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Who are you? Sum yourself up in one sentence.


An Atlantean exchange student, a skilled apprentice in our art of mechano-mysticism.


Do you have any nicknames, street names, titles, or nom de plume?


It was suggested that I take on a grand, heroic-sounding name in anticipation of becoming a superhero, so I chose Artificer.  (It’s a title, one I’m not technically qualified for yet, but I will be, and the surfacers don’t need to know that.)


What is your full birth name?


Heroditus Fabricus Stylianos


Where do you live?


I had lived in the city of Atlantis, but now I’m living in the “dormitories” at Claremont Academy, in Freedom City.


How old are you? What year were you born (if applicable)? 


16 (born 2003 September 1st, according to your surface world calendar)




What is your gender? If not applicable, please explain.


Cis Male


How would you describe your heritage?




How tall are you?


6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m)


What is your body type?


Somewhere between mesomorphic and ectomorphic.  Broad, wide shoulders, thick & toned arms, V-shaped torso, flat but toned stomach, thin waist, thin & toned upper legs & calves.


Do you have any particular weaknesses, such as allergies or physical disabilities?


As with most Atlanteans, I struggle in arid environments.  Prolonged time spent out of water will weaken me. Also, like many Atlanteans -- though this is not widely known -- I am still adjusting to the surface world, specifically the “not constantly pressed in on all sides by water” aspect.  It is a deeply unnerving feeling, making me feel very exposed and alone.


How do you carry yourself? Are you graceful, or heavy on your feet? Can you be stealthy, do you walk with confidence? 


I walk with purpose, usually towards a workshop or library.  I’m somewhat graceful underwater; still adjusting to walking on dry land.


Describe your skin, eye, and hair color. 


Olive skin, sea green eyes, hair that is a shade of green so dark it appears black to most surfacers.


How do you wear your hair, if applicable? Do you have facial hair?


Long, about shoulder length.  (I’m used to it floating about me, it feels weird to have it just... lay flat.)  I’m working on growing a beard -- which I’m sure shall be magnificent -- but I’ve just got some weak stubble now.


Do you consider yourself attractive? Do others?


I believe I am fairly average looking, for an Atlantean.  I have been told that my facial features -- a long “Roman” nose, sharp cheekbones, and strong jawline -- are considered very attractive in some Surfacer communities, but I haven’t really paid attention to that.


Do you have any scars, tattoos, piercings, or birthmarks?


No scars or piercings, thought I may get some of the latter eventually (and hope to avoid the former!).  No birthmarks, either. I do not have any tattoos at the moment, but have been considering getting some, specifically ones which would help channel my magical energies and improve connections with any mechano-mystical devices I use.


Do you resemble anyone famous?


When I was younger, my mother would say I resembled Babis Lofos, a comedian who was very popular a few decades ago.  I’ve seen a few recorded images of him, and do see the resemblance.


Do you have a dominant hand?




What kind of clothing do you wear?


Since Atlanteans can withstand cold easily and experience little change in our daily undersea environment, we don’t have the same nudity taboo your Surfacers do, and thus frequently wear little to nothing at all.  Of course, we do wear clothes for social encounters (out of respect for any nudity taboos that whomever it is we are meeting may have), during certain ceremonies, for protection if in an environment or situation demands it, or just personal preference.  While on the surface, I will be observing local clothing customs, and have brought with me a variety of outfits -- mostly skintight tunics (short-sleeved, mid-thigh length) & pants -- woven from a variety of special kelp (blues, greens, some browns).  I prefer tight clothing, no loose sleeves or flowy bits, they tend to get in the way of my work.


Do you wear makeup?


I do not.  Cosmetics aren’t a widespread thing in Atlantis, though we do have them, mostly assorted metal oxide powders mixed into waxes or clays.


What is your vocal range? Is your voice distinctive in some way?


A bright tenor, fairly typical for a young Atlantean male.


Do you have any distinctive habits, nervous tics, or mannerisms? Where did they come from, and what causes them? Do other people notice and remark on these habits? Do they annoy you or other people? 


I’ve been told I wave my hands a lot when speaking, which makes me appear agitated.  Since Atlantean language incorporates both vocalizations and hand signals, this is something most Atlanteans do.




Where do you come from?




Have you made any major moves, or do you live in your hometown?


I lived in the city-state my whole life, until very recently.


Do you feel loyal to your country of citizenship? Do you consider yourself patriotic? How do you feel about the government of your country?


The Stylianos family has had a long tradition of maintaining and salvaging Atlantis’ mechano-mystical devices, and has been an important pillar in Atlantean life.  We are proud servants of the city-state and its people, and I am proud to carry on that tradition.  


How do you feel about the place you come from? 


Atlantis is beautiful and wondrous.  It’s seen better times, of course, and there is certainly room for improvement, but I truly do believe it is a great place.


Where is your home town? What was/is it like?


The city-state of Atlantis sits in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, about 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) west of the Cape Verde Plain, 530 kilometers (330 miles) east of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of the equator.  (About 800 miles southeast of Freedom City.) It’s approximately 250 meters (820 feet) beneath the surface -- what you call the Mesopelagic zone -- making it accessible by a wide variety of Surfacer submersible vehicles and robots. The average temperature isn’t that much lower than that of the surface waters (about 60 F/16 C), but the pressure is much greater, around 26 atmospheres, and sunlight is diluted by almost 99% -- our brightest days are comparable to Surface twilight.

To the north of the city are mines, where we dig for copper, gold, nickel, and silver.  To the west and south are a variety of fish farms, and also to the south, closer to the city, are kelp & plankton farms.  (Sunlight does not reach this far down for photosynthesis, but we have growth lamps.)

The city itself is a great circle (radius 3 miles), with a series of ten concentric walls, which get thicker and taller the further out one goes.  The Royal Palace sits in the center, and around it are seven districts. West is the Temple District, with many shrines to Poseidon, Ata-Helios, and Selene.  Northwest is the Theatre District, where dramas, concerts, symphonies, and pageants are held in domed auditoriums, some of which can be filled with air. North is Scholar’s Row, where the schools & colleges congregate, and where most scholars live and work.  Northeast is The Gallery, mostly large outdoor sculpture-gardens, mosaics, and individual or small troupe performers. East and southeast is the Military district, with numerous blocky structures. South is the Commercial or Market district, lined with shops and stalls where an Atlantean can buy anything they could want.  Southwest is Serpentine Alley, so named for the twisting, turning paths caused by damage during the Sinking which was never repaired.


Growing up, were most of the people you knew similar to you, or were you somehow a minority? How did that affect you? 


For the most part, I am a “good” Atlantean.  The Atlantean “national character” tends to be reserved, conservative (almost to the point of rigidity), and proud.  We are a martial people, but not particularly violent -- though we believe in the precise application of force in appropriate situations, we also value peace and friendship, and prefer diplomacy to battle.

We prefer order and predictability.  We eat at the same times every day, and frequently the same foods.  We dress alike, talk alike, and socialize within our own class (though we appreciate it when an upper-class citizen shows a friendly and open manner by fraternizing with the common folk).  We consider loyalty and reliability the highest of virtues, while casting a distrustful eye on anyone or anything not like ourselves. The result is a society with fairly extensive social codes of conduct and unwritten rules for social interaction, extending even to our language and social strata.  Given our rigid, reserved natures, it’s not surprising that many Atlanteans have an ingrained xenophobia, particularly towards Surfacers. We value stability; you are unpredictable, and therefore hazardous.

As in most cultures, our adolescents often run counter to this.  However, the typical rebellious Atlantean teen would still seem calm and cool-headed compared to the typical rebellious Surface Worlder teen.

    Most of this applies to me, though I like to think I am more open-minded and innovative (some would say iconoclastic) than most of my peers.  I am the one who volunteered to go to the surface world and study at Claremont Academy, and look forward to seeing Surfacer magic and technology (which most of my peers dismiss), and how it might be integrated with Atlantean devices.


Is there something you've always been really good at or really bad at? How has that affected your life? 


My talented with mechano-mysticism was evident at an early age -- I took apart and repaired a music box by age three -- and I began receiving both practical education and formal training in those areas when I turned eight.  It has allowed me to see wonders most Atlanteans can only dream of, and opportunities to help my people.


Were there any traumatic experiences in your early years (death of a family member, abandonment, orphaned at an early age)?


No, I have had a blessedly peaceful life.


Briefly describe a defining moment in your childhood and how it influenced your life.


Taking apart and reassembling my mother’s music box when I was three -- thus showing both my curiosity and knack for mechanical devices -- would probably qualify.


What stupid things did you do when you were younger?


I don’t do stupid things.


Where did you go to school? How much school did you have, and did you enjoy it?


A variety of schools in Scholar’s Row in Atlantis, as well as some lessons from private tutors.


Do you have any mementos of your childhood? What are they, and why did you keep them? If you have none, why not?


Yes, an orichalcum multitool.  It’s shaped like a T made from hollow tubes, the three ends can be used as socket wrenches.  Attached to the longer shaft, via tiny clips, are an assortment of chiels, drill bits, and screwdriver heads that can be swapped in.  It was a gift from my father, given on my 6th birthday. It had belonged to his father, and his father before him, and so on; I do not know exactly how long it has been in the Sylianos family.


When did you decide to become a hero? Why? Did anyone influence you one way or another in the decision?


The Stylianos family has always been proud to serve Atlantis, and I am honored to continue the tradition.  If my manner of serving -- going to the Surface World to learn what I can of their magic & technology, and how they can be incorporated into ours -- is somewhat unorthodox, then so be it.


Is the reason you give people for becoming a hero different than your real reason? If so, why?


No, I think I have been reasonably up front about that.


Do you have any deep, dark secrets in the past that may come back to haunt you?


Not in my personal past, no.  I know Atlantis has some dark secrets in its past, so I may be targeted for those.


Do you represent yourself as being different from who you really are? Why?


No, I believe I’ve been quite forthright.  I’ve little need for (nor skill in) deception.


If you do have these secrets, what do you fear would happen if the truth became known? How far would you go to protect those secrets? 


Atlantis was a great country, the greatest this world had ever seen.  But an uncomfortably large number of her people have committed horrific acts in service to her.  When such deeds are uncovered, reparations and restitution should be made, as well as vows to never again commit such unethical or immoral acts.


Do you have any sort of criminal record? If so, is it public knowledge?






What are your biological parents' names? 


Xyles Ambrosio Stylianos (father) and Yrdoste Alexaire Stylianos (mother).


Were you raised by them? If not, please explain and describe who raised you.


I was, yes.


What was their standing in the community? What did/do they do for a living?


Father is a civil engineer (though in Atlantis that also meant doing some military engineering), working mostly on the great walls.  Mother is a biomedical engineer, working on recovered medical devices and prosthetics.


Where are your parents now?


They remain in Atltantis.


Did your family stay in one area or move around a lot?


They were born & lived in Atlantis.


How did you get along with their parents? How do you get along with them now (if applicable).


I got along with them quite well, for the most part.  They both encouraged and nurtured my talents, and while I chafed a bit under mother’s wary eyes, I know she meant well.


How do your parents view you now, or how would they? 


They are proud of me, the work I have done and will do, but also concerned for my safety up here.


Do you have any siblings? If so how many and what are their names? Describe your relationship with them.


Yes, a twin sister, Theodora Aurianna.  She’s far more strong-willed, as befitting for one of her sorcerous talents, and even more rebellious than I.  


What was your birth order in the family?


I was born 23 seconds after Theodora.  (She frequently refers to me as her “baby brother,” even now.)


Where are your siblings now (if applicable)? Do they have families of their own? What do they do?


She also remains in Atlantis, though there was some talk of her visiting Atlit Yam to train with the sew-witches there.


Do you stay in touch with them or have you become estranged?


I would very much like to, but our distance and lack of communication equipment makes that difficult.  I am working on some devices that would allow us to talk -- well, more akin to telepathic communication -- but I still have some ways to go on them.


Do you love or hate one member of the family in particular?


I respect my parents greatly.  I… admire my sister’s talents.


Is any member of the family special to you in any way (perhaps, as a confidant, mentor, or arch-rival)?


I respect both my parents equally, and honor their respective skills.  If I had to choose one, I suppose I would select my father, as my natural inclinations align more readily with his technical skills than with my mother’s medical ones.


Are there any black (or white) sheep in the family (including you)? If so, please explain.


Barbara Ruth, my father’s sister, was moderately skilled at repairing items, but her true talent was in finding them among the ruins, or tracking down Surface World scavengers who’s taken them.  But rather than redistribute them to the people of Altantis, she hoarded them for herself. She wouldn’t even share them with her own family -- not even when her husband, a kelp farmer, lost his arm in a threshing accident!


Do you have a notorious or celebrated ancestor? If so, please explain, including how it has affected your life.


Baelrath Keion Stylianos, a distant cousin, was tricked into aiding the coup that displaced the royal family in the early 20th century (the one that drove Prince Thallor away).  The general who lead it deceived him, leading him to believe it would be a peaceful act, that he merely wanted to gain the king’s attention and convince him to hold off on diplomatic contact with the surface world until their intercontinental conflicts had ended.  Baelrath disabled certain security measures, as well as the palace guard’s weaponry. He was shocked at the slaughter which followed. When Thallor and his allies returned in 1945 to reclaim the throne, he tried to help them, but was killed by the usurpers before he could enact his plan.

On the other hand, there was also Antonios Stylianos, one of the palace armorer’s during that time, who’d helped Prince Thallor escape, and helped him reclaim the throne.


Do you have a partner and children currently? If so, please describe them.


No!  I’m not even out of my teens, and I have a lot of work to do!


If you do not have a partner or children, do you want them someday? How firm are you in your opinion on this, and what might change your mind?


Ask me again in five years.


What type of person would be your ideal mate?


I don’t know… a good study partner?  A skilled lab assistant?




Do you have any close friends? If so, please describe them, and how you came to be close to them.


It would be more accurate to say I have “associates” and “colleagues.”  


Do you have a best friend? If so, how did they become your best friend? How close are you to your best friend?


See above.


If you were to go missing, who would worry about you?


My family -- in addition to my parents, I have a number of aunts and uncles and cousins I keep in contact with.  The Stylianos family is great in both skill and number!


Have you lost any loves? If so, how did it happen, and what did you do?




Do you have any bitter enemies? If so, please describe them and their history with you.


Dakaria, a girl from my military training cohort.  Her grandparents were from a small barbarian tribe that assimilated into Atlantis, but she was enamored by their “old ways,” including a reliance on simple muscle-powered implements.  She seemed to take special pleasure in beating me. Also some “friendly rivals” from school, but they were nothing dangerous. Well, Clydelkis’ dimensional experiments kept backfiring, so I suppose he could pose a threat, albeit unintentional. 


If you have enemies, how do you think they might attempt to work against you in the future?


I wouldn’t call Dakaria my enemy, per se, and I don’t foresee her coming after me.  But, if she did, it would likely be either a direct assault or a crude ambush.


What is the worst thing someone has done to you?


Aside from the repeated physical beatings from Dakaria, I’ve had a blessedly smooth life. 


Where do your loyalties lie? In what order?


Atlantis, the Stylianos family, my parents.  At least, that’s what I’ve been told they should be.


Who or what do you trust the most? Why?


My parents and teachers, for the most part.  I respect their wisdom. And I do trust my sister, to a degree, in that she seems to have a good (albeit wild) heart.


Who or what do you despise? Why?


Wilful ignorance, combat drills, “roughing it,” frivolity.  I have work to do!


What qualities do you admire most in other people? Are these qualities you possess?


A respect for the past (of Atlantis), especially its technomagical wonders, technical skills, and a desire to aid others.  Yes, I believe I have these in abundance.


What qualities do you hate most in other people? Do you have any of those qualities?


Needless violence/cruelty, wilful ignorance, and unreliability.  I try to avoid all of those.


Do you have a secret identity? If so, who knows it? Do you hide it from people who are close to you? Why? 


Not as such, though since I’m largely unknown to the Surface World, and plan to be remaining at Claremont for the immediate future, I don’t believe this will be an issue.


Do you work well on teams and in groups? Are you a leader or a follower?


I’m adept at both team and solo work, and see pros and cons to each.  I have worked as project lead and under others, and was comfortable with both.  However, from what I’ve heard of the Surface World, I’ve a feeling I may find myself in a leadership position, to bring some order to the chaos.


Are you on a super team? If so, how do you get along with your comrades? Do you trust them, or do you have secrets from them?


Not yet, though all signs indicate that I will become part of one, as did King Thesseus, Princess Thetis, and Prince Telemachus when they came to the Surface. 


Are you a member of any church, fraternal organization, club, committee, political party, or other group? How much time do you spend on that?


The Stylianos family has long had some connections with the nobility of Atlantis, as reward for having restored and maintained so much of its infrastructure and technowizardy.  As for churches, while my family and I, like most Atlanteans, ostensibly still worship the ancient gods

of our ancestors — particularly Poseidon, sea-god and patron of Atlantis, Ata-Helios the sun god, and Selene the moon goddess — we are not especially religious, attending only on high holy days, weddings, or funerals.  (We will sometimes swear by the deities, but that’s largely a cultural thing.)




Who are your heroes?


The luminaries of House Stylianos.  Epatoeuns, who developed ways to map the seafloor once Atlantis had sunk, and the ruins of our city.  Aueivokans, who developed the threefold (air-fire-water) engine used in ancient warships. Kinoibios, who pioneered the use of hydrokinetic flow regulators for air-locks and emptying or filling water-tight chambers.  Teptavopos, who developed revolutionary new ways to harness sound. Yttapchos, who helped refine our understanding of astrological resonances, and their influence on our mechano-mystical workings. And many more!


Did you ever become disillusioned with former heroes or idols? If so, why and what were the circumstances?


Those who used their skills for personal gain or destructive ends (as Teptavopos did, after exposure to certain sounds no Atlantean should hear).  I try to learn from their mistakes, and use them as cautionary tales.


Do you like being a hero? If so, what is the most rewarding part? If not, what makes you keep doing it?


I love carrying on the Stylianos name, and working for the betterment of Altantis and her people.  Knowing my work will help Atlantis to survive -- and, eventually, to thrive -- is very rewarding.


Is there anything that would make you give up hero work, or even switch sides?


I may eventually retire from active work, and settle down as an academic, mentoring the next generation of Styliani (and other techno-wizards).  But that is not for many decades!

As for switching sides: no.  Never. Things may happen in Atlantis that I disagree with, but I’d never turn against it, I’d work to make it as great as it should be.


What are your short term goals (what would you like to be doing within a year)?


Learning more about Surface World technology and magic, and how to integrate them with Atlantean techno-magic.  Exploring and developing some of my own theories and ideas.


What are your long term goals (what would you like to be doing twenty years from now)?


Using my new ideas and inventions to improve Atlantis and Atlantean life.


What is your greatest fear? Why? What do you do when something triggers this fear?


Attacks by Lemurians/Deep Ones, and by barbarian tribes.  I think I fear the latter a bit more: they’ve been warped by their own violence and ignorance, not magic or malevolent deities, and so represent a savageness within all of us.


Is there anything you would give you life for? 


Atlantis.  But I hope it doesn’t come to that!


How do you feel about money and material wealth? Do you desire it or disdain it? Are you miserly with what you have, or do you like to share? Is it a mark of success, or a means to an end?


They are a means to an end.  Comfort is desirable, but not excessive luxury.  And comfort is best when shared with like-minded allies and associates.  (The Styliani do know something of social graces, as we still must occasionally cajole the nobility into funding our works.)


How do you generally treat others?


Cooly, calmly, professionally, respectfully.  Until they prove otherwise.


Are you a trusting person? Has your trust ever been abused?


I admit I am not the best with “personal relations” or “social interactions,” but I trust my senses.


Are you introverted (shy and withdrawn) or extroverted (outgoing)? Do you have a lot of self-confidence?


More introverted than extroverted -- I generally prefer the company of technology to people (though do love interacting with fellow technophiles) -- though I do possess an ample amount of self confidence.


How do you act around attractive, available members of your preferred sex? 


The same way I do around unattractive, unavailable members of my non-preferred sex.


What are your most annoying habits?


I’m not aware of any.


Do you feel contempt for any general category of people? Who are they, and why?


Those who disrespect, or would abuse, Atlantean mechano-mysticism.  And those who would act against Atlantis.


What is your favorite food? Do you prefer any particular type of food? Do you take the time to enjoy your food, or do you eat as fast as you can?


Tuna filet wrapped in kelp (a simple staple), and krill (a filling snack).  I usually eat quickly so I can get back to work, but I do take the time to enjoy meals with family or colleagues.

(Atlanteans rarely cook or season our food -- mostly kelp, plankton, fish, and crustaceans -- due to the difficulties our aquatic environment present; most of our dishes are served raw and simply.  However, we do have a tradition of “dry eating” -- typically reserved for special occasions or the upper classes -- where foods are seasoned, cooked, and served in air-filled chambers.)


What is your favorite drink (alcoholic or otherwise)?


I’ve not had anything alcoholic (a rarity in Atlantis anyway due to the problems our environment poses to fermenting), and we don’t have many distinct beverages.  I am curious about a variety of Surface World beverages, though, and look forward to sampling them.


What is your favorite treat (dessert)?


Salmon mousse, served on kelp chips.  It can only be served in “dry eating” events, so I’ve not had it frequently, but it was amazing!  Salmon is a rare delicacy here, and then to have it so airy and light, contrasting with the crispness of dried kelp -- astonishing!


Are there any specific foodstuffs that you find disgusting or refuse to eat?


Mollusks (octopuses, slugs, snails, squid, etc.).  I can’t stand the texture. Though I hear this is common and is something most Atlanteans grow out of.


What is your favorite color? Are there any colors you dislike?


Octarine, a greenish-purple-yellow.  It’s the color I see when I see magical auras.


What sort of music do you like? Is there any that you hate?


    I know an assortment of paeans -- solemn tunes sung in honor or worship of a deity or (more commonly) an ancestor, expressing hope for deliverance from some peril -- that I hum while working, but other than that, I’ve not much ear for it.  I have heard Prince Telemachus is fascinated by the human invention called karaoke, and I am mildly curious about that.

Music was very prevalent on Atlantis, before the Sinking.  Many musical instruments were destroyed during that cataclysm, and most that survived cannot function underwater.  Singing is still popular -- and is now our primary form of musical expression -- though we do have some air-filled chambers where performers using percussion or stringed or woodwind instruments can practice their craft.


If you have a favorite scent, what is it?


The smells of our family workshops: copper and grease, salt and wax, and the sharp, pungent smell given off by our cold forges.


Do you have a favorite animal?


Yes, the marbled electric ray.  I’ve had one as a pet since I was six; his name is Marmo.  Mother says he probably only has a year or two of life left in him, which is another reason I’d like to make some regular return trips back home.


What is your most treasured possession? Why?


The orichalcum multitool I’d mentioned earlier.  It’s very useful, and is a treasured family heirloom.


Do you enjoy "roughing it", or do you prefer your creature comforts?


I definitely do not enjoy “roughing it.”  Give me civilization, and technology, and comfort!


Is there a job or a task you would absolutely refuse to do?


None that I would absolutely refuse to do come to mind, though there are several that I would prefer not to do.  I know where my skills and talents lie, and prefer to be in situations where those can be applied.


Do you consider yourself a spiritual person? If so, how do your beliefs affect your life? How important is it to you?


No particularly.  I know the gods are real and helped the founders of Atlantis, but they have stayed away from us for millennia due largely to The Pact, but also due to our desire for self-sufficiency.  I honor Poseidon, Ata-Helios, and Selene on their high holy days, and may send a prayer to them if working on some mechano-mystical device that touches on their sphere of influence, but otherwise I pay them little heed.


Was your faith influenced or molded by anyone special?


My parents, I suppose.  Many (most?) Atlanteans act the same.  Though of course there are more conservative priests and theologians who point to this decline in religiosity as a sign of the decadence of Atlantean culture, and proclaim that it will lead to punishment from the gods themselves.  No one I know believes in or heeds such warnings.


If you belong to a religious organization, how often do you attend? Do you have a specific place of worship, or friends within the organization? How much do you agree with the beliefs of your organization? 


I go to church with my family on high holy days or on special events (namings, weddings, funerals), but otherwise tend not to bother.


Could you kill? Have you killed?


Atlanteans are a martial people, but not particularly violent — though we believe in the precise application of force in appropriate situations, we also value peace and friendship, and prefer diplomacy to battle. All able-bodied citizens are expected to undergo essential military training for the defense of the realm; while Atlantis has a small standing army for defense against barbarian aggressors and sea-creatures, it can muster a much larger force in a very short amount of time.  This officially starts at age 14, though many games Atlantean children play are streamlined versions of combat drills and other military exercises.

I have participated in such training, and know that there are times when lethal force is necessary.  I have never been in such a situation (and, hopefully, never shall), and so do not truly know if I have that “killer instinct.”


What circumstances led to you forming that conviction, or taking that action?


Atlantean cultural values.


Are there circumstances under which you believe it is permissible to kill? What are they?


To end a person’s suffering.  To preserve your own life, or the lives of loved ones.  To prevent a greater loss of life (assuming there is no other way).


How would you react to watching someone kill another person? Would your reaction be different if the killer was a friend or an enemy of yours? 


If justified, I would note it as such and move on.  If not, if it was an act of cruelty, or cowardice, I would speak out against it.  (At least, I’d like to think I would.) Doesn’t matter whom.


How would you react if something important was stolen from you?


I would work to retrieve it!


How would you react to public humiliation?


With quiet dignity and grace.  And then, work doubly hard to recover from it.


How would you react if a good friend or relative were purposely or accidentally killed? Has it happened to you?


If accidentally, I would work to find out how the accident happened, and ensure it does not repeat to threaten anyone else.  If on purpose, I would seek to find out who and why, and possibly seek retribution.


What do you consider to be the worst crime someone could commit and why?


If your life were to end in 24 hours, what five things would you do in those remaining hours?


Record my ideas for new inventions.  That’s really all I can think of; I don’t often think of my own mortality!




Do you have any special training in your hero skills? If so, where and how did you get it?


I began receiving both practical education and formal training in mechano-mysticism when I was eight, from an assortment of scholars and technicians (many of whom are members of the Stylianos family).


Who taught you the most about your heroing abilities? What was your relationship with that person?


My father.  I respect him for his skill and experience.  He… wishes I did not look outward so much, and remained in Atlantis, focused on maintaining what we have.


Do you have any particularly unusual skills? How did you acquire them?


My skills in mechano-mysticism are rare among Atlanteans -- most can operate the salvaged tech, but not modify or repair it.  I’ve heard Surface World engineers are similarly rare, and that our mix of science and sorcery is almost unheard of among the Surface! 


Do you do something besides hero work for a living? Have you ever done anything else, or do you plan to?


I am still unsure about the “heroing” thing, but I have definite plans for the future.  Which, in case it has not been made clear by now: returning to Atlantis with knowledge of Surface World technology and magic, and how to use them for the betterment of Atlantis.


What is your preferred combat style?


Controlling the battlefield (with holograms and altered terrain), restraining targets, and ranged assaults.  I have no desire to engage in melee!


Have you ever received any awards or honours?


Some minor academic awards in school.  I am certain I shall earn more, but accolades are not why I do what I do.  (Well, recognition is nice, yes, but they’re not the main reason.)


What skill areas would you like most to improve in? Is there anything you can't do that you wish desperately you could?


I definitely need to improve on my arcane and technical skills, for crafting, repairing, and disassembling.  It’s also come to my attention that I need to work on my investigational and observational skills (which I’d eventually work on anyway, as they are used in finding lost tech in sunken ruins).


How do you act around people who are more skilled than you in areas you'd like to improve? Are you jealous, or do you try and learn?


I am eager to learn and see how their knowledges and skills can be applied to my projects.  And if my aptitudes can help them with their projects (and their project is worthy), then I am eager to share!




What is a normal day for you? How do you feel when something interrupts this routine?


As I’ve stated before, Atlanteans tend to prefer order and predictability, and I share that.  As such, I typically go by this schedule:

  • 6:00-6:30am: awaken, wash up
  • 6:30-7:00am: breakfast (often with family), catch up on news & events, last-minute planning for the day.
  • 7:00am-Noon: classes/training (basics and theoretical aspects of mechano-mysticism) 
  • Noon-12:30pm: light lunch 
  • 12:30pm-5:30pm: classes/training (practical aspects of mechano-mysticism)
  • 5:30-6:30pm: homework
  • 6:30pm-7:30pm: evening meal (often with family) 
  • 7:00pm-Midnight: homework, leisure time (alone or with colleagues), or personal projects
  • Midnight-6:00am: sleep

I realize this may need to change based on my classes and activities at Claremont, but hopefully not by much.


Do you have any hobbies, or interests outside hero work? What are they, and where did you pick them up?


Aside from my continued education & training in mechano-mysticism and techno-magic?  No, those keep me quite busy, and happily so!


What do you do for fun?


Tinker.  Dream up new inventions.  


Do you have a costume? What does it look like?


Not as yet, though I am somewhat interested in the concept of power armor, like those worn by Devil Ray and Daedalus.


How do you normally dress when not in costume?


Sandals, short breeches, and a short-sleeved tunic, with a belt and bandolier lined with pockets of various sizes.  All are made of varieties of kelp, or, for fancier dress, the skin & scales of assorted fish.


What do you wear to bed most nights?


Nothing at all!  Though that will likely change when I move into the Claremont dorms.


Do you wear any special jewelry? What is it, and what does it look like?


I do not -- don’t want anything impeding the movement of my hands or fingers while working, or dangling loose which might get caught in something.


Do you have a special place where you keep your valuables?


A small chest that I’d kept under my bed (in Atlantis).  I did not bring it with me to Claremont, and won’t until (unless) I find a secure location for it.


What's your preferred means of local travel? How about long distance?


Swimming, or a variety of high-speed craft.  (I have some ideas on teleporters, but they are far from even testing stages.)




Have you ever made a will, or tried to make arrangements for your death? What provisions did you make? 


No -- such thoughts have not occurred to me!


If your features were to be destroyed beyond recognition, is there any other way of identifying your body?


I’m sure my mother or sister could work out some way.


What would you like to be remembered for after your death?


For having helped Atlantis not just to survive, but to thrive.  For introducing new ideas, new magics, new technologies.


Do you believe you pose a threat to the public? Why or why not?


Only to the ultra-conservative who fear new ideas.


What do you perceive as your greatest strength?


My mind and skills.


What do you perceive as your greatest weakness?


I am not a fighter.  And my elders would say my questioning nature is a flaw, one they hope I will grow out of.


As a player, if you could, what advice would you give your character? Speak as if he/she were sitting right here in front of you. Use proper tone so they might heed your advice...


You’re on the right path: Atlantis and the Surface World should work together, and the “status quo” is not always the right way.  But loosen up: you’re just a teen, you’ve got your whole life ahead of you.


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  • 5 months later...

20Q Interview (with Angelic)

Part 1 here.


Heroditus leaned in a bit, and smiled at her words, feeling an echo of the restoration that such happy thoughts brought to Eira.  “They sound wonderful.  Perhaps I shall make my way out there some time.  To your question, though,” he sat back upright, “at our height we had a countless variety of daimons, of varying levels of complexity and skill.  Most,” he looked to the side, “were made to serve, as assistants, laborers.  Although,” he looked back to her, “I have seen some records indicating that at least a few were generated with their own will, and left to chart their own destiny.  Most all were lost in The Sinking, or through the ravages of time.”  A few click-pops, shifting down, and when he spoke again it was in a more somber tone, “the few that still exist are simple computational and informative assistants, copied over and over and over,” his voice went to a whisper, “and slightly degraded with each iteration.”  His voice rose again slightly, “there may be some more complex Atlantean daimon out there, in some crystal hidden away in an undiscovered outpost,” he looked aside again, “but even if no outside factors have corrupted it, the isolation may well have driven it to madness.”  He looked back to her, “I apologize, this may be difficult for you to hear.  A lighter subject, perhaps: what do you like to do in your leisure time?  For entertainment?


Eira blinked a few times, then said, “I listen to music - a genre called metal.” Her lips curled slightly at the word. “I do not know how much it would appeal to an Atlantean’s senses,” she admitted, “but nothing can match it for its power.” She was silent for a moment at that, as if processing, before she said, “...I could play it for you some time, if you like. I would not want to introduce it to you here. Currently I am reading a book by Astrid Lindgren, writing a keyboard piece to go with one of Astrid’s songs, and working on a neuro-electric interface compatible with metahuman physiology. What about you?” 


“I would like that very much, thank you.  Much of Surfacer music is,” he tilted his head to one side, then the other, “strange to me, but I am open to experiencing new things.  Your interface project also sounds interesting, and I would like to know more,” he tapped his tablet a few times, then looked back up to her, “presuming, of course, that you are willing to share details on that.  And, well, I suppose that answers your question: when not in classes, or working on some assigned project, I undertake my own studies, tinker with my own projects.”  He smiled, though this one seemed more forced than usual, “one of my squadmates, Ben, has been trying to ‘educate’ me on Surfacer culture, getting me to watch movies and video clips, but,” he shook his head, “I much prefer reading through Surfacer technical journals.”  Then, a sigh, a whisper, “there are not enough skilled Atlanteans for us to have technical journals.”  He was silent a moment, then turned back to her, “do you get along well with your squad?”


“Hmph.” Eira scowled at Heroditus, then hissed, “As well as could be expected. Have you ever noticed Orange Squad? We seem to be quite the mix of talents until you read our histories. Children of criminals and conquerors, witches and robots, and all of us placed in one spot where we can be watched easily. Interpersonal friction was inevitable - but can be, I think, eventually overcome. And you, how do you get along with your squad?” 


Heroditus leaned back, as one would from a hissing serpent.  “I confess I have not, though Ben -- the squadmate I had mentioned earlier -- is roommates with one of the members of your squad.  David, I believe, is his name. Ben seems to like your squad, but,” he shook his head and made more click-popping sounds, “I am not sure about his recommendations.  Ben seems to mean well, and is clearly very skilled, but he is by far the most… Surfacer of all the Surfacers I have met.  But my squad, Green squad, also has a mix of talents, and personalities.  I get along well with most, though one has...”  He took another sip from his waterskin, “one became uneasy with me on first sight, though I know not why, and if anyone has spoken with her of it, they have not shared their findings with me.”  He shrugged, “that has not impeded our squad’s ability to work together.  At least,” he scratched his chin, “not yet.”  He glanced down at his tablet, then back to her, “earlier you said you were not sure what you would do when you leave Claremont.  You also mentioned your uncle, who had operated as a hero by the name of Fenris. Do you have any interest in following in his footsteps, operating as a heroine?


“I would not be here otherwise,” said Eira softly. “It would have been easy to build me a body that was purely human, save that it was made from synthetic parts - but I asked, and helped design, powers and abilities beyond baseline humanity. Superheroes have been my second family since I was very small. I could not do otherwise. ” She looked down at the backs of her hands, and began cracking the knuckles on her right hand. “But now that I know how little my opinion matters, who knows?” she asked, her voice sharpening to a cut. “Perhaps I’ll spend all my time listening to metal music and building instead. For now I am Angelic. People are inclined to accept certain imagery as safe and reliable,” she added, “and so ask few questions when they see it. So,” she said suddenly. “What _have_ you heard about me?” 


He was quiet a moment, considering how to reply.  He looked her in the eye and spoke clearly and plainly, “that you are arrogant and cold, and bluntly direct.  That you are an emotionless machine -- or a cyborg with severely impeded emotions -- who looks down on purely organic humans as inferior, both physically and mentally.”  He leaned in a bit, and lowered his voice, “for what it is worth, our interactions on this day have shown me that you are not emotionless, and I appreciate your restraint and confidence.  It is very... Atlantean.”  He leaned back, “as you said, though, our minds change as we age and accumulate knowledge and experiences.  So perhaps, in a few years, or decades, your personality will be different from what it is now.”  He shrugged, “that is the way for all adolescents, is it not?”  His eyes widened a bit, “ah, I did not mean for that to be my next question.  I- hrm,” he looked over his tablet, “you mentioned a ‘Ghost Girl’ earlier.  She is a true ghost, or is that merely a pseudonym?  Have you had many experiences with the undead?


“They reveal their own fears,” said Eira softly. “If I was organic, they would say I was a bitch and leave it there. But a machine intelligence must imagine herself superior, because they imagine themselves inferior. Talos and the Communion, the Curator and the Day of Wrath; all proof to them of the threat posed by machine life. It is all very predictable.” She smiled, a look like a slash across her face. “To answer your question from before, I refer to the heroine Kimber Storm, a Canadian metahuman who attended Claremont in the previous decade. She identifies as a ghost, a psionic-magical remnant of an organic brain. I have seen other ghosts and one vampire, a superhero in Freedom City, but he prefers to keep his identity private.” She folded her hands and studied Heroditus, then suddenly said “Atlantis has its own monsters, does it not? And some of them live here, integrated into dryland society. What do you think about that?” 


“I suppose you have little to fear from vampires.  But, ah,” he made more click-popping noises, “yes, Atlanteans do have our own monsters -- though I hesitate to use that term, as it is broad and imprecise -- and I know of at least one that has come to live up here.  Sea Devil, I believe she is called, also known as Aquaria. She is,” he looked away, made more clicking and popping sounds, unlike others of her kind.”  He looked back to Eira, “I try to judge other sapient beings based on their individual merits and flaws, not presume all members of one society act and think the same.  And she seems to have abandoned some of the,” he tilted his head slightly, bloodier aspects of her culture, and adopted more to Surfacer ways.  But if she had to choose between you and her people, I am not sure which side she would cleave to.”  He looked down at his hands, then to hers, then back to his.  “You said you helped design some of the components of your body, some of its abilities, though I get the impression that you were not the primary designer.  Do you require their permission to continue such tinkering, or are you able to change and develop on your own terms?


Her lips curled in a smile. “Oh, there have been some questions about that. Too many modifications is one reason I’m here.” She rubbed her right wrist, a reflective look on her face. “I can modify my surface as much as I like.” She tapped her earrings and nose piercing, then stuck out her tongue to show the bar through it. “I could probably turn myself into a boy with the right equipment - but then that’s true for humans too, isn’t it?” She grinned. “But deeper modifications usually need...help. I do not know the state of Atlantean medicine, but here on the dryland the most skilled surgeon would shy away from cutting out their own kidneys, or implanting a new arm. My current body was primarily designed by Miss Americana and Dragonfly.” She hmmed. “Permission is an interesting subject. What’s something you _can_ do here that you _could not_ do back home?” Her lips curled again as she added, “And I don’t mean breathe air.”  


“I take it you also do not mean ‘cook food’ or ‘heat metal’,” he replied with a chuckle, “though we do have some air-filled caverns where we could do that.  Mostly reserved for the nobles, though,” he trailed off.  “Hrm,” he stroked his chin with his right hand, “I can experience a wider variety of foods up here, and clothing, and socialize with many different classes of people.  As I said earlier, Atlanteans tend to be quite insular, and rigidly hierarchical.”  He nodded, “it took me off guard, at first, but I have come to appreciate the freer flow of information and things.  It certainly makes some of my studies easier. So what are,” he began, then suddenly stopped, “ah, no, I apologize.  I was about to ask you what some of your favorite foods are, but I would guess that you no longer require such things.  Or,” he looked her over, “or can you derive energy from food?  And if so, what do you like to eat?


“I am a vegan,” said Eira, adding for the Atlantean’s benefit, “That means one who makes the ethical choice to consume only plant matter. I eat only for pleasure - bio-reactors of the relevant size are inefficient at present.” She tapped her throat. “There is a secondary tube that ends in an auto-sealing plastic container. I remove it when I am finished; primarily for compost.” She demonstrated by pulling up her shirt to show the side of her torso, where a scar that looked like the aftermath of a gallbladder surgery curled on her skin just above her beltline. A moment later, she pushed it down again and said, “I like butternut squash soup,” she added, ticking off points on her fingers, and said “cauliflower steak, and vrydolak, it is a Lor dish where vegetable seeds are roasted in rare spices, then eaten like popcorn. What do Atlanteans eat?” she asked. 


“A variety of kelp and plankton, and fish and crustaceans.  Most served raw and with minimal preparation.”  He glanced down at the satchel at his feet, and considered the meal inside.  “Tuna filets wrapped in seaweed is a staple, and krill are a common snack.  Salmon is a rare treat, and one time, at a noble’s ‘dry eating’ event, I had a salmon mousse on crisped kelp chips that was amazing!  Oh,” he snapped his fingers, “that brings to mind another thing I can do up here that I cannot do back home: have a variety of beverages.  The first time I had a soda was... interesting.”  He glanced back at his satchel, down at his tunic, then back to her, “most of our clothing is made from kelp, too.  Your outfit,” he gestured vaguely at her, “is rather eye-catching.  Is this how you normally dress?  If not, what sort of clothing do you prefer?” 


Eira looked down at herself and said, “I own a molecular fabricator and I have great fashion sense. I dress how I want.” She smiled toothily at Heroditus, then added, “This style is called punk - a rejection of mainstream fashions with roots in the 1970s. Back in Sweden my fashion choices were usually more constrained. Family matters. How about you?” she asked. “Are you troubled by our need to drape ourselves in fabrics?” 


He laughed at that, bright and airy.  “No, no, though that was another adjustment for me.  Since Atlanteans are not bothered by the cold, and the environment does not really change much down in Atlantis, we do not have much need for clothing.  We still have some ceremonial garb, of course, and over the past few decades there have been developments in diplomatic outfits, for when we interact with Surfacers, so as not to offend.  Protective outfits, too, for exploring thermal vents, or out on dry land. And armor, for when we must fight.”  He tapped his tablet, scrolled through images of Atlantean wet-suits and armor, “nothing as advanced as the powered armor I have seen up here, though.  In fact,” he stroked his chin with his left hand as he thumbed through the tablet with the other, “I have yet to encounter even stories of such armor, even from Atlantis’ prime.”  He murmured something in Atlantean, then looked back to Eira, “ah, I can look more into that later.  So, fighting: how do you meet an opponent?


“I interface with cybernetic opponents and alter their systems. Organic ones, I punch or kick them.” She smacked one fist against her hand, and went on. “I am strong enough to throw a van or pull an airplane. It does the work.” She reached behind herself, seeming to scratch an itch between her shoulder blades. “In the air, my wings are sharp enough to cut through aviation-grade aluminum, but I would be...reluctant to try that with a human opponent. How about you, do you use gear? You’re not as strong as some Atlanteans I’ve heard of.”


He laughed again, “true, I am not, though stronger than most humans.”  He stretched his arms out wide, flexed, “I can lift 700 pounds over my head, which is about average for us.  But this,” he pointed to his head, “is my greatest strength.  And these,” he lowered his arms and ran a hand over the pouch-lined bandolier slung across his chest.  “I have components for a wide variety of mechano-mystical devices: blasters, illusion-casters, force projectors, alchemick transmuters.  I prefer to study my target first, of course,” he nodded, “figure out their strengths and weaknesses, see if some non-aggressive resolution can be reached, though there is not always time for that.  With Green squad, I alter the battlefield to our benefit and our foes’ hindrance.” He snorted, “working with Green squad has been a challenge, they are far less disciplined than my cohorts back home.  Oh, yes,” he drummed his fingers on the desk, “all able-bodied citizens of Atlantis are expected to undergo some basic military training, for the defense of the realm.  Which, combined with my strength, has been a surprise for some, who see me and expect a frail bookworm!”  He grinned and leaned back a bit, then glanced at the board with the interview guidelines.  “Looks like I have three questions left for you.  Hrm... you are from Sweden, another country, yes?  How is this place different from that one?


That got him a long pause and a blank stare, her eyes seeming to unfocus before she said “Sweden is quieter. There are fewer cars, more people on bicycles and mass transit systems. The days and nights are shorter, but that is only of academic interest,” she added. “I have no circadian rhythm to be thrown off. Americans are much louder than Swedes - you mentioned Ben? He is a very _American_ boy.” She smiled a little at that, then went on, “There are more kinds of people here than there are in Sweden, but they seem to hate each other more - and there are many, many more metahumans.” She seemed to consider for a moment, looking him over, and said, “I know the story of the Queen Mother of Atlantis. Is that common? Was there... scandal?” 


Heroditus had been taking another sip from his waterksin, and sputtered at her question.  “Y-yes, immense scandal!”  He wiped water away from his chin, “Prince Thallor would have been exiled, if he had not already been in exile at the time.  The scandal has settled, as relations between Atlantis and the Surface have slowly warmed over the past few decades.”  He leaned forward a bit, “it also eased relations between our own people: when Theseus wed Marta, who had been his bodyguard, there was less scandal at such cross-class courting, because she was at least Atlantean, and not a Surfacer.”  He cleared his throat, “more Atlanteans are coming around to the idea of our peoples working together, trading and such, but not... being together.  Hrm,” he looked her over again, “you appear very much like a Surfacer teenage female, and I know you do have emotions.  Have you given much thought to... romance?


“Yes.” Eira’s smile curved wider than Heroditus had yet seen. “A Frost Giant boy once propositioned me in Jotunheim, so I had to knock out his front tooth to teach him a lesson.” She tapped her own front teeth for a moment, an oddly metallic sound, then said, “I have seen some fine romances,” she admitted, “but I am...not interested in dating anyone.” She tapped the side of her head, smiling sardonically. “I have programmed responses, but I can - adjust them if I like. What about you?” 


He blinked several times at her, “that is a lot to take in.  But, ah,” he closed his eyes and shook his head, “no, I am also not interested.  My studies and work keep me quite busy, and happily so.  I am not looking for anything, but,” he shrugged, “should something arise, I would not be opposed.”  He tilted his head slightly, probably not.”  He glanced down at his tablet, “alright, that was your last question for me, and now my last question to you.  Hrm.”  He looked her up and down again, tilted slightly to see her sides.  “Where woul- no.  Who- hrm. Ah - is there anything else you would like to reveal?


She stared at him and said “Is that a sexual reference, Heroditus?” She couldn’t keep a straight face for more than a second or two, and grinned at him as she said, “Only that I will be the new host of the morning announcements after spring break, as per the headmistress’s...admonitions to me. And if you are interested, I think you might make an excellent colleague in the audio-visual club…” 


He smiled and laughed, and offered his hand.  “I shall consider that.  And thank you, this has been quite enjoyable.”


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