Enhanced Agility: superior
-Footwork is inelegant but effective. Suggests no formal training?
-No rhythm. Unmusical.
-Almost deliberate in its crudeness. As if hiding purpose. Methodical, mayhap?
-Disguising style? The mythological no-style? Inconceivable.
-Reclassify as physical jazz? Improv? Giving too much credit?
-Defeat is possible. Movements are mortal. Merely atonal.
-Baffling but clearly inferior. Beware regardless.
--From the notes of Devyn Soyokaze, Sensei of the School of the Gentle Fist
Enhanced Willpower: supreme
“I wasn’t around when Plato was roaming this earth. I know a few guys who were, and I’m sure they’ll back me up on this. That Plato guy had something right when he did his Cave spiel. We see nothing as it truly exists. It’s always filtered and corrupted and altered in some way before our brains get to process the data at hand. When you take a photograph or film something, that image is filtered through a lens and then transformed into pixels or analog tape or some other artificial method of holding data. Then it gets washed in development fluid or run through a photo program. And when that image finally gets transmitted to your brain, it has to get filtered through the light between your eyes and the object, then once again filtered through the very lenses in your eyes before that final form of data gets transmitted to your brain through nerves that may or may not be faulty.
“The outside world is nothing but an image of an image of an image, and every step along the way is a further deterioration of the former impure image. We are incapable of every seeing the truth. We’re always at least one step away.
“Like I said before, I don’t like deceit. I like getting down to the truth of things. But look at how the very way we perceive the world is set up. The very mechanics of how we process visual data on a biological level doesn’t allow us to perceive reality without some form of filter. Reality itself has conspired to make sure we can never know the truth.
“Even if I could reveal everything I know, it’ll never be the real big picture. Think about that. Despite knowing I’m living a fool’s errand, I’m still doing my thing. There’s no greater truth to defend because we’re incapable of ever perceiving it, but I still keep at it.”
Mythic Physiology: standard (rank 1)
His is an immortality I do not desire. It is functional, but not practical for one seeking true eternity. Ageing is halted, with no distinct increase in physical deterioration during the years I have known the subject. Subject believes ageing occurs at a rate 100 times slower than normal ageing, but I have not been witness to this process long enough to determine if this is true. Subject claims to have been born sometime during the 16th century, with his ageing process all but ceasing around age 25. This cannot be proven, as any attempts at measuring half-lives of biological samples shows no degrading on the molecular level.
When subject is wounded, subject feels pain and can be incapacitated as any normal mortal. Subject can cease all bodily functions is sufficient trauma is sustained, but subject will slowly regenerate all physical matter at an inconvenient rate. Severed limbs regenerate over the course of several weeks at best, while other wounds heal at normal human rates. Cells do not heal in a normal fashion. Rather, new cells seem to spontaneously manifest. Scarring does not occur. Subject is effectively immune to death, but permanent incapacitation through strategic amputation and surgery is possible.
Subject’s immortality does present benefits. Slowed ageing would not give true everlasting life, but may prove to be sufficient given the lifespan of this planet. Ageing could be further halted through existing methods. Subject’s invulnerability presents no real benefits beyond existing regenerative sciences, and the non-biological nature of healing methods prove to run counter with known sciences. It would be beneficial to one without access to my procedures, but my own knowledge supersedes subject’s capabilities.
Subject claims to be unaware of origin of immortality. Theories exist: divine or infernal child, elder being hybrid, true human descendant. Origin is ultimately deemed irrelevant due to rejection of subject as potential permanent research material.
Conclusion: Ally with subject as appropriate. Attempt to gather intel on subject’s elder acquaintances.
--Report to F. Trismegistus, intercepted
Enhanced Senses: superior (rank 2)
“The Book of Lies is a curious thing. It’s written in a pre-Sanskrit script-- the sort of thing scholars either don’t know exist or want you to believe doesn’t exist-- but was written sometime in the 1800s. The author was one of those 19th century transcendentalists who set up a commune in some remote part of New England, and she attracted followers by masquerading her heretical philosophies as newly discovered religious documents. Makes you wonder why she even bothered to write the thing in this proto-script when all she had to do is write it in English and claim it was a translation. She’d have gotten away with it if you ask me. I suppose even apocalyptic prophets need a hobby.
“Anyway, it’s quite the work of early Existentialism when you ignore the doomsday prophecy that dominates the text. There’s some real tapping into the philosophical zeitgeist when she talks about the history and institution of end times prophecy and the personal relationship one has with facing oblivion. Her style is decidedly different, but her ideas read like Revelations filtered through Kierkegaard. If I didn’t know better I’d say the two corresponded. Probably for the best that one of the great philosophical minds didn’t get corrupted by one of the greatest heretics history has chosen to ignore.
“I do want to share one passage from this book-- a poem stashed away in The Book of Lies’ appendices. There’s no written proof of such, but anecdotal evidence suggests it’s about our dear pal Seryph. It sounds a bit crude in translation. Pity your linguistic limitations won’t allow you to understand its original lyrical tone:
“To see the truth is a
A blessing only to
Who is willing to
All that is dear to the
For only in
Will peace be found
“When I last debated Elsie de C’ie, a follower of Peccavi, she insisted that her mistress would never stoop to writing about Seryph in such a respectful manner. He was the betrayer and the breaker of hearts, and Peccavi was writing about some hypothetical soul who would see her mistress’ great truth and merely react with apathy.
“Seryph saw the truth and responded with the same level of zeal as her followers, merely directing his furor against their way. He learned to pierce through all of the spiritual refuse like the mistress, and chose to interpret the truth in a different manner. I told this follower that Peccavi valued dissent and differing opinions. She never hated Seryph. She loved him even as he began his quest for vengeance against her. All of her writing suggest that she would have had the upmost respect for Seryph’s betrayal, and in doing so may represent the pinnacle of her teachings.
“I still have scars from Elsie’s reactions to my interpretations. Seems not all of Peccavi’s followers embrace every sacred tenant.”
Enhanced Reflexes: superior (rank 2)
“If I were there when Seryph named this joint The Peccavi Cafe, I’d have whacked him upside the head for making such a bastard move. I know the guy gets his rocks off by poking sleeping dogs until they’re wide awake and barking their asses off, so I doubt said whacking would have done the trick, but every little whacking helps.
“So it’s no wonder that the occasional Peccavi devotee decides to waltz into the place and try to show up Seryph on his own turf. They know they can’t do any real harm to him, lest they break all that sacred truce bullshit, but that doesn’t stop them from thinking they can make some noise and bust some noses. That ain’t killing or maiming by anyone’s standards, that’s just being a dick.
“I was lucky to be hanging out at the Cafe when one of Soyokaze’s students decided he was gonna go dojo-busting. I was having a drink with a couple of friends, and this jackass comes over all half drunk and spouting some gibberish about the purity of his fighting style. “Only the Gentle Fist can” something something-- dude thinks he can kick our collective asses because his style pre-dates something something whatever. One of my friends looks pretty irked. She takes offense to this Soyokaze mook talking trash like that. I give her the chill out gesture and I tell the dojo-buster that I’ll treat him to a drink.
“As I motion for Seryph to come over and pour this guy another glass, I pat the guy on the shoulder all friendly-like. We may be mortal enemies on some philosophical spiritual destiny-like level, but we can be all chummy when it comes to drinking, right? Nope. As I pat the dude on the shoulder, I can feel his muscles tense up instantaneously. Maybe the drunk bit was an act, and he was looking for an excuse to throw the first punch, because his guard was up pretty well for a guy with that stank of booze breath.
“This guy was probably expecting me to avoid his blow somehow. That’s what I was expecting as well. Seryph never gave us that chance. My drinking buddies said Seryph was over the bar, sword drawn, and holding the blade up to the guy’s throat before either me or this dude realized we were in a fight. That’s an exaggeration, obviously, but don’t tell that to the ass who was on the other side of Seryph’s blade.
“Anyway, the most surprising thing about that bit was Seryph butting in and stopping things in the first place. It wouldn’t have been the first or the last bar fight to break out in that place. “The seat you’re in is the favorite of one of my favorite patrons,” he said. “He’d be heartbroken if it were to become collateral damage.” He wouldn’t say who that patron was. Whatever.”
--Archer, Vassal of Tanin
Weapon Master: ultimate (rank 4)
“You want in on a dirty little secret? Seryph is the greatest swordsman to ever live. That’s what he believes, and he may very well be such. You’ll never hear him say as much, because he never speaks for himself. It’s always a metaphor that’s all too easy to parse out, or he’ll get one of his little minions to do the bragging for him.
“He does this in order to keep you from ever learning the whole truth about him. It’s always hearsay and rumors and twice-told tales. He’s crafting his own mythos-- his own series of lies-- all in order to preserve a truth he knows is all too inconvenient. Better to become a lie so that no one else be burdened by the truth.
“That’s why you’ll never get a straight story out of him. That’s why he’s fearful of commitment beyond his self-imposed duty to “protect the world.” Everything is one step out of phase with what needs to be known. All puzzles and obfuscation.
“That’s what makes him the greatest swordsman alive. His style is practiced deception. Feints within feints within feints. If you believe you can read his next move, it’s only because he’s given you permission to deceive yourself.
“And believe me when I say this: He takes great pleasure in being aware of this irony. Any time you see him tell you a seemingly sad tale of loneliness and woe, there’s always a smirk behind the frown. He’s every bit the pupil of Peccavi, even if he rejected the end goal.
“The Lie is at the heart of each of their philosophies.”
--Lovecraft, Successor of Peccavi