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24 May 2012
Uncharitable Intentions
1050, Late AutumnAraphen burned.

Pillars of smoke supported the sky from the ground, marring the tranquil blue that colored a Lycian afternoon. It could be that they were once great columns that rose heavenwards, but now they were as streams, thin contrails of black that spoke of remembered fires and forgotten battles. The city still stood, visible even from the distance, but it was clear that Araphen was not as it once was.

Although capable of it, the Sacaen horsemen had not employed massive fire stratagems that set Araphen ablaze, save the flame that the invaders set to the keep, now a pile of ash, so it was said. Nevertheless, the invasion ensured that the fires of Araphen's lamps, fireplaces, and industries were left unattended under the oppressive threat of wars, and a stray spark was all that needed to ensure that entire patches of the city burned. The rain eventually eased the blazes, but embers still glowed amongst ashes, testament to a city that once stood proud. It remained largely intact, and those who didn't flee and survived the first onslaught definitely remained as residents under occupation, but it was still a bleak reminder of the price war demanded.

This, Strawberry could tell even from a distant town of the fiefdom, where Araphen was merely a line on the horizon.

It was well and good that the countess' contacts included smugglers, who revealed paths that wedged through Lycia and Sacae. Any other paths - from the north or south - would've meant running into roaming Sacaen warbands undoubtedly feeling inhospitable with a war going on, or into the war itself that had spread down to Tuscana and beyond. The year had not gone so much that the mountains were unbearably cold, and that would likely remain the case on the return trip, if they chose not to just take the southbound river trip from Tuscana after stealth was no longer as relevant.

When her team - two mercenaries accompanying herself - had emerged from the northern peaks, their first stop was a village northwest of Araphen that had been sacked and subsequently abandoned. A distant glance gave credence to the likelihood that its former inhabitants had fled a town that looked like carnage incarnate had descended upon it, and that its conquerors had moved onto the more attractive target of Tuscany after ascertaining there was no strategic value in holding an inconsequential town. From behind the main line of resistance at Tuscana, the team had a certain freedom to roam and gather information, unimpeded by entire invasion armies...so long as they were careful.

It was from the forgotten, neglected ruins of an Araphen town that they'd move and watch, wary of all signs of movement and armies, listening for any news of the progression of the war, and seeing with their own eyes exactly how both belligerents were coping with the war, and what gains there could be had if an outside force were to intervene.


Several Days Earlier
Highcastle, Etruria

"For once, I don't have to travel in a circle around the country to find you."

"For an intelligence agent, you're awfully hardworking."

"For a countess, you're awfully hard to find."

Such were the words of greeting between Strawberry Precia Lunafell and Damien Ericsson, the first exchange between them in months as the latter was introduced into the former's office. Throwing a curling swath of hair pulled to the side over his shoulder, the young man comfortably settled himself into the seat on the other side of Strawberry's desk. She didn't mind; the years had afforded a sense of familiarity between them in their long-running working relationship. Damien himself was a Highcastle native, and served as one of Strawberry's primary intelligence assets during Helter's Rebellion, having held that position since the very beginning. Since then, they've both moved onto bigger and better things, with the countess securing her position back home to the point where she was almost unassailable from within, and the scout-spy having found a way to whisper into the queen's ear from behind closed doors.

"What's the word?" asked the countess even as she gave a familiar wave to the butler who had shown Damien in; it was afternoon and a good time for tea for both of them.

Damien gave a little smile, but still managed to express a bit of concern in his own way while staying meticulously on business. "I trust your recovery from an assassination attempt hasn't blinded you to a Sacaen invasion?"

"Araphen was sacked. I've heard," the countess replied coolly. The weeks she had spent recovering from an "assassination attempt" - which had actually been her struck by a poison arrow that had been meant for Sahne - eventually saw the recovery of her magic, and Strawberry was fairly confident that she could cast her light magic adequately and at full power once more. It was better to test it under pressure as soon as possible, though. "Does her Majesty wish for a menage a trois?"

Although he successfully suppressed a chuckle, he couldn't resist the grin that twisted his lips. "That depends on you. As things stand, the situation in Lycia is chaotic, and intelligence on the ground is poor. Her Majesty wishes to change that so certain deliberations and lobbies may be..." he tapped his chin in thought twice, concluded, "...considered."

"And she needs more than just spies," she nodded in understanding. She understood the politics behind it: Any action on part of the queen would be military in nature at potentially ripe targets. Etruria had no feud with Sacae, but the horsemen of the plains had been alarmingly active and powerful as of late, demonstrated by their swift invasion of Lycia. Etruria could use the monarchy in its debt...although crushing Lycia in the meantime could effectively remove any doubt of Etrurian dominance on the continent. But perhaps simply staying out of it would be easier to accomplish that, even if thoughts of conquest didn't enter the brainstorm. Definitive information on such scenarios were obviously needed to make such a decision. "If we're committing, it's going to be with armies. You need a military eye for that."

"One eye, it seems," Damien agreed, then looked at Strawberry's blindfold with lazy amusement. "Or perhaps more."

Strawberry sighed, but she didn't actually seem too irritated. "Funny how competence means being saddled with side jobs."

The spy grinned once more. "The Mage General was said to have sent a report back to the queen about your, ah, 'acceptable performance'. The capital did not fail to take her usual ego into consideration with those words." The humor slipped a bit as he remarked with a bit more familiarity, "Although I suspect her Majesty is more interested in your ability to contact the underworld to secure some degree of plausible deniability."

But Strawberry merely shook his head even as there was a knock on the door, followed by the butler returning with a tea set elegantly aligned on a silver tray, moving over to the countess' desk and quickly setting the proper utensils and fineware before the two, then proceeding to pour some of the tea into their cups. "No one's being fooled. Lycia and Sacae will be expect spies from everywhere else to see where they stand. I may as well get some practice in the meantime, given how long I've been out." She flexed her arm, the one that had been injured; despite the poison, some of Etruria's best healers had made sure that even the scar would eventually fade. Pinning Damien with a stern, one-eyed glance, humor was gone from her voice as she muttered, "Any preferences I should be aware about?"

Damien shrugged. "The usual suspects remain where they stand."

The sigh the countess expelled this time had a more irritated tone to it. "Then I need to take care that Bishop Marks doesn't hear of my involvement, just in case." Critique of Bishop Martin Marks' "extremism" extended to the belief that more "aggressive" methods of conversion should be employed, and more daring, liberal nobles had accused him of wishing to start a religious crusade. Regardless of whether or not that was what the church wanted, the bishop would undoubtedly sleep with warm and fuzzy feelings at heart if the Etrurians can "encourage" the "savages of Sacae" that only Saint Elimine was to be worshiped.

"His support for Lycia has been very loud of late," agreed the spy, quietly thanked the butler as he finished setting up the tea sets and bowed out.

"Always good to know," Strawberry muttered even as she swiveled in her seat, leaning back against it and taking a sip of her tea in quiet thoughtfulness, looking out the window and beyond.

It was only fitting that the window, looking to the east, also gave her a view in the general direction of Lycia, their war-ravaged destination.


Present Day
Araphen, Lycia

The ruins of town gave Strawberry a feeling of security; the Sacaen occupation of Araphen was some distance away, and it was unthinkable to assume that even their horse archers could see individuals on the prairies of Lycia from such a distance, but any amount of walls and housing - crumbled or not - was an extra obstacle that ensured they would not be detected, even though three-man teams were difficult to find to begin with. Despite the carnage, the environment wasn't an assault on her nostrils; the fires here had been smaller and had been put out quickly when the rain came, and that the soldiers were recalled to defend Araphen proper meant no slaughter ever took place here, just a quick sacking. Therefore, no smoke, no overwhelming smell of dead bodies.

Glancing at her companions, Strawberry assessed how they were reacting to the situation. The familiar Sahne had remained even after their unpleasant episode in Karlport, and had been available for summons when the time to embark on their mission for Lycia had come. The rapport of familiarity was comforting, and - if their short stay on the Western Isles campaign was any indicator - Sahne was solid even in the face of full warfare, and not just bushfire covert operations. A less familiar face, however, was Rayner Redhowling, whom Strawberry decided to hire after ascertaining that his swordplay was definitely of Sacaen origin despite not being of the plains himself. The countess wasn't entirely sure where the red-haired Swordmaster's sympathies lay in this conflict, but it was likely that he had an insight into Sacaen culture that Strawberry - largely only familiar with the "civilized" world - was not privy to. His reliability needed to be ascertained, but - at the very least - the countess was certain his swordplay was top-notch.

"Anyone could be around here," the countess spoke as they settled into the quiet streets of town, catching their breath after having seen the first sign of civilization - ruined as it was - following their mountain trek. "Remember, we're neutral here, so diplomacy before violence." With any luck, they could get out of any confrontations with assurances that they weren't sympathizers for anyone, although Strawberry certainly wasn't risking any lives over this. "Unless it looks like they're not interested in talking it over." She paused, then wryly remarked, "I'm really not expecting otherwise."
10 Aug 2011
Name: Mana
Title: None
Age: N/A (appears 15)
Gender: Female
Place of Birth: N/A
Nation: N/A
Zodiac: Aries
Blood Type: B

Class: Manakete
Level: 1
Weapon Levels: Dragonstone (E)

Weapons: Click Here To Show/Hide This Text
Dragonstone: Astral
Lightningstone Short - Featherslayer, Sonic
Transforming into a fast-moving dragon, the electricity that bolts from Mana's maw sends near-paralyzing jolts through the air, especially dangerous to flying targets, while using a supersonic wave to assault the ears of those nearby, disorientating them just slightly with some sensory pain.

Height: 145cm / 4'9
Weight: Not Telling
Hair: Platinum Blond, Straight and Wavy, Shoulder Blade-Length
Eyes: Gold, Wide, Vibrant
Skin Tone: Light
Build: Slight
Mana is, quite simply, small. Although relative human age had never been a good basis on measuring the proportionate lifespan or physical appearances of the long-lived dragon, Mana resembles something of a vertically-challenged young girl, looking very thin, petite, and tiny. Fortunately, she doesn't seem malnourished, and although not muscular or very athletic-looking, still has the appearance of a young, hyperactive youth ready to explode into excited action at any moment. Supporting this expression of enthusiastic childish energy is a mop of unruly platinum blond hair that extends just a bit beyond the shoulders, with locks of hair almost randomly straight and wavy at the same time, complementing wide, excited gold eyes, a combination that provides an expression worthy of a restless, impressionable, and chipper young girl.

In dragon form, Mana is a curious specimen even amongst dragons; although there are some variations dependent on the specific transformation on her dragonstone, her body looks more like a chimerical amalgamation. A slender, whitish body with reptilian-like scale is interwoven with long, thick hair across the back and mane which often bristle with electricity. A tremendously long and thick tail deceptively gives the impression that Mana's form is snake-like, although the fore of her body contains all four clawed legs with proportions remarkably like a pegasus, complete with draconian wings. The wings themselves are fairly small for a dragon, logically incapable of allowing such a body to actually fly, so it is suggested that the electrical charges in the body are actually the main propellent for the dragon. The streamlined form allows for remarkably faster fight, but also provides more surface area that Mana must defend from attacks should the situation devolve into combat. Although certainly small by draconian standards, that is certainly relative and certainly does not say much about a body that, even when excluding the extremely long tail, is slightly larger than a battle wyvern.

With little concept of human aesthetic norms and perception on modesty, and not having had any clothes as a dragon, Mana has never fully understood clothing, and although she acknowledges it as a fair way to stay warm in certain climates, she can otherwise be found wondering why everyone else insists that people wear clothing when the weather is excellent. When not actually dressing in a mismatched manner, such as wearing a skirt as a top and a shirt as trousers, Mana is generally not particular about what she wears, and can generally be found with a simple blouse, skirt, and apron combination, complete with a traveler's cloak.

Although her age is ambiguous and her appearance suggests that she's merely a child, Mana is likely to have exceeded the chronological age of most human adults, if not most human lifespans, which, for better or for worse, has absolutely no bearing or indication on her personality. Naive, innocent, cheerful, and excitable, Mana is largely an endearing young girl if not for a few other traits that balance out her virtues, being mildly self-centered, lazy, careless, inattentive, and otherwise prone to being greatly distracted or causing destruction and mayhem. Although sometimes a bit bratty and sometimes having childish issues over how she should treat other people, Mana is largely well-meaning, remaining optimistic and expectant of the best in others, and is rarely capable of malice of any kind aside from the usual mischief and pranks. A significant part of her personality, and the primary reason why she decided to explore Elibe, is her obsession with desserts, especially ice cream.

Not having been known as a particularly intellectual or thoughtful dragon, Mana certainly doesn't gain any favors from a new world with a culture, history, background, and context that remains a massive question mark for her, a question mark which, for better or for worse, she ignores in her single-minded pursuit for fun, games, adventure, and ice cream. Studies and academics bore her, and while she's impressed with knowledge, Mana also has little patience for them and, aside from more hot-tempered and rebellious moments, freely concedes that she's not particularly bright or good at thinking. As an airhead, she truly has some fairly idiotic moments, and is prone to divorces from common sense in extremities. At the same time, her unclouded, innocent mentality, childish mood swings aside, often allow Mana to see things as they really are, unimpeded by periphery concerns, which may also go to explain her inability to concentrate on more than two things at once or multitask when concentrating on one thing at a time is difficult enough.

Although genuinely well-meaning and generally friendly, Mana sometimes possesses the self-centered insensitivity of a young child, not because of an overinflated opinion of self, but largely out of the immaturity of her empathy and understanding of others. As such, it is not uncommon to see her making life difficult for others without ever actually realizing it. Her choices are generally snap decisions, made without any real thought or consideration to either logic or emotion, merely based on instant impulse. Unsurprisingly, this often lands her into trouble, whether due to poor decisions or offending others, but aside from possible regret, Mana nearly has an almost-childish incapacity to learn from her mistakes, resolving instead to move onto the next phase of a very long life. She is also remarkably comfortable with socializing with others, although her treatment of them may vary depending on context and first impressions, and has no problems attempting to initiate first contact. Conversely, it is difficult to get her to change the way she already stubbornly treats a certain individual.

Mana's laid-back, happy-go-luck, and otherwise remarkably lazy behavior is mildly offset by an instinctive talent in combat. Although she has not entirely grasped the concept of the morality of inflicting harm upon another, nor does she often fight with malicious intent, Mana enjoys the thrill of the adrenaline rush of combat, seeing them more as the equivalent of a playful schoolyard scuffle than a fight for one's life, and rarely takes such seriously from an emotional context. As such, she enjoys almost toying with her opponents, and applying overwhelming force that can often only be found by a dragon. Her lightning similarly fits her combat style, a rapid, unrelenting series of fast-striking attacks. Likewise, however, Mana's lightning also effectively her haphazardness in combat; it is not uncommon for her to not pay attention to where many of her attacks are going, and, as a result, friendly fire, collateral damage, and near-misses are frequent, if not almost guaranteed, whenever she takes to battle.

With practically no knowledge or care about Elibe culture, politics, or religion, Mana shares virtually no political or religious views, and it seemed that none were carried over from the other side of the Dragon Gate, if she had any to bring over in the first place. She is, on a theoretical level, aware of the wariness of her kind towards making their existence known again, and tries to keep her actual identity a secret whenever she can actually remember or bother with the mentality. Still, she seems to show a large degree of apathy towards having to keep her dragon heritage under wraps, if she is aware of this on a fundamental level at all.

What was known was that Mana came from the world beyond the Dragon Gate on the island of Valor; what was not known was how she arrived in Elibe. Most stories suggested that she was not a dragon that had been displaced by the conflict that the dragons had become embroiled in on the other side of the Dragon Gate, but such sources were also in disagreement of whether she had been interested by the mass exodus of dragons fleeing to the world they had once come from and simply followed along, or if she had simply gotten lost and wound up in Elibe somehow. The rift between theories would've been easily closed had Mana herself provided an answer of any sort, so it was likely that she was either too distracted to answer such a question, or had simply forgotten or not been aware of the answer herself. What did lend credence to a few theories, however, was Mana's proclaimed and demonstrated obsession and addiction with ice cream. When the first manaketes who had ventured out to the world beyond to ascertain the conditions of humankind finally returned, they told of tales of human cultures and products, but Mana was far more interested in the food they had to offer, and was especially entranced by the stories of ice cream, sweet, delicious, milky desserts of cold, flavored cream, melting in the mouth with rich aromas with every bite. Completely ignorant and inattentive of warnings that the world outside might not be accepting of dragons, Mana swiftly left the island of Valor herself with a handful of other remarkably curious dragons, her goal to sample each and every flavor of ice cream in existence.

1050, Early Spring - Girls With Dragonstones Are Larger Than They Appear

7 Aug 2011
(Profile picture of Strawberry Precia Lunafell is credited to the player. Sidebar picture is credited to Viceman B.)

"If God had intended for magic to be used for purposes of peace and prosperity, he renounced that claim when he gave me the ability to burn smoldering holes into the chests of my foes from half a kilometer away."
—Strawberry Precia Lunafell

Name: Strawberry Precia Lunafell
Title: Countess Lunafell of Highcastle
Age: 26 (born Early Autumn, 1023)
Gender: Female
Place of Birth: Etruria
Nation: Etruria
Zodiac: Virgo
Blood Type: AB
Voice Actor: Park Romi

Class: Invoker
Level: 20/4
Weapon Levels: Light (A 1/5), Seraph (D)

Weapons: Click Here To Show/Hide This Text
Light Intermediate - Rapid Cast, Solar
Strawberry's primary means of conventional offense, Arios fires off quick, rapid, and repeated salvos of reasonably powerful beams from her hands, burning with enough intensity to make swift work of both flesh and armor. Due to the number of beams that can be conjured within a moment, it is difficult to avoid a barrage entirely unscathed, and also provides a decent psychological effect of shock and awe due to how many beams can be seen in the air in an instant.

Light Intermediate - Homing, Artillery
An offensive spell dedicating to sniping the enemy from a distance, it is perfect for engaging foes and inflicting reliable damage without giving an opponent a chance to counterattack. Two magical halos temporarily appear in tandem at Strawberry's wrist and elbow, which act as both aim assistance and target indicators. Once properly aimed, a powerful beam is fired at a faraway target with astounding accuracy, having a range comparable to siege weaponry or ballistas. The beam itself travels at the speed of light, so targets, incapable of moving beyond subluminal speeds, are almost entirely dependent on the caster's aiming error or their own luck to avoid the attack if Strawberry has a clear shot.

Light Intermediate - Close-Range, Permanence
For close-range combat, Strawberry can cast Exia, forming a blade of magical light from her hand. It has properties that rival an actual sword in close-range combat, able to parry other weapons or, in some cases, cut through them. Although it is weightless and extremely fast, the energy required to maintain the blade and the physical motions required to move it can tire out the caster. Of important note is that Exia is a weightless magical blade working fundamentally differently from physical swords, and mastery over the spell in no way implies mastery over usage of actual swords.

Seraph Creature - Battle Mount, Refresh, Solar
Summoning a mystical white horse with a sickle-like horn jutting out from its forehead, the Unicorn is a semi-magical mount that acts as a swift form of transportation for Strawberry. Its arcane nature provides the ability to revitalize Strawberry's energy reserves, which not only allows her to ride faster and harder than most summoned mounts, but also allows her to cast spells when needed. When needed, the Unicorn can cast a beam of light magic from its horn, creating a beam of great burning heat upon the enemy.

Light Intermediate - Area of Effect, Pulsate
An emergency defensive spell, Danmaku creates large curtains of glowing particles in the air, harmful and increasingly volatile, meant to discourage pursuit and place a barrier of deterrence between Strawberry and any approaching foe. The particles are thickly concentrated enough to ensure that no human can pass through unscathed, and stands a chance of knocking arrows or smaller summons out from the air. Although Danmaku has a limited duration of effect, the pulsating particles provide enough time to discharge consecutive waves of energy, giving Strawberry valuable time to execute her next move.

Light Intricate - Refresh, Aura, Sanctuary
Projecting a temporary field centered around herself, Strawberry can replenish the expended energy of spellcasters near her, including herself, which offsets the energy that would otherwise be required to cast the spell. It also provides temporary immunity to allies with a protective field, negating all attacks for just a few moments. The spell distinguishes ally from enemy, and will not provide foes with any of the benefits, even if they are within the field.

Height: 183 cm / 6'
Weight: Not Telling
Hair: Strawberry Blond, Slightly Wavy, Waist-Length
Eyes: Gold (left eye; right eye color unknown), Sharp, Mysterious
Skin Tone: Light
Build: Slender
A tall, striking figure, Strawberry looks every inch of a mature, elegant woman; willowy while enjoying the advantage of height, her skin takes a lighter shade common amongst Etrurians, while her more feminine curves are existent but subdued. While making her look lanky and deceptively taller than her already impressive height, her body is well-toned and decently built without looking evidently muscular, giving her an lithe, mildly athletic build different from most magic-users. Likewise, her more feminine curves are definitely present, but decidedly unpronounced. Luxurious strawberry blond hair wave gently down, to her chest in the front and to her waist in the back, with locks of her hair lazily coming down across her face, its color the source of her much-despised name. Her sharp left eye of gold stand out in particular, and the right eye is covered by a metallic eyepatch with a red frame, a connecting strap looping around Strawberry's head. Although certainly attractive, striking, and poised, she exudes an air of coldness, arrogance, and distance, making her seem inapproachable.

Strawberry's preferred clothing, largely a shade of violet so dark they're almost black, largely consists of decidedly gender-neutral personal robes fitted smartly to elegantly give the semblance to a trenchcoat, although with certain design aspects that give it traits analogous to the magic-users of Etruria, such as long sleeves that widen and loosen at the sleeves. The inner layer of her robes forms a turtleneck at the top, but, due to a trick of clothing design, comes out to look almost like a stole that ends with the rest of the hem at the knees, the emblem of a single left wing, Strawberry's personal sigil, sewn into the left flap. An actual plain vestment is wrapped around her neck and comes down the center-front, coming to the end at the top of her legs, and a modest but long cape reaches just below the knees in the back. She also wears trousers that are tucked into a long pair of white boots, and a duet of belts crisscross over all else around her waist. Armor plates protecting her left shoulder and dominant arm are elegantly curved outwards, and evokes the impression of a single left wing. Dark, full-armor gauntlets coat her left hand, its fingers curved sharply into what almost seems like claws to provide a somewhat intimidating appearance; the right hand may or may not also be protected by an identical gauntlet.

Effortlessly confident and arrogant, Strawberry Precia Lunafell gives an impression of proud aloofness, insufferable and inapproachable even by appearance alone with her perpetually unamused expression or scowl. Armed with both an infuriatingly quick wit, a snappish choice of vocabulary, an incredibly sharp intellect, and a great capacity for violence, Strawberry bears no pretensions that she possesses a winning set of talents that few men can dream of, much less have, and has historically been very pragmatic and ruthless with her assets. Although a personal opinion is generally not the best source of objectivity, she is generally of the belief that she is realistic of her capabilities, and merely unpleasant, not harboring an overinflated opinion of herself. She is also a mess of contradictions; Strawberry is typically impatient but prefers long-term plans and spurns hastiness, typically lazy but can achieve monumental workloads, and typically arrogant but surprisingly accepting and detached towards unfavorable outcomes. On a similar vein, she can also be kind, rewarding, and beneficial, despite her best attempts to brush that impression off.

A combination of naturally-gifted faculties, a quiet enthusiasm towards learning, and the best education that could be afforded by overzealous Etrurian noble parents has provided Strawberry with a most impressive intellect, which she develops and hones whenever possible. Unlike many of her contemporaries, however, she sees academic achievement not as a sign or stepping stone to social achievement or political standing, but merely a process to better oneself, a philosophy that sometimes contributes to her apparent sloth, running contrary to the hopes of her family that she put those achievements to use in the political and social arenas. Still, Strawberry often uses intellectual capacities to judge the worth and temperament of an individual, and can be arrogantly condescending or even dismissing of individuals who don't quite meet what she considers to be the most base of standards. Although very learned in many sciences, some of which are not even within the standard purview of Etrurian nobility, much of Strawberry's knowledge is focused on magic, military, and political fields of study.

A product of the Etrurian political system, Strawberry can be unnecessarily brooding, cunning, and scheming, weighing decisions in the manner of a politician or strategist. Combined with what often seems like laziness and indifference, it is not unfair for the uninformed to assume that she is often bureaucratic or even petty. However, although very much politically-minded and attentive of the profit-loss ratio in her decisions, Strawberry is no stranger to acting out of conscience or morality, preferring to abide by decisions she can live with, and is generally capable of demonstrating or expressing significant acts of kindness for no personal gain, although she also goes to certain lengths to maintain her reputation as an insufferable genius and schemer. On the other hand, however, she can be genuinely merciless and nasty, willing to partake in "dirty business" with observable signs of wrath and sadism if enraged or if she feels it is sufficiently justified. Strawberry particularly values benevolence and loyalty, and can go out of her way to reward those who display such. She also hates her given name, and would generally prefer to be called Luna, Lunafell, Precia, or any other acceptable name or nickname that isn't Strawberry; she has kept the name largely out of filial obligation, but retaliation at being called such despite warnings has not been unheard of.

Giving the impression of something of a social recluse, Strawberry is largely conscious of information on herself as opposed to being extremely passive, and often has little patience for social norms commonly accepted by Etrurian high society, doing nothing to help her already inapproachable reputation. As such, few people know anything about her beyond reputation despite being a fairly influential noble of her nation. Her forays have been more militarily-focused, and while she prefers to remain a strategist figure, Strawberry is not at all adverse to taking to the field herself, and indeed shows perhaps more enthusiasm than is expected of a noble at the prospect of inflicting violence, although perhaps that is merely a byproduct of proud confidence in her abilities. Natural talent and the honing of skills from a young age has given her considerable gifts at magic which she uses to confident and devastating effect; she was literally raised by parents wanting her to become Mage General, a position Strawberry herself has little care for.

Despite coming from the homeland of the faith of St. Elimine, Strawberry shows no definite sign that she is religious or otherwise; she is noted to forgo religious ceremonies or services, although the same could be said about many other social gatherings. In fact, her status as a fairly powerful noblewoman involved with the armed forces almost naturally gives her more socially liberal viewpoints, which is not always well-received by political traditionalists in Etruria, whenever Strawberry bothers with them. In fact, one could suspect that she has a mild, subdued contempt for the Etrurian government as a whole, although she does not seem to have any clear beliefs on matters of state.

Strawberry Precia Lunafell was firstborn to the count and countess of House Lunafell, an influential Etrurian aristocratic family holding the fief of Highcastle, in 1023. According to herself, she was born with full, long locks of strawberry blond hair to parents who had expected a much-desired male firstborn after having believed in an omen interpreted by the church, and Count and Countess Lunafell, not feeling particularly creative in their disappointment and not having had the foresight to contemplate the possibility their church just might have been wrong about the child's gender, bestowed upon the baby the name she would live to carry out of filial obligation but subsequently loathe. The Lunafells had hoped that a son would be raised to become a prodigy at magic and warfare, and eventually be elevated to the position of Mage General to consolidate House Lunafell's influence over the Etrurian military; although their firstborn was a daughter instead, the Lunafell parents were not one to sequester their children when they could be of use, and forced their agendas and hopes onto Strawberry anyways, never once considering that it could be something she didn't want or care for. The overbearing expectations she experienced from a young age and the teasing from her peers she endured over her name formed the basis of a cold, confrontational, defensive, snappish, and unpleasant personality.

Raised with much care but little love, Strawberry was the heir to Lunafell conveniently tucked away from outside influences the family didn't desire, to be called upon to fulfill the obligations of her family name only when necessary. Often treated more like a heirloom than an actual person, she was constantly tested, watched, and scrutinized, and even as a very young child, Strawberry was distant and guarded, lonely and brooding. It worked out in her favor that she preferred to hole up somewhere others couldn't see her, and enjoyed reading and learning when doing so, for the Lunafells had put Strawberry through an impossibly intensive academic regime as early as possible. Everything about her life was carefully arranged and done for a purpose: Her academics prepared her for the role her parents wished for her to take, her schedule was arranged solely to accommodate that objective, and even her playmates imposed upon her by her parents were selected for the purpose of cultivating ties between powerful noble houses of Etruria. Strawberry herself hated the playmates, nearly all of whom alienated her for being "different" by virtue of being more intelligent, and only stopped bullying her because she learned to physically fight back with astounding ferocity; while she it was possible could've been good swordswoman material, such was not to be, for the Lunafells planned for her to be Mage General, nothing else.

While not entirely emotionally-stunted, Strawberry learned to develop a great sense of apathy and indifference very early in life, remaining detached to many a thing: When her mother died giving birth to a sister in 1029, a six-year-old Strawberry could not recall shedding tears or even wanting to cry, registering it only as the passing of a person that had been in her life for a few years. For all she could tell, her family seemed to register the death in similar ways as well, for Count Lunafell swiftly remarried in hopes of producing another heir, and life went on. The younger sister who survived, Adele Kristen Lunafell, grew to be the only family member Strawberry was close to, perhaps because everyone understood that, as a second daughter, Adele's prospective options in the grand design of Etrurian politics was limited, and despite eventually growing to be a capable and intelligent lady, she was considered to be of no political threat to anyone within the family or out of it. But aside from her younger sister, Strawberry remained her usual, distant, indifferent, standoffish, and emotionally-repressed self.

Reinforcing this point was an incident when she was only eight years of age, and while Strawberry doubted her young, angry self even remembered what happened or why it happened at the time in her rage, she knew that she had once killed a young commoner boy of the same age in a fit of anger within the forests of Highcastle. It was fortunate that no one had been present to see the murder, that Strawberry was the daughter of the Count of Highcastle, that the victim was a common boy of a proletariat family, and that the first person to arrive on-scene was on a Lunafell payroll. The victim's body was taken far from Highcastle to be disposed, the entire incident was buried, and the proper alibis were prepared. As far as anyone else knew, a young common boy had suddenly disappeared and never showed up once more; Strawberry herself was intimidated by her father into forever maintaining her silence on the matter, not that any real case could ever have been built against a count's daughter by a commoner. But if the incident itself wasn't enough to unsettle her, Strawberry was more disturbed by the fact that she wasn't as disturbed as she would've otherwise thought she'd be, causing her to gradually transform into a mass of complexes. The event that served to complicate her also mellowed her in unintended ways; one could suspect that this was the point in life where Strawberry began to pursue her own definition of morality, as well as her own definition of self-worth, where she began to see herself less than a took and evaluate herself as a person.

Although the Lunafells wanted to provide her private tutoring in magic from as early as Strawberry could fluently speak, more reasonable figures were there to advise such education at a slightly older age. Still, her formal education in the area of magic began when she was almost nine, more than a year younger than the recommended minimal age by which prospective Etrurian magic-users should start learning. This occurred in the same year when her younger brother, Desmond Sirius Lunafell, was born in 1032, fulfilling the Lunafell family wish of having a son. Years of enthusiastic studying habits, a strong interest in the field of magic, genuine talents in the arcane, and a near-sociopathic aversion to interacting with those she didn't need to proved to be an advantage for a natural prodigy. Unlike the majority of Etrurian magic-users, Strawberry was trained specifically in the art of light magic, still a respectable branch of magic, seemingly preferring a strategy of offense that befitted her personality. The private and intense tutoring persisted for years in hopes of building a strong foundation upon which to develop professionally, and by the time House Lunafell sent her to the Etrurian capital of Aquleia for formal tutelage in the magical arts in 1036, Strawberry was already more accomplished in the magical arts than her peers.

Arriving in Aquleia marked a significant change of pace for a thirteen-year-old Strawberry, who found herself surrounded by individuals with "any iota of intelligence", a wealth of information and knowledge, and the continent's academic concentration of magical studies, and she wasted no time in integrating herself into the new environment with quiet enthusiasm. Although considered by some of the magical community as a problem child and viewed with some scrutiny, she was valued by her mentors and tutor as an exceptionally bright and talented student. Her aversion to social functions allowed Strawberry to focus almost entirely on her studies, although she did concede that her peers were, for once, tolerable company. The five-year stay to provide the polish to her skills at magic was very much productive, a necessity given that immediately following was her induction into the military, part of the Lunafell agenda all along. But nothing ever went quite as smoothly for Strawberry, who was present for a mysterious incident in 1040 that resulted in gossip that the daughter of the Lunafells had been assaulted, and Strawberry beginning to wear an eyepatch over her right eye.

To further complicate matters, Count and Countess Lunafell were killed in a freak accident beyond the walls of Highcastle in 1044. While a number of the guards responsible for their protection at the time suspected some kind of foul play, an official investigation on the accident named no suspects, and it was concluded that the incident was merely a tragic accident. However, some believed that this was a conspiracy arranged by a twenty-one-year-old Strawberry; although she was the oldest child of the Lunafells, Strawberry's claim to the family rank and title could have been challenged by Desmond, who was the eldest and only son. But Desmond was only twelve at the time, untested and unproven, so the suspicion was that Strawberry saw fit to eliminate Count and Countess Lunafell before they could name Desmond heir, to both consolidate political power as soon as possible first, and to prevent any dissenting opinion that Desmond is a better candidate as Count Lunafell of Highcastle. Strawberry denied any involvement in the deaths of her father and stepmother, and there was never any evidence suggesting murder or conspiracy, but the rumors and suspicion dogged the latest young addition to grand Etrurian politics.

While Desmond never truly believed the rumors of himself, it formed a wedge between his generation of Lunafells. By the time she began her service in the Etrurian military as a commissioned officer, people were beginning to wonder if Strawberry was somehow cursed; the deaths of her father and stepmother seemed only to cement the impression. The growing reputation and cloud of rumors surrounding Strawberry, coupled with her disinterest in explaining herself or appearing for social functions, gave birth to a superstitious moniker, the "Goddess of Death", which was derogatorily meant to signify that anyone becoming involved with her was living on borrowed time. But not everything about Strawberry's reputation was negative, and she managed to turn the situation around during Helter's Rebellion in northern Etruria from 1044 to 1045. The early years of the war saw rebel forces run through garrisons of unprepared and confused Etrurian defenders, leading to a dangerously close northern incursion. It was during this conflict that Strawberry saw actual, real military action, and made a name for herself on the battlefield.

As Countess of Highcastle and a commissioned officer, Strawberry was given command of a company comprised significantly of local militia and mercenaries as part of the last line of defense, which she upgraded to a battalion by incorporating her own forces from Highcastle; utilizing a combination of unconventional strategy, terrain tactics, and personal direction made possible by the people under her command, she and her battalion was able to hold her part of a faltering defensive line just long enough to achieve a stalemate that would eventually lead into an Etrurian counterattack that marked the turning point of the rebellion. Her efforts did not go unnoticed, and Strawberry was rewarded with a promotion and a larger task force, where she efficiently commanded an auxiliary strike force to conduct flanking maneuvers in tandem with the main army for the rest of the war. She was noted for an unconventional command style, willing to incorporate mercenaries and militia into her officer corps even if only on a temporary basis, a battalion outfit that had only previously been open to native Etrurian officers; for such, she earned a new, more neutral nickname, the "Countess of Mercenaries".

With no major conflicts for the next five years, Strawberry spent her time as both the Countess of Highcastle and a leader of the Etrurian military, being involved with both sides. Keeping the expansive Lunafell dynasty under control, she managed to maintain a tight rein over a large family of uncles, aunts, cousins, and other aspiring members hoping for a larger share of the pie, and did so while largely remaining hidden; having no interest in social functions and appearing to the public only when she needed to, Strawberry was considered to be ridiculously difficult to find for complaints or lobbying. Aside from management of her own dedicated forces in Highcastle, she also acted as a highly-placed administrative officer and strategist for the Etrurian military in peacetime, although she curiously still kept up with mercenary contacts; of course, her aspirations remained focused on the research of greater magic.

Unused Supports
Lucia Avery

1050, Early Spring - Line in the Sand
1050, Early Spring - Meet the Neighbors
1050, Mid Spring - Full Disclosure Would Be Nice
1050, Mid Spring - Nood Breekt Wet
1050, Mid Spring - Picnic Interrupted
1050, Late Spring - Uncharitable Intentions

  • Strawberry's family sigil is that of a crescent moon, which has been used by House Lunafell for generations. Strawberry herself, however, uses a simple left single wing as a personal sigil, reflected in her left shoulder armor plating.
  • Strawberry's name has caused her to develop a near-pathological hatred for the strawberry fruit, and she refuses to eat them. The only exception to the rule is strawberry cheesecake, which she will knowingly eat so long as no one reminds her of the fact.
1 May 2011
Dissonant Serenity
747, Late Autumn

Morning in Nyssa was beautiful, crepuscular rays filtering through the many branches and leaves that acted as a natural canopy shielding Serenes from the sky above. To Siri Adeline, however, it posed little difference; she was always tired in the morning. But early morning seemed to be the best time of the day to exploit a break she had while she was off-shift, a development arranged after the appearance of more mercenary groups in the area hired for Serenes' eastern border allowed Arcadia to consolidate their forces in two specific locations. Therefore, Lorte and Rachel ended up being routed to Nyssa to reinforce Siri's job, while Malcolm, Matthew, and Vicky held another strongpoint.

She sighed, slowly trudging out of the outskirts of Nyssa into the forests beyond. Lorte and Rachel had the night patrol - Siri somehow had the feeling that the two still weren't completely entrusting her with the more dangerous night watch - so it would only be another hour or two before Siri picked up the day shift, allowing for Lorte and Rachel to get some rest. In the meantime, however, she had to use the next one or two hours for a special event: Training Kaguya Eine Levitas.

While Siri had been surprised that the previous event at Nyssa had been Kaguya's first time at casting an offensive spell at anyone, it soon became clear - or, really, in retrospect - that Kaguya had little idea what she was doing. Siri was no magic-user, but she could tell that Kaguya had no real sense of tactics or combat, no killing intent. This had to be rectified before she was willing to carry out her promise of having Kaguya as a partner.

Scratching the back of her head in her usual irritation towards morning, Siri leaned back against a tree, noted at the peripheral of her vision that Lorte and Rachel were finally coming back from their patrol. She offered a tired smile in greeting, earning a nod from Lorte and a seemingly-perpetually disgruntled grunt from Rachel. "Good morning."

"Good morning," Lorte replied in his usual cool, stoic manner. "It is unusual to see you up this early in the morning."

"Well," Siri smiled sheepishly even as she looked fairly miserable. "I promised that I would try to fit Kaguya in, so that means training. I'll have to teach her the basics of defense and counteroffense to start with."

Rachel seemed a bit amused - if not derisively so - at the idea. "You?" she quipped, her voice bordering on a haughty laugh. "Good luck with that." She looked around. "Where is the new waif, anyways?"

"I woke up a bit earlier," replied Siri, dissatisfaction laced in her voice towards Rachel's attitude. "She'll be here soon."
8 Mar 2011
Shopping Spree
747, Mid Autumn

"Thank you for accepting my order on such short notice," Siri Adeline spoke in a cool but not unkindly voice as she stopped before the anvil before her. Here, the darkness of the room masked her youth while the orange hues of smithing fires emphasized the harsh lines that were beginning to develop across her face, making her look much older than she actually was, something that worked to her inadvertent advantage. She thought about shaking the hand of the man who had guided her into the workshop and smithy, but decided against it; his hands were full of tools, and here covered with ash, soot, and grease. Hopefully, he'd wipe it down after this transaction was finished. "I'm surprised you were able to forge this blade so quickly."

"We were lucky this time around, ma'am," the blacksmith replied, his voice noticeably smoother than it'd usually be, by Siri's reckoning. The uniqueness of the order, the money she was willing to put down for it, and her current appearance as a fairly respectable lady, gave her a bit of an edge in this transaction, and the blacksmith was careful to address the Swordmaster properly. "Your order would actually be better made from pre-existing components, which I happened to readily have. The smithing process was only a matter of small details, nothing I couldn't handle over a night of work."

Siri grinned. "I'm duly impressed," she nodded, then, looking around at all the weapons scattered across the smithy, curiously asked, "Would you mind if I see it first?" Upon noting that the blacksmith's face had twisted into a subdued expression of awkwardness, if not discomfort, Siri smiled - she had to put in some effort to remove hints of sardony from it - before digging into one of her pockets and placing a tiny sack of gold on a nearby anvil, an unspoken form of collateral.

The blacksmith's expression changed almost immediately. "Right this way, ma'am," he said, guiding Siri towards one of the corners of the workshop. The Swordmaster followed before they reached a weapon rack, upon which she immediately recognized her ordered weapon even before the blacksmith - with some effort - pulled it from the rack, giving it for Siri to examine. She braced herself for the weight, but found it to ultimately be unnecessary; it was certainly much heavier than both the slim sword and the katana she used before, but she had trained her own physical strength in the past months, and the adamant material had gone in beautifully, greatly reducing the weapon's weight despite its mass. She twirled it once in her hands - greatly alarming the blacksmith - noticing how it was perfectly balanced even as she swung it at such angles. Then, testing the weapon's other function, she triggered a mechanism, which sprang into action with a satisfying clack as it revealed itself.

"Perfect," Siri purred, grinning in great satisfaction.


Turning from a gratified bow of the blacksmith behind her, Siri exited the doors of the armory, coming out both lighter and heavier in two different senses into the noon sunlight of Miscale. The familiar hustle and bustle of this particular city - she still had fond memories of this place - was a stark contrast to Serenes in general and Nyssa in particular, and Siri couldn't say she was sorry to be back. Still, though, her concerns were slightly elsewhere as she walked no more than ten meters from the armory's entrance, smiling gently as she stopped before a girl with long blond hair. "Sorry for making you wait so long," Siri apologized, scratching the back of her head awkwardly as she did so. "I wouldn't be much of a Swordmaster without a sword."
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