Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A little about Zolo: HFN Samurai

I decided that I would talk about the HFN members as I was telling the story of 109. I'm going to start with Zolo because, (spoiler alert?) she was the first HFN character I had 109 'investigate'. The method that I finally developed for my RP is that each story arc would revolve around - or at least visit in some form - each HFN character, going in no particular order.

Zolo was created by our youngest friend, Gigi. From what I understand, Zolo was a character she had created before she officially started RPing, and when we brought her in, I gave her the same criteria I gave everybody else: create whoever (or whatever) you want. Gigi decided to port over her pre-made character.

Zolo's back story was originally written that she was from Earth, although I never decided if this was cannon. The only other member in our group to have been from Earth was Lucky, and his background was fairly ambiguous. I eventually decided that in the HFN universe, Earth was a veeeeery far away planet. So, having two characters from the same distant planet seemed pretty unlikely to me (it's unrealistic to have two characters originate from Earth, but having a half-vampire, half-werewolf is totally a-okay). I did have other reasons though. The fun thing about being a storyteller is that if someone's back story or history clashes with the story itself, you have the power to change it. :)

Gigi wrote that Zolo was living in a dojo with a slew of other samurai children when their dojo was attacked by a dark and mysterious enemy. All of her peers were killed in the attack and she escaped into space. Now, the other reason I had to change it up a bit was due to the fact that I decided the whole "gifted" thing mid-story. When I did so, I required that each character have an explanation for their gifts. When it came to Zolo, we (Gigi and I) kind of drew a blank.

To explain: Zolo's gifts are pretty interesting. One: she cannot feel any pain (or much of anything, for that matter). Two: she's ridiculously skilled with bladed weapons. Her later weapon of choice ended up being an unrealistically long sword (it's FINE, as long as she's not from Earth!). Three: she has poisonous blood and is immune to poison. (seriously, could you imagine the probability of two human-like characters being from Earth? It's absurd!) Four: she has a strange affinity to animals of all sorts. In our defense, you try explaining that gift set in one backstory.

Anyway, it was eventually revealed that the mysterious attacker that assaulted Zolo's dojo was a particularly sinister branch of the Revolution. This gave her a reason to be out and about in space and to join HFN - to exact revenge.

Unfortunately, Zolo never saw the conclusion of her own story arc in-game. Even though the Revolution was defeated, the branch that had done her so much wrong has split from the main well before the war's conclusion. When my wife and I moved and the HFN story was put on indefinite hold, I had been in the progress of combing through and ending each character's respective story. We simply never got to Zolo.

Now, this will be some spoilers for everybody (including HFN members), but as it turned out, I had come up with an explanation for Zolo's powers after all!

**Official HFN Spoilers**

I mentioned Willard Hamm in a previous post, but didn't go into any detail (and I won't here, that will be another day). What you do need to know is that Hamm dedicated his life to the creation of gifted - for better or for worse. He was not a nice man and didn't have many morals. He wasn't above kidnapping and experimenting on all sorts of living organisms. Bringing Zolo into an ever-expanding club, she had once been a project of Hamm's. The whole life she remembered was fabricated by the evil scientist, up to, and possibly even including, the Revolution's involvement in her life.

**End Spoilers**

Now, let's skip a bit. In 109's time, Zolo is long gone, but her legacy lives on. Because I never decided what HFN's official fate was during the war (or even if they were a part of it at all), I wanted to leave things as ambiguous as possible, so any history about HFN in 109 is completely legend; it could be the truth, and there's probably some truth to it, but it could just as easily be completely wrong.

This is the legend told to 109 (as told by Byra Sturge):

When the war broke out, HFN fought. Of course, we all know that it was a war the gifted couldn't possibly win, so naturally HFN eventually fell. When Turel, HFN's face leader, was killed, HFN crumbled. Having realized that the war was a lost-cause, Zolo retired to a distant planet. The planet was fairly primitive and didn't have space travel, nor did they know the existence of the gifted. As such, Zolo was regarded as a god.

She lived the rest of her life as an idol. Her people constructed a massive temple for her, and obeyed her every command. She had her followers collect and bring to her thousands of animals from around their world, where she kept them (all of them) as pets in her temple.

Of course, the Alon were still searching for her, and eventually found her. The people of her planet saw them as alien intruders, here to kill their god. Of course, they were no match for the advanced technology of the Alon and were nearly wiped out. Then, Zolo's animal pets rose up to defend her. The sheer number and power of the creatures was enough to drive the Alon back permanently.

When Zolo finally died of old age, her people constructed a massive tomb. For the next hundred years, animals of all sorts and sizes would flock to her grave at the end of their lives and die surrounding her. Eventually, the people of the planet had the technology to bring her tomb where they thought it belonged: in the heavens. They constructed a massive floating island around her and the thousands of animal bones that littered the land.

As you now know, that floating island was called Lud.

Zolo's people continued to worship her, eventually developing the ability to harness the spirits of the animals that Zolo loved so much. Truly gifted members of the people could even summon these spirits, imbuing their energy upon their own skin in the form of magnificent tattoos.

Byra is a very curious and adventurous girl, fascinated by the history of her people, so naturally, she wanted to see the resting place of the god they worshiped.


Wow, that was longer than I expected. Oh well, a long lunch break for me today~!