Helots of Persephone

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[edit] Jean, Adamantine Arrow Obrimos

I envision his mentor as an Obrimos Arrow - a holy destiny to protect and preserve the mages of the Pentacle, of which there can be no higher cause. Unfortunately, Winter kept getting distracted by other concerns - his job, his need for revenge, his training, following a potential thread of Fate. His mentor does not understand the concept of a "karmic avenger," believing that all things are part of a divine plan, and it eventually caused friction. I also thing it's a female tutor, an unintentional but constant reminder of the wife he lost.

[edit] Finder, Mysterium Thyrsus

Finder, Autumn's mentor, was like an aunt to him. In the wake of his family's passing and his own resurrection, Finder took him into her home and treated him with warmth and compassion. One part grief counselor, one part personal tutor, one part spiritual advisor. She meant the world to him and provided him an island of safety and stability in the wake of his personal tragedy. Where his grief might have become rage, she channeled it into productivity; where it might have become self-loathing, she transformed it into service. Autumn was quite distraught when the Helots suddenly packed he and his cabal-mates off to Astoria. In many ways, it is like he is leaving home for the second time, and newly finding his way in the world without the support of his mother figure.

[edit] Meng Zhang, Obrimos Free Council

Meng-Zhang.jpg

I first saw Meng Zhang at a show my band, the Three Stripes, were playing at. She stuck out immediately from the crowd--not only because she was hot as all hell, but because she didn't look anything like the crowd of tattooed, bepierced twenty-somethings our usual shows were made up of. Tall--for an Asian woman, at least--with black, black hair down to her knees and eyes of a really strange, haunting grey, she was dressed like she'd just come from a corporate office day job and had no intention of being here, if it weren't for what was on stage.

I tried to find her immediately after, but she'd disappeared, and then I got invited to an afterparty by some other hot chick and forgot. But she showed up again at another show we did the next week, and then again, two weeks after that--pulling the same disappearing trick every time afterward.

Of course, I got curious. I started asking around, and stuff. People at the shows remembered seeing her, so it wasn't just me, but no one could tell me anything about her; she'd show up at the door, pay cash for her ticket, come in and watch, and then leave without talking to anyone. No one remembered if she walked somewhere else or drove or anything.

This frustrated me all the more, of course, and I started having some really weird dreams--like, ones where she was standing across a wide abyss. Sometimes I'd walk right up to the edge and try to shout across to her, sometimes she'd be the one shouting at me, but neither of us could understand the other. Once there was even a bridge across the way, but broken halfway across, and too wide for me to jump.

Then, after a really bad trip on LSD, I Awakened. Coming out from the iron tower after inscribing my name with blood taken from my thumbs (an alleyway where I'd graffitied my name on the walls), I saw her again, standing across the chasm (the street)--but this time there was a bridge, a whole one, that I could cross (a crosswalk). She watched me approach, but didn't speak until I stood before her and hesitated, unsure of what to say. "Welcome, Michael Harper," she said. "I was wondering how long it would take you to Awaken. I am Meng Zhang."

And that was when the mystery play ended, and I found myself on a rainy Portland street with a woman who refused to answer any more questions. At least, not until I got in the car with her and went to her apartment. That was when she explained to me--well, not everything, but close. What I was, what I'd just seen, and what was going to happen next. She laid it all down like there was no doubt that I was going to do what she said, and that she wasn't going to enjoy it much--a trait she displayed pretty much all the time, as I found out in the next few years. "There aren't any other Mastigoi among the Free Council here," she said, looking me up and down, "and I'm the only one with any particular skill in your Arcana, so I'm stuck with you."

Of course, I rebelled--I'd never taken to being told what to do all that well, especially not in that kind of tone. I sneaked away when she was asleep--or at least, I tried to. She was waiting for me at the bus station, even though I'd stolen the keys to her car and taken it to get there.

She didn't say anything, just marched me back to the car and drove back in silence. The next day, the lessons began--and I think she was harder than necessary.

While I hate to admit it, though, I think it helped that she was so hard. She wouldn't take any excuses, would browbeat me into doing the mental exercises and readings that she assigned for me, and kept me from running away from the Awakened life back to the comforting mundanity of Sleeping. Truth be told, she scared--well, still scares--the living bejesus out of me. Maybe it's the way she's always so confident; it's a trait that most Obrimos share, I've found, but she has a steely-hard certainty about her that shines through in everything she does. Maybe just the fact that she almost never smiles; I've only gotten her to crack a smile once or twice in the years I've known her. There's no way I'd hang out with her for fun times, but I can't think of anyone I'd trust more with an important task or people's lives.

Actually, I chose my name partly in honor of her--her shadow name was taken from the human name given to the Azure Dragon of the East, a mythological Chinese being that ruled, among other things, the season of Spring and the element of Wood. The next in line was the Vermilion Bird of the South, associated with the season of Summer and the element of Fire. (She told me later that to call it a phoenix was to oversimplify and push it into my own Western framework, but she was touched by the idea, nonetheless, even if it had gone wrong. I couldn't win.)

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