Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Berg, the Hot-Blooded

The circumstances of Berg's origin and upbringing are fairly unremarkable. He was born into a tribe of leonin, a warrior culture; they were well versed in the art of battle. However they were a well-sated people and did not go to war for glory or land or spoils. They were nomads by philosophy, and did not seek these material attachments that would hold them back. They fought for the sake of fighting, for in battle you were truly alive. Your sense at their peak, your body pushed to its very edge, every synapse in your head firing at full speed. When your very existence is on the line, you appreciate it all the more the believed. To which, they rendered their services to their less cultured neighbors. Those that still clinged desperately to such trivialities.

The day finally came when Berg would be accepted as a man. You see, his tribe's coming of age ritual was for a young warrior to be chosen as a champion by one of their 'clients' and be successful. And Berg was finally chosen. He was elated. He had trained for years, honing his skill with every weapon he could get his hands upon, and even practicing Magic from those that could teach him.

The opponent was worthy, the fight was glorious. Berg pushed his opponents well beyond their limits, and they pushed back. He could feel every cut and blow they threw at him, but still he fought on. He felt light-headed. He was losing a lot of blood. "This is fine," he thought "there can be no dishonor in a fight well fought." As his consciousness faded, he slipped away. Through the veil between worlds. Tumbling, falling, changing. Something was different. Burning, churning, igniting. He felt empowered, his thoughts returning despite the madness he could never hope to fully appreciate surrounding him. He felt amazing! He was something more than a mere fighter now; he was a Planeswalker!

He came to on an unfamiliar mountaintop. A new man. A changed man. Battle would never be the same to him. His previous efforts; finger-paints. Now he was an artist! His strength grew exponentially. His power, his magic, his tenacity. Everything! Anything a foe could throw at him, he could throw back tenfold! His mind drifted from reasonable expectations and rose to those of a god of war. He wandered the planes, taking on any foe that he considered interesting. He fought all kinds, chosen champions and wretched despots, brigands and noblemen, machines and monsters; it did not matter. What they believed in? What they fought for? These did not matter. All there was was battle; to be alive!

Eventually, he came upon a plane. A grey murky plane that seemed blighted somehow; there was a dankness in the air. The spirits were unsettled, and the clouds never seemed to part. He found the plane rife with monsters. Demons and devils and haints and the undead. He destroyed them without a second thought, but more came. And more. And more. And more. His battle drifted. From mountains, to forests, and to the plains. Towns were caught in his wake, but he did not care. They were in the way of his expressions of life. It was their own fault. This continued for a time until one fateful day.

A great and powerful angel appeared before him. She was clad in black which stood in sharp contrast to her stark white form. She carried a spear and her face bore no expression. She informed him that he was a blight upon her flock, that his mere presence wrought destruction, and that it was here eternal duty to stop him.
She could try.

Their fight was the stuff of legend. Lasting for days. Blows were traded. Magics exchanged. Any foothold gained was quickly taken away. The angel had had enough. She lead him towards a citadel. He followed; how could he not, this was the most exhilarating moment of his entire existence. She turned to face him and lunged. Her spear plunged into him and he was flung away. She pressed him against an enormous chunk of silver.

"What cannot be destroyed will be bound."

Something happened. He was losing himself. Like when he walked, but different somehow. This time it felt wrong. He couldn't control it, couldn't feel it, couldn't perceive it. His body was lost, it was everywhere and it was nowhere. He was surrounded on all sides by pitch black mana. It was angry and bitter and vengeful. There were cursed towards a woman's name and vows of revenge. He was trapped in some horrible prison.

And so it was for many years. He maintained some semblance of self by fighting off the blackness. But he did not enjoy it. It was different than before. Before he fought as an expression of self, now he fought to maintain it. Before there were whole worlds to fight, but now it was one giant inky black mess that never ended. Without boundaries it had no meaning. Without pause, there was no room for growth. This continued on longer than Berg could ever imagine.

Crack. A light shone through the darkness. Crack. It grew bigger. Crack. It spider-webbed, spreading all over; permeating the void that he knew. An explosion. There was a sharp tugging at his chest and he was jerked towards the light. He was flung back into the world, landing on his hands and feet. It hurt. It wasn't like before he was trapped, there was a sharpness to the pain that he thought he would never feel again. The darkness around him was reforming. Demons. Hundreds of them. Fleeing every which way. There was a battle before him. Hundreds of soldiers and zombies, knee deep in gore. Angels overhead, hacking flimsily at the escaping demons. A light shone behind him; the witch that had trapped him rose up out of the smoking crater in which he lay.

"Never again" and he fled away into the wilderness to make some sense of all that had happened.

For the third time in his life, everything was different. His power, it felt so far away. His body felt hollow somehow, like it had been voided of something impossibly large. When he stretched, he could feel every ligament and bone ache. The spells he attempted to cast, shadows of their former glory.

For the first time in his entire life, Berg was afraid.

Berg is a smilodon leonin standing almost 12 feet tall. His fur is rust colored and kept short except for tufts located at most of the major joints (shoulders, knees, elbows, etc), where there are tinges of grey. He is covered head to foot in scars of varying sizes and severity, prizes of the battles he has fought. There is a bite sized chunk missing of his right ear. His right fang is about 8 inches long, his left is size, the bottom two inches appear to have been broken off. He's afraid that it affects his speech.

He wears simple bracers on his wrists, shoulders and shins, and wears a simple loincloth. His fur keeps him warm enough on most planes, that he chooses not to wear additional clothes unless it is necessary.

He carries a particularly large war-hammer, the back end of which is sharpened to a point, resembling an over-sized pickaxe. The underside of the point is bladed.

Berg was raised in a culture that worshipped the fine art of battle. To his people, you were the most alive when you were so close to death. To that end, he has spent most of his existence seeking out greater and greater challenges; an easy feet considering his planeswalking abilities. When he would come upon foes worthy of his self-expression, he could gauge them based on the power level and hold back accordingly, he's almost never fought at his full capacity as a Planeswalker.

But now that the mending has occurred, and he's been brought back down to normal, he has to cope with a few mighty significant challenges to his worldview. His immortality never really excited him. His people taught him not to fear death, it was merely the high cost of living. To live as a warrior you had to learn to accept death and be ready for it at any time. It is the sudden change in power that worries him.

He only had the one battle before his ascension for a point of reference, so every other battle he has been in was fueled by the power of a pre-mending spark. He was a big fish and every world was a small pond. Now the pond has gotten so much smaller, and he is truly afraid. The idea that he cannot hold is own in battles that he once could terrifies him to his very core.

Also related to the first and only 'normal' battle he had; he had never considered the possibility that not everyone actually enjoys fighting. On his world, it was such an enormous part of the culture, it was expected that one knew how to fight properly or would have someone who could on your behalf. While he was a God, any objections to his presence fell on deaf ears. It is hard to hear people so far below you. Now he is back on their level, and the idea that his battles might not be appreciated by others is starting to dawn on him. Now that he can think as a man again and not a God, he is coming around to the idea that his actions have consequences. And it scares him.

Berg is a warrior through and through, so most of his talent lies in the fine art of hitting things. He has learned to channel that into spell craft however, and he has become quite good at the fine art of breaking everything in spell form. Any spell that results in the destruction of things is right up his alley, so things like Stone Rain and Shatter are second nature to him.

He's never really gotten on-board with the idea of "teamwork", so many of his spells are highly indiscriminant. Things like Wildfire , Chain Reaction , Rite of Ruin , Meltdown etc.

His powers are fueled by his passion; the more into a fight he is, the more powerful his magic. To that end, spells that escalate well, or better yet, out of control are also well-suited to him.

This is my entry of the fifth of the Planeswalker Creation contest. Round 5's theme was "oldwalkers". I wanted to find a way to preserve a walker from the mending til now, and getting sealed in the Helvault seemed like the best way to do it.

I've always wanted to do a scaling Wildfire/Destructive Force on a card, and making it as a Planeswalker ultimate seemed like a great way to do it. Though Berg damages players and other walkers as well.

I'd love to hear your opinions and get your vote!

Also, Aria is in a runoff vote for first place in the Round 3 contest!

A vote for Hairless Thoctar is a vote for great justice!

1 comment:

  1. Hot blooded, check it and see.

    Got a fever of one hundred and three.

    /flavor text