Take Up the Cross – Chapter 18: Corner of Meeting and Sorrow

“… Rantil?”


Addressing the folio held in his hand, his mind is racing with the events just witnessed. His new “property” has transformed into a parchment folio with a a glyph at the top that Adris reads as her name. Reading it activates a sense he has rarely used in its proper form on Zennia.


His aura senses register the glyph as something not dissimilar to the mystical energy of his homeland.


(No, not the glyph, but what’s leaking out. From it and the image!)


Though somewhat hazy, the image of Rantil wells up in Adris’ mind as he stares at it, the concept of her existence infringing on his brain. The figure appears as though it could come to life at any moment.


Averting his eyes, Adris broods on the girl’s introduction.


(“Evil innocence?” Isn’t that a concise description of an imp’s nature?)


The imps’ personalities had seemed wholly innocent in disposition, yet a gaggle of them had forcefully gang raped two people for their own humor, toying with them like a child might with an insect by yanking off its legs to study what happens.

The oppositional and malicious terms associated with this monster give Adris pause as he calmly analyzes his near miss. Unlike with Cethran, Rantil was the loser of this incident. Adris is left alone in the chill air to comprehend why, thankful that it wasn’t him.


The second part of her introduction reminds Adris of the imp’s personal mentality: an outcast, and perhaps proud to be.


But the idea of a creature born of a concept and the unknown mingling, and being reduced to a page, is somehow fitting.


(Returning to where you are pulled from? This was your fate, Rantil?)


The darkness that had consumed Rantil was also…




(How was that any different from the Emperor’s tomb!?)


The thoughts on shadow and unknown rage in his mind, his long-held observations of the Emperor’s style of shadow play now wrestling with the purposefully obscuring mystery worshiped by Cethran, a supposedly powerful force in this world.


Between the two of them, the uniting theme seems to be an object or effect created by manipulating the flow from a source.


(This is more than a similarity, isn’t it?)


Though Adris cannot understand the Emperor’s technique, an all-compelling power born of an other-worldy source sounds accurate, now. The images from the cross seek to bend his mind to their ideas and destroy his free will.


When Adris considers it, the Conquest style architecture’s hidden usage of shadows, a style that was once omnipresent on Xin, might be connected to how this power functioned during the Emperor’s age. He regrets that he can never test his theory.


(The birth of things like imps on Zennia might be related to a similar, grand interference on this world. Who, or what, determines how these things enter from their own realm?)


Silent, he walks into the Guest Tombs while puzzling over the mystery.


(Do humans give them existence? What is the shared source? Is reality so fragile?)


If the cross carried Adris to Zennia, then through what did he travel? A name and definition is needed, and the brief insight Adris felt within the chapel upon meeting Cethran is blurry, for some reason.


(What is the uniting theme?)


As Adris thumbs the folio, Cethran’s wisdom seems less preternatural and more grounded, her game of standing in for an unknowable god quite amusing. Her position of priestess of mystery is the perfect con: just accurate enough to escape circumspection, but vague enough to allow maneuvering.


“Assuming this folio is ‘interference,’ then Rantil isn’t dead?”


Not that he’d feel guilty if she was, as she’d done it to herself. At least now, she’s easy to carry; though, Adris has lost his first shield against others, as inconvenient as she was.


The idea that he might have been the victim with the wrong word said gnaws at him. Adris puts her folio into Cethran’s bound book, the only place firm enough to keep it from being crushed.


(The danger posed by the slightest actions… How am I supposed to survive! I need… someone. Cethran cannot protect me. If my indiscretion with that imp girl is any indication, soon I won’t even be able to protect myself!)


Adris has a strange, almost burning feeling in his chest as he walks alone down the plush hallway. The hurriedness afflicting his thoughts returns. Adris removes the blue coat, throwing it into a corner as he readies to meet his prey.


More concerning than the imp are the strange erotic inclinations that came upon him during the act. Though he enjoys sex immensely, to throw himself upon a monster with enthusiasm is bad enough; but, Adris also felt emotions naturally flow out that he wasn’t aware his heart was stewing in.


He pushes down those worries, along with the emotions that rose up while abusing the imp girl.


All that remains is a growing obsession with his plan.





If the Forbidding Quarters were inviting, then the Guest Tombs are smothering.


The first area past the bridge shows the opulence laid out for “guests” of the Alchemaster. The long lounge has fine furniture, cushioned and covered with fluffy furs, suggesting one could wait forever upon them. Books on shelves and bottles of unknown liquor complete the scene, leaving Adris unwilling to accept that this comfortable place of repose is the same demonic mansion he’s almost been lost to several times now.


Two brass-plated fireplaces roar with blue flame in this gallery hall, the air absent the usual chill. Great artworks, of complex scenes of life in alien towns, have soft chairs arrayed before them, suggesting that longer inspection is welcome.


Adris is assailed by tiredness.


(There’s nothing ordinary about this. Each area is striking at something different! And it’s not a creeping feeling upon the mind that seeks to control you, but on your very soul. The cross isn’t… defending against this!)


Brief anger wells up as he realizes a repeating pattern, that all areas of the mansion aim at a different human vice. The Works targeted envy and paranoia, and now base greed has given way to sloth, Adris’ will to continue starting to vanish.


Chancing danger, he rushes ahead, his heavy footsteps echoing through this empty gallery.


(It’s not like I’m far! Cethran’s destination is ahead. A place I’m guaranteed to meet them if they wander through the Guest Tombs on their quest further into the mansion!)


Because they seemed to have their own designs, if they remain in the Castillo for this long, shouldn’t it be assumed they’re looking for something specific? Was it not the Forbidding Quarters that they were trying to reach?


(They won’t leave until they find it, so I have to find them, first!)


Better to meet them with a clear mind than to risk losing his concentration.




Through the exit of the lounge, her directions indicate a turn ahead. Thoughts of the four slayers are at the forefront of Adris’ mind, their meager physical details at the ready should he run into them.


Around the turn, Adris comes to a wide, long wall with heavy drapes on the left side, sewn into the pattern of great white wings, affixed with golden rivets. The wall is overly ornate for a mere passage, the plaster giving way to intricate stonework under the wings.


Clinging to the area is a subtle heaviness in the air that flows from those wings.


(This foreboding feeling… it feels different from the normal Castillo… and aura…?)


Adris begins to move through this passage, but wobbles a third of the way down it, falling to his knee with sudden vertigo. The air around him grows unbearably heavy, as his balance vanishes with a sudden change in perceived gravity and orientation.


An impossible chill encroaches on him. Clutching his face with his free hand, Adris looks ahead with bleary sight as his white breath fills the air.




A strange, black, stork-like bird wearing a blue and gold tie is standing near the end of the hall. Its reddish-gold, forward beak cocks slightly, before opening.


A baleful, red-veined eye stares at Adris with absolute attention.




Something far deeper than its solitary gaze is focused on Adris. A feeling of absolute malevolence fills the hallway, exuding from the very walls and ceiling more so than emitting from the stork.


A horribly capricious sentience washes over, so potent that Adris can feel its intent without it needing to be present, as though his own soul buckles under its thoughts.


The impression that stands out most is that the omnipresent entity peering at him from all directions seems…






Adris clutches himself in the presence of this alien mind, knowing without explanation needed what this thing is. Uncharacteristically paralyzed by total fear of what this indirect, one-on-one meeting entails, Adris wonders if he now has a stone copy.


(I’m no longer a hidden mouse.)




Before Adris can act, the bird moves its legs, crossing them and bending low while its wings make a sweeping motion.


The demonic stork performs an elegant curtsy.


And then its body warps, spiraling up into the air like a cloth being wrung, vanishing into an explosion of black feathers.




Adris steps forward, with a thought to run, but a groaning sound from above freezes him again, his mouth wide as he looks.




The ceiling divides, the stonework pulling away like moving parts to allow a great figure to descend. The giant beast is gently placed upon the stone floor by a shining, feminine hand made of pure gold, larger than even the monster.


The horned behemoth is still as the hand releases it, the shining appendage pulling back slowly into the ceiling. The stone spills back to fill the void it leaves, before settling with nary a piece out of place.


Shaking its head briskly and causing its long ears to flop about, the four legged beast rises in the large passageway, its pink eyes locking onto Adris.


(This isn’t fair.)




A stupid thought is all Adris can manage as he inspects his oncoming doom.


The clanking sound from its body is distracting, a barbaric coat of ravaged shields and pieces of armor bound by golden chains laced about it. Its powerful head circles briefly as it stretches, its proud, black, multi-pronged antlers menacing him.


A long, two-handed axe is painfully lodged in its neck at the side.




The brown-furred creature gets ready to leap, its long haunches tensing with powerful muscles. It opens its mouth, incredibly sharp teeth protruding, as a heavy mist of its warm breath briefly clouds before it.


(No, but rabbits don’t eat meat.)




A giant, horned rabbit stands before him.


Far from fat like the rabbits Adris ate on Xin, it instead looks rather predatory and gaunt, its anger joining with its leanness to give it an apex hunter’s semblance. The creature’s hairs hackle as it readies to leap.




The exultation of battle fills the air with cascading whispers from the reaches of the room, the air rushing about as Adris feels the same tension with the imps.


The feeling here, however, absolutely dwarfs the previous challenge.




Adris charges.


No thoughts exist in his mind other than grasping survival, even if it means risking immediate death.


The creature accepts his challenge, air going into its lungs before being expelled.








Adris has heard rabbits squeaking as he ended their lives, but never once heard one scream like a cannibal thirsting for flesh.


The great creature springs forward like a boulder careening off the bottom of a rock slide, leveling its horns at Adris as it flies.




“… [Brainfry!]”


Adris screams out an embarrassing word while diving straight at the creature’s head, barely weaving between the antlers and leaping in. The loping, behemothian rabbit tries to correct for Adris’ sudden movement, opening its toothy mouth to welcome him inside.




The cross slams into the rabbit’s nose, its wide jaws ready to eat him slackening, before the rabbit’s body slams into Adris.


A confusing crash occurs, with the cross’ shattering sound mixing with Adris’ impact on the immediately stunned creature’s face. Adris can hear something in his body crack followed by extreme pain, as he is deflected from the rabbit. Spinning out and slamming into the ground, he skids along it as he barely avoids being stepped on.


The monumental creature continues forward, staggering and shaking as it moves, before slowing down to a stop and shivering where it stands. Trying to turn around, it can’t find the footing to do so.




The creature does not fall.

Only stunned, it quickly starts to shake it off.




(Run. Run… Have to…)


Adris circulates his aura, sluggish and non-responsive as it is, to intercept the pain coming from his broken ribs. Getting to his feet, Adris runs unsteadily down the hall that the rabbit was blocking.

His pace is slower than normal, his body feeling like he exited a house through a solid wall. Breathing is almost impossible.


Under the watch of the Castillo’s poisonous gaze, Adris stumbles from the scene.


Rounding the corner, Adris is moving at his fastest clip. Down a hall with pillars filling it, Adris breathes painfully as his footsteps echo. The pain and fear narrows his view, the room a blur as he runs.


Behind him, he can hear a “whomp” sound, as a four-footed trot grows closer. With tears in his eyes, Adris aims his body toward the two close pillars ahead, diving through the space between them as he twists his body in mid-air.


A crash resounds as Adris rolls on the floor, wincing as he rises to continue running. Looking behind him out of curiosity, Adris is wide-eyed at the killer rabbit’s sharp horns lodged in the stone, pieces of the pillars sheared off by the impact and tumbling after Adris.


The rabbit’s eyes burn with absolute hatred.


(How the fuck do I beat this thing!?)





Adris is tearing down hallways, choosing random passages to try to shake off the creature. His mind is racing, but he has no solution.

The rabbit is simply too fast and agile to lose. While some of the passages aren’t made for the creature to easily traverse, it squeezes through while tearing away obstacles.


A metallic lurching sound comes from the floor, as Adris’ foot sinks into a falling depression.




Adris slides along the floor as a whip of fire comes from a wall, attempting to bisect him.


Instead of hitting him, the whip impacts on the rabbit’s head, a slapping sound as the creature screams in pain, its head only feet away from catching up to the running boy.

Whips of fire ahead blaze out, with Adris trying not to pass out as he acrobatically moves through the flailing death all around him.


The broken ribs deprive him of oxygen from one of his lungs, and Adris is beginning to pale and tire. Diving past the last whip, Adris rests for a moment at the end of this trapped hall.


He looks behind him to see if his enemy will pursue.








The rabbit is goring the walls with its horns while screaming, the flaming lashes whipping against its black antlers. Its violent thrashing is destroying the trap system entirely, methodically working its way down as it lays its outrage upon the mansion it supposedly guards, leaving the hallway in shambles as it progresses.


Adris takes off, not as fast now, but still hoping to increase the distance. The hall’s path leads up a stairway, a difficult progression for the wounded boy.


Huffing with pain, he nears the top, only to feel something above him as the wind stirs.


A great heaviness throws him against the ground as the floor shakes.


Slightly burning and singed brown fur releases him, as the creature lifts its body back up. Adris instinctively rolls his body over to get his face upright, ready to defend himself.

An angry, pink eye regards him from the side, the creature’s head tilted. A loud, groaning noise sounds from its throat, its head leaned right over Adris’ body.


Its mouth opens slightly as it drools.


(I have nothing.)


Adris has no weapon to use. He looks the beast over as he lies under it. The only weapon nearby is…




Lodged into the creature.




Adris shoots his hand out with lightning speed, his body following with it. Grabbing onto the axe, Adris pulls himself up into the creature, which screams in shock at the sudden assault while lifting up on its legs.


(I can’t use it, but I sure as hell can tear it through you!)


Grabbing onto it with his hand and putting his feet against the monster, Adris flexes with all of his strength, resisting the urge to cry out as he feels something in his chest pop again. The adrenaline and anger Adris feels towards his misfortune carries him through his gambit.


The axe tears through more flesh as Adris pulls it towards the floor, flying out with a great splash of gold issuing forth, the weapon clanging down the steps when released. The axe had been deeply lodged straight into the creature’s patchwork armor at its neck, having cleaved through chain to bite.

Adris falls with the axe, landing roughly on the ground.


(If I don’t intend to wield it myself, I can still pull it out? How stupid are your rules, you hunk of silver?!)


Adris giggles a bit, the fear tipping him over into mania. The creature begins to thrash above him, sliding down the stairs after losing its balance.




He climbs the steps on four limbs as fast as he can, feeling with his hands the slick gout of gold left flowing down the stairs.


(I’m going to live!)


Adris pants as he stands, making it to a room constructed in a circle, two chairs in the center around a table with a board on it, strange pieces set upon it. Adris moves around it, coming to the opening in the wall ahead to…


Grinding to a halt, his full run stopping as he prevents himself from being thrown off the edge.


Below him is a quick death.






The room he stands in is an overlook, the space ahead open as he peers out into the chasm.

This area is some central courtyard, the multitudes of floors with overseeing balconies surrounding a garden area below with a pavilion set up, pillars creating an area for performance.

The whole floor is overgrown with vicious vines and flowers, entombed by nature for all eternity, with the roof missing as the sky overhead is Adris’ first sight of the world outside.

A layer of mist creeps through the area.


The distance down is, paradoxically, over a fifty feet, even though this area of the mansion is supposed to be the ground floor.


Adris is doomed by the mansion’s layout. There’s no way that he can hope to climb down the stonework below, as sheer as it is.


(Think. You can do this.)


Some clutch effort. Something unexpected. This isn’t the first time Adris has been close to death.


Adris runs back to the entrance of the small room. Big enough for the monster to enter, he cannot hope to hole up in it.


Peering down the stairs, he sees the rabbit rousing, its head whipping around in pain as it tries to find the source of its consternation.


An idea comes to mind, something that relies on a tool he knows well. Adris’ goes to his left arm with his bruised hand, checking the contraption strapped on. Made of laminated wood and bronze tubes, Adris makes sure the spun crystalline thread is still wrapped onto his skin.


(If I can’t defeat you, I’ll invite you to what can… As long as this damned thing still works!)


Forcing his aura to move, he goes through the mental process of aligning with the tool.


When nothing happens, Adris blinks, before remembering the way Cethran had relayed the apparent disconnect between aura and “magic.”


You imagine the result, but not how you arrive at it? Isn’t the process necessary for the effect?”


Adris imagines the process itself and includes the entire scene, performing a dramatic sweep. Sending the feeling of the performance through to the device with the aura he can muster, he aims his arm at the ground. The name of the device is non-specific, so he invents one to share.


Adris remembers the misted forests of…




“[Obscuring Sonjil!]”


A great wall of fog explodes into the room, swirling out from his arm as it clings to the floor and walls while centering on Adris’s location.

In accordance with the device’s workings, the cloud doesn’t depart the area, becoming a lingering cover that fills the space before the excess spills over, gravity pulling it down to roil about the stairs.




The device consumed a bit of Adris’ almost depleted aura, but not as much as he expected. Adris stands within the cloud, the fog leaving only him visible, standing at the landing. The room now appears to be a gateway into the unknown in the same manner as the Expanse he’d originally been cast into.


The rabbit is looking up at him, suddenly alert at this display of power.


(No, you can’t be alert. That just won’t do. Get angry.)


Adris grins and adopts a cocky posture, hiding the pain, leering down at the enemy lurking at the bottom of the stairs.




“… Not much to look at, are you? Under all the armor, you still bleed like an inferior creature, cowering beneath me.”


Openly taunting it, Adris narrows his eyes while asserting dominance.




The creature tenses. Its paws rake the floor as it looks up at him, razor-sharp claws gouging into solid stone.


Its eyes are horridly wide and inflamed.




(Oh, you can understand me.)


The ability to talk to intelligent creatures is one of the cross’ gifts. This apparently sentient monster is enraged by his accusation.




It creeps towards him.






“You miserable vermin. I’ve killed and eaten hundreds of your kind.” Adris points his cross at the beast, causing it to stop momentarily. It is wary of the tool, even as it shakes in fury at his words.


Adris smirks, the mist caressing him as he delights in his taunting.


“Of all the creatures in this place…”


(Especially if it’s a lie, it’s easy to say.)




“You have to be the most pathetic, by far. You’re nothing.


Just dinner and a new pelt.”




The rabbit’s body vibrates, its hairs going stiff. A rasping breath can be heard as it clings to the stairs.




Not immediately killing Adris, but instead cornering him on the steps so it could loom over him and make him feel weak, this rabbit was sloppy.


Toying with him and wanting to see the boy’s fear, Adris took advantage of its mistake and wounded it, a reversal which attacked its sense of authority.




Climbing at full speed without a care for danger, the rabbit charges him to regain its sense of supremacy.








The rabbit yells as it rampages upward with all the clarity of a mad bull. Its saliva slathers onto the floor.


Adris almost falls down, the intelligible promise to rape him beyond his predictions, but instead disappears into the mist behind him.




The giant is faster than Adris thought possible, its heightened speed pulling itself over the landing with its front paws just as Adris runs past the table and chairs.

Hearing the pieces break as they’re bulldozed, splinters flying from the ornate wood, Adris dives forward.


Sliding along the slick stone, he whips his body around as he comes to the end of the overlook, falling off the edge slowly as he hangs on for his life.






The rabbit’s confused voice comes as it nears the edge, suddenly able to see beyond into the garden below instead of another passage.


It tries to stop, its paws scratching against the stone, but its forward momentum to claim Adris’ life ensures its doom.




Plunging over the open edge, the behemoth rabbit hurdles forward, its ears flopping about as it tumbles in a falling arc.


It screams just before impacting the pillars of the pavilion nearest to the overlook, rolling off the pillar and dropping into it.




Adris hangs onto the edge unsteadily, a pleasant crunching sound coming to his ears. Below him…


The rabbit writhes, still alive. But the reason for its writhing isn’t the pain of impact, but rather what it landed in.




The forest of vines and flowers comes to life, leviathan plant appendages rising from the carpeted, misted ground to wrap around the intruder.


Singing comes to the garden as the sound of a choir issues from the flowers, benevolent and divine.

The rabbit thrashes as it gores and bites its attackers. It even breathes some sort of cloud upon the vines, a blackness which causes them to shrivel and burst, only for more to join in.

With the rabbit falling into the heart of the assembled mass, it has no hope of escape. Its movement through the covered area is impeded by the writhing appendages. No matter how it jumps around, it’s followed.


Adris climbs up while using the cross as a hook, pulling himself over despite the pain and laying on his side, watching the fight unfold.


The two titanic forces struggle for a couple of minutes, the rabbit’s screams and breaths met with implacable vines. As the singing intensifies and the damage to the creature increases, the rabbit goes torpid and twitches on the ground.




In time with the choir, the appendages begin striking and ripping the subdued creature.




The monster manages one last scream before vines clamp its mouth.




The fight finishes with the rabbit being beaten and constricted into a fine pulp, golden particles spewing about. The supine monster becomes ensnared in gold replacing its flesh, its gilded form cracking and shattering into fragments that are absorbed into the grounds of the Castillo.




The singing stops when the creature disappears, as the garden slowly returns to its slumber.




Moaning in pain, Adris’ chest is in a bad state as he lays on the floor.


With broken ribs and an exhausted body, “victory” seems like the wrong word to use. But the feeling of climax in the air endures.


(What now?)


He closes his eyes to stabilize his body, but his aura isn’t working.


Instead, whispers in the distance grow. The air is thick as the room weighs upon his body. Getting up slowly, he rises to his knee in the evaporating fog, then freezes before standing.




The table and chairs are returned, reformed completely; however, in place of the original board on the table, a tarnished silver platter lays with a pair of stylized, furred-leather boots resting atop it, flanked by a vial of liquid and a familiar orange stone.


Adris looks around, but sees not even a black stork.




On guard as he creeps towards them, Adris inspects them carefully. Though the boots and the vials seem unfamiliar, the orange stone with winking stardust floating within it is the same design and color as what the feline butler put against the body of her injured comrade.


Were the Castillo solely a place of betrayal and deceit, would anyone enter it? Though the Recompense for victory might vex you at times, wouldn’t it have to be safe enough to successfully tempt outsiders?


Seating himself in a chair with the pain in his chest staggering, Adris entrusts himself to Cethran’s advice one more time, slapping his body with the stone as the butler did.


It shatters into sparkling pieces and dust, the remnants hanging in the air briefly while shining. The mass of floating orange then twirls to weave around his body, a feeling of penetrating cold on his skin as it enters him with nothing left outside.


(She seemed to be fine after… AH.)


His heart races as his body turns into a furnace, a few seconds becoming a minute or more as he is paralyzed in the chair. As he sweats, he can feel his body moving inside. The flesh shifts, both in his chest and over his body where he’d been bruised.


There is a popping sound from his chest, causing Adris to slam his arms and head on the table to resist falling out of the chair from the pain. The sharp pain disappears, though, as the flashing heat subsides.


Tentatively feeling the location of his wound, Adris encounters lingering soreness sufficient to make him wheeze. His hand and arms, scuffed from falling and tumbling, now show only fading bruises.


The damage isn’t completely mended, only set and treated, aged instantly with the effect of long-term healing. The second problem now is a sense of overwhelming tiredness, as if he’s wretched for a long time after drinking alcohol.


The healing drained his body as a whole.


He now considers the white-furred boots. They seem to be about his size.


(Too dangerous to try on now.)


Though he’d used the stone because he recognized the effect, he refuses to put on the boots or test the vial without safety in reach. Lacing the boots to hang from his pack, Adris considers the outcome of the battle.


(The Castillo gives out rewards this unsubtly after trying to murder you? How can slayers put up with being toyed with like this?)


Plundering the possessions of others after a battle is understandable, but this is more like a regent gifting the last fighter standing in an arena with a reward. It’s an infuriating outcome, almost as if it’s mocking his life and death struggle.

Especially when it is capable of dropping death before him, potentially at any time. A constantly reforming mansion is also apparently a self-trapping one, in some cases.


Even now, the feeling of being monitored hasn’t passed. A hidden eye is focused on him, a mix of mirth, annoyance, and curiosity seeping into Adris’ bones.


(If it can destroy you quickly, then why doesn’t it? It doesn’t make sense to… test and reward those who enter, unless that is its goal. But what is the purpose of…?)


“Winning” over the giant rabbit has exhausted him and sapped his willpower. Every contest thus far has nearly ended with his death, or worse.


(Still, in comparison to running from regents and bounties in Xin, the variety of all of this is…)


Adris’ eyes are lidded as he leans on the table, thinking of this new place called Zennia.


(… somehow refreshing? My life was almost over, but it’s not… the first… time…)


The vial he holds in his hand twirls as he slowly spins it while watching, until it stops moving entirely.


Though the world is dangerous, at least his ability to overcome the odds under duress hasn’t been lost, a thought that makes Adris happy…







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.}

[Familiar] – “Through means unknown, a familiar has been acquired. Aren’t familiars a kind of tool? Isn’t this sort of strange to consider a ‘power’?”


Disposition: Resilient / Adaptable / Sinner
Alignment: Chaotic

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



Rantil Value – “Idiot master receives idiot information~”


Attributes by Grade:

Strength – E

Vitality – E

Dexterity – D

Agility – C

Intelligence – D

Mentality – C

Luck – F

Charisma – D


“If you want more, stop being mean to Rantil!”



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?”

“My, are you perhaps trying for a different kind of handsomeness? Will you go for the classic Byronic presence, full of submerged violence and domineering lust?”

“How do you feel, being so attractive that even rabbits desire you?”



“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.”

“A man with a plan is a dangerous force of nature, especially when he has neither morals nor a lack of vision to halt him.”

“Improvising with what’s available is one of Adris’ best qualities… but even he is unlikely to want to sink to the level of the Castillo’s residents.”

“Even without aura or assistance, Adris is an accomplished tumbler. His expertise lies in being quick and fast. This might be the only effective weapon he has: running.”



“Bullying someone normally leads to others deciding to bully you. With the Castillo’s eyes now upon you, how will you survive?”






Corner of Meeting and Sorrow – “A place in the Castillo where you may run into anything. Potentially a TPK.”


Orange Stone of Healing – “An unknown alchemical item, its apparent effects are to leech the body’s vitality in order to restore wounds.”


Grade – “When speaking of inherent attributes and other such things, a grade is an entire gap between tiers of competence. If E is considered normal, then everything above and below…”





Chapter 17         Table of Contents          Chapter 19