|Played by||Brazen (Lanes)|
"We are the negotiators...
―Ashurah DeValle, The Fell Clutch of Circumstance
Ashurah was born Devovea DeValle in Deling City to Marcos and Roxana DeValle. At least that's what it says on her birth certificate. The truth is, Ashurah never knew her biological parents. For reasons she never became privy to, Ashurah was given up for adoption when she was three months old, spending only a few extra months in an orphanage on the outskirts of the city before she was taken in by the couple who would become her real family.
The Vegas were a slightly older couple and the ideal family on the outside; Ashurah's father, Francis, was partner in a firm that specialized in high end corporate law, and her mother, Marisol, was a debutante who spent much--if not all--of her time perfecting her and her husband's social image. Unfortunately, Marisol had been unable to have children of her own, but she had always wanted a daughter to whom she could pass down her debutante traditions. Francis, however, was hardly interested in expanding their family, and viewed the addition of a child as the equivalent of buying his wife a puppy. It was really only because of this that he agreed to the adoption, hoping the new baby would keep his wife happy, healthy, entertained and out of his business. And it did for a while.
For the first few years of her youth, Ashurah--Devovea--was the joy of her mother's life, though her passionate personality became increasingly difficult to ignore. By the time Devovea was five, Marisol began to show signs of wear and boredom with her daughter and the young girl's incessantly disobedient demeanor. It hadn't started on purpose, however, as Devovea simply lost interest in playing "dress up" and "tea party"--her mother's versions of them anyway--and grew more interested in sports, playing with the neighbourhood boys, climbing anything taller than one story, and just generally being rambunctious. As her daughter's energy became more and more difficult to control, so became Marisol's temper. Eventually, "dress up" and "tea party" became mandatory daily activities--all day marathons--with the only other option being a firm lashing and straight to bed without dinner. With her father remaining almost completely out of the picture, the young child had no authority and no power over her mother except for the occasional incontrollable tantrum. Eventually the tantrums became fewer as Devovea became more accustomed to her mother's punishments, learning that even if she bore a bruise for her bad behavior, no one would ever see it the next day.
As Devovea grew older, her mother grew ever more involved in planning events for her family and her daughter, leaving the girl's education and upbringing to tutors and a governess, none of which treated her with much kindness or respect. They were all connected through the Vegas tight-knit circle of peers, all of them tightly wound and unconcerned for the feelings of an individual and more concerned about their own reputation and income. All Devovea knew was the less trouble she caused, the less she suffered socially. With no motherly love, a mostly absent father-figure, no real friends and only the children of other stuffy, high-class individuals to connect with, it was around the age of 9 that Devovea began to grow accustomed to functioning as well as she could on her own.
Things couldn't remain the same forever, though, and when the façade of Devovea's life began to crack before the public eye, she was still the picture of perfect serenity while the emotions in her raged dangerously beneath the surface. Not long after her eleventh birthday, Devovea's parents divorced and separated due to her father having an affair. It wasn't enough for him to leave it at that, though, and before he left he made it perfectly clear what he thought of his wife, or rather how little he actually did think of her. Worse even, no mention was ever made of what he thought of Devovea, if he even thought of her at all. Wanting her was even more out of the question. It didn't even matter that his wife took most of his assets in the divorce; Francis's only goal was to get out, no matter the cost, leaving his daughter completely behind.
Being left in her mother's sole custody was devastating to the pre-teen, and though she was still painfully aware of her mother's temper and the consequences of invoking it, it didn't stop Devovea. She began making a point to act out wherever she could, though she learned very quickly that even if she thought her mother had no patience before, it was nothing compared to her lack of patience now. The rebellions were half-hearted--some even broken-hearted in their attempt to make her mother see her again as a child, her child, and not just a disappointment to her high-class name and a burden on her household. The very little amount of love her mother did show only translated to Devovea as pity in the end, making the severely introverted girl fold further into herself.
For years after, Devovea watched the world go by behind a glass smile until finally she couldn't bear the balls and parties and dresses and fake friends anymore. At her coming-out party, with all her mother's guests gathered, Ashurah blew the roof off of the reception with her announcement that she was enrolling at Garden and planned to join SeeD.
Joining Garden and Becoming SeeDEdit
It was lucky that they issued a uniform to every student when they were admitted to Garden, as Devovea was completely on her own from the time she stepped out of her mother's house. What was worse was even though she had plenty of schooling on being sociable in theory, putting all of that knowledge into practice was near impossible for her. Here she was in a completely different environment from what she was used to, and had no idea how to connect with the free-spirited cadets that littered the loud hallways.
For the first year and a half, Devovea kept to herself, immersing herself in her studies under her instructors, and spending her spare time alone--in the training room, the quad, out around the grounds, it didn't matter. It was easier being by herself than having an awkward conversation with someone who was bound to give up on her as a friend eventually. And in actuality, she was content with that. It gave her time to herself, time she needed to forget her home life and get adjusted to the prospect of being a fighter. She had the spirit, but absolutely no skill and barely any discipline. So she learned.
She changed her last name back to her birth name when she was able to legally do so, feeling that it made it easier to slip through the cracks if no one knew she was a Vega. Devovea was one of the top students when it came to grades, and one of the hardest workers when it came to the field, so most--if not all--of her instructors were content to leave her to her own devices. It wasn't until her final semester before her field exam that she ran into a brick wall, one named Theodore Albrecht. According to the other cadets, Instructor Albrecht had a different way about him; having been trained in the Galbadian military, he was eager to push his students past their self-set limits and turn them into more than just mercenaries. Devovea had been confident about his class until she realized her lone-wolfish ways were hardly going to cut it.
In the beginning, she loathed him. Granted, he was certainly enough eye candy to get any sane-headed teenage girl through the rough lectures, but it was the field training that gummed up the works. During the week, there was early morning marching, conditioning--every morning, even on weekends for potential graduates. Afternoons were filled with drills and recitations, with Devovea very often at the receiving end of an emotional assault. Even during the night, the quest for rest was futile, as Instructor Albrecht was particularly fond of impromptu midnight drills, some that even lasted right up until the following mornings sunrise drill. And then he would keep them for that.
At the end of each week, he would take his cadets to the training center (or to the Fire Cavern if weather and time permitted), and test them on all the knowledge they had acquired in his class, asking them to demonstrate as much information as they could to show that they had retained his lectures. And every week, Devovea worked herself to the bone to make sure she was the first to clear her area, as efficiently as possible even though often she would be wounded by the end of the exercise. She prided herself on being able to complete the task on her own, while other cadets usually struggled to count kills even in small pairs or groups.
Every week, the cadets were dismissed for lunch and a good bit of rest after the activity. Every week, Devovea was asked to stay behind for cleanup detail.
Week after week went by, and the harder Devovea worked to remain on top, the harder Instructor Albrecht seemed to work to tear her down; increasing her detail or drilling her harder in front of all the other cadets. Devovea didn't know what else to do than to retreat into her shell, put on her game face as she always did with her mother and take the brunt. But for some reason it wasn't working. Finally, she got fed up with the abuse and confronted Instructor Albrecht one afternoon after he had dismissed the cadets for lunch and once again kept her after for detail. After pointing out her achievements--that she was always the first to complete her assignment, even taking on monsters that they weren't even supposed to know how to handle yet--and how most of the other cadets are stuck straggling behind together, she was shocked to be told flat out that actually, the other students weren't the ones not completing the assignment. She was.
- "The assignment was never to finish first or be the best, DeValle. You were supposed to show me you paid attention and actually retained some information by using everything I've taught you, and you always miss the most important part. You know, you may think I'm just military prick that came in here to purposely fuck up your life, but if there's one thing you'll take away from my class it's that you have to work together and learn to trust one another. It's what you do in a team, you realize that's what you're working for right? You can go ahead, work as hard as you want Dev, beat yourself up until you're a zombie, I don't care. If you can't start to understand that you're not alone here, I'll never recommend you for graduation."
At the time she was infuriated by his speech, but his words were the catalyst that turned her life around. She was determined to graduate, to finish something she started now that she had worked so hard to achieve it, she wasn't going to quit. The first week after that was pure rebellion, sticking to her guns and taking her cleanup detail in silence, but as she realized that Instructor Albrecht would never back down, she began to rethink her strategy. Soon, she was dishing back his verbal assaults during drills, their yelling matches escalating into outright emotional brawls until finally he would give in and move on to the next cadet with a proud grin plastered on his stupidly gorgeous face. And the weekly exercises were finally a rest for her, as she learned to double back and at least check on her classmates. The more she learned to stand up for herself and let herself be part of a team, the more she found she actually wanted to do those things.
And eventually, on the day of her graduation as a Rank A SeeD, Instructor Albrecht approached her and looked her in the eye as an equal. It was no surprise then that shortly thereafter she received her first assignment as a member of Theodore Albrecht's team.
The next few years were spent on missions all over the continent and beyond, travelling and seeing places she never thought she'd see in her lifetime, and getting paid to do it. She didn't always agree with the mission, but she wasn't paid to argue, and she was content as long as she was with the members of her group and they were all safe by the end of the day. She and Theodore grew closer, so close in fact that she began to see him as a brother, something that she had always wanted--needed--in her life, but never could have had. For the first time she didn't just feel like she had a real friend. She knew she had one. It certainly didn't stop them from bickering on occasion, however, with Devovea dissolving into one of her whining tirades, and Theo calling her out by nicknaming her Asherah, poking fun at her queen of heaven act that he knew was more than likely just her being unable to express something deeper. They were rare moments of ridicule, and they always earned him a sound beating, but the two of them enjoyed the conflict and would end up laughing about it a mere few hours later. Everything was finally working out great for Devovea.
The Casimir Trials & Court Martial of Devovea DeValleEdit
It was only supposed to be a routine mission, they were told. Their first clue to a bad omen should have been their commissioners, a group of people known as the Casimir Clan, a rather shifty looking--and acting--troupe of men that no one questioned because of their immense offer of payment. The only condition Garden was to agree to in order to receive the commission was to make sure their elite SeeDs would be readily available for however long it took to complete their task. And as long as they kept paying Garden, it didn't really matter the duration of the contract.
Theo's team was the first to be selected for the job, a team consisting of himself, Devovea, and three other SeeDs, two of them having graduated with Devovea. The five of them had formed--what Devovea thought--was a well suited, well oiled machine, so there was never any question in their minds that they were the right ones for the job, even if it meant an unknown amount of time away from home. The mission meant crossing the intercontinental bridge through Fisherman's Horizon to come to the city of Esthar, where they were to begin reconnaissance and gathering information.
It took nearly three weeks of field work to gather the information they needed to finally act on their findings, but what was so unsatisfying was how deeply they had to dig under the surface of the city to get that information. Theo put himself in charge of the dirtiest of the work, as he had the most training and was sure that if he did get into a mess, the other four could easily bail him out with Devovea as their leader.
But just as the case was coming to a head and the finish line began to come into view, the group was forced to take drastic action to clean up a mess they found was caused by the Casimirs themselves. It was an excruciating 37 hours of intense recovery attempts, but in their exhaustion and panic the group was split, the three cadets on their own and Devovea and Theo together. And that's all she remembers.
After she woke quite a few days later in the Infirmary back in Galbadia, Garden officials wasted no time serving Devovea DeValle with a court martial for attempted desertion and for suspected involvement in the disappearance of one Instructor Theodore Albrecht.
While she could barely get her head around the court martial itself, Devovea was completely floored at even the idea of Theo having disappeared, even if she had been hit over the head or whatever it was they told her happened. No one knew and could only speculate from her injuries, and in the end her doctors ended up testifying that the injuries she sustained showed no evidence of attempted flight, debunking the claim against her for desertion. What got to her completely and utterly was that the whole idea of desertion had started due to the statements of the other three SeeDs that had been with her before the separation.
Most of the trial was surreal and passed by her in a blur. The entire time, all Devovea could think was that Theo was not really gone; that was not his blood they found covering the crime scene three blocks down from where she was; that he was not dead like everyone speculated, and they would see that the minute he walked through those doors, throwing his arms up in the air and yelling at everyone to hold the phone. That not only was he just damn fine, but that Devovea DeValle was no deserter. But it never happened. And Devovea found herself hollowly defending her own case without any support from her teammates, or her best friend. Her brother. Because he was dead.
In the end, Devovea managed to pull enough evidence together from the doctors and from the information Theo had found against the Casimirs to at least get her off for desertion, and protect her and her teammates from a breach of contract, but for the rest of her time at Garden, the stigma of being the last one to see everyone's beloved Instructor Albrecht alive carried with her. That stigma, and the loneliness that ultimately came with it, drove Devovea slowly back into her shell for a short period, but after everything that Theo had taught her, there was no permanent shell to hide in any longer. After a few months, she became an outwardly angry person, unashamed of the brash personality that developed out of her own pain and everyone else's apathy toward her. She grew ever more bold and openly rebellious, demanding solo tasks that no one in their right mind would take, hoping to propel herself into situations where she would be able to shamelessly take out her anger and pent up aggression on the world.
So of course, given her attitude that clearly stated she had little care for her own well-being, Fate would see it fit to lead her straight into Deling City in the dead of night.
Embrace & Pre-EstharEdit
It actually all started with a vague lead. The dishonor she felt at having failed that mission was bad enough, but bearing the loss of her best friend and brother was more pain than she knew how to deal with alone. It was no wonder that when she received word from an anonymous source that Theodore Albrecht had been spotted in Deling City, Devovea shot off like a light to follow up on it. On the surface, she knew she had to accept the fact that he was dead, but deep down, not only was she hopeful that she was wrong, but convinced that no one would send her such information without at least having some truth behind it. It was disgustingly shameful how easy it had been to lure her to the bar, and then back behind the alley, where a dark, windowless van was waiting.
At the time, all she was aware of was being tied and gagged against her will, thrown unceremoniously in the back of the vehicle, surrounded by three vicious looking men. As she struggled relentlessly, the fight she put up was so impressive that one of the men was forced to drug her with a double dose of some form of sedative. Before she began to slip into the hypnotic induced unconsciousness, the training that Theo had put her through rang like an alarm in her head as she attempted to gather as many key words and visuals as she could.
Three men, one of them tall and lanky with a large nose, another shorter and stocky with a laugh like a hyena. Inhumanly strong, dark arms from the third man holding her up as they gave her the second injection. One of the other men calling him "Tundu". And a thick, queasy smell of blood flooded her nostrils no matter which way she turned her head.
Sometimes she wishes the few days after that were nothing more than a drug induced blur. But they weren't. Once they had her strapped down enough to inhibit any fierce struggle, they made sure that she was at least sober enough to experience the physical abuse. They reserved the fierce drug assault for when she was finally on the verge of exhaustion--sleep deprived and battle worn from her own struggling--to watch her in amusement as she wracked through night terrors, all in the name of sport. They meant to make her beg, but she never did. Only once, she cried for Theo in her nightmares, unable to not be horrified by the possibilities of what might have happened to him.
The two loud men were the worst, she remembers that. But the third was a large, silent black man with dark, hollow eyes, who only ever spoke when it looked like the other two were planning on having too much fun at her expense. In a sick sense, he protected her in the nights that followed, watching her closely. But she knew he was no better than the others, just waiting in the darkness for her to break, for some reason that she couldn't figure out. Five nights in, he asked her name. And she told him, not because she wanted to, but because he looked her in the eye and she could swear that he was forcing the deep calm that came over her long enough to give him two words.
Authorities of Timber found the van a week later on the outskirts of the port town, completely empty and abandoned, caked in blood, but also in dust.
And Devovea found herself waking in a warehouse within the city--beaten, bruised, terrified, confused. And starving.
She didn't stay in Timber long. Abandoned by her sire for reasons unknown and left to fend for herself, Devovea had nowhere to know knowledge on her own of what was happening to her. All she could understand that blood was now her utmost priority, along with these new and intriguing feral thoughts that seemed to want to take control of her actions. And she let them. She was lost, confused, and the only thing she knew to do was to trust in instinct and what felt good.
Luckily for her--depending on how you look at it--Devovea ran into a pack of independent Kindred on the outskirts of town, and after being roughed up they decided to take her in and teach her a few things. Most of the Kindred she came to know she only knew by aliases, and so decided that she would have to come up with her own, start over, embrace this new existence and give up what she had lost along with her given name. She decided to go by Ashurah permanently, still keeping a tie to her past and her dear dead friend but taking on a new and more volatile persona.
After becoming somewhat close with a few of these Kindred, including one she only knew by the alias of Azrael, Ashurah ends up following them to Fisherman's Horizon. Here, time seems to all but come to a halt as Ashurah loses track of it, indulging in all forms of debauchery that she can stomach that she never had the urges for as a mortal. It wasn't until she and Azrael were approached to deliver a message to a small group of Vampires with some information about werewolves that things started to take a turn, slowly but surely for the more substantial and humane.
The Jade RoseEdit
Ash is a whiny, half-cocked little monster when she first meets the coterie in Fisherman's Horizon. She is wary at first about joining the group on their quest, but only inwardly and only slightly, and she justifies tagging along as simply having nothing better to do. She doesn't really begin to make any friends until the coterie reaches Esthar and meets with some of the Elders as the individuals in the group are perceived into clans. Ashurah is sorted into clan Brujah along with three others: Jordana, Ryeva and Damien. She gets involved with her Clan from the get-go, becoming quite close quite quickly with Ryeva and especially Jordana.
During one of the clan meetings, the Brujah are invited to venture into a cabin in the woods to meet with an old witch and receive an artefact that will help them on their journey. Derrick heads the small group and when they reach the cabin, each of the Brujah give a drop of their blood in order to receive a fist-sized ruby-like stone. They do not have time to decide on who will get the stone, however, as they are due to meet with the rest of the coterie, and Damien grabs it to keep until they can deliberate. This makes Ashurah furious and jealous, knowing that she wants the stone for herself.
After meeting up with the rest of the coterie to stage a hunt for a group of werewolves--and being reprimanded for tardiness by their fearless mentor--Damien runs off from the group, but Ashurah is having none of it. She follows him out into the woods and intends to make sure he still has the stone and isn't going to use it. Surprisingly, Damien hands the stone over immediately without a fight, but then asks Ashurah to drink his blood. Uneducated and seeing no immediate harm in taking part in such an action, Ashurah cautiously obliges and unwittingly enters into the first stage of a blood bond with Damien. But she had the stone.
Before the hunt, Marquis asks Ashurah if there is anything wrong or if there is anything he can help her with. She declines the offer, choosing not to tell him about Damien, but does divulge that she is having difficulty feeding. She does not elaborate however, and he doesn't press for answers. The group begins the hunt and ends up in a large battle with a small group of werewolves, a battle where Damien is not present and subsequently leaves Rielle exposed, which infuriates Marquis. At the next Brujah clan meeting, their Elder, Gabriel, is waiting for them instead of Derrick this time, and asks for Ashurah. He congratulates her on her well fought battle and tells her that he has heard that she has been having difficulties. She takes this cue to confirm the news, but still does not openly link it to her having drunk from Damien. Damien then enters and gets a royal beat down for his desertion. The next order of business is to decide who will get to use the stone acquired at the last meeting, and after Gabriel dictates that Damien is not to have it, the entire group--aside from Ashurah (who votes for Jordana)--votes for Ashurah to have the stone. She uses it, and when Jordana asks what it will do to her, Derrick tells them that it will make her faster and stronger. To quote, Derrick states that "Ashurah is now a killing machine."
As Ashurah becomes more involved with the group, she also becomes more involved with Damien, who manipulates her into drinking from him multiple times, causing her to have problems gaining any benefits from drinking human blood. Her repeated, frequent occurrences with Damien lead her to easily be lured from the group where Damien finally makes his move and reveals his betrayal, trapping over half of the group and having them captured as sacrifices for a Setite ritual. Ashurah tries to use her bond with Damien against him if only to distract him long enough to help the others escape, but her plan ultimately fails. The group is saved when Samantha shows up having rescued Marquis, who uses the possession of Damien's heart to paralyze and eventually capture him for questioning.
When a missing Rielle is found, having been staked and tossed for the rats by none other than Damien, Ashurah takes it upon herself (either out of genuine caring, or extreme guilt) to help care for Rielle immediately after the Toreador is brought out of her Torpor. Later, when the coterie end up at Tallion Daynar's mansion, Rielle steps into one of the magical rooms that ends up replaying memories from her past, one of them including Damien rescuing Rielle from a fire followed by the memory of him staking her and leaving her for dust. This event drives Ashurah into a deep well of guilt over the fact that despite Damien's cruelty, she is still hopelessly bonded and devoted to him.
Once the Rose is found and delivered to Elinoria, a grand battle ensues. Ashurah fights alongside her groupmates, but despite her best efforts, Ellinoria manages to remove the stone from Ashurah's heart, subsquently taking away the powers that she had obtained from it. Ashurah doesn't let it end there though and uses the dagger Ellinoria had used to stab her to shatter the stone, rendering it obsolete while the rest of the group tears into the Sorceress. The battle is won, but the powers Ellinoria has are imposed upon Samantha, as their must be a successor.
All is not over, however; shortly after this, Marquis reveals his own betrayal, takes the Rose and destroys Darjen.
After the battle in the Toreador haven, the group was given the opportunity to rest for a week before being presented with an invitation to witness the aftermath of their actions. Meeting the Prince in one of his labyrinthine havens, the coterie finally comes face to face with a humanized Marquis Kohnz, but he is nothing like any of them imagined. Ashurah is the first to step forward and ask to speak with him, though she is warned that he may not respond. Marquis does respond to her, however, though his words are broken into nothing but insane, garbled phrases. Ashurah discovers here that she has some inexplicable compassion for not only the man in front of her, but for the people in her life in general. And deep down, she finds she is deeply hurt by the knowledge that she is one of the people responsible for her former mentor's current state of mind.
After seeing Marquis, Ashurah is also allowed to check on Leena, since she had been taken into custody before the battle and hadn't been heard from since. Feeling an easy affection for Marquis' childe, Ashurah promises to take care of the mess, which ultimately results in Leena being released into Ashurah's "custody" for a duration, thus allowing Leena to move in with Ashurah at her newly acquired personal haven.
Ashurah also has her final conversation with Damien in this campaign, as he doubles back to see her at the party thrown for her team. The conversation is ultimately the one that breaks Ashurah's trust in her own heart, as when she tells Damien that she loves him with a tone of finality, he is adamant about making her decisions for her by telling her flat out that she doesn't.
The Two Year BreakEdit
After things began to settle down in the city, Ashurah also began to settle, a concept with which she wasn't entirely familiar. She became restless, and that restlessness combined with the guilt over seeing Marquis Kohnz and the coping of her crumbling blood bond with Damien left her feeling fairly desolate and useless. She needed something to do, for herself, for her clan, for the city, anything really that she could get her hands on. It was a few short months after the capture and defeat of the Templar that she began working for the Sheriff of the city, Ashford Heron, as one of his Deputies, taking on the more physical tasks befitting her personality and assets.
Not long after she had settled into a routine lifestyle, a familiar face showed up at her door. Having thought that her old friend was dead and long gone, Ashurah hadn't expected to ever see Theodore Albrecht again, and thus thought that him showing up at her haven was a trick of the mind, a joke. But he hadn't died, had been embraced and had been in Esthar, albeit travelling, and had returned to hear the news of the current situation. After hearing the familiarity in the name of one Ashurah DeValle, he had to see for himself if she was still alive--or rather as alive as they both could claim to be. The reunion that ensued was emotional and full of fighting and yelling on the front lawn.
Ashurah got comfortable in her routine, was glad to have her friend back, and was even managing to get a little closer to a few other clanmates, her Whip included though she was sure they would always only ever interact on the strictest and sometimes most awkward of terms.
Crucible of WolvesEdit
Ashurah's participation in this campaign is minimal. We first see her arriving at the Prince's mass call-to-arms with Leena in tow, where they all learn the entire city has fallen under attack by the Sabbat. During the actual battle, however, Ash is practically mowed down by a beast of a fighter, causing her to frenzy and finally fall into Torpor.
Torpor and RecoveryEdit
- It was Cat and Derrick's decision to not raise Ash by traditional means, given her history with the bonds of blood. They decided instead to employ a Tremere ritual to bring Ashurah out of Torpor, to which the two of them--along with Theo--were a witness. Once Ashurah was coherent enough to realize what exactly had happened to her, she ended up completely cutting herself off from Kindred society for a number of days.
- It wasn't the thought that she had almost died that caused her to retreat into her shell, at least not in the sense that some would think. Ashurah has never been afraid of death, and never intends to be considering she knows--all too well now--that there are worse states to be in. What bothered her the most, in all actuality, was that she was once again stuck in a sort of purgatory; she didn't make it through the battle, but she didn't die either. Not only that, but she was severely disturbed by the feelings she harboured during her frenzy, terrified at the idea that she could have unleashed herself on one of her comrades without a second thought. Her deep sense of loyalty to them felt challenged in that moment, and it tore her to pieces to think that she could have failed them in such a colossal way. To make matters worse, it bothered her even more to not at least have heard from any of them in the following days, making her alienation even more unbearable.
- Luckily, with her deep, inate need for company subconsciously driving her to act, Ashurah finally crawls from her hole long enough to visit the Brujah Haven, if only for the sound of company even if no one would engage her in conversation. It wasn't until Derrick finally approached her that Ash vocalized any of the confusion she was feeling over her current state. Their conversation was both a comfort and an eye opener, though she left that night still feeling confused and as lost as ever. Even relaying her thoughts to Theo a week or so later wasn't enough to get Ashurah back to her former state of mind, and she had fully intended at that point in time to confront her former comrades and inform them that she had planned to take some time away from Esthar to clear her head.
It wasn't until Ashurah received a letter from Marquis Kohnz himself that she finally began to open up to the possibility of returning to the group and aiding them in any way she could. Even then, the decision was not an easy one to make, as she still has a difficult time seeing some of them and working with them again. She returns to Crucible of Wolves in Exodus, with her buddy Theo closely in tow, just in time to accompany her team on their next mission, this time right smack into an alternate reality.
City of ShadowsEdit
She's completely geared up and ready to go, even though the idea of being ripped apart by a gateway to an alternate universe terrifies her beneath the cool facade. And she wonders why she agreed to come back in the first place, but seeing Persephone for the first time in quite a number of days triggers her need to help, to protect. The mission: locate the petal that the Prince's scientists, namely Evan Craycraft, have managed to lose in the alternate reality ripped open by the experimental process, a process that Ashurah will never get her head around no matter how many times someone tries to explain it to her. All she knows and cares about is she has pistols, a sweet blade, a huge gun and a grenade launcher. Everything else she knows will fall into place.
And so it does. Immediately upon entering the alternate world, Ashurah and Theo are confronted by a group of soldiers, soldiers that they dispose of quickly, but the alarm has long since been sounded. They make for higher ground and regroup to not only find out that the city's "Queen" is the alternate Samantha, but the alternate Kohnz is apparently working for her and there is a resistance against them. They have little time to move, and she, Theo, Miranda and Adrienne decide to find the Resistance though Ashurah is torn over leaving Persephone and Samantha to fend for themselves. It is not for nothing, however, as the four kindred meet one of the Rebel leaders, her clanmate and whip, Derrick Sheffield. He is not, unfortunately, as keen to see them as in his world, all of them are dead except for Miranda, and he is much more inclined to hold them at shotgun barrel's distance until things can be explained. It is Ashurah that finally drops the bomb on him, after hearing Samantha almost being shot by the other rebels, leaving Derrick sufficiently convinced (or confused) enough to help the team reunite to be taken back to the rebel base.
At the base, after getting over the initial shock of seeing Darjen alive in this world, Ashurah ends up having a deep discussion with Marquis over the contents of the letter he sent her, and subsequently makes him a promise that should anything happen to him, she will be sure to help the others return safely to their world.
She can't leave well enough alone. She knows she really shouldn't press--it isn't her world, never was, never would be--but Ashurah can't ever be satisfied until she has answers to her questions. After discovering that her alternate counterpart died some time ago, she goes to the only person she knows for sure saw it happen--Derrick--to ask him about the circumstances, completely ignorant to the weight that her death has actually put on her friend's shoulders. After a heated debate, Ashurah finds out that not only had she been in a relationship with Damien here--which was enough to surprise her--but also that it had been Templar Kohnz who had been responsible for her death. Hearing the details sobered her and brought on a number of personal fears and dilemmas, but they were all put on hold the minute that Derrick dropped his confession--that he loved her.
Though she is unable to fully return his sentiments at this point, Ashurah stays with him that night, only to be told the next day by Persephone that Damien has been snooping around the coterie, apparently as silent watchdog over Samantha. This news sends Ashurah into a spiral of conflict, and she barely has her head about her for the rest of the night, especially after the battle with the althernate Persephone. She and Phone confront the Lasombra version of her friend together, neither of them able to hold back their rage and sadness at the depth of the city's corruption at the hand of Kohnz and ultimately the Queen. After lecturing Persephone on pride and strength, Ashurah breaks down and tells her about her situation with Derrick and tries to voice some of the fears she has over it with very little success.
When the group has gathered enough intel, they realize that the Queen's goal is to be able to control the minds of every individual in Esthar, but the group has a hunch from their sources that even though she will succeed soon, the coterie will be immune since they are not from their world. While Ashurah is slightly relieved by this, it doesn't last long once she realizes that Derrick will be with their group going after the petal, will not be immune, and will likely have to do some things neither of them would like. She spends their last night in Alternate Esthar with him and makes the mistake of trying to bring up her concerns about her past with Damien, nearly turning their last night together into a big bad Brujah rageathon but manages to deactivate the bomb before it blows. The next morning, she makes a clear goal to make a pact with Theo, however, imploring him to do what needs to be done if for some reason she can't, meaning staking Derrick should his mind be taken over by the Queen before they can get out.
The next night, the final confrontation, Ashurah leads the team retrieving the petal and ends up at the Blood Diamond negotiating with Azure when the Queen's mind control device is activated. Her group is almost easily overtaken by Azure and Derrick--both acting under the influence of the Queen--and Ashurah finds herself unable to effectively fight back when Derrick makes her his target. It is Persephone that finally subdues him with a stake, but the damage is done. Ashurah puts it to the back of her mind as best she can, helping the others commandeer a chopper and make for the Queen's flagship, from where she is now controlling all of Esthar. There, the entire team is reunited, and after an enraged battle, Adrienne's ritual strips the Queen of her powers, freeing Esthar from her hold. Ashurah and Theo, in the meantime, have been at work destroying the machines within the ship, destroying it so thoroughly that it begins to sail down toward the city. Unfortunately, it sails directly for the sector where the rift is, and the petal--now in Persephone's care--reaches out for it, causing the rift to grow at a destructive rate. Ashurah's idea is to have the helicopter fly for the rift, but it is Persephone's idea of simply using the petal to close the rift that saves not only them, but their home world of Esthar from copious amounts of death and damage.
Unfortunately, Ashurah has no time to say goodbye to Derrick, nor does she have the guts to at least hint that she might someday be in love with him. She leaves all of these feelings in the back of her mind, and now that she is back in Esthar, fully intends to play the avoidance game with her own emotions and the deep, unsettling issues she will have to face by admitting them.
- This video is exactly how Ashurah and Theodore would be if they were still existing a hundred years from now, or possibly during Gehenna if they both make it that long. It describes how they fight down to a tee, even all the way down to the weaponry.
Ashurah is a melee fighter and much prefers close-range fighting to long-distance. In the first two campaigns and in the beginning of Crucible of Wolves, Ashurah favours an antique jian sword, which she treats as an extension of her own arm, but she is no stranger to setting it aside for the use of merely her fists and her disciplines.
Her sword, however, at least partially defines her, as can be quoted by her comrade, Leena. Upon seeing Ashurah prepare for the battle at the beginning of Crucible of Wolves, she took one look at the sword and commented: "Wow, you really are going in your Sunday best, aren't you?"
In the Exodus thread of the Crucible of Wolves campaign, however, Ash is without her sword as they are told they will be venturing into an alternate reality. Upon being presented with the city's vast armoury, Ashurah decides to take a new approach to a new prospect by investing in a set of desert eagles, a bagh nakh, and an FN SCAR with a scope and grenade launcher attachment. All of these weapons served her quite well throughout the majority of the campaign, though they left her feeling slightly more awkward than she would care to admit. Now that the group has returned to their own city of Esthar, Ashurah will most likely return to the use of the weapon she feels the most comfortable with.
Ashurah is well aware that not everyone she comes in contact with will like her; in fact, she prefers it that way. However, since having drawn up a mostly permanent residence in Esthar, Ashurah has managed to become quite close with a few of her fellow Kindred, even becoming semi-attached to the few of them she openly detests. As much as she would loathe to admit it, these relationships have shaped her into the vampire she is today.
"I mean honestly, Ashurah. You have to ask yourself why. Why am I here? Why are you here? What do you owe the Camarilla that makes you confront me hopelessly? Why do you have such a persistent, rancid conviction that what you're doing is the right thing? I've always admired your fire and drive, that much I can assure you was not a lie. Your rage is perfect, but directionless. I know you've felt the emptiness that's left when you have to force all those passions deep within you for the sake of tradition and antiquated values. You would thrive at my side - a burning angel - beautiful and deadly. This is what waits inside you - gnaws at the shell you impose upon it needlessly.
Persephone is (arguably) the better half of what is probably the most unlikely and shocking friendship Ashurah has ever allowed herself to have. Though Ashurah's initial goals were merely to be the ruffle in the Toreador's prim and proper feathers, their relationship grew to one of good natured fun and friendship, trust and even a bit of admiration on Ashurah's part. Her loyalty to Persephone is unwavering, as is the severity with which she would protect her friend in a dire situation. She likes to think that she has played at least a small role in Persephone's growth as a fighter (as well as giving her a neverending stone with which to sharpen her blade of a tongue). On the opposite end of the spectrum--though Ashurah would never openly give her the satisfaction of knowing--Persephone can easily be accredited to Ashurah's more recent lack of hostility toward finer clothing. Her first and foremost priority--she would tell you--is always to cause a commotion, but these days at least she is a little more likely to be seen doing it in style.
One of the most difficult things Ashurah has had to deal with after her torpor has been rejoining the group and seeing Persephone. Though Ash is confident that soon they'll be back to their old stride as friends, at the moment she is still shaken by the feelings she felt after giving in to her Beast during the battle with the Sabbat and is finding it difficult to balance her devotion to her friend with what she feels should be a comfortable distance.
My jaw twitches as Ashurah’s hand covers mine, and I can feel my unbeating heart rising in my throat. That’s
all I want. As long as she gets it….but I don’t know why she wouldn’t in the first place. We’re
the same person. Maybe a few differences here and there, but she’s me.
Of course she understands.
-- Theo, Through a Glass, Darkly
Ashurah... I should've known she would be making an appearance. When there are snakes popping about, a weasel can never be too far behind.
"But oh Hyne! Gus!" My eyes widen as I take her arm again, walking us both out of the library. "I had completely forgotten about the old crew being there too. Bless his shriveled little heart, I wonder what would happen if I just ran up to the poor kid, smothered him to death in a giant bear hug and planted a sloppy reunion kiss right there on his cheek.
―Ashurah, to Leena before A Gathering of Angels
To say that Ashurah likes Gus would be a complete overstatement. To say that Gus likes Ashurah would be down right blasphemous. It is virtually impossible to count the number of times that Ashurah has--either by accident or intentionally--gone out of her way to annoy the stuffy, snobbish Ventrue and make his position in the coterie difficult to enjoy. Wherever there is a battle, Ash is right smack in the middle of it--if she didn't start it, which is pretty much the bane of Gus' existence since most of the time he would give anything to be able to settle issues diplomatically. Still, even with their contradictory natures, whenever there is a fight they would still back each other up. Ashurah has at least enough respect for Gus to have his back and vice versa. But if she ever gets a chance to make him extremely uncomfortable, she takes it. His usually intense, adverse reaction always gives her an immense amount of pleasure.
"Just so you know, before we go in here and kick some ass...there's only one other person I'd rather be here with than you.
―Ashurah to Jordana, Fear In A Handful of Dust
"I will only ever be who I am... and that will never change.
―Damien, The Clock's Faint March
First love is never easy.
Perhaps it is the perfect testament to Ashurah's priorities that the experience she would now forever associate with love didn't occur until well after her Embrace. She had certainly been familiar with lust and affection before, but most of those feelings came from a deeply rooted anger at the lack of affection she received in her childhood. As she grew more accustomed to a vampiric existence, she became more comfortable with her body, obeying what it told her it needed the moment it needed it. Attaching herself to certain people--either emotionally or physically--became the easiest way to exist, as long as she wasn't alone.
She has come to believe now that when Damien came along, at first he was just another one of these Kindred, someone who showed her the slightest ounce of attention and she attached herself to him easily because he let her. While this may be the case, the lines never stayed that easily drawn and began to blur once she started to drink from him, sealing her to him under a steadfast blood bond. The feelings she harboured for him during this time--though they confused her a little even then--she was sure were genuine despite the connection of blood. Still, everything that she felt brought her nothing but pain, as no matter how hard she tried to be with him, he kept her at arms length, leaving them both with nothing more than stolen moments filled with painfully spoken words and apologies. When Damien betrayed the coterie and it was revealed that he was not in fact a Brujah but a Follower of Set, Ashurah was devastated by the betrayal, but it still wasn't enough to erase the "unconditional" love she had for him.
For months after he left, Ashurah suffered in silence, the pain of his abandonment and his denial of her love ripping her apart, but the shame of her feelings kept her from confiding in anyone, thinking that no one could possibly understand what she was going through. She became angry at him, and at herself, convincing herself that love was nothing but a self-inflicted torture derived from just being too damn weak. What was worse was after the coterie was exiled from Esthar, Damien met up with them with a proposition of aid, rekindling all of Ashurah's feelings. Though she refused to give in to his presence and what she knew it meant for her, she was mortified and heartbroken when Damien used his power over her and summoned her to him to give her his ring, effectively demonstrating--in front of everyone--just how tight of a hold he still had on her.
It was nothing short of torment to work alongside him for the remainder of the campaign, knowing how much she still loved him and finding herself emotionally shredded by his hot and cold treatment. When he left after they completed their mission, it took her a long time to come to terms with him abandoning her yet again. She has not seen him since.
In the couple of years that have followed, Ashurah has had plenty of time to think in retrospect about the relationship. She believes that she really loved him once. She also believes that there was something in him that loved her back, however minute and rare his "genuine" affection was. But she has since come to be very angry and distrustful of herself, ashamed of how she allowed him to treat her and make her feel. His verbal abuse never spared her feelings, and unlike the verbal assaults of Kindred such as her coterie and her clanmates and Whip, Damien's assaults were always meant for the direct kill. The string he knew to pull was always the one that stung the most. She hates herself for allowing him to weaken her, to have power over her, to use her up so badly that she now has no way of knowing if she will ever experience a healthy relationship, because now she is actually afraid to put her heart on the line again and have it handed back to her, minced and fully rejected. And ultimately in the end, she hates that she even questions if what they had was really love, or if it was just a residue of the bond she never should have allowed in the first place. She tries so hard to shut herself off from these weaknesses and let go of the anger, and has almost completely buried the experience in the back of her mind, eager--desperate--to heal.
That being said. She still has his ring.
Everyone else might walk on egg shells around her but she's no china doll and
I'm not going to start treating her like one now.
--Derrick, Elysium with Ashurah
Derrick and Ashurah have what she would now confidently call a meaningful friendship based on mutual respect, but it didn't always feel that way to her. Upon first arriving in Esthar, Ashurah was rather openly taken with Derrick, impressed not only by his image but also the confidence with which he carried himself, even when he was being lazy or casual with the group. However, at this point in her unlife, Ashurah was still very much a young vampire, more accustomed to ephemeral feelings and experiences, and still very unsure of herself and her capabilities. She interpreted Derrick's distance as an authoritative boundary, realizing that he only saw her as what she was--a rambunctious, immature Neonate in need of conditioning. Things between them only became estranged when Ashurah's attention diverted to Damien Everard, and Derrick called her out on her poor judgement during a clan meeting, to which Ashurah spat back that "it was only after she realized she had no chance with her unfeeling Whip" that she began to search elsewhere for what she felt she needed, which Damien supposedly provided. During the rest of the Jade Rose campaign, their interactions can barely be noted as civil, often dissolving into arguments that left Ashurah feeling inadequate and weak, as the more she tried to reach out to Derrick, the more he pushed her away, leaving her to nurse her pride every time.
It wasn't until later during the Obsidian Nights campaign that Ashurah began to mature and started to learn to appreciate the friends she chose for who they were, Derrick included. She was constantly vigilant on herself to remain distanced from him emotionally so that she could be a friend to him (even if a lot of the times she failed miserably), compelled by the example of strength he set in her life. Eventually she started to value him for what he could provide her, his advice, his gritty, Brujah attitude and his silent support meaning the most to her above that from others. As much as she wants to openly hope that he has come to value her presence as much as she values his, she is careful not to allow herself to dwell too much on that fact given both of their tempers and often ill-managed methods of communication. She takes him how he is, and expects no more, no less.
When Ashurah was brought out of torpor during the events of Crucible of Wolves, Derrick was the first Kindred to approach her and goad her into talking about how she felt. Though she already knows that he will only ever provide her with the things she has come to expect from him, she still has a difficult time trusting herself in his presence, especially when--on rare ocassion--he acts outside of the boundaries and walls that she has grown accustomed to with him around. But now that she has entered a point in her unlife where the confusion over trusting herself and her own feelings is as difficult to deal with as ever, she is grateful that Derrick has been there and will continue to be there for her as she works through it.
AU Derrick AddendumEdit
After having met her friend's alternate universe counterpart in City of Shadows, the afformentioned analysis of Ashurah's feelings toward Derrick Sheffield are completely boned. Details to follow once Brazen figures out WTF her character is doing.
"There is so much potential within you. So much fire and need. So many questions. It is no wonder the heart was drawn to one such as you.
―Hyrathren Su, The Clock's Faint March
The CarsEditAfter the events of Obsidian Nights and Moonlight's Lament, when the members of the coterie were presented with their own havens, Ashurah's main concern was to acquire something she would be using just as much, if not moreso: a sweet fucking ride. It wasn't a difficult decision to make, picking out the perfect car; she had already had the perfect one in mind, the Aston Martin DB6. It had grit and power but at the same time an undeniable timeless class to it that Ash felt suited well, making up for what Ashurah herself lacked in finesse.
Ashurah, of course, put the car through the ringer but at the end of the day took immensely good care of her baby, whom she named Ginger after the impeccably classy Ginger Rogers. Unfortunately, Ginger's time in Ash's possession was short-lived; the last time she was seen, Ashurah had driven her to one of the Prince's havens in order to meet with the rest of the group and then was shipped off to an alternate reality. Having been parked outside the building for the duration of the campaign, Ginger was totally obliterated along with the rest of the surroundings when the rift began to expand, destroying everything in its wake. Suffice it to say, the rift might as well have destroyed Ash's heart along with the damn car.
Now on the hunt for a new vehicle, Ashurah is waiting for the next perfect car, the next perfect opportunity, to have that one special lady grab a hold of her. Friends have asked her why she doesn't just get another Aston Martin, which would be logical since it is her absolute favourite car, but out of respect and love for the previous one, she would rather not simply get a "replacement". No other car will ever be Ginger, and she could never expect to hold her next vehicle to the same standard.
Disc One - The Jade Rose:
- Battleflag - Lo Fidelity Allstars
- Church - T-Pain
- Use Somebody - Kings of Leon (for Derrick)
- Temptation - VAST (for Damien)
- Zombie - The Cranberries
Disc Two - Obsidian Night & Moonlight's Lament:
- Pioneers - From Autumn to Ashes
- Running Up That Hill - Placebo
- Waterfront (The Sinking Road) - The Black Heart Procession (for Marquis)
- Slow Dancing in a Burning Room - John Mayer (Ash/Damien, Damien's POV)
- Exit Music (For a Film) - Radiohead
Disc Three: Crucible of Wolves & City of Shadows
- 'The Royal We' - Silversun Pickups
- Weapons of Mad Distortion - Crystal Method
- Short Stories With Tragic Endings - From Autumn to Ashes (suggested by Auria)
- Bloodstream - Stateless (Ashurah/AU Derrick)
- Decades - Assemblage 23
Disc Four: Eyes of the Serpent
- El Manana - Gorillaz (Ashurah, to Derrick)
- Tainted Love - Marilyn Manson (a song for Damien)
- I Will Follow You Into The Dark - Death Cab For Cutie (Team Brosis.)
- Look After You - The Fray (a song for Persephone)
- Baby, You Wouldn't Last A Minute On The Creek (Acoustic) - Chiodos (Ash/Derrick bullheadedness, any universe)
- ↑ "My mother thought she had perfection down to an art, but really, she just liked to make a fool of herself. And she would have been damn good at it, except for the fact that no one important to her thought of her as a fool, and if they did, they certainly didn’t have the balls to say it to her face. I wouldn’t have either. In fact, I think I did once, and I got the back of a hand imprinted in my cheek for what felt like a week. The greatest part about that? She knew exactly what makeup to use to cover the bruise. Good ol’ Mum."
- ↑ "It was probably the most liberating thing I had ever done up until that point. Sucks I didn't think it through. I mean, here I was in the middle of a room of politicians, rich people and military, giving them the grand 'fuck you' by telling them I was joining up with a mercenary faction I…actually knew nothing about at that point. But my mother made sure that if I was going to make a fool of her, I sure as hell wasn't going to do it half-assed. I was shipped off to Galbadia Garden for testing the next week."
- ↑ "Looking back on it now, I'm really grateful for it. At the time, it would just tear me to pieces, thinking all I was doing was obeying orders and every time he was in my face, screaming he couldn't hear me, and dredge up wounds that my family had been so keen to give me first. But he did me a favour, really. Dragging all of that out of me so hopefully I could rebuild. I feel like I did. It didn't last long then, but it helped."
- ↑ Brazen is definitely aware this laughs in JR Continuity's face, but not only could she not remember what she had originally and was too lazy to look for it, she was definitely sure she wanted to work with something different. Anyone interested in the (very badly written XD) original version, please see Ashurah's Talk Page. ^.^ <3 And thank you Jacks for finding that little gem! XD
- ↑ Death's Twilight Kingdom, pg. 7-8.
- ↑ Brujah Clan Meeting 4, pg. 2.
- ↑ Ashurah and Derrick - Brujah Haven
- ↑ Ashurah and Derrick - Derrick's Room (CoS)