Arc:You Must Have Been Human

From HollowWiki

This personal arc of Kanna and Karasu intersects with the following arcs:

- The God of Undeath
- Dissonance Theory
- On Stranger Tides
- Lies Within Us

Magic is finite.

The basic laws of magic itself imply that magic cannot be produced from nothing. Everything is fueled by The Xalious Tree. Over the centuries, there has been a notable decline in magic-based incidents, but at the same time, there has been a marked decrease in the number of mages who have become powerful enough to reach the level of Sublime Master, or even Archmage in the Mage's Guild. After years of research, Provost Esoterica Kaaname Tsuji concludes that there are too many magic users in the world. The amount of magic siphoned from Xalious is putting a strain on the world that he theorizes will lead to the collapse of magic in itself, leading Lithrydel into its third Dark Age. To prolong that from happening, the number of mortals who abuse magic must be greatly reduced. To this end, Kaaname Tsuji must call upon the borrowed magic of Vakmatharas.

Prelude: A Chain of Flowers

1. Determination as Hard as Ice
Karasu, not understanding why she has been barred from entry to the Guild she has lived in her entire life, catches the attention of Dyraxdiin, a Magister Templi in the Guild. Seeing potential in her despite the Council's warning against it, he takes her on an errand to help save Emilia as her initiation rite.
2. A Snake in the Guild
Magister Templi Dyraxdiin sends the Apprentice Karasu to solve the mystery of the Mage Tower's prankster, and to bring Quintessa along as her rite of passage. The prankster strikes with their true intention, and the duo manage to apprehend the culprit!
3. A Leopard Can't Change Its Spots...
On an expedition to Rynvale, Quintessa and Lanlan's harsh treatment of a surrendering invisible jaguar prompts a trigger in Karasu's condition. This is the first Quintessa begins to realize that Karasu is not well.
4. The Confrontation
Apprentice Quintessa seeks out Karasu's father for answers regarding her best friend's condition. Seeing promise in Quintessa as a pawn, Kaaaname reveals that what Karasu believes to be a birthmark is actually a curse from a lich that he believes to be a gift from Vakmatharas himself.
5. Two Girls, One Sensei
Karasu's condition culminates during the genocide of the Razurath. Her swords shattered, she screams for help as she feels the lich take full possession of her for the first time. Quintessa and Kasyr find Karasu, and the three gather themselves before making the ascent back to Xalious. During this talk, Karasu realizes that the possession has caused her eyes to turn from hazel to an eerie reddish color.
6. With Friends Like These...
With Quintessa and Karasu reassigned from Dyraxdiin to Kasyr as their teacher, Kasyr calls Quintessa and Karasu to the training room for some extra homework. The apprentices spar and it ends in a horrible accident.
7. A Sinister Samhain
Accepting a local gig to perform in a derelict cabin, Kanna makes acquaintances with a curious man with glowing green eyes. He offers her a rose similar to the one offered to her by a runesmith two years prior. She takes the rose and she becomes something worse than dead or undead; she becomes a creature bound to eating mortals.
8. The Betrayed
At the same time Kanna is transformed into a ghoul, Karasu digs through her father's office to look for the notes he made when she nearly killed Quintessa. She aims to find some kind of explanation to her condition, but what she finds is instead, much worse. Fearful for the safety of the sister she never knew of, and paranoid that everyone in the Mage's Guild might be part of his conspiracy to restore Vakmatharas, she flees the Tower and cuts off contact with everyone.

Act 1: Wildflowers and Decay

1. The Last of the Swiftclaw Tribe
In her search for leads regarding the disappearance of Emilia, Futsuka of the Swiftclaw Tribe happens upon Karasu, who believed she was also the last member of the same tribe. Karasu, who had been in hiding for half a year, reveals the circumstances behind her leaving the Mage's Guild, and Futsuka reveals that she believes Kaaname may have been responsible for the genocide of the tribe when she was a child.
2. Midnight Visitor
Seeking answers for how to separate Kanna from the instrument she believes her father needs instead of the person, Karasu breaks into Provost Kerrigan's office to steal a book regarding the history of soul-binding. Karasu is nearly discovered by him, and both are nearly discovered by Kaaname, who conveniently just happens to return from a trip to Vailkrin.
3. Dinner Interrupted
Kanna performs in the Kelay Tavern, looking for another mortal to eat, and attempts to seduce Magikrios, still infected with Elazul's Bite. Her efforts are halted by his wife Rinn, who attempts to smoke her out. Kanna escapes, and a bounty is made by the graverobber, which Karasu attempts to steal in disguise. Magik recognizes the missing feline immediately and instructs her to meet him in the Mage's Tower.
4. Blind Faith
Karasu meets Magik in the Mage's Tower and reveals the documents found in Kaaname's office to him. The Veneficius contains his alarm at the revelations, but assures Karasu that he will look into the matter and make sure Kanna is protected.
5. Following a Cold Trail of Corpses
Hot on the trail of the newly transformed ghoul, Kanna, the necromancer Quintessa uses the Syndicate of Shadows to track her down. Following a path of death, Quintessa soon finds the latest victim of the restless undead and recruits him into her army. Back in Kelay, Quintessa discovers things have complicated, and she speaks with Magik to get a better grasp of the situation.
6. Altered Perception
In a stroke of terrible luck for all involved, Quintessa and Karasu cross paths in Cenril. Karasu has yet to uncover the limitations of Quintessa's involvement in her father's plans, but believes her to be a traitor regardless. Quintessa realizes how paranoid Karasu has become, but Karasu's harsh words spurns her into action. A clash ensues that requires the intervention of a mysterious figure.
6a. From One Bodyguard to Another
The aftermath of the fight, from the point of view of Krice and Karasu.
6b. Born This Way
The aftermath of the fight, from the point of view of Khitti and Quintessa.
7. A Curse for a Curse
Kanna seeks refuge out in the alcove near the Whalers' Bar after having her undead rear handed to her in a fight. As she laments to a fellow undead man who came out of the shadows like a friggin' edgelord, the mysterious Ernest offers her a proposition: Collect enough ill will from mortals, and he can alter her curse to lower her chances at detection.
8. Mayday on May Day
Karasu's worst nightmare comes true. While healing from her fight with Quintessa, Kanna leaves Cenril to attend a festival, at which Quintessa intercepts her right before Kanna can take a bite out of Odhranos. Kanna finally learns the name of her sister, and that she has an undead army at her disposal. She agrees to stay in Vailkrin until Quintessa can sort out some things with Karasu.
9. Magik the Mediator
After Karasu's discharge from the Healer's Guild, only to find Kanna and Quintessa gone, she puts two and two together and marches out to House Dragana to confront the changeling. What she finds out in the Dark Forest is instead a fellow guildmate with some wisdom on her temper and a task with an alarming deadline.
10. Friends in the Shadows
After a trek into Frostmaw at Magik's request, Karasu returns to deliver Magik's bow only to find none other than Quintessa. After so long, they finally reunite forces and make their way to Kelay, where a surprise awaits beneath the old Kelay Tavern.
11. Bad Blood
After being escorted to Vailkrin from a party by Quintessa, the Ghoul Kanna finds herself alone in a large city of vampires. Of all people, she runs into Magik at a fountain of blood. Despite not knowing his name, the two share a chat about their last encounter to clear the air.

Act 2: The Hanging Garden

1. Disciples of Vakmatharas
A vaguely threatening note appears to Quintessa, requesting her presence to Provost Kaaname Tsuji at the Mage's Guild. Kaaname attempts to reason with Quintessa to gain her favor with Vakmatharas again to no avail. He resorts to a thinly-veiled threat, to which Veneficius D'Chath bears witness.
2. What is Rightfully Mine, Refused
Quintessa outs Kaaname's vampirism to the Mage Guild Administrator Brenwyn, after Kaaname and Brenwyn agree that Quintessa is not yet ready for the position of Provost. Kaaname retaliates by issuing an ultimatum to his daughter through her girlfriend.
3. Something About Books and Covers
Magik gifts Karasu and Quintessa some badass looking birds as thanks for saving his life. Magik informs Karasu that she should come with him to the Mage's Guild and enlist as his student to circumvent Kaaname's threat.
4. Cry Havoc
Karasu catches wind of an impending Larketian army march to Xalious. She moves to tell Odhranos, but hesitates, suddenly feeling overwhelming guilt for being absent in the Guild for the past year. Seeing the terramancer in the darkness of night while he could still believe he was asleep was one thing, but being present in the daylight was another. Karasu disguises herself for the standoff between the Mage Council and the King of Larket himself. In the chaos that ensues when negotiations fail, Karasu is captured by Kaaname, unbeknownst to all but Magik.
5. Lost and Not Quite Found
Two days after Karasu’s kidnapping during another kidnapping’s negotiations, Magikrios returns to the Mage Tower to consider his next steps. Karasu greets him with no memory of her kidnapping, nor of the surrender of her guildmates. Something happened during her kidnapping, as her sword is caked in blood. Exhausted by recent events, the pair become paranoid that Provost Tsuji may be listening when they realize the communicator used to relay messages to other clan members has gone missing.
6. No Sweeter Innocence
Having raided Veneficus Azakhaer's office for information on the chaos erupting in Xalious, Karasu finds a tool to tamper with and improve upon for her own use. Quintessa begins to tell Karasu what she understands to be happening, but finally breaks down, confessing the sins crawling on her back. Karasu briefly mourns what she believes to be the death of an old and very brief boyfriend at Quintessa's hands, but chooses to forgive her. She confides her own secret in the hexblade, along with a theory of what else has taken place within the Tower's walls.
7. Larketian Visitation Rights
Karasu infiltrates a makeshift Larketian prison cell to interrogate the wounded Kasyr. Kasyr learns the truth behind Karasu's disappearance, and Karasu becomes content with the realization that if any conspiracy had gone down, her former instructor was not involved. She drops off a modified runic crystal with details regarding a meeting that could decide Kasyr's fate in Larket's hands.
8. Coup de Grace
As agreed in a tense meeting between certain Mage Guild members, Karasu stands down during the second Larketian march and allows for the execution of Brenwyn. Kaaname Tsuji uses his telemancy on the Administrator in his final moments, and realizes something has gone terribly wrong with allowing the coup to take place. Deciding to retreat to Larket, Kaaname offers his favored daughter a parting gift in the interim.
9. The Amber Vendetta
In the wake of Brenwyn's death, Karasu brings Kasyr down to the Syndicate of Shadows, where members also heavily involved with the Mage's Guild discuss next steps after a disturbing revelation. Karasu makes the decision to at least try to reach out to Kaaname to see if his show of good faith was genuine enough to want to help her.
10. You Must Have Been Hurt
Discussions regarding which Syndicate of Shadows members would be suitable to send in as spies to the Mage's Guild becomes derailed when Karasu and Quintessa accidentally set off each other's tempers.
11. No Longer Human
Kanna comforts the heartbroken Quintessa after her fight with Karasu. In trying to say something inspirational, she reveals that she has not only forgotten where she received her heart-reading compass, but that she cannot remember if it ever held an arrow, and where it was meant to point to. Quintessa, still manic from her fight, realizes that the entity that granted her powers could help Kanna regain her memories should she follow through with the plans she had abandoned. Kanna agrees to help Quintessa, not realizing that this act could push them past the point of ever regaining their humanity.
12. Placeholder for The Black Lotus Killer, still in progress
While investigating a series of murders, Quintessa has to restrain the frenzied ghoul Kanna to prevent collateral damage. After coming to her senses, Kanna starts to question whether she's capable of helping anyone in her condition. A horrible realization strikes as she also becomes unable to recognize the origin of something she was sure was important.
13. Who Wants to Live Forever?
Kanna starts to rethink her agreement to help Quintessa, having realized that what she agreed to has the potential to hurt a great deal more than she already has. An armored giant implores her to seek the path that would help her regain her humanity, no matter the cost.
14. Night of the Living Dead Girls
Accompanying Quintessa and her student, the trio strike at the Druid's Tree, revealing the true extent of the powers Kanna gained from the man in the derelict cabin. Quintessa, desperate to keep Leralynn and Kanna safe from it's defender's blade, injects the swordsman with a vial of cursed sap.
15. It's Raining Somewhere Else
At Provost Grace's insistence, Arcane Steward Karasu treks out to Frostmaw to persuade Magister Odhranos Kerrigan to return to his post at the Mage's Guild. When she realizes that telling him the truth of what's happening in the Guild would only ruin what semblance of happiness he seems to have found, she advocates for his continued hiatus. Their first real chat in over a year is cut short by a troubling whisper from the shadows.
16. Night of the Living Dead Girls 2: This Time, It's Personal
Kanna, Quintessa, and Leralynn converge in Xalious to attack the second of the three landmark Holy Trees. With knowledge of their misdeeds spreading like wildfire, a mismatched band of heroes take a stand at the Xalious Tree to hopefully prevent the spread of influence of The Great Insectoid Who Dwells Between Worlds. After the deed is done, the trio flee north through the mountain to evade pursuers, each nearly drained of their magic. Kanna stops her companions to ask who they are, her amnesiac curse having suppressed almost all her memories.
17. You Must Have Remembered Something
Immediately following the events of the Xalious Tree's destruction, the trio responsible take refuge in an abandoned cabin in the wooded mountains. With Quintessa's injuries quickly taking their toll, she faints upon arrival. Leralynn makes the run back out to see if she can procure medical supplies, contact her father or both. Kanna, having forgotten the both of them completely as the Great Insectoid's curse worsens, finds herself remembering being in this place before. Kanna rediscovers the belongings left behind from the night she was made a ghoul, triggering a sudden influx of lost memories. Quintessa follows Kanna into the dream realm, where she sees first hand what dreams and nightmares Kanna had forgotten. Quintessa sees firsthand that Kanna was subjected to tortures similar to her own, enough to cause her to dissociate from the memories themselves, and is bewildered by the fact that the bard can still maintain a cheery disposition. Upon the end of the impromptu dream divination, the girls are joined by two bounty hunters-- one of which is immediately killed as he reveals his true nature-- in search of information Kanna left behind that could be the key to finding the man that saved her life. Kanna, though resigned to having lost her humanity, becomes determined to find the missing runesmith to repay her life debt.
18. Rise of the Ossian Order
Karasu, having been dealing with the fallout of the Xalious Tree's attack, attends the annual Celestial Celebration Ball against her better judgement. Seeing Odhranos' apprentice with his sand cage, she learns that the terramancer has been kidnapped. Karasu approaches her father and wordlessly begs him to help her find the entity that had once resided in Brenwyn's mind, offering in exchange information on where her sister and her heirloom instrument are. Kaaname is frustrated with the realization that Karasu has done something to ward her mind from his intrusion, but obliges the request to find that nearly half of the attendees are subject to the same mental condition. The realization comes too late as a coup rises against the Mage's Guild, declaring Karasu a war criminal in the process. Unwilling to let his prized weapon be captured, Kaaname instructs the being residing within the mark on Karasu's neck to come forth. The lich, revealed to be named Mhad'lyxn, emerges through the demifeline and attacks the Ossian Order in the name of Vakmatharas as the rest of the so-called "criminals" escape. Seeing her teacher approach Karasu to flee, the creature is suppressed in time for Karasu to see that she has murdered one of the students she had pledged to protect. As Magik and Karasu become separated in transit to Kelay, Karasu comes to the conclusion that she cannot be of help so long as she still shares her body with the lich.

Act 3: Bloodflowers of Autumn