Azure Stag of the Lustful Forest

From DivNull RPG

Name: Azure Stag of the Lustful Forest
Gender: Male
Birthdate: 7 Ascending Fire 612
Height: 183 cm
Weight: 91 kg
Eye Color: Blue
Hair Color: Black
Skin Color: Tan
Caste: Serenity
Appearance:  ●●●●
Charisma:  ●●●
Dexterity:  ●●●●
Intelligence:  ●●●
Manipulation:  ●●●●
Perception:  ●●●
Stamina:  ●●
Strength:  ●●●
Wits:  ●●●
Compassion:  ●●
Conviction:  ●●●●
Valor:  ●●●●
Willpower:  ●●●●● ●●●
Essence:  ●●●●●
Paradox: 0
The Ewer: ●●
The Key:
The Lovers: ●●
The Mask: ●●
The Shield:
Athletics ●●
Awareness:  ●●
Bureaucracy:  ●●
Craft ●●
  Fate +0
Dodge ●●●
Endurance:  ●●
Investigation:  ●●
Linguistics ●●●
Lore:  ●●●
Martial Arts ●●●●●
Medicine:  ●●●●
Occult ●●
Performance ●●●●
Presence ●●
Resistance:  ●●●
Socialize ●●●
Stealth:  ●●
Survival:  ●●
Languages: High Realm, Low Realm, Old Realm, Riverspeak
Artifact: ●●
Manse: ●●●
Resources: ●●
Burn Life
Forgotten Earth
Ox-Body Technique
Optimistic Security Practice
Efficient Secretary Technique
Research Assistant Invocation
Force of the Mountain
Unmoving Mountain Stance
Stone Dragon’s Skin
Earth Dragon Form
Stillness of Stone
Earthshaker Attack
Blade of the Battle Maiden
Flight of Mercury
Joy in Adversity Stance
Secrets of Future Strife
Violet Bier of Sorrows Form
Life-Severing Blow
Metal Storm
Death-Parrying Stroke
Deadly Starmetal Offensive
Five Jade Fury
Flickering Moonsilver Approach
Orichalcum Sheathing Stance
Demesne Emulation Practice
God Ways
Earth and Sky Bargain
Invocation of the Storm-Following Silence
Peaceable Conclusion
Smooth Transition
Terminate Illness
Incite Decorum
Defense of Shining Joy
Red Haze
Shield of Mars
Stern Essence Replenishment

Azure Stag of the Lustful Forest (aka Stag) is a sidereal of the serenity caste played by Eva in the Forgotten Suns campaign.




{{#ifexpr: {{#ifeq: | Eswoboda | 1 | 0 }} or {{ #ifeq: | Wordman | 1 | 0 }} | The man who would become Azure Stag of the Lustful Forest came into the world in Yane, one of the Varang City States. In a society obsessed with astrology, his unusual horoscope was both a blessing and curse. Even the limited, mortal Varang astrologers recognized the unusual stellar alignments dominated by Venus, though naturally had no inkling that it meant he had been chosen by Serenity. Even so, determining his social position based on his horoscope (as is the Varang way) proved difficult, as his parents came from a lower caste (house servant) and the time of his birth placed him on a cusp between caretaker and bureaucratic service. To match this, he was placed into the bureaucratic service, with the understanding that he would be given responsibilities involving the civic handing of the dead. His low birth order (he had three older siblings) and common heritage placed him low in the pecking order within the bureaucratic families, a situation that became worse as his uncanny insights into the secrets of adults and peers began to show as he grew up. His good looks proved a dual-edged sword as he grew into adulthood, superficially pleasing to some but another reason to resent him to others.

By the time he finished school and started working, his reputation was such that he was given the worst position his caste would allow: apprentice to Odor as a Bell, a city official largely considered mad by pretty much everyone. Part medical practitioner, part alchemist, Odor as a Bell held two responsibilities. First, he dealt with any matters involving the living dead in the city, either as a threat or otherwise. Second, he investigated the cause of mysterious deaths among the citizenry. Originally given this last task because no one else thought it important, he proved a bit too good at solving a number of politically motivated poisonings, and was since barred from investigating higher caste deaths. Stag enjoyed working for Odor very much (though, at that time went by a different name, now forgotten), learning basic anatomy, a touch of the occult sciences and various techniques for investigation.

He exalted in his twentieth year. [Details of exaltation. Sidereals are born Chosen, unlike other celestial exalted, but they grow as mortals. Becoming fully Sidereal is dramatic but with few outward signs, occurring usually when the Chosen must make a fateful decision. This could involve some kind of danger, a momentous choice about the future or simply a child just about to break into adulthood. You need to decide what this was.] Upon becoming a Sidereal, he was promptly forgotten by all who new him as a mortal.

Quickly contacted by sidereals of the Bronze Faction (the group of Sidereals who engineered the betrayal of the solars and now secretly run the dragon-blooded empire), Stag was soon assigned his martial arts mentor (known as a sifu), another chosen of Venus named Ithak Miras. Stag trained for some time with Miras, learning the ways of the Sidereal and of heaven. Miras worked on the Blessed Isle, in the Imperial Palace itself, and Stag joined him there, assigned tasks to determine and arrange marriages between the great Imperial houses.

Playing the role of a mortal monk in the Immaculate Order, Stag caused quite a stir among the Imperial court, his good looks and unapproachable status (Immaculate monks are celibate) the topic of much idle gossip. At the suggestion of Miras, Stag took on this role under a resplendent destiny of the constellation of the Lovers, giving him a subtle undertone of lustful violence and fueling the gossip all the more. This persona, known as Flowing Pen (a name calculated to generate more than its share of double entendres), found arranging marriages between houses quite simple, particularly when dealing with women.

This life could (and would) have continued for centuries had Flowing Pen’s reputation as a matchmaker not attracted the attention of the Scarlet Empress. Impressed with his ability to arrange weddings that were not only politically shrewd but also seemed to result in genuinely happy, strong couples (and secretly curious about the source of all the gossip), the Empress summoned him to arrange a number of specific matches. Instantly smitten with the Empress, Stag managed to charm her as well. He saw through her explanations of why she wanted these particular matches to discern their true political importance and called her on it, raising her opinion of him further. Several more meetings followed, after which she attempted to seduce him. Though strongly tempted, he was so embedded in his role as “the hot guy no one can have” that he managed to resist. (It helped that, as an Immaculate monk, he ultimately served the Immaculate Dragons, powerful sprits that technically outrank the Empress.) This had the desired effect of making her want him even more.

Nearly a decade passed, a long, continuous dance of flirtation and increasing friendship and trust. At the same time, Stag’s relation with his sifu deteriorated. Miras, never approving of Stag’s growing closeness with the Empress, became increasingly sharp with him. One night, Miras returned from a liason with Mnemon, the matriarch of House Mnemon with whom Miras was rumored to be having an affair, visibly shaken. Upon seeing Stag, his disapproval almost immediately escalated into full hostility. He forbade Stag to take audience with the Empress any longer and began arrangements to have him transferred, but would provide no explanation as to why. The prospect of being separated from the Empress struck Stag much harder than he anticipated. He went to see her right away and informed her he was to be transferred. She, too, seemed more than usually troubled by the news. As they talked about it, helped along by ample quantities of wine, the more they realized they loved each other, too much so to be apart. They made love the rest of the night.

Fortunately for Stag, the wheels of bureaucracy move slowly, even (or, perhaps, especially) those of Heaven. The next day, while his transfer was being drafted for submission, Stag made a bold move, resigning from the Immaculate Order, sending a wave of tittering and plotting through the eligible (and not so eligible) women in the court. This was dispelled with an announcement from the Empress that Stag (actually, Flowing Pen) would be her consort “until indicated otherwise”.

This caused a great deal of consternation among the members of the court, but in none more so than Ithak Miras. Still drafting the transfer order, he realized that Stag’s actions put him in something of a conundrum. Normally, such insubordination would result in serious censure by the Bureau of Destiny. In this case, however, typical punishments would be extremely suspicious to the members of the Imperial Court and possibly expose the sidereals. In addition, any such action would risk offending the Empress, one of the few people whose cooperation with the sidereals was absolutely critical. Knowing this, Stag waited to see what Miras would do and was stunned when he simply retreated into a stack of research books and astrological work.

Within a week, however, Miras had vanished. Stag, fearing being censured, avoided the handful of other Sidereal’s in the palace while awaiting an investigation from heaven about Miras’s disappearance. Stag expected at least a replacement sifu to arrive to take Mira’s place, but none ever did. Stag spent years looking over his shoulder for impending punishment from the Bureau of Destiny. None came.

Meanwhile, he was enjoying life as Imperial consort. The Empress had an occasional cruel streak, sometimes even in bed, but he always enjoyed being with her. He continued to arrange marriages, but this time solely at the whim of the Empress, not the Bureau of Destiny, which served to greatly decrease the success of his efforts. Now known as a tool of the Empress, many began to question his motives, assuming they were being manipulated by the Empress.

After three years, a number of events occurred at more or less the same time, leading Stag to wonder which was cause and which was effect. The Empress began to question why she and Stag had not yet produced an heir. [Did the Empress know you were a sidereal?] This started as good-natured teasing, but became increasingly more aggressive.

One night, a spirit visited Stag’s dreams, inviting him to a meeting in one of the lower levels of the palace. Not sure what to think, Stag cautiously attended the next night. A man stepped out from the shadows, his coloring marking him as an old, earth-aspect dragon-blooded. Before introducing himself, the man said, “I know what you are. Please step out of your resplendent destiny. I don’t want to remember you or this conversation.” Stunned, you did as he said. He introduced himself as Mnemon Torbun and then said: “Creation needs your help. The Empress is not as she seems.” Stag attempted to speak, but Torbun cut him off. “You no doubt know the story of how the Empress turned back the Fair Folk after the Contagion, finding the manse buried beneath us, and the First Age weapons within. But have you ever wondered how she knew how to work them? Or how she even knew they were here? According to the story, she studied ancient texts to find out about them. In spite of this, no such texts have ever been found and even the origin of the story is questionable. After hundreds of years of trying, we now suspect that the book she read was the Broken-Winged Crane.”

Seeing Stag’s blank stare, he elaborated: “It is a book of immense evil said to be made from shadows. Those who read it learn how to get great power, but the price is their soul. This they sell to the one of the Yozis, who then owns them forever, particularly after their death. In return they become infused with the Yozi’s power, become an akuma. We believe the Empress read this book in return for knowledge of the weapons that threw back the Fair Folk and even now is tainted by the corruption of the Yozis. As you may imagine, this is not something House Mnemon condones.”

Torbun continued, asking Stag to try to somehow confirm his suspicions. Not knowing how to react, Stag simply nodded and Torbun left him to ponder in the dark.

The more Stag considered the idea, the more foolish he found it, thinking that House Mnemon may be plotting to depose the Empress. After a few days, he was considering mentioning the meeting to the Empress when Mnemon Torbun turned up dead. Officially, he had been killed by assassins of unknown origins. Many claimed they were part of the Cult of the Illuminated, while just as many suspected another Imperial house (possibly Nellens). Stag doubted all of these, however, as he secretly investigated the scene and, though the body was gone, it was clear it had been savaged by a strength far beyond mortals and possibly dragon-blooded as well. At least one limb had clearly been ripped off and Stag guessed that number of internal organs had been as well.

Immediately after this event, the Empress’ cruel streak surfaced strongly and often, leading Stag to suspect the Torbun’s story was true. The Empress began refusing her bed and rumors circulated she began having an affair with Oliran Drell, a bureaucrat who most considered an extremely competent dragon-blooded, but Stag knew was a Sidereal of Secrets. On those nights where he was allowed into the Imperial bed, Stag even began to fear for his own safety. Over the next few weeks, around sixty people mysteriously vanished from the Imperial Palace.

Not sure of what else to do, Stag knew of type of stone from his homeland that could record the dreams of a sleeping person. He managed to smuggle one into the palace and used it on the Empress as she slept. The next day he hid away and played the dreams back. Her dreams were a dizzying array of images from centuries of life: brutal war against endless hordes of Fair Folk, giving birth, sex, wielding weapons of incredible power, being cheered by tens of thousands of people, hideous monsters, a city of black steel with a green sun, the face of Chejop Kejak (the head of the Bronze Faction of the sidereals and the architect of the Immaculate Order, the Imperial religion), an endless precession of funerals. Within her dreams, plans seethed, moving the members of the Imperial houses against each other and other parts of the empire in an elaborate chess game. Under it all was an undercurrent of fear, fear that everything she built could crumble at any time.

Stag repeated this process each night he could and gradually began to notice something else. Hidden between the cracks of these images always lurked a swirl of malevolent darkness, as if the shadows cast by all things gathered to give solid form to evil. Stag could never quite see it, but once he noticed it, he could always feel it lurking there, coiled around her soul and he knew Torbun’s story was true. He planned to leave right away but as he gathered supplies for the trip, Oliran Drell entered. With a single look, Stag knew something was amiss with Drell. The green stars in his eyes glowed a sickly shade and he regarded Stag as one might look at a bug.

Stag attacked him right away. Drell managed to counter expertly. They traded blows and, though he landed a number of good shots, Stag was unconscious within a half a minute.

Stag awoke to screaming. Chained to a wall in dark stone cell, he saw others around him in a similar situation. He recognized some of them as people who had vanished days earlier. A continuous low hum filled the air. Every few minutes, guards would come take someone down from the wall and lead them out of the cell. More screams would be heard and the hum would change pitch slightly.

[Details of escape to come later.]

Free of his immediate captivity, Stag wandered through catacombs for days, searching for a way out. Nearly starved, Stag came to tunnel where the ground shifted as he walked on it. Realizing it was unstable, he turned around to go back, but the floor collapsed. He fell through, but was caught on what felt like the branch of a tree. As he looked around, he found himself in a large vaulted cave, glowing with a warm light and dominated in the center by a huge apple tree. He climbed down from the branches and explored further, discovering columns and other manmade designs, mostly out of marble, and realized he was in a manse. Expanding his senses, he realized that no one was attuned to the manse. He attuned himself, finding the hearthstone at the center of the tree’s branches. Stocking up on apples from the manse, he continued into the darkness.

[Some other stuff happens I’ll tell you about later. Eventually, you get out.]

Once out of the maze of tunnels, Stag considered going to Yu-Shan (the heavenly city) and reporting everything to the Bureau of Destiny, but then reconsidered. He had no real proof to speak of and could expect immediate censure for his earlier actions. He also was fairly sure that Oliran Drell had been corrupted just as the Empress was and where there is one, there may be many. He was not sure who he could trust. Added to it all, he was extremely disillusioned with his fellow Sidereals, with the Empress, even with the idea of love itself. He spent a good deal of time under a resplendent destiny of the Mask, hiding in plain sight and generally drinking excessively.

In-between bouts of drinking, Stag would occasionally try to find information about the Empress. He managed to find out a bit about the Broken-Winged Crane. Each time he found something, however, he hated himself for even looking, after he had been betrayed so badly. It wasn’t until news came of the Empress’ disappearance that he really focused. He immediately suspected that her disappearance was related to the Yozi who had a hold on her had abducted her to Malfeas. Regardless of her betrayal, leaving her to such a fate would be a hideous thing, especially since he was one of the few who even knew it was happening.

Stag first tried to find any indication if there may even be hope for redeeming the Empress. After all, it may be that she went to her Yozi voluntarily, though having seen her dreams, Stag thought she would try to get out of the deal if she could. Before too long, he uncovered the legend of Baradine. This legend of a redeemed solar who had been corrupted by the Yozis encouraged him that it may be possible to redeem the Empress as well. |}}



Some game mechanical goals.


Improvement Cost Spent Time Instructor Location
Flight of Mercury 8 8 self road
Violet Bier of Sorrows Form 8 16 self road
Essence to 3 16 32 self road
Earth and Sky Bargain 11 43 self road
Essence to 4 24 67 self road
Strength to 3 8 75 self road
Flickering Moonsilver Approach 10 85 self road
Five Jade Fury 10 95 self road
God Ways 10 105 self road
Demesne Emulation Practice 10 115 self road
Dodge to 1 3 118 0 hours self road
Dodge to 2 1 119 0 hours self road
Dodge to 3 3 122 0 hours self road
Athletics to 2 1 123 0 hours self
Life-Severing Blow 9 132 80 hours self
Metal Storm 9 141 80 hours self
Death-Parrying Stroke 9 150 80 hours self
Performance to 2 2 152 0 hours self mine
Performance to 3 4 156 0 hours self mine
Performance to 4 6 162 0 hours self mine
Defense of Shining Joy 9 171 32 hours self mine
Burn Life 9 180 32 hours self mine
Forgotten Earth 9 189 32 hours self mine
Deadly Starmetal Offensive 10 199 192 hours Hammer in the Woods Kether Rock
Orichalcum Sheathing Stance 10 209 192 hours Hammer in the Woods Kether Rock
Force of the Mountain 8 217 24 hours Sesus Alon Wira Kether Rock
Unmoving Mountain Stance 8 225 24 hours Sesus Alon Wira Kether Rock
Stone Dragon’s Skin 8 233 32 hours Sesus Alon Wira Kether Rock
Earth Dragon Form 8 241 32 hours Sesus Alon Wira Kether Rock
Stillness of Stone 8 249 40 hours Sesus Alon Wira Kether Rock
Earthshaker Attack 8 257 40 hours Sesus Alon Wira Kether Rock
Reducing 4 points of Paradox 0 257 100 hours self Kether Rock
Essence to 5 32 289 768 hours self Eastern Wyld
Dexterity to 4 12 301 576 hours Bristle the Flighty Eastern Wyld
Key to 1 5 306 144 hours self Eastern Wyld


Items of Note[edit]