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Author Topic: Afanen Blodwen & Ragnar Thorburn (The Calling)  (Read 1485 times)

Offline Faidth

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Afanen Blodwen & Ragnar Thorburn (The Calling)
« on: October 23, 2013, 05:12:43 PM »
Afanen Blodwen
Age: 26

Physical Appearance:    
Afanen’s dark brown hair is usually bound in a single plait that rests upon her left shoulder. Her eyes are an unusual shade of brown, nearly orange in appearance. Whether this is due to her fiery nature or her animal soul, it is impossible to tell. She is of average height (around 5’7’’) and quite pretty in a modest way. Given her busy work schedule, she has little time to fuss over her appearance, and her clothing is always simple and functional. She is usually seen in a cream-colored tunic, cinched at the waist with a leather belt. Her shirt often carries the marks of a long day’s work, being stained with soot from the smithy. She wears dark brown trousers and dark brown leather boots. Being descended from a long line of skilled craftsmen, she always has a smithing hammer and strong knife hanging from her belt. On cold nights she wears a warm, brown cloak, and always seeks out the seat closest to the fire.

When affected by her Calling, Afanen’s bear form is easily distinguished from Ragnar’s. Her fur is a dark brown and she is the smaller of the two.

Personality:
Those who are acquainted with Afanen are aware of her quiet, contemplative and reserved nature. She tends to be very observant with a keen eye to detail, a trait acquired from her trade as a smith. Despite her patience when working with her masterpieces, when she fails to complete a task to her own impossible standards, she can be quite volatile. She is a perfectionist by nature and is far easier to anger than her companion, Ragnar. Afanen is marked by her stubbornness and determination, and once she has an idea in her mind, only Ragnar has the ability to persuade her otherwise.

Afanen’s most notable trait is her unfailing loyalty to Ragnar, her friend since childhood. One is rarely seen without the other, and even then, each is quite reluctant to be parted from the other. Their bond is so great that they put each other before anything else. Should she be faced with a decision such as saving Ragnar or sacrificing the entire party, she will choose Ragnar every time.


Ragnar Thorburn
Age: 27

Physical Appearance:
With his laughing gray eyes, the color of stone, and his rakish grin, Ragnar hardly appears someone who could be exceedingly dangerous. However, there is a great deal of power hidden in his broad, stocky frame. He is above average height for a man (6’3’’,) and has a notable lumbering gait (a trait derived from his animal form.) His muscles are large and his chest and shoulders brawny. Given his trade as a lumberman, he is accustomed to hard work, and his well-built physique is a testament to long days in the woods or at his family’s lumber mill.

His blonde hair tends to be short on the sides, and a bit longer on top. His short, scruffy beard, light brown with flecks of auburn, provides some extra warmth in the early mornings at the mill. He is often seen in a green tunic and brown vest, allowing him to blend in quite well in the woods, one of his most frequented places. He wears dark brown trousers, dark brown leather boots, and on cold days in the forests, can often be seen with a brown cloak wrapped around his sturdy body. 

When affected by his Calling, Ragnar’s bear form is easily distinguished from Afanen’s. His fur is a much lighter shade of brown and he is significantly larger than Afanen.


Personality:
Ragnar is far more affable and approachable than his companion, Afanen. He is scarcely seen without a smile upon his face, and is friendly to a fault. His generosity and optimistic nature form an interesting contrast to his cautious and realistic companion.  Ragnar’s most notable trait is his unfailing loyalty to Afanen, his friend since childhood. One is rarely seen without the other, and even then, each is quite reluctant to be parted from the other.
Their bond is so great that they put each other before anything else. Should Ragnar be faced with a decision such as coming to Afanen’s aid or completing a mission, he will always choose his companion.


Additional Supplies
Cloaks (x2)
Leather notebooks (x3)(Afanen uses hers for sketching ideas for weapons, armor, and other inventions. The contents of Ragnar’s book are secret, and he refuses to divulge what is in it, even to Afanen.)
Charcoal for writing and sketching (x4)
Small collection of pouches and vials
Waterskins (x3)


Souls Distribution:
Human- 1

Afanen
Weapon Skills: Warhammer
Fighting Styles: Brawl, Improvised Fighting (mundane objects such as bricks, doors, barstools, rocks, etc. become weapons in her hands)
   
Ragnar
Weapon Skills: Greataxe
Fighting Styles: Boxing, Wrestling

*Note: Because their souls are bonded, Afanen and Ragnar may only utilize their Animal and Elemental abilities in the company of one another. If either of them is removed from the other through being knocked out or otherwise fully incapacitated, they are confined to only using their human souls.

Animal- 1 (Primary)

(Bear)

Heightened Senses: Bears have a highly evolved sense of smell, and while their vision during the day is comparable to a human, at night they benefit from exceptional sense of sight. In addition, they have excellent hearing that rivals even that of a dog. However, due to part of their souls being human, Afanen and Ragnar may only heighten one of their senses at a time.

In addition, due to their soul-bond, a passive facet of this skill (always active) is they are keenly aware of the other’s feelings, motivations, and whereabouts. Should one be separated from the other, they are very adept at tracking their other half.

Speed: Despite their large size, bears possess exceptional speed, being able to run nearly 37 miles an hour.

Raw Strength: Bears benefit from exceptional strength. They have been known to lift large boulders to forage for food, or strike at their foes with bone-crushing force.


Element- 1 (Secondary)

Afanen: Fire
Ragnar: Earth

1.   The Floor is Lava/Avalanche- Ragnar lets out a mighty roar, causing the ground within the immediate vicinity to shake violently. The trembling earth causes his foes to lose their balance and fall to the ground. Meanwhile, Afanen slams her palms into the earth, bringing waves of lava to the surface and burning anyone who is unfortunate enough to find themselves in the fiery pools.

2.   Immolation/Rock Armor: Despite Afanen’s skill as a smith, she rarely wears armor. She possesses great natural dexterity, but her ability to immolate provides additional defense. Her entire form is engulfed in fire, and anything she touches must take great measure to not be lit aflame. Meanwhile, the ground begins to shift beneath Ragnar’s feet. Sheets of rock explode from the earth and encase his body entirely in rock, shielding him, or a single target, from physical harm.

3.   Gout of Flame/ Boulder Rush: Afanen and Ragnar focus their energy on turning their elements into damaging projectiles. Gouts of flame erupt from Afanen’s fingertips, while Ragnar causes enormous pieces of earth to be torn from the ground or nearby rock formations before hurtling them towards their foes.



Backstory

Reverently, she holds the masterpiece within her hands. She had been working on this gift for nearly three months, and the outcome is one of her finest works. She holds the greataxe aloft, raising it above her head as her keen eyes trace up and down, up and down, the entire length of the impressive weapon.

She investigates the piece in its entirety, staring at it for several hours. There, in the handle, is an ever so slight cosmetic defect. Afanen Blodwen, one of the greatest smiths in all of Treymara, frowns. A lesser smith, or at least one with more tolerance and allowance of his or her art, might be content with such a piece. It is indeed one of her greatest works and the small defect will not affect the integrity of the weapon. Yet, this will be her final gift to him, and it must be perfect. It shall serve as a memory of her, a prized and cherished moment in their joined lives. It must be without a single flaw, however small. She rises from her crafting bench and casts the entire weapon into her smelter. She sighs heavily as she walks back to her anvil and lifts her hammer again. This time, it MUST be perfect.

Six months later, and again, Afanen holds a seemingly perfect greataxe in her hands. Just like before, her gaze hovers over every minute detail of the piece: the structure, the elaborate engraving, the feel of the handle, the perfect balance of the weapon. All must be considered. Finally, after several hours, she smiles slightly, pleased with her work. She carefully wraps it in a bolt of cloth and makes her way towards the woods, where she knows he will be. It’s where he always is. Even in the busy tavern at the center of town, his gaze is always fixed towards the window, and to the woods that surround Oakvale. In the woods, he is one with the trees, and could almost pass for one. Tall and sturdy, strong and resilient, just as the trees he fells in the forest.

Afanen breathes in deeply. She knows it will take courage to pursue this course of action. She wants so terribly to tell him, but knows he would never understand. Oakvale is a place of great superstition, and long ago the callers had been revered as godlike. Now, they were viewed with suspicion and mistrust. What would he do if she found out he was one of them? They had grown up together, she had known him since birth, and over the years, they had even developed a means of communicating that required no words, simply a look. She prayed now that her expressions would not betray her. She could not condemn herself to a life she did not want, and as a result, she would be leaving Oakvale. She could not expect him to accompany her. He loved this small and rustic town. It was their home, and these were his woods. He would not be parted from them, even for her, or so she assumed.

In the distance, she can hear the sound of an axe splitting through wood, and she knows he will be found close by. Up the hill she trudges with the masterpiece in her hands, ready to gift it to her oldest and dearest of friends. He stops in his labors as he listens closely, and hears her approach. He turns to face her, raising his hand in a friendly wave to welcome her.

“Fan! I wasn’t expecting you today! Yet, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t happy to see you!” he greets her warmly.

Ragnar.

He’s the only person on this earth, save for her father, who can get away with calling her that. It had been her mother’s pet name for her, then her father’s, and finally Ragnar’s. It was a term of affection reserved only for those she cherished most.

Afanen swallows hard, steeling her resolve. Leaving Oakvale will bring great sadness, but leaving Ragnar will surely break her heart.

His gaze falls to the parcel in her hands. “What’s this? This the mysterious piece you’ve been working on for months?”

Afanen nods. “Yes. It took me far longer to complete than I had originally expected. But it needed to be perfect,” she explains.

Ragnar smiles warmly. “As it always must, perfectionist such as you are. Nothing ever seems to be good enough.” His words hang heavily in the air and his smile fades slightly. He quickly regains his humor. “So let’s see it.”

She carefully places the weapon in his outstretched hands and Ragnar removes the cloth that covers it. His gray eyes widen considerably as he holds the weapon aloft. He is stunned in silence at the beauty of the piece and scratches his scruffy, red-tinged beard as he marvels with admiration.

“Wow…” he breathes. “This is incredible! Any warrior would be blessed to have such a weapon!”

“I’m glad you think so,” responds Afanen. “It is yours.”

Ragnar shakes his head in disbelief, running a hand through his blonde hair. “Me? You’re kidding, right? This is mine?”

Afanen nods. “Yes, I hope it will serve you well.”

Ragnar grins. “It is incredible!” He wraps his arms around her, enfolding her form in a deep embrace.

Despite their closeness since childhood, things have changed as of late, and both realize their close proximity to one another. Afanen breathes in the smell of pine and tree sap that always seems to grace his clothes. Ragnar’s hands are tinged with the soot from the back of Afanen’s smithing apron. There is silence between the two before they reluctantly pull apart.

Ragnar stares at the ground, his cheeks red and jaw tight. “So… uh… I guess you are ready for tonight, then?”

Afanen shakes her head. “No, and I don’t think I’ll ever be. I don’t want to marry that lout,” she grumbles irritably.

Ragnar chuckles. “You know how many young women would kill to marry Brom Samuellson?”

“Well, you can take me off the list. Why my father thought it would be a grand idea to marry me off to him, I’ll never know. Brom’s as smart as a rock and has the personality of one, too.”

Ragnar grins. “Nah, rocks are smarter,” he says with a wink. "I don’t deny he’s a clod. Yet, I suppose it makes sense. He comes from a family of miners, you from a family of smiths. I suppose it’s a practical decision.”

Afanen frowns. “Practical does not mean right.”

Ragnar shrugs and shifts uncomfortably.  “I… uh… I completed the arbor for the ceremony. It’s probably one of my best.”

“Thanks,” mutters Afanen. “I’m sure it’s beautiful.”

“Yes, it is. Yet, it pales in comparison to you.”

Their gazes lock, his gray eyes upon her brown ones. His breath catches in his throat. Her eyes were always one of her most interesting qualities. Such an unusual shade of brown, almost tinged with orange. He often joked it was her fiery personality and all those hours before the fire in the smithy that gave her such an appearance.

They stand for several moments in silence, neither able to say what needs to be said.


That Evening…

   Ragnar turns his gaze towards the mountains, watching as the sun begins to dip behind the vast range that encompasses the north side of Oakvale.  The sky had taken on a beautiful shade composed of orange, purple, and crimson, spilling the last bit of light through the many trees that served as the town’s namesake.

Grief accosts his typically jovial features. He knows he must repress the urge to fight against this grave injustice. He must put on a brave front for her. He knows she doesn’t want to marry Brom, but in Oakvale, this was a way of life. You could petition the words of your heart to hold sway over your parents, but in the end, it was your father and mother who would choose your husband or wife. Ragnar had once, in a moment of passion, told his mother of his true feelings for Afanen, and his mother had beamed despite her illness, giving her blessings for his son to marry his oldest friend. But now, that day would never come. His heart’s desire was promised to another.

His gaze fell upon the arbor. It would be his final gift to her. Perhaps she would put it in a garden at the impressive Samuellson residence. Whatever the case, he would not see her again after this night. How could he remain in Oakvale when his heart was aching? First, the loss of his mother through disease, and the continuing loss of his father through drink. Even now, Arden Thorburn reeked of alcohol as he stood beside his son. Ragnar remembered how he had fallen upon his knees in weakness at his mother’s funeral. Such a display was not typical of the strong, silent people of Oakvale. The others had turned their eyes away from the weeping young man; it was not proper to mourn openly, especially as a man. A young Brom Samuellson had even jested at Ragnar’s expense, wiping his own eyes and making pitiful and exaggerated cries as he left the graveyard. Yet, kind, gentle Afanen… She had knelt beside him, wrapping her arms around his drooping soldiers, and affirming again and again he was loved and not alone. And now… now he would lose her as well. His heart could bear no more.

Despite his wishes to redeem his father, Ragnar felt it was far too late. Ragnar had made his decision. He would depart immediately after the nuptials, disappearing from the mass of well-wishers, save for the considerable group of women who doted over Brom. They, too, would mourn. In fact, they donned black gowns to the ceremony as a display of their sadness. It is likely, they, too, would avoid congratulating the new couple.

In her humble cottage home nearby the ceremony site, Afanen shifted uncomfortably in her bridal gown. Her father, Magnus, had procured for her a mirror, and as she looked at her sourpuss reflection in the mirror, she hardly felt like a blushing bride. Her heart told her she would be giving herself to the wrong man, and it was a fate she refused to condemn herself to. Despite the words that would be spoken in mere moments, despite the affirmations of eternal bond she would have to say, she knew she would not mean them, and when it was time to go to the Samuellson home to consummate their vows, she would plead illness and sneak away.

Once in the woods, she prayed she would be able to take on the form of her soul animal, the form of the bear, to further her escape in the darkness of night. It was a secret she had kept for years. Even Ragnar was unaware of her Calling, though she desperately wished she could tell him. If only he would run away with her! Yet, this is where his mother was buried, and his duty to preserve his father and save him from his own destructive ways, that is what would keep Ragnar firmly shackled to Oakvale.

Magnus beams as he looks upon his beautiful daughter. “You are a vision of beauty, my girl. You look just like your mother.” He plants a gentle kiss upon her forehead.

“Thank you, papa,” mutters Afanen, attempting to force a smile more for his benefit than hers.

“This is a good arrangement for us, Afanen. You will learn to love Brom,” assures Magnus. He offers his arm to his daughter, who hooks hers through his, and the two make their way through the cottage door.

As Afanen begins her walk towards the arbor, Ragnar’s breath catches in his throat. He had always thought her beautiful, despite her simple manner of dress and the lack of effort she expressed towards her appearance. She was not like the other young ladies of Oakvale. She didn’t have to try to look beautiful; she simply was.

Ragnar’s heart thundered in his chest and he fought the urge to cry out, to condemn Magnus, to whisk Afanen away, and to punch that grinning idiot Brom Samuellson straight in the face. Yet, he held his balled up fists at his side and bit his lip to suppress the urge to interfere, though it took every ounce of his strength to do so.

Afanen could not look at him. She could not look into those stone gray eyes, usually laughing, but today filled with the same regret that affected hers, so silently she made her way to the arbor. Rather than looking at her expectant husband to be, her eyes poured over the arbor. It was, indeed, one of Ragnar’s finest works. He had truly taken great care to carve every minute detail. She could not hide her smile of appreciation for his work. Yet, Brom Samuellson took her smile to be one of satisfaction for the right to marry him. He seized her hand in his and again, Ragnar fought the urge to attack him.

The minster began the service, but scarcely a word had escaped his lips when Afanen felt her heart quicken in her chest. Her eyes widened and her hand grew hot in Brom’s. At first he thought nothing of it, but moments later, Brom quickly pulled his seared hand away from Afanen. The flesh of his palm was smoking and smoldering and he cried out in pain. Afanen’s gaze grew wobbly and her vision swayed, then suddenly, all of those who had come to welcome the couple began to scramble away as the entire arbor was lit aflame.

Where once a modest, yet beautiful, young woman had stood, there was now an enormous bear with hair the color of the bride it had replaced. Afanen’s gaze fell upon Ragnar, whose eyes registered his shock, yet unlike the others, his expression was devoid of fear. It seemed Afanen would have to make her escape sooner than expected. She sprinted towards the woods without so much as looking back.

She knew not how far she ran in her bestial form, but her legs began to tire under her. Something or someone was chasing her, and she feared they would soon close in. Her aching muscles cried out, “So let them! Better death than to betray one’s heart! Better death than a kept woman!” Her pace began to slow and through the woods came crashing a massive bear. It made a beeline straight for Afanen and tackled her to the ground. She winced as her bear body impacted with the earth, and she felt the Calling begin to loosen its hold. She turned towards her attacker. She had left her weapon in the village; she knew she had no chance against a true to life bear.

Yet when she turned to face it, she gazed into stone gray eyes, and Ragnar’s smiling face.

“So, I guess the wedding’s off,” commented Ragnar. He stands, brushing himself off, and extends his hand to help her up.

“I guess so,” responds Afanen with a grin.

He reaches to his back and tosses her a full backpack with clothes and provisions, then places in her hands her coveted warmhammer. “Your clothes are in there. Probably a lot more functional for you than that dress, though you do look beautiful in it… though… you’ve always been beautiful.”

Afanen smiles warmly. “It seems we need to talk,” she says with a grin. “Somehow, it seems we both managed to keep a secret from one another.”

They speak at length, but despite the events of the day, there are still words that remain unsaid, because both are too stubborn, too dense, or too fearful to admit what they have known all along.

« Last Edit: October 23, 2013, 11:26:27 PM by Faidth »

Offline Kitharsis

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Re: Afanen Blodwen & Ragnar Thorburn
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2013, 05:33:01 PM »
These bonded characters are Approved!