NAME: Kyriaki Argyro
AGE: She was in her early twenties when she rose again as one of the Blightmen
HOMELAND: The Old Empire
JOB OR RANK: Adventurer/Revenant.
APPEARANCE: Once Kyriaki was human, before the Myst surge caused a meteor to impact upon the land of Kriege, leaving nought but destruction in its wake. Kyriaki was one of the many who perished during this cataclysmic event, and who were not granted eternal rest. Instead she rose again. Unlike reanimated undead spawned by necromantic sorcery, Blightmen retain their mental faculties and she is no different in that regard, yet the curse of the Myst is never far.
Without her glamour, Kyriaki cannot obfuscate the fact that she is no longer alive, though she is fortunate since so far her skin has not started to rot and she is not missing any body parts. Thus her body is intact, but her appearance has been twisted. She has deathly pale skin, icy glowing eyes and looks gaunt. Her skin is sinewy and has a somewhat mummified appearance. Small horns protrude from her skull. Her hair is white and worn in a simple braid down the back. Her skin is colder to touch than that of a living, breathing person with a pulse. While undead, she takes care of her appearance, though she will wear something practical in combat. Kyriaki commonly wears a necklace whose meaning is unclear to her, but which she assumes was important to her when her heart still beat.
PERSONALITY: Like all of the Blightfolk, Kyriaki has experienced a rebirth of sorts. Her heart no longer beats. Her body no longer ages. She is a reanimated corpse, but retains her sentience, though the madness of the Myst is never far and something she has to struggle against.
However, who and what she used to be influences who she is now. Kyriaki has a good deal of anger inside her, though it is a tranquil fury rather than a raging tempest. In life, she was the daughter of a noble who betrayed and executed. In account of her youth, she was sent to the wall as a sister of the Black Watch. She deserted and rose again.
She views it as a rebirth of sorts. Having been robbed of and betrayed by the value system that defined her existence as a child, she has adopted the religious beliefs of the Blightmen. She is embittered against the Empire and vengeful against the nobles she believes vilified and betrayed her family and condemned her to a miserable existence. Her new condition has driven her to extend this sense of grievance to encompass the Blightmen, whom she believes have been unjustly condemned.
Here it is pertinent to note that Kyriaki does not hate all the living. However, the fact that she is visibly not human or even alive anymore obviously separates her from them. For this reason, she gravitates the most to outcasts of society. Kyriaki's formal education was cut short by her exile, but she is quite knowledgeable about courtly etiquette and the like. Now she regards courtly life as hollow. All the courtesies, the pomp and circumstance only mask the daggers in the night. She is proud of her abilities, but suffers from survivor's guilt. It gives her drive, but can also work against her. She believes that she is the last of her family. This is not accurate, but close enough. She also has clear gaps in her memory.
Kyriaki is vengeful, but patient. After all, she is undead, so she has time. She is loyal to friends, but it takes a while for anyone to reach that status with her. Until then she comes across as closed-off and chilly. Kyriaki is no jokester and indeed a quite serious person, though she manifests a dry sense of humour. She is guarded around the living, but shows a more personable and even softer side around other children of the Blight.
For obvious reasons, she takes offence at being compared to a simplistic zombie like those created by necromancers. Her kind have a reason to exist beyond the selfish whims of a dark sorcerer - or so she thinks, at any rate - whereas a zombie is simply a slave who should be put down so that the soul can find peace. Thus she is opposed to mages who would enslave the dead or ghosts for the sake of their own personal gain.
However, Kyriaki's life is not dictated solely by bloodletting and the like. That would be a waste of her unlife. In life, she had a talent as an embroiderer and seamstress. It is a vocation she still pursues in her free time. Being undead does not mean one has to be sloppy and dress in tattered rags, after all. She is also trying to understand what one might, for want of a better word, term the Blight condition, its cause and the purpose behind it. Kyriaki has had to contend with those among the Blightmen who have succumbed to madness. Putting them down hurts her, but she views it as necessary to maintain the community.
BIOGRAPHY: Kyriaki was born in the Old Empire. As a child she lived a privileged, rather sheltered life, for her father Demetrios Argyro was a noble and accomplished soldier. Thus the family had an estate, servants, slaves and the like. A slave tutor taught her how to read and write. Over time Kyriaki would manifest some magical talent and receive tuition. As a young girl, she enjoyed pursuits such as horde riding, as well as songs and embroidery. She liked hawking, but was a somewhat sickly child.
Magical talent had a tradition in her family lineage. Indeed, for a long time the family had only intermarried with other nobles who possessed magical talent, though Kyriaki's father had strayed from that. Her lineage had an aptitude for elemental magic - specifically ice magic. Kyriaki first manifested this gift when a ship she was on was wrecked by a storm and she used her powers to keep herself from drowning. She managed to freeze some water in front of her to create an ice floe for herself and her little sister.
They subsequently managed to crawl onto it, effectively floating on the water for a few hours until her father saved her. His timing was good because her efforts had utterly drained Kyriaki and the ice was starting to crack. After that incident, he saw to it that she received lessons from a tutor, but also took a role in her education when he had the time. He recognised the power of magic, but had also witnessed the dangers inherent to it and the way it could corrupt mortals first-hand. Thus he tried to impress upon her the importance of temperance and responsibility. Young Kyriaki struggled with fine control though. For one, she had a habit of accidentally freezing objects she touched, which frustrated her a lot.
However, a life of privileges came with its own set of complications, namely the Byzantine machinations of the Imperial court. Her father had a well-earned reputation as a dutiful, forthright man. Stubborn and rigid, he had a strong sense of duty, justice and honour. This made him a good commander and just, if aloof liege lord who had no time for bribes or flattery, but he was poor at the political game, treating it with scorn. His rigidity and lack of subtlety won him few allies.
He believed in the founding principles of the Old Empire and tried to pass them on to his children. When the conflict with the western barbarians who had often menaced the Empire's boundaries heated up again, Demetrios was commanding some of the troops at the border. He met a significant barbarian horde in battle, having gathered a host of soldiers. However, his subordinate Andronikos Phokas betrayed him at the crucial moment.
Having long secretly resented his liege and used his superior political skill to intrigue against him, Phokas dithered, then withdrew the reserve force rather than come to the support of his commander. At the same time, he spread the rumour that the general had fallen in battle, which was a serious blow to the morale of the legionnaires. Cut off from support, Demetrios fought alongside his surviving troops to try and allow his men to escape the trap. However, he was captured. By the time he was released, the intrigue of his rivals had born fruit. Thus he wa accused of treason and executed. Kyriaki's older brother had perished in battle.
Soldiers came to the family estate to take possession of it. Kyriaki's mother was placed under what amounted to house arrest in a temple. On account of her youth, Kyriaki was sent to the Wall to join the Black Watch. Thus the hands of the plotters would remain clean, but she was also out of the game because she was being exiled to a place for criminals, bastards and riff-raff where she was unlikely to survive. Besides, her constitution was quite frail and delicate, so it was doubtful that she would survive on the Wall for long. Her younger sister had vanished during the confusion and was declared dead.
Thus the young girl was ripped from her home and sent to a harsh, desolate place, for the Black Watch was charged with keeping the undead Blightmen contained. Suffice to say it was a profound change. Living in a bleak, Spartan fortress that to a significant degree was populated by former criminals, Kyriaki grew up sullen, bitter and withdrawn.
However, she was determined to survive, especially after she learned of her mother's death. To her knowledge, she was the only one left of her house. One particularly cruel instructor in the Black Watch maltreated her. Eventually, Kyriaki arranged an accident for the abusive trainer. But she had to bide her time. One day she was assigned to a group of warriors of the Watch conducting a scouting expedition. They had to climb a rather steep mountain. Using her fledgling ice powers, Kyriaki caused the abusive instructor to slip. The fall was fatal.
Though far from the strongest, she displayed bravery in the skirmishes with the undead. As it turned out there were soldiers stationed at the fort she lived in who were in a similar boat. Thus Kyriaki participated in a mutiny against the local commander. Ironically, the leader of the insurrection had been sent to the Wall by her father. However, the uprising was put down. With nowhere else to go, she fled beyond the wall with some comrades. It was madness, but their only option. Attrition whittled down their numbers, as they faced monsters and feral Blightmen.
Kyriaki, by now in bad shape, sought refuge in some ruins. It was then that she was expoded to the toxic remnants from the meteor that had transformed Kriege into the blighted land of the dead. But Kyriaki did not die - or rather she did not stay dead. The Blightfolk took her in and taught her about her new nature. To her surprise, she found that not all of them were savage monsters. Indeed, those who had managed to retain their mental faculties had established a society of sort. She found something close to a new family. But in her icy, unbeating heart, she never forgot or forgave.
MAGIC & SKILLS: Kyriaki had magical talent in life, and is thus able to use Myst. However, this is not without risk, as Blightfolk like her can go feral and violent. Broadly speaking, simple or quick applications of magic are less risky than complex or protracted use.
Lady of Ice: Kyriaki has a talent for elemental magic. To be precise, her element is ice and water. This was a talent she already possessed in life. When she died and rose again, her icy heritage mixed with the Mysts from the meteor's corruption, which is why she looks the way she does. She can create cold and frost at will and manipulate water. An example for a combat application would be unleashing a cone of cold or frost breath. On a more mundane level, it helps treat burn wounds or keep perishable foodstuffs fresh. The latter is admittedly not relevant to her because she does not eat anyway, but it can make her useful for a party that includes people who do.
Lore of Death: Moreover, she has a talent for Academic Magc. This takes the form of her having a connection to the dead, especially spirits. She can see and communicate with the spirits of the dead. She can summon the spirit of a recently deceased person, provided she has an item that belonged to them and has time to make some ritual preparations. This can also be employed in combat to terrorise enemies, especially those who are responsible for the death of the deceased person in question.
The spirit cannot be held for long, though. Moreover, she can briefly grant a semblance of life and intelligence to a nearby corpse, allowing it to answer questions. The corpse must still have a mouth. In addition, it is under no compulsion to answer truthfully and it only knows what it knew at the time of its demise. The spell is temporary and if she is careless the undead may be so far gone that it attacks her.
This is a useful investigative skill. For instance, it is helpful when investigating a crime. In short, communing with spirits via divination is her thing. However, this connection is not always flawless. Any insight she gleans from it still needs to be interpreted. The dead may be deceptive, driven mad or simply needlessly cryptic. Depending on the spirit and the intensity of the connection, she may also be opening herself for possession or even madness.
Glamour: Kyriaki has a minor ability to summon a glamour. The purpose of this is to make her appear more human, obfuscating her nature as one of the undead. However, the change produced by this illusion is optical only. It does not give her a pulse, make her sweat or alter her scent. These are all ways to determine that there is something off about her, which could expose her true nature. Moreover, a mage who has a lot of experience with glamours, illusions and the like could be able to see through the spell or notice that she is using some form of concealment. Finally, the spell's duration is not indefinite, which means it is not active all the time.
Conversely, Kyriaki can use her glamouring to make herself appear more demonic and horrifying than she actually is, without actually altering her appearance. This is useful for intimidation, though how effective it is depends on the willpower of her prospective opponent.
Due to the aforementioned issues, she cannot wholly rely on magic to protect herself in combat. Thus she can also fight conventionally, especially using bow or blade. She went through the school of hard knocks during her time with the Black Watch, though she is no savant of duelling.
- Weapons, clothes and armour
- Travel pack. Aside from the usual items, she carries a perfume that masks the scent of death around her.