With a body and pale face that can be described as plain at best, framed by long, coarse black hair, Kera is easy to overlook when she does not take pains to make herself known to others. This sense of disappearance, of absence, is only magnified by the undeniable sense of unease that she causes in her presence, the desire to look away, to deny her very existence that her aura causes in mortal men.
Her clothing, too, is plain and pale, simple peasant wool once dyed the hue of midnight, now faded and worn, with a single exception - the cloak that wraps about her, as if it were the shadow of night itself.
The mummer's curse had been what they called the plague that swept the city that year, for the terrible, dancing convulsions it inflicted on those who were dying of it. Fully twelve thousand people of the fifteen thousand who once lived in that forgotten town were slain by its ravages, and more than half the remainder paralyzed from its terrible grasp. Spared completely, by some twist of fate, was Kera, the daughter of a baker, and a mage of some small account, though her parents and siblings all died, as she watched, the young child unable to do anything. Most astonishing to her, perhaps, as she watched her family suffer, was the way that they eased with death, the pain slowly fading away to peace, the peace she wished she could have seen on them in life.
For a young girl, orphaned in such a town, there are few choices. And when she began to become hungry, her father's shop emptied by her own belly and those of looters, she went out onto the streets, and tried to beg. But there were none left to beg from, save those driving the carts of the dead, and they cared not for her plight. And, in desperation, she snuck away on their carts, slipping out once more only as they reached the mass graves where they dumped the bodies to cover them.
Her new learned stealth served her well, as she pilfered from the cartsmen and the soldiers that encircled her town, keeping others from escaping, and carrying the plague to other places. And when she reached the next new town, she found a place to stay - with the man who took care of those who had found the same peace as her family, the undertaker, whose own daughter had recently been lost.
But this... This was not enough. Though, by apprenticing herself to this man, she came closer to that mysterious peace, still, it was not close enough. And so, as rumors flew through out the kingdom, soon after she had grown close to the size of an adult, she bound her body and disguised herself as a man, offering herself to the King as a replacement for his executor, whom rumor reported as slain, a poisonous dart in the dark. For a time, she would execute her King's will, and watch the fire of life escape those who she killed, for the inevitable peace, and for a time, this was enough.
It was fifteen years to the day since her last family member had died, that she plunged the blade of execution into the chest of man captured for murder and cannibalism, parting the dry skin with ease and he did not die, though her long dagger pierced his heart, so far that it extended through his back. Yanking the blade back, she stared, in shock and terror, at the wound that did not kill, that did not even bleed, and she cried out, "How can this be? For all there is the mercy of death... For all!"
As the echos of her own voice carried throughout the room, all was still, until a bright light blazed from the wound, and sealed it up, as if it had never been. And she heard within the sound of the echos a terrible, powerful silence, a silence which spoke even louder than the brilliance of the light blazing from the man's chest. It was an offer, and a command. A command from the one who brought the peace of silence, the mercy of death. And she accepted. In one swift motion, she cast aside the blade in her hand, the darkness scything forth from her very soul to rend apart the bound man before her, before settling about her shoulders in the form of a cloak.
Wordlessly, she walked forth from the execution chamber, turning her backs upon the astonished guards. She had a new command, after all, and her King had no part in it. She would be the hunter of Kronath, seeking out those who would use the Light to deny her Mistress her due.
While she is not a murderer, Kera's primary goal is to bring the peace of death where it is most needed. While she will bring death to those still alive in misery, or to those condemned, she will drop all these should one held to this world in undeath by the power of the Light appear, making it the object of her eternal Hunt without delay.
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? Responses (6)-6
Not much to say that I haven't told you in chat. I like it, it strikes close to home. Good work.
The Servant of Mercy then, bringing the Mercy to those that need it, even those who would resist it. I like that she was drawn to this fate from early on, as the chosen of gods should be - especially champions of the god of Death.
One thing seems a bit disjointed - first she was an orphan, then a gravedigger's apprentice, then she suddenly jumped into the position of a royal executioner, without a mention of where _those_ skills came from. That oughta be explained. Other than that, a solid exotic NPC, that can be both a friend and enemy, making for a good story.
I hadn't considered cutting off heads of bound men and hitting people with a stick or lash to be particularly... difficult skills to pick up relatively quickly. I'll think about it a bit, though.
Well, one aspect of that is the psychical resistance needed for the job - there is one thing to see much suffering, and another to execute people indiscriminately with a sure hand.
The other aspect are the actual skills - one needs to be a good swordsman etc. to kill someone swiftly and cleanly. If actual torture is asked for, causing pain while keeping the target alive is also something to be learned.
(And yeah, both may be easy to learn for the right personality type - it just seemed like a too smooth transition.)
An excellent take on a Death priestess. Of course undeath is sacrelige to such folks.