[Haven] The Issue of Choice

A small island with an active volcano, Faldrass is the home to Saoire's school and to the Faldrass Induk.

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Balthazar Black
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Posts: 2105
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:15 am
Race: Human
Profession: Leader of The Black Cats
Renown: 1815
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[Haven] The Issue of Choice


25 Ashan 721


"Am I wrong? I thought the majority of patients that your Order worked with were there voluntarily?" Balthazar asked Elliot. They were mid way through another session and the topic had shifted away from what they discussed in their last meeting towards questions Balthazar had. Elliot tried hard to steer the topic back to Balthazar and his experiences because after the things he'd learned in the last meeting, he was sure that what Kura said was correct. There was certainly trauma in the former mage's life and those events seemed to have shaped everything about how he acted now, but a lot of it was also just because he was from Yaralon. The ego and the boldness, the inability to admit fear without incredible prompting, all of that seemed to come from Yaralon. However he was not entirely sure where the other pieces fit in. He'd heard of and seen Balthazar's work in the settlement. He seemed to display good planning in terms of the little village he was building but it made Elliot wonder where that planning had been in other ventures.

"No, you are not wrong. Most of the time we work with patients who come to us, but not everyone the Order treats is there by choice." Elliot said. Balthazar's brow furrowed and he looked to Trean for a moment before looking back towards Elliot.

"So how do you help them? The people who don't think that there is anything wrong with them?" He asked.

"Are you saying you don't think anything is wrong with you?" Elliot countered.

"Are you saying you think something is wrong with me?"

"Do you think something is wrong with you?" Like a game where two players bounced a ball across the table from each other, Elliot and Balthazar had quickly shot questions back and forth only for Balthazar to metaphorically drop the ball. How could he turn that around?

"I've said before that I don't."

"We've all said things in the past, what do you think now?"

"I don't know. I- I just don't know what... what 'normal' is? 'Normal' seems to be a fluid concept. I've seen a whole city that worshipped a non-existent blood god. They gave their lives in ritual sacrifice to a power that did not save them. Is there something wrong with all of them or is it just how they were raised?"

"Yet when you saw the sacrifice, you were opposed to it. Did you not consider it abnormal?"

"I thought it was cruel and pointless, but bloodletting as abnormal? Doran Thetys collects and studies blood from all kinds of things. Is he abnormal for being fascinated by it like the Quacians?"

"Do you think he is?"

"I think a lot of things about him, none of them on topic." Balthazar admit and Elliot nodded his head, shifting back to what they were discussing.

"Do you think there is nothing wrong with you?"

"I think I have seen terrible, wonderful, and confusing things and come out of it better than most. I think Haven is a testament to that."

"Do you think you measure your success by the footprint you leave behind?"

"I measure it by the lives I save."

"And why do you feel the need to measure it at all?" Balthazar didn't seem to receive that question well. His brow furrowed and he shifted his weight in his seat. Elliot could tell Balthazar was thinking hard about his answer but when it finally came, the answer was the truth.

"People around me are more than content to keep track of and remind me of my failures, if I don't remember the good I do, why do I do anything at all?" Balthazar realized Elliot could not answer that question but he was hoping it helped Elliot understand what he was struggling with. "If all I look at is my failures- if I only focus on isolated incidents and complicated situations, I don't know what the point of any of this would be. I can't, and won't, feel guilty about taking pride in the good I do."

"I don't mean to imply you should, but I want to know what makes you feel successful."

"I don't even know what successful means anymore." Balthazar said in a somewhat exasperated way. Elliot's expression shifted somewhat in confusion and Balthazar's face twisted. How did he explain that? How did he convey what it was like to be under constant watch and to have your negative actions highlighted while the good you were doing was ignored?


word count: 784

Visible Mutations/ Marks

Mutations
Defiance: Skin always glows faintly and he is warm to the touch. His is also the center of a field of static electricity so people get shocked touching him on occasion.
Rupturing: Orange etheric cracks spider-web up his arms to his elbows. His eyes and the glowing cracks going down his cheeks glow dark blue.
Transmutation: He has a series of emerald, glowing cracks on his right pectoral.
Marks
Bellinos: His fingernails are always black. The color fades into his fingers.
Celarion: A dim glowing ring surrounds his left forearm.
Palenon: A silver lightning shaped mark about the size of a hand stretching up towards his torso.

Scars

  • Oops, Oops, Ouch: Balthazar Black has twenty scars across his back from a lashing as well as scars on his hands and arms from jagged rocks on Faldrass. There are two scars on the sides of his abdomen from being stabbed and a slash across his back which blends in with the whip scars.
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Balthazar Black
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Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:15 am
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Renown: 1815
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Re: [Haven] The Issue of Choice


25 Ashan 721


"How do you define success?" Elliot asked after the silence between the two of them grew uncomfortably long. He was hoping he could get them back on track and it seemed like Balthazar was willing. The former mage shook his head and shrugged slightly. He didn't know. He knew what he had to do in a literal sense because he knew what moved him forward and what did not but he didn't know if that was the same as what Elliot was asking. It was harder to think about forced objectives as success than it was to think about the chosen ones.

"I told you, I don't know. There are clear goals in front of me," Balthazar said, with a small gesture around them. "I have to convince you I'm not crazy, convince the Albarech my magic doesn't control me, and hopefully bathe without someone watching me before I'm thirty." They were the things he imagined that everyone expected him to want yet when he thought about them he didn't feel compelled. "But I don't know if doing that makes me feel like I'm succeeding."

"Does anything?"

"Lately?" Balthazar looked to Elliot for clarification but didn't receive any. He was to take the question however he wanted and answer it. "I enjoy working around Haven. I feel like I've made a positive change in their lives..."

"But?"

"I also feel like everything I do for them is under a level a scrutiny I will always look bad under."

"Why?"

"Why what?"

"Why do you feel like you will always look bad?"

"I don't know, it's different now- with these," He held up his wrists so Elliot knew he was talking about the paradigm bracelets. "Before it was easy to blame what Kura blamed, the sparks, but now..." Balthazar's voice trailed off and he shook his head a little bit. "There is no influence to blame. My thoughts are my own and they are the same, its just the impulses that are gone."

"What thoughts?" Elliot chose his question carefully, having a decent knowledge already of what the impulses were from the times they'd spoken before. Balthazar took an uncomfortable breath and his eyes shifted towards the exit to the tent where he could see the sunlight stretching through. He shook his head a little and turned to Elliot.

"I think we're out of time." Balthazar said, trying to end the meeting.

"What thoughts, Balthazar?"
word count: 423

Visible Mutations/ Marks

Mutations
Defiance: Skin always glows faintly and he is warm to the touch. His is also the center of a field of static electricity so people get shocked touching him on occasion.
Rupturing: Orange etheric cracks spider-web up his arms to his elbows. His eyes and the glowing cracks going down his cheeks glow dark blue.
Transmutation: He has a series of emerald, glowing cracks on his right pectoral.
Marks
Bellinos: His fingernails are always black. The color fades into his fingers.
Celarion: A dim glowing ring surrounds his left forearm.
Palenon: A silver lightning shaped mark about the size of a hand stretching up towards his torso.

Scars

  • Oops, Oops, Ouch: Balthazar Black has twenty scars across his back from a lashing as well as scars on his hands and arms from jagged rocks on Faldrass. There are two scars on the sides of his abdomen from being stabbed and a slash across his back which blends in with the whip scars.
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Balthazar Black
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Posts: 2105
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:15 am
Race: Human
Profession: Leader of The Black Cats
Renown: 1815
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Re: [Haven] The Issue of Choice


25 Ashan 721


"How would you manage if you were watched every trill of of every trial?" Balthazar asked, knowing Elliot wouldn't answer because he never did or when he did, he was vague. 'I'd make the best of it' or 'We aren't here to discuss me.' More of the latter than the former. Instead Elliot waited for Balthazar to get to the point. "I've never had to deal with my anger about my treatment during the trial, and my anger about the Element's continued presence in Haven, while having my magic. I've been bound ever since I was taken from Jacien's so I know that all the anger is me, not the magic." Anger was not a revelation to anyone in the room. It had been clear from the first session that Balthazar was not happy with the situation but he was participating now more than he was the first trial.

"Do you think your sparks would make it worse?" Elliot asked. Elliot was aware of the four different magics Balthazar had been initiated into but what he knew about each of the domains varied.

"Probably," Balthazar admit. Lying to Elliot was like telling a vendor a copper nel was onyx- it just didn't work most of the time. "but I don't know. I wouldn't have done anything that would have hurt Haven, but I also would not have been able to stay on Faldrass for as long as I have. Maybe physically but... attunement was a versatile magic." He spoke a little wistfully as he thought of his long sealed magics. He had always liked talking about them with people but he'd been more guarded since the trial.

"What do you think you would have done?" Elliot asked, focusing on how Balthazar perceived the impulses he gained from the sparks while he was not affected by them. Having a patient with eidetic memory was useful at times but also made Elliot think that the traumas might have had more lingering impacts. Balthazar mentioned anger, but rarely talked about what he thought that anger would drive him to do.

"I'm not sure." It was the truth. He could have done a lot, but what did he really think he would have done? He tried not to fantasize about what could have been.

"Think about it and we can discuss it in our next session?"

"Alright."
word count: 408

Visible Mutations/ Marks

Mutations
Defiance: Skin always glows faintly and he is warm to the touch. His is also the center of a field of static electricity so people get shocked touching him on occasion.
Rupturing: Orange etheric cracks spider-web up his arms to his elbows. His eyes and the glowing cracks going down his cheeks glow dark blue.
Transmutation: He has a series of emerald, glowing cracks on his right pectoral.
Marks
Bellinos: His fingernails are always black. The color fades into his fingers.
Celarion: A dim glowing ring surrounds his left forearm.
Palenon: A silver lightning shaped mark about the size of a hand stretching up towards his torso.

Scars

  • Oops, Oops, Ouch: Balthazar Black has twenty scars across his back from a lashing as well as scars on his hands and arms from jagged rocks on Faldrass. There are two scars on the sides of his abdomen from being stabbed and a slash across his back which blends in with the whip scars.
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Re: [Haven] The Issue of Choice

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Player Name: Balthazar Black

Points awarded: 0 xp (There have been too many examples of improper skill use and representation of npcs in the past, along these lines. I cannot award XP unless you play to your skill levels and those of the NPCs involved.)
Magic xp: none

Knowledge:

None requested

Renown: n/a
Loot: n/a
Injuries/Overstepping: n/a
Wealth Points: n/a
Consequences: n/a

Skill Review: This thread has been declared non-canon for improper representation of the NPC provided. This is a master therapist, but it very much feels very much like the tail wagging the dog in this situation. Balthazar doesn't have the deception skill necessary to manipulate him or throw him off in this manner. The Therapist is supposed to be a Master in psychology, yet he appears to be exhibiting the skills of a novice.
Notes: Well, for all the fact that this is declared non-canon for not following the skill levels of the PC and NPCs involved, it was interesting dialogue. However, given that the skill levels are nowhere near what is represented here, for instance most glaringly Balthazar's Competent Deception and Persuasion skills, against a Master Psychologist, I could not in good conscience award you xp for it. This thread has hereby been declared non-canon.

I wish you the best of luck in your PC's GST-run psychological evaluation. I hope having another person represent the opposing party will help lend credence to the process. I know from personal experience it can be hard to be objective about our own characters when we have grown attached to them and as such it can be hard to play certain situations 100% honestly.
However, I think the adoption of a GST approach was a good decision.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding this review, feel free to PM Lore Analyst Squirrel.
word count: 317
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