Dire Death

 

Dire Death

Arryaleiana was raised in northern Ireland in the idyllic setting of De'Ineace. There were no raids by the IRA or counterattacks by the British here, no famine or poverty. Life was a picturesque view of green rolling hills and crystal streams flowing lazily through the woods. It was a land of milk and honey - and magic. De'Ineace was separated from the usual troubles of Ireland by the powerful magics of the fae who inhabited the town. It was idyllic because it went unnoticed, as reality turned a blind eye to the town because of the magic. De'Ineace was at both counts a freehold and a caern, and the changelings and garou lived in harmony there, intermixing their cultures and kinfolk.

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It was gently warm and the land was touched by the soft glow of Luna's rays on the evening Arry was born, first in a litter of five. Her brothers and sisters emanated their dire heritage, being black or red, yet even before being confirmed as the newest shapeshifter born into the Fianna tribe, Arry's difference was evident. Generations of intermingling Sidhe and Fianna kinfolk was the cause of her peculiar gleaming silver coat and likewise icy eyes: she reflected the moon above in all her glory. Gailen Cuilysihfaidh, pack beta, and his best friend, young Lord Eliam Eveningblade Fiona, attended her birth along with other kinfolk and garou, and Eliam was taken instantly by the pup's ethereal appearance, swearing that the black star mark upon her forehead - the only mar in her liquid-steel-colored fur - was a sign from Arcadia. He swore to Arry's garou brother Gailen on that day to be forever by Arry's side.

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Life proceeded smoothly, and two years flew by in a kaleidoscope of warm days spent in meadows and nights spent in the forest. One night Eliam and Arry were enjoying a playful game of chase through the forest when it happened: her joyous wolfsong was cut short, and Eliam stopped suddenly, realizing she was lost to him. Arry had been farther ahead, and suddenly she wasn't there at all.

He began calling out her name in earnest and began to commune with the trees around him, when out of the corner of his eye Eliam caught a glimpse of a massive silver beast hiding within the shadows. He paused for a moment in awe. The crinos stood at least 11 feet tall, and its silver coat reflected the moonlight like a beacon. She tilted her head up to the gibbous moon and let loose a howl so pure and heartrending in its glory that Eliam was enraptured with admiration for the crystalline sound. Before he could move, a pack of garou flooded through the woods and spirited Arry away. It was two weeks before she reappeared, freshly christened from her pack's Rites of Passage. She was a new being, neither wolf nor human, and that was both confusing and exciting for her.

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She found her companion in the courtyard of De'Ineace practicing with the swordmasters, his attention diverted: a perfect opportunity for a new game of hide and seek! A sleek young wolfess slipped into an open doorway, and a beautiful young woman slipped out. She stood there for an eternity within a minute watching the sidhe's unearthly grace and talent with a sword, and felt her voice catch within her throat. The setting sun was blazing red, the exact color of Eliam's long hair, and its crimson glow surrounded him in a fiery aura as it touched upon the horizon.

dire2.jpg (16387 bytes)It was at that same moment that Eliam swung around to charge a new opponent and caught his first glimpse of her. The setting sun ignited her silver hair with a prism of dazzling colors and cast her in a rosy hue. His heart pounded within his chest, and his sword clattered to the ground. He had never seen her walk as a human before, and yet he new who she was. From that day forth one was always at the other's side, through the courts of the Sidhe to the battles against the encroaching wyrm.

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village1.jpg (5835 bytes)village3.jpg (5881 bytes)Another two years passed, and Arry was barely 16 by human standards. On one overcast night a foul black portal opened into the courtyard of De'Ineace, not a league away from the heart of the caern. 


village5.jpg (4349 bytes)village2.jpg (5222 bytes)From its depths oozed and slithered the terrors of the Wyrm: formori, black spiral dancers, and a fearsome crawler with the power to rend reality asunder all poured into the town, shattering the purity and glamourous magic that was its foundation.

village4.jpg (6312 bytes)village8.jpg (8256 bytes)Arry's life changed forever on that night. She and Eliam fought back to back, desperately trying to protect their homes and families. The odds were doomed from the beginning. Arry watched as her beloved brother Gailen was struck down after tearing apart four black spiral dancers. The victorious whippoorwill yell of the wyrm-spawn drove her into a berserker frenzy, and she tore across the courtyard to her fallen brother's body. Faintly she heard her name carried by the wind as she viciously sought vengeance upon the corrupted creatures around her.

village6.jpg (7374 bytes)village7.jpg (6616 bytes)The nexus crawler which had appeared from within the umbral tear had retreated after being wounded, but not before destroying nearly every standing building and monument in De'Ineace. Her home had gone from a flourishing town to a graveyard in mere minutes. She and one lone theurge were the sole survivors of her pack. The Glimmering Heart Caern's lifeforce was corroding away as they stood there amongst a sea of corpses. The mighty stronghold of House Fiona had fallen, every knight killed; only stragglers who had had sense enough to hide had survived. Garou kinfolk, Sidhe kinain, their family lay mostly dead; those elderly or too young had been sent into the forest for protection.

Eliam was gone.

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Arry ran back to where she had left him, and only his flame-red hair allowed her to identify his body. He had been torn asunder, his own sword thrust through his back - the back she should have been guarding. The wail that tore from her throat echoed against the hills, and even the clouds in the sky parted to allow Luna to see what had happened.

His kinain would not allow Arry a funeral for her love, and infuriated by their customs, she decided it was time to leave the only home she had ever known. On her leaving De'Ineace, SpiritDancer presented her with the klaive holding her brother's spirit. It had been Gailen's wish that he be allowed to continue his fight against the wyrm in this form.

wsngbj34.jpg (23096 bytes)The next night, alone in the deep woods of Ireland, Arry dedicated the Grand Klaive in her brother's memory, swearing eternal vengeance for his death, for all their deaths. She set out from home, never to look back.

Pushing her thoughts of Eliam into the back of her mind, she roamed far and wide, eventually leaving Ireland to fight the wyrm across the world. She made alliances within other tribes and friends within other packs. Stories of her fierce dedication began to spread. Her talents as a Galliard were renowned from the alleyways of the Bonegnawers to the courts of the SilverFangs, spoken of as much as her prowess in fighting.

But she never found a new home. Eventually, disillusioned by the politicking and hypocrisy rife within garou society outside of De'Ineace, she declared herself a Ronin - the lone wolf separate from pack, sept, even tribe. And today this is where she finds herself: older, cynical, haunted by the oppressive despair of harano, and covered in scars she no longer feels. And deep within her heart - still hurting from the wounds of a long-ago night in Ireland.

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Arryaleiana - or DireDeath - is Fianna ronin garou, and Sidhe kinain by way of house Fionna. She is tall and slender. Her lithe body is powerfully sinewed with muscles born of good genes rather than from working out. In homid form she is almost six feet tall, her hair silver, her eyes silver-grey. In crinos she is nearly 11 feet tall. She is Gaelic caucasian in homid and dire in lupus.

Dire dresses very casually for practical reasons, typically in a T-shirt tucked into broken in and faded jeans, along with a pair of hiking boots and worn-soft retro leather coat which hits her near mid-thigh. She wears her slightly wavy and preternaturally silver hair usually back in a low ponytail or loose, hanging to her waist, except for the two small tribal braids framing her ivory-complected face, which are ever-present. She rarely wears makeup unless it is the pale blue, black and faun shades of warpaint. Her modest clothing covers a bevy of scars from past battles. Three thin, straight scars run from the bottom of her left jaw down across her neck; her right side and lower abdomen are jaggedly roadmapped by pale pink reminders of silver knives and others' claws. She walks with a slight limp from a silver bullet lodged in the head of her left hip.

Dire always wears seven small silver hoops in her left ear, and a primium and emerald Fianna earring in the right; these are visible in both her human and wolf guises. Crisscrossing her right forearm is a tattoo woven with blue, black and green into a Celtic eternity band; a similar thin tattoo encircles her head right at the hairline. Another tattoo, rarely visible to the public, starts at the back of her left shoulder, wraps itself around her and over her bosom, across the abdomen, and finally stops as it curves gently over the swell of her right hip. In vivid color it delicately depicts a scene within an enchanted forest inhabited by faeries and solves. Hidden among the flowers in this tattoo are the words "Tuatha de Fionn" in deep blood red.

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DireDeath gives her occupation as Ronin Galliard, Lorekeeper, and Warsinger.  Her goals, she says, are three:

direbult.jpg (1065 bytes)To protect Gaia with the last of my breath.

direbult.jpg (1065 bytes)To restore the Glimmering Heart Caern to its former glory.

direbult.jpg (1065 bytes)To live long enough to see my niece grow into the warrior she is destined to be.

Currently Dire suffers from extreme harano, a form of anguish and depression, which appears not to be receding. Her condition was worsened by her last battle, in which she was nearly crippled. There is no known cure for harano, and at present she seems only to be falling deeper into despair.

Dire is often lost in thoughts of the past, distant and aloof.  She spends hours on end singing dirges of sorrow for fallen companions which echo the pure anguish in her heart. Oftentimes her songs are without words for the true love she lost long ago and could not mourn, because of Sidhe tradition, with a proper funeral; to this day that sorrow lingers within her. What little she has left to treasure in life is quickly slipping away. When not overcome with ambivalence, her temper is short. She despises injustice and hypocrisy, and her sense of honor is a priority for which she would willingly lay down her life. Deep down she is warm and caring, cherishing all living things natural to mother Gaia. When things she loves are threatened she is fiercely protective, and her rage has no end.

Harano keeps her from getting too close to anyone, but she respects the strength of Stands in Darkness; cherishes the company of Moonshadoh and Amber; sees a reflection of her own impetuousness in Luc S'ndor; admires Lady Chantaclair's kindness; and understands the strangeness of Grendel Faust. Her only remaining family is her niece, Ityanais Cuilysihfaidh.

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direbult.jpg (1065 bytes) Dire is garou and possesses their basic characteristics. She has five forms, the ability to regenerate most injuries almost immediately, and increased powers of perception. Her true form incites delirium in normal humans. She easily rages, and has learned a substantial amount of magical gifts which make her a formidable opponent. She has more than a few fetishes and talens which aid her where her own magic leaves off. Also, as with other garou, she can traverse the umbra, and knows its quirks well.
direbult.jpg (1065 bytes) She has built deep relationships within several tribes including the Children of Gaia, the BoneGnawers, the Silver Fangs, the Stargazers, the Black Furies, and of course her own former tribe, the Fianna. She uses these connections when in desperate need of access to a caern. None so far have turned her away, remembering the garou she once was. Nonetheless, these are powerful contacts for any ronin garou to have when the all-out power of Gaia's heart is needed.
direbult.jpg (1065 bytes) Dire is a master swordsman and possesses a weapon many of her people could only dream of wielding. It is an immense grand klaive capable of inflicting amazing amounts of damage on supernatural creatures. The klaive is made of pure silver and imbibed with several spirits which empower it: a spirit of war for damage, a chimera to conceal the weapon's true state, and the spirit of her own brother to guide her vengeance.
direbult.jpg (1065 bytes) She is no stranger to the World of Darkness and understands the workings of the other supernatural breeds. She is an adept hunter of vampires. She keeps her primium earring to help foil mages. She generally respects other forms of lycanthropes, but knows many of their weaknesses. She does have an extensive understanding of and uncompromisable love for the fae, as she herself is changeling/Sidhe kinfolk. All of these combine to make her a very informed opponent or ally capable of preparing for any supernatural encounter.
direbult.jpg (1065 bytes) Despite her ronin status, she still maintains relations with two distinct factions within the Fianna tribe, the Tuatha de Fionn and the Children of the Dire. She still loves the Tuatha, but after the death of Eliam she couldn't bear being around those who would not allow her to mourn for him, so she became a voracious supporter of the Children, whose terrorist tactics allowed her many opportunities to vent her pain. Without revoking her ronin status she may still return to either of these encampments in a time of need, thus giving her access to both the frantically unpredictable and dangerous magics of the faeries and the all-out militant support of the volatile dires.

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direbult.jpg (893 bytes) Battle scars galore have been creeping up on her and are now a deterrent to her normal physical actions. Her limp has decreased her normal speed by half, and her dexterity is affected by the silver bullet still lodged within the bone. Her muscles and joints often ache with an early form of arthritis set on by the physical traumas she has endured.
direbult.jpg (1065 bytes) Though she is a master of many magical gifts and is intensely knowledgeable, Dire is not as magically potent as she once was. Because she carries a large amount of silver, she has less gnosis to draw on to empower her abilities. This is unavoidable, and she deals with it by increasing her fighting prowess.
direbult.jpg (1065 bytes) Harano. There is nothing worse than the dull ache of resignation. Inside her heart she is fighting a losing battle to keep her head above the swelling waves of sorrow and pain. Sometimes she feels that her anguish is all she has left; it is on these days that she is at her worst, almost morbid in the embrace of approaching death.
direbult.jpg (1065 bytes) As all garou know, Rage is both a bonus and a deterrent. Though it is that which fuels them in battle to protect Gaia, it can often get a garou in trouble - especially one with a short temper. Before going ronin, Dire was often reprimanded for being unable to keep a level head and control of her abilities. Embarrassment, humiliation, confinement, helplessness, strong emotions of lust, passion or envy, extreme hunger, or even being taunted or wronged can easily set her off into a maddened frenzy, at which time fight and flight are the only things she understands.
direbult.jpg (1065 bytes) She stepped willingly into the role of outcast, and now she is free from the hypocrisy prevalent within much of garou society. Being a pack animal, though, Dire often longs for a chance to swallow her pride and return to the fold of tribal life. Ronin are mostly looked upon with distrust and spite by other garou, and this only increases Dire's isolation. Gifts are harder to learn, assistance is not easily come by, and it is easy to fall from the path of righteousness when alone.

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