Xedanis Sykonra

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THE BEGINNING

 

 Born the illegitimate son of a pirate and a whore, Xedanis was raised by his mother, almost exclusively, for the first thirteen years of his life. He learned rudimentary arithmetic and linguistic skills, and though he never remembered the exact date of his birth, his mother always attempted to celebrate it with him.

Xedanis spent much of his early life in the port of Tortuga, in the Carribean. This was over 200 years ago.  When he was 16 – of mature enough an age to sail – he lied his way onto a small cutter vessel with a pirate crew of the usual drunken ruffians.

Xedanis very quickly developed into something resembling his modern-day self. Through fights and combat – often with the other crew of the ship he was on – he perfected his swordsmanship. In a duel against the first mate of the ship, he bested the other man easily, though his sword was lost in the process (not that it mattered, the blade was stolen anyway.) On his victory, Xedanis was given the heavier two-handed sword of the first mate, which he promptly used to execute his opponent and take his title and take.

The years passed without much in the way of notable achievements – Xedanis was a buccaneer much like the other more stereotypical types in history – until he finally gained the attention and approval of his father, and went to serve with him aboard the famed vessel Dawn Rose. It was here that his legend truly began.

THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH

 

Xedanis succeeded where generations of sailors and seafarers had failed, when he discovered – at the mortal age of 34 – the fabled Fountain of Youth. This was but the first of two major nautical legends that Xedanis was to prove true in his existence. The exact location of the fountain Xedanis keeps a very tight secret (that, or he has forgotten and is too proud to admit it) but it was a location he visited often as a human.

The lure of immortality was enough for him to use the ritual required to wake the fountain’s power as a punishment for his more annoying crew members. The ritual called for the sacrifice of another life, whose longevity would be granted to the individual seeking its boon. Xedanis has never disclosed exactly how many poor souls he subjected to this ritual, but as he has neglected to visit the Fountain since he became immortal (what further need was there for it?) the point is moot.  Indeed, of the few knowledgeable sources Xedanis has consulted since he was turned, many believe that he would be killed should he attempt to ingest the waters again (the basic theory being that a fountain that grants life would be anathema to a being that is undead.)

STEALING THE DAWN ROSE

 

Xedanis’s mortal father, Keriyus, was a self-styled merchant sailor who, despite his efforts to appear legitimate, acted and worked in extraordinarily illegitimate ways. Xedanis had harbored a resentment to the man as a youth, and though he saw the wisdom in hiding it when they sailed together, this resentment grew stronger during the voyages they shared.

 

It was perhaps out of some misguided sense of guilt that Keriyus took Xedanis with him on the voyage that eventually led to the discovery of the Fountain of Youth, but whatever it was, it was one of the last mistakes Keriyus would ever make.

 

Shortly after discovering – and using – the fountain for the first time, Xedanis decided his time had finally come and began plotting to “salvage” the Dawn Rose – the vessel that would become a legend in its own right – from the inept ownership of his father. His plan was simple and effective; buoyed by the elixir of life, which he had kept secret from his father (who labored under the delusion that Xedanis had went ashore and found nothing at the fountain’s supposed location) Xedanis simply emptied every single barrel of drinking water in the Rose’s cargo hold through a cannoneer hatch in the middle deck. This was done at night, away from prying eyes, and in the safety of the gunnery deck which was largely unpopulated unless battle was met. (Remember, at this time, ship-to-ship battles were still conducted with gunpowder and shot.)

 

Upon discovering their supply of Water was gone, the crew – Keriyus at their head as Captain – decided immediately to make landfall and forage for freshwater springs. Almost the entire crew – except a few hands Xedanis had made pact and trust with – disembarked the ship and began the search.

 

Almost immediately after the longboats had gone ashore, Xedanis took to the main deck of the ship, killed the Bo’sun left behind in the captain’s wake, and made off with the Dawn Rose. Unbeknownst to Xedanis, his close friend Moon Girl had stowed away in the ship’s hold on this particular voyage, and assuming Xedanis would go ashore in such an important mission as water gathering, she went with the rest of the crew, disguised as a man.

 

The bitter sight of Xedanis and the Dawn Rose sailing away over the horizon was a hard pill for Moon Girl to swallow, and one that she gave him hell for – quite literally – in later unlife.  At the time however, Xedanis was unaware of her presence or having left her behind, and took his claimed ship on the ocean for another thirty years.

DISCOVERY OF ATLANTIS

 

The legendary lost continent of Atlantis was the second discovery Xedanis made in his long history at sea. Largely disregarded by the greater world as a disjointed myth, Atlantis had become one of Xedanis’s passions as a youth, and any scrap of information pointing to its existence was worth the world (and killing people if necessary) to obtain.

 

After many years collecting rumor and truth alike about the fabled city-continent, Xedanis set out on his first expedition after abandoning his father, in search of Atlantis. Having firmly set the location to be somewhere in the vicinity of the Canary Islands, Xedanis set sail and arrived at what appeared to be an empty patch of desolate ocean, ringed by several – distant – islands.

 

It was sheer chance that he discovered Atlantis at all. One of his crew – of a name he couldn’t remember now if one were to ask – expressed insubordination about being dragged into the middle of nowhere for a lie. Out of anger and a need to show the consequences of disobedience, Xedanis threw him overboard. At the exact instance the crewman hit the water, a furious Maelstrom took hold and dragged the Dawn Rose underwater.

 

Amazingly, the vessel was undamaged and the next thing the crew were aware of was waking up with the ship’s prow jutting onto a beach, with strange, curved, alien-like architecture visible at the crest of the shore. This was the city of Atlantis, confirmed to Xedanis when a landing party he led encountered its sole remaining survivor: A priest named Corvun.

ACQUISITION OF SILVERNUS

For more information about the sword itself, see Inventory section.

 

Corvun was startled and defensive from the first moment Xedanis and his party encountered him, and killed three of the six-strong group with impressive swordsmanship. The blade he wielded seemed to be forged out of the same strange, liquid material that the buildings of the continent were made from, and it cut through cloth, flesh and steel with equal ease.

 

Caught off guard by the bizarre weapon, Xedanis almost lost his neck – and his life – to the Priest then and there. Relying on swordplay and the heavier two-handed blade he favored, Xedanis bitterly dueled with Corvun, determined to discover what the priest was so desperately trying to protect. The rapier-like blade Corvun wielded cut Xedanis’s in two, but despite the damage Xedanis was able to lock Corvun’s blade against his own shattered hilt, overpowering the slightly-built priest and breaking his blade in turn.

 

Corvun’s shock was overridden by his amazement at having been defeated. He led Xedanis and his three surviving deckhands into the heart of the city proper, a huge domed structure that resembled a stadium to Xedanis’s eyes. It was in fact a tomb of sorts, and Ground Zero of the event that had doomed the continent of Atlantis to its watery grave.

 

At the heart of the shattered dome was a raised, circular dais that mimicked the shape of the building’s exterior. At its center, impaled haphazardly in what appeared to be a burnt effigy of a powerful humanoid, was a sword that seemed to be shaped from the stuff of nightmares. Where the blade of the Priest Corvun had been white and formed of “liquid granite”, this weapon was of darkened, charred steel with a rudely-ended pommel of raw iron, and it exuded an ugly red glow. The blade of the weapon seemed to inhale the stale air of the tomb.

A brief explanation from Corvun revealed that the weapon – seemingly better suited to a Medieval battlefield, such was its crude aggressive shape – was in fact the tomb of Silvas, the individual whose blackened corpse it was impaled within. Silvas was an exceptionally ancient being – believed to have been one of the first blood drinkers - who once ruled Atlantis with a Tyrannical fist, reveling in blood sacrifices to his name and establishing himself as a god to the Atlanteans.

It was the Priesthood of Atlantis – the very same esoteric group of which Corvun was the last survivor – that conspired to end Silvas’ rule. Knowing they would be unable to defeat him in combat or destroy him outright, the Priesthood collaborated all of their combined knowledge and skill to create Silvernus, the blade that would instead imprison the demon king’s spirit for eternity.

 

It was Corvun himself that was charged with confronting the demon in single combat, and though it almost killed him to do so, he managed to impale the blade deep in Silvas’ chest. The sheer force and power that was unleashed in the action sent shockwaves of unbridled destruction raging through all of Atlantis, shattering forever the dome of the temple roof and all but punching the continent under the waves.

 

Such was the strength of the blast wave, its remnants still held the crushing force of the sea at bay, creating a strange dome of water where once the temple’s roof had stood. Corvun indicated that the blade had rested there ever since, awaiting a bearer strong enough to wield it without having his will crushed and replaced with that of Silvas. He strongly urged Xedanis to heed his warning: Picking it up was the first mistake. Drawing it was the second. It doesn’t allow three mistakes, Mortal.

 

Xedanis took the sword anyway, partly because he usually tends to ignore warnings, and partly because he believed himself already to be immortal thanks to the waters of the Fountain. And it has remained by his side ever since.

COMING TO RAVEN BLACK CITY

 

Xedanis had long been searching for a permanent home before he finally settled on coming to RBC. His fleeting visits onto land and waning interest in a lifetime of seafaring (having been at sea for almost 50 years by the time he had decided to put down more permanent roots) created a romantic image of his own homestead, somewhere amongst his own kind (at this time, weirdoes, purveyors of the occult, and pirates.)

 

He heard tell of RBC through ship scuttlebutt and what he could glean from visits to the world’s various ports. After three months of skirting the issue (sometimes literally with questionable company) he finally made sail for the city, arriving on the eastern coastal outskirts of the city’s influence. The Dawn Rose pulled to anchor in a massive, naturally-formed lagoon that was surrounded by cliffs, and protected from the harsher water of open sea by two curved outcroppings of cliff rock.

 

This was to be the future site of the Port Au Lune. At the time of Xedanis’s arrival, the sheer cliff faces of the two natural breakwaters were the same height as the land from which they extended; when Xedanis took ownership of the area, one of them would become home to the Lighthouse, and the other would be reduced by half its height, the recovered rock and granite used to bolster the breakwater, and partially fill in the lagoon to form the foundations of the Port and Marina.

FOUNDING OF PORT LUNA

 

Making port was no hard matter for the crew, who eagerly stepped off ship to explore the surrounding area. As his underlings headed directly for the urbanized core of RBC, Xedanis roamed the otherwise wild lands of the wastes, admiring the location the Rose had fallen to anchor within. The cliffs that had seemed so intimidating at first backed on to vast swathes of untouched woodland, a natural bulwark against the prying influence of the sprawling city beyond.

 

Between the woods to the western flank and the solid bedrock of the eastern limits of the land, Xedanis was hard-pressed to imagine how anyone could have missed such a ripe resource and left it undeveloped.

 

As his crew began to return with promising tales of their successful visits to the local populace, Xedanis made the decision to stretch a different kind of root. He gave half of his crew a bottle of his own recipe of rum, and sent them off to peddle it in the city’s taverns. The other half remained behind and began to fell a few trees from the fringe of the woodland, preparing to build makeshift dwellings in the undeveloped lagoon.

 

As his crew worked, Xedanis took his first steps into the city, searching immediately for the seat of local government. Surprisingly, the ruling caste of functionaries – in fact much of the humanity in the city – seemed to be permanently cast in a fearful repose, as if constantly worried something might attack them without warning. Ignoring the strange behavior of the locals, Xedanis quickly set about making the site he had made landfall upon his own. The process was completed with remarkable speed, and within the space of a blink Xedanis became the lord and master of a 25-acre stretch of land and coastline.

 

Quickly, the work began on rendering the area into a tenable Port, Xedanis designing much of the required buildings, facilities and dwellings himself. A vast, well-equipped Dry-dock was the first artifice to grace the newly-founded marina, and the Dawn Rose was immediately interred within it for extensive upgrade and repair. Following this, the next building to be completed was the labyrinthine, six-story mansion of a building that would become the Sanctuary Hotel, but for now it simply served as the accommodation and home for Xedanis and all of the port staff and crew. Development continued and slowly, the natural, empty woodland and coast became a thriving hub of activity.

JADA AND THE TURNING

 

Much of the accumulated wealth Xedanis possessed from his time at sea was now poured into developing the area he was to call his new home. His crew returned from their peddling adventure bearing tales of tremendous success; apparently RBC had been quite devoid of any drinks beyond wines, beers, the usual selection of spirits, and rumor had it, beverages infused with human blood.

 

Between the stories his crew told him of the taverns, the pasty-faced governors, and continued rumors of vampiric dealings in the city’s limits, Xedanis could no longer ignore the overtly occult atmosphere of the place he had dropped roots in. With his characteristic (possibly foolish) curiosity and the whispers of Silvas egging him on, he decided at last to delve into the city’s underground and see the truth of the matter for himself.

 

A short while and too much rum later, he encountered a true-to-unlife example of the living dead: Jada. Roaming the city and killing at random (in what Xedanis later drunkenly called “comfort feeding”) Jada happened upon Xedanis as he stumbled out of his third tavern of the night, all his rum gone from his pockets and largely down his throat. The decision to turn him was never really explained to Xedanis by his maker but she did it anyway; up against a dark wall, she shoved him against the stonework by one hand and drank him almost dry, before returning the favor (Xed’s exact words were “Ooh, that hits the spot.” ) The next thing Xedanis was aware of was waking in a darkened, shuttered room within a very tall tower. This was the beginning of a four-year relationship with his new Siress, and the start of his tenure at The Eternal (formerly Empty) Spiral.

 THE ETERNAL SPIRAL

 

The E.S. was Xedanis’s first taste of clan life, and the venue and time during which he received his earliest taste and education of unlife. Combat was not part of his unlife for any of the time he spent at the E.S; as a fledgling he was excluded from even training his fighting skills using his newfound preternatural gifts (not that he didn’t push for it anyway, of course.) His relationships and friendships with the clan members were fleeting and surface at best, with only his “mumsie” truly close to him. Eventually she grew weary of the tiring clan and even Xedanis could see that it was entering decline. Finally, Jada departed. Xedanis remained, for as time wore on, he became increasingly close to one member of the E.S. that he couldn’t imagine being without: Violetta.

 VIOLETTA

 

Forever referring to her as his “Rose of the night” or sometimes the simpler “Rose,” Xedanis found himself romantically moved for the first time since he had formed a friendship with Moon Girl, although by the time the two had “separated” he and Moon Girl had not admitted, or developed their feelings for each other.

 Eventually Xedanis bound to Violetta, and therein began a two year relationship that, despite its poetry and romance, and a shared love of dance, ended on a sour note. Violetta began to distance herself, usually against her will, from the world. Taken without warning by a being Xedanis never truly understood to fulfill errands of its own choosing, she would disappear for days, then weeks, and finally months on end.

 

At their last reunion the two made a solemn pledge that no matter the consequences, there would be no more silence and emptiness between them. Should either of them disappear again, the bond would be broken. Ultimately, Xedanis kept his promise, much to the chagrin of Violetta’s family upon her final – seemingly permanent – disappearance.  The separation was an excruciatingly painful and dark time for Xedanis, the memories and full extent of which he will share with no one.

THE REPUBLIC

 

After the severance, Xedanis accepted a position teaching as Clan Orator of the Republic of Ravenblack. The post was short-lived (and is now defunct), but he took it largely as a means of getting away from everything that reminded him of his erstwhile wife. Thus he joined Jada in the Republic, and has been there ever since. The RoR schooled Xedanis in everything from Combat to Etiquette, and it was here that his formative years truly took place. Jada left the Republic after Xedanis had been there for one year, but before she did, she witnessed with all the other clan members a change in her childe that marked the passing of an era; the burning of the First Brew.

BURNING THE FIRST BREW

 

At the time of Xedanis’s severance from Violetta, business at the Port Au Lune was beginning to sour. For reasons mainly to do with its master’s absence (Xedanis had taken up residence in one of the Eternal Spiral’s many towers, then later at his rooms in the Republic Hall) the port had begun to fall into neglect. The staff and crew Xedanis had installed years before still remained, but Xed had never reached the matter of appointing a proxy to lead in his absence, and thus the port eventually began to fall into disrepair. The dockyards had become shabby, the Brewery that spewed out barrel after barrel of rum had become dusty and almost derelict.

 

One night shortly after his severance, a drunken and very-uncertain-of-himself Xedanis stumbled into the Brewery’s storeroom, where all of his precious rum had been hoarded. Having since associated it with Violetta due to their shared love of the beverage (later known as First Brew) the sight of so many barrels of it pained Xedanis greatly, and he made the snap decision of destroying all of it, including the twelve barrels stored beneath the RoR’s main  hall in dusty vaults.

 

The stockpiles in the Port were simply thrown into the sea, their plugs removed so that the liquid within would merge with the seawater. The last twelve were burned in a spectacular bonfire before all the RoR that were inclined to attend. Along with these twelve barrels, Xedanis also burned the parchment on which he had written the recipe to his beloved brew.

 

This astonished Jada and the others gathered greatly. Xedanis then took to a more recluse life, barely speaking to anyone, and developing a great bitterness quite unlike his usual jovial personality.

THE RETURN OF MOON GIRL

 

Darkness owned Xedanis in his entirety for a tenure of almost an entire year following the burning of the First Brew. Shadow became his constant companion, and it was during this time that a considerable part of his eventual mastery of them was developed. It is notable that just prior to his rediscovery of Moon Girl (or vice versa) he experimented with his first forays into umbrakinesis; A term coined by Xedanis himself, simply meaning the ability to teleport using shadow instead of scroll (and across considerably larger distances).

 

It was one of these experiments that whisked Xedanis away from his quarters in the Republic to the doors of the Hall of Severance. This was immediately prior to his severance from Violetta. He had ended up in front of the Hall several times during his attempts to explore his shadow gifts, and each time he had attempted to sum up the courage to fulfill his promise to her and break the link. Each time, he failed, and invariably ended up at a bar he had frequented often on his arrival in the City years before.

 

One night, after six consecutive attempts, he ended up in the bar once again. There, he was reunited – drunkenly – with Moon Girl. Seeking to drown his own sorrows in drink, Xedanis at first did not recognize his old friend. He tried to give her the money he had withdrawn to pay for the severance, having reached rock bottom and fully intending to consign himself to the ground and never rise.

 

Moon Girl, thankfully, was of a greater sense of mercy and took pity on him, escorting him home and sitting up with him whilst he recovered from his depression-rooted stupor. Eventually he sobered up and the two had a reunion proper.

Unsurprisingly, Moon Girl’s first action upon Xedanis’s awakening was to slap him – hard – across the face. Funnily enough, it was this action that jogged Xedanis’s memory. The misunderstanding that had led to her being abandoned years before was finally brought to light, and bridges tentatively rebuilt. Xedanis remained choked by bitterness, and Moon Girl picked up on this with easy speed.

 

Determined to deliver him from this crushing dark, Moon Girl instead took him under her wing. She all but dragged him out from his hiding places at night, never once finding him sleeping. Xedanis had not slept since last he had seen Violetta. It was under Moon Girl’s advice that he set out on the Dawn Rose with no exact heading in mind, searching for something he had never really known or believed in: Peace.

 

After various events, including a brief, bloody reunion with his thought-dead father, Xedanis came to realize that his peace lay not at sea, but with Moon Girl. He returned to the Port filled with the vim of this revelation, and immediately sought her out, planting a lover’s kiss on her lips with absolutely no warning.

 

It was the first crack in the wall of emotionless Xedanis had erected around himself and, although it took a long time for the rest of it to come down, he traces that moment as the point where he began to become himself again. Unfortunately however, there were irrevocable actions performed in his anger that caused him considerable personal regret; not least of which the destruction of his prized recipe for First Brew. All of this would be overshadowed, however, by another unforgettable event: severing Jada.

DISOWNED

 

It was at this time that Xedanis was at his lowest. He had just been reunited with Moon Girl; that was the sole spot of light that pierced his night at this time. Feeling the pull of the Long Sleep for the first time in his life, Xedanis sank into a depression and coldness that not only unlike him, but also seemingly-inescapable.

 

Jada, his Siress, had recently celebrated their 4th anniversary as Sire & Childe, and saw the reclusive iciness in her childe as something to be proud of. Xedanis however soon struck a blow to her too, asking for a severance. Following a long conversation about his intentions that was ill-received, she granted his wish and promptly disowned him. Xedanis has never spoken of what passed between the two, and likely never will. If one were to ask for a single reason why he wanted severance, one would find themselves dead in a heartbeat, for it is something Xedanis does not tolerate intrusion upon.


 Alone now, a master for the first time, Xedanis wandered the night killing without ethic or moral, becoming a mechanical avatar of Death. He never spoke, he never slept, he never really felt anything. Eventually, it was Melanctha that pulled him out of the depths of despair almost as violently as Jada had disowned him.

 MELANCTHA

 Melanctha had been stubbornly supportive – much to Xedanis’s resistance – during the six months of his lone wanderings. She checked on him, guided him and attempted more than once to prevent him from going underground or committing suicide in the day. Ultimately it was this strangely educational treatment of him that made Xedanis choose Mel as a new Sire; well over a year after he broke the bond with Jada. Rumor persists that they planned the event mere weeks after the fact, but neither Xed nor Mel have any idea where these could have originated; they had not even grown close until 5 months after Xed and Jada separated.

BECOMING A SIRE

 

Shortly after binding to Melanctha, there was an extremely melodramatic period in the history of the RoR that culminated in one citizen – Lass – burning down a tree house on the Republic grounds that she had built herself. Along with it went every shred of documentation and vital information pertaining to her area of responsibility. The maddened vampire was then excommunicated from the RoR and left the grounds, leaving her childe Vetalla in an angered, broken state.

 

Recognizing in her the same darkness that had almost consumed him, Xedanis made it his goal in unlife to get under her skin and stop her from succumbing as he nearly did. Pyromania manifested within Vetalla almost immediately, a curious quirk hearkening to the explosive exit of her sire, and it wasn’t long before she made the decision to sever. Xedanis wasted no time in taking her under his proverbial wing. At first things seemed shaky – especially when she tried to burn the Port au Lune to the ground – but eventually persistence paid off and Xedanis was the “winning” prospect in a city that was clamoring to add her name to any one of hundreds of lists of childer. (None of the family have since broached the topic, but this might have been due in part to how close Xed and Vetalla’s childe, Jessi, had become.)

 

Forever after the binding, Xed referred to Vetalla as “Pyrowench,” a term of endearment coined on the very night she tried to destroy the brewery. Officially, she has the right to bear the family name, Sykonra, but chooses not to. Whether this is out of vanity or a sense of continued independence, no one is quite sure.

 

Vetalla has, however, used the family name on one occasion, although it was not her that spoke it. The event in question was Jessi’s binding to Flex, wherein Melanctha – officiating the ceremony – asked who presented Jessi for binding. On her behalf, Xedanis responded, “Her Sire, Vetalla Sykonra, and myself, Xedanis Sykonra Demarchis, patriarch of the Sykonra line.”

 

Despite not “officially” adding the family name to her own, Xedanis views Vetalla as his first and closest “parental” bond, and it is usually with her that he addresses matters of lineage when Melanctha is unavailable or… inappropriate.

PORT LUNA: THE PORT AU LUNE REOPENED

 

Shortly following taking Vetalla and then Vikki as his childer, Xedanis embarked on a period of prosperity that lasted for many years. With his steady hand once again at the helm, the Port Au Lune flourished, although this time Xedanis was sure to appoint a proxy to lead when he was called away. As Moon Girl was often accompanying him on such occasions and none of the Crew seemed to fit the bill, Xedanis appointed Jessi as the official Foreperson on the port when he was not around.

 

Jessi had taken the formerly-derelict Lighthouse on the Port’s north-eastern flank as her demesne, and set about renovating it into her own private residence. Xed formally signed the building and the section of land it sat upon over to her name as soon as she expressed interest in it, although he did slip a clause into the contract that forbade her from painting it pink or deactivating it, as it still needed to serve its original purpose; guiding ships into the port. Jessi easily evaded this clause by installing a pink lens on the building not long after she moved in; however Xedanis swiftly had it replaced with a standard white lens whilst she was away on her honeymoon.

 

Being onsite, as well has sharing a love for creating all kinds of alcoholic beverages made Jessi the natural choice to serve as Xedanis’s proxy, and with at least one of them always available, the Port has never since drifted into the state of disrepair it had been in when Xedanis joined the Eternal Spiral.

OCCULARUM & SILVERNUS REBORN

 

Silvas’ Rebellion (SPOILER ALERT: This event is told in detail in the short story “Insurrection” cowritten with Lee Watson and Ashley Literski.)

 

Sadly, this golden age was not to last long. It had been a long time since Xedanis had last drawn blood with Silvernus, and the spirit of Silvas within had grown restless. Without blood and death to keep it satiated and docile, Silvas had begun to press and poke at the binds that confined him within his steel prison, searching ever more vigorously for a crack that would allow his escape from his tomb.

 

Xedanis also began to suffer from recurring nightmares upon resuming his attempts to sleep for the first time in almost 10 years. Several nights he writhed and woke violently, seeing images of his family eviscerated and scaring Moon Girl half to death. He did his best to mask the problem and blame it on not having attempted daylight’s rest in so long, but unfortunately this proved a grave mistake.

 

On a hunt during which Moon Girl became blinded by bloodlust, Xedanis was forced to unleash Silvas on his wife to bring her to a stop using the spirit’s formidable mental gifts. Far from being satisfied with merely restraining Moon Girl, Silvas attempted to subvert control of her body entirely. Sheer willpower forced Silvas back into his prison, albeit not for long: Soon enough, the ghost made good on his threat and invaded Moon Girl’s mind whilst she slept.

 

With his wife’s life hung in the balance, Xedanis consulted with his aunt, Persephone and the two made all speed for the long-lost city of Atlantis. The voyage was largely uneventful, with Xedanis spending all of it below deck with his comatose wife, who unbeknownst to him was fighting Silvas’ control by shutting herself down to the outside world, in a form of mental lockdown.

 

Eventually, the ancient tyrant was resealed within his steel prison by the priest who had put him there in the first place: Corvun. Amazed that the Last Atlantean yet endured, Xedanis gave his best to the man and spent several hours in quiet consultation with him following Silvas’ re-interment; the effort of the action had very nearly cost Xedanis his life and he had spent several hours in the oblivion between life and death as a result.

 

Umbra and Occularum (SPOILER ALERT: This event is told in full in the novella “Oracle: Rise of Shadow”. If you haven’t read it yet, you may want to consider skipping this section. )

 

In the end, it was a good thing that Xedanis had managed to re-seal Silvernus; scantly 6 months after returning from Atlantis, the blade and its immortal incumbent saved his life, and Persephone’s also.

 

Xedanis had once again began to suffer from nightmares; this time waking dreams as he found he was more comfortable without sleep. Learning from the experience with Silvernus, he paid attention and tried to interpret the strange vision that kept recurring: Persephone falling through a column of light, beyond his reach, and finally consumed by the Shadow.

Xedanis had long since proclaimed mastery of these capricious forces of the night, so the idea of losing his beloved aunt to their whims was something he found particularly daunting. Immediately he made his way to her shrine, finding her sat in graceful repose as she always had been. It therefore came as an enormous shock when she rose from her throne and cast him against the wall of the shrine in an attempt to kill him.

 

Xedanis came to his senses to find himself interred within Silvernus, wherein he saw Silvas “face to face” for the first time. The spirit had some experience with the entity now revealed to be masquerading as Persephone; the creature called itself “Umbra,” literally translated from latin “Shadow”. She claimed to be the Queen of the night and indeed, Silvas had once taken her as a consort in Atlantis.

 

It was she who had first mooted the idea of entrapping Silvas within his prison, albeit she was thwarted in her ultimate motive: Seizing his throne. The event had been so costly that it had banished her from Atlantis as well as sealing her mate inside the blade.

 

Armed with this knowledge, Xedanis was released by Silvas from his temporary interment – something within the spirit’s power as Xedanis was never supposed to be there – and tasked with destroying Umbra before her hold on Persephone’s usurped form became permanent.

 

Unsheathing Silvernus, Xedanis returned to the shrine and confronted Umbra. With no small amount of shock, he saw that the usurper had taken Corvun prisoner; the Atlantean was held in a prison that seemed to be made out of spider’s silk, but was obviously draining him of vitality somehow. Xedanis brandished Silvernus, demanding that she release his aunt and the Priest. To his surprise, the body thief drew a sword of her own out of thin air, constructed of blackest obsidian, but with an edge keener even than the immortal blade Xedanis wielded. The two charged at one another and Xedanis raised Silvernus at the same time as Umbra attacked. The blades collided with enough force to send shockwaves through the air.

 

On impact, both Silvernus and the shadow sword shattered clean in two. Umbra let forth an unholy screech and Corvun’s tomb broke open. The Atlantean crumpled to the ground. With Umbra distracted and in evident pain, Xedanis gathered up the fragments of both weapons, and Corvun himself, then immediately teleported them out of the shrine.

 

Safe in Atlantis, Corvun used his ancient knowledge to reforge the swords Xedanis had retrieved. Silvernus took on the new form of a Kilij-like blade, whilst the shadow blade yielded to the magic Corvun wielded and took a form that was the mirror of the reforged Silvernus.

 

Now equipped with two blades, Xedanis returned to the shrine once again, hell bent on freeing his aunt, or dying in the effort. Umbra’s hold on Persephone’s body was visibly shaken by their last encounter; Xedanis envisioned a “double face” as he looked on her form. It was as if he saw Persephone battling the hold in one eye, and Umbra struggling to maintain her grip in the other.

 

The ensuing battle was brutal. Xedanis fought his way through illusion after illusion, beginning with a wall of darkness that tried to choke him to death and culminating with decapitating a blasphemous vision of his late wife Violetta, a nightmare made real that threatened to unhinge the vampire altogether. Eventually it was Silvas who steadied Xedanis’s hand long enough for his blades to strike home on the defenseless Umbra.

 

The moment Silvernus and the newly-forged Occularum touched Persephone’s flesh, Silvas’s essence surged forth and grasped her face with ghostly tendrils. A short but grisly scene followed as Silvas forcefully ripped Umbra’s essence free from Persephone’s mind – along, it was later revealed, with a portion of Persephone’s own essence – and dragged its shrieking, banshee-like form into the waiting prison of Occularum.

 

His aunt finally freed, the exhausted Xedanis dropped to his knees, safe in the knowledge that his claim to Mastery of shadow was once again undisputed.

WORLD WEARY

With his personal crisis seemingly at an end, Xedanis returned home to Port Luna, his family, and the Republic of Ravenblack. In his absense, unrest within Ravenblack City had escalated.


On the back of a failed attempt by the hastily-assembled Capadocian Alliance (under the flag of a returning Capadocious himself) to destroy the RoR and its ally Yggdrasil, the city's immortal activities had grown stagnant and superficial.

Xedanis had long known that another tsunami would erupt from the sea of silence, but he had paid it no mind; distracted as he had been by the events surrounding his family, Xed only gave the city at large a bare-minimum of eye-service in the local news publications and websites.

 

Deeper within himself however, he saw a cycle repeating itself. Perhaps brought on by the small part of Persephone's gifts she had passed to Occularum, Xed began to have an overwhelming premonition that Ravenblack had become a city of doldrum, broken by occasional war, but always destined to return to doldrum once more. The faces changed, but the stories remained the same. This realization brought with it a monumental weariness that settled on Xedanis's already-tired shoulders with a brutal weight.

 

This became the first time Xedanis had ever considered the Long Sleep. Indeed, he even began making preparations. The Port was to be entrusted to the care of Jessi, his grandchilde, although Moon Girl would be given the same responsibility if the need arose. Xed prepared letters to each of his family members, and made ready a secure location beneath the Brewery Vaults for his rest.

 

Mere days before his intended retirement, the war began. And Xedanis found himself caught up in the frenzy of battle. 

THE FERRYMONT WAR

The Dumont Family, allied with the Ferrymen, ranged themselves as opponents before the undefeated Yggdrasil - RoR alliance and their unlikely allies in the D'Dary; Xedanis found himself fighting alongside and against old friends and foes, and making a few new examples of each during the conflict. Despite being on opposing sides, Xedanis struck up a friendship of sorts with Rienhardt, even whilst being part of several sorties intending to Zero the other vampire.

 

The war and its politics ground on, and Xedanis immersed himself in battle, re-honing his duelling skills and proving his victories in the RoR's Speed and displacement tournaments were never simple flukes of luck. Even despite his contributions and the resurfacing of a great part of the RoR's membership, however, Xedanis' world-weariness continued. Reunited with Vetalla and Melanctha for a brief period, Xed clung to their return as a small source of comfort, enjoying it while it lasted.

 

He also realised that he would be required to fight one of his oldest friends; Ace, the de-facto leader of the Dumont line. Xedanis had for a long time maintained a friendship both with Ace and his partner Moon_Shadow, as well as the bloodline's patriarch CT Serafini due to their shared past in Radio Broadcasting. Because of this friendship, Ace and Xed vowed not to engage each other; a curious arrangement in war that Xedanis has not since illuminated upon.

 

However, Ace's conduct towards others - and Xed's personal possessions - during the ongoing hostilities led to the end of their friendship. During a heated, duelling engagement, Ace summoned the sleeping Lannair Cuan to the battlefield to act as a succour point for the somnolent vampire's branch of the Dumont Line. Penny - Lannair's former mate and a friend and clanmate of Xedanis' - watched in horror as her ex-husband's comatose body, still in its burial shroud, was crudely teleported from point to point around the city in violation of the sanctity of rest.

 

Xedanis was greatly angered by the turn of events but kept his head, spilling his aggression instead on his foes then retiring with his clanmates, focusing instead on Penny and not on Ace's foolishness. However, the cool-headed attitude Xed displayed was not to last.

 

END OF AN ERA

 

Eventually, the "Ferrymont" surrendered to the "Yggd'dRoR" Alliance and the war came to its end. Ace and Moons had simply vanished from the front lines, leaving dissent and dissatisfaction in their wake. An estimated third of the Dumont line renounced their ties to the family in disgust at being left to fight alone and outmatched against the seemingly-indomitable RoR. Several of the Ferrymont warriors had been Zeroed multiple times, restored at great personal cost by Necromancers. Liski, the original target of the entire affair, had finally been brought to heel and killed. With that, the war simply ended.

 

Xedanis returned to the Port, setting his employees to the task of rebuilding his resources. He planned to take the Dawn Rose to sea, and rejuvenate himself. However, upon his arrival in the Marina, his dockhands and crew greeted him with grim news.

 

Half of the crew was dead. Ace had came to the Port Luna before his disappearance, scrapped his way onto the Dawn Rose's main deck, and drunkenly attempted to take the vessel for a joy ride. Ill-equipped or trained to pilot the mighty Pirate ship, the inebriated Ace had ran her aground on the Reef just outside of the port's breakwaters. A gaping rend twenty feet long and three decks high had been torn in the ship's flank, disgorging the interior into the sea.

 

Xedanis was devastated. The Rose was interred immediately within the Drydock facility at the port, whilst Xedanis and his finest shipwrights struggled desperately to repair the stricken vessel. For Xedanis it was as though his own flesh and blood lay in the drydock dying, like a cherished parent on the operating table.

 

In the end, the Rose was deemed unsalvageable. The damage to her keel - the spine of the vessel around which the rest of the hull was built - was too great. Repairing the keel would mean dismantling the existing vessel and rebuilding her entirely. Already wounded by the prospect of never sailing in his beloved ship again, Xedanis instead elected to patch the tear in the hull and convert the Rose to a standing monument, within the port itself.

ST JOHN BY SPIRIT, ST JOHN BY NAME

 

During this difficult time, a ray of light shone. Fresh from hammering the nails into the coffin of his friendship with Ace and destroying any sliver of hope Ace may have had about taking Xedanis as his own some day, Xedanis was greeted by Seyda, the Matriarch of the St John family and a woman for whom Xed had always held a great respect (and supply of alcohol).

 

Xedanis had long been considered an honorary member of the St John line due to family ties through Melanctha and Nara, then through Moon Girl when she took Nitenurse as a sire. However he had never been formally granted the name, and indeed he felt as though he had yet to earn it. One night after another visit to the Taverns, Xed and Seyda had a meaningful conversation for perhaps the first time ever. The subject matter is a closely-held informal secret to the two, however during the course of their chat, Seyda formally accepted Xedanis - and indeed the entire Sykonra-Demarchis branch if they so chose - into the St John fold.

 

Forever after, Xed would add "The Man With The Triple-Barrelled Surname" to his long list of epithets.

 

FAMILY MATTERS

 

Sleep claimed much of the family. Melanctha was away in Greece, Vetalla returned to her sleep almost immediately after the war. Jessi, though titular proxy to Xed at the Port, rarely visited its environs. Even Vikki was strangely silent. Xedanis sent missives, visited those whose locations he knew, telepathically reached out to them so they knew he was still around. He tried, in short, to remain the lynchpin of the family even as the pre-war weariness he had struggled with settled on his shoulders again.

 

To add to the resurgent burden, Xedanis suffered a difficult wound; Drusilla, whom Xed had long been close to since his DJ days, had chosen Malkavian over him as a sire. Though the two remained close as a sire and childe and Drusilla continued to call him "Dad" Xedanis still stung emotionally from not being able to "officially" call her his own.

 

This was compounded later as Evelya - "EvilStalker" - Stalker did the same. Twice within the short space of two months, Xedanis felt the pang of rejection. Though he does not speak of the decisions made and maintained the same closeness with Evie - his nickname for her - it is arguable that depression threatened to add itself to the list of burdens hung on Xed's spirit.

 

EVIE

 

Evelya reconsidered her decision and became the newest member of the Sykonra-Demarchis family in January 2014 during a ceremony that could only be described as "Eloping". With the darkness over his head beginning to lift, Xedanis rejoiced; it was also around this time that work on retrofitting the White Tempest - the de-facto replacement for the Dawn Rose - was nearing completion. Xedanis promised that he would take Evie with him on his first voyage on the new vessel. At last the keel of Xed's unlife seemed to be evening out... then of course, Corvun showed up. 

 

THE FALL OF ATLANTIS

 

Corvun was, as always, to-the-point. Without the power of the imprisoned Silvas to hold the sea at bay, the great invisible dome that protected the heart of the sunken continent from being permanently and utterly destroyed by the crushing weight of the ocean was beginning to weaken. The only chance the Priest knew of to save Atlantis was to return Xedanis's beloved blade Silvernus to its resting place. Furthermore, sailing to Atlanis on the White Tempest was not possible; with so much of the City-Continent's strength devoted to maintaining the shield, its ancient entryway (the aptly-named Maelstrom) would not open to any vessel that had not already been there in the past.

 

Xedanis callously announced that Atlantis was doomed, and explained to Corvun the fate of the Dawn Rose. At the realization of the legendary ship's fate, the Atlantean immediately decided it was unacceptable and swept imperiously into the Port's drydock. Using methods Xedanis did not understand, but guessed correctly to be Atlantean in origin, Corvun succeeded in repairing the Dawn Rose's wound, and the mighty ship was made ready to sail once again. With Evie and Krais - Xed's taciturn former-childe - in tow, the group made immediately for Atlantis, to find some way of saving the legendary city from certain destruction.