From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
|Player: Zani (@Microfrog)|
|Real Name: Dream Walker (Harkahome)||'|
|Known Aliases:||Dream Walker, Red Clown|
|Height:||6'5" (1.95 m)|
|Place of Birth:||Ho-Chunk Nation of Nebraska reservation.|
|Astral projection, shamanism, technomancy, elemental conjuration and manipulation, fortune telling.|
|Extensive knowledge of history, tarot cards, technology, herbalism, European alchemy and the occult, as well as a working knowledge of the goings-on in Paragon City and related locations.|
|Raven totem made of redwood, Izze-kloth (medicine cord) located around his right wrist, owl fetish made of antler (a thick stick wrapped in red and white cloth with symbolic carvings across it), protection talisman (a symbol made to look like an eye) on a leather string (also tied around his right wrist), MPED (multi-purpose electronic device) modified to look identical to a cell phone.|
A tall elf, an athletic but slender build. His skin was darker at one point, but has lightened significantly over time. He has red hair in medium-length dreadlocks, shorter than what they once were, tied with metal casings and pulled back by a cloth. Though elfish, he has much of the resemblance of his Native American bloodline.
He typically wears his normal street clothes while out. A distinct red leather jacket over a black tank top, tight fitting black leather jeans with red diamond shapes along the legs and backside, and black boots. His wrists are taped with black cloth, and around his right wrist are two Native American cords: A medicine cord made of strings bound together with dark feathers (from a raven), and an eye-shaped protection talisman made of iron upon a dark leather string. His fingers have an assortment of plain rings. A steel ring, a gold ring, two rings made of obsidian, and an oak wood ring, all of which have carvings in an unknown language, as well as symbols.
Zani belongs to the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin, which was, during the time of his birth, called the Winnebago Tribe, although mostly unofficially, as he isn't considered full-blooded Native American. He was born in a time when there was still great upheaval among the tribes, as war was constantly raging over various issues, most of them petty. Zani was one of the first metahumans ever born in the world, an elf, presumed to be one of a kind among the Native Americans of his day.
Though in every right a freak among the full-bloods, they kept him in their tribe, raising him as their own kind. They considered him a good omen. The ancients of his tribe prophesized his arrival, saying that his birth would "usher in a new age of peace, but only after a time of great turmoil" and that he would "be like a warrior-king who has neither throne, nor crown, nor blood upon his hands".
When Zani came of age, he was taught everything that the tribe could teach him. Hunting, gathering, building, growing. The medicine man even took him into his home to teach him the ways of medicine, the ancient ways of the shaman, unheard-of considering that Zani himself was not in line to become the next medicine man.
But days came, and years passed. It was clear Zani was not aging like the others. Once he reached adulthood, he remained the same. More days passed, and more years went, as Zani watched the children he grew up with become old, grey, and withered. He watched his family die, and other families die, and their children die, and their children die. It was sometime during the beginning of the 20th century that Zani determined he would be of no use any longer to his tribe. Having mastered the ways that he was taught by the others, Zani journeyed forth out into a world unlike any he had seen before. This was not the old wild grounds of his youth, nor the reservation he had come to know as his home. Instead, this was an industrial world. A world full of humans, humans far different than the Native Americans. And not only humans, but he saw the blooming of the new species of metahumans.
Curious as to why metahumans came to be, and what would become of the world, Zani dedicated himself to an almost monastic lifestyle, far away from the cities, in the forests far from the place he once was from. He made a little cottage, and with what money he earned from selling Native American artwork to tourists in the nearby cities and rest stops, Zani purchased books. Many books, which he read religiously, and practiced the teachings within. He learned about magic, the occult, dreams and prophecies, and he learned of astral projection. And it was through the latter where he discovered the Astral World, a higher dimension just above the physical world, and just below the spiritual world.
It was during the time right before World War I when Zani's purpose was revealed to him through a series of journeys made in this strange astral dimension. A woman appeared before him, who called herself "The Akashic Priestess" and "Keeper of the Akashic Records". She spoke to him of futures that will be, and futures that will never be. She taught him about the flow of time, about karma and the law of action. She told him that all things that ever were and will ever be, and all things that could have ever been but never were, were written down in the Akashic Record. That she was its keeper, the one who would not only watch over it, but write down all things that were to either happen or not happen.
Not fully understanding, the stranger showed him the course of history as it had been, and how it was marked with pain and suffering. Much of that pain and suffering, death and destruction, disease and devastation, were brought by the hands of man. And then she showed him the full extent of what had been done to the Native Americans. How they were killing each other over squabbles about things like hunting ground rights and jealousy. How it was their anger and violence towards one another that led them to become just blind and ignorant enough to let European settlers come in and almost wipe them out of existence over the course of many decades. And she showed him what was to come: A war that would wage between powerful world armies that would see an incredible amount of death and destruction.
He understood what he had to do. This war could not be stopped, but it could be helped, and eventually more help would be needed. She told him, "this war will be the greatest ever seen, but there will be one even greater. The Earth will cry out in anguish as the blood of the innocent will soak into her skin."
What happened between then and now it heavily shrouded. Zani traveled everywhere, did many things, learned much, and appeared to many people. Even to this day, all across the world, there are people and tribes who will occasionally speak of his myths and legends. In North America he is still called the Red Raven, and the Dream Walker. In Africa he is called the Red Clown, in China as Huájī Zhě, while in Japan they refer to him as Warauwan. Their stories are often similar, but often very different.
But whoever he is, whatever he does, remains a mystery. All that there are are those myths and legends spoken about him. Some say he is an angel, some, a demon. Some say he is a messiah, and some, the devil in disguise. To some, he is the manifestation of a god, or is a god, or an enchanted prince, or simply just a strange man who dresses like a clown. But whoever he is, whatever he does, remains a mystery. Perhaps he has done his duty already, or perhaps his time has not yet come. Or, perhaps even, his rumored appearances in Paragon City and the Rogue Isles are a sign that maybe, just maybe, his time has come again.
3 AM on a winter's night. A warehouse, Port Oakes.
I awoke with a splitting headache. Even the dim lights hanging far above my body pierced my vision, making the pain in my skull even worse. It was a throbbing, deep and persistent.
"Are you awake?"
I heard the faint voice of a woman. The voice was familiar in my waking stupor.
"Get up, Red Raven. There is much to do."
I did as the voice commanded. It was almost instinctual that I follow her request, and it was that instinct that cleared my mind somewhat as it grasped onto familiar memories. It was she, the Raven Spirit, who had always been with me. Even at birth. She floated above the water, with black feathers across her wingspan, dressed in a black robe.
"You've been slumbering. Remember? Much time has passed since that day." She said.
That day. How long ago was it? I was doing a job for some corporate suit. Wanted me to retrieve a package from a Crey office. I hired a couple guns, some orc named Brugga that smelled as bad as his attitude, and Trista. I'll never forget Trista. Tall and skinny elf who could hack a system just as well as she could handle an SMG. We were in love. The kind of careful love that went unspoken, with neither of us gaining any ground. We knew what we were, we just never said it. Maybe she knew better than to be in love with me. Maybe we both did. But one thing was for sure: She would go to the ends of the Earth for me and back, and do it all again if I asked her to.
"Alot has changed since then, even in such a relatively short time span as this. Your time has come again, Red Raven. There has been a great devastation upon the Earth." She told me.
"What? Did humans finally drop the bomb?" I asked.
"No." She shook her head. "Worse."
"What could be worse than a nuclear holocaust?"
"Beings not from this world." She responded.
I just stared at her. "Aliens, huh?" I rubbed my eyes as the headache began to die down. My mind was becoming lucid, and I thought about the hints and subtle suggestions of intelligent life not from this planet. Turns out it was all correct. The Raven Spirit confirmed it. Aliens were real, and it wasn't just backwoods farmers getting abducted and probed, with the occasional mutilated cow.
"Things have become significantly worse since then. Since these beings crashed their ship. Crime is worse. Drugs and murder are rampant. Evil has grown into a fantastic and terrible beast, far greater than it had been before." She told me. Yeah, before. Before the ambush, before I watched Brugga and Trista get mowed down before my very eyes. Before I started taking bullets into my body.
"You are weak now. The power you obtained then is mostly gone. Death can do that to a person, even an immortal such as you."
"I feel it." I responded.
"But soon your power will return. It will return as you continue your work. Our work." I stood up off of the ground and took a look around the warehouse. "Our work." I lowered my gaze. "Our work... Yeah..."
"There is a powerful army here in the Rogue Isles. They call themselves the Arachnos." She explained to me. "They are vast, and numerous, and have taken control of the isles. And then, they began to invade Paragon City."
"Arachnos? Some spider themed fascist army I take it?" I asked. "Indeed." She replied. "I've seen more clever villain concepts in an episode of the G.I. Joe cartoon." I said, turning towards her.
"I have made arrangements for you to meet with one of the higher ranking officers within the Arachnos. They do not know you, or I, or our great work. They will think you're just a newcomer to the isles, looking for a job to do. And you will do that job, within reason." I knew what she meant. Infiltrate the Arachnos, gather information, and do damage from within. It might not be much now, but in time, the damage will become great. That's how it always is. Get in, do your thing, get out. Like a cancer, eating away at some group, gang, or organization. I had done it before. But never with an army. Certainly never with an army large and powerful enough to take over the entire Rogue Isles.
"Go to Mercy Island. You will have a motel room there, at the Speedy Motel, on the corner of Baker and Smith. You can acquire the key from the clerk at the front desk. Your motel room will have equipment, supplies, and money."
"And where this Arachnos big wig I'm supposed to meet?" I asked her. "A man will meet you at the motel room soon. He'll give you the connection you need."
"What about you?" I asked as I looked up. But like that, she was gone. "Typical." I muttered to myself. Lay down the exposition and vanish like a wisp of smoke in the night. Once I gathered myself, I made my way out of the warehouse. Out into a world that was, at once, both very similar and yet notably different.
Zani often comes off as standoffish. Although this can make him appear rude or antisocial, it is, in fact, a well-embedded artifact of his vast knowledge of what people are capable of, and how trustworthy others can be. He doesn't behave this way to specific types of people, and can come across this way to even other elves. But elves who have studied their history will certainly know exactly who Zani is, what he can do, and what he is capable of. As such, those who have studied magic, the occult, and astral projection will most likely know who Zani is, especially elves, and will often inspire either great respect, or great fear.
His presence is obviously magical, and a profound aura of enchantment, albeit barely visible, can be felt to those attuned. with such things. Those who are more on the empathic side can feel a heaviness about him. He has an air of wisdom and experience, an air of having done both benevolent and arguably malevolent things. There is also a feeling of something akin to melancholy, like a vast sadness hiding under his flesh.
Though he's readily capable of conversing with others and making acquaintances, he doesn't seem to have friends, or even have a desire to make friends. Likewise, he isn't remote the romantic type, and any flirtation, no matter how obvious, will most likely be shrugged off. He very often is engaged in "business", which oftentimes doesn't seem to have any obvious or understandable goal, nor do they often seem connected. He can be viewed as neither a hero nor a villain, often helping either for whatever goals he currently has. Though this is the case, he will never do anything overtly evil. He refrains from killing unless there's no other option, and will not, under any circumstance, engage in torture or terroristic activities. He will, however, use petty crimes such as breaking and entering as well as theft if it benefits him somehow. But more often than not, he doesn't actively engage in things, rather taking a backseat to others, acting as either a guide, a mentor, a contact, an informant, or an employer. Where he gets the resources for what he does isn't exactly known, but presumably he is given money for work that he does.
Background checks of Zani will most likely only reveal basic information, but much of what is known about him is often obscured, either through someone purposely deleting data and information, or simply because he's very good at covering his tracks. His status can be described as neither a hero nor a villain, but a sort of mostly moral rogue, a sort of "Lawful Neutral".
Many elves, especially those who know their own history on Primal Earth, and even some on Praetorian Earth and other alternate realities, will know who Zani is, at least to some degree. Others who have studied magic and the occult will likewise probably know who Zani is, to some degree. He's lived a very long time, and has both been all over the world as well as frequenting the astral dimension, therefore, he's far from an unknown being. If someone who has mind reading abilities tries to peer into his mind, he will neither forcefully eject them or actively communicate with them, although Zani himself cannot read minds.
Although he has engaged in small crimes, he's mostly good, though he may not give off the vibe immediately. The vibe he gives off is primarily one of a lone wolf, a man disconnected from the rest of the world while at the same time being deep into its affairs. As such, he can often give advice about things, or tip off those looking for such, as well as giving jobs if he has any needing done.
Zani can read fortunes, but the fortunes will be reasonably vague, as the future is never set in stone. If someone wants their fortunes told, or roleplay requires Zani have some semblance of understanding of that person's past, we can discuss such things in private to get a clearer understanding of what Zani can and cannot see exactly.----
If you have any other questions, feel free to get a hold of me, I'll be more than happy to help.
Character theme songs: Medicine Chant by Anilah