“Ophelia Minovska, reporting for duty. I will do my utmost, despite my ineptitude. If you'll have me, please allow me to be your tactical coordinator.”
Ophelia "Clumsy Oaf" Minovska
Volk Odin, Wolf 1061 System
Ophelia has a great physique by conventional beauty standards, though she keeps it hidden with , muted, modest, or professional garments. Prim and well-kept, some would describe her appearance as disciplined and meticulous, yet simple, efficient. She embodies her profession, that of a soldier, less so in a "The few, the proud, the Marines," sense and more so as a willing and ignorant grunt, a cog in the machine sense. Stoic, emotionless, compliant, and seemingly always standing at attention, Ophelia makes certain that others feel heard and understood.
Ophelia exudes a sense of professional service. Compliant and willing to help, she robotically performs tasks required of her, often going above and beyond, asking for very little in return. She seems dissociated and detached, as if her body were not her own, and tends to push herself beyond reasonable limits. Self-sacrificing to the point of being near-suicidal, she thinks only of accomplishing the mission. Emotionally clumsy, Ophelia is awkward and can only come up with material solutions to the emotional problems of others.
Volk Odin, or Wolf Prime, is a planet with a cold, harsh climate, colonized by a desperate but industrious people, people used to recruiting the labor and contributions of the younger members of their society, after all, if one does not work, one does not eat. Clumsy and inept, Ophelia was an orphan working in the iridium mines when her and a group of her peers were sold to PROJECT VALKYRIE. She was 10. There had been a rumor among the population that synchronization aptitude was easier to train if starting at a younger age. Due to her serious lack of talent, Ophelia undergoes repeated mental conditioning. Eventually, she shows promise as a tactical coordinator, and throws herself body and soul into perfecting that role. Soon she is paired with her partner, a physical coordinator that no TC could handle. Able to take everything he threw at her, she helped him shine on the battlefield. Unchecked, their individual neuroses became more severe, yet their combat performance was outmatched, so why fix what isn't broke? Until one day, her partner snapped, and attacked her during downtime. A terrible life-and-death struggle ensued, ending with the death of her partner, and the loss of her hands. This happened just before the ceasefire. She was 18. Considered a failure, Ophelia was relegated to engineering, though thanks to her years of service, she was given enough perks to get herself a pair of replacement prosthetic hands. Eventually, someone from the New Eden Group discovered her file and pulled her out of engineering for another chance to show her mettle.
A liliraune is a large plant consisting almost entirely of roots and one massive, bulbous flower. Within the petals of the flower is a deep pool of liquid nectar. Standing submerged up to their knees in the nectar are two voluptuous, green-skinned female bodies with lilac hair, Vivian and Sylvia, whose feet are rooted to the base of the flower at the bottom of the pool. Leaves and vines awrap around them, scantily covering their naughty bits. Vivian has chosen to leave her hair long and has a generally peppy and mischievous expression, while Sylvia has her hair cut short and wears glasses, often with a critical, bookish expression.
Liliraunes are technically mutant alraunes, and produce the same nectar, which is sweet, has stamina-boosting effects, and is a powerful aphrodisiac.
Liliraunes can choose to derive all their nutrition from the soil and the sun. A doemant period of photosynthesis can usually heal most I'll and injuries.
Through photosynthesis, and enclosing themselves within the petals, Vivian and Sylvia can engage their plant-like ability to regenerate, closing wounds and leaving no scars, and even recovering lost limbs.
The roots and vines sprouting from the base of the flower can be used to attack and ensnare prey, and otherwise hold or manipulate objects.
The petals of the flower are surprisingly tough and can be used for protection, especially when it closes up and Vivian and Sylvia retreat inside.
Multitasking and Uncanny Coordination-
Two minds, one body, Vivian and Sylvia have lived their entire lives together and know each other's minds and bodies like their own. Though not exactly telepathic, they share a link of familiarity that allows for amazing feats of coordination.
The plant is usually rooted into soil, but it can uproot itself and crawl along on tentacle-like roots, albeit quite slowly.
Vivian is quite the accomplished cook, though her specialty lies in pastries that incorporate her nectar.
A violent and territorial chef, Vivian has learned how to throw kitchen knives in order to keep others out of her kitchen.
Most plant-based monsters have an affinity for other plants. Sylvia takes it to another level and has studied human botany and gardening. She uses this knowledge, as well as her plant instincts, to grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs for use in both her and her sister's crafts.
Sylvia's natural affinity for herbalism, and her study of alchemy have made her quite the proficient producer of medicine.
Energetic, peppy, and mischievous, Vivian is the less responsible, but more openly friendly of the pair. Her lack of caution hides her intelligence and talent. Vivian is boastful, arrogant, and competitive, easily getting into arguments, especially with her sister. She takes pride in her work, and will love anyone who appreciates or praises her.
Sylvia is quiet and bookish. Analytical and pensive, she can become overly critical and pedantic, especially of her sister. She appreciates intellectuals and loves discussing scholarly interests. Shy but caring, Sylvia is motherly and likes to run a tight ship, more concerned with providing material comfort, and somewhat clumsy when it comes to providing emotional comfort.
A liliraune who sprouted in the backyard garden of a house in a monster-friendly village, Vivian and Sylvia were raised by the farmer couple who owned the house. The couple we're surprisingly knowledgeable about alraune physiology and took steps to make sure no mishaps occurred concerning nectar and seduction. They instead found an alchemist who knew how to take alraune nectar and remove the seductive, aphrodisiac effects, allowing it to be used as a sweetener without the embarrassing side effects. this alchemist intrigued Sylvia, who desired to learn more about the properties of other plants, while also inculcating Vivian with a love of cooking. Over the years, Vivian and Sylvia opened up a side of the farm as a small store, selling baked goods and medicine, becoming popular and contributing members to their society. One day, Bart passed through, and Vivian and Sylvia's parents offered him room and board. Impressed by the skills and talents of the sisters, and marveling at the harmony in which they have integrated into human society, Bart mentioned a desire to have someone help with infrastructure and logistics of the guild he planned to start. After all, most who joined would be adventurers and fighters, but who would feed them and provide them with medicine? When he left, he gave the location of his guild, should Vivian and Sylvia choose to participate. Recognizing the good they could do, and longing to spread their proverbial legs and see more of the world, the transferred their flower into a wheeled clay pot, and set off. Unfortunately their incessant bickering, days of stopping to photosynthesize and taste the local soil, and Vivian's insistence on not asking for directions meant that their already slow pace of travel took significantly longer than expected.
Yo, I'm seriously considering joining, but I had a few questions:
1. I'm a little daunted by reading through the IC. Is there a summary for the main quest so far?
2. Can I just jump in? Does it make sense for someone to join the guild this late (assuming my character was invited by Bart)?
3. I'm thinking of coming in as a Liliraune, which apparently can move around by uprooting itself, but for the most part, stays immobilized in soil. This slow movement may explain the late arrival, but might create difficulty when it comes to adventuring.
Councillor Sharmukh's eyes widen at first, then narrow at Mort's explanation. The Councillor's retinue shuffle uncomfortably, knowing that an admitted mobster was negotiating with their High Priest. "HAH!" Sharmukh laughs sharply, and leans forward in his seat, "In better times, I would have preached for the purging of your corrupt ilk from our lands, let alone negotiate with you. Still, the world order as we know it has been shattered, and it is anyone's guess if any remnants of Es Harpina nobility have survived to take up the reigns of rulership afterwards. And it may be that your clan clung to illegitimate means to power only because all legitimate means had already been claimed. And history has shown that even the worst, murderous warlords, once they had achieved victory and laid down their arms, have proven to be decent enough kings. Perhaps it is no different with the son of a crime lord. To be frank, I am surprised by the optimism of someone in your position, most have lost hope. Most think only as far as their next meal. You are thinking of the world after the calamity. Perhaps I will admit that I am a little impressed. Despite communing with the gods themselves, even I despair at times. But let's say I guarantee your clan's hegemony. What do you offer in return for this great boon other than putting forth your 'best effort' to succeed in this quest? See it from my position, your 'best effort' does not fill me with confidence, and in my opinion, three cursed individual is as good as four."
Sharmukh was silent for a moment, but continued, "While you ponder that, I can share the benefits of liberating Lathesa's Roost. First off, Lathesa's Roost is probably the nearest city to The City of Light, if you want even a chance of making it to a city before the forces of darkness slaughter you, I would suggest your party not spend too much time exposed. Of course, Hosumaria, is closer, but you'll have the sea to contend with. No travel by land is certainly safer. Rumors of great aquatic abominations abound. Lathesa also provides great blessings, especially regarding flight. This is perhaps, less enticing to your land-based allies, but it would be indispensable for you, and whatever other harpies accompany your endeavor. Lathesa, as I'm sure you know, is also the god of music, and divine music has great morale boosting affects, and may even have the ability to combat the terrible mind-altering effects of the Gods of Darkness. As for the city itself, Our civilization is most known for its medicine, having access to high mountain herbs not found anywhere else. So it is the best place for your party to acquire quality medicine and healers, an ideal location at the center of the continent to plan your excursions to the other cities."
Councillor Gudrun eyed Rehsif skeptically before opening a drawer of stacked and organized currency, counting out ten silvers, and sliding them across the table at Res. A nearby secretary began jotting down the details of the transaction. "This is not a bribe, I am merely fulfilling your request of requisition of confiscated property. If I were bribing you, you'd see a lot more than ten silvers." She then looks to one of her attendants, and motions with her head. Catching her meaning, the dwarf turns to some cabinets and rifles through the files, finally pulling out a map which he lays on Gudrun's desk.
"Your task is, unfortunately, poorly planned, but I do not commune with the gods, so it is not my place to challenge them. The initial goal is simple enough, you and your fellow 'accursed' will travel, with a small armed escort, to each of the six great cities, and communicate with the god at the Great Temple of each city. Perhaps speaking with the god is enough, or perhaps they will ask you to do something for the city. As far as we know, each city is under siege, and it may be that the god will request that the siege be lifted. It is uncertain what condition is necessary for the god's power to be unshackled, but there you have it. Once each god's power has been unsealed, we may stand a fighting chance against these otherworldly monstrosities. Each city is the heart of their respective civilizations, and offers a strategic resource that may benefit your journey.
Starting from the north, we have Omega, the true financial capital of the world, though money means very little these days. Still, Omega is a hub of knowledge and a good place to obtain whatever the world has to offer, perhaps not the best quality, but decent. The god there, Omega Mammon, will also bless those among your party who are of the metal affinity, and is known to increase their champion's luck.
Then you have Thromburg, where you will have access to the best forges and equipment. Our artisans have no equal, and despite the sorry state of the world, that is something that will endure until the last breath of the last Dwarf. Thrombur will bless earth affinity individuals, and guarantee the sturdiness of your carts, wagons, and other miscellaneous equipment and transportation.
Hosumaria has the best ships, which may be necessary to reach the lands of the United Elven Tribes. The Lacertan navy may yet survive to aid you. Hosumar will bless those of water, and bless your safe passage on the seas. Some say Hosumar can even summon storms to aid their favorites.
Lathesa's Roost has the best healers and medicine. It is also strategically located in the center of the continent and the closest city by land. Lathesa blesses those of air, and their music has been shown to have some effect when it comes to staving off the darkness.
At Sarm's Tears you will hopefully find the best warrior who can aid you. You saw Councillor Graft, the young Orc? Even their young are trained in combat. Though the world has not known great conflict for generations, they have kept the practice alive. Sarm will bless those of fire and will bless your military prowess, so the stories go.
And finally, Flandasyria. The Elves are the greatest mages, a potent force if you hope to go up against the darkness. Flandasyr will bless those of wood and supposedly Flandasyr's chosen can live without need for food or drink for significant periods of time.
The vain hope behind all this is that with the blessings of all six gods, and the resources of all six cities, the gods of darkness can be taken down, one-by-one. Beyond this, there is very little plan, and should you liberate any of the gods, our temple here in the City of Light will know, and we can change plans accordingly. Does this knowledge suffice?"
Lans' escort readily agrees and brings him outside the building of the Administrative Center proper, to a large courtyard with toppled marble columns and broken statues, the lawn and shrubbery torn up by the criss-crossed marching of hooves and feet. In the center of this lawn sat a large tent surrounded by many others, smaller in size. It was an ancient tradition among the Orcs that when battle lines had been drawn, an Orc combatant did not sleep with a solid roof over their head until the battle was over, so it seems that what remained of the Orc host at the City of Light had chosen to pitch camp under the sky.
The escort went inside first to announce Lans' arrival, before re-emerging to allow Lans to enter. The entrance was flanked by two Orc guards, their hands on their hilts. A handful of commanders crowded around the Orc Councillor's war table, looking over a map of the city and its surrounding lands. Their forces had made a desperate effort to protect what little farmland remained to keep the city as adequately fed as possible, though they were losing land bit by bit, and the sky and the seasons seemed to have turned against the crop and the livestock. The commanders turned their attention to Lans as the young Orc Councillor looked up at him. "Yes?" he asked plainly, with a slight apprehension in his voice. A commander gave the boy Orc a nudge, prompting him to continue, "Ahem, I am Councillor Graft, Blood of Sarm. Councillor Silversmith has told me of your commendable service...and unfortunate incidents. Am I to offer you a reason for liberating Sarm's Tears before the other cities?" The boy seemed to become slightly emotional before a commander whispered in his ear. "Excuse me, I did not know. Are you an orphan? My sources tell me your lineage cannot be traced." If Lans knew anything about orc culture, then the surname: Blood of Sarm, indicated direct royal lineage.
Rana turned to look at Chelsea, appearing more confused and vulnerable than she normally did whenever she stood by Sartorius' side. However, the vulnerability passed as Rana replied, "Lord Altissima will not be participating in today's exercise, but I will. W-will pilot Rose be my commanding officer?"
Sartorius had abandoned Rana to this task with very little information. Normally, she took her orders from him directly, and she knew not from whom he took his orders. One's chain of command was easily broken when one had only one link to rely on. Receiving her answer, Rana headed to the IA Lovers Custom: Simyalaymis, and boarded it, initiating the docked separation sequence so that she could take only her left, melee-focused half of the unit with her on the mission. Though she had operated alone during her training back at the Tree of Heaven Project, she had gotten used to operating side-by-side with her mentor, Sartorius, making his abrupt absence create an exposed, naked feeling.
Mari notices Azukina approaching and offering to shake Mari's hand. Mari returns the hand shake but says nothing, her face is screwed up in a pained expression. The words catch in her throat and she is unable to express herself before Hiroki arrives. Did she deserve to be here among these two? Mari bit her lip, when Hiroki mentioned 'having the guts to take on a villain'. After all, she hadn't succeeded in taking the villain down. What was effort without results? How many times had she plotted to run from home and failed? Only the last time mattered. Though Shun and Goro had arrived soon after, Mari was unable to contain herself anymore. Facing Hiroki and Azukina, Mari straightened up, her arms at her sides, and bowed deeply.
"Yomodachi-san, Sakimoto-san, I apologize for the altercation before the exam! I was ignorant! I just want to save people, but I know nothing at all about what it means to be a hero! I misread you, made assumptions, and said unkind things! I hope you can forgive my hubris and accept me as a fellow classmate, despite my inadequacies!" Mari declared, and stayed bowed, waiting for a response from Azukina and Hiroki, despite being in full view of Shun and Goro.