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[center [Abel [size10 Credit where it's due: this was loosely based off of a roleplay on DA that was edited heavily so as not to be a blatant copy. However the base credit goes to them. This is also very loosely based off of the show RWBY in places.]]]
[center [Abel [size15 [#0A7E8C 「] [http://rp.eliteskills.com/pm.php?u=4136 ιnвoх] [#0A7E8C 」] [#BF4F51 「] [http://rp.eliteskills.com/r.php?r=148422 ooc тнread] [#BF4F51 」] [#0A7E8C 「] [http://rp.eliteskills.com/vc.php?c=394921 rυleѕ/cнaracтer card] [#0A7E8C 」] [#BF4F51 「] [u rp тнread] [#BF4F51 」]
Before there was magic, there was a vast darkness. From that darkness spawned two halves of the same whole- Creation and Destruction. They came together to create the world, but still yet, they were alone. Both The Creation and The Destruction grew bored as the world was not full of intelligent beings like themselves.
So once again, they came together, and from them, they created four beings. One that ruled the seas, one that ruled the land, one that controlled the day, and one that controlled the night. The Creation and the Destruction also came together to fashion mortal man out of clay with the four of their children to look over them.
It was here they grew content with their creations, and The Destruction decided to retire from helping its counterpart. The Creation, however, enjoyed spending time amongst its creatures. Walking among them and seeing how they involved gave it much joy. The four guardians of mortals had bestowed some of their own power upon the mortals- allowing them too to have magic to those that were chosen by these powers.
When the Destruction returned to see this, it grew jealous, and created an evil within the world to wipe out the magic that had been so generously given. The guardians decided to give up their very essence to create a stronger magic to give to the mortals to combat the Shadows that threatened their entire being. Both gods decided to call a truce, and retired from the mortal realm.
Those that had magic fought the Shadows, and drove them back. They called themselves Guardians after those that had given up their lives to help them fight back, and created an alliance to guide those with magic and teach them how to use these newfound powers. The first magic tomes were penned by the hands of the Alliance.
Overtime, the shadows disappeared, and so did the Alliance. There was no longer a need for Guardians, and they disbanded. Stories of them and the monsters, the Creation and the Destruction, turned into stories to tell one's children before bedtime. Across the four kingdoms, there wasn't a child that didn't grow up with that as their bedtime story. The four kingdoms- Gwenwyn, Eirwen, Asis, and Qiu- were aptly named after the first children of the gods. With Atris in the center acting as a neutral land that brought the four together.
Five years after the new Emperor of Atris was crowned, villagers from all over the Allied Kingdoms began noticing strange occurrences. Shadows in the shapes of carnivorous animals, livestock going missing, and occasionally, the death of a loved one. This was largely ignored as the Emperor was dealing with the birth of his first child, and had no time to deal with every peasant who complained about missing livestock.
As the daughter of the Emperor grow to be a teen, these disappearances were less rare, and no one could deny now that the Shadows had returned. People grew afraid to leave their homes at night. The very thought of darkness made many quake with fear.
Upon the Princess' eighteenth birthday, she received a gift from a suitor. It was a tome that detailed the use of magic and how to channel it. It detailed a substance called [i Refrain] that was an essential part in creating a new potential Guardian. The potion was no easy feat to make, but she was committed, and requested the best alchemist to work on it- for the sake of driving back the Shadows from their countries once more. Refrain is the first step any potential Guardian must take. Often times, the corrosive liquid leaves one disoriented for days after being injected. This often passes quickly within the first two days. The potion is to activate the magical blood within a potential. Because of this, it is often advised that no one under the age of eighteen complete this ritual.
The tome also detailed how to channel the new magical abilities by creating something that it called a Clockwork Heart. The Heart works as a magic wand of sorts, and helps the Guardian channel their magic. It must be created by the user, and this is the second step. Each Heart is made two-fold: a timer of which its user can see how long they have left to live, and the magic channel. The material can be made of any substance and in any fashion the creator so chooses as long as it has these two components- within reason of course. A Guardian's life span is twice that of a normal human once their magic is fully activated.
The Princess decided to test the tome's information out on her own body, and she became the first Guardian. She begged her father to allow her to reform the Guardians so that they could combat the Shadows and keep people safe. He agreed, and she and her friends became The Clockwork Guardians traveling the world to find new mages and kill Shadows.
Letters penned in the Princess' hand were sent to those that they found to have the potential to handle the process from all over the four kingdoms, and a large, almost palace like, school was built to accommodate the new potential Guardians.
Do you have what it takes to become a Clockwork Guardian?]]
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[font "Tahoma" [size14 [i ‘It’s him, officers! He stole it! I saw him! He stole from me! Arrest him!’] Hyeon-Jun observed the woman hollering heated accusations at an innocent man with two much burlier men quick at her heels; observed further, silent and at peace, as the officers then apprehended the same man without question and pulled him away to pat him down, twirling her engagement ring in between his index and thumb--a clean bust.]]
[font "Tahoma" [size14 [i ‘Hyeon-Jun, your mother didn’t teach you to steal, did she? What would your uncle think? What would your sister think? What would [i God] think?’] his father’s voice echoed in his thoughts, distracting him from his task--fingers ceasing mid-action--but as always, his illusioned reprimand had come a moment too late. He’d already gotten it . He spared a quick glance at the item of the hour itself, appraising it with the trained eye of a seasoned thief, running his thumb across the surface of the diamond he’d spent the last twenty minutes tailing a stranger for. It was expensive, certainly, just itching to be stolen, and considering how easily it’d slipped off the woman’s ring finger, it also seemed to be nothing more [i than] that. He’d put it to better use.]]
[font "Tahoma" [size14 [i ‘What do you mean ‘he doesn’t have it’!? Of course he has it! I felt it--I saw him take it! You’re just not looking in the right place! Just--do--strip him! Strip him of his clothes and check again! It has to be there! I couldn’t have just dropped it!’] she cried, stomping her heeled boots against the ground, reminding him of the children that’d once frequented his father’s shop, just as condescending, and just as gratingly petulant. Hyeon-Jun pursed his lips, slipped the ring into his back pocket, and went on his way. ]]
[font "Tahoma" [size14 Two days later, he traded the ring and purchased a one-way ticket to Atris.]]
[font "Tahoma" [size14 [i ‘Are you sure you’ll be okay?’] his mother asked, palms pressed flat against both his cheeks and expression one of (misplaced) worry. His sister gave their mother a sideways glance. [i ‘Okay? C’mon, mom--knowin’ him, he’ll settle down wit’ a sugar mami-’]]]
[font "Tahoma" [size14 [b “Or a daddy,”] Hyeon-Jun added.]]
[font "Tahoma" [size14 [i ‘Or a [i daddy]--and be set fer life. You really think it’s [i him] you should be worryin’ ‘bout? He’ll rob every damn person in that cesspool and [i still] come back as one o’ those distinguished soldier-men. I’ll finally have somethin’ ta brag ‘bout.’]]]
[font "Tahoma" [size14 [b “All for my big sis. I’ll even bring you back a few gals, have you take your pick if your mouth herpes loosens up by the time I’m back.”] That earned him a painful pinch, but the laugh that followed betrayed its nature.]]
[font "Tahoma" [size14 [i ‘I don’t need yer sloppy seconds, ugly. ‘Sides, who’s the one that made me make out wit’ that ugly rat in the first place?’]]]
[font "Tahoma" [size14 [b “Oh yeah? Couldn’t hear yer ass complainin’ when you were suckin’ face wit’ the munchkin. All that [i slurpin’], Hye-Jin, you li’l [i weasel]--”]]]
[font "Tahoma" [size14 [i ‘An’ who’s the one who stole all his shit while he was busy jammin’ his tongue down my throat!--’]]]
[font "Tahoma" [size14 [i ‘Hye-Jin, Hyeon-Jun, that’s enough, we’re in a public place. Hyeon-Jun, lose the accent. Your uncle taught you proper-speak,’] his mother admonished, worry quickly replaced by exasperation in the face of her kids’ antics. [i ‘You didn’t spend five years in the barracks to still be speakin’ street.’]]]
[font "Tahoma" [size14 He gave her a kiss on the forehead, a tight hug, then stepped back, luggage in hand.]]
[font "Tahoma" [size14 [b “‘course, mom. I’ll be good.”] He wouldn’t be good, most likely, but she already knew that, if the tiny smile flickering on her lips was anything to go by. He wouldn’t be good, but what truly mattered was that he’d at least [i try.]]]
[font "Tahoma" [size14 He said his final goodbyes--a wave to his mother, a gracious middle finger for his sister--and turned on his heel, heading to the entrance to the train. He boarded, found his seat, and settled in with an exhale. Finally. [i Finally,] he was one step closer. It was about time.]]
[font "Tahoma" [size14 The train ride was, all things considered, relatively peaceful. Passengers conversed amongst themselves, young and old, but Hyeon-Jun kept to his lonesome, choosing to spend his time recalling childhood stories in the privacy of his booth--mostly memories of his father prior to his incarceration , but there were some of his mother and sister too, and he found quiet sanctuary in fond reminiscence, especially considering he’d likely not get an opportunity to see them again. ]]
[font "Tahoma" [size14 The hours ticked by in muted recollection, and it wasn’t long before the train came to an abrupt halt, the whistle signaling their arrival. Hyeon-Jun stood, gathered his things, and disembarked.]]
[font "Tahoma" [size14 Atris was, in one short word, [i something]--like nothing Hyeon-Jun’d ever seen. The capitol itself wasn’t what caught the brunt of his attention, however. A single structure stood out above all the rest, cluing him in on where he was to go from this point on. He’d never attended school, never gotten an education--not of the [i standard] sort, at least--but if their curriculum was even [i half] as showy as the building itself, he’d have his work cut out for him. He just hoped it’d be worth it in the long run.]]
[font "Tahoma" [size14 [i ‘Please make your way to the theater hall. Leave your belongings in the hall before you enter. They will be collected and brought to your rooms that have already been assigned.’]]
[font "Tahoma" [size14 [i “Theater hall.”] [i Really?] He regarded the sign, [i dis]regarded his incredulity, and made his way inside. Right away, the door opened to conversation that, albeit subdued in nature, carried like an echo in the spacely hall, so Hyeon-Jun hung back by the entrance, torso leaned against the wall with arms folded across his chest. Apparently, now, they were to wait.]]
[i Zhe - a third gender pronoun fairly
common in Asis referring to someone who
identifies as neither female nor male. ]
[i One year previous...]
There was silence. Tabassum didn’t notice the stillness anymore, the way it hung like a shroud over all things in this place, what used to be Tabassum's well-loved and well-lived home. The once bustling and bright estate was now barren; the neighboring desert was making its move to reclaim the space, white sand covered everything from the once shining painted glass windows to the lavish tapestries adorning the walls of the estate.
Tabassum walked through the winding halls alone, on zhis way to the kitchens to see if the invading sand and dust had gotten into the water again. When the Al-Effri clan was at the height of their power, the estate had been run and managed by a staff of almost fifty people. Now, there were only three servants left. The chef, a drunkard who didn't have anywhere else to be, and Tabassum's grandmother's two caretakers who had stayed put out of loyalty. None of which knew anything about maintaining a well in a desert. That, together with an insurmountable list of other tasks, fell on Tabassum.
As Tabassum entered the servant’s dining hall a horrible smell, acrid and foul, suddenly assaulted Tabassum’s nostrils and zhe almost gagged. Zhe stopped in the entryway, looked around and in front of zhim was a broken window. Below it a yellow pool of stale piss and broken glass. Another charming gift from the townspeople of Effri. Tabassum exhaled through zhis mouth, tore zhis eyes from the crude vandalism meant to humiliate more than harm, and purposefully walked on.
As Tabassum lay in zhis bed, waiting for a sleep zhe knew would not come for hours yet, Tabassum heard a fragile tap on zhis bedroom door. Looking up, it was zhis grandmother. Thin as a leaf and with grey hair like a bird’s nest, the matriarch of what was left of the Al-Effri clan huddled up to Tabassum and lay down on the bed.
“I dreamt of your father, Taba. He was very handsome, wasn’t he? My most handsome son. And so kind, too, Taba. So kind…” she prattled on, resting in Tabassum’s lap. She was trembling but not from the cold.
Tabassum, used to these nightly visits, simply stroked zhis grandmother’s hair until she fell asleep, mumbling of a happier time.
Tabassum cried silent tears in the dark that night. For zhis family, for what had been lost, and for the impotent rage that simmered just beneath the surface of Tabassum’s carefully sculpted façade. Zhe vowed to set things right. However zhe could, zhe would restore honor and pride to zhis family name. No matter the cost.
The path was certain. A messenger had come bearing the best news of Tabassum’s life. A chance, a way to reclaim glory for zhis family. Tabassum’s head was spinning as zhe carefully read the instructions for Refrain and what was needed to make it.
The path was certain.
Tabassum’s grandmother, in her nightclothes still, anxiously watched as her only grandchild swallowed the bottle of Refrain, made by an Eirwennian traveling alchemist for an exorbitant fee they could scarcely afford. She let out a despairing shriek and looked away when Tabassum started convulsing on the floor, shaking up sand and dust in the air. In the end, however, the spasms ended and Tabassum opened zhis eyes.
No longer were they the dark brown of zhis father’s, but a pale grey. Like the first innocuous clouds before a great storm.
A smile, for the first time in years, was dancing across Tabassum’s face.
There wasn’t much to say goodbye to when it came down to it. Tabassum made sure to pay the servants who cared for zhis grandmother so they would continue doing so. Tabassum scratched the head of zhis favorite cat and hugged zhis grandmother for as long as zhe could endure.
On the finest of zhis family’s horses, Tabassum rode out from the estate at a measured pace, zhe didn’t look back.
And suddenly, home wasn’t home anymore, it was just another thing Tabassum had left behind. The path was certain, and that path led ever onward.
[i Present day...]
Layered in a heavy coat, Tabassum sat down in one of the compartments of the train with a sigh. A sore arse from going on horseback and a sore pride from having to sell said horse to afford the train ticket, Tabassum wasn't in the mood to socialize.
Instead zhe closed the door to zhis compartment and brought up a mirror from one of the deep pockets of zhis coat. Tabassum looked at zhimself in the mirror, studying zhis features which had changed again since last zhe looked. Zhis hair had fallen out soon after drinking the Refrain, but Tabassum could feel it growing under zhis wig again. It was too short to see the true color of it but it was definitely not the inky black Tabassum had grown up with. Freckles dotted zhis nose and cheeks. Tabassum clenched zhis jaw and was alarmed to feel zhis [I teeth] differently aligned than before.
Tabassum scowled at the mirror, as if said item was personally responsible for the constantly shifting face that stared back at zhim. Zhe had tried to control the changes, with limited success. Sometimes zhe could revert the changes, sometimes not. It seemed very sporadic and it worried Tabassum, this lack of control.
The view outside the window was beautiful but Tabassum paid it almost no mind as zhis mind wandered. Soon zhe fell into a light doze, rocked by the steady rhythm of the train.
Zhe had a rude awakening as the train whistle outside zhis compartment proclaimed the arrival to the end station, Atris. Still a bit groggy from zhis nap, Tabassum got up, collected zhis things and disembarked the train.
Tabassum had been in Atris once before, but that was many summers ago. The city had changed since then, it was larger, busier. After some momentary adjustments from the stillness of the train to the crowded metropolis, Tabassum set off towards the Guardian school. It wasn’t far from the train station, both structures being right in the heart of the city.
The school was hard to miss; it towered effortlessly over the other buildings in the area. Tabassum walked up to the door just in time to see two people head inside. Tabassum waited a moment, read the sign outside and then ventured into the school.
[i Why are there no guards?] zhe thought curiously.
It was a huge place, and from the looks of it newly renovated. Tabassum wondered if it was newly [i built] as well but dismissed the idea. Such a structure would take years to build, and the Guardians were, as far as zhe knew, newly formed.
Tabassum turned to the only other people in the hall; the two zhe had seen enter before zhim. They looked very similar, maybe brother and sister, and they were about Tabassum's age. From the curious looks they were giving this building, it was unlikely that they had ever been here before. Fellow new students, then. Judging by their style of clothes, they were probably from Qiu.
"I'm guessing you're here to become Guardians as well?" zhe asked, careful to imbue as much friendliness in zhis tone as possible. "I am too. My name is Tabassum Al-Effri." zhe said and bowed zhis head. Maybe they would know of zhis name and the stories surrounding it, but probably not. Tabassum doubted the news of zhis family’s disgrace would reach even outside zhis own country’s borders.
[Abel [Center [pic https://i.imgur.com/udM379C.png]]
[center Eun-Chae tugged the sleeves of her cheongsam down over the burns along her arms. They had been accidental injuries accumulated after she’d been injected with Refrain. Her aura was highly unstable, and tended to burn her in situations where her emotions were high. For a few days now, she’d been excited for the trip to Atris. Perhaps if she could prove herself that she was strong, then their father would realize that they deserved the throne. Although this was not her only motivation for becoming a guardian, the legitimacy of her and her twin’s right to the throne was her ulterior motive. Joon-Tae knew of her wishes, but she’d attempted to keep the extent of this wish to herself as it was rather all-consuming.
Outside the train window, the scenery flew by. The flat landscape of Qiu gave way to the hills and valleys of Gwenwyn, the snow covered mountains of the land they were born- Eirwen, and the deserts of Asis before arriving in the more urban-sprawl city of Atris. Several other people sat in the other compartments, but Eun-Chae chose to ignore them for the time being. Surely, they were there for the same purpose, and so there was no real need to bother them until they were all settled in in their new home- or what could be considered their new home. Not only that, but some of them looked particularly unfriendly. Finding friends here might be more difficult than finding enemies.
The train drew to a screeching halt, and she grabbed her small suitcase before disembarking. The cobblestones under her canvas shoes were something Eun-Chae had never experienced before. The city feel gave her a bit of culture shock just in the first few moments of their arrival.
‘[#AB92B3 [i Now where do we go? A big place like that would surely not be hidden.]]’ Blue eyes looked around- searching for a sign of where to go, but the large building in the center of the town stuck out like a sore thumb. She was quite right; it wasn’t hidden at all.
“[#AB92B3 Are you ready?]” She asked- gazing up at the tall male whose appearance would mirror her own were she a male. “[#AB92B3 I’m ready. No matter what happens, I know we can do it.]” It was clear that she had quite a bit of faith in their abilities. They’d already adapted to a forced change once, and so a voluntary one would be no problem.
A sign standing in front of the door read ‘[i Please make your way to the theater hall. Leave your belongings in the hall before you enter. They will be collected and brought to your rooms that have already been assigned.]’ It seemed strange, but she was in no position to argue. Not that Eun-Chae had anything to steal unless someone wanted her clothes bad enough.
With a deep breath, she opened the door- eyes widening at the inside. It was so grand- rivaling even the greatest of palaces. The palace of Qiu wasn’t half as grand as this school. The Emperor had wasted no expense on his daughter’s behalf it seemed- if the stories that had circulated were true. “[#AB92B3 Such a large place. I hope there’s a map otherwise we’ll be lost,]” She cringed slightly at the sound of her accent. It was an occasional occurrence that she hoped didn't happen when she was around other people- lest it blow their cover. After she was settled, she would explore the place a bit to find her way around- that way it wouldn’t be so confusing when she wanted to do things.]]
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