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Alice Talya Hawthorne

The Shadow of Captain Song

(a.k.a. Ahrui, Daughter of Talya / The Butterfly / 201184 / Captain Hawthorne / Savior of Raesla)

OVERVIEW

Born as Ahrui, Daughter of Talya, Alice Talya Hawthorne (61st of Winter, 992 - 7th of Spring, 1066, aged 74) was an Engyvian freedom fighter, revolutionary, and abolitionist. Also known as the Shadow of Captain Song, she is typically associated with the Raeslan Uprising of 1016. Despite a humble upbringing in Engyf, Alice played a significant role in reshaping the law and culture of Sholhen and Raesla as a leading member of the Aviary. Keeping true to her title, she remained an anonymous, shadowy figure throughout her life, and the full scope of her influence is uncertain.  

HISTORY

EARLY LIFE
Beginning in childhood, Alice suffered from intensely vivid and realistic nightmares. Believing these afflictions to be prophetic, she eventually traveled as an international student to Sholhen, the homeland of her birth father, in search of answers. Whether by coincidence or destiny, this journey brought her together with Lilium Régine Tremblay, the emperor's daughter. Although Lily could offer no guidance regarding Alice's nightmares, the two girls developed a strong friendship and, guided by their shared intuition, discovered numerous dark secrets surrounding the imperial court. Ultimately, they failed in learning the full scope of what was to come, and House Tremblay fell to a swift and decisive coup. Caught in the wake of this defeat, Alice was enslaved and sold away to Raesla.  
SLAVERY
Upon her arrival in Raesla, Alice was tattooed as "201184" and sold through a handful of markets and masters before ending in the possession of Doctor Baako Rask. Cut off from the outside world and believing Lily to be deceased, Alice succumbed to despair. This despair, deeply rooted in her fighting spirit, would eventually blossom into wrath, and when opportunity passed into her hands, she took the life of her master and escaped. Alone in a foreign land and easily identifiable, Alice inevitably would have been killed were it not for the intervention of Captain Song. Song took a liking to Alice's brash nature, inviting her into the shelter of his crew and colony. Although her official status as a slave remained in effect as a protective loophole against her murder charges, Alice was once again free.  
THE SHADOW
Drawn to the allure of Song's vengeful philosophy, Alice quickly involved herself with the inner workings of the Lyhre-Raesla Syndicate, where her diplomatic skillset and physical prowess cemented her place as an essential member of Captain Song's crew. Before long, the captain approached her directly and offered to train her as his shadow, a commissarial assassin of sorts. Alice accepted. Ever the quick study, Alice made short work of mastering her new title and its subsequent obligations. Already formidable enough on his own, Song's partnership with Shadow developed them into a synergistic dreadnought, bringing a new reign of terror to the criminal underworld of Raesla.  
THE FALL
Once firmly settled atop the chain of command, Shadow began from the inside out to systematically tear the Raeslan underworld apart. Despite holding arguably noble intentions, her brutal methodology and rising body count placed her in the crosshairs of Raeslan law enforcement, becoming a matter of personal interest to Detective Odilia Frey and Commissioner Heinrich Bösch. Stubborn to a fault, Shadow continued to press her vigilante crusade, further expanding her long list of enemies on both sides of the law. Ultimately, Shadow pushed too far and paid for her arrogance by losing her hand in battle. Forced to withdraw into hiding, she eventually came to accept the difficult truth. Shadow was no less a villain than those who Alice had set forth to destroy.  
THE WILDERNESS
Scraping across rock bottom, Alice parted ways with Captain Song and scrounged for her living as a traveling mercenary amidst rising military tensions throughout the empire. Before the war broke out in full, Alice was discovered and approached by Lilium Tremblay, very much alive but certainly the worse for wear. Recognizing her old friend's fallen state, Lily offered Alice the chance to make good on her better intentions by joining House Tremblay's growing sect of loyalists and reclaiming the throne of Sholhen. Although Alice declined the offer, their paths would cross again in the wake of the Second Great War. By that time, Alice had procured her first cybernetic prototype, Lily had rightfully been named empress, and both of them had undergone the time and effort necessary to rise beyond the suffering of their youth.  
THE REDEMPTION
Despite reuniting with Lily in times of peace, Alice's heart remained uneasy, and her nightmares grew worse than ever before. Lily, having trained in the path of an imperial oracle, was at last able to guide her through the interpretation of these dreams, in turn confirming Lily's own foresight of what was to come. Shadow's past would catch up to Alice, and the aftermath of war would lead the empire as a whole to slowly turn against Lily's rule. After quietly establishing the succession of Princess Natalie Vignt, Lily invoked the imperial Rite of Pardon and gave her life in exchange for the absolution of Shadow's crimes. Covered by the empress's divine blood, Alice's freedom was incontestable, and she returned to Raesla as a new woman.  
THE SAVIOR OF RAESLA
Seeking to redeem her past sins, Alice confronted Captain Song but could not sway his course. In the end, they resolved to duel unto death for the right to lead the Lyhre-Raesla Syndicate. Though it was much to her grief, Alice emerged in victory as Captain Hawthorne. With the aid of Astor Hawk, Alice dissolved the syndicate and brought its nobler membership with her into the Aviary. Together, they would enact the Raeslan Uprising, overthrow the ruling authorities, and eventually take part in founding the Free Raeslan Republic. Though Alice's involvement was essential to the uprising's success, she adamantly refused to accept any such credit, choosing instead to fade into obscurity as a villain of the old world. Yet those who knew her well would not keep silent forever. Argue as she might, history would remember Alice Talya Hawthorne as the Savior of Raesla, a true and noble hero.  

Legacy

The Butterfly
Within the ranks of the Aviary, Alice would long be remembered as the Butterfly, a title borrowed from her childhood nickname. Hers is a story of humble beginnings, a callous heart, and the beautiful redemption which grew out of it. Although "delicate" would be the last word to describe her, she served the Aviary as a shining exemplar of compassion, gentleness, and forgiveness, a far cry from her youth. Under Alice's begrudging approval, a statue was eventually erected in her honor, overlooking the Grand Plaza of New Sanguine for centuries to come. According to Alice's wishes, her figure was modeled in the image of her mercenary days, a solemn reminder of the depths from which she rose. In her hand is the trident of the Free Raeslan Republic.  
The Last Master of Itami
Following the death of Captain Song, Alice became the acting Grandmaster of Itami. Yet rather than pass the teaching down, Alice dissected it for its core truths, out of which she founded a new path known as Open Palm Itami. While Itami viewed suffering as a means to empower oneself, the Open Palm leveraged that same suffering into a sacrificial means of empowering others. Over the remaining course of her life, Alice would see the Open Palm grow and blossom from a small handful of acolytes into a global fellowship of peacekeepers and arbiters. In the final years preceding her passing, Alice stepped away from the public eye and established Mia Hawthorne, her adoptive protégé, as the next Grandmaster of the Open Palm.  
The Fallen Acolyte
After the Raeslan Uprising's conclusion, Alice kept the mask of Shadow in a private display until it went missing in the wake of her death. Seven years later, in 1073, it resurfaced as the face of a terrorist organization calling themselves the True Path. Their leader, Talya Voclain, a former acolyte of the Open Palm and granddaughter to Mia Hawthorne, claimed that the people must hold a common enemy for prosperity to occur. In a corrupting of Open Palm philosophy, she took this burden upon herself and rallied the world against her as "the Angel of Dawn." She believed this to have been Alice's true yet unfulfilled calling.

Physical Description

General Physical Condition

Raised in the harsh deserts of Engyf, Alice grew well accustomed to manual labor and consequently developed a strong build to her otherwise small frame. As an adult, she would further condition her body into an archetypal martial artist's physique, focusing on speed, agility, and endurance over raw strength. Although losing her hand proved a brief setback, she remained at peak physicality well into her twilight years.

Facial Features

General:
Owing to her father's Sholhenite ancestry, Alice's face was small and rounded, with large green eyes and a button nose. Her teeth, however, were strictly Engyvian, featuring pronounced fangs in place of the subtler cuspids found among other peoples.

Scars & Alterations:
• Glasgow smile through her left cheek
• Saber cut across the bridge of her nose, leaving it slightly crooked
• Several cuts on her forehead from a broken bottle
• Double helix and double lobe piercings on each ear

Identifying Characteristics

Tattoos:
• Full back tattoo of a blossoming hawthorn tree, partially defaced by scars
• "201184" slave ID across her left wrist (lost with the severing of her forearm)
• Left rib tattoo of a tiger lily, in honor of Lilium Tremblay

Scars & Alterations:
• Missing a part of her left forearm, often wearing a cybernetic prosthesis in its place
• Wolf bites on her right forearm
• Several knife wounds on each arm
• Gunshot wound through her right shoulder
• Claw and whip scars across her back
• Saber wound in her lower left abdomen
• Broadhead arrow wound in her left thigh
• Gunshot wound through her right calf

Mental characteristics

Education

Formal Education:
Upon concluding her primary education in Engyf, Alice attended Sholhen's prestigious Aisling Academy as an international student. She completed two years of study as a diplomatic translator before the Fall of House Tremblay led to her enslavement and removal to Raesla.

Informal Education:
During her time with Captain Song, Alice developed extensive military knowledge, ranging from tactics and history to engineering and weapons technology. In addition to this, her studies extended deep into the inner workings of the criminal underworld, practicing all manner of intrigue and subterfuge. She also attained mastery in several martial and spiritual arts under Song's instruction, including Koroshou, Itami, and Kutsū Tòng.

Morality & Philosophy

"We all make mistakes, and we all cause harm, even among the best of us. We mend and heal, learn and grow, filling our lifetimes with important lessons before we die. But time flows like a river, and history repeats. Lessons are forgotten, and mistakes are washed away, only for time to make them all anew. Humanity's endless fate is to repeat the failures and relive the pain of every generation before us. This is what it means to master Itami, seeing beyond the river to know that you cannot stem its flow or guide its course. The way is set. We can merely navigate through waters less turbulent. It is both blessing and curse, pain and joy, to see the world as it truly is. Yet those who thought to have mastered Itami before me were just as blind. They saw only the river, not the ocean to which all waters flow. Something is out there, something I've always known but never met. It is towards that we now swim, lest we die alone in the river."
-Alice Talya Hawthorne, Grandmaster of the Open Palm

Social

Speech

Well educated and dry-humored, Alice wielded her sharpened wit like an executioner's blade. Nothing was too sacred to be subjected to her honest opinion, yet her reproof was swift and merciful if not outright entertaining. Though such mannerisms often came across as brash and aloof, she genuinely cared for those around her and took care to remind them of their better qualities. Those who got close to Alice were also quick to note her poetic disposition, as she tended to paint her conversations in rich analogies and metaphors.
Divine Classification
Sholhenite Half-Blood
Species
Honorary & Occupational Titles
Dawnbringer
Grandmaster of Itami
Grandmaster of the Open Palm
Date of Birth
61st of Winter, 992
Year of Death
1066
Circumstances of Birth
The product of rape by an anonymous Sholhenite. Whether or not his identity was known to Talya, she would reveal nothing further.
Birthplace
Mahvo Rohka, Engyf
Children
Gender
Female
Eyes
Green
Hair
Dark Red
Skin Tone/Pigmentation
Tan
Height
1.53m (and not a centimeter less)
Quotes & Catchphrases
"I'm no hero, kid. I'm just a different kind of villain."
"At this point, what's another war crime on the list?"
"You should have killed yourself while you had the chance."
"What? I used to be a little girl, too, you know. I haven't always been a jaded wreck."
"Hey, I've killed for a lot less than that."
"Tal's breath... Why?" (Comparable to "Oh, God... Why?")
Aligned Organization
Known Languages
Engyvian (Native)
Sholhenite (Fluent)
Lyhren (Fluent)
Raeslan (Semi-Fluent)
Koth (Conversational)
Ro'Koth (Elementary)
Vahsi (Elementary)
Gueramian (Elementary)

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Cover image: by ZillyOtter / Hero Forge
Character Portrait image: by ZillyOtter / Hero Forge

Comments

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Sage eccbooks
E. Christopher Clark
11 Feb, 2021 18:46

Nice work throughout. Great use of HeroForge art to add to the writing.

Check out my progress on WorldEmber 2022
12 Feb, 2021 16:00

Thank you! HeroForge has been something of a creative addiction to me throughout the years, so I figured I ought to capitalize on that time investment somehow xD

14 Feb, 2021 22:39

I love how you used the HeroForge portraits to illustrate the changes over time, and I also like the flow into quiet redemption.

16 Feb, 2021 02:06

Thank you for the kind words! HeroForge is definitely helpful when it comes to anchoring my thoughts :D

21 Feb, 2021 15:35

I like eggs

21 Feb, 2021 20:08

The real question is whether or not you like green eggs! Haha, thanks for being here! Your support means the world to me :hug: