Take Up the Cross – CH2: First Fight

Walking up while drenched in sweat, Adris maintains a casual look while plucking his spear from his prey. The adrenaline and loss of aura leaves his head buzzing as he sniffs the air, smelling the odor of burnt meat from the trap hall.


“Serras, you just destroyed our trail! What am I supposed to do, dance backwards? Do you like seeing me shake my ass, perhaps?”


Serras looks unamused, dark even, as she ignores the jest.


As the only other creature in the room dies with a pathetic death rattle, her sword briefly glows red, evaporating the gore on it.

Throwing off the partially wet ichor on his spear with a flick before reducing its size and sheathing it, Adris uncomfortably waits for a response; but, she simply walks off, departing to gaze into the burning hall.


(Do we not even have time for humor anymore? It’s not as if I can’t throw the lever.)


When forced to kill together, his jokes are meant to be a balm for their tiredness.


A great sheet of green ice has overtaken the entire western wall, sealing a disgusting lifeform within. The technique that only thaws with the absolute death of its drained victim continues to dangerously expand, fueled by the overflowing ambient aura.


“All in all, hardly a threat. Even monsters like that aren’t much on ice! Though I wouldn’t use more of it…” Adris cheerfully boasts, waving his hand towards her contributions.


Examining the ichor and destruction in the room after, Serras shows a displeased face again, lips tight and jaw clenched.


(What is this? The one who likes violence is you, right…?)


Unable to get even a retort from her, she is ever unhappy with his words; yet, also ever silent to them. He is no longer capable of getting the woman he’s fought beside his entire adult life to break out of her seeming misery.

The year-long trek to discover the Emperor’s inheritance has bleached the last joy from their partnership.


(The last time I held her was… weeks ago.)


Energizing and smothering, the air from the ante-chamber ahead lures him.

It reinvigorates his own aura, recovering it due to his peculiar body constitution. He thinks about Serras who has no such ability, wondering if she has saved enough for the possible dangers ahead.


His drunkenness increases as he continues forward, scouting out the hallway himself before letting her follow…




The flitterlight at his neck produces shifting shadows that toy with his sight and thoughts.


(It was a hell of an awakening. Even Fatso was dumbstruck.)


Old memories are surfacing in this buried tomb, the choking air aiding the mesmerizing hallway in bringing to the surface things Adris rarely recalls.


In their childhood, he had been Serras’ impromptu teacher; her, his first pupil, yet also his only hope for survival.

The fat bastard that had owned them both had given him a year and a day to awaken her to [clear mind]. Such a mental state is only reached when one becomes perfectly serene and wrenches free their own aura, giving it form for the first time and allowing development.


(How bizarre it is, to define myself by the most hellish time in my life? Nothing has ever been like those days.)


Possessing no real options other than to direct his sense of urgency at the young, mute Serras, he was forced to make her dependent on him in every way to forcibly gain her trust.

Their tempos had fused into one during that year, the previous fight only the latest demonstration of that bond.




(To go from total strangers to family is… always completely odd, thinking about it objectively.)


With her a brute even at that age, she’d awakened incredible power only with equally brutal efforts. Quite an unpleasant subject, Serras long since shut off these memories.

Even for the Adris who was already missing something important as a human when Fatso had picked him up, their odd history is strange to reflect on.


(“Serras is the sword; Adris is the hand that guides the sword.”)


Replaying a line from his memories, he recalls the number of times he was forced to recite it, this religious rite that binds him even now.


Look out for her.

Take care of her.

Think ahead for her.

Keep others from finding out about her.

Without her-


Brought out of his deep thoughts by abruptly reaching a closed door, he’s startled to discover Serras gazing at him with a haunted look when he turns. Shaking her head, she returns to her imperceptible, stoic mask.


He sighs, tired from the stress of his remembrances.


(Isn’t the stress close by?)


The thought that comes to him… he buries.


The door with a typical temple lock frees itself with great difficulty, the heavy stone door exposing a room for the first time in over four centuries. Within the room, as Adris swears he hears whispers subside, is…



… a complete lack of opulence.


While the procession hall was splendorous, the unfinished, rough stonework within turns that grandeur into a joke. The only thing of worth in the room is a sarcophagus made entirely of an agate.

A short, fifteen-foot roof frames the oblong room, the sarcophagus at the center of a radial wall face beginning halfway in.


“Empty.” Growls Serras. “Destroyed.”


He’s forced to concur, scanning the room for traps as he also surveys the wreckage.

The top of the sarcophagus is missing, chunks of it strewn about the room or lodged in the ceiling. The thick aura leaks from its opening, so dense that a wavering cloud forms above it.

Only a simple meditation circle in the center of the room escaped the unknown source of carnage.


As for personal effects? There are none.

The Emperor who had loved women, food, opulence, and bloodshed was buried with neither finery nor funerary gifts.


(Where are the bodies, you sick old man? They say you took a thousand and more with you…)


Believing the room free of traps, Adris sneaks up to the sarcophagus while Serras stays at the entrance. A fully preserved body wrapped in immaculate fabric lies in its original state of internment.

The only contents apart from the body are an adjustable mask which covers the eyes and forehead, and a silver cross on top of its chest. The cross’ gleaming form is embedded with four gems, one at each arm.


Pocketing the strange, silver mask as he looks over the cross, the pooled aura within brings to light the reason for the explosion.


“The preserved body retained all of its aura within the fossilizing internal expanse. Over time, leakage built up…”

Adris laughs uneasily at his realization, for while he’d expected a payout, this is…


(Serras is like a shallow pool in comparison.)


No feeling before this one could have prepared him, for he is an ant that has crept upon a god’s bed.


(This sea of authority passively scratching at my brain… even if only a fraction of it can be reclaimed, it would make her substantially stronger.)


The drunken feeling leaves him thoughtful, remembering what brought him here.


(Lady Yerhlis… older as you might be, I now believe you when you say you were a “beautiful, direct descendant” with special wisdom.)


Serras had considered it an idiotic pursuit when he’d approached her with this lady’s information, and vigorously attempted to dissuade him; but, the time and small fortune spent on a scholar’s debts had changed her mind when his information was shared.


(She didn’t even kill me.)


Clues had taken Adris through multiple hostile temples, the last one being the Solar Ire sect, a hated foe. Freed from it by his partner, Adris’ dignity had reached its lowest, then.


Interred alive, spells and tinctures were obviously used to preserve the Emperor for all time as a part of some secret, lost plot. All three sources’ information are now proven completely true.


“Soldon had a priceless artifact, yeah?”


(That fat collector’s artifact gave us the location. Though it was…)


Strange how Serras didn’t show up at the meeting place, even though she’d annihilated most of the mansion and the situation was quite desperate. Instead, she’d sent word from outside of town on where to meet up.


(Then again, she’s been oddly paranoid for years. Perhaps it’s good that she’s being more cautious?)


The cross glints dreamily in the light that shines, deepening his reverie.



Serras has never appreciated his way of life.


A life of smooth talking and backstabbing evil men prompted her to rebel. At first, Adris thought it was a good thing for the girl to have principles greater than his own. He’d been secretly proud of her.

When he was forced to carry out his deeds with more guile and surreptitious carefulness, her true life direction surprised him.


She grew…


(Ever more brutal.)


Bile is in Adris’ mouth as he considers how easy cruelty comes to her, even when she had been a child. Since she has always been strong, growing older never had a chance to straighten her up.


Unlike Adris who can pretend subservience, Serras has always been slow on words and fast to cut, simply assigning others to “right” and “wrong”.


Forced to watch her kill…


(How can I oppose it? I’m no monk.)


While rarely killing for gain, Adris is a professional sinner who takes pleasure in ruining rich and powerful men.


(After all, I manipulate them for Serras’ benefit, first and foremost. If I enjoy it and personally profit, it’s simply a bonus, right?)


Their differences in lifestyle are never discussed, and were never codified to begin with.


(This year has been immensely profitable! I was right! Now, Serras can be strong enough to sign on with a regent. We’ll both have easy lives… Giving her a proper gift after all these lean years will feel quite delectable. When she gains this, she’ll never need to fear another.)


The footsteps behind him grow closer, forcing him to hurry before she joins him. He puts the silver cross in the inner pocket of his robe, deciding to keep it as his prize, too.


(She doesn’t care about jewelry, anyway~.)


Slamming his hand on the sarcophagus hard, he loudly announces,

“No problem~! With materials like these, anyone could become stronger, maybe even stronger than you, Serras~!”


His back hairs suddenly stand on end…


… as an attack slices through the skin at the right of his chest, barely mitigated by the aura he can muster in response. Flinging himself at the left wall, he flips in mid flight to stare back.


A sword is thrust lazily through empty air.

Her beautiful, emotionless face turns to watch his flight.


A woman’s face is unreadable, even after this.


The buzzing in his ears from the sudden movement, combined with the intoxication of the air, makes it hard to vocally respond to this attack, especially while airborne.

Flinging out his arm, the sleeve ripping apart violently answers for him.

Dozens of razor-sharp projectiles swarm out from a hidden launcher, the aura-powered blades whistling noisily as they fly to carve her up.


The woman agrees with his decision, chambering her sword to her lower-right while leaning in, the blade glowing scarlet red.




Running on the curved wall as he lands against it, Adris’ aura-lightened body scampers along it as red death fills the room.

A snake of scarlet aura disintegrates the blades before impacting with a floundering splash on the wall behind him, a great line of destruction arcing behind a running man defying gravity as the wall is gouged out.

When he rounds the end of the curve, he leaps towards the center of the room with all of his strength.


Drawing his spear as he touches down, his back is slightly singed by his second near-death experience. Ears ringing from the deafening roar of the red snake, a non-functioning mind is ignored by his well-trained body, shoring his defenses even as his spear quivers.

The girl turns like clockwork to face him, lifting her sword slowly into a chasing stance, her white-knuckled hands gripping firmly.


Adris cannot understand her intentions, even though it should be considered one of his most well-mastered skills.

With a spear now filled with aura, his tense body is ready to kick off. The woman is prepared in the same way, her sword glowing an ocean blue as she awaits his attack.


After a moment passes, his mouth finally functions.


“What are you doing?”


The question is a choked whisper, completely failing to carry his disbelief.

The woman blinks at it, only lightly inclining her head, her stony face refusing to betray her thoughts.


The two stand quietly facing each other as the dust from the woman’s aura whip finally settles.



“What the fuck are you doing! SERRAS!”



Serras doesn’t acknowledge her name at first; but, she then stares at him sharply, her eyes growing dark as her face contorts in anger.




Mental conditioning is telling him to flee at the confusing response, while his body tells him to both stand at her back and also to put his spear through her heart.


“Did you think I’d let you get to it? To take it for yourself, so that you can throw me away? Like you’ve always tried to?”


Quick eyes look past her to the sarcophagus, then back. Understanding his moving gaze, her lips go into a sneer.


“You thought I was dumb to your plans?”


(Which ones?)


“I can see it. You used to only look at others with those eyes. And now, you look at me with them. You think you’re clever. That I don’t know what you’re doing. What you’re thinking.”

She brandishes her sword threateningly, while Adris thrusts his spear out to menace her in response. The two shuffle their feet while changing stances, tempting the other to close.


“I know how you live. You’re just a thief and a liar.”


The Serras Adris knows is changing before his eyes, leaving him knowing he should respond, but unable to do so.


(What response should I give? What plan do I use? What is going on?)


“I can’t trust you.” She spits, growing more furious at his silence. “I won’t let you lead me around anymore!”


It might be the room, the succulent aura from the Emperor’s corpse, or something deeper, but Adris feels a dam long stoppered break in an instant.


“’You can’t trust me’? Who the fuck do you think you’re talking to, you brat?” Growling with a voice he’s never directed at her before, he openly challenges her slander.


Serras tenses when his voice deepens.


Three daggers pulled from his robe are flung, the sweeping movement resulting in pathetic throws by his usual, sharp standards.

They fly screaming through the air, her eyes narrowing to track them as she easily dodges two with a sidestep before a sharp juke of her sword sends the last careening away.


“Huh? You think you’re tough shit because you can slaughter weaklings?! That I’m suddenly nothing because I use my brain more often!?” He swaggers while looming larger, venom easily lacing his words.

“While you’re out butchering malcontents for mouthing off at you, I’ve been the one doing everything to keep you alive behind the scenes! If any of the hundreds of people who hate you were half as competent as me, you’d have been dead years ago!”


This statement sets her off, the swordmaiden rushing him. With sword flashing, she tries to take the center, but he thrusts sharply forward and denies her.

The longer reach catches her off guard, forcing her to surrender with a retreat.


“You filled graveyards and painted walls red all across Sinli province, while I was getting us food and jobs! We’d have starved a dozen times if you couldn’t trust me!”


(Wait. That’s not what I mean.)


Trying to interject, his mouth moves independently of his brain.

As he resets his stance and glares her down, she begins to stare at the floor, though he can’t understand why.


(Taking your eyes off the enemy is wrong, Serras! … Wait, why am I the enemy?)


With a situation that doesn’t match their relationship, Adris’ brain is melting.


“After everything I’ve taught you, you do something stupid like-!”


Serras finally locks eyes again, her countenance as vicious as his.

“‘Teach me?’ What do you teach me!? I watch you con people that you offer to help! You take a reward with one hand and stab them in the back with the other!”


Rushing with sword high again, Adris kicks dust at her charge before lunging in the distraction. Contrary to expectations, she easily rebuffs his unusually sloppy attack. Falling back with an expletive, he gets back into a defensive posture, confused to still be alive.


“And who gets to survive because of it!? It’s not like we have a lot of options. You’ve got us on every provincial bounty roll in most of Xin!”

Angry, scared, confused, and vindictive, the only plan Adris has is to cow her.



“Survive? I don’t need you to survive.”


Her dispassionate response makes his knees buckle, with him feeling his heart stop briefly with immense pain. But acid soon fills his throat, followed by rage.

He lashes out, feinting his spear wildly. His partner ignores a feint she’s seen a hundred times, batting away his spear and shuffling to close as he expeditiously retreats.


“You’d be dead already if I didn’t constantly save you.”


His cold statement results in Serras’ hateful disbelief and a canceled rush.


“Like you saved Torrel!?” The loathing in her eyes is inextricably tied to a long dead name.


“Torrel?” Adris laughs, for the man had died for interesting reasons. “Save him?”

He sneers finally, dismissing outright the idea of “salvation” for the man in question.


“No, no, he’s the best example of what I mean.”


A quick jab sparks off her sword as he attempts to circle her, but he dives away when her answer is a vertical line of death. The wild wave of aura slashing out cuts a trough in the floor, chips striking him as he rolls up into a guard.


“Example? Saving him would mean that… you hadn’t…”

“Let him die?” With a monotonous voice, Adris finally relents. “If we’re going to…”

He chokes, momentarily.

“… be honest, then – sure.”


Feeling emotional about the story as he taps his spear’s butt on the stonework, he never expected to have to share it, much less in a tomb.


“Except I didn’t let him die. I specifically killed him.”


A screaming, bright blade beam carves up the floor, barely missing him when he inverts himself with an aura-infused jump to rebound off the ceiling. His diving counter-strike goes wide when she nimbly escapes with a speed Adris rarely sees match his.


They exit each other’s range for yet another reset. The shaking woman immediately starts forward.




“And it saved your life, you stupid bitch.”

Serras stops her next charge, confused by the insulting revelation delivered with a breathless, rasping voice.


“Well, yeah, beauty of my dreams.” Adris starts rambling, beside himself with indignation at her stupidity, while also using the lull to recover his own stamina.

“Torrel might’ve been a good man to look at, but what was inside was decayed. While you were flashing innocent eyes at him, all he was wondering was how he was going to get your body.”

Laughing rudely with this statement, his words further incense her at the allusion to betrayal.


“Problem is, he wanted it two ways. After having tasted you, he’d have had his second helping…”


A spear twirls around before it’s pointed at her breasts.


“… of your heart.”


With a blank look of shock, she for some reason prepares to guard against his spear.

“Torrel was a spy, you idiot, one for the Empty Crypt sect. A naive woman’s love wasn’t his goal. ‘Heart of Serras’, that’s the real treasure.”

Sighing, he wonders why she still hasn’t figured this out after so many years.

“Getting to taste your other parts was just a pathetic bonus for that thing…”

As Serras looks horrified, he finishes her off with the man’s fate.


“So I let him taste something more his style…”

With a handsome smile, Adris announces his true love for his partner.


“I cut off his legs and arms, and buried him alive.”



When she flinches, he feels happy for the first time in recent memory.


“’Empty Crypt’ became ‘occupied barrow’! Even if you don’t get the joke… he did.”


He laughs madly, leaving Serras mute instead of seeing the obvious humor.


“Called it an attack by bounty hunters, fluffed the details a little, and everything worked out.”


(I still have the scar from faking it.)


“I’m so terribly sorry for not letting you sleep with him first… Were you tired of my… touch or did you think he was a better man? Sorry, but he managed to be… even more disappointing than I am.”


Shaking in embarrassment, her eyes go unfocused while Adris looks smug.

Then, the same snarl as before returns to her, though much calmer now.


“That’s okay. I saved you, too.”

She purrs, with suddenly soft eyes filled with something much crueler than love.


The blood drains from his mind.


(The smell was awfully familiar.)


“What did you do?”

A pointless question, because he knows the answer.


“With all your petty schemes, I’d sometimes follow you, you know.” Serras’ voice is wistful, a first for her.

“The village of Ner’ja, though? That hurt me.”


An uncontrolled flurry of jabs is dodged with a woman’s joyous dance. The nimble woman escapes while…


(Stop smiling.)


“That girl and her father, you had plans with them, right?” A terribly unnerving smile, animated in a way she rarely is, prompts Adris.


Wellek and his daughter Vishra.

A merchant and his spoiled princess in the Spine of Divinity region.


Moderately wealthy.

Very pliable.


Adris had considered going on with Wellek, to stay. To escape being hunted.


(I wasn’t… leaving. You were supposed to be their bodyguard!)


“I’d never seen you truly smile as often as while we stayed in that town.”


(A terrible smell. Very familiar. Always close. Like when I hold her.)


“The problem with your love,” Serras cuts into him, speaking more words today than in months. “Was it all being in your head. The merchant wanted your brain, while the daughter wanted a bad man. You were… dashing. You are always dashing.”

Looking drunk on her story, she begins walking towards him, her defenseless calmness more powerful than any of her deadly techniques. He stumbles back at the display.


“So… I coincidentally came with a fat bounty notice and asked if he had seen it. He said yes.”


(I see. So I was played. Good game.)


Adris’ stomach knots, even as his survival instincts are secretly thankful.


“The daughter was happy, too. They offered to help. The merchant had poison.”


(All too realistic.)


Adris falls deeper into his misery, finding the memory of Vishra’s face revolting now.


“When he asked if poison was fine,”

Amiably smiling, Serras for the first time in recent memory looks happy.




“I couldn’t help myself.”


(I know.)



Finding their bodies butchered and their money gone, Adris had fled, only to have Serras find and ask where he’d been during their stay in the town.


(Which is why… I didn’t think… it was you.)


Because she doesn’t mislead, a lie he clings to even while shaking.


(She’s not… smart enough to hide a lie…)





Ripped from his despair when Serras laughs crazily, Adris realizes her laugh, too, is something he hasn’t heard in ages.


“Maybe I am dumb, but you know…” Her words are finally teasing, all of his humor having rubbed off on her.

“It’s not like you’re god, brother. Even a… simple girl like me can get one by you, sometimes. When I found you trying to get with another woman, that was… a bit too much, even for me.”


(I never even slept with her, nor was I going to. The idea was… to…)


Getting the father to open up would let Adris into his finances. Taking them over meant he could annul the marriage and own them.


He was only hedging his bets.

Like he has always done.

Like he knows he has to do.


Set them up now, son, to use them later.”


That was how he’d been taught.

Fatso had been strict and informative.


Serras, drunk on her reverie, continues to hurl abuse in an uncharacteristic tirade.

“Getting angry at me for killing? It’s what I do best! You lie to officials. You steal from them for fun. Every night after you win, you laugh and talk and drink and brag. You are happier to rob them than to taste my body on the same night!” She yells petulantly, shaking her sword.


“At least I rob rich men, instead of cutting up soldiers for fun! Or is it more than fun? Is that how you feel joy?”

A thought long concealed becomes an adequate verbal weapon against her.


“Why do you care? We were never really soldiers. At least killing is honest, unlike you! For you to play around with our money, using it on just… ridiculous schemes to swindle powerful men…” Serras’ leering face has a childish anger to it that he can’t explain.

“Are you really going to be a hypocrite about me cutting up scum? ‘They deserved it!’ That’s always your justification! Why don’t the ones I cut up deserve it, brother? Because it inconveniences you!?”


Searching his robe for a trinket, Serras readies her sword at this, before lowering it when his hand comes back with nothing.


“I spend most of our money buying off pursuers! Putting down suspicion! Bribing town watches and elders! At least when I swindle someone, they don’t know who I really am! You just march out and leave heads in the dirt! You malevolent wildcat!”


Stupidly lunging forward, he puts no skill into the strike.


“Arrogant, self-absorbed liar!”


She parries his spear, a dumb chop given in response that he shoots in to block.


“Witless, battle drunk, spoiled whelp!”


Ending up too close to her, he rudely punches her in the face, while she counters by kneeing him in the stomach.

They both stagger back, bruised by the powerful blows.


“Haha! You should know, you raised me!” She growls, slashing her sword wide with a laugh, a bit of blood falling onto the floor from red lips.

“Am I not the perfect weapon? Isn’t that what you and Jilahn wanted?”


(No. No, that would be mostly…)


“‘Perfect talent and peerless blade.’ Jilahn called me ‘bloody little war goddess.’ He and you both let me crush in sparring any other slave I wanted to see bleeding. They’d be in tatters by the end.”

Suddenly deathly curious, she asks, “You never had a title, though. Why?”


(Because I wasn’t important. I was “assistant.”)


“You spent a year making me trust you. I believed in you.” Serras looks almost longingly at him. “You and I had our first time together.”

Leveling her blade at his neck, she finally looks serious.

“How useful was that in reaching ‘clear mind’? Jilahn told me a lot the night he popped.”


He goes cold, knowing the night she’s referring to, the one where they’d finally been freed of the fat bastard due to strange outcomes.


(I don’t know. I did what Fatso told me to do. It seemed… fine. Wouldn’t his thorough explanation have been sufficient?)


“When you pushed me down while I was wearing the necklace you gave me, what were you thinking when you kissed me? Was it how useful I’d be in saving your life?”


“Yes… no…!” Adris blurts out, an admission streaming without guile.

“At first, I didn’t understand what I wanted, but then I held you and I was scared. Then, you held me back. I don’t know what I was thinking. Whatever I thought at first, by the end…”


Lowering his spear, he tries to find the words to say that will solve this, but instead only random thoughts appear.


(I’m usually more eloquent than this?)


“I just… wanted you.”


Looking at him silently as he admits disconnected truths…

“Is it a lie, or the truth? I’ve known you my whole life and…”

With a sad look…



“I don’t know.”


Adris almost wretches at those words, with them cutting far deeper than he imagined possible.


Looking behind her, finally completely taking her focus off of him for the first time since this began, she asks a quiet question.

“Why would I think you want me to have this… power, when it’s what I know you’ve wanted your whole life?”


(… No… That’s, not… untrue, but it’s also not…)


“Stupid! Why would I come down here with you if I was going to steal it for myself!? Except for the revenants, everything else I could’ve…! … handled…?”


Looking to where her eyes go, the drunken feeling assaulting him is enticing beyond his capacity to hide, forcing him to understand that the option existed.


Right. Even if you say you need me, the moment I take my eyes off of your quick hands… If it’s you, I bet you could do it.”


Serras voice is chilly as Adris’ eyes lock back on her. She’d been waiting for him to look. The disappointment on her face is her verdict on what she witnessed.


I would never throw you away!


Tilting her head, mouth firm, her eyes soften as she considers the statement.


“Is that the truth? Or have you fallen for your own lies? Are you sure you’d let me have it? No… even if you did give it to me…”


Looking sad again when all he can do is let his mouth hang open stupidly, she asks the worst question yet.



“What am I? A partner? Or a tool?”


This question makes him conflicted, indignant, self-loathing, and angry.


“If you really trust me,”

Her eyes are unwavering, while his are blurry.




Then how did you know to dodge?”




Before he can muster an articulate response, a commotion comes from behind.


“They’re up ahead!”




Name: Adris fehl Dain
Race: Xin’El, Emperor’s Child (Human)
Sex: Male
Age: 3*

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



[Piercing Death] – “Produces blade-like aura at the point of penetration, destroying a creature from the inside. Of no use if you can’t hit, it’s a mortally wounding strike, otherwise.”

[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.”


Disposition: Deplorable / Adaptable / Sarcastic
Alignment: Chaotic

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



R-Value – “Please load additional feature.”



C-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?”



“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?”



“Well, apparently he is the protagonist. If he thinks he’s getting out of this alive, he’s wrong at least once. Was what was said about him correct? Perhaps…?”



Name: Serras fehr Almet
Race: Xin’El, Emperor’s Child (Human)
Sex: Female
Age: 3*

Occupation: Manslayer; Xin’Reh (former/disavowed); Soldier of Fortune; Bounty Hunter
Discipline: Sword Warlord; Aura Warrior, School/Discipline: Self-Taught

Disposition: Chilling / Hateful / Nostalgic
Alignment: Chaotic

Eyes: Black
Hair: Shining Black
Skin: Tanned



[Rising Wave] – “In contrast to neutral, unformed waves, this one was specifically designed by her to deal little damage, but have the highest kinetic impact. Useful for clearing the area.”

[Eternal Ice] – “A prison of ice which leaches aura from the one frozen within, killing them like a spider as it sucks them dry. Because it is not discriminate, in areas of high aura, it will expand until it fills the area, only crumbling when the aura within depletes.”

[Shadows Converge] – “Calling forth aura to create duplicates made of the very shadows around her, Serras is capable of engaging multiple foes at once. Truly, this is the pinnacle of her fighting style: overwhelming her enemy and butchering them without affording a defense.”

[Oceanic Might] – “Nothing more than a titanic club, there is no subtlety or style to this technique. It will simply absolutely destroy what it hits, like an ocean wave dashing a ship upon the rocks.”



R-Value – “Please load additional feature.”



C-Value – “Her beauty is perhaps like the lingering and deathly frostbite of a frozen winter night? While you might seek out her slender, yet womanly, body, mayhaps all you shall taste is the dirt? Unless your name is Adris, in which case you still might taste your own blood? A solid, desirable nightmare clad in flesh, like moths, men are drawn, but is it the beauty that calls to them or the hatred underneath…? Is it any wonder that she has never married?”



“A cold beauty who rejects pleasantries, she seems more committed to her blade than to belonging to humanity. Why she follows Adris can be summarized by the tortuous path their relationship has taken to reach the tomb they are in. Though they fight like more than siblings, and have committed to the future together, perhaps there’s more to be said and little time to say it? If Adris is the brains, then Serras is surely… The only person she seems to care about other than herself is, oh… nevermind.”

“As it is, all of her misgivings towards Adris seem to be very old wounds that never had the time, nor reason, to heal. If even half of what she said was true, then what does that say about him? And herself…? I suppose we’ll never know.”



“Well, well, well, how the turn tables. Did you think she was the primary heroine? Though that might be interesting… sadly, the world is cruel to our protagonist. By the end, he will probably wish she was.”




Torrel – “A member of the Empty Crypt sect. Tried to take Serras into his accompaniment, was murdered by Adris for his efforts.”

Wellek and Yishra – “A wealthy merchant and his spoiled daughter. Were murdered by Serras for trying to steal Adris away from her.”

Internal Expanse – “The place within an aura user which constitutes their inner world and where their aura gathers. It can be said to be their true soul.”

Jilahn/Fatso – “A terrible man who is to blame for everything. At the very least, he’s where things started to go definitively astray for both of them?”

Silver Cross and Mask – “The last possessions of the First Emperor. These must be of minor importance.”

(Modified for rework.)


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