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 Erchanhardt Burgstaller von Königsberg (FINISHED)

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Subject Post 1PostSubject: Erchanhardt Burgstaller von Königsberg (FINISHED)   Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:22 pm







Enter der Übermensch

完全人


I. Basic Information

» Name: Erchanhardt Burgstaller von Königsberg
» Alias: Der Übermensch, the Footman
» Age: 819 (Born 1598, day and month unrecorded)
» Appearance Age: Mid-30s.
» Gender: Male

» Association: Former soldier of the Holy Roman Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia, the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, and the Third Reich. Currently unaffiliated.

» Appearance Written: Erchanhardt is, even at just a glance, a pinnacle of human development. He stands at a massive 6' 7” tall (or, more accurately, exactly 200 cm to the millimeter), with an incredible musculature that is in no way lacking in either bulk or definition. His features are very classically handsome in the tradition of Greco-Roman heroes, his jaw square and sharp, his eyes sharp and steely, and his cheekbones high and well-defined. His light blonde hair, which trails just below his ears if left alone, is nearly always swept back quite neatly in order to keep it out of the way. His eyes, a cold, icy blue, seem almost tired, well-worn in spite of the undeniable power that lies behind them, not unlike gazing upon a mountain's peak. He maintains an immaculately clean shave, as he feels disgust toward both the feeling and appearance of facial hair, though on the exceptionally rare chance that he is unable to shave, he grows a full beard relatively rapidly.

All across Erchanhardt's body are a wide assortment of scars, far too many to be individually documented and coming from all manner of sources. However, several of them are large enough or distinct enough so as to stand out. Chief among these is the massive pair of long, straight slashes across his back, which cross to form a prominent X shape. These scares were earned from two different sword wounds, both of which, as Erchanhardt often tells with a chuckle, were earned at Leipzig, albeit nearly 200 years apart. He has a third impressive slash across the center of his chest, though this is not in fact a genuine slash, but the mark left by what he considers to be the luckiest moment of his life, when the shell from a T-34 tank narrowly grazed him during the Battle of Stalingrad. Additionally, his left forearm has what appears to be a sizable bite wound in it, which looks to have entirely pierced his arm when initially inflicted. This was earned during a brief period on safari in the African bush for Prussian interests, when he was assaulted by a lion and took the bite in order to get a proper position to slay the beast.

In terms of attire, Erchanhardt's tastes are rather simple, typically oriented toward the task at hand and generally aiming for a refined, tasteful look. Typically, he wears a wide variety of fine suits, tailored for him personally and often featuring long coats and occasionally even cloaks, not only serving as trappings of his noble upbringing but also to at least somewhat obscure his imposing physique and make him at least moderately less conspicuous in a crowd. This is what he is typically seen in, though on occasion he will wear a far more casual sort of outfit, comprised of simple cargo pants, an A-shirt, and a vest, accompanied by a cap and sunglasses in order to (vaguely) conceal his identity. Other than these, his only other notable attire is a pristine white gi, accompanied by a deep crimson hakama, adorned with intricate patterning and clearly exceptionally well-crafted, received as a gift during his brief time in Japan during the Second World War.

» Appearance Image:


I. Personality Traits

» Repentant: Erchanhardt has done a great deal in his life which he knows was anything but just. As head of the Burgstaller, he has lied to countless people, killed those who came too close to his family's secret, destroyed entire bloodlines with his own hands, all in the name of continuing their legacy. As a soldier, he participated in countless wars which destroyed whole nations and killed millions of both combatants and innocents. Never once did he regret, or even think that what he had done might be wrong, until the Third Reich and the Battle of Stalingrad. He had witness war in many forms, even seen the deaths of uncounted civilians, but what the Reich had done, and what Stalingrad had become, could hardly be called war anymore. It had been slaughter, a cold, mechanical killing which could not be justified. Upon realizing this truth, Erchanhardt could only ask himself a single simple question: Was it all worth it? The answer in his eyes could only be that it was not, and that the life he had lived had not been worthwhile. He chose then to make up for the time he had wasted, the time he could have spent on something truly worth while, and seeks to repay humanity and the world as best he can, to bring peace however he must and to destroy those who would dare to subjugate.

» Noble: While he may have spent his many years of military service as a simple footman, any man who ever served alongside him would be able to say with absolute certainty that Erchanhardt was anything but a common man. From the way he speaks, always with both a reserved confidence and formal yet elegant prose, to the way he carries himself, his back straight, his head held high and always looking directly at his current aim, it is abundantly clear that he is fully aware of the nature of his lineage, and as he puts it, "No woman was ever such a perfect lady as my mother, nor any man such a gentleman as my father." In spite of his shame in the actions of the Reich, Erchanhardt is still entirely proud of his heritage and the Burgstaller family name, and would defend them at any cost. However, his upbringing is not without its faults, and chief among them is that he is quite prone to instinctively underestimating women, and tending to subconsciously assume they are weaker than himself. This is not a belief he genuinely holds, as years upon years in the modern era have entirely tempered such things, but the roots of one's upbringing tend to run quite deep, and this natural inclination is one such example.

» Pragmatic: What purpose does one have in life if not to solve one's own problems? To that end, Erchanhardt sees little reason to ever be indirect or avoid what he sees as an issue. If it must be faced, then he will face it down without the slightest hesitation, no matter what it may be. This mentality is embodied in the Burgstaller family motto, which Erchanhardt holds as a fundamental truth to this day: "Fear, lament, suffer, and live." To hide from one's emotions, or to cast them aside, is to admit one's own weakness, an inability to accept one simple, basic truth. There are countless challenges in one's life, and to deny that is to simply lie, but a strong man will accept those challenges and show that he is able to continue on. To that end, Erchanhardt will always take whatever path he believes is the most direct to his goal, no matter what difficulties he might face in the way. To do anything else would be cowardice.

» Single-minded: If something must be done, then it would be an affront to one's own life and honor to waste time on anything else. Whatever it might be that Erchanhardt finds himself doing, he will commit himself entirely to it, and will be dissuaded by nothing and no one. Whether it be something as major as a pilgrimage across the world or as mundane as cooking breakfast, he will devote himself to completing any task as though his very life depended on it. Distractions and procrastination are nearly alien concepts in Erchanhardt's mind, as such things only serve to weaken the body and the soul, and take away from his ability to help others.

» Protective: To keep the world safe from those who would dare to endanger it, and to shelter the helpless and the innocent behind himself. This is the life goal of Erchanhardt, having spent centuries in quiet contemplation on the purpose of life. He will always prioritize the safety of his allies and the innocent, particularly women and children, even if it means he must put his own life in immediate danger. It is certainly true that Erchanhardt is a bit more difficult to kill than most people, but even if he were to wake up one morning without even the faintest trace of his lineage, his power, or his training, there is not a single doubt that he would still live in such a selfless manner.

» Studious: While training is well and good for any warrior, Erchanhardt is far more than just some simple soldier. Time spent in the betterment of oneself is time exceptionally well used in his eyes, and to that end he often applies himself to academic pursuits when he has any free time, reading whatever sort of work he finds particularly gripping at the time. There are no topics he considers truly unworthy of study, and so while one day he might be seen perusing texts on recent astronomical research or mathematical theory, the next he may well be found thumbing through a journal article on sound design in film or a comprehensive history of undersea diving equipment. Any knowledge is worthwhile knowledge in his opinion, and a proper nobleman always aims to improve himself.

» Harsh: While he does certainly wish to do good by the world and by those he interacts with in the day to day, it can hardly be said that Erchanhardt is always what would would call "gentle" in this pursuit. As he sees no use in avoidance of any issues, he sometimes fails to consider the weight of his words, with regard to how they might be taken by others. He will provide criticism and advice as directly as he believes necessary, and will pull no punches, at least metaphorically speaking. Generally, those that Erchanhardt deigns to teach something will see an entirely different side of him, as such blunt, almost aggressive commentary comes off as quite the contrast to his usual refinement.

» Judgmental: Having given far too much of his life to causes, ideals, and leaders which ultimately failed to achieve that which they promised, Erchanhardt has long since abandoned the idea of giving anything or anyone the benefit of the doubt. It takes very little time for him to establish an opinion on most things, and these opinions invariably tend to be informed by his own rigid self-expectations. However, he is quite prone to changing his views at relatively little provocation, and may take an entirely different stance on someone after only a single conversation. The reason for this is quite simple; he simply has no time nor desire to have any more strongly-held worldviews abruptly shattered. At this point, it would take a massive shift in someone he had known for quite a long time to actually surprise him, or earn anything more than a vague change in his mind.

» Tired: In spite of all his nobility, all his altruism and penance, Erchanhardt is a man who has perhaps seen too much. There are times when he considers the circumstances of his birth to be more a curse than any sort of blessing, and the weight of countless battles weighs exceptionally heavily upon his soul. While rare in the extreme, and outright unseen when there are others around, there are occasionally moments when Erchanhardt finds himself completely overcome with lethargy, with apathy, filled with an absolute exhaustion that seems to permeate every fiber of his being. He has lived through some of the greatest tragedies in history, and such things do not simply pass a man by without leaving a few scars of their own. It takes a great deal to truly shock or even discomfort Erchanhardt at this stage in his life, and he occasionally wonders if the human body, even one so supposedly perfect as his own, is even capable of handling such things.

I. Relationships

» Adalwolfa Burgstaller: There are many words which Erchanhardt might use to describe this girl. "Rash," "prideful," "headstrong," "overconfident," and many other terms with rather apparent negative connotations. However, above all else, Ada is his beloved daughter, his little girl, the single most important person in his life. Born to a wife long purged, alongside the rest of the Konigsberg branch, Ada is the one person on this Earth that Erchanhardt can never bring himself to harm. Though he admittedly spoiled her in her youth, he has long since abandoned this behavior, and expects the very greatest any Burgstaller can achieve out of her.

The two do not see each other often, but this cannot be said to be out of any hostility or animosity. They are simply both adults, living their own lives independent of one another. Though he of course loves his daughter, Erchanhardt hardly wishes to smother the woman, nor would he care to delude himself into thinking she is still a child. He misses fatherhood dearly, and often reminisces on simpler times, when Ada was still but a young girl.

» Henrex Astillon: Perhaps due to circumstance, or simple fate, Erchanhardt considers this man his very best friend, in spite of their myriad differences. The two met toward the end of the Second World War, a dark time for the both of them, and perhaps the lowest point of Erchanhardt's life. One might say that this emotional state plays an immense part in the two's relationship, but even if this is true, Erchanhardt sees no reason that should matter, and would quickly silence and discussion on the matter.

Despite the many years since their last meeting, Erchanhardt's opinion on Henrex has not changed in the slightest, and it is more than likely that he would treat their next encounter in much the same way as two friends simply happening across each other in the street. If one were to take this as apathy, however, they could not possibly be further from the truth. It is because this friendship runs so deep for Erchanhardt that he simply does not concern himself with worrying about its continuation. It exists as a fact of life for him, and he knows that, eventually, he will come across Henrex again. There is no need to rush this inevitability.

It should be noted that, while Henrex is his best friend (or rather, because of this), Erchanhardt is perhaps stricter on him than on anyone else, short of perhaps himself or Adalwolfa. He holds Henrex to a standard which is well beyond even that of many more minor Burgstallter, and would be profoundly disappointed if Henrex failed to meet these standards. It is this expectation of excellence, however, that serves as the greatest mark of Erchanhardt's respect for Henrex. He has no doubts as to Henrex's ability to not only meet these standards, but to exceed them by a great measure.

I. Equipment

» Seal of the Burgstaller: This object, in itself, has no power of any sort. It is a small medallion, perhaps two inches in diameter, comprised of what appears to be platinum and adorned with a crest of gold in its center. This crest depicts what appears to be a human heart, or at least a rough represenatation of one, surrounded by a pair of drakes. This medallion is the family seal of the Burgstaller, held by the family's current head as the mark of their station, and it is generally kept in a small, black velvet box among Erchanhardt's belongings. If he is being entirely honest, he finds the whole thing both pointless and aesthetically ridiculous, but tradition is tradition.

I. Natural Abilities & Skills

» Lineage of the Burgstaller: The blood of the Burgstaller family is among the purest that has ever come into being, as years of exceptionally selective breeding have led them to attain heights thought well beyond the impossible for mankind. However, as the Burgstaller are the last direct descendents of the great hero Siegfried, who gained tremendous power through the blood of the dragon Fafnir, their blood has very similar transmittable properties. Theoretically, were a human to bathe themselves in pure Burgstaller blood, they would gain tremendous strength, easily rivalling that of the Burgstaller whose blood was used in such a way.

This is not, however, the only method through which the power of this lineage might be transmitted. Should a sufficiently powerful Burgstaller choose to bring a new member into the family, they may enact an exceptionally dangerous ritual of sorts, which evokes the birth of their own power with the mighty Siegfried. The member in question must first cut his fingers, significantly enough to draw notable quantities of blood. Following this is the brunt of the process, and it is the aspect of the process which by its very nature weeds out weaker prospects. The Burgstaller drives their hand directly into the heart of the potential new family member, ensuring that the open wound on their fingers makes entry. The blood of the Burgstaller the enters into the new prospect's system, and it is at this point that those too weak to handle such things would simply perish from this transfusion, as the sheer power in this blood is too much for many to handle. If the prospect has the strength necessary to handle this transfusion, then the body of the new Burgstaller will rapidly heal itself, as a side effect of the Burgstaller blood aggressively purging all elements which are too weak or unclean for its presence. When this often-excruciating process is complete, the recipient is now ever bit as much a Burgstaller as one born of the family directly.

This is not a process which can simply be freely thrown about, however. Above all else, the Burgstaller is a family which has bred to become the height of human potential. Because of this, the blood will flatly and completely reject the body of any other race, assuming one could even convince a member of the family to perform this ceremony with such an entity in the first place. Were a member of any other race to receive the blood of a Burgstaller, it would simply attempt to purge all facets of the recipient's body, destroying those weaker recipients and simply acting as a malevolent and aggressive illness or other such agent in more powerful entities.

» Ageless: Perfection, by its very nature, cannot be tarnished simply through the act of being itself, even with the passage of countless centuries. As the Ubermensch, then, the perfection of man, Erchanhardt no longer ages in the slightest. Despite his many years upon the Earth, free of any artificial lengthening through spiritual power or magic, he is still completely within his prime, as though time itself has chosen to ignore him. His body has such an ability to repair itself, free of the usual inevitabilities of age, that he simply grows no worse for wear as the years pass him by. Only that which is beneficial is allowed for the Burgstaller.

» Exceptional Immune System: Following upon the premise that Erchanhardt's body is able to repair itself without issue, it would be a logical assumption that things such as illness are beyond the scope of causing him any harm. Poisons, diseases, and other maladies of the body have no impact on him, at least not in their natural state. Those which have been significantly modified or improved, which the body would likely not be prepared for, are still able to infect Erchanhardt, though they will of course have a much more difficult time of it than they usually might.

» Apex of the Body: It would be incorrect to call Erchanhardt, or any Burgstaller, flatly inhuman, for they are if anything the logical conclusion of what humanity is. His body, however, has surely become something more altogether. Every bone, every muscle, even the simple tendons and fibers which hold him together, are altogether immensely powerful, not only innately but honed even further through centuries of dedicated training. Simple weapons such as swords or bullets not only bounce off of Erchanhardt should they strike him, but shatter completely. Those weapons with spiritual refinement will certainly not be so easily destroyed, but even then, attacks against Erchanhardt which do not harm him will certainly damage the weapon in question. This is also true of hand to hand combat, and to those without the necessary power or training, his body is like unbreakable steel.

In terms of strength, this physical power is perhaps even more prominent than in his durability. Among the people of the many German armies he served under, it was said that feats of unfathomably inhuman strength were entirely within his grasp. He was a man who had shaken fortresses with but a single blow, who had cleft entire new trenches to move through in but a moment. Had he an eye for glory, his strength could surely have changed the tides of history, but Erchanhardt never wished for anything more than to serve his people. He is, to put things lightly, substantially stronger than the average human, capable of simply beating his way through any natural formation which might stand in his path if he so wishes. This is on account of his ancestry specifically aiming for a perfect body through their breeding, which has led to his body being something of a machine more than simply a body. His muscle is more densely packed, and his bones stronger and more durable, than nearly anyone he has met.

» The Body as Will and Representation: Many people of Erchanhardt's age and power have developed some form of spiritual power. Indeed, this is perhaps considered the most basic of ways to grow so old in the first place. For Erchanhardt, and indeed for all Burgstaller, this is not the case. Any energy Erchanhardt has does not manifest as some formless reservoir within him, or some aura of power cascading around him. Instead, every particle of spiritual energy under his control is genuinely a part of his body. His physical form is his energy, and so while he may not have the capability to fire off beams or blasts that engulf whole towns, his body certainly contains the power to do so purely through physical feats. Those attacks which might drain or destroy energy will simply harm him on a physical level, and so too would a loss of physical mass, in theory, deprive him of some reserve of energy.

Because of this unique interaction between energy and Erchanhardt's body, a secondary effect has come into play that allows him an exponentially stronger defense against the energy-based attacks of others than he might normally have himself. Simply put, any energy which strikes Erchanhardt is forcibly converted into a physical, kinetic form, as this is the only way in which his body can interact with such things. This allows him to hone his body ever further as a defense mechanism, his body and spirit fundamentally acting as one and protecting him through training. This does not, of course, heighten his defensive ability on its own, simply grant him the ability to better defend on terms that are, certainly, more preferable to him.

I. The Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Violence

» Overview: This style is the core of Burgstaller martial tradition, passed down through countless generations of the family, with each successor to the school adapting and improving it over the centuries. The basics of the style come from a combination of Greek pankration, German kampfringen, and Japanese aiki-jujutsu, though Erchanhardt tends to overwhelmingly prefer the direct, brutal effectiveness of the kampfringen over the other roots of the school.

Beyond its actual techniques, however, a key aspect of this school, often called simply the Fourfold Root, is its application of varying forms and approaches to combat, based upon the current situation. It should be noted that these are not simply levels of violence or aggression, but rather four entirely different philosophies which operate in tandem, rather than independently of one another. While beginners to the style are often prone to favoring the root which most naturally fits their own mentality, those who wish to truly pursue the Fourfold Root must accept that all four of the roots are equally vital to one's success. These forms are each named for a different facet of one's ability to interact with the world around them, for no worthwhile school is applicable only to combat.

» Becoming: The first of the four roots, the aspect of Becoming focuses upon the nature of cause and effect in battle. Becoming is sometimes seen as the most basic of the four roots, and it is true that many beginner practitioners of the Fourfold Root tend to gravitate toward this aspect, but only the most foolhardy would dismiss it outright because of this. Indeed, Becoming is the most basic principle not only of the Fourfold Root, but of life itself. It is not concerned with motivation or creed, with style or technique. It simply reacts as is appropriate to any incoming force.

A practitioner who taps into Becoming focuses almost purely on the instincts they have honed for battle. They do not plan their strikes, nor do they attempt to "read" their opponents. Indeed, the goal of Becoming is to act solely through reactive force, and to maintain a balance in combat. Becoming is comprised almost entirely of redirections and defensive maneuvers, striking the enemy only when it is not simply prudent, but when it would be more unnatural not to do so. Those who fight a master who prefers Becoming are likely to find themselves tossed about the battlefield, injured more by repeated impacts with the surrounding area than by the master himself.

Applications of this particular root vary from practitioner to practitioner, but Erchanhardt's case, this root is most often expressed through a rather brute force approach. Typically he aims to trip, or use the momentum of the enemy against them as efficiently as possible. This pursuit has led to the development of what may be called one of Erchanhardt's signature techniques, or at least what young Burgstaller initiates fear most. He refers to it as Intellect Devoid of Reason, but his students tend to simply call it Over the Shoulder, a much more blunt, if accurate, name. As this name would suggest, this technique consists of little more than Erchanhardt simply grabbing whoever (or whatever) was coming toward him, then using the momentum to carry them over his shoulder and, ultimately, into the ground behind him. This is, of course, far from the only way Erchanhardt can use this root, and he is equally capable of simple evasions, counter-throws, and reversals, all based upon incoming strikes.

» Knowing: The second root of the school, Knowing shares a defensive approach to combat with Becoming. However, while Becoming is focused on cause and effect, and a natural flow of battle, Knowing is instead based on establishing an understanding of one's enemies through observation. This understanding is often made not only through watching, however, but through being on the direct receiving end of an opponent's technique. This proclivity toward direct, intentional harm often leads many students of the Fourfold Root to avoid Knowing, but it is this very bold, unflinching nature that is its greatest strength.

Being struck by one's foe is hardly something which holds much appeal to any warrior, but a Burgstaller who taps into Knowing will use their understanding of combat, and of the area around them, to mitigate the harm they take from such attacks. It is a purely defensive approach to combat, and of the four roots, it is the one which could least be said to involve any form of "violence" at all. A master of Knowing does not strike their opponent until they have found the perfect opportunity to do so, having totally grasped their foe's combat, and when they do finally uncover the right time for a strike, they will focus more on another Root, fighting decisively using the knowledge they have gained.

What must be noted about Knowing is that it is totally unconcerned with the truth of anything relative to outside influence. A practitioner of the Fourfold Root does not concern themselves with the name of an attack, nor of any of its genuine features. The source of its power, what sort of pain it causes, even what it looks like, these are all things completely ignored by the master of Knowing. The practitioner is concerned only with the fundamental, undeniable truths of each technique the enemy displays. They wish to know about the attack-in-itself, as it were, the facets of the strike which must be acknowledged by only their senses. Its position, and the sheer force it displays, are all that Knowing wishes to analyze.

» Being: If one were to classify the each root of the four with regard to how abstract they are, it is undeniable that Being, of the four, would be the least abstract by a great deal. It is clinical, detached from any concerns other than the truth of the current situation. It relies on the most fundamental basics of one's existence in the world, those being their relationship with time and space. The body follows time from one moment to the next, each of these moments building upon the last, and must interact with the rest of existence through spatial relativity. It is this absolute premise which Being builds itself upon, focusing on the understanding of the circumstances of the battle itself, and striking exactly when appropriate.

Being is a difficult root for many students to genuinely grasp, though a great deal of young Burgstaller often fancy themselves destined to master it. It does hold a certain appeal for those filled with confidence, the potential future heirs to the family name that consider themselves filled with a sharp wit. Of course, those very same youth are often the ones far too headstrong, consumed with a focus on the battle itself, to grasp the total removal of the self from combat that Being demands of a user. Erchanhardt is no different in this regard, and while he could hardly be called anything other than a stellar practitioner of this root, it may well be his weakest of the four.

In combat itself, Being focuses upon simplicity, on sharp, rigidly defined strikes and guards, a balance of offense and defense that is changed based upon the current situation in battle. The practitioner reads not only themselves and the foe, but the area around them, the circumstances which surround the battle, and these are taken into account every bit as heavily as every other factor. To a master of Being, combat is far more than simply the trading of blows, or even some sort of conversation through battle. It is a total state of existence for both parties, and for the arena in which the fight takes place. A fight is not simply an event for them, but a singular, natural existence in itself.

» Willing: The final of the four roots of the school, though this should not be taken to mean that it is some sort of strongest, or most difficult to achieve apex. Willing is perhaps the opposite of Being, focusing in on the self and how it expresses itself in combat. The self is the one thing which always exists apropos of nothing to anyone who lives, and so it is an absolute baseline upon which one can always fall back. Willing demands that a practitioner look inward for their strength, directing it outward and changing the course of the world through it. This is the ultimate affirmation of the self, to force the world to acknowledge it and change accordingly.

Many young Burgstaller are drawn to the implications of power through Willing, finding a great deal of draw to the words of its greatest masters. Most of these young students, however, misunderstand the nature of this root entirely, and this is not any sort of grave error on their part. Willing is not about strengthening the self, it is only about applying that very self outward, and for many, that idea is one that is difficult to grapple with. For Erchanhardt, however, a man who is best defined by his absolute conviction, it is the most simple of ideas, and he is unquestionably a true master of this root, perhaps the greatest it has seen since its creation. Such an idea is second nature to him, and he never once finds the faintest hint of difficulty in tapping into Willing.

For combative purposes, Willing cannot be said to have any one true form, as it varies from practitioner to practitioner. Erchanhardt, being someone who tends to pursue direct paths and the simplest, most effective approach, expresses Willing through an aggressive, brutal application of strikes, each one filled with every fiber of his self and carrying the full weight of his convictions. When Erchanhardt truly fights, and taps into the fullest potential of Willing, not only does he not choose to hold back, he simply could not even if he wanted to. It is here that Erchanhardt's most terrifying feats are found, palm-heels which could cleave passes through the mountains and grounding stomps which could redirect rivers. Stories are still whispered among the people of Germany, of the warrior who cleaved whole castle walls in two with scarcely more than one strike of his fist.

I. The Eternal Return

“Fellow man! Your whole life, like a sandglass, will always be reversed and will ever run out again, - a long minute of time will elapse until all those conditions out of which you were evolved return in the wheel of the cosmic process. And then you will find every pain and every pleasure, every friend and every enemy, every hope and every error, every blade of grass and every ray of sunshine once more, and the whole fabric of things which make up your life.”
-Friedrich Nietszche


-Overview: The Eternal Return is, unlike many difficult to attain and oft-sought martial techniques, the most fundamental basic of Erchanhardt's approach to combat. Many might find it difficult to believe, for it is most certainly true that the Eternal Return is an unbelievably difficult idea to grasp, and an even more difficult one to put into practice. It must be understood that, to truly apply the Eternal Return in any way in the world, one must come to terms with the nature of the self in the world. That is, each and every action that we take in this world impacts every other action we might ever take. It is something akin to the butterfly effect, but on a simultaneously larger and grander scale. Our actions are shaped by the decisions we have made and the things we have experienced, and in turn from how our reactions to these things have been received. The Eternal Return is nothing more than an application of this knowledge, but upon the one thing which matters most to the Burgstaller; one's own body.

-Philosophy: If every action that a man takes ultimately can be traced back to a prior action, or a prior reaction, then it is logical that somewhere, within the body and mind, a record of that action and state of being must be kept. It is the aim of the Eternal Return to seek out the most key prior moments in one's life, and bring them forward at a moment's notice. In practice this seems a rather esoteric, abstract, and most pressingly, impossible feat. But to one who has truly and completely understood the nature of life as a single chain of connected events, it is hardly more than a natural extension of the body, an enforcement of the Will upon the world like all other actions ultimately are.

-Effects: Put simply, the Eternal Return allows Erchanhardt (or any other sufficiently trained Burgstaller, for that matter) to reset the state of their body to any it has been prior, within reason. This “state” refers not to the actual status of one's body, such as their health, wounds, age, etc., but rather to the position the body has been in at some point, its form. For example, should the Eternal Return be used as Erchanhardt punches a foe, a large gash inflicted upon his chest, using the Eternal Return to set himself backward would not heal the wound. It would instead simply move his entire body as if in a mere moment, his once-outstretched arm now perhaps guarding his torso to block potential blows, or even simply moved back to moments before the impact of the blow, using the momentum carried over to, in effect, punch twice in a single motion.

I. Skill Sheet

Skill Sheet

General Skills
  • Durability: TBD
  • General Speed: TBD
  • Strength: TBD
  • Weapon Skill: TBD


Racial Skills
  • Power Control: TBD
  • Energy Usage/Regeneration: TBD
  • Energy Resistance/Endurance: TBD
  • Physical Augmentation: TBD


Will Skills
  • Willpower: TBD
  • Mental Deduction: TBD
  • Pain Endurance: TBD
  • Focus: TBD




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Subject Post 2PostSubject: Re: Erchanhardt Burgstaller von Königsberg (FINISHED)   Yesterday at 11:46 pm







Enter die Geschichte


Formal Portrait of Erchanhardt, date unknown

» The Burgstaller Family: Before one can understand Erchanhardt, it is absolutely crucial to understand his family. The Burgstaller find their earliest roots within the annals of legend, tracing their ancestry back to the mightiest hero of Germanic folktales, Siegfried. A mighty warrior of great renown, and one who left several offspring, it is the daughter Svanhild who lived long enough to bear a single son in turn. It was this lone child, Langobalt, who would eventually found the family Burgstaller, and so it was that the blood of Siegfried carried on.

Only coming into their own as a proper noble family in the early 9th century, the Burgstaller established themselves within the area that would eventually become known as Prussia. They were never hugely powerful or influential, primarily staying in their modest estate near the future city of Konigsberg. Generations of Burgstaller men rose and fell, each taking the throne, and for a family within such hostile and tumultuous lands, they were at relative peace. But when times of peace come, the minds of men tend to wander, and wander indeed did the mind of Ladislaus Burgstaller. As he felt the chains of old age beginning to constrain him at a mere 45 years olf, he asked a question to all who would listen, to his physicians, his court wizards, his seers and his alchemists; could not one's life be extended? Could future men of the Burgstaller not be stronger, better than this mortal coil?

Experimentation began immediately, but to little avail. None of the concoctions, rituals, or medical treatments seemed to do much of anything, and that was assuming they did not outright kill the one being experimented upon. It was only with the birth of Ladislaus' grandson, and his musing that the boy was strong and healthy like his parents, that the answer was revealed. If they could not strengthen the family through ritual or through science, then they would strengthen it through blood.

It was the final will of Ladislaus Burgstaller that the family be helmed by the strongest of each generation, to be decided by a gauntlet of tests, trials, and of course, combat. His sons were excluded form this process, for they had been born before such ideas had even been conceived of, but the next generation, and each generation after that, would be subject to these rules. The rite of succession being tied to this system was something that Ladislaus had very carefully planned and considered. It would demand that any who bore the Burgstaller name make their very greatest effort to improve, rather than idling in power. It was the crowning jewel of Ladislaus' policy, as well as the last act that any Burgstaller family head took as a leader. For you see, Ladislaus knew that ruling over their subjects would only distract the family from their new, superior goal, and so in exchange for a quite hefty stipend, their rule over all lands beyond the Burgstaller estate was ended. Their sole goal now was to say farewell to the weakness of men.

To this end, the family began to seek out all those considered exceptional, those families who were renowned for their strength or longevity, and offering their children a place among the Burgstaller. No expense was spared, and even the slightest rumor was enough for an expedition to be funded, no matter the distance. Had the family had nobler goals, or shared anything with those outside the family, it may well have changed the face of history as we know it. The Orient, the Dark Continent, even the New World, all scoured for those who might make the family stronger. Other ideas were taken in, of course, simply by process of assimilation. As each newly-christened Burgstaller was brought into the fold, countless philosophies, beliefs, ways of life, styles of combat, and pieces of culture were brought in as well. This worldliness was seen as simply one more step toward perfection, of course. If they could take in all the strengths of the world, and purge the weaknesses, then could they not become veritable paragons, embodiments of all mankind?

It was in the 13th century that they found that, indeed, they could do such a thing. Though they had already expanded their lives dramatically, they Burgstaller continued to breed successive generations as rapidly as they could. New children meant stronger children, and that was the Burgstaller way. A still young man, one Valtis Burgstaller, found himself accosted on the road as he traveled. He took up arms to defend himself, but was hardly fast enough to react to the several highwaymen and their blades. As it happened, however, he needed not concern himself with these things at all. While he was certainly inconvenienced by the wounds he sustained, Valtis simply batted the men aside like so much paper, and it was only as he continued on his way that he realized the wounds he had sustained were already well on their way to healing. Not only had the bleeding ended, but it seemed that it was already beginning to scar over, and it occurred then to Valtis that the family had not come into genuine conflict with outsiders in a great many years now. They had only ever fought one another, and so had still seemed on par with each other. But now, when brought against these normal men, Valtis realized that this had been entirely relative.

Considering the true extent of the family's development, it seemed as though the plan first laid out those centuries ago by Ladislaus had been far more effective than anyone thought possible. For the briefest of moments, Valtis thought to tell the family of this revelation, that they had gone far beyond what could be called human. However, he struck such folly from his mind with little hesitation, for what good would possibly come from telling the family about this? It would only distract from their ideal, dangling power in front of their faces that would inevitably be enough to taint the minds of the Burgstaller. No, such a thing was not what Ladislaus had envisioned, nor was it what Valtis wished to poison the family name with. He returned home, saying nothing about these events, and hoped that would be that. But, of course, he had been a fool for assuming such events would never occur again.

It was, in fact, within only a relatively short 70 years that this knowledge Valtis had hoped to guard was made public. He as, however, somewhat relieved when it was, not because it had happened, of course, but because it seemed as though most of the family had already had experiences much like his own. It seemed that almost all of the more mature members of the Burgstaller had, at some point or another, come to much the same conclusion as Valtis, that doing anything with this power would be an affront to it, and would disrespect the legacy of the Burgstaller. There were dissenters, of course, but they were swiftly silenced, either through political bargaining or, in several cases, simple and efficient violence. To purge unneeded embers of the family was no different than pruning a sick branch for the good of the family. The matter was handled, and those lines that had been snuffed out became lessons to all young future Burgstaller, examples of all the things they should not be.

This was, perhaps, the greatest mistake the family would ever make. Even Valtis had not considered it, but a precedent had now been put in place. What had simply been meant as a method of maintaining the purity of a noble dream would ultimately lead to the downfall of the Burgstaller, and of that very dream. But, that is something which was not yet ordained to occur.

» Early Years: In the summer of 1598, a child was born to the Burgstaller family, which in itself was hardly much of an event. It was a large family, certainly, and those young were simply new members of the bloodline. There was no grand expectation for this young child, named Erchanhardt, to be anything more than another step in the grand design of Ladislaus, and so he was given the same upbringing as any child of the family. Education the likes of which was only seen in universities and monasteries, and combat training which weeded out the children unfit to be Burgstaller, be it through failure or crippling injury, were staples of any youth in the family, and it was in these curriculum that Erchanhardt's earliest signs of potential became clear.

In studies, the young man took to his texts and sciences exceptionally well. He displayed a profound understanding of mathematics, literature (what there was to be studied, at any rate), and history most of all. While all Burgstaller youth display a substantially above-average aptitude for such things, young Erchanhardt went above and beyond even that already high bar, understanding even the most advanced recent developments in mathematics, abstract ideas of such things as algebra only recently brought from the Middle East, and reading philosophical texts imported from the Orient. His quest for knowledge was, however, still second to his natural inclination toward combat.

From the very moment Erchanhardt stepped foot into the training ring, his teachers knew that he would be a star pupil. Blows from his fellow children quite literally bounced off of him, and many of the young ones harmed themselves in increasingly frustrated attempts to bring even a single bruise to Erchanhardt. All through these matches, he showed a profound understanding of his opponent's movement, predicting each child's attempts on him without needing much more than a quick glance. If he felt even a single bit of pain, he certainly did not show it, and such stark, cold success was what would eventually define his life among the Burgstaller family.

When the day came that he was forced to fight his fellow potential heirs to the Burgstaller throne, the 16 year old Erchanhardt did not have even the slightest fear of loss. Each foe he faced quite literally broke upon him, their strikes of both fist and blade met only with a shattering before he batted them away with a single swing, or sent them into unconsciousness with one punch. With scarcely any effort at all, at the mere age of 16, the young man had become the leader of the strongest family in Europe, and his reign would be, unquestionably, the golden age of the Burgstaller.

» The Thirty Years' War: It was only a short 4 years before Erchanhardt's first true call to action as the head of the Burgstaller came to be. At the still-young age of 20, he found his homeland brought into the turmoil of one of the greatest wars Europe had ever seen. As the family was nothing if not proud of their heritage, Erchanhardt directed them into the war on behalf of the Holy Roman Empire, serving as their eyes, ears, and arms before they had decided to properly stepped in. It was only two years later that his first experience on the battlefield, as well as his first feats of true physical prowess, took place.

In the Battle of White Mountain, Erchanhardt found himself quite handily outnumbered. His superiors had grossly underestimated the Bohemians, and his force had scarcely been able to survive. It was only his superior breeding that allowed him to live, and as cannon fire flew around him, the shots of muskets and bows alike ready to strike him down, a fury overtook him. He stood from his hiding place then, and as the next cannonball flew, it struck him on the chest, but all at once the Bohemians realized that things would be quite dire. The projectile detonated as it did, shattering around him, and though his armor was certainly damaged beyond repair, his body was not so much as scratched. He took one step forward, then two, and though the Bohemians tried to stop his advance, in the end he arrived upon their front and demolished it, quite literally, with his bare hands. Every last Bohemian was killed swiftly, with a horrifying precision, and at the end of it, entire battalions of the enemy had been slain at his hands. In spite of this, he took no glory for the battle, and simply claimed that, though he was the sole survivor, his men had succeeded in the face of overwhelming odds.

Though the rest of the war was, relatively speaking, uneventful, the Battle of Breitenfeld marked its own turning point in his life; the first time he ever felt pain. Erchanhardt had faced many battles before, but this time his foe had brought something he had yet to expect in the form of a spiritual entity of their own. The Swedes had a single Quincy among them, and the Seele Schneider proved a far more formidable weapon than any mortal one. While he had scarcely given it much attention, this proved to be a grave error, as the weapon's supernatural nature meant that, unlike a normal blade, it was in fact able to wound Erchanhardt, and its wound left a scar that would never fully heal, a mark that would forever remind him that he could not underestimate his foes.

In the end, Erchanhardt saw the war through to its very end, and faced the Swedish and the French at the Battle of Wevelinghoven. He had heard rumors of peace talks at Westphalia, but so far as he was concerned, the war was not over until the Empire told him it was so. To call Wevelinghoven a catastrophic failure would certainly not be inaccurate, but Erchanhardt himself played no part in such failure. He did as he was told, and slew Hessians as well as any man could even as his own army failed. In the end, over 100 of the enemy lives taken were by his hand, and as he saw his army flee despite superior numbers, the Burgstaller chose then to end his family's time in this war. He would not deal with cowards.

The war having come to a close, both for Erchanhardt and for Europe, the Burgstaller family returned to their home in Konigsberg, and Erchanhardt himself ruminated on his time fighting for the Empire. Thousands had died at his hands, and it was no exaggeration to say that without his involvement, the war may well have ended far sooner for the Holy Roman Empire, and far less favorably at that. But perhaps that was, in itself, something worth remembering. A sign that would later in life change everything for him, an event that told him his country was not infallible.

» Family Life: As the years passed on, Erchanhardt showed an exceptional leadership of the Burgstaller, and the first signs that he was truly destined for something great showed when he continued to engage in the battles for succession. Inevitably, the family heads would be defeated by newer, younger stock, who had become stronger and inherited more perfect blood from their parents. However, Erchanhardt did not lose even as he grew older, far older than any former head of the family. Time and again, those who were expected to finally dethrone him met a swift defeat in the ring, and rather than weakning as the years passed, it seemed Erchanhardt only grew stronger. He attributed this, for a while, merely to his incredibly strict personal training, always staying in peak form both physically and mentally. By the time he had reached 300, however, and still looked no older than he had at Wevelinghoven, he realized that perhaps there was more to his success, and the rest of the family agreed in full.

With the understanding that Erchanhardt was the next step in the Burgstaller lineage, it was all at once decided he would, naturally, need to find an heir. While he agreed in the abstract that an heir would be ideal, he hardly wished to settle into the rote patterns of fatherhood, and it took him well over a century to decide on a wife. In that time all manner of perfectly suitable brides and mates were brought to him, from all corners of the globe and with talents and skills that were, certainly, appealing to someone such as him. Yet all of them lacked the ambition he strived for, that goal of self-improvement and perfection that, to him, were defining traits of the Burgstaller. And then, one day, he found her.

Adelheid was her name, a simple village girl from a village just outside the family estate. She was beautiful, intelligent, and above all she struggled like none other he had seen. She brought water to her household faster and faster every day, prided herself on her housework. It was mundane, certainly, but Erchanhardt did not seek out accomplishment. He sought ideals. He approached the woman in the dark of night, introduced himself and made clear the nature of his family. As he had expected, she was intrigued, and accepted his offer to join the Burgstaller as his bride. The two were brought together in both blood and passion that night, and only the next day it was made clear to all who would listen in the family that she would bear his child.

Said child came in time, nearly 30 years later, and perhaps no day changed him more than her birth. If one were to ask Erchanhardt as to the single greatest thing to happen in his life, his answer could only ever be his little Adalwolfa. Never before had he known such happiness, and his entire life was consumed by fatherhood, a change he was all too happy to accommodate. Rarely did he interact directly with the family unless specifically called upon, and he tended to hand off responsibility to Adelheid whenever he could, that he might spend time with his precious daughter, and it was here that his wife found herself more and more immersed in the Burgstaller nature, now welcomed rather than seen as an outsider due simply to her efforts on Erchanhardt's behalf.

Such kindheartedness was viewed as weakness by progressively more of his family, and in time they began to see him as someone to be curtailed, to remove him from power that they could return the Burgstaller to their proper place. His love for his daughter was taking more of his time, and it seemed to them as though the weakness he had staved off for so long was beginning to rear its ugly head. They would not, and could not, act against him, but quiet whispers of discontent became to circle among the family, and would for many more years.

» Stalingrad: When the Third Reich took power in Germany, the Burgstaller did not notice beyond the most abstract understanding that the government had changed yet again. They had seen shifts from Holy Rome, to the Prussians, the Germans, and even the Weimar for a short while. One more new government was not worthy of much notice, least of all to Erchanhardt, especially not when his little girl was still only a few years old and took up so much of his attention. When war came, it seemed that his people had started it, and so he could only assume that the rest of the world had done his people wrong. He remembered the outcome of the Great War, and noted that, indeed, there could be little wrong in the nation reclaiming their land, and perhaps others which had at one time been under Holy Rome.

As always, he was but a footman, sent wherever he was needed in Europe. He took part in the blitzkrieg, bypassed the Maginot Line and forced a retreat at Dunkirk, all the while walking through the battlefield like a veritable machine. Explosives which took out Panzers did nothing but destroy his uniform, and though he did not himself turn the tides of a war so great as World War 2, he did certainly contribute greatly to Germany's successes on the Western front. Having served so well, he was sent as something of a safe contribution to the Eastern front, to secure lebensraum for the German people. Perhaps, had his journey been a simple train ride, he might well have won them the war, changed the course of history. But errors were made in logistics, an inevitability with a war machine so poorly formed as the Reich's, and it was in his travel that Erchanhardt was confronted with the realities of the nation he served.

The train he was on was commandeered at a stop in Poland, and due to a lack of resources he was ordered to assist in loading it for its new destination. He was, of course, content to move whatever cargo might have needed placement, as his heritage made it quite easy for him, but what he was ordered to move was not cargo. Those considered “undesirable” by the Reich were being sent off to the camps, something Erchanhardt had, most certainly, not been aware of. At first he assumed they were simple prisoners of war, but it quickly became clear simply from the women and children that it was no such thing. What was his nation doing? He did not ask such a thing, merely pondered it, and that inaction was to play a much greater part in his life in but a few short months.

The Battle of Stalingrad was, for quite some time, the bloodiest battle in human history. Though Erchanhardt had most certainly seen war before, this was something beyond war, beyond anything that could be considered worth pursuing as a warrior, or as a human. It was something that he could not abide, and as he saw his own brothers in arms, dying for a cause that they scarcely understood and which he could not possibly defend, the Ubermensch felt for the first time regret. He could not stay in Stalingrad, nor could he return to his home. Known that the Allies were far too distant, and that he hardly deserved what little he could ask of the Russian people, Erchanhardt deserted to the most distant place he could; the other member of the Axis, the Land of the Rising Sun.

» Desertion: Erchanhardt was out of his element in Japan, but there was a traditionalism to their culture that he found entirely agreeable, and he found that even in this exile there was a silver lining. He studied their literature, their philosophy, but above all their martial arts. This Oriental approach to the field, as something more than simply a method of battle, intrigued Erchanhardt, and gave him insight that he likely never could have found so soon of his own accord.

For only lasting a few short years, the time Erchanhardt spent in Japan was comprised of a great deal of introspection through training. Never before had he found this sort of self-discovery in combat, but to focus inward made the fundamental affair of martial arts more rewarding than ever before. Even outside of this, he discovered new approaches to combat that he simply had not considered before. Aikido, jiujutsu, karate, forms that had simply never crossed his mind. It was fascinating, and to fold these new approaches to combat into his own style was something he took genuine pleasure in, even considering the circumstances.

Outside of combat training, however, there was a far more personal aspect to the time Erchanhardt spent in Japan. Though he studied many martial arts for the sake of learning, he found a much more earnest attachment to judo than any other. Its direct approach to combat, bringing the combatants as close as necessary, was something he appreciated, and he ultimately settled within the Kodokan as his abode through the months he spent there. Within those sacred walls, Erchanhardt found something more than simply martial skill, though it would be a lie to say he did not find that as well. But alongside other students of judo, the ubermensch for the first time felt a true kinship with others, bonding with them and considering them, in all earnestness, his friends.

Of course, friendship was not enough to stop the passage of time, nor the inevitabilities of war. Erchanhardt, having determined that there would surely be more to judo than simply what he could learn at the Kodokan, traveled south, to the Chuugoku region. In Hiroshima there was a sister dojo that he could learn from, but it was not to be. As he entered the city, there was a sense of uneasy calm, that he could not fully explain. There was quiet, and he heard the faintest of hums from above. He had fought in the wars, and already he knew that this was a bomb, yet something about it was altogether more. No sooner had it made impact than he realized that, indeed, this was far more than anything he had seen before. Life on all sides of him seemed to simply vanish on the wind, heat so tremendous filling the air that, he realized, even he was burning. It was hard to fully comprehend, but there was only a single thought that crossed his mind; that there was nothing he could do against a force so great. What else could Erchanhardt do, however, but help? Though his clothes were in tatters, and the city itself was all but ruined, his strength perhaps served to assist in saving at least a few souls who had not fallen in an instant.

» Culling: In the end, it seemed the war was over. Erchanhardt did not feel as though his time was fully over here, but his daughter, and his family, called to him more than anything else. Though bureaucracy and national borders certainly hampered him, he returned to Konigsberg a changed man, ready to bring a new era to the Burgstaller. Obsession over perfection of genetics, over breeding and parentage, had led to horrors that man could not have imagined, and he sought to change this to keep from history ever repeating itself. Yet, when such a suggestion was made, that the family no longer aim solely for genetic purity, and immortality through breeding, he was met with disappointment, ridicule, and above all, scorn.

The family was ready to cast him aside, to remove him as head. Perhaps if that had been the end of things, he might have been content to simply part ways with the Burgstaller, never to see them again. But their choice to place his beloved Adalwolfa into the battle for leadership upon his departure held his decision, and Adelheid's support of this course only further caused him concern. In that moment, Erchanhardt knew he could not suffer the Konigsberg Burgstaller to live any longer. To leave them alive could only propagate this further, create future childen who might lead as he had, suffer regret as he had, and the idea of Ada living such alife... He could not abide it.

It was not something that occurred in a single night, for the Konigsberg Burgstaller wre not singly condensed at their ancestral home. But over the course of weeks, Erchanhardt tracke devery one of them down and culled them, just as they had culled so many “undesireable lineages” before them. It was swift, efficient, and above all merciless. There was no subtlety in his approach, no attempt at diplomacy. There was only a brief exchange of fists, and a bloody death.

Inevitably, the time came that he confronted his once beloved Adelheid. For the first time, he tried to reason with his quarry, but it was clear that, perhaps, he had taken a wife far too inclined toward the family's mentality. She had not been born into the Burgstaller, merely inducted, and to say that her defeat was instantaneous would hardly be exaggeration. As her lifeless body fell to the floor, Erchanhardt thought as to the future of his daughter. What would her life be like without a mother, a family? He, for the briefest of moments, contemplated that he may have done wroung. Yet when he once again thought of the future Ada might have otherwise faced, of what his family would have done, he knew that there was no room for doubt.

» Asceticism: Life after this was quiet for Erchanhardt. He lacked much in the way of proper meaning in life, and his day to day was filled more or less entirely with training once again. Day in and day out, he applied the knowledge he had first discovered in Japan toward his practice. Always he had strengthened his body purely for the sake of becoming strong, but now there was more to it thann that. A higher purpose, more than strength-in-itself, to gain understanding of the self by pushing that self to its limits. In this pursuit he found something that perhaps he should have found sooner, but that he had buried deep within himself to prevent weakness; regret. Regret for his family, regret for his nation, regret for every facet of the life he had lived. And in this regret, Erhchanhardt found a purpose, one he had never before truly felt until now; to protect the people of the world and prevent tragedy of such caliber ever again.

For all of his resolve, however, the world seemed thoroughly poised to deny that dream, and when the demons came to Earth, it was as though all of his work had been for nothing. Of course he defended his home with everything that he had, and Erchanhardt was far from a normal man. Hordes of demons fell before him, but those before him were hardly the absolute strongest of their kind. When those titans did arrive, he had no choice but to take Adalwolfa and flee, far from Konigsberg and deep into the mountains of the Caucasus. There among the Cossacks, they made a new home, serving the Ataman in those dark times and assisting in keeping their nation alive, even as they returned to nomadic rituals and traditions.

» Return: Ultimately, Erchanhardt found that even this could not serve him in the goal he had found for himself. Adalwolfa, in time, grew into a headstrong young woman, and made her way into the world seeking something more. Erchanhardt once again founds himself alone, able only to pursue his own goals. But what might those goals be now, in these new troubled times? To simply slaughter demonkind would be something he could not fully justify to himself. It was true that their kind had done unfathomable injustice to the people of Earth, but he knew that such things would make himself just as deserving of death. These new lives among them had not wiped out his people, No, that had been their leadership. It seemed he would need to take them down, with his own fists if need be. But, of course, though he was all too powerful, he would certainly need to become ever stronger. Such was, even after all he had been through, the way of a Burgstaller.



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