and foe) are defeated. Dain only uses this attack when all else is lost – the only problem is what triggers such a violent attack...
     
  2. Paladin_girl

    Paladin_girl Between the Chapters of a Dream Staff Member

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    My Name is Ironheart

    It was a wish that could happily wait like the last leaf of a dying tree. Because of that reason, she couldn't hesitate any longer. The beast was dead.

    Cascades of rock shattered outwards against the cliff-face of Deyjar Fjall, the grey mountains glaring at a landscape of green and a river of celestial blue which refused to be touched by its rough surface at the mountain's feet. A roll of cold whistled from the top of the cliffs, causing the she-warrior to stop momentarily to maintain a grip on the steep slant. Every time she looked upwards, she saw a grumble of snow, rain and icy wind rattle from the darkening sky, followed by the growls of thunder and the electric skitter of lightning.

    Those were the Midgardian arms which welcomed her home.

    This was no surprise. It was merely typical weather which reflected the typical attitudes of typical denizens in this land. So much so that the sun in summer was something of a luxury amongst the frost-bitter-and-bilesome. It was a fair trade.

    As she clambered upwards, instinct warned her that the people atop of the white fortress of stone knew nothing of her impending arrival, all having gathered together, as always, to keep surviving for another day.

    They more likely to fling her from the cliff-edge than they were to listen.

    If she went through the mountains to get to the village gates, she would be dead before she opened her mouth. At least by climbing, she could arm herself quicker.

    The wind blasted against her cloak like devils, tearing at her dark hair, threatening to whip it across her face like tail-trodden snakes, yet she kept moving. She was not going to hesitate now. It had taken hours to reach halfway up the mountains. A deliberate oversight on her part. She felt like a child once more, unsure of how to take her steps towards something greater than herself.

    Malris' fur ruffled against her cheek as her fingers curled deftly against the jagged stone for a final time, leaping onto the edge.

    She had been in the sun for too long. The wintry blasts of this place had shown how soft she had become. It galled her. Atop of the wall, a crow flicked his head to eye her with a beady stare, deciding if she was food for his pointed maw. She glared at it before trudging carefully towards the tiered village.

    At a distance, the Fjall looked like a towering fortress, covered in surmounting towers. In truth, the trickery lay in the spirals which outstretched and dug into the mountaintops, the foundations of every house looking as if it had been carved from the hard, grey stone. The crow barked its cries, to which on the opposing walls, others attempted to overcome it with their own grotesque caws, stark against the darkening clouds. The torn symbol of the wolf biting the hand against a red background flickered angrily in the winds, having been abandoned to nature's hardy mistress. It was the only thing which ascertained these ruined lands as a nation from barbarian country. If the tribes of Midgard had ever stopped to gather their forces, it would have been a terrifying sight to behold.

    They were too proud – or too stubborn – to yield to such ideas.

    The sound must have startled someone, for the next voice to ring in her ears was a woman's, hoarse and full of strength, her shouts dwarfing the howls of faraway wolves. Quickly, Dain pulled her hood over her eyes and shielded her nose and mouth with her scarf.

    'Are you a hunter or a killer?' bellowed the woman.

    'I am neither,' Dain replied, 'I am a Returner. I would speak with your elder, Vauk Dagnar.'

    A Returner. The words were vile in her throat. In one fell-swoop, she presented herself as an exile. The treatment would be no better than if they knew who she was. It would be the elder, the she-warrior thought with some dread, who would know why. She had cursed this day with every fibre of her soul.

    Two Guardsmen approached her, their double-headed axes fortifying the extent of their strength, proving that their bunching flesh beyond their wolf-leather vests were not just for show. She couldn't see their eyes, apart from the little glimmers where the light sought them out past their rimmed helmets, dented by victory.

    They buried you in that headgear if there was a loss.

    A Midgardian never faces defeat, she remembered her parents utter.

    The march was quiet – even the crows had halted their gaggle. Dain felt her boots crush against the dying leaves of absent trees, their roots the only hint that they ever existed at all. Ice had found a home against any edge that they could find, caressing the warriors' breaths into steam.

    A crowd had gathered at the gate as they circled from it. In front of them all, Dain gathered that the woman before them was the one who had spoken before.

    Tufts of red crowned her head like ripe corn and curled like morning mist – but the vivid pits of green that glared into the Mantaris seemed to turn her into a little girl again. Dain recalled a story about a red-haired White-Hunter who stormed plains in search of glory. Far-fetched as it was, the element of truth is that through a single glance, she knew your worth.

    She was the Pride of Fjall. Katrin Brotgar.

    'Your business is simple for someone with so many trinkets. Are you attempting to claim your inheritance from some distant name? Or are you here to sell them, Returner?' her voice was as soft as gravel and as welcoming as the impending winter, thick with the Midgardian growl. Dain felt partly at a loss – her own accent could barely be founded amongst them now, having changed so often in the realms of sand and travel.

    She was different now.

    'Neither,' Dain responded.

    Katrin narrowed her eyes. 'Then why have you come?'

    'I requested the ears of the elder. Not yours, Brotgar.'

    The woman straightened at the she-warrior's knowledge. She came closer with aggravated abruptness, refusing to let her authority be tarnished by a stranger.

    'The elder would not want to know a foreigner if she has nothing to bestow upon us. You mock us with your presence.'

    Dain cracked her neck and folded her arms. Her vision went past the guards-woman to peer into the crowd of villagers. She alarmed herself on just how many she recognised at mere glances, while others needed longer before she could place names to faces. Part of her wanted to run and kiss them and pull their bodies into a close embrace, to feel the warmth of home again.

    She returned her violets to meet Katrin's.

    'I want to speak with him about the Asmundir family.'

    The crowd stirred slightly, the elder of the clan looking at one another with something in their eyes which seemed close to fear. The guards-woman found her fire again and Dain found her head rearing to one side as the back of a fist battered against her cheek. She felt the heat rise furiously towards it. She didn't move.

    'You speak a curse,' Katrin growled, her low voice threatening and powerful.

    'Maybe,' Dain replied with a quiet voice, 'but I don't speak lies.'

    'The Asmundir family are deceased and dishonoured. The only weight that they bear here is their dead bodies. You would inherit from them?'

    'Quite the opposite, Brotgar.' Dain took a step towards the red-head, attempting to pass her, finding the edge of an axe tap her breast. Katrin looked as if she was readying another slap, her face flushed with rage. As Dain looked closer, it barely clicked that the guards-woman was older than her. Give ten, perhaps even fifteen years – the experience was clear in her eyes. Perhaps even more. Dain knew that it would take more than vague answers to satisfy her. The she-warrior stifled a growl.

    I should have expected this, she thought.

    'Back away, stranger.' Katrin tapped her again.

    Dain frowned, glancing ahead once more before pulling down her scarf. There was a cry from the crowd and a sudden burst of chaos as someone pushed through the villagers, cutting across to face Dain's bruised visage and the raging Katrin's back.

    The person was wide-eyed and breathless, the vapour trails escaping quickly from his dry lips. There was anger there. A cold, cold anger. It took merely one word to fit everything together again.

    'Alaria.'

    Katrin fiercely turned to face the man. 'You know this woman, Martin?'

    Dain didn't look at him, but she knew how much he had changed – she knew how much he hated her still. Yet his voice was still as soft as a serpent. The way that his face was rent into anger showed just how vivid his memory was. Others were like that too, but it was Martin's visage which struck her the hardest.

    He nodded slowly. 'She is Alaria Asmundir – an exile.' He now tried to catch Dain's eye. 'Aren't you?'

    Dain faced him now, her hands bunching into fists. She nodded slowly.

    'Did that curse rob you of your tongue?'

    She smirked grimly.

    Katrin frowned. 'What curse is he drivelling about?'

    'It is not for your eyes. I want the elder.'

    'You little-!' Katrin raised the axe. The handle was quickly grappled away by Martin's hand with a grunt of strain. There was a flash of dismay. Dain simply stood there in silence. Her eyes were closed.

    The axe was thrown aside, thudding not far from their feet. Martin shoved the she-warrior back whilst the guards-woman gritted her teeth at her interceptor.

    'I'll take her.' Martin's voice was grim, heavy.

    Katrin gave Dain a final glare before picking up the axe, resting it across her shoulders.

    'You should have killed her!' came a cry from their watchers.

    'You should be ashamed!' another.

    'How dare you?'

    Dain carefully picked up her scarf, passing through the crowds of people. She hadn't the impulse to shove her hands into her pockets. She didn't listen to Martin's words once the barrage of insults had dissipated. It was quiet for now. Dain rose her violet orbs to look instead at the thatch-roofs of her old home, the familiar scents of meat, soup and bread dancing warmly into the air.

    The well, where she and her brother used to tease their younger sister by saying that they would jump into there and find a stash of treasure. The spiralling road which conjoined the homes together was, in their young minds, an adventure to the grumpy witch's coven – the next day, it was leading to a dragon's cave. They even entertained the idea of beating dark princes and saving princesses from the cold grips of the Dreadgod Kashkalaad. In their childish imaginations, they were always heroes.

    Those memories were no longer warm.

    In the centre of the spiral sat the elder's hut. Never at the top – for all but the Gods were forbidden to reside at the peak – and never at the bottom. The nondescript, weathering thatch fanned out over a doorway which welcomed the watcher with a golden glow as the day begun to draw to a close.

    'Wait here.' Martin's voice sharpened. There was an irritation there which evoked a smile from Dain – the man always hated being ignored. She merely nodded before he slipped beneath the hay canopy. She listened to the murmurs and the sharp noises of surprise, unable to decipher any of it. She cared little for it.

    She took the time to turn around and look across the village, its people and the land that they were born to kill in. She strained her gaze to try and see the mountains, just as she had done so as a little girl. She still couldn't see it.

    'If I had it my way, I would have pushed you down those steps and never see your sorry self again.' The blow of the Vauk Dagnar's words were softened by the sheer lack of sincerity behind them. There was a merriment still left in the faded blue of his vision, which sparkled mischievously. 'You are lucky that you bear a face of purpose – otherwise, this may have been a short visit for you.'

    Dain didn't react quickly, peering at the elder's fading, boiled leather and the forked beard that hung over a growing paunch. Tufts of black still stuck out of the whites of his crazed hair and his face still seemed apt to turn from a smile to a roar of blood-lust.

    'Svanetst illik vir Orun Tan, Vauk Dagnar.' Dain didn't bow to him. She was too much of a stranger to bow.

    'Piss on that. You are here to see your family. Those monsters. You are no better yourself. What is it that you call yourself now?'

    'Dain Arinanst.'

    The elder peered at the woman for a moment. The fades in his eyes strained to look at her, as if she had spoken a strange incantation. Midgardians did everything for a reason. This had not changed.

    'So you did not retain your family name. An interesting choice for an Asmundir.'

    Dain looked away fiercely. She hadn't the heart to tell him the truth. She ground her teeth slowly in irritation. 'I have come to mark my family's grave. I would like to leave with my head intact. That's why I have come to you.'

    'Are you asking for protection?'

    She shook her head. 'Ignorance. I will come, do what is needed and then leave.'

    'Beasts like you have returned and promised such, only to leave burned villages in their wake. Your return Kinslayer is not a blessed one. You break our rules for your own selfish gain.'

    Dain frowned. 'Are you forbidding me to see them?'

    'I simply cannot pretend that you haven't come. I am sure that I am not the only one that remembers your face.'

    It was then that Dain's dark eyes found Martin's in the quiet. He had been slowly backing away from the pair, but upon being spotted, had sniffed and taken some redeeming steps forward. 'I could grieve for them if you were dead,' he said quietly, 'I could have handled it.'

    'You weren't to know.' Dain's reply was sullen. You could have thought me dead at any point, she thought, but I doubt that you would grieve at all. She cut off any reply that her childhood friend could have conceived, 'Then I won't have your promise – but if anyone – even someone from this village – tries to interrupt me, they will die. This includes you, Vauk Dagnar.'

    Martin flushed rage, but the elder didn't seem to flinch. He hunched over his axe and peered into the darkness which gazed back at him. They were fierce, he noticed, wolf-like and unpredictable. A threat, perhaps. After all, Midgardians never lied. He tried to match the contempt which he suspected in her gaze. 'Should that time come, we will mount your head as an example, Kinslayer.'

    'Then they'll see,' interjected Martin, 'they'll see what you become.'

    Dain smirked bitterly. It seemed better than old age. Better than being beheaded beside a river. Better than being driven mad by Gods. It was a fair warning. It was the wolf-head of Malris which faced them now.

    The descent was harder than climbing. She could hear Martin following her. It wasn't until she reached the bottom of the road that another pair of feet had joined them.

    Katrin's.

    The woman eyed the violet-eyed warrior with a suspicious frown. She held a hand out to stop Dain's path.

    'Your father,' Katrin said slowly, 'was a good armourer. He forged my axe – and built a helm for my son.'

    Dain said nothing.

    'The weapons have no name however. I would imagine that spade on your back does. Did he forge it?'

    Silence.

    Katrin smirked. 'Keep your secrets, then.'

    'Are you here to insult me – or stop me?' Dain's voice was charged with a fresher chill.

    The smile was gone in a flash. 'I'm here to watch you. I don't trust you.'

    Martin rounded on Dain's right flank. 'You are insulting a legend. Remember that.'

    Not a hero, unless you die! The cruel, final words of a father that she wished was dead. The emptiness afterwards. The quest's failure that she embraced tightly in her arms.

    'You aren't human any more, Alaria.'

    'Dain.' Came the biting reply.

    'What?' Martin came closer.

    'My name is Dain, stranger.' The she-warrior smiled faintly, 'And I'm here to pay back a debt.'
     
  3. Paladin_girl

    Paladin_girl Between the Chapters of a Dream Staff Member

    Joined:
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    As she walked through the ancient plains, Dain's feet felt heavier.


    She felt the wind whistle in her ears, the distant shrieks of delight from children who tumbled through the grass. Her little fingers, muddied from play, held tightly onto the wooden body of a makeshift bird, which flapped feebly, threateningly close to breaking.

    Her grin was wide and wild, never glancing back to check on her siblings – she knew that there was no need to fear. The watchful elders were never too far.

    There was nothing to fear.


    She pulled a wan smile – the Besgal Tree wasn't far now. She saw the hills, wrecked from ancient clan wars – 'the greatest war amongst the Midgardians', the elder told them; if you waited until nightfall, you could see the Wisps – souls of the Old Ones, waiting to be taken to the Sleeping Eater. As a child, the stories of the Wolf Clan's victory made her chest puff with pride, listening to how the Bears slunk away, back to their dark and dripping caves.

    After all, Midgardians never lied.

    The chill grasp of night was starting to roll across her skin, causing her to frown. The plains grass cracked beneath her feet, snarling at their disturbances. Her old home was a landscape of old battles and birthing frost, thrust between roaring mountains and shattered waterfalls.

    The sigh of a child, lost meekly amongst the grass.


    __


    The Besgal Tree was an unmarked set of graves that never blossomed. Its roots whispered through the soil, deeply clinging to the dark foundations below.

    It wasn't a landmark – it was a warning.

    There was nothing here except buried bodies – not all were dead when they were dismissed to the deep.

    Dain stopped, staring at the cold land. No light had ever pierced this place – it was a dead foundation, protected by the world's bones: the three mountains – Kanda, Wjerjar and Talghin.

    Between the tree, Kanda and Talghin wept streams of water that intertwined together before avoiding the burial ground, riveting towards the clan villages.

    Dain closed her eyes, tasting the cold air, gasping in the Winter – one of the night's first snowflakes landed on her tongue. She tried not to smile.

    More bodies had been disposed of here since her absence. The soil turned over. The she-warrior peered between the lumps of dirt, trying to eke out the red footsteps.

    Red. Red everywhere.

    She found none.

    Dain snorted, shaking her head.

    The world will not stop simply because you do, fool.


    _


    'I found one! I found one!'

    Her hands gripped the edge of the cliff tightly, her cheeks flushed with tiredness, her sunset-coloured eyes wide and brilliant, her laughter quiet, stifling her excitement. She patted for the wooden bird's broken leg, the little object having snagged on a tree root that peeked out of the stone.

    She leaned forward, her little feet kicking like fleeting worms. Her fingers brushed softly against the tree branch, the leaves waving mutely against her tips.

    She floundered harder, trying to tug the root upwards.

    The leg fell.

    She screamed with rage, grasping her little fingers tightly against the cliffside.

    There was nothing left to do here.

    _


    With the graves in sight, her feet finally found the lightness to move.

    Every step, the air grazed at her cheek – the cold threatened to cut. Instinctively, the warrior wrapped the cloak closer against her body. Her insides were gradually becoming numb as she ambled nearer.

    She needed no guide for this trip – and no Midgardian would take her now.

    Her knees found the ground, but not her eyes.

    They stared forward. Wide. Brilliant.

    Beneath the withered gaze of the great tree, four holes in the ground stared back.

    The burdens of her deceased family torn from the earth's shoulders.