|“||I'm helping you because you're a bit of an unpredictable shit... and I'm old and bored - tired of straining at the end of my leash. Surprises are all that keep the days interesting. That, and you're technically a member of the Court, as I am, so honor demands that I guide and mentor you - or at least try to before putting you down.||„|
Bleden Mark is an Archon. Long strands of white hair crown his head, trailing down to his shoulder blades, where the white hair loses shape and definition, becoming a shadowy mist. His red face paint and orange tattoos are the sole patches of warm color on his otherwise dark, ebony skin. He is Kyros' executioner.
Mark did start life as a regular human some three centuries ago. He was a simple soldier, blooding the first of his many daggers in a long forgotten war. He came into Kyros' service after a failed attempt on her life, fully expecting to be drawn and quartered if he failed. Instead, Kyros offered him vassalage - steady contracts and legal impunity. He served her ever since.
For a long time, Bleden Mark was considered little more than a furniture-chewing sociopath, with Tunon hovering over his arm as an observer and warden. However, eventually Mark's talents as executioner came to the fore and so he was subordinated to Tunon. He's Mark's high justiciar, Mark's his executioner. Mark doesn't mind the work, to be honest. Tunon does most of the talking and he only needs to come out to kill people when he's asked to. Bleden Mark has immense respect for Tunon, but not fondness: After all, despite working with him for centuries, he doesn't know who taught Tunon magic, which side of his bread is buttered or what he wears under that robe.
But now, the eyes of Bleden Mark watch from every shadow. He is Kyros’ executioner, tasked with ending the lives of those Kyros deems dangerous. There is no army that marches behind Bleden Mark, no city hails him as ruler, and no great monument that boasts his name. While the other Archons surround themselves with human trappings, Bleden Mark is cloaked solely in shadow. Though he owes allegiance to Kyros, the Archon of Shadows is often used to carry out Tunon’s judgments. Those whom Tunon finds unworthy, or guilty of breaking the law, will die. It does not matter how many soldiers or mages a guilty woman surrounds herself with – who can protect themselves from their own shadow?
He relies on the obscuring power of shadows to conceal his approach. His mastery allows him to use them to move faster than a human possibly can, all without making a sound. Furthermore, over the centuries of service, Mark has gained considerable experience in weaponry, allowing him to wield any weapon with ease and lethal efficiency. As a member of Tunon's Court, Mark leverages his skills to train promising recruits - though few survive his wholly-immersive survival classes with both their limbs and lives intact, the Archon of the Tiers being a notable exception.
If you face Bleden Mark in combat, he is immune to the taunted, sleep, prone and stunned afflictions, he summons 3 minions periodically, and has a powerful self healing ability. His pattern involves summoning the minions when he's taken enough damage, followed by a shadow wave, which teleports him whilst laying down traps that cause hobbled. Party members are hobbled if he crossed their path during the teleport, after which he'll use his self heal. Using interrupting and damage over time effects may prove key in defeating him. His minions deal more damage than Bleden Mark and cause bleeding, but are also squishy.
Bleden Mark's armor is made of a light fabric that runs through your fingers like water. The material is so dark and elusive that locating all of the pockets is a task suited to only the Archon of Shadows. His gloves are natural extensions of the shadows he occupied. At times it is difficult to count the number of fingers, which seems to change with the surrounding light.
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- Bleden Mark is the guiding hand of the Anarchist path, where you forge your own way through the Tiers without becoming anyone's pawn.
- Returning to the Well: If you turn on any of the alliances you've made, Bleden Mark will intercept you on the way and support your attempt to forge your own way through the Tiers.
- Undaunted, Blood Trophy and The Forge Master's Prize: Mark has you seek out more artifacts to boost your power.
- Finders Keepers: Once you have the Magebane, he will offer to give it a test ride through the Oldwalls. You can give it to him for a Favor boost or deny it for a Wrath boost. Or headbutt him with 48 Athletics, for both. Mark is both amused and annoyed by it. Or you can give it to him and Mark apparently goes... Swimming with it? You receive a random sigil.
- Bound by the Blade: Once you have the blade, you can suggest practicing its heft. Mark will oblige, poorly concealing his delight. This gains renown with the sword.
- At Any Cost: Bleden Mark has you retrieve the Azure Shield and then tests your skill in defense.
- Disfavored, Chorus, and rebel paths
- Final Judgment: Bleden Mark is encountered at the very end of the proceedings. Either he will carry out your execution (meaning you fight him), he will rebel against Tunon and try to kill you, or... With high Favor, he will swear fealty to you (Anarchist only).
- If you received his missive and had Favor 3 or higher, you can arrange a meeting at Ashweald.
- Mark is first encountered at Tunon's Court, after visiting it for the first time. This first conversation gives plenty of opportunities to gain Favor with Tunon's headsman. Just don't act like a dense tool, glare occasionally, and point out that you're one of the few to proclaim multiple edicts and live, and that makes you stand out on Mark's list.
- Once you go Anarchist, he will ask you to meet him at Ashweald. There you will have multiple options to talk to him, including:
- Asking him for the Binding of Shadows (Favor 3 required) and he simply gives it to you. The same Favor level also allows you to ask questions about his personal background.
- Asking him about Archons. With Favor 3, he will reveal that Tunon is little more than a vessel for Kyros' Law after all these years. He will also give details about Graven Ashe and even the origins of the Voices of Nerat.
- Eventually, he'll inform you on the Edict of Nightfall, allowing you to cast it yourself.
- In non-Anarchist paths, your concern here is to get Favor to at least 3 so that you can ask Mark for his bracers.
- In the Anarchist path, things are slightly more complicated as you should get Favor to be at least 4 (and Wrath as low as possible) for him to join you, especially if you went ahead with the Archon trial in Final Judgment.
- Appreciates shrewdness, sly ways.
- Impressed by cunning, showing discretion or defiance in Tunon's court. This includes giving a proper rationale for your choice at Vendrien's Well, accurately identifying why you're important, and thanking him for the advice. And calling him 'Archon of the Elderly' (Mark is old, bored, but he appreciates good manners.).
- Give Vittles training at the Scarlet Chorus camp.
- Reply threateningly to the Censor, and in sarcastic ways to parties inside the Burning Library.
- Practice with him after securing the Azure Shield (Anarchist).
- Headbutt him with the Magebane Helm or give it to him (Anarchist).
- Dislikes you being nice to dying people.
- Forge-Bound Iron: Retain the Forge-Bound Iron Ingots for yourself.
- Assault on the Citadel: Side with the Scarlet Chorus or the Vendrien Guard.
- That Which Remains: Use Lore to persuade Elia (he hates peace).
- That Which Remains: Give Elia a merciful death.
- Finders Keepers: Headbutt Mark or refuse to give him the Helmet for a test run.