Name: Nicholas Altaica
Gender: Male Age: 28
Tarot: The Magician
Weight: 170 lb
Eyes: See Below
Complexion: Lightly Tanned
Body Build: Athletic
Blood Type: A+
Appearance & Dress:
Physical Appearance and Clothing: Tall and athletically built, with most of his unruly black hair in a topknot, the weretiger’s rather rakish in appearance. His left eye is a dark, nearly black brown, while his right is an empty socket, transfixed by a vertical scar that runs from his brow to his cheek. Despite his talent of regeneration, many of the wounds he has received have left scars. Nicholas’ article of choice is a simple solid black and white kimono, empty of any symbol or heraldic device. When asked about it, Nicholas often mutters something about the duality of man. He has a white obi circling his waist through which he keeps his daisho. A pair of woven straw sandals completes the outfit.
Markings: The most noticeable visible markings are the scars that cover his body, the legacy of a violent profession. A majority are upon his arms and chest, the most prominent are those that crisscross his face. As of The Tapestry, Nicholas doesn’t have any tattoo or other voluntary body markings.
Weapons and Personal Effects: As a kenshi, or “sword-saint” Nicholas carries tucked into his obi his family’s ancestral daisho, the twin-sword set passed down from father to the eldest, or in the weretiger’s case, only son. Mounted in lacquered black wooden scabbards with red, braided silk grips, the simplicity of their ornamentation belies the true value of ちゆう (wisdom and courage). They are constantly with him at all times, either on him or within easy reach. It's an honor and a privelege to carry them. If people other than those of his family touches them, without his permission, he takes it as an insult, a grave one if the person draws either one of them.
Jewelry is something that he doesn’t wear, not out of aesthetics but out of practicality and a firm belief that anything that encircles one’s wrists or neck can bind the wearer and rings can attract the undue attention of thieves.
Background & History: The youngest of three children, Nicholas grew up deeply immersed in the customs and beliefs of his people. While growing up, he spent an equal amount of time training to defend his clan and working in his family’s shipyard, learning both the martial and maritime arts. As a weretiger, he has the uncanny talent of regeneration. It’s not perfect and cannot regenerate lost limbs, as demonstrated by his multitude of scars and missing eye, but it allows him to take damage that would have felled most other things.
Magic is something that he just isn’t good at, at least the kind of magic that is familiar to most people through spells and incantation. Rather, he harnesses his soul and his will to call lightning out of the heavens to do his bidding. He is missing one of his eyes, and while it may seem like a burden, it allows him to see the world of dreams without having to close his good eye and it’s empty socket is an indicator of sorts of his state. When he has rested and meditated, it seems to be a bottomless void, swirling with colors. When he has not, it seems to be a normal empty socket.
Other Altaican Abilities: The Altaica can travel through the Realm of Dreams in order to get to places in various realms and worlds. They seem to fade for a moment before disappearing, becoming devoid of all color before returning to their home realm. Like a cat, they can easily leap great distances and have a good sense of balance.
Personality: The weretiger is a rather casual, modest individual, seeking to exist in harmony with everything about him, until confronted that is. Though strong willed and independent, he is still bound by the traditions and ideas that were engrained into him during childhood. Honesty, courage, compassion, courtesy, honor, sincerity, and duty are the seven tenants that govern his life, from day to day interaction to life changing decisions. Fiercely loyal to both family and ideals, he’ll seldom compromise his beliefs and will draw his sword in order to defend them. Arrogance is the character trait the he dislikes the most, followed closely with dishonesty.
Altaic culture places a lot of emphasis on self-discipline and being reserved and Nicholas prides himself upon his ability to stay calm and level headed regardless of the circumstances that he may find himself in. However, deep inside him, locked away from all but a select few is the fear of loosing control and letting his emotions get the best of him. Thus in combat, he takes a defensive stance, waiting for his opponent to make the first move.
For spirits when they please
Can either sex assume, or both so soft
And uncompounded is their essence pure,
Not tied or manacled with joint or limb,
Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones,
Like cumbrous flesh; but in what shape they choose
Dilated or condensed, bright or obscure,
Can execute their airy purposes,
And works of love or enmity fulfil.
-John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” Book I, Lines 423-431
The History of the Altaica:
“It is said that when time itself was new and the gods were young, my world was created. It’s not much different from this one; you have different peoples, cultures, all the things that make a world whole. Some of the gods fell in love with the world that they had created, watching the dreams and lives of the people who dwelled in it and soon fell in love with what they had made. They could not travel upon the surface of the world, that was forbidden as gods and so they traveled the dreams of those who they loved, living the world through the dreams of its races.”
“Gradually the gods spent more and more time in the dreams of the people, until soon they no longer could dwell in reality and only in the realm of dreams. These gods, male and female, began to shape their new world in the image of the older one, taking those who returned their love to live with them, giving up their godhood for their love.”
“My ancestors had children and their children had children for many generations, dwelling in the realm of dreams, dying only when their lives were fulfilled. We Altaica are guardians, protecting the love that our ancestors gave their divinity for.”
For the family.
For the clan.
For the Altaica.
Altaican Social Structure: Altaican society is broken into three groups, the family, the clan, and the Altaica, and each group plays an important role in the day to day lives of its members. Every Altaican belongs to at least these three groups, most of them many more, but it is these basic three that define Altaican social structure and values.
The Altaica: The Altaica includes not just those born into the Altaican race, but also anybody who has bonded or wed one of its members. For instance, if I was to marry somebody not of my kind, she would become a member of the Altaica, even though she herself is not Altaican. However, once an Altaica considers you one of their own, there is very little we will not do for you. I guess we are a very protective people.
The Clan: There are five great clans of the Altaica, one for each of the originally five Altaica who gave up their divinity and from which we trace their heritage. They are our bloodlines, and the grouping that we use most often. As a race whose environment is never fixed, villages and such rarely stay in the same spot for very long. Therefore, we use our clan as our primary means of introducing ourselves. To belong to one clan does not prevent a child of mixed heritage from recognizing their other ancestors however, and it is common to find some of us who are descended from all five founders of our race, though very rarely is there a child who belongs to all five clans equally. I personally can count three of the original five founders as my ancestors.
The Family: The family is the tightest knit group that we have, the bond that siblings share is truly difficult to describe in words. It’s larger than just a couple and their children, but rather incorporates up to five generations all living in the same home. The family is run by the eldest female member, unless she has decided to pass that mantel on. It’s not that we are a matriarchal society, it’s just that the bond that a mother and her child shares is different that that a father and his child shares. Not stronger, not weaker, just different.
With up to five generations living together, Altaican homes are rather large and can span several acres. They are usually walled and have many courtyards and fountains. The number of rooms naturally depends on the number of occupants, but it is not uncommon to have a compound have a hundred or so rooms, many of which have single use purposes or are for guests. A village normally is comprised of two or three compounds located within several miles of each other, which may seem odd, but each compound is itself a little village.
If you master the principles of sword-fencing, when you freely beat one man, you beat any man in the world. The spirit of defeating a man is the same for ten million men.
-Miyamoto Musashi’s “The Book of Five Rings.”
Altaican Martial Arts: To understand the Altaican martial philosophy is not very difficult if one already understands their history. The Altaica consider themselves the protectors of mortals but especially the realm of dreams. They are not the only denizens of the realm, but would like to think of themselves as its primary guardians. However as guardians, they take an active stance in defending their home and are often found walking the worlds of mortals in order to better serve in their duties.
Martial Upbringing: As soon as a child seems able to grasp the world around him or her, they are brought into the dojo of their family and introduced to a large array of weaponry, most hand to hand, but some ranged. It is up to the child to choose, based on their thoughts alone which path they will follow, and while it is not unknown for a child to select more than one weapon, it is nevertheless a very rare occurrence. The child will spend the rest of their youth growing up with their choice, learning its strengths and its weaknesses until it becomes part of them.
Key Tenants of Altaican Martial Philosophy:
“Swords don’t cut people, techniques do.” To understand this saying is to understand the core of Altaican martial philosophy. When I pick up the sword, it becomes an extension of my being and with it, I project my will. The same goes for any weapon, or none at all if an Altaica chooses to fight empty handed. It may seem that the weapon is what does the cutting, but it is actually the will and technique of its user instead. Say I am to cut a sheet of paper so that I have two sheets identical in size, but each half the original thickness, if you were to watch the blade being drawn through the paper, you would notice that it cuts before making contact. That is what is meant by “Swords don’t cut people, techniques do.”
“Technique is no technique.” Do not let yourself become so caught up with you’re the technique and styles that you have been taught. They are a means to an end but not the only means. Know them, but not become locked into them. To truly master a technique, you most at the end rise above it. That is what is mean by “Technique is no technique.”
“Strike with no thought.” A mind that is burdened by thought is slow to react. Do not let worldly affairs invade your battle. They are threads binding your hands. Cast them from you and you will not be stopped. Nothing is faster than the thought of an empty mind. That is what is meant by “Strike with no thought.”
“A coward never lived, a hero never dies.” A coward always lives in fear and is unable to take risk for they are afraid of the possibility of failure, therefore never truly lives. A hero never dies, for they live through their cause. If your cause is honorable, you will be able to swing your sword and continue on, no matter what wounds you take. That is what is meant by “A coward never lived, a hero never dies.”
“Fortune favors the bold.” To hesitate is to rely on the skill of your opponent and not on yourself. The sword that is afraid of defeat will never taste victory. It is easier to get a stone rolling down the mountain than it is to try and stop that same stone. That is what is meant by “Fortune favors the bold.”
Schools: There are five schools of Altaican martial philosophy, one for each of the original five founders. They are neither clan nor family specific, but rather devoted to a concept and strategy of thought. My formal style, Raikoo no Tachi Ryo, or Blade of Lightning, is a weapon-based style, focusing primarily on summoning and controlling lightning, though it has some empty-handed techniques.
Raikoo no Tachi Ryo Techiques:
Raikoo no Tachi Ichi (Lightning Blade One): Causes the heavens to cloud over and a column of lightning to strike the sword, enveloping the blade with electricity.
Raikoo no Tachi Ni (Lightning Blade Two): Causes lighting to arc out of the end of the sword and strike an opponent.
Raikoo no Tachi San (Lightning Blade Three): Performed as a vertical, two handed slash that sends a wave of lightning in the chosen direction.
Shinkage (Truth's Shadow): Creates the illusion that the user is moving slower than they really are.
Lightning’s Blessing: Forms a brief shield of lightning around the user.
Waking Nightmare: Causes the target to feel like they are in a nightmare from which they can’t wake up.
That’s all for now.
One might wonder why I’ve yet to include his ability to change form. To me, that ability is something that needs to be explored a bit more before it is brought into being. Yes, he can turn into an abnormally large Siberian tiger, with many of the same scars that he has in his bipedal form. Yes he can turn into a hybrid form. But those things are not really important to me. What is important is his personality and mannerisms. Besides, he’s afraid of letting the middle form out in combat, and while it is his “natural form,” it is in his experience far easier to walk around as a human, that it is to walk around as a half-tiger.
Uses the following people's images for their avatars:
Manji From Blade of the Immortal