Allies (Bright Mane): **
Ever since they first met, at Caer Dharrow, Misati and Bright Mane have felt a certain spark. Maybe it was just the mating of their Exaltations, arranged by Misati's busy-body God in the time before the First Age, but she liked to think that it was something more. Regardless, while things perhaps didn't start out well between the pair they have since become close confidents and lovers. A season ago, while Misati was away from the Circle, they even returned to Caer Dharrow and were there wed in a lengthy ceremony involving the various Tribes that Bright Mane rules over through his wives and children. While Menedraile has since guessed what's developed between them, they've not told anyone else.
Contacts (Misati's Network): ****
There was a time when Misati was a poor lost little girl, accepting the charity of the people of Nulam, but largely ignorant of the world around her. It's hard to imagine that was only two or so years ago, for those days are now very much behind her. Most of Seraph's "free time" the past year has been spent in this or that part of the Hundred Kingdoms, forming the beginnings of what she has to admit is probably some kind of spy network. While only a few know her face, she has a web of contacts that spans the region (and outside it, into Nechara, Great Forks, even Nexus), and if something she needs to know is happening she can find out.
Most of this network is situated "around" the new Empire that Merayen, Meneraile, Jackal and the Lunars are building up -- but Misati keeps an ear open for anything. While she's not yet personally visited the lands dominated by the Golden Warlord, she has contacts that can get her information from there. The most notable of Misati's contacts include a corrupt Guildsman from the City of Delen, one of the harem girls of the Tyrant of Amanton, a freed slave living in the Fortress City of Mhourning Spire, and a minor priest of the Spearmaiden from Cho-Holuth in the land of Amersia.
When you first escaped from the Quiet One, your memories so fragmentary that you don't even remember most of the trip from Great Forks, you had nothing. Even after a year of life as a barmaid in Nulam, you were fairing little better than the average peasant, and for all that it's nice to save the world it's also nice to know that you'll have a hot meal and a place to sleep after the world has been saved. You've turned the occasional pouches of silver that you get from Madaan and Budan Mar into a bit of security, giving yourself a small but comfortable apartment above a seamstress' shop in Madaan. You even own a horse, now, and have a wider wardrobe and other little luxuries. While you're not rich by any means, it's more comfortable than you can ever remember being.
While it's about two weeks from Nulam, and four or so from your home in Madaan, you've a small secure bolthole in Caer Dharrow itself. Tucked deep within the territory of the Hill Folk, this manse is quite secure, particularly as only yourself, Skyla and Bright Mane even know of it. The manse itself is larger than the building you live in, back in Madaan, if somewhat less open -- it consists of narrow passageways and small niches, rather than a few large rooms. The entire thing is also riddled with secret passages, as you discovered during your stay there during your Wedding. In addition to the Manses' hearthstone, which you keep in your Wedding Broach, the Manse itself is a very secure place that shields those within from those without.
Familiar (Xocoltl): ***
You've no idea when you first met this Panther, as you suspect that he bonded with you when your memories were still unable to form. You suspect he met you several days before you finally regained the ability to remember events that happened a few hours ago, and led you closer to Nulam. Regardless, you know that he looked after you, and you and he have been close ever since. The locals call him The Panther That Did Not Die, and he's widely regarded as one of the most cunning cats in the Hundred Kingdoms, for having escaped decades of Dynastic Hunting Parties. You've generally found that their confidence is due; Xocoltl is quite intelligent, and often gives you a fresh perspective on matters.
Familiar Traits: Powerful Animal (4 pts), Exceptional (1 pt), Intelligent (2 pts), Expressive (1 pt).
- Level 2 - Stone Of The Earthweb
- Loved One: Bright Mane
- Friends: My Circle, except Merayen.
- Homeland: Village of Nulam.
- Enemy: Sidereal Exalted
- Belief: I Am Misati, Not Seraph.
Merits & Flaws
Amnesia (2pt flaw)
A Story as yet Untold - Seraph
Seraph has always expressed some measure of concern over her memories. Knowing without a doubt that her Father routinely used his Mind-Knife Sacrament to pluck memories from her like unfinished jewels only to cut, shape and polish them before arranging them back inside her head. How much of her memory was truly hers, and how much was simply a pretty necklace of sparkling gems the Quiet One had crafted for her like some divine masterpiece?
Some of her life is simply gone, as Seraph's earliest memories are all clustered around her 7th and subsequent years. Even these are composed almost entirely of the intensive training she was put through by Dieter Hgfala (an Outcaste Dragon-Blood), Caiannon (a Fae who Seraph had a crush on until her 13th year), and other servants of her Father. Despite the fact that her training did not (as far as she can tell) consume all her waking time, she has no memories of quiet peaceful moments or camaraderie with the other youths in the Quiet One's service. Only after her 11th year do such memories resume. Given the distant, almost frightened, reactions of people who clearly once knew her (judging by the occasional memory from a joint training session), it's clear that the Quiet One took something from her but Seraph never truly considered what this might have been except through a sort of dull uninvolved curiosity. Instead, her mind focused on the forms of Martial Arts, Acrobatics and Dance, Moving Unseen and Unheard, Lockpicking and Sleight of Hand, Disguise and Infiltration, Poisons, and the subtle intricacies of Old Realm.
On her 12th birthday, a frightened young girl killed her first man. He had been a freed slave who dared agitate to increase the rights of those still chained, rather than simply enjoying his new-found freedom, and for this the Quiet One had determined that he should die. Seraph had been selected for this task. The planning was simple, the assassination itself neither elegant nor particularly complicated. She pricked the target in a crowded market with a hand needle coated with Arrow Frog Venom, vanishing into the crowd before he started to go into convulsions. Still nearby, she simply watched with the crowd as he died, then slipped away. After her triumphant return, she remembers elation, celebration and the simple feeling of a job well done. In this, the Quiet One betrayed a slight weakness (his lack of understanding of common humanity), for it wasn't hard to notice the taste of bile in her mouth and the sore redness of her eyes. Still, all things considered, Seraph would rather had remembered how she truly felt rather than the obviously fake memories her Father had given her.
A Killer Without Peer
In the ranks of the Quiet One's Assassins, Seraph was quickly elevated - earning the praise the Spinner of Glorious Tales had given her when he named her a holy terror and a killer without compare. Though in truth she had compare. Caiannon was much more lethal than her, and could fulfill her least assignment effortlessly except for the simple fact that he would not deign to kill any "mere" mortal. Dieter, as one of the Exalted, was similarly elevated above her and had his face not been known to every Guard in the City he could have easily fulfilled any of her murders but instead the Quiet One usually sent him to kill those threats to the city who lurked outside it's boundaries. Constantly overshadowed, Seraph certainly did not consider herself a flawless killer. In fact, she attributed much of her success to simple luck rather than skill or training. The killing was easy enough, in most cases, and if her ability to escape capture or even identication had anything to do with her own skills she couldn't detect it.
It was this very reputation that, ultimately, ruined her childhood crush on Caiannon. As her esteem rose, the Raksha's interest in her rose as well. Where once she'd been a rather uninteresting mortal, beneath notice except as a tasty meal he was not allowed to enjoy, she was now something worthy of interest. Worthy, perhaps, even of risking the wrath of the Quiet One. Though overjoyed that she'd apparently gained the interest of "the man of her dreams", it didn't take long for Seraph to realize that Caiannon wasn't a man at all and his interest in her was anything but healthy. One secret tryst convinced her that far from gallant dreams of being a Princess of the Fair Folk, adorned in Gossamer and Beloved by All, life with Caiannon would instead involve him killing her and then eating her soul. Or vice versa. Of course, it's hard to tell one of the Fae "no" and distance only inflamed him further. Without the protection of her Father, it's unlikely she would have lived to the age of 14 and even with his protection it seemed increasingly dangerous to merely be around Caiannon.
It was ultimately this worry that sent Seraph away from her Father's controlling grasp, and into the Court of the Three. This had a few effects on her, all of them quite fortunate in Seraph's own opinion. First, it allowed her to wake up every morning without feeling as if the previous days memories were quite possibly false. The fact that this spared her the intense pain of the Mind-Knife Sacrament was, of course, a blessing despite the fact that Seraph was herself conditioned to think of the procedure as a blessed union to be cherished. Pain, after all, is pain. Second, it allowed her to actually socialize with other human beings, many of whom understood what it was likely to grow up around the divine. Though she was surprised to find that most of them were not nearly so loved and cared for as her. In fact, it seemed to her that most of the Gods of the City were frightfully lax in looking after their servitors. They seemed to basically ignore them, except to give the occasional blessing or gift. There was no discipline, little punishment for any except the most lax behavior.
Over all, Seraph - at first - found the entire thing more than a little disconcerting. After one of her direct superiors in the Temple responded to a mistake she'd made with a sad look of pity and disappointment, Seraph began seeing to matters herself to ensure that she she didn't get lax in her duties simply because of the lack of any firm hand looking after her. It was hard to hide the signs of such from her superiors, who she was sure would have disapproved, but ultimately the physical scars were easier to hide than the growing mental deception she had to engage in on a day by day basis. Especially once the Quiet One once again contacted her and presented her with targets that needed to be dealt with.
When forced to plan and execute a murder herself, entirely on her own, Seraph was forced to admit that it was much easier to do such when she knew she could count on the Sacrament to wash away the blood and pain and tears afterward. Without that blessing she had to actually deal with the aftereffects of her actions, not merely await her Father to come and take it away. Yet she was determined not to fail and bring shame to her Father, and every person that her Father pointed her toward was dealt with as he had requested. She expected capture, discovery, something. But somehow, she always eluded identification.
A Life of Service
Seraph remained at the Court of the Three for only a few years, before the Quiet One made her "disappear" and moved her to a new cover in the city. In order to prepare her for this, of course, the Quiet One gives her the Sacrament of the Mind-Knife for the first time since she left his service. Though Seraph tries to insist that such is not necessary, that she's hidden herself without such aid for three years now, she ultimately relents. That night, before settling into her new life as a minor servant in the Temple of the Begger Gods, she retrieves a small Djal Crystal she'd hidden not far from the Temple of the Three. She'd stolen the crystal from one of her marks and filled it with some of her most important memories, the ones she didn't want to lose, and tried her hardest to bury the all hint of the Crystal away in her mind so that her Father would not find it. For she was sure, if he had, he would have taken it from her.
Even with the Crystal, it was impossible to tell exactly how much the Quiet One had changed her memories. She only had a limited sample of memories that had been able to fit within the Crystal, and she'd tried to pick those things that she felt most at danger of being taken from her. In most cases, though, her guesses were quite obviously wrong. The doubts, pain and worries she'd faced after ever murder were still hers and she'd nearly filled the crystal with them. He'd also evidently let her keep the memories of her self-punishment after her strange treatment by the Temple Gods, though oddly, one of the memories in her crystal seemed to clash with that one. It was a simple memory, of a party some of the Ifrit had thrown for her 16th Birthday, which she had both within her crystal and in her mind. The version in the Crystal, however, seemed to have her behave considerably more warmly to the Ifrit and generally be having more fun. It didn't make much sense to Seraph at the time, and she rapidly forgot about it. Most of her important memories seemed intact, however, and as a result Seraph couldn't help but feel guilty for making the Crystal in the first place.
This assignment passed much like the last one, and on her 19th birthday Seraph was moved yet again. She'd once again filled her memory crystal, just in case, but this time mostly with memories of her more personal memories. Once again, though, she detected almost no changes in her memories. She'd evidently forgotten one person who was a friend, amongst the Temple Prostitutes it looked like, but otherwise her memories had been left unaltered. This third assignment, within a troupe of actors who had the patronage of a God of "suspect motives", only lasted three seasons before Seraph was once again reassigned. This time, the Quiet One explained,she would have to become someone else. One moment, she was 19 and the Quiet One was going even deeper than he'd ever gone before. The next, two years had passed and she was being briefed on another assignment while recovering from the spiritual wounds the Sacrament had left her. The inquiries she made about what had happened over the past two years were simply ignored. The next few weeks, while in recovery, were incredibly hard. Not in terms of the pain, but in terms of actually being back under the day to day care of her Father. When she was finally well enough to start on her assignment, she was overjoyed.
This, her "fourth" (actually fifth) assignment was the one that irrevocably changed her life.
It would be a lie to say that Seraph wasn't intimidated when the Quiet One asked her to infiltrate the Secret Thunders Lodge, particularly when he told her that this lodge of Sorcerers and Thaumaturges was filled with Outcaste Dragon-Blooded, Enlightened Mortals and was in fact run by one of the Anathema. Yet, as in all things, Seraph simply accepted that things were as her Father wished them and went about her task with a dry skepticism. If her luck held up, she would get through this. If it didn't, then at least she wouldn't have disappointed her Father by being excessively bothersome before her death.
As she suspected, her only mortal skill and cunning was simply not enough for her to infiltrate the Secret Thunders Lodge. Though she managed to fool the Outcaste Dragon-Blooded, who saw her as simply another mortal and thus beneath their attention, and the Enlightened Mortals, who simply accepted her as another supplicant such as themselves and treated her as they would any untested apprentice, she was spotted almost immediately by the Anathema. Anointed Starfall, the Ogre who led the Lodge as its Master, recognized the mark of her God on her almost immediately. He greeted her that first night with a wink, and subtly hinted at her association daily until Seraph finally demanded he simply kill her and quit with his demonic gloating.
He laughed, and answered thusly: "Sweet Seraph, if I had any intention of killing you, you would be dead. I do not accept any member into the Seven Thunders Lodge who I do not think worthy of training, spy of the Quiet One or not."
Thus began your training in the secrets of Thaumaturgy, and in particular, the ways of your Father and other spirits like him. You and Anointed Starfall became first friends and eventually lovers, though you continued to pass information to the Quiet One whenever he asked you, though not without first asking the Anathema and receiving his affirmative nod. You suspected that he had done something to you, something more invasive and horrible than her Father had ever done, but it didn't end her loyalty in any way. For everything that Seraph told the Quiet One about the Secret Thunders Lodge, you told him another thing you knew was a lie and told three things to Anointed Starfall about the secrets of your Father. When you were asked to kill, you simply told Anointed Starfall, and he killed for you so that you would not have to face that pain and for this you loved him all the more.
Then, eventually, came the day that you dreaded more than other. The day when the Quiet One called you to him, the day when you would be expected to receive the Mind-Knife Sacrament and give up all that you had come gained for yourself. You cried freely on the Lunar's chest, and he stroked your hair and said that you did not have to leave if you did not wish it. You pitied him for his lack of understanding, and then felt surreal horror when he said the one thing that you could not abide. When he threatened to kill your Father, that you might be free of him.
As if you would wish such a thing; you immediately punched him in the chest and attempted to run for the door to escape and warn your Father when you noticed something very strange.
Rather than him laughing at your febble attack and stopping you, Anointed Starfall instead let forth a hurt "oof!" and rose unsteadily to his feet. Staring at your brow, eyes wide. Only gradually did you realize the golden glow that suffused the room came from you, and when you asked him what this meant, 'shock' does not adequately describe the horror you felt when Anointed Starfall held a mirror up to your face and showed you the hollow golden ring that burned like a star upon your brow. You were one of the Wretched, the Golden Princes amongst the Anathema.
You did not return to your Father that day. Anointed Starfall, upon promising not to kill your Father, bit your hand and tasted your blood and then assumed a form that looked uncannily like you. With a smile and a bow, he left to meet with your Father, and upon his return late that evening he reported that your covert assignment had been extended for the time being and you would still be "spying" on him for a bit longer. Now, though, you had far different things to learn from your mentor than simple mortal thaumaturgy. You instead learned the history of the First Age, the greatness (and the follies) of the Solars. You received what training Anointed Starfall could give you in the natural charms of your Caste, and in the "Snake Style" of Martial Arts.
Yet, as you knew it eventually must, your time came to an end. No longer as vulnerable to the Charms of Anointed Starfall, which had twisted your mind away from your loyalty to your Father and influenced you to betray him, you found yourself growing more and more distant to your lover and remembering more and more the loyalty that you felt you owed your father. While you suspected your relationship with him would never again be the same, you knew that you had to return to him and tell him what had happened and what the Anathema now knew because of your weakness. So, one evening, you simply slipped out and returned to your Father's secret abode deep under the Temple District. There, you presented yourself to him and told him the story - as best you could make it out - of the Anathema's control over you, your own Exaltation and the reasons you kept it hidden for so long, of the things you'd learned and...
The memories gets garbled here.
Misati can clearly see where the Quiet One tried to tamper with it, make it seem as if Seraph had meekly accepted that her natural role was to serve her Father and how the Unconquered Sun had no doubt Exalted her to serve under him and assist him in "cleaning up" Great Forks. By killing helpless slaves who seek freedom for their people, innocent Gods who weren't hardline enough for the Quiet One's tastes, maybe even those amongst the Three who wouldn't tow the line and certainly anyone else who didn't fit the Quiet One's monochrome vision of the Three's beautiful and glorious city. She can see her "Father's" pathetic attempts to show Seraph submitting to the Mind-Knife Sacrament, the one thing that Misati knows Seraph would never have willingly let him do to her ever again.
If only she'd waited a year longer, or more, before confronting him. But, then, you would not exist and you are - quite self-evidently - very happy to exist and willing to go to great lengths to do so.
But, exactly what form the final confrontation between Seraph and the Quiet One took? That you may never know the answer to, though you like to imagine in your quiet moments that in the midst of that confrontation, you were born. Even if you didn't yet have a name.