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Koana Vloz'ress

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Appeared in chapters                                            43       50 51 52  54  56 57  

Koana is an intelligent berserker in Ariel's Wolfpack. Previously, he lived as a teacher among the Vloz'ress, following his tainting and exile from the Kyorl'solenurn.

Appearance and Personality

Koana is male drowussu with an incredibly large build and tainted eyes. His imposing stature is a result of his beserker seed, granting him formidable size and bulk as well as enlarged arms and hands, though his frame is shorter and somewhat less muscular than that of a drowolath beserker. Additionally, like Baliir, he has avoided the more severe deformities common to those with berserker seeds. He has long black hair that he ties back into a large ponytail, and his forehead bears the tattoo of a Kyorl'solenurn crusader, though scarred with the mark of heretic. He typically dresses in dark grey robes, with red trim. Outfitting for combat, he wields the heavy armor and clawed gauntlets of a berserker, as well a helmet that incorporates his Vloz'ress mask. He does not appear to have a specific favoured weapon, wielding various weapons with moderate proficiency. Following the battle of Felde, he has suffered a moderate injury to his right eye and several deep cuts on his face that are beginning to scar.

Koana is exceedingly calm and polite for a berserker, much like Baliir, a sign of an uncommonly-stable berserker seed. His overall demeanor is easygoing and gently paternal, traits that make him well-suited to teaching children and endear him to his smaller peers. Despite possessing the large size and strength provided to him by his seed, he is more of a scholar than a warrior, and his interests are focused on knowledge and research rather than martial prowess.

Biography - Arc II

Koana tries and fails to keep Kiel from driving through the front gate.[1]

Turtle Summon

Koana first appeared as Kiel'ndia sought to summon the creature in the "summoner killer" stone Chrys'tel and Nau'kheol brought back from Nuqrah'shareh. Analyzing the stone, Koana calculated the energy requirements needed to successfully activate the summon, though he admitted that there was a significant margin of error owing to the necessary assumptions and speculation involved. As Kiel hesitantly asked if Kharla'ggen would be able to activate the summon herself, growing somewhat annoyed by Koana's evasive and philosophical response.[2] As Kharla'ggen strode forward to empower the summon, the resulting surge of energy left those nearby scrambling for safety, with Koana admitting his estimates may have been wrong.[3] However, Kharla'ggen's vast aura allowed her to succeed at the improbable task, revealing the summon to be an enormous earthen turtle.

Later, he watched as Kiel prepared to depart with her entourage for Snadhya'rune's gathering in Felde, promising to aid Kar'liir in crafting equipment for the mighty vessel, much to Kiel's delight.[4] Speaking to Nyo'ka, he expressed concern over the effect of Kharla's absence on the clan's stability, though she cryptically suggested their new guests would occupy the attention of any troublemakers. As the turtle began lurching forward, he warned Kiel that the summon was too large to fit through the gate, a fact Kiel cheerfully ignored as the summon smashed its way through.

Koana and his fellow Vloz'ress discuss their fortunes.[5]

Search for the Ninth Tower

Following the events of the Puppeteer Incident and the destruction of the Vloz'ress as a great clan, Koana briefly remained at Kiel's side with a small collection of fellow survivors aboard the ruins of the turtle summon. Carrying Jysmur atop his shoulders, the pair witnessed a naked Kuso dash past with stolen rations. He instructed his fellow not to stare, nor to laugh at "the less mentally fortunate".[6] As Baliir returned with Sara'hilana, Koana watched curiously as the pair offered Kiel a job searching for the fabled ninth tower of Orthorbbae. Though he expressed doubts as to the tower's existence, Kiel and Nau accepted the offer nonetheless, aware that the situation left them little choice.[7]

Eight days later, having made their preparations, the group entered Orthorbbae. To their surprise, the school was the site of an ongoing massacre, as Sil'lice had begun a brutal attack upon the school in an attempt to strike as Snadhya'rune any way she could, despite the school's centuries-long neutrality. Within moments of their arrival into the main hall, they witnessed Kadara mercilessly butcher a fleeing teacher.[8] Though they attempted to remain out of sight, they were quickly spotted the veteran Val'Sharen, and the group was forced to flee with Kadara in close pursuit. As Naal's demon and Kiel's summons barred Kadara's path, the group fled deeper into the school. Fortunately, Koana had previously entered the school, and began leading the group to the Headmistress' office, under the reasoning that the records within were their best bet as uncovering clues as to the ninth tower's location.[9]

Narrowly avoiding Sil'lice's forces and their Sarghress allies, they reached their target and smashed their way into Snadhya'rune's private office. Koana expressed some surprise at the lack of protections within, and the group began their hurried search in ernest.[10] Kiel proceeded alone, discovering a mysterious lift, with the demon of Naal unintentionally activating the control mechanism. Though Nau was close enough to scramble onto the elevator, Koana and the others were left behind as the pair ascended to a higher level.[11] Unfortunately, the platform's ascent was seen by Sarghress soldiers, revealing the location of the Vloz'ress party.[12] With nowhere to run, the group were captured and used as hostages as Sil'lice personally led a squad of her forces into the ninth tower, with Koana himself having Kadara's blade held to his throat.[13]

Unfortunately, Sil'lice immediately identified Sha'sana and, blinded by hate, drove her sword deep into the former headmistress' abdomen. The ancient summoner retaliated in kind by forcibly shoving a collection of Kiel's summons into the vengeful Sharen's face, immediately incapacitating her. As a horrified Kadara rushed to her mother's side, Koana used the opportunity to confront one of his captors, attempting to wrest away their weapon while others attempted to pacify the situation before more blood was shed.[14] Ultimately, with Sil'lice unconscious and Kadara preoccupied with her mother's condition, calmer minds among both sides prevailed, putting an end to the immediate conflict. Koana himself was ill-at-ease with the recent events, discussing the tenuous nature of their situation with Kiel and Fame'nidea.

Though he would ultimately depart from Orthorbbae to follow his own path, Koana appeared to part on good terms with his former clan. Intending to have a word with Fame'nidia, he was surprised to find her watching Kiel and Nau as the latter pair consummated their relationship on elevator platform below.[15]

Biography - Arc III

Koana and Fame greet each other for the first time in three years.[16]

Aiding Ariel's Wolfpack

At some point during the next three years, Koana had come to reside in Sha'shi amongst fellow scholars and researchers. As Ariel and Kel'noz led a group of refugees from Machike and the nearby colonies to the town seeking aid from their Nidraa'chal pursuers aboard the Airship, Koana recognized Fame'nidea among them. The duo reunited warmly, with Koana embracing his former clanmate in a powerful bear-hug. They remained at one another's side as Kau volunteered as a test pilot for a prototype golem capable of extended jumps bordering on brief flight, watching with interest. Showing traces of Kiel's influence, he remarked to his fellow researcher that she should have designed it as a flying turtle capable of spitting fire, much to the latter's irritation.[17]

Such carefree endeavours rapidly came to an end, however, as the Airship arrived at the city to resupply and enact repairs. With those aboard unaware of the Wolfpack's presence within the city, Kel'noz organized a hurried plan to have the Wolfpack ambush their pursuers while the vessel remained docked and vulnerable. While Zy'ezra and many of her peers expressed serious reservations, Kel'noz was able to secure their aid by promising them full access to the airship and exclusive rights to its study and operation, though the Wolfpack would have command of the vessel. Gau'hara remained insistent that the plan was foolhardy, to which Koana blithely remarked that he had heard worse. Having also associated with Kiel'ndia for many years, Fame'nidea simply nodded in agreement.[18]

As Kau and Slyand'iss piloted the research team's golems to the airship under the pretense of loading supplies, the rest of the Wolfpack and their newfound allies snuck close. Though one of the Nidraa'chal agents spotted her former allies approaching, her warning was too late to prevent the attack, allowing the two golem pilots to seize the docking ramp and provide entry for their allies. However, the airship swiftly took to the sky, preventing the majority of the Wolfpack forces from boarding. With the rest of their number exposed to the Airships artillery, the assault would likely have ended in a massacre were it not for the strange properties of Sha'shi resulting in the mana blasts circling back into the airship itself, crippling the vessel and causing it to violently crash into the ground below.[19]

Though the airship was now inoperable, Koana was one of those unfortunate enough to be directly in the path of an enraged Sal'bara as she emerged in her personal golem armor with a large autonomous combat golem in tow.[20] However, the majority of the crew, overestimating their attackers' strength, fled the wreckage in the face of the sudden and ferocious assault. While the former Val'Chai'tioc made an impressive stand, she ultimately could not triumph alone, and was brought down by a mana attack from one of her erstwhile allies. The battle concluded, the Wolfpack and researchers swiftly began work to repair the vessel and claim it for their own.[21]

Koana begins to discover some minor maintenance issues aboard the Airship.[22]

Uniting the Colonies

Ultimately, Koana ended up as one of the Sha'shi researchers and engineers assigned to operate and maintain the craft for the Wolfpack. Unwilling to stand idle in the face of Snadhya'rune's attacks, Ariel led her forces on a journey to unite the surface colonies in a war against Felde; by force if necessary. The colony of Ys was one such example. Under Kane'ohe, the colony's council refused to surrender its ties to Felde, insisting the Wolfpack depart. Having failed to achieve their means through diplomacy, Kel'noz and a newly-hardened Ariel staged an open coup to seize control of the colony. As Kel'noz launched a mana flare through a nearby window to signal the attack, Koana fired a volley from the airships cannons as both warning shot and to create an opening for their Kavahini allies to descend unimpeded.[23] While the colony fell swiftly the unexpected and surgical attack, both the airship and its attack was seen from afar by a scout of the Sarghress's core faction.[24]

As the Wolfpack continued their tour of the rim to ally with or annex further colonies and outposts, including those at Ssunaph and Amaranth, it came upon the Kyorl'solenurn colony of Shikomei. While Ariel discovered the colony to be home to her friends Chirinide and Shan, they were still met with a measure of mistrust and wariness. Ultimately, this proved well-founded, as a contingent of the Sarghress Assault legion arrived under the direct command of Sang to subdue the renegade faction, resulting in a pitched battle over the settlement. Quickly overwhelmed by sheer numbers, the Wolfpack was forced to retreat aboard the airship, with some of the colonists left behind in the chaos. Making matters far worse, Ash'waren took it upon herself to command Koana to fire the airships mana-cannons upon the Sarghress as the Airship broke away, overriding Koana's concerns.[25] Though the blasts inflicted significant damage upon Sang's forces before Kel'noz issued the command to cease fire, the collateral damage to the town was devastating and extensive.[26]

Koana and Xann'dor assess the airship's damage.[27]

Assault on Felde

With the knowledge that the Sarghress pursuit would be relentless, and could spare sufficient forces to drive out their influence in prior colonies, Ariel and Kel'noz determined to use the airship to mount a raid upon Felde itself.[28] By luring the Assault Legion to pursuing them into Felde, Kel'noz hoped to use the chaos to trigger a battle between the two factions, buying the Wolfpack time to strike at Snadhya'rune's tower and escape with minimal casualties.[29] Though the plan was viable, and the element of surprise allowed the airship to bypass most of the city's defenses, it fell apart almost immediately. A mercenary that had escaped when the Wolfpack first captured the airship happened to be present, and directed a single well-aimed shot from a mana-cannon into one of the vessel's engine ports, grazing the propeller in the process.[30] Heavily damaged, the airship was forced to make an emergency landing into the docking port of Snadhya'rune's tower. Injured by the impact, Koana determined the airship's cannons remained operational, though he expressed doubts to his fellow engineer that the vessel would not be able to resume flight.Stranded and with no option but to press on, Ariel led the rest of the Wolfpack team into the tower, as the airship continued to fire into the city below.

As return fire gradually intensified, the plan suffered a far greater blow as Sang carefully led her legion into the city without making any hostile gestures, despite several initial instances of friendly fire from their nominal allies.[31] Making matters even worse, the airship finally depleted its mana reserves, leaving it unable to continue firing.[32] Adding to the chaos, the loss of several "nurse" demons operating an enormous nether gate within the tower led to a steady stream of nether demons escaping into the tower and surrounding city.[33]

Aboard the airship, Feldian forces had finally rallied and begun a counterattack. While others attempted to stall entry, Koana returned to Xann'dor to see if the core had charged enough to resume firing. Bitterly, the formerly-enslaved engineer noted that they had, but it made little difference in light of the extensive damage to the ship's flight systems.[34] As the pair despaired over their situation, Xann'dor had a flash of insight, forcibly cutting power to numerous subsystems, intent on overloading the core. At his command, Koana led what survivors remained aboard to safety, grudgingly leaving Xann'dor behind to die ensuring the ship's destruction.[35]

With the battle clearly lost, scattered pockets of Ariel's Wolfpack began to surrender, including Ariel herself.[36] However, Xann'dor would not and could now allow himself or the airship to be surrendered back to Nidraa'chal control, nor allow them to take his son as well.[37] With a final declaration of defiance, Xann'dor triggered a catastrophic explosion of the vessel's massive mana core, completely obliterating the ancient war machine and inflicting heavy damage to the tower. Unfortunately, the airship's explosion destroyed any remaining stability the nether gate had, leading an enormous flood of nether demons to spew forth from the gate unabated.[38] Though this new source of death and carnage extended the battle, the city's defenders began shifting their focus to containing the demonic threat as the remaining Wolfpack forces died or surrendered themselves to Sarghress custody.[39]

Notable Quotes

"If my calculations are correct, we would need a linked summoner circle of 12 members. Each at least a hundred years old. Mind you, there's a margin of error as I'm running on speculation as to the energy it'll require. There's a chance they may all faint before the summon is stable." - Explaining the enormous energy requirements to summon the creature in the stone.[40]

Character Concept