The Heroes of Rokan-Jin
Stealthy, Vengeful Icewalker Refugee
Ghostwalker – Nickname he uses occasionally, especially when relating to other Icewalkers, to represent his status as the last of a dead tribe.
Snowflake – Used by Icetalon; also the name of the persona in control in his fox form.
Valdis – Name of the persona in control of his beastman form.
Fluffy – Aracelli
Caste: Full Moon
Hair: White, with sky blue streaks; medium length, usually messy
Eye Color: Light pink; changes to ice blue on the full moon.
Main Clothing: Well-worn buff grey-white jacket with a stylized blue greathare stitched onto each shoulder- usually worn open, with nothing to hold it closed; very worn hand-made grey-white fur pants; fur-lined moccasins; black and silver Switchklave belt, usually worn under jacket, but sometimes over if he wants to hold it closed; medium-length ice-blue cloak with white fur fringe;
Alternative Clothing: Dark blue/black silk pajama set; Switchklave belt; light blue headband with gold and silver lining- sometimes worn as a blindfold when meditating or training;
Anima: Swirling silver whisps that change into foxes/fox spirits with pale blue glowing eyes.
>As it grows stronger, it flashes with a bright silver and blue flash, and surrounds Zeru with a glowing 3-dimensional snowflake design with claw-like edges
>At its strongest, the light shrinks down to a brilliant silver aura that clings to his body and makes his eyes glow pale blue, with the body of a large, anthropomorphic arctic fox.
Zeru suffers from a form of Multiple Personality Disorder. Most would assume that the tragedy he suffered before his exaltation, combined with the other hardships he has endured, and perhaps compounded by the perceived betrayal of the first friends he’d made in years at the battle in the Kunlun desert, pushed him over the edge into the delusion that there were more beings in his head than just his own mind. Or perhaps it was merely a late-blooming mental mutation he suffered during one of the group’s treks into the Wyld. He himself avoids talking about his different identities any further than insisting that they are real.
But in fact, they’ve been there longer than anyone else would realize. It wasn’t until the “Sunderer Incident” that they asserted themselves enough for others to see, but they had been in his mind before any of his circle knew him.
Valdis has been around since the tragic day Zeru lost everything he once held dear. When the young icewalker was overwhelmed with grief and helplessness, a voice of reassurance entered his mind, bolstering his spirit. That first night as he slept, shivering in the harsh cold of the northern nighttime, he saw Valdis towering over him in his dreams- strangely, as a beastman even then. But rather than attacking the boy, Valdis took Zeru in his arms and comforted him in his sorrows. He took Zeru on a dream-journey that night, showing him that he was stronger than he ever imagined, giving him hope and confidence that his life was not over. He did more than sooth his pain; he showed Zeru that though he hadn’t been able to save his family and friends, he was still a strong warrior at heart, and could avenge their demise, and then go on to prevent other injustices from occurring.
As time went on, Zeru suffered numerous setbacks and obstacles along his path in life. He harried small supply lines for the Bull of the North’s troops, stealing from or sabotaging them every chance he got. It seldom seemed to make any significant difference, though it did slowly help him learn more about the one directly responsible for the force that slaughtered his tribe- a commander by the name of Vidar Goretusk. Try as he might, however, he never got any closer to the revenge he desired. But despite his failures, Valdis was always there in his dreams, ready to bolster his spirits. Eventually, however, one harsh winter brought him to the edge, nearly killing him. However, as fate would have it, one last defiant push against the odds brought him his exaltaion- and along with it, a new voice.
Snowflake first “introduced” himself to Zeru in his dreams shortly after his exaltation, presenting himself as a spiritual guide attached to the exaltation itself. This playful, sometimes mischevious entity would seem to represent Zeru’s more light-hearted side, and perhaps a tie to his more carefree, youthful days. He brought a new energy to Zeru’s existance- a new zeal for life unlike he’d ever felt before. He reminded Zeru that life had more to offer than anger and vengeance. He reminded him that life could be exhilarating and fun, and not to take things too seriously.
Of course, Snowflake and Valdis didn’t always see eye to eye about everything, but they both had Zeru’s best interest at heart, and generally got along well enough. They even worked out a balance with one another- Valdis keeping Zeru strong and aggressive in the face of adversity, and Snowflake giving him the reasons to smile and keep up the fight.
But over time, Zeru’s mood gradually sank, as he increasingly reflected on his failures. Despite their combined efforts, Snowflake and Valdis were helpless as his confidence dropped, weakening his heart to a vulnerable state. And as luck would have it, he was destined to meet someone all too ready to take advantage of that- the deathlord known as The Bishop of the Chalcedony Thurible. During his meeting with the ancient and powerful spirit, his thoughts turned to some of his darkest considerations, how it could be so much easier to just let go of life. At that point, Valdis, ever the protector, stepped in to shield Zeru from the Bishop’s silver tongue.
However, proud, overly-aggressive Valdis was not immune to his own dark thoughts. He himself had struggled with life’s difficulties, through Zeru. Soon he felt some strange, twisted merit to the Bishop’s words. The dark shade’s corrupting influence, combined with Zeru’s own uncertainties, made Valdis start seeing things differently. By the time they left the abyssal domain of the Bishop, he had changed. And one fateful encounter on the airship, wherein he saw his supposed friends in an apparent alliance with the people he’d fought for as long as he could remember, finally caused him to snap. Initially it was just a fit of outrage, as all three entities- even Snowflake, to some small degree- felt betrayed. But that rage was reigned in when they saw, among the spirits also attacking the ship, the twisted abomination created by the seemingly unwilling souls of tribesmen he recognized being used by the Bishop’s monster, the Blind Sunderer of Sleep.
That is what truely and completely broke Zeru. Snowflake rejected everything the Bishop had said outright; Zeru was more unsure of anything than ever. And Valdis… lost all rationale entirely. Part of him still clung to the conclusion the Bishop had guided him to, seeing death as the only true way to end suffering. But part of him didn’t even care any more, and embraced the rush of adrenaline he felt anytime he fought and killed. Ever since then, Snowflake has had to struggle to keep Valdis at bay, while Zeru floundered and wandered aimlessly, trying to figure things out for himself.
Zeru was born into one of the many tribes of icewalkers that once existed in the far north. Though smaller and weaker than most of his peers, and often harassed for it, he proved himself a capable hunter at the age of 10. When the Bull came to power, Zeru’s was one of the few tribes that outright opposed him. Due to this, when Zeru was only 13, his home was attacked, and his entire village destroyed before his very eyes. Only through luck and stealth was he able to avoid being captured or murdered like the rest. For the next few years, he barely survived on his own, by hunting or stealing from small town on the outskirts of icewalker territories. As he grew older and braver, he began venturing further into civilization out of desperation. All that time, he gained an increasing feeling of self-loathing for becoming attached to what his ancestors once shunned.
After regaining his health and some self-confidence, he vowed to avenge his tribe by terrorizing the Bull’s smaller camps and outposts. Though he made some progress disrupting small supply lines and separating the traitor icewalkers from their less-brave civilized allies, he found his ultimate goal further away than ever, and became disheartened. Emotionally stretched between anger, hatred, and hopelessness, he wandered farther and farther toward the edge of creation. Along the way he began starving again, and eventually he collapsed, prepared to let death take him.
But in his last moments, a strange chill overtook him. He was given a vision, of another’s memory, from long ago. He saw through the eyes of another individual, in a similar place and situation, during the first age. At the end of the vision, something seemed to brush away all the confusion, rage, and pain he’d suffered. He felt more alive than ever. It had been as if he’d taken the very environment around him, with all of its cold winds and frost, and pulled it in to snuff out the flames of his suffering, and sharpen it into a single-minded obsession: that the Black Mammoth tribe had to be obliterated.
Even after exalting and finding himself more powerful than he could imagine, he needed help. He did not yet know how to control his powers effectively, much less the dangers his shapeshifting represented without that help. It wasn’t long after his exaltation that he was found by an older, far wiser individual by the name of Icetalon. She pitied the young fox-boy for his loss, and, having lost her own daughter before she’d exalted long ago, she took Zeru under her wing, gave him his protective moonsilver tattoos, and trained him in martial arts in order to prepare him for his life’s journey. Despite this, however, he remained cold and distant. Realizing the young icewalker would never be able to move on in life until he’d achieved his one goal, she sent him to meet up with a resistance force preparing a counter-offensive against the Black Mammoth tribe and its allies.