Vengeance is a powerful draw. The deathknight known as Pain surrendered herself to it three years ago. This is the story of what happened after she achieved it.
Pain went to her master, the Bodhisattva. He commended her on achieving her goals, despite her loss at the Nellens plantation. She asked to be released, and he laughed. He refused to even explain. She left immediately. She knew that she had been a servant, but refused to be a slave. She defeated a few meager opponents that he sent after her, and then she was free.
Except, of course, that oblivion does not give up its servants so easily. Pain had no direction in her life after exacting her revenge. Without it she found herself doing the will of the Neverborn unconsciously. Murders occurred in her wake, and she was blamed, drawing attention from the true killers. The symbols of the gods were defaced and burned, and innocents in dark clothing were blamed because Pain had been there. Guards found Pain suspicious – tried to imprison her – well, perhaps some of the deaths were her fault after all. She tried to avoid the cities of the living, but found isolation unbearable as well. She still exists in this uncertain state, not sure of how she might break free.
There are pieces of Pain’s servitude that still come to mind from time to time. These flashes of memory serve primarily to remind her of how much better things are now. Her interactions with the Bodhisattva’s other deathknights, most of whom she found repugnant. The day she humiliated Ghula M’shala when they fought in Onyx. The long week when Claws Lock Deep defeated her in some nameless island south of Skullstone. The constant paranoia of being in the Bodhisattva’s service, never knowing whether his next words would be praise or punishment. Pain considered returning, once or twice. Then she laughed, threw away her drink, and kept moving.
Pain was aware of Athanor’s presence. It was a navigational hazard on the Bodhisattva’s maps; something best avoided for its reefs and the dangerous automata there. She once saw its towers from afar. Now, she sees them all too closely. A week ago she had booked passage on a ship passing south from Skullstone. When the dark clouds and red lightning filled the sky, the sailors looked at her in fear. They threw her overboard in the middle of the night, and she struggled to the beach.
Pain is a heavyset woman with red lips and skin the color of pale marble. Her hair shades from brown to red. She wears a filigree mask that looks like tarnished silver, and a reversible cape with red on one side and black on the other. Her clothing involves black fabric, black lace, and black leather.
Pain has no earthly idea why she is here. Ordinarily she would hide her emotions behind false amusement, but the idea of being a deathknight offered (in vague terms) the chance to become a deathknight strikes her as incomprehensible at best. She finds it more likely that this is a bitter irony forced upon her by her old masters.
Intimacies: “I will not serve” (Defining), “Ghula has no honor and deserves no mercy” (Major, Negative), “I will not lose to Claws Lock Deep a second time” (Major, Negative), “Freedom” (Positive)
As a member of the Midnight caste, Pain’s duties included preaching the word of her master and instilling fear and respect in his underlings, a job at which she excelled. She can back down confident warriors with a stare. She deflates egos with a single dismissive sniff. She reads social situations well, and her memory for names and faces helps her puzzle out secret alliances. She is also trained at resisting hazards both physical and spiritual. Her essence enhances all of these, flowing through her natural abilities rather than providing any explicit supernatural enhancement. She is particularly effective against those who are touched by death in some way, either by their nature or with an Intimacy.
Pain learned the majority of Ebon Shadow Style from a fellow deathknight, and is puzzling out the final technique herself. She can strike through armor, fade into shadows and move through them, and slow her foes with hesitation and fear. A strike may seem to connect with her, only to have her body revealed as a mere shadow. Her ambushes are deadly. She gladly uses her social prowess while locked in close with an opponent, forcing her foes back with terror, or demoralizing them with a wink or a sneer.
- Star of Despair, a deathknight still loyal to the Bodhisattva. Tenacious, clever, obedient.
- Unearned Deception, another deathknight who encouraged Pain to leave her master. Wary, stealthy, loyal.
- Porte Valitha, who knew Pain before she turned to the Bodhisattva. Shrewd, classy, upset.
- For what revenge did Pain sell her name?
- Does the Bodhisattva know about Pain’s presence on Athanor? How does he feel about Eight Eyes Ending?