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  #226  
Old Oct 28th, 2023, 03:53 PM
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leftyyy88 leftyyy88 is offline
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  #227  
Old Nov 11th, 2023, 06:23 PM
Vespers Vespers is offline
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Name: Iohanna
Class: Oath of devotion Paladin of Loviatar
Race: Human
Age: 23
Alignment: Chaotic Good

Appearance: Iohanna is a pale, beautiful, red-haired woman. Scars cover her face and body. Her left hand is stiffer than her right, and she walks with a slight limp. She usually dresses in light-colored clothes, long sleeves and trousers, with fine leather gloves and heeled riding boots. The only skin that she routinely shows to anyone at all is her face, and given her scars, most stop there. Her eyes are a startling sapphire blue and there is something wrong with them, as if they do not always see what everyone else sees.

Background: Acolyte.

Traits: I see omens in every event and action. The gods try to speak to us, we just need to listen.

I am always calm, no matter what the situation. I never raise my voice or let my emotions control me.

Ideals: Faith. I trust that my deity will guide my actions. I have faith that if I work hard, things will go well.

Bonds: My honor is my life.

Flaws: My piety sometimes leads me to blindly trust those that profess faith in my god.

Iohanna has what we would diagnose as a congenital insensitivity to pain, which is a genuine medical condition where a person cannot feel pain of any kind. That part of her brain simply isn't wired correctly.

Example:

Iohanna knelt at the edge of the firelight, facing the darkness, slowly stripping herself of her armor, her surcoat, and her shirt. Bared skin revealed dozens of deep scars scattered all across her back. Scars overlaid scars, deep burns underneath with fresh lashes above. As she knelt, she began reciting in a childlike singsong, swinging her scourge in front of her, building up momentum.

“This is the code of the Paladin of Loviatar. Nine tenets, to match the nine-tailed scourge.

Honesty: The Truth Hurts.”

A swift slash over her shoulder with the scourge. She winced, as her Goddess's gift began.

“Courage: Do not fear Pain. Pain is the Mistress’s gift to the living.”

The next slash was faster, hit harder. A puff of breath escaped her lips.

“Compassion: Seek out the tired, the weary, and the injured, and offer them relief from their suffering, so that they will know what pain is when it comes upon them.”

The third slash drew blood. She hissed.

“Honor: Do not besmirch the Mistress’s name. Pain does not cheat, lie, or renege on its promises.”

Four. Blood was beginning to run down her back, as it always did.

“Duty: Pain does not know fatigue, or fear, or pity. It will not be bargained with, or reasoned with, nor will it stop because you or others want it to. Only the dead feel no pain.”

Five. The scourge seemed almost alive in her hands, dancing.

“Clarity: Pain has a way of concentrating the mind.”

Six. The lashes almost leapt of their own accord, drawing across her back, tearing open old scars. She panted, drawing deep breaths, tears in her eyes.

“Resilience: Pain teaches. Push through pain, and that which hurts you will make you stronger.”

Seven. The blood ran freely, dripping from the scourge as it swung. Hoarse, now, her throat hurting almost as much as her back.

“Experience: Those who avoid pain do not know the sublime joy that can be derived from it.”

Eight. The pain was agonizing. She swayed, unsteady on her knees.

“Death: It is said that death is the surcease of pain. Fight it with all your strength. Despise the undead, for they feel nothing.”

Nine. As always, the ninth was the worst, and as she fell forward, she once again felt the presence of her Goddess, whispering Her love for Her hand in the world. Her wounds healed as always, the blood running up her back, power and ecstasy flooding into her, the knowledge of her beloved Goddess burning in her soul once again.

—-------
The half-plate armor is archaic, almost decorative, with a golden rose-and-thorn motif. The patina of the cuirass is dark grey instead of black, perhaps faded from age, covering the young woman well, shaped to her form, as though it had been made for her centuries ago. The helmet shrouds her head completely, with a golden mask depicting the face of a smiling woman.

The young woman looks at you. Not just with her chips-of-sapphire eyes--you have a sinking feeling that she is looking with her entire soul, seeing you in a way that was entirely disconcerting in… someone like her.

“When I was born, there was something wrong with me. I never cried, I never showed any reaction to being uncomfortable, and I never wailed over an injury. My mother was worried. When I burned my hand on a cookpot, I didn't react at all, and it was only when my mother saw the blistered skin that she took me to the village priest, a Ilmateran. He claimed to be a painbearer, but I never saw him suffering more than a hangover, once I knew what that was. The priest told my mother that I didn't feel pain; that for some reason, I was special, and that she needed to give me up to the Church so that I could have a proper education. The alternative was to spend every waking moment chasing me, making sure I hadn't accidentally lost a toe or broken a bone, in addition to raising a child on a farm. Out of desperation, she agreed.”

The young woman adjusted her seat slightly and continued. "The Brother took me into his house and kept me there for years. He chained me in his cellar and began trying to heal me, so he said. Every day he would hurt me, demanding that I feel the pain, and every night he would heal me, cleaning the blood off me and telling me that he would try again tomorrow. I accepted this because I did not know any better. As time went by, he became more…elaborate…in his attempts to cause me pain, to bring me to the attention of the Crying God, which ultimately culminated in this."

She removed her helmet, revealing red hair, almond-shaped eyes, pale skin, and a beautiful face covered in…tiny brands. Scars. Tattoos. Every form of skin injury one could encounter, this woman had endured.

"The Brother spent years torturing me, and as I grew older, into my womanhood, he began giving in to other temptations. I knew that something was wrong, but it was not until one of the paladins of the Ilmateri came to visit that my situation improved. He found me in the cellar, denounced and executed the Brother on the spot, and took me away with him to his order, a place called the Abbey."

"They taught me script, and singing, and tried to induct me in the church as an acolyte, but I spent my time studying the warriors, instead. The priests didn't like that, but I was faster and smarter than them, and it became increasingly obvious as I grew older that pious old men suffering from afflictions that they had taken on over the years were simply not a match for a motivated young woman who had no fear of pain.”

“When I finally got official permission to begin training with the warriors, I was happy for the first time in my life. My curse was working for me, for a change, and the priests made sure that I could recognize injuries and would heal them when needed.”

Standing, she began to pace. Three steps to the right, turn, three steps to the left.

“But through all of this, even as I grew up and was educated in the way of the soldiers and servants of Ilmater, I never felt the presence of the Crying God. Not once. Even in the ceremonies of healing, even when other worshippers had their prayers answered. Oh, I tried to convince myself that he was present in my life, but it never quite happened. After all, I was incapable of suffering, at least on a physical level. Apparently that was enough to turn the favor of Ilmater from me.”

She paused. “Everything changed one night.”

“A man had been brought in for a trial. He had been accused of chasing and torturing a man to death, and was certainly no one that I should ever have gotten near, much less spoken to . But something drew me to him, and I think him to me. I got close to the cart where he had been manacled and brought in by the warriors of the Abbey. I saw the look in his eye as he sneered at the crowd before him. He saw me, and it was as if the world stood still. I moved through the crowd as though they were parted for me. His face lost the sneer, and he seemed to be listening to something. I drew closer, and he watched me intently, working his jaw as though he was chewing something. Suddenly he spat at me, blood from his own tongue, and he laughed aloud as if he had heard a wonderful jest. He yelled to me, “Listen for Her!” just as he was struck down by the guards.”

“I wiped away the blood, not understanding what had just happened, as the crowd began to jostle me once more. I went through the rest of my day in a daze, and that night was no different from any other, until I dreamed. It was a waking dream, one where I knew that I was dreaming, and I could feel Her presence all around me, like a warm sunny day, and there's someone looking over your shoulder, whispering into your ear. She spoke to me, and told me that I was indeed special, but not to Ilmater. I was special to Her. To Loviatar, the Mistress of Pain. That She had chosen me, singled me out to be Her presence in the world. I would serve Her, and She would love me, and She would show me what pain truly meant. What I had not experienced, ever, in my life. What I had been missing.”

“I was terrified. Of all the fights between the gods of the world, the enmity between Ilmater and Loviatar was truly hateful. I had been told Ilmater was good and Loviatar was evil, and pain was to be avoided when possible and endured when there was no other choice. For the very first time, I heard, I felt, the other side of the story, Her side, and I had doubts about what I had been told all my life. But I knew one thing for true: She had come for me, responded to me, heard my prayers, and Ilmater had not.”

“I left the Abbey a week later. I have been guided by Her voice ever since.”

Iohanna

Last edited by Vespers; Nov 11th, 2023 at 08:30 PM. Reason: linkto character sheet
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