Tanith, Arbiter of Endless Horizons
An Eclipse Caste from the northern stretches of the White Sea, Arbiter has traversed most of Creation seeking to bring peace and harmony between the terrestrial and elemental spirit courts. He uses his travels as a cover to aid Gold-Faction Sidereals in finding and protecting newly-exalted Solars.
Tanith Val’di grew up in the North, along the White Sea. His mother was a dignitary of moderate rank who traveled all around the Northern and Eastern realms on missions of peace and passivity. His father was her protector, himself an air elemental from the Northern Mountains. Their union was not unusual, and was often a positive platform through which to begin negotiations between rivaling factions. While her negotiations occasionally took place between the nobles and the peasantry, they were most often between the elemental or spirit forces and the people trying to occupy and cultivate their land. She had a gift for it, and became quite wealthy and respected, known as the Arbiter of the Outlands. Tanith’s father, little as he knew him, was the Arbiter’s chief security officer and bodyguard, known for the powerful weapons he carried, a pair of essence-infused gloves known as “Thunderous Biting Wind”. They had the ability to not only harm flesh and blood, but also any dematerialized spirits who might get out of line during negotiations. He also wore a gifted suit of armor that allowed him to change his appearance at will to that of anyone. His favorite use of this was donning a different guise for each new arbitration meeting, often for the other side, so the opposition never knew which guard in the room was the Arbiter’s. Tanith’s father also had quite the respected reputation, but one as a fearfully ruthless martial-artist. This reputation was spread in no small part by himself, for in practice he used his skills to intimidate infinitely more often than to inflict any kind of mortal wound.
The Val’di family had many happy and adventuresome travels together, but always returned to their village for a season or two at home before setting out again. All throughout his childhood and early years, once he had reached an age where it was deemed safe, Tanith traveled with his parents, learning the art of diplomacy and the intricacies of both the Terrestrial and the Elemental/Spirit Courts. People would pay great sums of money for his parent’s expertise, but they were always quick to teach Tanith that sometimes – quite often – even those who couldn’t afford their services were deserving of them. Being the god-blooded son of a mortal and an elemental of the air, Tanith showed signs early on of an elemental affinity, as was readily present in the pale blue of his eyes and white-grey hair he had even from an early age. During one of the trips, things didn’t go as smoothly as normal. There was a peasants’ uprising along the southern bend of the River of Tears, and the Val’di family was asked to quell it. After arriving at the small village, they went outside the city’s walls to the temple to commune with the various governing gods and spirits of the town, hoping to hear about things from a more objective perspective. Rumor had it that the temple had once been an open-air manse in the First Age, and Tanith was particularly looking forward to seeing it. Once there, they were set upon by some of the peasants who had grown tired of the way the city was being run and didn’t think negotiating was a good option. So they waited in ambush for the Arbiter, and set upon her in a flurry. Tanith and his father rushed to her defense, and while Tanith was able to ward off a few, his father – affected by the elemental talismans the aggressors wore – fell in combat to an arrow one of the assailants had tricked a spirit into blessing. Tanith and his mother looked on in horror as their protector fell to the ground beside them, blood beginning to pool under him on the frozen, stone ground.
The other guards already fallen, the assailants took a moment to cheer for their ensuing victory. With his last few moments, Tanith’s father handed him the gloves, making him swear on his life to protect his mother and those in need, and to continue his training. Tanith quickly but somberly donned his father’s weapons of peace and stood to protect his mother. As the circle of brigands tightened around them, Tanith held out his hands and shouted for them to stay back, that peace could still be had by all, and if they were unwilling to agree to his terms, death would find them just as swiftly. Amidst the ensuing laughter and the biting winter wind, the group’s leader stepped forward to finish the job. As the criminal swung what was meant to be the final blow, Tanith found himself blocking the attack, living essence cascading around his hands. The look of astonishment on his face mirrored by those watching, and theirs quickly turned to fear at the sight of the blazing golden mark that appeared in the middle of his forehead, the symbol that he had been gifted, chosen by the greatest of the gods. Tanith felt a sudden surge of energy, of life, of commitment, conviction to a higher cause, a calling, a whisper carried on the wind that if he followed through on his convictions, things would work out. The assailant flew at him in a rage, but was driven back time and again, more and more easily with every failed attempt as Tanith started to get a feel for his father’s final gifts, a growing sense that they was meant for him and he for they. And that somehow, this wasn’t the first time he’d wielded them. Foe after unfortunate foe came after he and his mother, and he swiftly and expertly drove them all back. His mother asked that he show mercy to them, so he did, either by disarming them or injuring them in a way that removed them from combat without being life-threatening.
As the last one fell, Tanith walked over to the leader, now curled up on the ground and tending to his many wounds. The young protector extended one of his gloved-hands still cascading with the living essence of the Unconquered Sun, and with a voice that carried with it the weight of the Sun and the thunderous winds of the northern plains, asked the man if he was ready to reconsider the terms of his surrender. Tanith and his mother buried his father there at the temple, laying claim to the hallowed ground. Tanith used his new and extraordinary gifts to summon and bind the services of an air-aspected elemental to guard over his father. For years, Tanith returned to the site annually to release the guard and request the aid of a new one. In recent years, it has become unnecessary however, as the elementals of the region are appreciative enough of the aid Tanith and his family have given them that they readily watch over his father’s (and now mother’s) burial site as a way to show their thanks. Years later while walking back to town after burying his mother, Tanith was stopped by an imposing but very interesting diplomat, the likes of which he had yet to come across. The stranger requested to walk with him, and Tanith agreed, mostly out of curiosity. The traveler then went on to tell the strange tale of an Age long forgotten, of heroes powerful and corrupt, and of their overthrow, imprisonment, and now resurgence. She went on to explain how she was of a faction that wanted to help restore them to their former glory, and asked Tanith if he would occasionally be willing to be an instrument of that effort. Tanith agreed to think about it.
Once back in the village, Tanith sought audience with the local Sage as well an elder Air Elemental with whom he had formed a bond over the years. They were both strong advocates for the return of the Solar Deliberative and what the idea promised for helping to restore peace to the Elemental Courts throughout Creation. Both even recalled conversations with Tanith’s parents where his parents had confessed to feeling the same way. The Sideareal returned that very night and sent Tanith off on his first quest. Tanith adopted and expanded on his mother’s title of “Arbiter of the Outlands” and took the more Exalted title of “Arbiter of Endless Horizons”, because no distance is too great when seeking to help those in need. Over the years, Tanith has used his affinity for the Elemental forces to aid in the recovery and rescue of many newly-exalted Solars, as well as helped various regions of the outskirts of Creation to find peace and prosperity by working with the elemental and spirit courts instead of against them. He has no desire or intention to sit on any kind of ruling council, but who knows what the future might hold.
When the sun and the moon are in perfect alignment, the result is a spectacular solar eclipse. Visible all across Creation, it is an exceptionally auspicious event. The Unconquered Sun and Luna become one, and the day dims sufficiently to reveal the Five Maidens. At this moment, the unity of Heaven is visible for all to see. Similarly, the Eclipse Caste brings unity and order, and its members touch all corners of society, crossing boundaries and bringing people together. During the time of the Solar Deliberative, the Crowned Suns held the Realm together with their diplomacy. They helped to forge consensus between the many Exalts and negotiated treaties between the Realm and barbarian tribes, the spirit courts and even the Fair Folk. As administrators and censors, they kept the gears of the empire running smoothly. When the Dragon-Blooded instigated their coup, the Eclipse Caste who survived the initial assault attempted to resolve the crisis with diplomacy. Their efforts were met with lies, treachery and murder—the Dragon-Blooded were not interested in diplomacy. The Crowned Suns fled to their allies and called on the spirit courts, the elementals and the princes of the beasts for aid. Yet, these allies were not enough, and one by one, the Quicksilver Falcons fell before the armies of the Dragon-Blooded. When the Solars returned, the world witnessed the first solar eclipse since the Terrestrial Exalted took power. Now, the members of the Eclipse Caste have begun the difficult process of reunifying the world. Negotiating with mortal sovereigns, gods, the Fair Folk and the dead, they attempt to bring order to the chaos gripping Creation. Members of the Eclipse Caste are chosen from those who excel at social interaction. They work quietly and move with effortless grace, influencing the opinions of others. They are the shamans who make pacts between men and spirits, the messengers between the lands of the living and the dead and the censors who keep governments functioning honestly. The Crowned Suns excel at communication and organization. Members of the Eclipse Caste are frequently the voices of their circles. As natural communicators, they turn strangers into allies, and their organizational skills keep their groups running smoothly.
Motivation: Extending the reach of the Solar Delibritive, and strengthening ties with the Elemental Courts.
Attributes: Strength 3, Dexterity 5, Stamina 3; Charisma 4, Manipulation 2, Appearance 2; Perception 3, Intelligence 4, Wits 2
Virtues: Compassion 6, Conviction 1, Temperance 2, Valor 3
Abilities: Athletics 4, Awareness 4, Bureaucracy 3, Dodge 5, Integrity 4, Linguistics 4 (Native: Skytongue), Lore 4, Martial Arts 5 (Bare Hands +3), Medicine 1, Occult 5 (Supernatural Etiquette +3) , Resistance 3, Ride 2, Sail 3, Socialize 3
Backgrounds: Allies 1 (Sidereal), Artifact 2 (Hearthstone Bracers), Artifact 2 (Everyman Armor), Artifact 2 (Gloves), Manse 2, Manse 3, Resources 4
Limit Break: Otherworld Empathy; Limit Break Condition: The character witness an inhuman being perform a Compassionate act–a dog defending its master, a Deathknight sparing an innocent life, an Elemental healing an injured man, or similar.
Essence Pool: 22/31 (49)
Health Levels: -0/-1/-1/-1/-1/-2/-2/-2/-2/-2/-2/-4/Incap
Join Battle: 6 (+2*)
Other Notes or Constant Effects:
- Tanith’s voice has the timbre and intonation of one of the members of the Council of Winds. Air elementals and gods of weather, wind and sky react more favorably to Tanith because he sounds like one of them. (the hearthstone in his armor)
- He is surrounded with a subtle aura of Essence that causes gods, elementals and demons to regard him as unusually dignified and well-spoken. This aura is imperceptible to all other beings except gods, elementals and demons and so has no affect on any other creatures. (the hearthstone in his gloves)
- He can understand and speak any spoken language as if it were his native tongue. (the hearthstone in his bracers)
- The armor he wears can reflexively be made to appear as any sort of armor, and he most often wears it in the guise of a regular, pale-blue buff-jacket, bearing the marks of his family’s colors and crest from the north, as well as various sigils and religious markings from the Elemental Court of Air. He changes these latter markings based on the elemental pole he is closest to. His gloves can be changed at will as well, and obviously always match his coat.
He’s a martial arts practitioner of “The Art of Victorious Concession”
The Imperfect Lotus, p.23
Like a gentle breeze that holds a leaf aloft, relaxed but always moving, this calm martial art can be a joy to behold. Many practice it as a healing art, sensing the flows of Essence through another and correcting them with a kind hand. The martial artist is always moving, handling his opponents’ attacks as if he comforted a sick child. His defenses are soft, and his attacks are softer still. Students of this style slip into their opponents’ strikes to unbalance them or use an attack’s force to their own advantage. Training for this martial art involves performing katas blindfolded through obstacles and people, never touching either, and sitting in the living Essence of the small gods. Spirits have the most difficulty learning this style, as it requires them to relearn how to interpret their perceptions of Essence and the world around them.
A compassionate debater rarely has the heart to reject an opponent’s arguments outright. He merely seeks to clarify and correct, until he twists the argument to his own point of view. He lets allies make more confrontational statements. It is dangerous to call such a philosopher on his inability to defend his views, however. In short order, he will cast one’s hypotheses to rubble, while apologizing for his every verbal blow. Some people need a little tough love… Weapons and Armor: The Art of Victorious Concession can only be performed barehanded, though a practitioner may wear any sort of armor.