Padathera, The Queen’s Bodyguard

Background

Dearest Ruan,

Every word from you is an unexpected gift.

I will gladly tell you my tale. I was left on the steps of the monastery as an infant. My early memories are of the monks there, and all the petitioners who came. I thought they were bringing gifts for me, and wondered where they all went. I still do.

The monks taught me their martial arts as I grew up – the Coils of Heshiesh. I always thought I would grow up a monk too, but they told me my “purity was insufficient,” and that perhaps this would happen in the next life. (I laughed as I wrote that.) They hired me out, when I was old enough, to become a guard in the harem. They said it would temper my spirit, whatever that meant.

I was assigned specifically to watching the young ones there, since the other harem guards knew I was an orphan myself. I spent much time with Xerith. The conditions there were not good, though not as bad as you might fear. I was paid well, for a guard. Xerith was always observant. She never forgot anything. She had a voice on her that could shame any of us, stop a fight before it started, or start one. The fights were the worst. If the king saw marks on his women, he would blame us.

No. The worst was when the king came to the harem. And the others. I am glad that Xerith disbanded the harem.

When she was chosen to become queen, I was honored that she chose me as her bodyguard. She treats me well, does not expect more of me than what I can do. Even in her presence, though, she is often… absent. I do not know what to say then, so I simply keep watch. I am glad not to be her food-taster. There have been few attempts on her life, only one of which made it all the way to me. The assassin was dressed in dark rags, but I saw the colored beads of the Wathia beneath. (This was the night of the meteor. It fell just during the fight, I am told. You can imagine the fiend’s surprise!) The Queen is taking the appropriate actions, she tells me, and I have no doubt the matter will be settled soon.

You may find this silly, but there was a time when I was falling in love with Prince Visho. I had just met him in the court, and he was so charming. All the other nobles were drawn to him. I was, too. Then, of course, I learned what he was really like, and my adoration faded… and then, of course, I met you.

Now you must tell me your story. I can hardly wait to read your words.

Appearance

padathera-500

Fierce brown eyes stare out from under carefully plucked brows. Her long brown hair is tied back and often flows over her shoulders. Her skin is a light brown. She paints her fingernails and toenails different colors as the mood strikes her.

Padathera almost always wears a saffron gi given to her by the Immaculate monks. She wields a finely made curved steel blade. She does not wear makeup, but Queen Xerith recently rewarded her years of service and her defeat of the assassin with a set of diamond earrings that Padathera wears proudly.

Demeanor

While at work Padathera is serious and attentive. Anyone who approaches her or the queen faces an appraising glare. Even her friends are treated this way. She knows that anyone might put on a disguise, or have poison powder on the hem of their garment without knowing it. She would rather be brusque and apologize than risk her queen’s life.

In her personal life, or when enough other bodyguards are present that she can relax a bit (such as in the throne room), Padathera is more romantic. She loves a story that ties up just so, especially since she knows there are so few of those in the world. She reads and re-reads the old epics and romances from the castle library.

Intimacies: Protect the Line of Succession (defining), I love Ruan (major), Honor and Piety (major), Do not complain.

Capabilities

Padathera’s body is well-honed and superbly trained. Much of the time that she does not spend with the Queen she spends in training. This training is not just martial arts and calisthenics: she knows how to spot the smallest detail amiss in a room full of people, from a new servant to a concealed knife or dart. She can read people’s gazes well, and though she is sometimes uncertain of their meaning, she can at least tell where they are looking and whether there is guilt or anger in their eyes. She was raised in a monastery and is still not a worldly person, but she has learned well to recognize foul intentions.

With Integrity as her supernal ability, Padathera gains much benefit from meditation. If she has an hour to focus, she can enter a state that focuses her awareness and makes her immune to social influence; an ideal state for a bodyguard. She can meditate to remove her need for sleep, food, and even water, and she heals rapidly as she does so. On a more ordinary note, she can become inflexibly stubborn when it comes to her Intimacies, especially those that she has already defended recently.

Padathera knows only the basics of FIre Dragon Style. Worse, the monks intentionally taught her the wrong weapon to use with it. She has adapted regardless. Now that she has control over her essence, she can sheathe her blade in fire. It deals agonizing wounds that continue to burn. She is likely to strike first, and smoke will hide her from an opponent’s’ eyes. Her style is more offensive than defensive – her goal is to stop attackers before they reach the Queen, even if it costs Padathera her life. Her Zenith caste abilities let her fight the undead and other creatures of darkness even more effectively.

Though she does not realize it, Padathera is personally immune to the effects of the Wyld.

Supporting Characters

  • Afaleth, her old mentor. Temperate, discerning, poor.
  • Phelishtra, who ran the monastery. Motivated, tight-fisted, doubtful.
  • Vaiphra, who takes over from her when she must rest (which is less often now than before). Dogmatic, dubious, night owl.
  • Qevlesh, a cook which whom she sometimes chats in the morning. Obsequious, energetic, unconcerned.

Questions

  • Who knows that Padathera has been chosen?
  • Are the Silent Knives watching Padathera as closely as they watch the Queen?
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