Charisma Prologue In the ancient time, World Mother created the land, sky and sea. It was good to her eye and she was pleased, but still it needed work. She made plants for the land, clouds for the sky and put animals everywhere. She smiled as this was finished. The land was teeming with life now; the skies were beautiful with birds and the seas filled with fish. But it still missed something. So World Mother decided to create a sentient being, something that maybe she based off her own ego, the woman, she was perfect, but she needed a mate, so man was created. She gave them their own wills and set them out to start their lives. As years passed, World Mother saw that mankind was flourishing, but was all-alone. So she created the Anitomi, a race of intelligent squirrels essentially. They shared a similarity in appearance, but they had foxy ears, and three digit fingers and were the size of a average dog. The first encounter with men was rather disastrous, as men panicked in the sight of what was unexplainable. So the World Mother, not to let her children be destroyed, created a substance of pure energy. She called it Stream, and she taught her children how to use it. The Anitomi quickly picked up the knowledge and began integrating it into their society. Within a thousand years, the Anitomi had discovered flight. After another 500 years, their first city took to the sky and vanished into the clouds. But 1500 years earlier, something happened that the World Mother did not intend. The Golems appeared. Enormous rock giants came into existence when earthen metals came into contact with Stream Crystals. The Golems ranged in size, from the size of a baby to as tall as a tree; and were made of every earth element created, from shale to diamond. World Mother was delighted with this, and she blessed the Golems with mountains full of caves to live and create more. But the Stream was being depleted quickly; she had to make more. So she created the Specters. The Specters were her direct link to the world's people. World Mother gave the Specters the ability to create Stream Crystals so that Golems would be able to propagate and her children wouldn’t suffer stagnation from the lack of energy. After a millennium had passed, World Mother noticed something, the Specters were unhappy. They were phantoms, unable to live like the Golems, Humans or Anitomi. They wanted to have families, watch their own grow up, and integrate into the other cultures. So World Mother gave them the ability to take on corporeal forms at their desire. Since mankind was the only race of their image, she allowed Human and Specter relationships to flourish and produce fruits as a result. But to remind the Specters of their original design, she limited them to the Stream Ore, they had to remain close to Stream, even the Human Specter children needed a Stream Crystal to remain healthy. After a while, Stream energy began to build and form into a planet wide current. With special care, humans were able to tap into this current. The effects were literally magical. This became known as Magi, and could be used in almost every way imaginable. World Mother was pleased with this development, until something awful happened. One of her children became obsessive. He wasn't satisfied with just being a Mancer, he was convinced he was a god. So he would press his will and made himself king. His people ruled faithfully, abandoning their old ways and turning from World Mother to worship their new 'God'. The 'God' adopted the name Ciardi, the 'Chosen One'. And he spread his energies across the land, curbing it to his will. The side effect was monstrous. His energies corrupted the Stream in the land, creating a new form called Chasm. It mutated the land, trees gained sentience and began uprooting and attacking people. Animals became tainted and would attack anything on sight. The birds turned into Dragons and fled the lands. Worse was that even the people were affected. They would change into abominations, Goblins, Shamans, Hivers, and some would change into Daemons and Archons, beings of incredible power. The people were horrified by this and turned to their God for an explanation. Refusing to believe he was to blame for this transformation, he turned on World Mother and her people. And so began the Yalta rebellions. It was a Global catastrophe. Armies of Yalta would destroy cities, utterly destroying everything that World Mother had created and Chasm energy spread, ripping apart her land and destroying the life she had created. So she unleashed her will, and destroyed the lands the Yalta had decimated, and restoring it. Her people rose up with this reprieve and marched up against the Yalta, and drove them back to their homeland. Once there, they laid siege. At this, World Mother appeared before the king 'God' of the Yalta. His reaction was typical, self centered, over confident and completely evil. After striking down his archons with just a look she leveled him down. She gave him two choices, either be completely destroyed, or she would open the earth and they could escape into the depths and forever be separated from the surface. The king spat at her feet, he was a God and he would destroy those who opposed him. But when World Mother literally cut off his connection to Magi, he capitulated. And so the first and last war ended. The Yalta fled into the depths of the earth and World Mother healed the lands again. The Dragons remained out of request, the birds enjoyed with new speed and power. The World Mother gave them their request, but told them that Humans would eventually become their masters, this was the price. The Dragons accepted. But the whole ordeal had weakened World Mother and she grew tired. So she settled herself with the Specters, living within the Stream, watching from the mountains as her children grow, create more children, grow old, and eventually die. She smiled, she had done her work and was pleased. So she settled for the same and create a lineage. She gave birth to a child, the child was Specter but also her. She was pleased and she graced her daughter with the name Hope. Hope grew up and eventually took her mother's place, and that was the last of World Mother. She closed her eyes and settled into the peace of oblivion. And her lineage still continues. To this day. ~The Origin of the World -Brotherhood History Book
? Chapter One The boy of the Badlands
The land of the Dunadi was a vast one, full of forests, mountains, farmlands. And roads. A young man walked along the side of one such road. Barely into his twenties, dressed mostly for comfort and protection from the elements than for style. He also had evidence of being a beggar and thief. His left hand was covered in a gauntlet that obviously didn't match to his payroll being made of Obsidian and having two Stream Crystals on wrist gaurds. He wore baggy brown pants, patched many times and had leather thongs tied around his legs to keep them in check. His boots also had thongs around them, probably because they were slightly to big and the thongs tightened them up so they wouldn't fly off. He wore a dark red shirt that was also heavily patched wore a vest, also patched over that. Over all this, he wore a hooded poncho to stay warm in the cooling weather. He needed to get into the city where it was warmer. Dunadi winters were beasts. The man walked along the road and then he came across a wreckage. Apparently some royal hadn't invested in enough security and had gotten attacked by bandits. The man's hand twitched, he looked around for any sign of bandits. But the brush was cheery, the trees waving in the wind and that was it. Upon closer inspection of the wreckage, the man saw it was unlooted. That was odd, there were plenty of valuables within the wreck, but nobody seemed to want any of it. The automobile was very posh, the engine itself would be worth a fortune, the man gazed at the Stream powered engine, still intact for the most part, on the road. But then again, it was too heavy and he had a timeframe to get back. He could tell that winter was only days away and he still had some ways to go before the weather caught him. Tyre looked around for food, that was his favorite loot. Food was good; it kept him alive. Gold and trinkets gave him money and money had weight and he didn't like carrying more than food and clothes, not that a little money didn't hurt. The man dug around and found some cheese, wine and bread. The bread was a tad moldy, suggesting this wreck had been here for a while. But after cutting it off with a small knife he settled down to eat a full meal. The wine was a dry wine, very expensive, but to the man's inexperienced taste buds, it was wine. He sighed and looked around for anything useful. He saw a lockbox, or a jewel case. It was solid black with a odd seal he had never seen before. He picked it up and tucked it into a pocket and continued looking. He grinned when he found some soap and shampoo, he was beginning to feel grimy and didn't like smelling himself. He threw that into a sack on his back and continued on to find some clothes. He was pleased, they were men's, about his size, and were made of an expensive black fabric. The man stripped down and put on the new clothes and fastened them up, he tied the thongs around the pant legs, they were very baggy on him, and then threw his poncho back over his shoulders and continued down the road. Clean clothes always felt great.
Deep in the forests, a man silently watched through the leaves, it was just a scavenger, nobody important. The scavenger dug through the wreckage and let out a exclamation of joy at the sight of some food and clothes. Other than that, the scavenger seemed uninterested in the priceless artifacts inside. The scavenger eventually put away the food and a small box, nothing of interest. No necklace.
The Dunadi city of Wreathe was a nice enough city. Busy, loud and full of people, eager to welcome people for the winter season. \"Name?\" The man looked at the gate keeper, \"Tyre of the Badlands.\" \"Family name?\" \"Not really.\" \"Business or pleasure?\" \"A little of both I'm sure.\" The guard smiled and studied him, \"You look royal, where is your ride?\" \"Ambushed by bandits, they took everything but my clothes, food and this little box in my sack. I'm looking to get cleaned up too, haven't seen my skin in days.\" The guard laughed, and allowed Tyre to pass, \"Enjoy your stay, my lord. I'll dispatch a unit up the road to see if we can find your bandits.\" \"Thank you, sir guard.\" As soon as Tyre was inside the city, he ducked into a alleyway and made his way to a local inn. He looked up the wall and saw one of the rooms was occupied. The couple who had the room were inside, but were planning on leaving for dinner soon. Tyre sat under the window, waiting for the couple to leave. They seemed intent on taking as long as possible. Upon probing further, Tyre was startled to discover they were newlyweds and their thoughts were... explicit. Unfortunately, this was the only inn this side of the city and they were the only ones planning on eating anytime soon. Tyre waited and waited until they finally left the room. Tyre pulled out his knife and stuck in between the window panes and unfastened the lock and climbed in the window when he was certain nobody was watching. He went straight for the bathroom and filled it with hot water. Oh, this was going to feel so good! He checked on the couple in the tavern, they were too busy discussing things to do. Tyre grabbed the soap and shampoo and began cleaning off the weeks of dirt, grime and sweat that had settled on him from his journey. He sighed and relaxed as his muscles soaked in the hot water. He looked at his left hand, the gauntlet was magically bound to his hand. He wished he had read the disclaimer on it but he was young and ignorant at the time. That was his punishment. He watched the water drain from the glove and closed his eyes. Checking on the tenants every now and then. When they had finally gotten their food and were halfway done, the bath water had cooled. Tyre did one last scrub down and then let the dirty water drain. He let out more water and made sure all the soap was off and then dried off before getting dressed and putting away the soaps. He looked around, a nice array of goods. More soaps, some snacks. He was elated to see teas and coffee. Tyre only took what he needed, he took only a single tea bag, enough to cover the foul taste water sometimes had, and then discretely exited the room and climbed into the alleyway and disappeared into the crowd. He found a nice stable in the back and some soft hay. Tyre nestled himself into it, glad he didn't have allergies, and pulled out the lockbox. He opened it with his knife and found a long fine wrought silver chain. Tyre smiled, it was pretty, probably worth a fair price on the market. At the end of the chain was a small orb, about the size of his thumbnail. He touched it and it began glowing, which startled him, when he looked closely, it had a purple current swirling inside it and... oh... pretty... He shook his head, wrapped it around his arm and tucked it under his gauntlet. He looked at the box, it carried nothing else. The box was expensive, but he had broken the lock so it wasn't worth much now. Then he noticed the slight gleam of the metal. Obsidian. Tyre grinned widely, Obsidian was worth more than gold because of its adamantium like properties. Tyre sighed and laid back into the straw and closed his eyes, he was going to sell these tomorrow, maybe he'd get a room for the winter at a inn, that would be nice for a change. When he woke the next morning, he saw that someone had found his box and had taken it. Oh well, he still had the necklace. He slowly climbed out because it was cold outside. A horse walked up to him and curiously sniffed him down. Tyre patted his muzzle and held out a fist full of straw, the horse whinnied and gratefully took a mouthful. 'We thank you.' The horse said after chewing his food, Tyre smiled, \"It was nothing.\" He pushed more hay toward the horse and left the barn. As he walked, he had the sensation that he was being followed. But every time he looked back, he would see nobody but people walking about their business. Tyre shuddered and went down a few more blocks, hunting down any scent of possible food. He managed to snatch some discarded or overcooked bread, but as he moved on, the feeling of being watched grew stronger and stronger. Tyre began to grow antsy. His senses told him that nobody was looking at him, or even acknowledging his existence. But he also sensed something else. It wasn’t human… but it wasn’t an animal either. Whenever he would try to focus where this presence was, however, he discovered it was coming from himself. With a sigh of exasperation, he figured he was just edgy. “Thief…” someone whispered into his ear. Tyre jumped and accidentally bowled into a passerby. He apologized hurriedly and kept going. He picked some coin out of a passerby and walked into a pub and ordered a drink, hopefully it would settle his nerves. He had enough for some cider. So he drank it, and felt the dizzying effects hit him. Satisfied that his nerves were now numbed. He watched some folks talk and mingle, listening to their stories. Pubs were the next best thing to newspapers. And it was free to listen to. They had all kinds of news and stories. Granted, a lot of it was drunken slurs and the like, but still it was something. A girl walked in and sat next to him, she had auburn hair and fierce gray eyes, pale skin, wore a tight form fitting outfit of some elastic fabric. She glared it him, “You will take me home.” “I’m sorry, what?” Tyre said, totally surprised by this turn of events. “You…” The girl pointed right at him, “Are going to take me home.” Tyre blinked several times, trying to shift the alcoholic mess from his brains. “I’m sorry, but I’m a bit intoxicated, I don’t think I can take you home. Besides,” Tyre added, “You probably just want to mug me.” “Its oddly ironic though,” she muttered into his ear, she had a odd spicy scent to her that Tyre found agreeable and actually pleasant, “for a thief to have his own belongings stolen.” Tyre froze and looked at her, but she had vanished. The bartender was looking at him oddly, Tyre shuddered, and muttered “I guess one was enough .” Tyre got up and left the bar and felt the chilling air hit his face. She was outside, across the street watching him. He walked over to her, “Who are you?” To Tyre’s horror, someone walked right through her and looked at him, “I’m sorry? What?” Tyre shook his head, “Sorry, that drink affected more than I thought.” The stranger shook his head and walked away, muttering about the corruption of young folk. The girl was still standing there. Tyre dashed into an alley and found a chimney chute, the winter weather was there and it was getting quite cold. So Tyre pressed himself against the wall and soaked up the heat and closed his eyes, waiting for the dizziness of the alcohol to burn itself off. “No roof, no place to call home.” He opened his eyes and saw the girl, “You’re not real.” He muttered, “Just the alcohol messing my senses up. Hormones, you know.” The girl didn’t even bat an eye, she knelt over me and glared, “You have no place to call home, you steal for a living, such an uneducated child with no knowledge just how valuable a thing you have stolen.” Tyre looked at her, “I’m sorry, what did I steal of yours?” She held out her hand and he saw the Stream rock in it, “You stole this.” Tyre pulled out the necklace and held it out; it was the same as what was in her hand. Tyre held it out, “Here, take it.” She glared at him, “No, you are going to take it back to my home.” “And where is your home?” “The Cascade Sanctuary.”
Tyre laughed, “You realize that the Sanctuary is on the other side of the world, right?” “Then you better get started.” She hissed. He reached forward, his hand passed right through her, “And what are you going to do to make me?” She narrowed her eyes. Tyre’s arm suddenly felt like it was on fire. With a yelp he grabbed at it, the pain was horrible. But then the pain was gone. She stood up, “You life is now tied to that amulet you so carelessly stole. What is it you humans say, Karma?” He glared at her and pulled it off, and held it out, “Well, if that’s the case.” He let go, and as soon as it left his fingers, his body seized up. His heart fluttered and stopped, breathing became impossible. His blood began to boil. “You’re life is now tied to me, human.” She said, taking his hand and placing it on the necklace. As soon as it made contact, his body returned to normal. “You will take me back home, or I will make your life hell for an eternity.” With a growl, Tyre put the necklace on. “We’ll see if I can break your hold.” “You? You’re just a pathetic thief with some special talents.” Tyre smiled, “You don’t know me, Specter, that is what you are, isn’t it?” She didn’t look surprised, “Good, so you’ve heard of us.” He nodded, “Yes, I’ve heard of you. I don’t suppose you can explain how a Lyran Specter was stolen from her Golem protector, can you?” Now she looked shocked, “You know quite a bit more than I thought.” “I’ve been around.” “What else do you know?” “Enough.” Tyre held up her Stream Crystal and looked at the runes, studying them. “Well, Specter, looks like I’m actually older than you. Never met a Specter who was less than ancient.” The Specter was shocked, “And how do you come by that?” “Well, after every year, the runes become distorted. These runes are rather new, but they are certainly not too new. Then this rune right here tells me the day you were conceived… this one the year and month of your creation. And this one…” Tyre peered closer, then looked at her, “States that you are the Remnant.” He paused, then glared at her, “So you accuse me of stealing you, Specter or should I say…” He looked at the Crystal, turning it over until he found a certain set of runes, “Charisma? You certainly aren’t charismatic.” She glared, at me, “Well, firstly, you are a thief. And after making a Gleam of you, I know that your name is Tyre, you have no proper last name because you weren’t born with a father, you have the ability to control energies, you are two years older than me. You never live in any place longer than six months and… you have a curse on you.” Tyre nodded, “But you can’t make out more than that, can you?” Charisma looked slightly nervous, “Well, no. Just your most pertinent details, identity things. And I sensed the taint of a curse.” Tyre held out his left hand, the one with the gauntlet. “This one right here, I discovered it’s called the Legionnaires Gauntlet. I found it in an old house about five years ago during a blizzard. I was looking for something to keep my hands warm and this caught my eye, it was actually a matching set but the right one had lost its power.” Tyre flipped it over and looked at the underside, “If I had been paying attention, I would have read that the gauntlet was actually empowered with energy…” He looked at the letters engraved, “He who possesses this Gauntlet shall be bound to it for the days of his life. This gauntlet shall provide strength and prowess of the most experienced warrior to the wielder.” Tyre looked up at Charisma, “I’ve gotten used to it, and it’s quite handy really. It’s indestructible, so I can grab ledges, and I’m ambidextrous now. The whole not coming off thing is an even exchange. It still allows water to flow through it so it won’t stink after a while and the water flows out easy enough so it doesn’t start rotting either.” He paused, in thought, looking at the crystal. He gazed into space, distracted by a thought and then crystal fell from his fingers. As soon as it left, Tyre’s body became racked with pain. His heart felt like it was on fire, his chest couldn’t take in air. He gasped, sputtering and blood began to trickle from his nose and mouth. He saw the crystal and snatched at it. As soon as it was in his grasp, the pain vanished like a fleeting memory. He looked at Charisma, “Very… effective…” Tyre wiped away the blood and leaned back against the chimney. Charisma smiled, “I can bring that about any time I want to.” Tyre spat at her feet, “You kill me, you’ll have to find another.” “Not to difficult. Stream Crystals are very valuable, I just wait for someone to stumble upon me.” Tyre glared at her, “And all I need to do is take a Chaos Crystal to your gem and you’ll die and this curse will be lifted.” Charisma looked a little taken aback with that. Tyre looked into the sun, it was about lunchtime, though he didn’t feel it, he knew he had to eat. “I’m getting lunch, don’t interfere.”
In the sky, a dragon flew over the city of Wreathe, it was a typical Dunadi city. Sprawling urban, commercialized, districts. The Rider held out up a pair of goggles and placed them over his eyes and looked down into the city. A single figure appeared, the figure was obviously the Remnant’s captor. A simple human. The Rider was hoping for something like a Daemon, or worse, but a human? He looked back, the human had two curses on him. One was a binding spell, the other a life tap. So the Remnant had bound herself to him. Probably as a means to keep localized to one person, hoping to draw attention. Satisfied with his recon, the Rider grabbed the reins of the dragon and turned back to the Wyvren lands where his companions were awaiting his return with news. It was going to be good news too; they had finally found her.
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