• domhnall
    Welcome to the kingdoms of Morbourne, Fallhaven and Valcoast. These cities of Domhnall are unique but tied together; Trades occur, merchants travel and treaties are reviewed, signed and broken: it's a way of life. The population is a mix of humans and mages, with the ruling bodies of each kingdom the latter: super powered and deadly. Though for now there is peace, a stable peace, as each depends on the others to maintain the delicate chains of life. What all citizens of every country have most in common however is their védo, a beast that is bonded to them and protects them from the dangers of this world. In a world where loyalty is everything, which side will you choose?

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Age: twenty seven
Alias: jackal
Race: Mage
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Nationality: Fallhavener
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taliesin eden delaney


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Jan 19 2015, 10:01 PM
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taliesin eden delaney

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twenty seven

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hunter & pathfinder

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lena headey

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This is not the end of me, this is the beginning

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<i>Even the birds fell silent upon her approach. She moved with a stealth and grace that could be matched by only a few, as if she were almost one with the forest. In a way, she was. That is why the birds fell silent, because they could sense her presence, and were greatly unsettled by the turbulence of her thoughts. She could almost taste their confusion in her mouth – a sourness of the soul, with traces of heat, which she assumed must by the deeply buried frustration she had borne for a long time now. Her heart trembled in her breast, and she was nearly overwhelmed by the urge to take flight. A movement among the trees to the left broke the hold that the woman and the birds had over one another, and the birds flew free...</i>
Ever since Taliesin was a little girl, she has always been drawn to the forests of Fallhaven. Her father quickly learned that his daughter had a wild heart, and was wise enough not to try and keep her from her wanderings. It was hard enough for him to raise her alone on the humble lifestyle he lived, but she quickly became the light to what was once a very dark life. While he spent hours a day carving, stringing and caring for the bows he made, he sent Gideon, his Védo, to watch over his wayfaring child. It was out among the trees, under the careful watch of the African forest buffalo that she grew and blossomed into a spirited young woman. There was a solace out there in the wilderness that she missed when among other humans, and so it came to pass that she spent much of her time with just her own Védo and Gideon for company, and as she grew and matured, the buffalo journeyed out with her less and less. <p>
<i>She still remembers the first time she became fully aware of what she was capable of. There had always been a connection to the forest, but it was subtle. Like water, lapping at the edges of her mind. Not at all like the connection she shared with the companion of her soul. Theirs was a union that always made Taliesin think of air and wind. They needed one another in order to keep breathing. Her Védo’s presence was like a warm and gentle breeze, soothing and soft as a sigh. And her absence was not unlike the winds of deep winter – frigid and burning and relentless. Oh, but the forest… The forest could play upon her emotions more than anything else ever could.</i></p>
Though she grew up in the forests of Fallhaven, a wanderlust sparking in her heart, Taliesin has never left Fallhaven. As a young girl, she always dreamed of sailing on the sea, and roaming the streets of Morbourne’s capital, though in the past few years, these desires have all but withered away. Grassgate will always be <i>home</i>, and she holds her memories of the city close to her chest, but these days, she wanders the forests and the fields. As much as she longs to return to Grassgate, she will not, because it would feel empty and wrong without her father, and she doesn’t want to tarnish the place of her childhood in such a way.<p>
<i>A wild and desperate fear had torn the breath from her lungs, so that she had staggered in shock, one hand outstretched as if trying to grasp the very air. Danger! She had leapt to her Védo’s side, and stood in front of her soul’s keeper, her stance defensive, her lip curled to bare her teeth. But there was nothing approaching and no-one there, except for the two of them whose hearts would always beat as one. Danger! And somehow Taliesin knew the fear wasn’t hers. It was the fear of a doe, caught in a trap, panicked by a wind that carried the sound and scent of hunting dogs to her. </i><p>
On top of her own personal struggles, she also has to contend with the downside of her dominant ability, though she never thinks of it in a negative way. Taliesin feels blessed to have been granted such an insight into the natural world, even though at times it becomes too much for her to bear. This empathy she has for nature is not something that she can turn on and off. As she grows older, this power grows stronger. Taliesin’s likeness of it to water is a good way to explain it - like a slowly rising tide. As the years pass, she is affected by a wider area of nature, and can sense plants and animals even at a distance. With the help of her Védo, she can shut these feelings and sensations out, but it is naught but a temporary relief. She shares the feelings of the creatures and plants she senses, and often this can lead her to becoming very aggressive or defensive with little warning, and in extreme circumstances, she retains no memory of what happens during such times.<p>
<i>Taliesin read the land around her, and despite the terror that held her, she was able to find the doe without delay. There was a boy there, if you could call him that. He was a little older than Taliesin, and she was already considered a young woman. He was lost, but he’d stumbled upon the doe and was struggling with the knots in the rope that was digging into the creature’s hind leg. With her heart in her throat, Taliesin shoved him aside with strength she hadn’t known she possessed. Drew a knife and cut the rope that bound the deer. Tasting freedom, the doe bounded off, quickly disappearing from sight. Taliesin’s fear left with her. Only then had she turned to the young man, and she offered him a trembling hand.</i><p>
Being away from nature, and among other people and stone and deadwood dulls this ability, and so at times she flees from the woodlands that she loves in order to clear her head. When it comes to animals, she can only sense great pain, great fear, or great anger at a distance. The positive feelings, like satisfaction, affection and bliss are only felt in closer proximity. As for plants, Taliesin never knows how she is able to empathise with them, for they do not have minds, not even simple ones like those of animals. All she knows is that she feels great discomfort when fires break out, a sense of loss when trees fall, and when she sits in silence at the base of towering giants, she is filled with a sense of awe and majesty that she believes can be matched by nothing else on earth. <p>

<i>His name was Sinclair, and though he held no sway over water (nor had the frightening, intrusive abilities to enter the minds of others, or connect with those who no longer lived), he had lived all his life on the islands in the sea. Taliesin had told him that she had never met an Oceanborn before, and he had just smiled at her. It had taken her breath away, that smile, in an entirely different way than the fear of the doe had. He was lost in the woods, and it amused the Fallhavener to no end that he couldn’t find his way without the sun. He, in turn, thought it intriguing, the way she seemed to follow paths invisible to the eye. Pathfinder, he called her. And the name stuck, as though he’d written it upon the back of her neck, where a patch of skin was bared, with a gentle touch from his calloused fingers. It was late in the afternoon when they stepped out into the open air. As she bid Sinclair farewell, light from the setting winter sun reflected in his blue eyes like sparks, and she knew right then that one day she would love him.</i><p>

Because of her abilities, and all the time she has spent alone in natural settings, Taliesin is an individual that can blow hot and cold when it comes to relating with people. It takes time for her to develop relationships, and in her own opinion she’s an awful conversationalist. She is also terrible at reading people, though she often tries regardless, thinking that her ability to read nature can somehow be carried over. Due to the nature of her magic, she struggles in situations that require focus, and is easily irritated when people demand her undivided attention. Yes, she can be distracted a lot of the time, and doesn’t always listen properly, but she isn’t like this out of choice - these things are beyond her control. Despite everything – her preference for silence and solitude, her inability to connect easily with others, and that ever-present call of the wild, so to speak, she does love human association, and after long periods of isolation, it is something she becomes desperate for. Being so empathetic enables her to relate to other people’s feelings, though this is not an extension of her ability, but merely a very strong, naturally occuring human empathy. The feelings of other humans are only recognised and understood by her, and not felt in the way those of animals (and plants) are. As with the desire that comes with protecting the animals she empathises with, so too, does she long to do what she can to ease the fear, or anger, or sorrows of her own kind, and is grateful when she is invited to share in the good, happy feelings.<p>

<i>Every winter after that year they had first met, Sinclair would return to the forest, and Taliesin would find him. “I got lost again, Pathfinder” he always said to her, even though after several years, she could tell from his tracks that he wasn’t wandering. He was leading her on a chase. Despite how clever he thought he was, and the tricks he used to throw her off, she always found him, and he always marvelled. When he asked her how it worked, she shrugged, unable to quite explain her uncanny knack for tracking. Somehow, he understood that Taliesin loved the peacefulness of the forests, needed the stillness of the moist and living air. She wondered often if he was indeed a mind-reader, for he seemed to know when she wanted to hear his voice, and when she did not. He regaled her with stories of adventures beyond the horizons that she knew, and unknowingly instilled in her a restlessness to wander freely, with nothing to tie her down. In turn, she told him what she planned to do with her life – she had been accepted as a Cub, and dreamed of one day earning the title of Wolf Lady. In Sinclair Taliesin found a best friend, dispelling the unspoken doubts she had about herself. Maybe she wasn’t socially stunted like some others her age said behind her back. All she needed was to find a soul that matched the purity of the forest. And for a time, she thought she had.</i><p>

Atticus, her father, warned her against her friendship with the Oceanborn lad, for Gideon had told him that the two spent a lot of time together. Taliesin was deeply hurt by her father’s suspicions, because Sinclair was different, and he liked being with her, which was more than she could say for any of the others her own age. “He treats me with respect, and goes so far to put my own happiness above his comfort!” Why else would he return each winter without his Védo, who he said couldn’t leave the sea? Bitter that her father was too blinded by his attitude towards Valcoast to see that Sinclair meant so much to her, she slowly drifted away from her father, and devoted more time towards her training. In time, she fought her way to becoming a Junior Freerider – one step closer to her far-off goal. Winter was fast approaching, and she waited for it with baited breath.<p>

<i>A thick layer of snow coated the ground, and yet it was untouched – marred only by Taliesin’s footprints, and the trail that showed her companion had already passed this way. She couldn’t understand it. She’d always managed to find Sinclair before, just by focusing on him. It was as if, by filling her head with thoughts of an individual, she could perceive their movements, and thus find the smallest traces of them in the places they had passed through. Not today. As was natural for her, Taliesin immediately doubted herself, for she was often slow to doubt the word of others, especially the ones that mattered. It upset her to think that part of who she was had failed, because she thought little of herself as it was (and of Sinclair, she thought the world). Looking back, it is with bittersweet irony that she remembers Gideon being the one who set aside her doubts. Maybe, she liked to think, he had never stopped watching over her, even after she was grown.</i><p>

The African forest buffalo had relayed to her that her father had left home. She returned to Grassgate to find the Védo’s words to be true. She had not doubted him – never, but she had needed to see for herself. Gideon had been unsure about what had driven Atticus towards the sea, and the poor creature was greatly distressed, for in addition to the discomfort from the distance between himself and his bonded, Atticus had also kept something from him, something important. Gideon had never before been left in the dark. While Taliesin’s Védo did her best to soothe the Védo of her father, she found a letter. The words were Sinclair’s, written by calloused fingers, ink onto paper. Just like name he had written on the back of her neck with his fingertips, these words of his changed her life. <b>I need to tell you the truth, Taliesin.</b><p>

<i>The three of them hurried to the place where Sinclair had promised he’d wait for her. She sat astride the back of a horse that was bred for distance, and to either side of her a Védo travelled. The time she spent upon that mount, anxiety gripping at her chest so that she found it painful to breath, taught her that her empathy sometimes worked two ways. Of all the things she’d fear, she never thought that two vital parts of her position as a Freerider would be among them. She remembers arriving to find her father involved in a heated discussion with Sinclair. The sea was at Sinclair’s back, and it was the first time she had seen it so close. It was so vast, and endless, and she came close to feeling moved by the ocean in the way she was moved by the giant, ancient trees of the forests. There was an Oceanborn approaching the shore – he rose out of the water like some otherworldly creature. He closed in on Sinclair and Atticus, and then all Taliesin remembers is silver glinting in Sinclair’s hands, and her father sprawled upon the sand with a sword in his back.</i><p>

This was when everything fell apart. In the space of mere minutes, Taliesin lost everything that mattered to her – everything except her loyal and stalwart companion that is. Atticus and Gideon where gone, taken from her by the only other human she had loved. But his actions cost her more than that. The horse, though well-trained, was badly spooked by Taliesin’s extreme emotions, and she was thrown and seriously injured. By the time she located a healer, she’d already suffered a lot of pain, and though her broken arm and her shoulder were healed, almost as good as new, her confidence lay in ruins, and there was nothing anyone could do about that. Unable to bring herself to pick up a sword, nor to climb upon the back of a horse, she was no longer able to continue her training, and for the past few years has offered her services as a hunter, as it is a job that enables her to spend much of her time in the forests, immersing herself in the lives of the plants and creatures there, so that she can forget the misery of her own life. Living in such a way has its drawbacks, though. Taliesin feels even further away from other people now, and there is an almost animalistic savagery to her, when she is angered.<p>

<i>… Taliesin felt like an intruder in the forests now. That her connection to the creatures here was stronger than ever made no difference – she did not belong, not any more. She had spent a lifetime walking through these trees, protecting the forest and its inhabitants from danger and slow death. But here she was, stalking through the trees, her bow at the ready, bringing death. Though she hated what she did, she kept at it, because she reasoned that it was better that she was the one who loosed the arrows. She had learned very quickly how to make a clean kill every time. Taliesin killed with mercy. And yet, her reasoning was selfish too – her father was dead because of her, because she hadn’t listened to him. She deserved to suffer for that, to be reminded that the blame was hers, and so she died in a way, every time her arrows hit their marks. She’d never trust a Salt Rat again... The trail she was following came to an end, and Taliesin found herself standing before a deer. The doe lifted her head in one fluid motion, and seemed poised to run. Taliesin felt the fear ebb, and in its place, wariness remained. She drew back her arrow, stood ready to release. The doe still didn’t move, and Taliesin was unsettled by a detached feeling of familiarity. Could it be? The deer she had saved from a trap, when she had first met… The hunter’s eyes widened and her breath caught in her throat. She let the arrow fly.</i><p>

Taliesin doesn’t go to that part of the forest any more. If a stranger was to venture in that deep, they may wonder about the incompetent hunter who left an arrow buried in the bark of a tree. Arrows were important, after all, and a good hunter never left one behind. Sometimes the shaft would tremble in the wind, and if one were to listen hard enough to the voice of the forest, they’d hear a faint rustling of leaves and a snapping of twigs that sounded like a forest creature fleeing. A doe leaping into the shadows, her life having been spared a second time by one who understood.<p>

<center><b>ECOLOGICAL EMPATHY</b></center><p>
Taliesin is able to sense the wellbeing of the natural world around her. She feels what animals feel, and in a different way, what plants feel. In the case of plants, the larger they are, the better she can sense them (so, for example, she cannot empathise with a single blade of grass. But a whole field on fire, she feels that). She can sense sickness, pain and devastation, as well as fear and the savagery that animals have in place of anger. She is also able to share in the joy of animals, though she has to be in close proximity in order to feel these. This empathy she regards as her dominant ability, and she is unable to turn it off, or disconnect her soul from feeling. With the help of her Védo, she is able to shut other feelings out for a time, but this never lasts long. Being away from plants and animals, and surrounding herself with people and buildings, helps dull the sensations, but as described above, she is always aware of them. Spending too long in the wilderness takes a heavy toll on her, and she’s almost lost herself once or twice, amidst the lives that touch her mind. When under stress like this, she becomes almost animalistic herself – flighty like birds, hyper-alert like deer, or vicious like a mother wolf protecting her young. Thankfully, this never drains her physically, because then she would be tired all the time. But it can definitely wear on her emotionally. The fact that she feels the fear and pain of animals is hard enough to bear at times, so she is grateful that, aside from feeling like she’s losing her mind every now and again, she suffers no other drawbacks.

<center><b>ENHANCED TRACKING</b></center><p>

Taliesin almost considers this an extension of her dominant ability, as she largely uses it to make her way to the animals (and plants, too, sometimes) that she senses. This she considers less of a power and more of a sixth sense. It has its limits – she can only track what she knows is there, as in, she feels first, and then follows. She can also track down people (who she obviously cannot sense, save for when the senses are second-hand – like birds being startled by humans), but she either has to know them, or learn about them, before she can track them. She figures this is because understanding their movements and intentions are what help her to read the forest and determine which way they have gone. <p>

<center><b>THE PATHFINDER</b></center><p>
Even though Sinclair is no longer a part of her life, the name he gave her still lives on, and despite what he did and how she feels about him, it is a comfort to her, something familiar. It has been four years since the death of her father, and she has adopted a nomadic lifestyle, roaming the lands of Fallhaven. To the people of Fallhaven that know of her, she is recognised as the Pathfinder, a skilled tracker, though a handful who remember her and have known her since she was a child call her by her middle name. Not much has changed, for there are still those who ridicule her and speak her name with contempt. These ones she does her best to irritate, and she adopts a savage air when she is around them. Ever a quiet soul who uses her wild tangle of brown hair, her dark and guarded eyes, and general scruffy appearance as a kind of shield, she at times goes to lengths to separate herself from other people, and has a noticeable ‘us and them’ mentality, siding with her forests over human settlements. While most of the time she presents herself as tough and spurns a ‘domesticated’ lifestyle, she does have a very large and tender heart. When asked outright, she will not deny that she walks through the fields at night just so that she can appreciate the light of the moon, or that, when she is at her lowest, she crafts herself a crown of daisies, and wears wildflowers in her hair, just so that she doesn’t lose sight of the beauty her father saw in her. Her view of her own self-worth is low at the moment, but she still has faith in three things – her father’s love for her, her connection with nature, and her Védo. And these things are all she needs – they are enough to keep her going.

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