This character belongs to Soi-ke.
Shio is a towering presence, though never an imposing one - strong in physicality and in the way she carries herself. She stands with a stag-like posture, an air of hard-earned confidence to her poise. Her stature speaks of structure, constitution - it is hard to picture her performing any great feats of agility. The features of her face are sharp, with round amber eyes and triangular ears.
Her scales are grey weathered stones, taking on purplish tints in some regions and teal tones in others. The DeathWing’s pale ivory mask has the texture and colour of marble, so diligently cared for that it catches all the colours of the sun.
Shio’s small black wings are thin, the membranes flared and wild as flame. The DeathWing’s large talons are long, and dangerously sharp in a way akin to a raptorial bird. She is almost unnaturally dexterous with them however, flitting around like dancing knives when the smith-in-training works.
The DeathWing is rarely seen without her canary yellow gambeson, quilted from a thick, flameproofed linens. It is inevitably caked with soot and ash from her work, but is quite well-cared for overall. One flank is adorned with a small mahogany patch, cleanly stitched with the image of a sledgehammer.
When it comes to socializing, Shio is a blunt instrument. She has a practiced understanding of social customs, with a rather rigid, matter-of-fact inflection that can sometimes seem cold. She is a reactive voice to most, and opts away from casual conversations until she is already very comfortable with someone. The DeathWing is not one to befriend someone with dialogue, to talk her way into someone else’s life. Shio is someone who grows close to people through shared life experiences, and simply cannot build trust in others based on words alone.
The DeathWing is quite emotionally perceptive however, even without the use of words. She is especially good at reading faces and body language, and can make startlingly accurate guesses as to the feelings of others. However, Shio's obtuse and introspective nature makes directly helping others conquer their demons a difficult affair. She'll often serve as a medium, perhaps seeking out someone more suited to help.
Due to her military background, Shio has come to be quite aware of rules and precautions. She has developed a genuine respect for the authority figures in her life, and sympathizes with a desire for security and safety. Her lawful nature can sometimes be a bit obnoxious to those around her - she is always the first to reprimand rule-breakers - but she has been making a genuine effort to ease up. Shio’s current understanding is that bending the rules a touch is actually quite thrilling, and can make for an enriching experience.
Shio herself would never suggest going against the authority figures of the camp but, if a friend of hers proposed some activities of a mischievous bend, she’d probably be in on it. Reminding her accomplices of how they’re breaking conduct every few seconds perhaps, but still along for the ride. If it ever looks like her friends are about to go too far, Shio’s there to stop them. But if they don't, the DeathWing usually finds herself quite amused by the shenanigans of those she cares for.
Having to be the mature, lawful dragon who understands responsibilities and respects authority gets a bit tiring sometimes. Sometimes, Shio finds it’s actually quite invigorating to be a bit of a sly rascal, a roguish character. This, she tells herself, is what she missed out on during her formative years. Because Shio feels like she’s always had deathly responsibilities and things to worry about. The idea of having breaks, of having times where she does not have to be on her guard and disciplined, is a recent development for her.
While the DeathWing doesn’t have many interests, she is very passionate about the ones she does have. Armouring just came naturally to her, and she felt an immediate affinity for it. For Shio’s is a soul that seeks to build things that will last, and to repair what is broken. In conjunction with her power which seems tailor-made for the task, Shio feels an intense love for the craft. Those close to her have described the DeathWing as “a bit of a nerd”, when it comes to the logistical side of warfare - supplies, preparations, fortifications.
Shio has very complex feelings on conflict in general. She does alright in her self-defense classes, and seems to have some greater potential, but is incredibly resistant to the idea of expanding on this skill. She has the discipline, but lacks the passion. For most of her recent life, the DeathWing has tried her hardest to avoid harming others, and has built habits of off that. She wouldn’t describe herself as a pacifist necessarily. She believes that there are times, such as with the threat of the yokai, where taking up arms is only way to truly solve the problem. Rather, this unwillingness stems from Shio’s labyrinthian thoughts and worries about using her powers.
To her, it seems that most demikami are at least somewhat capable of exerting control over their powers - manipulating and shaping their essential elements. But as far as Shio knows, her power is intrinsically wild and uncontrollable. She generates intense fire and heat, that grows with hunger haste, but strictly has no ability to manipulate it. It has taken her whole life just to figure out how to turn her powers off.
Shio feels some shameful jealousy towards her peers. While once quite proud of her progress, her experiences at camp have left her feeling embittered at how limited her abilities are. Shio is now convinced that her “control” over her fire isn’t control at all. It’s repression - it’s her bottling it all up and letting it burn her from the inside. If she lets the fire out, it ceases to be her's, something she can mold and sculpt like metal.
The DeathWing's resultant mentality, at least when it comes to herself, is that one can not control a violent action after it’s made, and that it is impossible to know where it’ll lead. Though this is the literal reality of her destructive gifts, Shio has generalized this to much of her life. She is not a risk-taker, and does not trust herself to commit violent acts, as much as she'd like to. Because despite the great joy she feels for middle-management, some part of Shio still longs to be a warrior. The DeathWing wishes sometimes that she could be the one to don her harness and bear a blade, to stand between the camp she loves and the monsters that threaten it. But when it comes to what she wants, the child of Kasai is oft too wary for her own good.
It is not Shio' fear of death, of pain, of loss, that bars her from knighthood. Her headstrong sense of loyalty and desire to protect the camp could overcome mortal doubts, if given the chance.
The DeathWing’s philosophy of only being open with things when they're "safe" applies as much to her thoughts as it does to her powers. Though she is trying to be more personal, more willing to talk to others, Shio hasn’t seen much success. She is caught in a conundrum - the DeathWing would much rather speak through actions rather than words, but inherently distrusts herself to act. There is still some self-loathing to her sense of self, that’ll take more than a spiritual journey into the woods to heal from.
In the end, what moves Shio most of all is the desire to see things that stand the test of time. This is what makes her good at creating and bad at managing her thoughts. She likes to feel like she’s progressing, like things are always, incrementally getting better and she's working towards a goal - a raison d'etre. When Shio is forced to rethink her philosophies and self-perception and has to make unpredictable decisions in an unfamiliar context, the DeathWing feels vulnerable.
Shio felt, before coming to camp, that she was in control of her powers. This turned out to be wrong, and now she has to reconsider what control - healthy control - really means. She not only finds that infuriating, an invalidation of her experiences, but scary in a way. What Shio desires most of all for her life is structure and permanence. Camp's been good for that, overall, but there have been times that left her fearful in a way she's half-forgotten.
Shio does well academically, and is a diligent learner. She is especially interested in ancient architecture, especially of a military bend - an interest no doubt sparked by her year spent along the SkyWing border.
She is a promising student of the smithery pathway, who excels as an armourer and woodworker.
The DeathWing finds herself hindered in self-defense. Despite being quite large and strong, disciplined and efficient in motion, her movements never fail to be somewhat half-hearted.
Shio's inherited power is the ability to generate extreme heat and fire around her talons, hot enough to melt and shape metal with contact after a few seconds. This daughter of Kasai has developed a unique manner of metalworking, sculpting it with her bare talons. She is also very resistant to high temperatures, and is more or less unscathed by her own fire.
Shio has no inherent ability to manipulate fire, nor preciously control the level of heat she generates. Rather, when she uses her ability, her fiery talons gradually grow hotter and wilder until she chooses to completely kill the flame.
The DeathWing is also incapable of her tribe's usual corrosive vapour, and her attempts leave her violently coughing embers.
Shio has never truly gotten a chance to know her mother, but doesn't hate her for it. Her opinions on Kasai are decidedly neutral.
Thinking critically, Shio does not think that Waning Moon didn't do the best job with her upbringing, and made some questionable decisions. Shio is empathetic to the fact that he was out of his element, working on limited knowledge and understanding, and did as well as he could. Overall, her relationship with her father is fairly positive.
Develop through rp
Shrieking Oriole hatched near one of the towering watch-bases that dotted the DeathWing border, daughter of Kasai and Waning Moon - a respectable, yet unextraordinary soldier. She was a month old when Kasai had to leave. She was a year old when her father sold their old home and they moved into the base itself, as changing times had called for Waning Moon’s constant presence on-site.
The young DeathWing lived there with her father for most of her formative years, being induced into military customs and norms at a very early age. She quickly developed a steadfast sense of duty and respect for structure. Though unspoken, there was always the assumption that Shio would follow in her father’s footsteps, guarding her homeland as a dutiful warrior.
Shio’s powers first appeared less than a week before she planned to go to Cliff Raize. While her talons weren’t nearly as hot back then, she had no ability whatsoever to quell her fiery claws. Waning Moon, not particularly well-versed in the art of raising a demikami, decided to let everyone - including Shio - believe the heat in her claws to be some manner of mutation.
At first, the DeathWing simply tried to avoid touching other dragons. The officers of the watch-base were kind to her, in spite of this apparent mutation, and had decided that vigilance and care would be precaution enough. Shio ultimately opted not to go to Cliff Raize - she had grown quite fond of her structured, disciplined lifestyle at the watch-base.
Of course, simply being cautious wasn’t a perfect solution. One day, in a cramped, crowded chamber, she accidentally stepped on another youth’s talons. They were completely unharmed, as Shio stepped back the instant she realized what had happened, and laughed it off without a care in the world.
In stark contrast, Shio was severely affected by this incident. The DeathWing was acutely aware that her claws were getting hotter with time, and what was a laughing matter then could’ve been a deathly one had it happened later. This was a break in habits, in structure - this should not have happened. She viewed this as a great personal failing, and proof that her attentiveness would not be enough to protect those around her forever. After a night spent digging through the base’s stock of scrapped armour, Shio dug up a set of poorly-fitted gauntlets and bracers, and swore to herself that she’d never be so careless again.
The impressionable Shio - always one with a keen sense for traditions and norms - took notice of the social custom of shaking talons. Such was a way to indicate agreement or trust within the walls of the keep. With her claws buried in clumsy metal, the DeathWing was left unable to do such a gesture, which had consequences for her immature philosophy. Shio spent long hours wondering if she was inherently untrustworthy, if she was doomed to burn anyone she tried to reach out to.
Eventually, lacking in confidants and left with too much time to think, Shio began to view herself as a metaphorical fire, that must be starved of air and denied space, that would singe all those who sought her out. She abandoned her combat training, becoming a bit of a recluse. She felt apart, separated from the others in the keep due to her ”mutation”, and that feeling would only be exasperated with things to come.
There was always a prevailing sense of fear in the watch-base. Senior officers spoke in low, worried voices of the possibility of SkyWing invasion, and questioned how much they could really trust the Sky Queendom to respect the treaty. Shio eventually learned about the existence of firescales from old tomes and rumours, and started to believe she was a SkyWing hybrid. She specifically remembered her mother being of warm, bright hues, incongruent with any DeathWing she’d ever seen. Waning Moon would hastily change the subject when she asked about her mother, which she thought of as further confirmation for this theory.
This line of thinking led to deeper feelings of isolation. Shio began to think of herself as a SkyWing, an invader in DeathWing lands. The DeathWing’s aspirations of knighthood were well and truly dead, she was progeny to the greatest threat her queendom has ever known.
At this point, Shio’s talons would sometimes spark and crackle with fire. She was going through gauntlets at about a pair every few months, ruining them with intense heat and pressure. Seeing the depths of her misery, Waning Moon finally told her the truth. Shio didn’t believe him.
At a very low point in her life, Shio opted to run away - afraid that she was doomed to turn on the keep due to her blood. She wandered aimlessly around the border for a year, in the ruins of SkyWing fortifications built for long-forgotten wars. Her last pair of gauntlets was naught but molten scrap and foul-smelling metallic vapour. The world was unguarded from her - her cursed talons became more flame than flesh, sank through rock as if it were mud, gnawed at surrounding green-life and spat out cinders and white dust. In a way perhaps, she was unguarded from the world, too.
In a curious twist of fate, Shio found buried an ancient yet untarnished pair of gauntlets, forged of a peculiar white metal that refused to melt. She suspected that such armour was commissioned for a firescaled SkyWing - one of high social standing - which seemed utterly at odds with the modern culture of the Sky Queendom. They fit without issue, almost as if they were tailored for her, and reduced the raging flames to a harmless warmth.
Not too long after, Shio met a strange SkyWing. Her attempts to hide weren’t worth much, and the stranger found her with ease. However, the SkyWing didn’t attack her, and simply seemed curious as to what she was doing there. There was an immediate feeling of familiarity, of the oneness of the blood flowing through their veins - Shio realized instantly that this SkyWing was just like her.
The SkyWing’s grasp on Draconic was far from masterful. She managed to describe herself as of a lineage of special doctors - given the rare privilege of confiscating and opening bodies - who wrote and spoke of their findings in a secret language. Or, at least she was, until the populace of the town she served mysteriously vanished. Shio was able to communicate her situation, and the SkyWing offered the DeathWing shelter, stating simply that she would make for better conversation than corpses.
Shio lived in Haruspex’s hut for a few months, though it felt like longer. Every day was spent exploring the ruins in greater detail, digging deep into the lost prehistory of the Sky Queendom, its culture and crafts. Despite being technically able to talk to each other, the two found a shared love for carving and drawing, and found that they were able to express themselves better through art-form.
One winter night stands out in Shio’s recollection. It was an especially cold one, with the harshest snowstorm Shio had ever seen. As if she had done it a hundred times before, Haruspex exhaled a great burst of fire, contained and proofed against the elements within the heart of a hearth. Over the course of a few hours, countless creatures and beasts had gathered around it, seeking warmth, and showing Shio that fire could be shaped into something gallant and warding.
That night, Shio managed to make her talons go out for the first time. She realized that she wasn’t a SkyWing, but wouldn’t have minded if she was.
Shio visited the keep again, intending to give her father some closure. It was a long day, as she discussed with Waning Moon the change in her mindset and philosophy. He was quite overjoyed that she had found her way. Knowing now, truly, that she had outgrown the base, he implored her to go out and find her own way of life. But not at Cliff Raize.
He told her of Camp Gin Chi, a place of safety and prosperity to dragons like her - a place that would make a goodly home for her. He gave her a packed bag of supplies, and told her to seek out a scout. Shio, remembering with a start that she did have a home, immediately flew back to Haruspex’s hut.
The SkyWing was a bit surprised to see her again so soon, but, with confidence, expressed that Camp Gin Chi would be probably healthy for her. Haruspex promised that they’d meet again at said camp, after the SkyWing dealt with... something.
After being picked up by a scout, who was a bit surprised to find Shio lounging on her bag and expecting them, she was rushed to camp. Her arrival was unextraordinary and to little fanfare, which was perfect for her. Her natural interest in and affinity for armour resulted in her immediate choice to specialize into smithing. The daughter of Kasai did find a use for her talons in time, a unique way of smithing - heating and shaping metal as a potter would clay.
And she did find it to be a goodly home, that fit her well. Perhaps it would be this quaint safe-haven where she'd finally find her courage.