Blood From A Stone Origins of a Legend image card

Arcencai, A'urei 2845

A young Continuum, only 15 years old, stood at the edge of a cliff overlooking a choppy grey sea. 

He surveyed the waters with a look only a Count’s son could conjure - utter boredom and entitlement. He considered pondering his mortality but decided against it when the sea spray rudely splashed his face, almost causing him to stumble amateurishly off the cliff.

“Enjoying your day off?” came a gruff voice from behind the boy. The young lord didn’t bother turning around, opting instead to pull out an initialled handkerchief from his coat pocket to dry his face (his sister had embroidered it especially for their father, but he had since taken it from the Count’s study).

“I wasn’t aware I had a day off,” he replied, narrowing his eyes at the crashing waves as if daring them to try that kind of foolishness again.

“Exactly,” came his mentor’s voice, annoyingly chipper in spite of the dreary weather they were having. Clearly, he did not understand the complexities required of an assassin. “I was making a joke.”

Master Ravencroft was a tall, well-defined man. If he had been dressed in a worsted woollen suit it would be easy to mistake him for a movie star (his hair certainly assumed he was one). But the man seemed to make it his mission to wear the tackiest of dark purple fabrics instead. Continuum couldn’t stand to be next to him sometimes.

Realising Master Ravencroft would not leave him to brood mysteriously in peace, Continuum spared him a glance. His mentor, infuriatingly, had an amused look on his face and the young lord felt his facade of poise begin to splinter. 

He turned his attention back to the ocean, straightening his back to mimic the important stance of his father. “I was under the impression that Guild Masters were serious people.”

A rough hand slapped his back with a hearty chuckle. “Only the boring ones,” he said with a wink. Continuum tried to ignore the sting that was beginning to spread under the layers of clothes he had specifically worn to prevent such a thing from happening. He made a mental note to double the amount of garments he had on next time. 

“I suppose you want me in the training arena,” the young lord sighed. He was far too put together to tussle with a group of wild warrior trainees, which was why he was out here in the first place. When he faced his mentor, he hoped Master Ravencroft would pick up on the discomfort woven in his features. 

The Guild Master regarded him for a while longer than usual, and Continuum felt the wings of hope begin to take flight, but then that amused look was back and his hope was clipped, plummeting in the depths of himself.

“You’re too strait-laced, Erasmus,” he said.

The facade shattered.

Lord Continuum, not yet a Count but aware of the title he was destined to inherit, boiled. 

“Don’t call me that!” he shouted (most undignified, but Master Ravencroft had a knack for unravelling all the careful seams he kept trying to stitch).

“There he is! There’s my apprentice!” Ravencroft smiled, sharp teeth unnaturally bright against the grey backdrop of the sky. 

Continuum openly glared at him, too angry to be ashamed at how easy it was for him to snap. 

“You will address me as Lord Continuum or you will not address me at all,” he said, trying to regain some of the composure whipped away by the wind that was picking up.

Now, there are a few things one must know about  Guild Master Ravencroft to understand why the man did not immediately scold the little Lord for his behaviour as he should have:

The first is that Master Ravencroft was an assassin. The assassin, in fact. If he were to lose his temper it would not result in a scolding, but rather in the taking of Erasmus Continuum by the collar of his pretentious coat and tossing him into the waves below to cool him down. 

In other words, he had learnt to control himself, and as such, was heralded. 

The second is that Master Ravencroft knew the little Lord's father. Count Anselm Continuum was an impressive man - it was near impossible for anyone to live up to his greatness. They were close friends and this was the reason he had agreed to mentor the boy in the first place. 

But, since he knew the man that Continuum desperately wanted to be, he could not help but make allowances for him. 

Master Ravencroft knew a thing or two about impossible weights. 

And the third is that the Guild Master felt pity for the boy named Erasmus. It was a fine name for a gentleman but not one for a child. It was the young lord's greatest embarrassment - and Ravencroft did feel partially responsible for such embarrassment since his name was leagues more desirable than his apprentice's. It must not be easy having to be constantly reminded of such a thing (at least, that's what the Guild Master thought. And for as long as he lived nobody pointed out that 'Ben' was as normal a name as one could have. They all feared being at the business end of his blade). 

Instead of sending the boy to his dorm, Master Ravencroft folded his muscled arms across his chest and gave Continuum a familiar look. The boy groaned.

“I would much rather clean the halls or write an essay,” he pleaded, his face sagging into a mournful expression. 

Master Ravencroft did not concede. “You know what happens when you behave like that, kid.”

The boy sighed the kind of sigh of a much older man. His shoulders slumped as he followed his mentor along the path back to the training arena. Continuum looked longingly at the portal discs lying in the sand begging to be activated, but Master Ravencroft insisted walking was a much better way of getting around the island. He also had ‘much better ways’ when it came to training. They often practised his brutish fighting techniques, but when forced to do it out of punishment, it was much more unbearable. 

“Can we at least do it properly this time?” he asked, already knowing the answer. 

“We are doing it properly,” came Master Ravencroft’s standard reply. “And by that I mean-”

“There is no way to do it properly,” Continuum finished for him. Once again he felt anger stirring in his chest, though this time he kept it to himself. Lashing out was a Gladiator thing, not an Assassin’s. 

They walked in silence for a while. An uneasy silence - the kind that occurs only when one is waiting to be reprimanded, and the other is thinking of what to say. 

Continuum rubbed the handkerchief between his fingertips, feeling the bumps of the embroidery and wishing he was studying academics like his father instead. 

A memory crept to the surface of his mind. 

In it, he was leaving for Arcencai in Guild Master Ravencroft’s private seacraft, his parents and sister at the docks to see them off.

“Take care of my son,” his mother had said to Master Ravencroft, who held her hands and promised.

“Turn him into a strong Warrior,” his father had said, “Make him like you.”

Master Ravencroft had laughed, deep and loud, and Continuum winced. He remembered how he’d begged his father to study instead, so he could take over the family business, but his father had made him conjure shapes from the shadows and told him he was destined for something else. 

“He’ll be the best,” Master Ravencroft had answered, slapping him on the back and squeezing his shoulder. Continuum felt the building dread reach its peak in that moment. 

The memory faded from his mind as they neared the academy; the section for the Assassin trainees looming high and ghostly in the murky light. Continuum felt a little comforted by it. At least his school knew what it meant to be an Assassin.

He felt the firm hand of his mentor on his shoulder, and then he was jerked in a different direction. They were heading for another part of Nexus Edge. 

“Are we using the main arena this time?” he asked, scrunching up his face at the thought. It was indecently loud and stuffy, and Continuum imagined the state of his clothes in crystal-cut clarity after training was over. The image was enough to cause even the most genteel person to shudder puerilely.

“No. The Gladiators’,” Master Ravencroft replied stiffly.

Continuum laughed bitterly. He knew it. He knew it. Guild Master Ravencroft was no Assassin. “My father will be most disappointed,” he spoke, not thinking about what he was saying.

Master Ravencroft let go of his shoulder and raised an eyebrow. “Oh yeah?”

“Yes,” he said, a peevish smile splitting his face, “He thought his friend was an assassin - not a joke.” 

They passed numerous Gladiator students idly chatting and participating in low-stakes roughhousing. When they reached the arena, Master Ravencroft’s sword was out of its scabbard. 

The blade was a deep purple - almost black - and so sharp Continuum couldn’t look at it for longer than a second, in case it could cut him just by viewing it. 

“Clear out,” Master Ravencroft ordered the few students and their mentors who were practising blocks and attacks. Continuum didn’t approve of his savage shout, but he had to admit it was sort of impressive how no one protested. The Warriors dipped their heads to the Guild Master as they scurried outside. 

“A joke,” Master Ravencroft repeated when they had the arena to themselves. It was larger than the one in the Assassin’s section, and sandier. Other than a few boulders and rocks it was barren. Circling the training space were grandstands that towered high enough that Continuum had to crane his neck to see the tops of them. They were decorated with colourful triangular flags, strung around the arena as if what was about to happen should be viewed by hundreds of people. 

The boy gulped. 

Master Ravencroft held the sword in front of himself. He breathed deeply, his brown eyes closing as he focused. 

“You think Assassins are graceful,” he stated. “You think the other warrior classes are inferior for their supposed lack of that.”

Continuum balled his hands into fists. “I’ve never said-”

Before he could finish, Master Ravencroft opened his eyes and moved violently. His sword struck the nearest boulder and for a moment, Continuum didn’t see anything. But then, as his mentor returned to his starting position, he heard the grating sound of stone sliding against stone as the boulder, slashed diagonally across, broke apart. 

His heartbeat quickened. If his mentor could do that to a chunk of rock… the grisly details of what he would do to a person flashed through his mind and he trembled.

“Was that graceful?” Master Ravencroft asked, holding his sword at his side. 

Continuum wasn’t sure. His form was perfect, but the act itself… 

“It’s not about grace,” Master Ravencroft said and motioned the boy over to the destroyed halves of the boulder. The young lord found the stone cut impossibly neatly as if it had been merely paper. A perfect slice. 

“It’s about precision.” 

He looked up at the man built like a Gladiator and saw… elegance. Not the kind he’d been raised in, no, it wasn’t like that at all. Master Ravencroft stood perfectly upright, his waiting expression resting securely on his face. 

His breathing, his stance, his calm but commanding presence… he was aware of every part of him, and it made him elegant.

Continuum refused to back down. 

“That was your sword,” he said flippantly.

His mentor twirled the blade and replaced it in its scabbard. “We are one and the same,” he said. “Just like how your shadows are part of you.” 

Continuum scoffed. “The shadows aren’t mine. I just control them.”

Master Ravencroft, vexingly, smirked. “Then you are the one who is not a true assassin.”

The young lord’s anger bubbled to the surface and he held out his hand, palm facing the dampening sky. His thin eyebrows set low over his eyes and he called them. The shadows. 

He could feel the black Sparx energy pull them towards him - and not the easy ones like the shadows cast by Master Ravencroft and himself - the darkest of darks that wrapped themselves up in the world. The edges of the trees, the corners of the stands, the thin lines that ran under the strung-up flags. He pulled and pulled until they melted together in his palm. 

Continuum closed his fist around the squirming mass of black and squeezed. They changed shape under his command and when he opened his palm, an inky ghost of a sword swirled above it. 

Master Ravencroft cracked the tiniest of smiles. “Do you feel it?” 

Continuum grit his teeth and lowered his stance, knees bending as one leg pushed back. The shadow sword hovered above his palm, waiting for his instructions. 

Master Ravencroft stepped to the side, revealing a jagged rock near the middle of the arena.

“There’s your target, Erasmus.”

Continuum exploded.

He pushed his hands out and screamed, the sword flying with deadly accuracy straight at the rock. It burst upon impact, pieces of terracotta ricocheting around the arena. Master Ravencroft moved quickly, dodging the sharp remnants, but Continuum wasn’t prepared. A particularly large chunk flew right at him, hitting him squarely in the stomach. He fell backwards, scuffing his tailored pants and ruining his coat. The shadows broke apart, scattering back to their homes. 

Continuum lay there, sprawled on his back. His breaths were rapid and his entire body ached unnaturally. Master Ravencroft walked over, bending forward to grin down at him. 

“If you could have seen yourself you’d be horrified,” he said, having the audacity to chuckle. 

The boy grabbed a handful of loose sand and flung it at him. Master Ravencroft angled his body slightly and it missed him entirely, falling back down onto Continuum. He felt the sting of the sand hitting his face and barely bothered shutting his eyes against it. 

“How do you feel?” his mentor asked, the laughter leaving his voice. The smile remained, though. 


“Screaming will do that to you,” he replied. 

He’d screamed? No wonder his throat felt raw. 

Master Ravencroft helped him up. Continuum dusted himself off with grazed palms and looked at the mess of rocks around them. 

“I did that?” He could scarcely believe it. The shadow weapons usually just pinned his peers to the walls or sliced up his fruit when he couldn’t be bothered to fetch a knife. 

But this disarray before him felt alien. 

Assassins danced when they attacked. They moved like performers, expertly answering their cues. Their ambushes were silent and orderly.

Master Ravencroft patted his shoulder. “That was raw power,” he said, “Use your rage to your advantage.”

Continuum shook him off, frowning again. “That’s what fighter factions are taught.”

His mentor gestured around the room. “We’re Warriors, Erasmus. We must learn from everything.”

The sky was a thick grey blanket as the two resumed their starting positions. Master Ravencroft displayed again and again that his unmatched force resulted in the neatest of endings. Continuum could not understand how that was even possible. It infuriated him to no end, especially when he couldn’t match the man’s results.

He tried to break one of those jagged rocks again using a more refined attack, but the shadow sword barely made it through the stone. 

He was frustrated. 

By the time the first drops of rain touched his hair, he had been knocked over a total of thirteen times by his mentor. His shoes were torn and his coat had long since been discarded, lying crumpled in a heap that would incense his mother if she could see it. 

"I want you to find your anger again, Erasmus," Master Ravencroft told him. "Cut this boulder in half. No splintering pieces, no rough edges. A neat, precise cut. An Assassin’s cut." 

Continuum wiped the rain mixing with the sand on his face off with his sleeve. He called the shadows, drawing the black Sparx energy from the island, and they came.

"Find your rage," Master Ravencroft said from beside him. "Don't let it consume you, let it move you." 

Continuum felt the blood and sweat drip from his hands. Mud caked the cuffs of his pants and his hair, wet with rain, was plastered to his scalp.

If his father saw him… if anyone saw him…

Continuum felt shame, and cold, and that feeling wound itself around his organs until it formed anger. He pushed it up, through his veins, through to his palms, and fired the sword. 


The young lord towelled his hair dry in the lounge of Guild Master Ravencroft’s home. He had never been inside the Warriors Guild before, and it disappointingly did not live up to his expectations. Every surface was an archive of Master Ravencroft’s past, the corridors and spiral staircases leading up to the home displaying the same of other Legends. But it was so cluttered and ancient - not at all the home of a Guild Master. Even the cloth he had been given was rough from years of use. 

Master Ravencroft entered the lounge and passed a steaming mug to the boy. Continuum bit his tongue, grateful for the warm cocoa but annoyed that he was being treated like a child. Which was to say, pitied. 

“Drink up,” his mentor ordered. “And keep by the fire. I’m sure the rain soaked you to your bones.” 

Continuum waited for him to leave again before downing the cocoa, not caring that it scalded his tongue. He was so empty, so tired from the day’s training. If it wasn’t for the slate-like rain muddying the arena and making it difficult to stay standing he was certain they would still be out there. 

His throat burned as he shifted to rest his back against the fireplace walls. The fire crackled softly and he breathed deeply, closing his eyes. 

He had failed.

His failure spooled around his stomach, twisting and squeezing until it was all he could feel. He knew he wouldn't have been able to slice that boulder, but it still exasperated him that he hadn’t been able to perform the cut. 

The shadow sword broke upon the boulder’s impact, sending him toppling forward in surprise. 

“I told you!” he had screamed, face flushed, “I’m not a fighter! I’m an assassin!”

He had felt so self-righteous, too. This brute strength, the sudden violent movements - assassins weren’t like that. He knew that at only 15, how did the Guild Master not understand?

As if thinking about the man looped a thread around him and yanked, Master Ravencroft re-entered the room, this time carrying a long black box. 

Continuum didn’t concern himself with fixing his posture. 

Not that his mentor cared - he was just as slovenly off the battlefield.  

Master Ravencroft sat in front of him, legs crossed, and opened the sleek black lid. “This was my first sword,” he said, cradling the remains of the blade. It was shattered into three parts, the metal scuffed and damaged beyond recognition. 

“That’s a sword?” Continuum pulled a disgusted face. “It looks like scrap.”

If his father heard how he was talking to the Guild Master he doubted he’d be welcomed back home. But, as expected of him, Master Ravencroft simply laughed. 

"You're fortunate enough that you're able to make a new sword in an instant," he said with a proud grin, clicking his fingers together in emphasis. 

It wasn't that easy but Continuum felt his mentor’s praise mend parts of him and that spool loosened.

He shifted closer to the box and peered inside. The velvet lining was dark and soft and he wondered why Master Ravencroft would take such care of this broken weapon when his own home was on the brink of disarray.

"It's a reminder," he said, effortlessly reading his thoughts in the way his mother often could. "A reminder that force isn't everything. It's a large part of it- pure power always is -but the secret that makes these moves an Assassin’s is restraint."

Continuum tilted his head. Restraint? Didn't he have that already? Wasn't he poised and tactful and didn't he keep his stronger feelings to himself? 

He opened his mouth to speak but Master Ravencroft held up a hand. 

"You've done a lot of talking today, Erasmus. It's time you listened." 

He told the boy old stories of battles and how the Legendary Assassins focused their strength to deliver their precise blows. He spoke of breathing techniques and meditation, and Continuum felt this was the training a Gogi went through, though he never spoke it. 

Master Ravencroft’s voice was deep and booming, but it never felt like a shout. He was loud, but he was controlled when he needed to be, and Continuum knew he would drive himself mad trying to understand how such force could be woven into elegance. 

"You're far too focused on the aesthetics of it all, Erasmus," he continued. "You have unimaginable power within you. If you don't shy away from it, you could be a Legendary Warrior.” 

His eyes studied him more intently than he’d ever been looked at before. “I told your father I'd make you the best, but I can only go so far without your help. If you truly want to continue in the way you have been, then this is where we must part ways." 

Continuum squirmed under his level gaze. The quiet between them was a thick counterpane, with only the sounds of the rain battering against the windows to relieve it. 

In the end, he couldn’t bear the silence any longer. 

"You're giving up on me?" He blurted out.

Master Ravencroft shook his head. "I can only teach you what I know. And if this knowledge is not something you want, I will find you a teacher who can show you other ways."

Continuum ripped his eyes from his mentor’s and bored holes in the black box. This was what he had wanted, wasn't it? He could leave this wild man and start a life better suited for him. He could become the assassin he always envisioned. 

But the words were stuck in his throat and he felt foolish tears collect in the corners of his eyes. 

"You don't have to decide now-"

"No!" He interrupted, the tears falling onto his pale cheeks. He wiped them away furiously. 

The young lord struggled to piece together the quilt of feelings lying tattered in himself. He hated this kind of fighting style, hated not being good at it, but by Lumina - he had to know. 

"I- I-," he stammered, frayed ends of undignified emotions fluttering, "I want- I want to..." He pressed his lips together and hung his head. "...I'm sorry." 

Master Ravencroft knew the little lord as if he were his own kin, but even he gaped at him in surprise. "You're… you're sorry?" 

Continuum clenched his fists and shifted so he sat with his legs folded underneath him. He bowed his head deeply, squeezing his eyes shut to trap the remaining tears. 

"I am!" He yelled, fighting to keep his voice from wavering. "I want to learn! I want to be the best assassin!" His voice cracked as the thunder did outside. "And I want to be taught by you!" 

He heard his not-yet-deep voice bounce off the walls and cringed, despising how raw he was being. 

Restraint. He had to work on that. 

And then he felt a rough clap on his shoulder. Master Ravencroft’s hand was warm, warmer than the fire blazing brightly behind him, and Continuum looked up to meet his mentor's gaze. 

"Well then," the man said, a burly smile stretching across his face. "Someone's gotta wake up bright and early tomorrow. We have a lot of work to do, young Erasmus!" 


And work they did. 

Day in and day out, Continuum built up his strength, built up his innate power, and focused his energy on his performance instead of how he was perceived. His anger moved him, and soon, he didn’t need to be angry to move. 

His shadows sliced through boulder after boulder, effortless and elegant and by the time he graduated, Master Ravencroft saw the man he would soon become: no longer just the inherited title of 'Count', his student would be the greatest Guild Master in Assassin history. 

He had watched with unadulterated pride as Erasmus Continuum took his place as a Warrior of Lumina, an Assassin of the Guild. And when the young man met his gaze, he grinned back, a mirror of his own expression.

"Thank you," he had said to him afterwards. "Everything I am… it is because of you."

And Master Ravencroft laughed, the sound rumbling through the crowds. "No, my boy," he said, a twinkle in his eye, "Everything you are is because of you." 

Continuum didn't know if he believed him, but as with the countless times before, the faith his mentor had in him stitched him up tight until he was certain he would never break again. 

He threw his arms around him, not caring that his sister snickered at the childish way he expressed his gratitude, not caring that his parents watched on with amusement, and not caring that his suit was getting crumpled in the other man's embrace.

Once, he had thought that to be an assassin meant he had to keep every part of him in order, down to the very last button on his coat.

But Continuum realised he did not worry nearly as much about those things as he had in the past. He was more than this filigree.

"I guess I just had to find out who I was first, huh?" He had said as the Guild Master clapped his back (the gesture hadn't hurt in years) and released him to the well-wishes of his old schoolmates. 

"I'm glad you did, Erasmus," Master Ravencroft replied. "You're going to make an excellent mentor yourself one day."

Continuum, no longer sulky at the use of his first name, felt his expression soften. Master Ravencroft really held him in high regard, didn’t he? 

Though he wasn’t as brash as his former mentor, he was braver in his methods now. His shadow weapons no longer burst as soon as they touched their targets, his tailored outfits had been swapped for something easier to move in (though, just as flattering), and he was comfortable with his looser definition of what it meant to be an Assassin of the Guild. 

Once, he had wished for a different path. A pristine upper-class role fit for a pristine upper-class man. He’d wanted to be someone like his father.

But now, the life he had longed for paled in comparison to the genuine strength that came from embracing his true self.

Erasmus felt the Warrior calling deep in his bones, permeating every cell and each blood vessel. It wasn't any of the stuff he had thought it to be, it was deeper than that. It was his very essence.

He smiled broadly at the world before him and hoped, for its own sake, that it was ready for him.


Guild Master Count Continuum
Guild Master Ravencroft
Count Anselm Continuum
Countess Adeline Continuum
Lady Ebba Continuum


(not mentioned by name)