Take Up the Cross – Chapter 14: Oath with the Unknown

(What sort of question is that? If you want a name, any will suffice.)


Unlike this Cethran, it’s not a matter of a “who” for Adris.


(To establish the best relationship, it might be fortuitous to choose a way of interacting which gives you the appearance of superiority? As a kid, my choices are limited. Some of the prisoners were smaller than others? It might be easy to pass off as a…)




Adris adopts the persona of [A Haunted “Slayer”.]

(A part which is quite easy to play, now. “Adris fehl Dain, being hunted by impossible odds” is just like my last job.)




“Ah, that’s a little dangerous. Every creature you talk to in this Castillo tries to take advantage of you… When not trying to rape you…” Looking suddenly worried, Adris taints the rest of the conversation with his fear.


(The only way to overcome this fear is… an oath.)


“… Getting away from them at great risk, I’m not about to agree to tell my tales without some assurances. Besides, who are you, really, and what are you doing in the enemy’s holy place?”


Giving the woman hard eyes, Adris needs to know how to attack…


“‘Holy place’? Isn’t that a novel concept for the Castillo? As for myself… my origin would be a church, but would it be one you would ever visit or have heard of? As to my intentions here, is this the relevant question?

Have you…?”


Looking toward the headless statue, Cethran’s husky voice becomes lower than normal, a feeling of longing to her tone.

A strange vulnerability lingers in the air.




“… never sought inspiration?”




(This is why I hate scholars.)


The woman’s answer is informative, but nebulous.


(She’s seeking something from her seclusion in this place? Then leave off the sanctimony and tell me what you’re looking for!

Knowledge exists to be used, not venerated. If you want to have a soul finding expedition, please do not include me.)


Adris’ soul is in too much distress to take on the burdens of another, especially an old woman’s.


“Not in a demonic mansion. Treasure? Yeah. Wisdom? No. As for now? I could use comfort.”

Adris lets his dark eyes shift about the room, hinting at the troubles plaguing him.


“No, wouldn’t that be wrong? Anyone who seeks comfort in the Castillo… how would they discover it?” Smiling conspiratorially at this, the woman’s toothy grin punctuates her denial of that benefit.

“However, arriving at an impasse such as this, what then might make us equal in your eyes? Such that you may feel… ‘comfortable’?”


(Oh? You’re interested enough to seek information from me on your own? How exciting. This works so much better when people fall into the routine willingly.)


But the general knowledge of these oaths is lacking for Adris.


(Do humans know of them? Or is it an invention of these monsters?)


Testing the waters…


“Given your station, I’m sure you know the way to make sure nobody else hears of this and we give honest words to each other?”


(This is a long shot, but it’s better to act knowledgeable than ignorant of certain things.)


Tapping the altar, Adris hopes she makes the offer herself.


“Have you a secret that might ruin you if shared?”

Cethran picks up the tea she’s allowed to steep, pouring it into two cups. The steam rises as she watches Adris from the corner of her eyes.

“Secrets are best kept, but accommodations can be made if sharing them would… relieve you of your burden? … Shall we make a pledge of truthful silence, then?”


(Yes, let us! Unlike your voice and face, your eyes aren’t calm.)


Adris sees them blaze with interest. Nodding his head, Adris waits.


“What do you wish for in this, slayer?”


Leaving the terms with Adris, she continues smirking while he thinks.


“… I’ll share who I am and what I know about the dangers brewing in the Castillo, if you give me truthful answers to questions I have concerning the Castillo and the world.”


Raising an eyebrow, Cethran’s interest lingers on the last word.


“… What questions about the world bear relation to your plight?”


(Ah, fair point.)


“The scale of the disaster way eclipses my understanding of what’s involved.”


Waving his hand, Adris tries to look disturbed by his hidden knowledge. “It’s not like I care about the world at large, so I’m lost as to how things weave together in this conspiracy. I can’t hope to deal with the problem effectively. Everyone’s in trouble, that’s for sure, and I need to know why.”


Accepting this explanation, Cethran nods slowly.


“Very well, isn’t that fine? Are we not destined to act according to our roles? Then shall I offer the first kindness in this meeting?”

Cethran extends a hand, grasping at the air before her before drawing it back with a tight gesture.


This one, Cethran, most faithful of the god which controls the unknown, will swear to offer explanations to the questions of this wayward lamb as he dictated, so long as it truthfully explains who it is and offers the secrets it intends to share regarding the Castillo’s danger. Furthermore, this most faithful will promise that what is shared with those present will never be known to another not present.”


Neutral in expression, her second true declaration of this conversation is just as impactful as the first.


To the unknown and unknowable, this one swears it.”




Adris waits.


(No wind, whispers, or moving shadows?)


There had been a strange display when the others had sworn.


(Is she just a hustler?)


Looking at the woman, Adris contains his doubts.


(“Those present?” Then she intends to include her god in this, perhaps?)


Considering the oath…


(She’s counting on her god to enforce it?)


The powers of Zennia aren’t easily explained.

While aura users and their techniques can be readily classified and qualified, the mysticism inherent in the way the powers of this world work makes such things impossible.

An oath with a human is even more unexplained, as Adris imagines humans are much weaker than the monsters he’s faced.


(I will have to chance it.)


Though it might be a sacrifice play, Adris hopes that she made a mistake in reading him that he can take advantage of. The terms seem good.


“This one, who shall be named…”


(“Supplicant to?”)


How one phrases such a thing is a question Adris is making up as he goes.


“… in deference to this unknown and unknowable, will swear to truthfully explain who he is and…”


(The secrets I “intend” to share? Isn’t that most… generous?)


This is the part that seems to be strange.


“… offer the secrets he intends to share regarding the Castillo’s dangers, so long as Cethran offers truthful explanations to his questions in turn.”


Adris ends his sentence and waits. He studies his heart and body, paying close attention to what changes.

His mutated aura is active, moving as best he can make it.




Time passes, though, with no apparent change.


(Is this?)


Adris shifts his eyes, examining the area.




Cethran seats herself upon the altar, offering Adris a cup as she prepares to take her own.




“Then, will you not unburden yourself? Won’t you tell me who you are and what wonders you have witnessed?”

Adris accepts the cup from her, holding the steaming porcelain cup by the handle in his right hand as he considers her question.




(I expected…)


Something, anything.


(Still… a test is possible. You want my name?)


Adris thinks of any of his numerous aliases.




(I was a linen seller, then. An alias is still who I am. Let’s try that.)


Letting himself smile a bit, he begins to speak.




“Well, where to begin? I am -”


















“Is something wrong?”

Cethran is smirking, sipping her tea as she watches him idly.


Adris meant to say something, but finds he can’t.


He takes a sip from the cup he holds in his left hand. It’s an unknown flavor to him.


“No, apologies, my throat was just dry!”


(I tried to give her a name. But nothing came to mind.)


Adris knows there’s something wrong. A feeling of discord is assaulting him. His attempt to indirectly fool her simply didn’t occur.


(Then how about… my name? Or a derivation thereof?)


“I am…”


(Will a literal interpretation suffice?)




“Ruinous Star.”




Cethran nods in response, unchanged in expression, even though Adris has technically deceived her.

“Such a strange name, isn’t it? Yet, all [Slayers] have such strange names, though I wonder how you all invent them? It’s pleasant to speak while sharing the comfort of tea, yes?

What do you wish to discuss, Mr. Star?”




(That works?)


Adris considers his success, wondering if he can build from it.


(Shouldn’t an alias be considered a proper response if it was used? What decides what is and isn’t an untruth? What is the difference between “Ruinous Star” and an alias?)


There’s a cold feeling to him as he stands on the dais, looking down at Cethran who is seated on the altar.

The pattern of the stone is a bit wet as she sits on it. Her legs are crossed while waiting.


“The Wondrous Works intend to block out the torch-like sun using an ancient creature from the desert. Even now, they’re readying the second-tier of the Castillo for this. Petripolis is in danger.”

Adris watches her face, seeking insight into her motivations.

“How should I go about getting this information out and preparing a defense?”


“Wouldn’t the Mayor of Petripolis suffice? Simply telling her should absolve you of all further responsibility in this matter, yes?”

Cethran seems bored as she responds lightly.


(You don’t much care about the world, do you.)


“I see.”


(Now for the next test.)


“Can you help me to relay the message?”


Cethran sips her tea with her eyes closed.


“Why would I?”

Neither smiling nor smirking, her eyes are now sharp as she opens them. “My business here is my own, right? What does the rest of the world have to do with it?”


Adris is calm, despite being refused.


(If you won’t help me, then what if I intend to do it myself?)


“Then… will you tell me the safest route to relay the message myself?”


(Knowledge like that is an explanation I require.)


Cethran waves a hand dismissively, her eyes humored at the question.


“Isn’t leaving the Castillo a little ahead of your present situation…?”




She denies any chance of avoiding his fate.


“What use is it until you complete your side of the oath?”




A cold response. Her body language is soft, but it’s an absolute denial of his attempt to garner the information to depart from here.




“No, but I told you who I am and my secret concerns the danger I’m explaining. How could I not be carrying out my side of it, when you’re the one refusing to care? If anything, sharing the danger with the outside should give me more information to bring back to-”


Setting her cup on the steps, Cethran looks down on Adris, who is sitting on the altar.




Adris feels something is wrong with her look.


“Why do you think the oath is complete for your part? Sharing this danger’s nature was sufficient in and of itself; but, for explaining who you are, don’t you feel it’s imprecise? Lacking?”


Cethran is looking straight into him as she smirks.




“Who are you?”

The words now seem terribly dangerous.




“No, I told you, I am ‘Ruinous Star.’”


That was his answer.

It is who he is.




Or is it not correct?


Who is Adris fehl Dain?”


What sort of question is this, anyway? Adris might be forced to question it, himself, if dwelling on his life in retrospective.


“No, that is a name, isn’t it? How can that be a proper response to defining who you are?”


Walking closer to Adris, who is standing next to the altar where Cethran is also standing at, she puts her hand on his head as he attempts to shrink back.


“The oath was for you to tell me ‘who you are,’ yes? Then, the oath for you isn’t complete until you do so, right? I give you explanations for your worries, grant you this comfort you seek, and you tell me who you are, correct?”


A grip not unkind, but still strong, keeps him close as she looks at him. When he tries to avoid her gaze, his head is gently turned back by her firm hand.


(What is this? Is “who” such a big question?)


This is outside of Adris’ understanding.

The explicit wording of the oath was that he answer “who.”


(Who decided that “who” was more than a name!?)


“Since you seem to be misunderstanding, should I not ‘explain’, as this was my promise? Consider who adjudicates the oath you make, won’t you? Doesn’t absolute meaning derive from true knowledge of all aspects of the agreement?”


Cethran smiles still, yet it is an expression full of dark humor and condescension.




“If you ask for the definitions of the terms of an oath to be decided, aren’t they interpreted by something other than the ones making the oath?”




Adris understands now.

If the explicit is determined by the ones who make the oath…


(Then the implicit is determined by the one the oath is made to. If you make an oath, the entity you make it upon is the important part!)


This understanding is too late to help him after the oath has been made, though.




“If you’re bound by the same oath, then how can you be so evasive!”

He yells at her, suddenly unreasonably fearful of the result of his agreement.




“Ho, but what is an explanation other than a means to understand the truth?”


The priestess rubs his head, a look of victory on her face.


“Are not truths what you so fervently desire? Without a guiding principle given to the answers you receive… especially absent the wisdom within you to understand them, how can it be said that I have given you a truthful answer?

How can I answer you truthfully, in full, without understanding what you know and properly guiding you…?”


Adris shakes, angry at this capriciousness.




“That’s semantical bullshit!”




The sound of the unknown instrument filling the chamber is dark and brooding.


As Adris watches, Cethran’s dexterous fingers play the keys and her foot rests on the pedal. The headless statue offering knowledge overhead shares their experience.


“‘Semantical’, is it? Isn’t the truth we experience often unkind and bleak? Knowledge, is it not the hardest treasure to grasp?”

Cethran seems somewhat subdued as she speaks, especially on the idea of “knowledge”.

“Though it might sound unfair, understanding not gained through your own efforts bears risk of significant suffering, doesn’t it?”


Adris is full of frustration as he sits in her comfortable lap.


(For a situation like this, didn’t I strike out?)


Even if she tries to make it sound like she’s helping him, he still fell into a sort of snare.


This is why Adris needs information.

If he can’t understand key parts of this world’s functioning, then he can’t survive it. Yet again, someone has an advantage on him.


“My, my, why are you so unhappy? Have I at any point indicated that I will not aid you?”


Her hands fly as she plays without sheet music.


“Rather than worrying about trying to… influence and stay ahead of me…”


She stops playing, her hands frozen in mid key as the pipes continue to burst with the last note.




“… why not simply just talk?”




Adris is stunned by the offer.


Nobody has ever been interested in just talking. Everyone always has an angle.


(Just… talk? And share what? Even if I try to explain what’s happened to me in this world, it won’t matter unless you know about before.)


Adris is fearful of exposing too much, but determines that the answers he needs require her to understand his frame of reference.


“It’s not as if we don’t have time, right? If you desire truth, then shouldn’t you have an inkling as to my stance on providing it? So long as our oath remains, why should I ever balk at honoring the terms?”

A somber voice is heard above his head.




“Are we not equally bound together, now?”




The great contraption before Adris is only dripping a bit.

The statue is only offering the book to Adris slightly.


Though her hands have stopped, the music still plays, filled with grandiosity which is misplaced in this quiet conversation.




“I’m not sure you’ll believe me?”


Adris finally relates his deepest insecurity.




Nodding her head poignantly, Cethran makes one promise.




“This one named Cethran, in pursuit of the truth of all… I, at least, will believe the truths you convey to me of yourself and another world…


… or is that not sufficient?”




Relenting, Adris shares many of his secrets with her, starting from the beginning.


But, not all of them.


Even if it sounds reasonable to him now, there are secrets he will never part with. They define who he is and how he understands the true nature of the world around him, as constantly reinforced by his life.


For her part, she shares her truths in turn, wisdom tempered by a bizarre impression of gravitas that clings to every one of her questions.




(Isn’t it odd that someone seeking truth never relays a her truth without using a question?)




This thought is swiftly tossed aside.





An unbroken world called Zennia. In contrast to Xin, it’s a large continent full of disparate peoples and innumerable lives.


Human cultures which dwell in almost total stagnation, with demi-humans often living apart from them. Monstrous tribes of sentient lifeforms making their own way in defiance of a “natural order” preached by the lords which rule humanity.

Their struggles against each other fuel centuries of conflicts, many of which continue even now.


Kingdoms of often unknown scale, changing as they fight against their neighbors and the darkness at their borders. Never for the good of their own, but rather to assert the ever grander ambitions of their leadership.


Magic more varied than any scholar could hope to record, taught under wildly differing doctrines and means of inheritance, from instructor to pupil only being the most common form.

Powers capable of subverting the very rules of reality to one’s own ends. The cataclysmic clashes of different magical users are the nightmares spoken of by the fearful public.


Creatures which defy the imagination: soaring, burrowing, swimming, and racing across the world.

In many cases, they share humanoid attributes. Arising sometimes from the nightmarish and unknown, they prey on others, though they also inhabit places inviting outsiders to invade.

These spots hold treasures from the past or possessions of the powerful creatures within, ample enticements for the hungry and desperate.


Modi which govern the way all interactions take place: from politics; to economics; to families; and, especially, to fighting.

Mysterious and opaque, they refuse direct classification. An individual could gain a similar, but different, benefit depending on the Modus and circumstances.

Each Modus abhors others, for they give favors to those who seek to destroy their opposites and expand their presence.


Struggle, especially, is only permitted in the manner in which one’s Modus allows.


Fights like Lycia’s that will never conform to Adris’ concept of “normal.” Instead, they are all whimsical and fantastical.


It is possible to be able to never thwart an opponent if they outclass you in boons gifted by petulant divines, especially related to Fate, and one can not simply lift a weapon and hope to win by chance.

Yet, many Modi reward those who seek to breach their limits, a paradoxical thought given the existence of a Fate which exists to bind all souls to one, set path.


This contradiction marks the conflict between those who rule with the blessing of the sky and the monsters which oppose them.

Combat which rewards struggle and, to the vexation of humans, punishes that which isn’t… brave on the part of the ones contesting, or against dramatic odds when fighting monsters.


Power that is obtained through contest, gained only rarely in different ways, usually through direct bestowment by one’s “betters” for humans.

A world largely without death from violence, the largest loss from those dying of poverty or the lack of ability to compensate for defeat, ground down as slaves of their own Fates.


Most everything carnal is hated by human religion… but…




Monsters live to taste and share it.




In keeping with all of this knowledge, a fundamental rule of this world could be distilled to one explanation for its functioning:


“All one’s truest desires must be either aggressively sought or not at all, regardless of who objects.”




Adris himself struggled to keep up, an entire lifetime of education being conveyed through questions in the course of the discussion, so much missing that only the barest of information could be gleaned.


As it might be said on Xin: “Ten-thousand questions arise from one observation.”





The initial conversation finishes as the two sit side by side on the bench in front of the organ, an instrument introduced to Adris by his would-be mentor.


(Without a clear view or corollary, I don’t understand it. Many of the things of the Castillo were somewhat understood, despite never having been exposed to them, because I had a basis for understanding them.)


The cross’ gift of speech and reading also relates to basic ideas, only becoming understood when viewed through a reference.


(I don’t know what an organ is, but having been explained it, it now exists as a concept? It’s a strange feeling, knowing that my understanding of it has altered through a simple explanation and true name. I can… somewhat understand its full existence? How do I describe this situation!?)




Cethran had only asked questions, seeking to understand events as they transpired.

For each secret, she would offer an explanation about the world, though in the form of questions of her own.


Of herself, her questions gave away very little.


For Adris, it felt more like a class than a conversation.




He’d been gifted a blank parchment book from the priestess, using his aura quill to write down as much as possible using his personal notation system.

The fact that it still functions is one of the only shining thoughts in his mind after the lesson ends.




(What an absurd fucking world!)




Adris feels disgusted by the contradictions and illogic inherent in many of the explanations, even more so by how jaded the humanity of this world is.

He chews on hard bread provided by Cethran, dipping it into his tea to soften it.


(Though I understand why you would want to keep your head down.)


Lycia’s “three great evils” was not incorrect.

A brief world history shows that more often than not, this Zennia is wracked by inescapable cataclysms.


The survivalist world of Xin, as Adris must consider it now, was nothing special to live in, in comparison to this strange land.


(And I can’t hope to properly utilize even a tenth of what I’ve heard, as yet!)




“‘One who dwells in vanity?’ Isn’t this quite accurate?”


The tall woman examines her fingers, her other hand massaging the joints of them.

This one event stuck with her, the question coming up at the conclusion of the interview.


Cethran’s questions have been odd, thus far, focusing on specific bits of information or concepts, narrowed like a knife tip and just as exacting on Adris’ concentration.


“Is that phrase an assignment to a person who has crossed worlds?”

Adris wonders at this, hoping that it doesn’t imply this Mother will come after him.


(I could’ve told her about all the true wonders of Xin, but she cared more about mundane details. Like… the language and the sky? And now she focuses on a phrase?)


“Oh, no, wouldn’t that be a bit redundant? How could the romance of being an off-worlder be reduced to such a epithet?”

Cethran rejects the idea outright, a bit of humor in her tone.

“‘One who dwells in vanity,’ would that not refer to a person that sets themselves apart from others, living within their own heretical world view? One whose thoughts mark them as something… truly divergent?”


Adris thinks of her idea of “the heretical.” From her explanations, the deities of this world are reclusive existences, giving strength but also staying far away from view. It’s odd for him to be compared as such.


(No, mysticism itself might be a guiding principle of the “magic” of this world, too.)


Unlike aura which seeks concrete definitions, the magic of this world languishes when inspected.


(That a power is stronger when it forms a concept that is both unique and not easily explained is a bit odd.)


It reeks of some sort of convoluted, master design. The powers he’d witnessed himself could only be said to be varied and plentiful. They didn’t have a singular, guiding principle.




Blood, flesh, stone, fire, sand, mental attacks.




Doors to oblivion from which festering darkness emerges?




This is far beyond easy quantification or qualification.

Their use of chants and naming schemes gives concreteness to their presentations, even as the origin and function of such powers resist explanation when witnessed.


Aura draws from well-trodden paths around which entire sects form, augmenting one’s body and altering the world in predictable ways.

The “magical tools” of this world are the only part of the design that seems familiar to Adris. Aura tools are capable of more varied, but definite, effects due to the way they are created, often using the remnants of a deceased aura user to create permanence.


The method of understanding aura is a pursuit of describing life and one’s environment, then meditating on it while one’s spirit probes the world outside of one’s inner expanse. Only the pursuit of knowledge described by cultivating aura applies, now.


(Aura is dead… I need power here. This woman proves it.)




“Perhaps just one whose insight into the world makes it impossible for them to be a true part of it?”


Smirking more joyfully at the thought, she continues her line of thought with her follow-up comment quite dark.


“Isn’t it amusing that this Mother is on the lookout for such entities as ill-defined as they are, yet sought with a warning trap like that?”


(Then I resolve to never meet her.)


If Adris is an existence which is considered heretical, he can only agree with the designation.

His mentality was already odd enough on Xin and considering his new location it can only be said to be even stranger.


“Still, you are quite interesting from my perspective, aren’t you? From another world and bearing its knowledge…?”

Cethran’s amiability has reached its highest during their long discussion. She’s paid close attention to Adris, showing a patience he didn’t expect with his inquiries so unending.

“You are a rare existence, aren’t you? Whatever you have to share, won’t it be novel? And for you to be so interested in understanding this world… Might you be a delver into secrets, yourself?”


(An off-worlder with a unique perspective? Isn’t that…)




Much like what the voice said?




(Does my perspective make me useful, but also dangerous? If not to others, then at least to myself?)


A universal experience thus far is being found “interesting.” Not as a person, but as a subject.

Cethran is the first to be interested in his knowledge, but even she…


“I still don’t understand your place in all of this, Cethran. Are you, or are you not, a Slayer? What do you get from all of this?”


(More than that, what do you gain from helping me?)


Even if Adris stumbled into a trap of his own making, she sprang it.


“‘What I get’, is it? Is it not missing the point to overlook that true knowledge can, in itself, be a proper reward?”

Denying that her help is purely benevolent, she goes then to her unstated motivations.

Letting her finger rub around the lip of her porcelain cup, she gives a clear, but unhelpful, answer.


“So long as I leave this Chapel with more reverence and insight than I entered into it with, can I not claim to have been fruitful in my pursuit into understanding the questions that exist without easy forms and which have only harder answers?”


(Then share your hard-won answers.)




“Cethran, how does one become governed by a Modus? How do they… seek growth on this world?”


The question lingering in Adris’ mind is the immediate next step after the oath which blew up on him.


(This is the only way I’ll be able to live, at all.)


Looking at him with an unsure expression, she finally smirks.


“… Ah, that was a part that was misleading, wasn’t it? [Aura user from another world]? Yes, that would be difficult, wouldn’t it, and yet…?”


Getting up, Cethran walks away before turning to look back at him.


(Who was misleading who?)


“The bloodstained ghoul, Lycia? While her opinion would be shared by the vast majority of this world, isn’t it completely wrong in regards to how Modi work?”


Sweeping her hand toward the statue.


“As the best explanation possible for what I mean: have you yet considered what this statue represents?”




Turned, she gestures upwards to the statue.


Adris peers up at the headless statue in a tattered, twisted robe, offering a book with its pages open.

The statue which emerges from the pillar is ghastly, but it also feels expectant and generous in how it cradles its offering.




“How would your world be shaken if you were to learn that a single girl, through the application of basic knowledge gifted to her, rose to obtain immortality and endless splendor?

That all the horrors of this place grew from the way of life she set forth on one fateful day? That a Golden Luster’s endless splendor was born of the twinkling in a girl’s crazed, blue eyes?”


Cethran smirks as she waits for him to understand.






Adris is shaking at this revelation, an easy one once he follows her line of thought.


(The Alchemaster, once a child, created all of this herself starting from nothing? She made a Modus that grew this powerful!?)


Thoughts clicking quickly, things begin to become clearer.




“Modi are made by people, not the other way around!?”




Rather than Modi being what others belong to, people create Modi through their way of living. Rather than the egg coming first, the chicken always lays it.


“[Golden Luster] was born from the [Origin of Greed], yes? Which means?”


Cethran sets Adris up for his next realization, looking fondly at him as she speaks.




Adris smiles, a deranged expression.




(Easy. It can all begin with me. I don’t even need someone else to list the steps.)


The path to power becomes so very clear, whereas before meeting Cethran it had been obscured.

Even the ingredients quickly line up in his mind, obeying Adris’ desires like soldiers pledging their lives to him.


Somehow, a hand that he can’t feel grips a cross much more firmly.







Name: Adris fehl Dain; “Mister Meat”
Titles: Scholar Bound in Madness, Greedy Informant, Lycia’s Little Brother
Race: Xin’El, Emperor’s Child (Human)
Sex: Male
Age: ?? – Young

Occupation: Crossbearer; Charlatan/Swindler; Xin’Reh (former); Soldier of Fortune (former); Bounty Hunter (former)
Discipline: Crossbearer – Cursed Aura User; Spear Veteran (former); Aura Warrior, School/Specialization: Self-Taught (former)


[Tool Savant] – “Adris is a tool-collecting-and-utilizing fanatic. Most men would consider him disgusting for loving tools more than his own partner. Has so many tools that it can be said to be his true power. What does he do when he has no tools left? He seeks to acquire more, obviously!”


[Unknown Protection from Poisons/Compelling] – {A MAN WALKS, HIS STEPS UNWEARIED AND RESOLUTE. NONE CAN STOP HIM.}


[Unknown Mental Domination] – {A MAN DEMANDS. THOSE WHO HE DEMANDS OF, OBEY.}


Disposition: Resilient / Adaptable / Sinner
Alignment: Chaotic

Eyes: Black
Hair: Black, with strands of White
Skin: Tanned



Cethran Value – “At the very least, you’re not a weakling.”



Cethran Value – “If all men looked like him, it might not be odd for women to think that the gods had painted the world in only the drab color brown? While not ugly, would he not exemplify the idea that ‘normal’ is perhaps indistinguishable from ‘undesirable’?”


“Does missing half of your body increase the rarity of what remains, thereby increasing its inherent beauty?”

“Being a child again, can you see the difference that being an adult adds? No longer possessing the work put into improving features, will Adris understand that being plain as a child lacks the poise and stature of adulthood? Even as an older boy, isn’t it hard to be… ‘dashing’?”

“Clothing, is it? Yes, clothing is a fine answer to all problems, is it not? Even an ape may appear more dashing if he is wearing a suit, isn’t that right, Adris?”

“If you’re appealing to a monster, wouldn’t that be detrimental in the long term?”

“Even in defeat, you cling to your stoic face, Adris? That might actually be attractive, in its own way…?”

“Having properly bathed, at least you can say you smell of roses and sunshine, yes? Perhaps it’s not your body you find beautiful, but your mind?”



“A rather plain-looking man wearing traveling robes, what he carries hidden is far more dangerous than his appearance lets on. A disarming smile, leads to you being suckered. A clever tongue, leads to your sorrow. Possessing quick wit and intellect, hubris and arrogance are certain to follow. Well known across the floating islands of Xin, but not by name, only by reputation. Owed many favors, but not with great joy, and certainly not love. The only person he seems to care about other than himself is his lifelong partner.”


“It can be said that Adris has done a lot of things in his life. Good, bad, evil, and unkind, all of what he has done has been done with the assumption that he will never have to worry about heaven or hell. Now that he’s lost the only thing he’s ever cared about, what is left? Perhaps he will get his chance to discover what it means to be free?”

“Turned into a kid again, how is Adris handling this? Thrust into a dimension beyond his ability to cope with, especially after being abandoned by Serras and murdered, only his attachment to his own sense of self… or finding it again, is driving him. Now that he is young, he can only survive by his wits, seeing as his aura has been taken from him. Will he succumb to his thirst for female flesh? Will this cross claim his mind and make him its meat puppet?”

“Even if there’s a distinct lack of total sanity in him, at the moment, he still seems able to function quite well. If you don’t have to dwell on your problems, you can devote yourself quite effectively to a single goal, ignoring all extraneous information. Though, isn’t the idea of [Oath] a little too…? And what’s with him pretending to be completely different people?”

“Every new situation is a chance to demonstrate acting talent, and Adris’ is geared towards his own survival. If you need to play the fool, then be the best fool.”

“Getting lucky is also a form of success. We never know what the right words might be to win someone over, nor when they will pay off. Sometimes, we find ourselves in others in the oddest ways.”

“Lacking power is not the same as being powerless. Even if all you have is your wits and untapped potential, as long as you’re striving to utilize it, making those tough decisions to reach your potential, then you have a chance.”



“Every time you survive is a chance at starting over. Please don’t forget that.”




Name: Cethran
Titles: ???
Race: Human
Sex: Female
Age: 40s

Occupation: Priestess
Discipline: ???




Disposition: Inquisitive / Condescending / Self-Reliant
Alignment: Chaotic

Eyes: Yellow
Hair: Brown
Skin: White



Cethran Value – “Do you not feel that you can just ask?”



Cethran Value – “Isn’t it a strange thing to ask a woman what she thinks of her own appearance? If you were to ask a woman what she thinks of herself, of the beauty of her form, then isn’t the answer simple: ‘am I not the most beautiful woman you’ve ever met, and shouldn’t you remind me of that so I believe it, too?’ Rather than asking a boorish question, why don’t you compliment me, Adris?”



“What is the nature of a person? If we all search for meaning in our lives, do we ever find it without first understanding who we are, first? Then, if you must ask what the nature of another is, perhaps you should do so only after understanding yourself? At the very least, being at ease within the chapel indicates it possesses no danger, right?”



“When you’re looking for answers, go straight to the clergy. Even if they don’t have any, they’ll make you feel like you got some by the end.”





Wow, there’s nothing.





Chapter 13         Table of Contents          Chapter 15