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Well met! I’m Kalista, and I co-admin Istari with my husband, Arius. We've run a few other sites together, from an old west Supernatural roleplay to a Tron Legacy board, but Istari is our first original creation. It was originally adapted as a D&D campaign setting for a group of friends, but I always loved the idea of mixing magic and technology to get both a classic and urban fantasy feel. I still enjoy playing tabletop D&D, but these days I tend to spend more time on writing and online roleplay.

Along with avid writing comes avid reading, and I always have at least one book going. I tend to bounce back and forth between urban or high fantasy and science fiction, but I also enjoy crime novels and a handful of the classics. I also love gaming on the Playstation and Nintendo 3DS. I love a wide variety of games, but the original Mass Effect trilogy is nearest and dearest to my heart.

I tend to be online from midday to late evening, depending on my work schedule, and I usually lurk throughout the day. I love working with coding and graphics, so if you’re having trouble with something or have questions about the setting, feel free to message me or hop into the chat box. I’m always open to feedback, and I hope you enjoy playing in Istari as much as I’ve enjoyed working on it!

Heyla! I'm Arius, one of the admins here on Istari, and Kalista's lucky husband. I love writing (obviously), especially horror, fantasy, and sci fi, though I've been known to dabble in poetry and even fanfiction in the past. Though I don't seem to find the time for them as much as I used to, I enjoy playing games, both video and tabletop, and if I'm not around on the site it's probably because I'm playing my PS4 or 3DS.

I'm a great devourer of all sorts of literature, from high fantasy epics to dry historical tales, from fiction to non-fiction, and even comic books, which I have a huge passion for. I co-own a small comic shop in my hometown, which is something of a dream come true for me, and I've been collecting and reading comics and graphic novels since I was about five years old.

I'm usually around in the evenings to answer questions, play in the cbox, or even just shoot the breeze, so feel free to hit me up if you ever need anything!

Hey there! I’m Kay, Istari's moderator, and it’s nice to meet you! I’ve been roleplaying and writing for more than ten years and have been playing on Istari for about the whole time that it’s been open. I’ve known Kali and Arius for almost ten years now and actually got my online handler name from Arius. I’m a frequent writer and I do get distracted relatively easily as I’m always on social media sites. But currently I’ve been distracted with watching TV shows.

I’m an avid TV watcher ranging from Supernatural all the way to anime and nostalgia TV shows. Currently I’ve gotten myself stuck on Gargoyles. I’m also a classic anime fan, I’ve seen some of the newer animes, but the classics are my favorite. I’m also into a lot of superhero movies and horror movies, but movies in general are the things that I’m doing if I’m not writing.

I used to be a night owl, but given my 4am work schedule, I can be found lurking around here at high noon to about early evening, I’m a lurker so there will always definitely be someone there to answer your questions! Welcome to Istari!


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 Ashai, Hellhound
 Posted: Apr 1st 2016, 01:16 AM
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Played by Kalista
9 Posts
Joined: Apr 4, 2015

User Group
Ka’vori Assassin
Travels both worlds as needed
Face Claim
Katrina Law
Holy water cannot help you now
A thousand armies couldn’t keep me out
I don’t want your money, I don’t want your crown
See I’ve come to burn your kingdom down
Physical Description
Ashai is skilled in the art of remaining unseen, something that’s made easier by her abilities and her surprisingly petite figure. She has a slender, willowy build, and her graceful, fluid way of moving lends itself to the deception. She could never go toe to toe with a hulking mercenary without a few tricks, but she has her fair share of lean, sinewy muscle, and tricks she has in spades. The key to her martial prowess stems from movements that are carefully calculated and efficient, graceful and simple with little wasted energy or exertion. This sort of strategy allows her to easily dodge or deflect attacks before slipping in under an enemy’s guard to counter, rather than trying to match someone blow for blow.

Her eyes are large and dark, the deep brown becoming almost opaque or even a deep ruby hue under the right conditions. Her skin is pale in contrast, making them seem larger, though no more expressive. Her expression is carefully controlled, always. Whether trying to appear sympathetic, trustworthy, intimidating, or otherwise, her visible emotions are used as a means to get near her target, and as a way to protect herself. Guild assassins are supposed to appear impartial and unfeeling, and she fears showing too much unguarded emotion, unless – or sometimes especially – around those who have taken the same oath.

She wears her hair just past her shoulders, finding this to be the easiest and most versatile length to work with. Everything she wears tends to be functional, but owing to her vain nature and in keeping up the allure of the Guild, it’s also undoubtedly sleek and sensual as well. She revels in looking good, but her beauty can also be used to put her targets off their guard. Either way, she wins, so she is rarely seen in something that’s not fitted and tailored to her needs. What little armor she might wear is made of light leather, but mostly she relies on stealth and agility to protect her; along with one of any number of weapons she usually has hidden on her person.

Her body has surprisingly few scars, due to her ability to heal injuries. Only the scars she’s received from an occasional tangle with holy water remain, which also lends itself well to staying hidden. One thing she can’t shed, however, is the mark from each target she’s been assigned to kill. Each time she undergoes the blood oath, or Jàtai, it leaves a tattoo-like rune or symbol upon her body. Once the contract has been fulfilled, the mark fades from human sight, though it can still be recalled or perceived with different forms of sight or other arcane means.

Generally, only the current mark is visible to the naked eye, and each new addition is placed artistically so that it doesn’t cover any of the previous ones. These serve many purposes, but in the purely aesthetic sense, they act as both a badge of honor, and as a ready record of the assassin’s kills. Marks from failed contracts will also remain visible, appearing as an angry red scar as if the mark had been recently branded into the skin. These marks of failure will continue to cause lingering pain and discomfort as an eternal reminder of the assassin’s shame and ineptitude. Each may bring its own punishment, depending on the circumstances, and too many of these marks will result in public execution.

In her hellhound form, Ashai’s shoulders stand roughly even with a man’s waist. Her frame resembles that of a Cane Corso mastiff, with a large head, huge paws, and wide, powerful shoulders that taper into muscular hindquarters. This form is finished out with a short tail and pointed, upright ears. Her coat is sleek and very short, the hair all in an unrelieved black from nose to tail. Most people lose most of that in the shadows, however, noticing only the sullen red glow of her eyes and the sharp teeth below; teeth that are both long, and shockingly white in contrast to the rest. The marks for each assignment she’s taken are still visible in this form, but they take on a sulfurous, flickering aura under mage sight, making their presence known, even when hidden by her short coat.

» Tracking a target and running them to ground

» The thrill of the hunt and a clean kill

» A well crafted weapon

» Spending a rare moment of leisure with her sister

» The early hours before dawn when no one else is awake

» Occasionally letting her playful side show through

» The smell of good cologne

» The exhilarating power of a gathering storm

» An amusing dalliance with no strings attached

» A worthy opponent

» The protection and sense of belonging from her Guild

» Attempts at bribery or intimidation

» Being bound or forced to obey someone’s will

» Being made to look like a fool

» Music. Doesn’t like the emotion it evokes

» People who beg to be spared or die without dignity

» Guns. She feels they’re crass, messy, and unreliable

» Being separated from her sister

» Weakness, both in herself, and in others

» Feeling like she’s not in control

» Being thwarted while hunting a target

» Mindless beasts, unless she’s feeling hungry

» Very loyal, under the right circumstances

» Strong survival instinct

» Utterly tenacious once she’s tracking a scent

» Highly skilled with short blades, bows, and most light weapons

» Familiar with various interrogation techniques

» Adaptable and decisive

» Well trained in stealth, deception, and disguise

» Excellent physical conditioning and training

» High pain tolerance

» Working knowledge of anatomy

» Is expected to be self sufficient and stand alone

» Stripped of her past and her former identity

» Her continued feelings for her sister

» The underlying feeling that she’s flawed

» Killing anyone outside of completing her assignment or in self defense could result in severe consequences

» Is sworn to service and is bound to complete her assignments

» Is almost impossible to recall once assigned to a target

» There are many who would kill her on sight, just for being what she is

» Conditioned to repress her emotions and not ask for help

» Discouraged from speaking of the Guild to outsiders

» Prideful, arrogant, and somewhat vain

» Will be marked for death if she betrays the Guild

» Those with magical sight can see the marks of her past contracts

» Her true name can be used to summon and command her

» Holy water burns like acid, slows healing, and will scar

» Can be thwarted by holy symbols, if there is true belief behind them

» Is subject to spells and rituals that affect demonic creatures

» Can be banished to the circles of hell with the right holy ritual

» Someday earn her freedom

» Find and kill the demon who sold her into slavery

» Protect her sister

» Keep from being bound to a master

» Losing her sister after everything they’ve overcome

» Failing to carry out a contract

» Losing her free will

» Angering the Guild and/or jeopardizing her sister’s wellbeing

Ashai is a study in contradictions as her intellectual side wars with her canine instincts, and her conditioning grapples with her underlying personality. The fact that she wasn’t required to kill her adopted sister, Raine, upon the completion of her training means her spirit was never quite broken, something that is as empowering as it is dangerous. Her species is generally extremely loyal to their masters or those who have gained their trust and respect, and though her devotion to Raine runs deepest, her survival depends on her Guild believing she holds their tenets above all else. And except where her sister is involved, she does.

Hellhounds tend to be geared toward hunting, killing, and guarding, and she takes a certain pleasure in doing it well. She feels there’s little reason to deny her instincts, and while she’s not sadistic or homicidal, she has no qualms about killing. She’s hardwired to survive, to kill or be killed, and if she can make a name for herself doing it, all the better. Distinguishing herself would not only mean advancing within the Guild and gaining more freedom, it would also mean proving that it wasn’t a mistake to leave both her and Raine alive.

Her success so far has bolstered her independence and confidence, to the point where some might consider her arrogant. It’s hard for her not to feel some superiority when her training and abilities have suited her so well to her work. Her Guild taught her how to assess a situation and plan ahead, and it’s incredibly satisfying to see the hunt play out exactly as she planned. She loves outsmarting her prey, knowing what they’re likely to do, where they’re likely to run, and always being one step ahead. She gets a front row seat while they wear themselves out, and then steps in at an opportune moment just when they think they’ve lost her.

Of course, as entertaining as that tactic can be, people do tend to surprise her, and sometimes it can be hard to hold her canine instincts at bay. She loves a challenge and a worthy opponent, and if she needs to resort to her other form, it’s easy to lose herself to the chase. As much as she enjoys her human form and all the perks that come with it, her hound form has always felt the most natural, and everything seems clearer and more immediate when she’s running on four paws.

Though the Elders know of her dual nature, however, it’s a form she rarely adopts around other Ka’vori. Her emotions tend to run nearer to the surface during and for a period after her transformation, and all but the most inconsequential of emotions are forbidden, unless they are being carefully controlled and put to use. Ashai’s underlying nature may urge her to form pack bonds and employ obvious body language, but after the Guild broke her down and built her back up to their own purpose, she’s learned better. Fear, hatred, love; all can blind, if they aren’t carefully suppressed and controlled, and all can be used against her. Her love for her sister is the only emotion or attachment she has failed to overcome, and she must make sure the Guild never realizes how deep it truly runs; both their lives depend on it.

Before Ashai had any name to speak of, she was raised in one of the lower circles of hell with a large, ever-changing pack of her siblings. In those first few, sheltered years, she had no concept of ownership or slavery. It was a long time before she realized that when one of her siblings was dragged away, never to return, they were being sold to their new masters; masters who would train them and put them to use however they saw fit. It took longer still for her to realize that even though she hadn’t been sold, her life was not her own. She and her siblings had been bred and raised by a master, a demon who specialized in handling her kind and matching them to “suitable environments.”

Suitable for their new masters, that is. The human lord she was intended for had a taste for the exotic, in more ways than one, and he loved slaves with a little spirit. More accurately, he loved crushing their spirit before turning them into broken, obedient creatures. Though she was young and had been guarded most of her life, the circles of hell are not kind, and she had learned more than enough about survival. If she wanted to survive, she had to be smart and strong, and she couldn’t give up.

Against someone who was experienced in handling her kind, she wouldn’t have stood a chance, but the human lord had been hastily grabbing up possessions that would affirm his status as his power grew. He had never handled or properly researched her breed’s capabilities, and through determination, the element of surprise, and a lot of luck, she managed to land a killing blow. She wasn’t sure her luck would hold as she tried to escape from the guards who would soon be calling for her blood, but it turned out she was spared the need.

Unbeknownst to her, she wasn’t the only one intent on taking the lord’s life. He had cheated and double crossed many influential peers on his path for wealth and power, and together they had pooled enough funds to engage the services of the Ka’vori. With a name that translated roughly to “the Unwavering” or “the Unrelenting,” the Ka’vori assassins were known even to the likes of slaves. It was said that they were impossible to recall once dispatched, and that they never rested until they had fulfilled their contract. When the assassin revealed himself, largely unnoticed in the commotion, and accused her of stealing his rightful kill, she was certain her luck had run out.

The Ka’vori were always watching for children who showed competence and promise, however, and instead of a swift end, he offered her training and the chance to make something of herself. She had no way of knowing that she would merely be trading one master for another of a much different sort. What she did know was that she was alone and friendless with few skills and a garrison of men (and possibly a very angry demon) looking for her. The promise of power and independence appealed to her, and she agreed to undergo their rigorous training regime in exchange for the knowledge and ability to make her own way in the world. They gave her a name and delivered what they promised, but the cost was high.

Over the next decade, nearly every aspect of Ashai’s identity and personality were broken down and structured to Ka’vori standards. Every situation, every experience was carefully structured by her trainers. The Guild felt that in order for their initiates to indentify, overcome, and in turn use an emotion, they must first be exposed to it in a controlled environment. In the midst of their adolescent anger and pride, recruits were baited and then thoroughly beaten down again and again until they learned not to rush into an encounter, thus relinquishing control of it. Those who balked in fear of a task were taught that the Guild’s punishments were far more undesirable than anything they’d have to face in the outside world.

They were also conditioned to repress their physical needs. Food and water were left just within reach as they fasted and practiced meditation and control. In the summer, they sparred in rooms full of stoked braziers; in winter, more meditation while outside and exposed to the elements. At times, even sleep was deprived them. As they grew older, initiates were also conditioned to tolerate pain and withstand torture, as well as to control other, more intimate physical urges. If one broke, all were punished. If the weakling’s fellow recruits identified the culprit upon their trainer’s return, their punishments were less severe, but none could escape it entirely. That meant that it was in everyone’s best interest to help ensure that everyone conformed. But while this fostered a strong sense of brotherhood and mutual failure or success, it also drove home the point that a fellow recruit’s loyalties lay first with the Guild; everything else came second.

As the initiates were being mentally and physically conditioned, they were also taught all manner of practical skills. During the initial stages of their training, these were broken up into short sections, focusing on how to do something, rather than when or why it should be done. Work with various types of weapons was a critical piece, but recruits were also drilled in everything from anatomy to tracking, and from picking locks to body language and social interactions. The Ka’vori prided themselves on their reputation, and their assassins were expected to do whatever was needed for as long as it took to complete their contracts. Their main force was in Istari, but their training took place in both worlds to ensure that their agents would never find themselves out of their depth.

Unsurprisingly, personal relationships of any nature were expressly forbidden while in training, and were both unlikely and frowned upon once the rigorous regime was completed. There was one, intentional exception to this rule. During their early training, it was fairly natural for recruits to gravitate toward a particular person, whether out of attraction or want of friendship. As these bonds formed, the trainers would subtly direct and manipulate their encounters until each recruit was paired off with another. Despite the fact that they were aware of the rule expressly forbidding personal bonds, they were not punished; indeed, in some cases they were encouraged, unbeknownst to the subjects.

For Ashai, this relationship formed with Raine. Unlike the hellhound, Raine had been ripped from her family unwillingly, but the two felt a strong kinship, nevertheless. As the Guild nurtured their budding friendship, they often found themselves training or eating together. Their skills complemented each other nicely, and when one showed strength in a particular area and the other faltered, they were there to help each other along and ensure that they both succeeded. They rejoiced in each others’ successes, consoled each other through their difficulties, and over the years grew closer than many true siblings bound by blood.

At eighteen, their initial training came to an end, and they had only one task left to complete before being allowed out into the field with a mentor to put all the pieces of their training together into a cohesive whole. After over a decade of nurturing one, single friendship throughout the madness of their life as an initiate, their final task hit many like a kick in the guts; in order to prove that they had mastered control of their emotions and that their loyalties lay solely with the Ka’vori, they were placed in an arena with their partner and ordered to kill each other. Few refused, at that stage, and those who did were killed out of hand. There was no room for weakness or sentiment in the Guild, and they would only accept the strongest from each pairing.

That is, until their enemies nearly managed to destroy them. Few remembered how the feud with the Circle began, but the enmity between the warring assassins’ guilds had spanned the centuries. Upon joining the Guild, a Ka’vori assassin swore a blood oath that bound them to the will of the Guild elders and could be used for a handful of purposes, such as tracking them down or killing them, should they betray the Guild. Somehow, the Circle learned of the inner workings of this blood oath and were able to gain control of its functions. At that time, all marks were the same, and with extensive cunning and years of planning, the Circle used their knowledge to lure out and kill every rival assassin not within the wards of a Ka’vori guildhall.

The death toll when all was said and done was devastating to their ranks. The only way to stop the Circle from gradually killing every Ka’vori that ventured out of their strongholds was to release the oath of every assassin and have them undergo their rites a second time. This time, each was sworn with their own, individual sigil signifying their allegiance so that they couldn’t be killed en masse a second time. Not all those who were released presented themselves to be bound into the Guild’s service again, but the Ka’vori had neither the time nor the manpower to hunt down those who had deserted. Nor could they afford to cut their number of recruits in half; they had held their traditions for centuries, but now they needed to recoup their losses. The Ka’vori were nothing if not resilient.

But Ashai and Raine didn’t learn of these things until much later. As the terrified pair circled each other, neither willing to kill their sworn sister, they were suddenly called to a halt. With barely a word, the two were abruptly dragged apart and restricted to their quarters pending a meeting with the Guild elders. When they were finally called before them, they were overjoyed to learn that both would be allowed to live, though they couldn’t show it. Their continued survival came with conditions, however, and it was made very clear to them what their fate would be if it was even suspected that their feelings for one another were being held above their sworn vows and the Guild as a whole. Afterward, the two were sent to opposite ends of the worlds to finish their specialized training and learn how to put their lessons together and function on their own.

The first months were difficult for Ashai, who had always been part of a larger group. Her trainer would suffer no weakness or hesitation from her, however, and between his expectations and her own powerful drive to succeed and survive, she soon found herself excelling. Whether or not she cared for the circumstances surrounding her oaths to the Guild and her training, it was obvious that she was well suited to life as an assassin. Her first forays lacked the refinement that would come with practice and experience, but she was determined to do well and keep from ever becoming anyone’s victim again.

In the years since completing her training, she has forged herself into a sleek and efficient weapon. Each assignment she successfully completes brings her ever closer to being able to choose where she travels and which jobs she will and will not take. Once sworn to the Guild, a Ka’vori assassin is bound for life, but there are levels of freedom to be earned with patience and hard work. Ashai just has to make sure the Elders don’t realize how deep her continued feelings for her sister run, or they could find themselves on the wrong side of the next blood oath.

Powers and Limitations
» Hound of Hell: Ashai can take on the form of a massive, demonic mastiff at will. This transformation is instantaneous, creates a small cloud of smoke or mist around her, and does not require her to shed her clothing. Due to her canine nature, her hearing and smell are particularly acute, and though her vision is no better than that of a human’s, she does possess the ability to see easily in almost total darkness.

» Demonic Heritage: As a creature of hell, Ashai is immune to any heat or flames that are not divine in origin and can navigate the hidden pathways to and from the many circles of hell. Her howl can strike terror into the hearts of those who hear it, and though she cannot disappear as can some other demonic entities, Ashai becomes all but invisible when concealed in shadows. In contrast, these abilities are greatly weakened in the bright light of day, and entering holy ground or crossing the threshold of a structure protected by certain herbs or a line of salt will negate them entirely until she leaves.

» Enhancements: Like most of her species, Ashai possesses enhanced strength, fortitude, and stealth. She will not age or sicken, and her injuries will heal rapidly, though wounds made by holy water will heal at a human rate and leave scars. Like her other demonic abilities, healing herself will take longer in daylight, and she cannot regenerate lost limbs, though she may be able to knit the severed pieces back together again if they are recovered quickly enough.

» The Jàtai: This blood oath is undertaken at the start of every Ka’vori assignment. The oath binds her to her target and leaves a tattoo-like rune or symbol upon her body while it is active. During this time, Ashai can vaguely sense the direction of her victim, assuring she targets and can locate the right person. Once the contract has been fulfilled, the mark will fade from human sight, though it can still be recalled or perceived with different forms of sight or other arcane means. Refusal or continued failure to complete her contract will result in increasingly dire consequences. If her target dies before she carries out her assignment, the mark will become a permanent, painful scar. In the rare instance when a contract is canceled or rescinded, only a guild elder can remove the mark entirely.

RP Sample
See Abigail Brennan

Player Info
Kalista again, taking advantage of New Character Month!
Coded by Kalista for Istari
 Posted: May 28th 2016, 09:11 PM
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Played by Arius
2204 Posts
Joined: Dec 16, 2012

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