"There's little that man can do to quell the darkness in their hearts. Some find solace in it. Others find their destruction. While yet others, believe that this is the only natural part of our entire being..."
MARITAL STATUS: Single. SEXUALITY: Questionable. OCCUPATION: Weapon Smith & Fighter's Guild Associate Council member.
LIKES: Wine, cigarettes, weapons, smithing, dark magic, beer, kids, stories, Fell Knights DISLIKES: Those without a code of honor, those who hurt children
PARENTS: Eriks Cassul and Selene Cassul SIBLINGS:Rictor Cassul and Seloria Cassul
There are two distinct and contrary layers of Aspel's personality, the easily viewable side and the one not.
The 'outer self', the one most commonly displayed to the world around her. This side smiles effortlessly, lets problems slide from her shoulders like water rolling off leaves, appears pleased at most times, is easy going, adaptable when trying to figure out new solutions, believes in others abilities and could even potentially be described as optimistic or cheerful in some instances. She won't shy away from new challenges when faced with them and isn't afraid of getting her hands dirty, these two things combined tends toward making her appear helpful to some degree. There is a level of assumed loyalty with her guild mates and Aspel has never done anything to bring such a notion into question.
Aspel's 'Inner self' is dubious of most things, regularly taking the world and it's stories with a grain of salt. She found a smile to be an easy tool to cover any negative thoughts up. This isn't because she inherently distrusts people or the things around them but because she is realistic and recognizes that people do not always have the keenest perceptions of things when they first interact. Aspel is damaged and struggling. She's never come to fully realize where and how she fits in with the world around her, even though she's tried. Due to her issues with finding a place to really call home, a place and people to call her own, her loyalty above what it takes to keep her neck out of hot water is rather, lacking.
There also comes issues with not wanting to take drastic risks or commit to any one thing as she's been left emotional burned and scarred by several things in her past. However, even with those problems, she still endures, the lessons learned have only increased her adaptability, even if those issues have made her even more unsure of what her goals should be or even where her loyalties should truly lie. Regardless, Aspel still presses forward, attempting to find her way and attempting to do "the right thing", whatever that means. Maybe she's just stubborn, maybe she's not ready to give up this struggle, but even if she's not entirely sure what's really wrong and what's really right, she's trying to atone for what she believes she's done wrong, she's trying to figure out a path that seems right to her.
Aspel is fighting herself and her own bad decisions, she’s fighting the negative perceptions of housing darkness inside.
Themes~: Light/Dark, Sin/Salvation, Good/Evil, Mentor/Student, Protector/Protecting everyone, Internal vs External, Can’t tell a book by it’s cover, repenting, past horrors, addiction, acceptance/tolerance/disowning, trust issues (self and others), perceptions of reality.
Aspel stands a bit on the tall side in comparison to the average woman at 5'9" (175.25cm). Her hair tends towards a reddish tint but it's not unusual for it to appear dark with soot and grime from a long day smithing. However, grime discoloring her skin from work, seems to only make bright blue eyes stand out even more. Clothing can easily vary from day to day depending on required duties. The smith commonly wears tight, form fitting clothing to lessen chances of it getting caught on things, ripped or easily burned while she works. This of course shows off the muscle she's built from years of dedication in the forge and on the battlefield with her connections to the Fighters Guild. However, her clothing choices from day to day and grooming wouldn't stand out much more than any other person who endures a manual labor based profession.
However, when Aspel takes the battlefield, it is a different story entirely. With her role of Sentinel, she's learned the value of a suit of armor, and hers rings true to the stories of The Knight in shining armor. Personally, handcrafted from one of the lightest, but still as strong as steel, metals as she has been able to find, the suit of pure Mithral shines brilliantly and never loses its luster. Additionally, since it is lighter than the standard steel it allows her to move quicker than one in full plate would be expected capable of.
Aspel was born into a family well known for its many generations of dancers, knights and holy knights, in Kerwon, a continent away from Emillion. With a large immediate family, along with an even more extensive extended family living easily within distance for regular visits, the Cassul household was always busy and filled with life and the Cassul name was largely known throughout much of the land they inhabited, protected and served as a family of power, honor and strength. The household was warm, welcoming but not lacking in tradition and structure. Unfortunately, tradition would be what played most into Aspel's personal downfall.
From a young age Aspel was expected to carry on the family tradition with her siblings, playing into the roles pre-established for them by their seniors. This of course meant, that from a young age, Aspel’s mother began to impress upon her the importance of dance and the matters of importance in that career path. However, even with that, being raised in a household where this was the expected norm, Aspel never completely took to the notion and the practices associated with it. In fact, she often found her gaze wondering over the fields and eyes resting longingly on the boys of the family (cousins, uncles and other relations) that gathered to train and practice on their Knight work.
This would not go unnoticed by one particularly perceptive uncle. How much of a blessing of curse this would prove to be in the future was all a matter of debate. Uncle Verrick, did what he found to be right at the time and began offering to look after young Aspel, taking her on long walks and bringing her to spend time with him as he worked on his weapons, sharpening, cleaning and repairing them as the two spoke in low voices. Aspel was unsure what to make of being dragged around by an uncle who, she appreciated, but had never spent extensive time with until he expressed his observations of her. How he could tell she longed for something more, how her gaze lingered over the swordplay and shining armor with desire and a repressed passion for something else, something that she wasn't getting with the training she was beginning to endure under her mother's loving and watchful eye. At first she was stuck speechless by his bold, and some might say brash, move and explanation, but Verrick was nothing if not a strong and even tempered man who had been taught by life that there were women warriors that could rival if not outright defeat even the strongest man alive. Verrick made an offer, on that first day, that if Aspel wanted to learn more, that he would teach her slowly, bit by bit what he knew and other skills linked to smithing and they would start the next day. Verrick offered her an opportunity for more, if only she was brave enough to take it.
With no small amount of trepidation Aspel found herself at her uncle's doorstep the next day, mind eager to learn but frantic of the consequences for being caught at the same time. That would be the first day Aspel moved to take fate into her own hands and perhaps, the first move in the beginning of her downfall.
The secret lessons would continue for years, bits and pieces slowly being gathered together, cumulating in a young girls head as it mixed and clashed with the foundation her mother was attempting to lay for the beginning of a Dancer.
It wasn't until she was fifteen and faced with undergoing proper, formal beginning of real training to become a dancer that Aspel finally had enough and threw off the shrouds she had used to conceal her slow lead in to Knighthood that her uncle had established and worked with her towards over the years. That was the year Aspel denounced her progression into the profession of dance and declared herself destined for Knighthood.
Her mother was shocked and saddened, feeling a failure to her daughter and as if her role as mother had been handled improperly over the years. Her father on the other hand was outraged and angered by his daughter striking out in such a manner. Knighthood was man's work. However, Aspel stood firm and unrelenting on her stance of the path she was going to take. Eventually, her father begrudgingly agreed that she was allowed a shot, and if she didn't make it in that one shot, she would understand why Knighthood did not suit her and would not.
That one shot, was all she needed. Aspel launched into the training and while she was taunted, teased and treated harshly for her decision, she still aggressively pursued the path, as she was half driven by desire for a new chance and different path in life than what she'd always been told she would be and half to simply prove she was capable and the tired, dated traditions were wrong and malicious in how family affairs were handled. Aspel became a Knight, not only for herself but also for any other woman of the Cassul bloodline that might have ever desired something else, something more than tired and outdated beliefs and traditions, even if it did constantly frustrate her father and upset her mother. Thanks to her uncle and her aggressive approach to training, she devoured the course material, quickly catching up to others in her age group regardless of the put downs and harsher treatment she garnished due to those steeped in tradition trying to drive her out of 'their' class.
While Aspel strove and excelled at becoming a Knight, actual Knighthood showed her a much different side of the life she had previously believed to be much grander than the reality. The Knights were bogged down with law, regulations and duties that she didn't always agree with and for the first time in years, Aspel found herself struggling, seconding guessing her place in the world for the second time in her life. The mentality and mindset of dancers, even of one married to a man of law, sometimes blatantly contradicted the lifestyle and loyalties a Knight was required to have. The lawful abiding ways, the strict adherence to codes of conduct, caused Aspel to stumble and left her feeling more often than not that she was barely getting things right. Over the course of years that she served as part of the Knights she found herself at odds with the elder Knight council, being reprimanded on more than one occasion but thankfully never doing anything drastic enough to warrant much more than harsh words or extra training.
This would lead to its own set of troubles as Aspel strained to balance between the world of beliefs she was raised in and those which she was being taught. A change in mindset, actions and even some level opinions, would be required to truly fit in with the sect of Knights and Holy Knights her family had become well known for. However, Aspel was not that sort, and when a strange Knight wondered into the local town, that was when things started going downhill much quicker than ever expected.
The stranger, oddly enough, seemed to have a strong yet gentle set of beliefs. Jead Monaco, a Knight that hailed from a far away land, he was gifted with a reassuring disposition, quiet and accepting. He had a steady eye and a warm smile, a humble confidence that even the most assured may find alluring, never mind a confused early twenty something that had no idea where her place in the world was, or could be. Jead's silver tongue tempted and lured young Aspel with the promises of understanding, of fitting in and running among a pack of those who could relate to her and adhere to similar beliefs. They could band together. The group could change the world, and make it a better place for all who lived; they would be legends.
Aspel couldn't help but buy into the man's words, falling for his simple truths, showing her another side of a world that had been nothing but structure and tradition and she found herself quickly falling into his promises and beginning to abide by his ideas with little to no resistance.
Of course, her mentor in Knighthood frowned upon such an interaction and her father all but forbade it, knowing that if he pushed that far he might very lose Aspel to the stranger from another land. Unfortunately, even with his best efforts, Aspel was sold to the promises made in secrecy and left the Cassul home. She lied, claiming it was time needed to prove her worth, to show how well she could uphold the family name and find a way to bring them all a greater sense of honor, to prove herself worthy of the Cassul Knighthood that the family was so well known for.
And on some level, in her head and heart, she was planning on doing that by meeting Jead in the woods after leaving. Not far out she joined up with his group, agreeing to travel with them and learn from what the few older members had to teach. Jead had made so much sense, sharing with her sides of the world and different patterns of thought and belief that made more sense than what she knew that this had to be right, it had to. This was the beginning of her journey down the path to being a Fell Knight. A path that was both filled with fear and anticipation because if Jead believed these were the actions they had to take, and he had made so much sense already, clearly, it must be right. Aspel could feel it in her heart, Jead had to be right.
A month into traveling with the group, Aspel pledged into their services, and took on the mark of The Onyx Guard. Discarding her former armor and sword at the first chance obtained, Aspel took firmly to a pitch-black suit with the groups’ symbol, a central design of the breastplate, and a hammer naturally. The years working metal with her uncle lent itself to Aspel having a strong arm and understanding how and where to strike in armor and on bones to disable and dismantle quickly. Especially, when combined with the power of the Fell Knight class she rabidly delved into with a renewed sense of self worth and ambition.
The group followed what Jead had laid out to them, Knights and others doing the dirty work, taking care of the tasks that others couldn't find the courage or strength to do. It was thrilling, exhilarating and being the law, while also working around it, was a rush for Aspel. Jead always knew how to spin each and every mission they ran, how to work everything they did into some grander scheme of how they were bettering the world. All the while, with a slow and steady hand, Jead pushed each member closer to the moral guides he needed them to be at in order to obtain what he really sought.
It would take years of infatuation before anything would start to seem wrong to Aspel. Three years into her pledge, her devotion, would she begin to pick up hints, small things here and there that just wouldn't sit right with her but at first, they were easy enough to brush off. No savior ever had an easy path and this was what Aspel repeated to herself for the course of the next year while things continued to worsen.
It wasn't until Aspel neared the end of her fifth year of service with The Onyx Guard that something finally pushed her far enough to re-evaluate where she stood, to reconsider just how much she could write off in the name of sacrifices for the greater good. While on a mission one of her fellow Knights struck out at a child, one no older than twelve years of age. Of course, the man being easily twice the child's size and weight knocked the kid to the ground and in an instant, Aspel's hammer blocked the sword of her comrade. A man she had felt to be a kindred spirit was actively looking to kill a child, an innocent and something deep down in Aspel simply could not accept that, she could not stand to the side and allow it to happen as she had allowed so many other things to pass. A verbal altercation occurred but ultimately her fellow Knight backed down, warning how she would come to regret such a decision someday, how children turned into men and women who sought vengeance and one day she would be run through by that child's sword.
There was of course only one response which came to mind for this. "So be it."
While the child's home had been almost destroyed on their mission, Aspel saw that the child made it to the next town over, leaving them in what she assumed to be a safe place for them.
From here, there was notable tension within the group between her and the others. Whispers from those she'd considered brothers and sisters in arms seemed almost slanderous but for the first time in her life, no matter how much it hurt, Aspel felt she had truly done the right thing and would not back down from defending such a belief. The whispers then escalated into verbal shots and shortly after Aspel left the group, but not before they left their mark on her.
Leaving The Onyx Guard was the hardest thing Aspel had ever chosen to do. They had all understood each other when no one else seemed to share in their views; they provided support and shared in beliefs. While every other decision in her life had seemed easy, learning how to smith, standing up to her parents about wanting to pursue knighthood, becoming a knight, following Jead, this was different. This was the first choice in her life that left her feeling empty, hurting. Certainly if she had stayed, Aspel would have witnessed more occurrences like the one of the child and her former comrade, and it would have ripped her apart but... Leaving The Onyx Guard was like leaving a piece of herself behind.
At this point, Aspel knew she was not the person who the Cassul household would expect; she was barely a shell of what she'd been at one time. Now all her drive, her motivation, her adherence to goals had been gutted, could she have been wrong for all those years? She couldn't go back to her family, couldn't admit what she'd done or who she'd become. They'd never accept a Fell Knight into the renowned Cassul name. There would be questions she couldn't answer and even more, she wouldn't want to answer. How could one person feel so much shame for something they thought they'd been right about for so long? If it was possible to die from a heart broken out of lost dreams, perhaps Aspel would have right then.
Instead, she found herself wondering, aimlessly for the most part over the course of the next six months. Her armor remained hidden under a cloak at all times and her powers only used when absolutely needed. It was during this time that she happened to over hear how the trade city Emillion seemed to be in need of smiths that she finally figured out somewhere to finally go. In Emillion, no one would know her; no one would question her stories or her past. A new life could be built there without having to admit her shame or endless feelings of being pointless, feeling set adrift to be forever lost at sea.
That night she packed up and headed out to traverse the wilderness and trip across the continent to reach Emillion. Along her trip she packed away her old suit of armor but something deep inside of her still clung to the suit, if it was sentiment, or actual value due to the rare metal it was made of, she'll never be sure but she picked up a different suit as to not be caught defenseless along her way.
The trip took a solid month by foot and chocobo but when the city finally came into view, everything about it seemed worthwhile. This was a new place where no one knew her, no one could hold her past transgressions against her, it was a new shot at life and maybe this time, after she was done licking her wounds, and she could find something to make it worthwhile.
It didn't take long to obtain a forge of her own and begin making customized pieces for those she felt worth of them. However, due to settling in, metalworking engulfed most of her time for her first year in the city and the time not capitalized by that was spent in the training grounds of the Fighter's Guild learning how to be a Sentinel. It was easy to lie, saying she'd only been a Knight for all those years and had decided a change in pace was what suited her now but it was still challenging, making sure not to cross wires or allow anyone to see too deeply into her past. The second year was easier, and the years after easier yet, as her name became well known for the fine quality and sturdy craftsmanship of her pieces circulated amongst those in the city. She also became known for being one of the toughest Sentinel's of the guild, even if she wasn't the best in skill use. However, one thing that did become well known quickly was to steer clear of her when she used her Vendetta attack as it is quite possibly the strongest most FG's members have ever seen (ooc note: This is due to combing Sentinel's Vendetta with Fell Knight's Vehemence).
Though, as time does make ones past seem more bearable, Aspel began attempting to reach out to her family more. Instead of just the rare with no return address, she began sending regular letters and even ventured a few phone calls here and there but always tried to keep them short with how strained it made her. Her relations with her family at this time are hard on her but there, unlike the nearly non-existent contact she maintained for nearly 7 years (five years OG, two years coping/settling in to Emillion.)
Now a day, Aspel is an associate of the FG who is there when called and willing to help those who need it. Her forge is on the smaller side but her pieces, as they are all commission, bring in a decent income and she has a small apartment that is located above her forge. She keeps an eye out for kids she feels might be at risk of delving into the world she wished someone could have saved her from and hires them to do small jobs here and there for her to help keep them out of trouble. She also attends a local establishment weekly; it seems an almost religious routine for her over the past four years.
It was easy. The man's sudden lunge, much like that of a cornered animal, was smoothly evaded with the most simplistic side-step. When one became too desperate, they lost the fight before even the first swing was made. This man was a perfect example of such as her hammer collided with the back of his skull.
One blow was all it took and the fight was over. The man's body crumpled at her feet after the feeling of his skull collapsing underneath the blow of her hammer vibrated up her arm and before she could blink, Jead was at her side. He was congratulating her, whispering sweet and soothing words into her ear as one hand glided down to grasp hers. The honey coated murmurs of how they were doing Pharem's work resonated in her mind, making Aspel's heart beat a little faster. Or maybe it was how close Jead was standing next to her, close enough to smell, to feel the warmth the eminated from the fire spell he'd just thrown. In fact, he was close enough.... To kiss. Her heart stopped for only the briefest moment, caught in her throat as he congratulated her again, he was so proud, she'd come so far and all she could find herself actively wondering about was how rough his lips would be. Though, perhaps she was only trying to lie, to distract herself from the harsh, sinking feeling in her gut. They had out numbered this man, any one of them most likely out powered him and they had slaughtered him like a cowering dog in the corner. He may have had a weapon but, did that mean he was really any sort of a threat?
There was Jead's voice again, his laugh and a gesture for the Guard members to follow him. Without question her feet began to move but upon reaching the doorway she couldn't help but look back at the man she'd just murdered lying on the floor.
Yet, his body no longer remained there. The blood from where his skull had been crushed along with bits of grey matter lined the floor but it was all that seemed to be there. What was going on? Where could be have gone? It all just happened seconds before when she'd --
And from the ceiling the man leapt, hissing and easily landing a blow that sent her hammer skittering across the cabin floor. Aspel couldn't help but yelp in surprise, caught off guard by the newly acquired speed and strength of the creature before her. She scrambled trying to draw another weapon to fight back with but the creature was too fast, too strong and it slammed her against a wall, pinning her there. With a low growled voice it slowly began speaking of her transgressions and crimes against humanity and while she tried to fight back, to yell, to invoke her powers or even call for her fellow Onyx Guard members all she could hear was Jead's laugh growing further away in the distance.
"They'll not save you now." The pleasure filled whisper seemed twisted and the voice grainy. With those words, she attempted to push back, to fight off the attacker but he still would prove too strong as a fist hammered against her helmet, causing a ringing to start in her head, perception beginning to fade out and a faint sound of laughter still remained, lingering in the background. Twisting quickly, Aspel attempted to focus, feeling the creature had somehow wrapped her up in bindings she thrashed wildly, willing herself to fight back and-
Her torso jutted up quickly, arms pushing and legs kicking but the scenery around her had changed as she gasped for breath, the heart within her chest threatening to break her very ribs in means of escape. Low light slipped through her apartment blinds from the streets below in Emillion, a rooster crowed in the distance and the only thing she could hear was the pounding of her heart causing blood to rush through her ears. Looking down she found herself on the floor of her small apartment. The one which resided above The Armory, her forge, here, in Emillion.
"For Farem's sake." The words were barely a whisper as eyes lingered on the sweat dampened sheets which had twisted around her limbs. There was no man of darkness, there was no abandonment by Jead, she was not outfitted in her jet black armor and she was not wearing the mark of the Guard. That was a life she'd left long ago, yet, with dreams as such it was clear that, that life would not relinquish grip of her, no matter how many lies she told or how honest a life she tried to live.
"Get yourself together." This time disgust towards herself filled the words, a vile emotional state welling up, one toxic to her own well being, a type of self hatred and confusion that to this day was still not uncommon as fingers calloused from hard work ran through her hair. Staying on the floor a moment longer, the smith would allow her breathing to slow, the beat of her heart not a constant drum pounding in her ears anymore before she began to untangle herself from the sheets. They would need to be washed and hung to dry but somehow, she could not find the strength in herself to be bothered with such matters. Instead, Aspel moved to shower and dress.
Haunting dreams or not, there was still work to be done on this day.
"So the floodgates open but nothing comes out, I'm feeling no relief in my head, just doubt, But my heart keeps telling me 'hold your ground, You'll never learn a thing if you bail out now'... 'The Wrong Girl' - Missy Higgins
• Secret past.
• Lack of long-term connections.
• Batch of abilities that can't be used unless she wants to blow her cover (has to pretend she didn't have 7 years training that she did).
• Limited spell use. (Cure, Dark, Darka, Darkaga, Water, Watera, Fire, Fira)
• Limited weapon training (Strongly proficient in guns (personal interest), swords (KNIGHT!), whips (training with mom), hammers (smithing).
• Due to armor reliance, not fastest thing on battlefield, even in her 'lighter' suit.
• Ok Knight, Ok Sentinel/ GREAT Fell Knight but can't use any of that. :|
• Lightning rod on the field because l o l Full plate.
• Commitment issues.
• Trouble being on time for anything. (Relates back to commitment issues~)
• Struggles with addictive tendencies.
• Tougher than nails.
• Martial prowess.
• Access to fire and water based spells, minor curative magics, and dark magic.
• Highly specialized in the few weapons she can use, knows basics of all weapons she can make for purpose of balance/crafting properly useful items.
• Actually a half decent baker.
• Random knowledge (mom being a dancer and her expected to be a dancer until she rebelled~ Livin' on the edge~)
• Good follow through on agreements.
• Kind to those in need.
• Skilled in riding chocobo.
• Good dancer.
• Ok will power when not related to additive items/people.
• Keeping the kids in line.
• Supplying weapons.
• Eventually having her past revealed.
• Dealing with the circumstances of her past.
• Finding her way.
• Ending the struggle she's been facing.
• Choosing a side.
• Finding something to live and die for.
• Reunited with some family.
• Fine attention to detail.
• One word catch pharse - "Curious."
• Endure temperature extremes.
• Trying to do right "for all that means."
• Struggles with 'love'.
• Struggles with commitment to people & appointment times but not agreements. • Owns the forge 'The Armory' which makes mostly customized weapons of very high quality. Will sometimes have limited stock for open sale.
• Takes time visiting places where orphans are housed to read the little ones stories as it reminds her of when she used to read stories to Ria and she knows even if she returned home, she'd still never be able to do that as Ria is obviously too old for this now.
• Chews on nails.
• Runs fingers through hair.
• Is particularly kind to black cats (if we keep that belief of black cats being bad luck?)
• Peels labels off liquor bottles.
• Used to smoke, sometimes her playing with straws/toothpicks can give that away.
• Can be easily intrigued (not always)
• "Curious" can be used both as a sincere response and a "fall back" saying.
• Talks to materials/weapons while crafting them.
• Has a brand mark on her hip from former allegiance with The Onyx Guard. Which since she left has become a notorious bad guy Fell Knight faction.