When Ophilla was young, she loved to dance. At age three she and her family were traveling across the Blessed Isle to their new home on the southern coast. She saw, from the road along the mountainside, a family of farmers being threatened by bandits some distance away. She was about to cry out to her parents to save them, when her mother shushed her and pointed to a woman standing on the side of the field. “The dragons will provide,” she said. To three-year-old Ophilla, it was the most marvelous and beautiful dance she had ever seen, with fire circling up around the woman as the bandits all fell down or ran away. She clapped when it was over, and her mother smiled.
When she grew up, Ophilla naturally realized what she had seen. When she was chosen by the dragon of fire, she knew her calling. House Cathak had always been oriented toward the martial pursuits. Her parents agreed that she could serve the family well in the Immaculate Order. She trained hard, passed the entrance exams, and earned the shaved head of an Immaculate acolyte.
The next few years were a blur of training, both physical and spiritual. Before it ended, about a year ago Ophilla met a pair of well-respected Immaculates. Their behavior turned her stomach. It paid lip service to the Order while doing exactly the opposite. Worse than their own behavior, though, was the fact that they were respected – that everyone else in the monastery considered these heartless ghouls to be beyond reproach. She could not even bring herself to complain. She knew where such complaints would lead, and her fear got the better of her.
Ophilla kept a sharp eye out for the remainder of the year, and saw much that she had missed before. Masters drinking behind closed doors or frequenting prostitutes. Traveling monks speaking of the deals they had cut with spirits. Theft from the donation bowls that were intended to feed the poor. Such things didn’t happen every day, but when they did, they were simply ignored. It was shameful. Ophilla, herself, was ashamed.
When she graduated to full monk, Ophilla was glad to find out that her first assignment would be in the distant south, with Mnemon Bidra, a legend of the Wyld Hunt – and moreover, with her brother, Yento! She has spent the last few weeks of travel catching up with him, telling him about her training, trying to get him to open up about his work. Secretly, she wants to bring Yento back to the Realm, to root out the corruption among the Immaculate order and make it into the pure thing of grace that she had always imagined. She just wishes she knew what was bothering him.
Ophilla is pale-skinned and small-nosed, with eyes just a little too far apart for beauty. Her black hair betrays her fire-touched blood with red highlights. When not dressed for battle, she wears robes with intricate flower-and-dragon designs.
Smiling, helpful, compassionate, and yet disciplined, Ophilla is the picture of what a young monk should be. If her eyes are sharp and attentive where another monk’s might glaze past an event, that is only an indication of her inner fire.
She does not yet have the poise that one develops over the course of a hundred years. If confronted with evidence of corruption among the Order or her fellow Dragon-Blooded, Ophilla is likely to falter briefly or change her mind about her course of action rather than raging through or simply ignoring someone.
Intimacies: “My family” (Defining), “The Immaculate Philosophy” (Major), “Lawbreakers and corrupt individuals” (Negative), “Those who do right in the world” (Positive)
Ophilla is a phenomenal martial artist and a highly trained dancer. She is also excellent at calligraphy and painting, and plays several instruments. She speaks a half-dozen languages and knows how to ride and sail. She was trained by the Immaculates in the art of resisting the elements, poison, disease, and torture, as well as keeping her mind safe from unwanted influences.
Ophilla’s parents gave her a graduation present when she became a full monk: a pair of red jade daiklaives passed down from a distant uncle. She uses these when she practices the style of the fire dragon. She evades arrows and sheds blows like a phantom, and spends her essence freely as she ignites both her swords and her opponents. When her strikes connect – which they do with terrifying accuracy – her targets are crippled with burning pain that can drive them to their knees. She is also capable of seeing and interacting with dematerialized spirits, including being able to strike them and catch them in searing joint locks.
- Cathak Vorman, who carries Ophilla’s bags and prepares her food. Industrious, strong, mute.
- Cathak Enna, Ophilla’s maid and assistant. Clever, observant, polite.
- Kalatti, a young woman in the canyon who looks up to Ophilla immediately. Smart, fast, exuberant.
- Will Ophilla realize what’s going on with her brother in time to help him?
- What will Ophilla think of Mnemon Bidra’s approach to the events here?
- Will Ophilla try to follow the mandates of the Immaculate Order and bring Ieska to heel?