Volume 26: Raine Xavier Thornblade III: Part 2
Raine Xavier Thornblade III: Part 2
Author’s Note: As we begin to tell the second part of Raine’s story let me address a few things.
First let’s start with the obvious question I get asked so often. Why two Raines?
The reasons for this are many. But I’ll provide the most important ones to you here. The first reason is to create intrigue here at the beginning of the story. By allowing him to show up so early with the “Older Raine” still fresh in you mind, it begets a lot of questions. Fun questions about things like his relationship with the other Raine. Are they the same person? How are they same? How are the different? Etc.
To be honest though the MAIN reason is because I’ve always thought it was incredibly realistic and something I think authors are afraid to do. In telling this story there must be no fear. The truth is even in your everyday life you run into people with the same name, perhaps often. By adding this small element of randomness to the story it creates just the right amount of “rub” to keep you thinking and asking things. I’ll conclude by saying it is also because I think Raine (the younger) serves as a bridge of sorts from our time with “The 5” into the continuing story. By allowing him to have the same name it creates an unmistakable connection to our very roots, as the story continues to blossom and come into glorious bloom.
There are a few other subtle reasons that at this time I don’t bear mentioning but I hope you will enjoy this novel concept and that it will continue to provide you with an interesting set of viewpoints and intrigue as the story continues.
Comically “Raine Xavier Thornblade the Third” is actually a name he gave himself. His true first name has always been Raine. That he knows for sure. However after countless lifetimes he has forgotten his true middle and last name. As such, when they are required, this is how he introduces himself. However to most he is happy to be simply known as, “Raine”.
Powers and Abilities: For the purpose of game play Raine should be considered very high level (Level 20+). He is a master psionic. He possesses supernatural speed, strength, and endurance. He is nearly invulnerable and when he does take damage he heals rapidly. He can turn invisible at will. By spending an action he can enhance any of his senses to a supernatural level. He has the ability to turn into a bat or a wolf. We discussed his Presence in the previous post about him but it should be noted he possesses the ability to also use his Presence to cause bouts of insanity and confusion both in specific targets and to groups of people within his visual range. Raine may possess other powers and abilities which will become apparent as the story progresses.
Raine is well read and highly educated. He possesses PhD level knowledge in biology, psychology, cosmology and more. He has an extensive knowledge of poisons, interrogation techniques, and is a master of disguise.
He is an apt leader but greatly prefers not to lead. His favorite “position” in a group is enforcer or perhaps second in command. He has a knack for finding unique solutions to complex problems.
Character and Disposition: The truth is Raine suffers from a host of psychological maladies and insanities. What makes his particular blend unique is that they all seem to work together to make him “appear normal”.
Over many centuries and with the help of many therapists and friends throughout the multiverse Raine has been able to resolve or at least temper most of his psychological divergences.
As such Raines personality changes seemingly completely at random and often simply on a whim. At times he like to take the role as a brave child full of spirit and wonder. He has a love for toys, technology, gadgets, and bright shiny new things. Other times he is a fierce warrior seeking justice and truth. At these times he is most like a leader, even considering himself to be a “father figure” to those around him. He is fiercely protective of friends and allies. Still at other times he may go into a full fury. Nothing sets Raine off like child or animal abuse. Witnessing either of these will almost always send him into an almost uncontrollable fury. This is the hardest state for him to control. In prolonged battles his very features will change and he will look like a blood covered banshee on the battlefield, eviscerating any who stand in his way. Coming out of this state can take him quite some time and he will often run away to be alone after battle out of fear he would hurt someone innocent.
These “States of Raine” are so distinct many have diagnosed him as having a true personality disorder, with not only these mentioned states but perhaps dozens more. However because of the nature of his other insanities all of these separate states function almost seamlessly as one, allowing Raine to appear normal almost at all times.
Despite all of this Raine is considered above all else a dependable friend and ally. He is incredibly loving, and is known throughout the multiverse as a protector of children and animals. He has trained himself over lifetimes to be slow to anger and to reserve his fury for when it can be justly served. He is mischievous and fun loving. He loves jokes and pranks, particularly physical humor, like pies in the face or splashing people with water. His penchant for dowsing his friends has led to more than one threat on his life from Bastion.
History: Raine has lived a life of extremes. He has lived in absolute decadence and wealth, and in the midst of the absolute worst horrors of the multiverse. His entire history is quite extensive and would be hard to tell in full, but those who know most of it state that if nothing else, Raine’s life experiences would have driven any other dozen mortals insane.
Raine was born on a human world at the beginning of a great empire on the rise. His family were incredibly wealthy merchants who served the senate of this burgeoning empire. From what Raine can remember of his childhood (not much) he remembers not wanting for much. He cannot remember much about his father, who in his memories was always gone on business, but does remember vividly, his mother and her love for him. He can remember strolling with her in the town square, and often in the capitol, sometimes in the very senate.
He remembers growing up in a land that was expanding. There was always some war being fought and some new land being conquered. On the rare times he would see his father he would always have something new and exotic from some bizarre foreign land he was bringing home. Around the time Raine was 8 was the first time he could recall an encounter with who he first referred to as, “The Stranger”
On the night of his 8th birthday Raine awoke is his own bed startled to see a dark figure standing above him. Raine’s first instinct was to scream, but as if the stranger knew what he was planning they simply looked at Raine and gave him a gentle “Ssssshhhhhh....” and Raine found himself absolutely unable to make any sound or even move. The stranger walked around the room quietly, looking Raine over. As if they were inspecting him. It seemed to Raine like an eternity. Finally the figure spoke in a deep feminine voice and said, “How very interesting. You are a unique little boy, aren’t you?” As she finished this question Raine suddenly felt like a great weight had been lifted off of him. He could move again and knew he could speak if he chose to. His fear had melted away, though in the back of his mind he knew he was still very much in danger.
“Who are you?” Raine asked doing his best to sit upright and look strong in his bed.
“My name is unimportant now but I may tell you in time.” The figure said moving into the moonlight by his window. She had beautiful, striking features. Raine could tell right away it was not someone from his homeland. He had in fact seen many people from many different lands but could not say he had met anyone who looked the way she did. She seemed to glide next to him and sat down in his bed their legs touching. She brought her hand to his chin and let her strong long fingernails run against his skin. “I came here to kill you you know...”
Despite himself Raine swallowed hard and felt his body tighten. He was squeezing his butt so tight it quickly began to ache. He readied himself to speak but before he could she began again.
“Your family... Your father has greatly wronged me. He has taken things from my people which cannot be replaced. One thing in particular he stole from me was very precious...” She stared directly into his eyes. Her own eyes shown silver like the moons rays and seemed to pierce Raine through to his heart.
“My father is no thief.” Raine managed, trembling slightly in both voice and body. “He is a merchant to the senate. He provides them with things from all over the world.” said much more bravely but still a bit uneasy.
“Oh?” She said, gently scratching his chin with her fingernail where it had remained. Raine let out an almost silent yelp and grabbed his chin. When he looked at her he could see a single drop of his blood hung heavy on her nail. It glimmered ever so slightly from the light coming through his window. The moon shone full and incredibly bright behind her. “And from where do you think he gets these, ‘things’ my dear boy?” And with that she stuck her finger into her mouth tasting his blood.
Much to Raine’s shock she jumped up immediately from his bed and gasped looking down at him with a flurry of emotions dancing across her face. She seemed to be looking at him with a mixture of pure rage and disbelief. “No!” She said more loudly than Raine would have thought she would dare. “Impossible!” She said with even more force.
She stared at him for long moments, her eyes thinning to daggers. Raine once again felt like he was being gripped by some unknown force. He was absolutely at her mercy.
Finally after what seemed like a lifetime Raine felt himself free to move again. He thought to call out to his mother just a few rooms away but could not bring himself to do it. The dark woman again slid in next to him and leaned in close, but her demeanor had changed. She smiled and almost looked coy. For the first time Raine noticed her smell. She smelled wonderful. Like warmth and exotic fruits.
“My boy what is your name?” She said her deep voice still strong but soothing now.
“My mother calls me Raine.” He said.
“Then so shall I call you.” She replied. “I have changed my mind. I shall not kill you.”
“What about my dad?” Raine blurted out quickly.
She returned an impish smile and waited just a moment before saying, “No he too shall be saved.” Then after another moment she continued. “Raine, I’ve decided we should play a game. A game with a prize at the end. Would you like that?”
“What’s the game?” Raine said gaining confidence.
“Ah more interested in the game than the prize! How unlike someone your age...” She seemed to almost laugh. “The game is you will find something for me. It may take you some time. A medallion.”
“A medallion? What kind?” Raine asked shifting in his bed.
“Here.” She said. “I’ll show you.” And in one unseen move she placed her palm on his forehead and blinked.
And instantly, clear as day, the exact image of the medallion was burned into his mind. He could feel it. He could touch it. He knew it intimately like it was his own.
“Do you see it?” The mysteriously lady said looking him up and down.
“I do.” Raine whispered staring at her.
“Very good. Find this for me and I will give you a prize.” She looked out the window directly at the moon.
“What’s the prize?” Raine said following her gaze to the moon.
She moved her hand on top of his and gently squeezed it. “It depends on how you play the game.” she breathed, her eyes never leaving the satellite shining brightly above. Raine returned his gaze to her face and could see the full moon reflecting so largely in her eyes they were all he could see.
She squeezed his hand gently again and let go and began to speak. “Some of my people, myself among them, possess a certain gift. The ability to see another’s fate.” She stood up from his bed her eyes casually falling from the moon. “Most people are barely worth a glance. Their auras all the same. All so plain. But occasionally...” she turned to look at him. She seemed to be taking him all in at once. “Occasionally we run across someone... Exceptional.”
She moved across his room and stood with her back to his window once again looking like a shadow. “We verify this by testing their blood. I have done this for you and I must say... I have questions.”
“Are you saying I have some sort of destiny?” Raine said searching for her eyes.
She chuckled slightly, “Perhaps.” Her bright smile now visible. “Perhaps a great one.”
She again moved close to him and sat on his other side. “I am going to have to take something from you. I have absolute faith in my abilities but I need to verify something’s with my sisters. I’m going to need...” her eyes again locking with his, “...some of your blood.”
Raine surprised himself because he realized he felt no fear. He returned her stare darkly, in a way he knew surprised her. “Bring me a chalice and I shall cut my wrists for you. When you’ve taken your share you can tend to my wounds.” Raine held his wrist to her face, filled with resolve.
She looked at him slyly then gently took his wrist in her hands. “No need for something so drastic my brave boy.”
Raine felt that familiar pressure come over him again holding him still and silencing him. But it was far gentler this time. More like a mother’s reminder that he must remain quiet and still. And as she smiled a gentle smile at him fangs sprang from her mouth. Raine found himself startled but the gentle force held him steady.
“I have much more efficient ways to gather what I need.” And in a single sensuous movement she took his wrist into her mouth and punctured his vein.
Raine remembers the sharp pain but then only ecstasy. And then dreams.
He awoke to the warm sun shining down on him in place of the moon, and his mother gently stroking his face and saying his name. For a moment Raine forgot everything from the night before and looked up into his mother’s eyes and smiled. “Good morning mother.” Raine said stretching out and yawning. When his gaze returned to hers he saw the sun fully reflected in her eyes and suddenly remembered everything. He gasped loudly and say bolt upright in bed. His mother gasped herself at this and reached out to hold her sons arm in concern. Raine’s eyes darted to her hand and saw it moving toward his wrist. The same wrist he could still feel the bite on. He jerked back instinctively and rolled slightly away from her. His mother stood up in full motherly righteousness which applied its own well known invisible force. But this force was filled with absolute love.
“Raine what is wrong with you this morning? You’ve slept well into the day and missed your lessons and now when I come to wake you, you act as if you’ve seen a specter!” She approached him again and saw her son’s body fully relax as she sat in bed next to him and kissed his forehead. Her other hand went to his arm and gently turned it over bringing another gasp to her throat. “Raine! You’ve been bitten!”
For just a moment Raine believed she knew everything. But just as his emotions almost burst through she continued.
“Some vermin must have been in your bed! And look! It’s bitten you twice!” Raine looked at his wrist now for the first time and saw two very small pale pink dots. Now finally seeing them they looked like nothing. Leave it to a mother to exaggerate her son’s injuries.
Raine smiled and gently pulled his arm away. “Mom it’s no big deal! It doesn’t even hurt!”
But her motherly resolve was now at full force and she stood up next to him whipping the sheet off of him. “No we will not have this. I’m having this bed thrown into the street and we are going to go and buy you new coverings, and a new bed to put them on.” Her eyes turned to the alley outside the window. “I think you father has brought some fine new covering from his last outing...” she seemed momentarily lost in thought.
Upon hearing the mention of his father, Raine’s memory once again returned and he remembered that he was now playing a game.
“Mother” Raine began. “I’d be interested in seeing all of the things father has brought in from his recent travels.”
“Oh?” His mother said calling servants in to have the bed removed.
“Yes in fact...” Raine began looking out his window and into the sun. “I think I’d like to start being much more involved in the family business...”
We will end the second part of Raine’s bio here. We will continue it in the next post about him. However now like last time, we will explore some other facet of our story first as an intermission 😄
Are you all caught up on the AllD20 podcast? Check out Episode 31:Buyer Beware Drink At Your Own Risk
Rock Titans, Worms, and Scorpions oh my! Listen as Tippletoe tries out new magic, Nugget gets crazy with worm meat, and the rest of the gang suffer from one blunder or another!