"The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading." -David Bailey
Charlene “Charlie” Waitford-Steele
Armsmen Investigator/Lore Hunter
- Charlene "Charlie" Brielle Waitford was born to a wealthy family in oppressive Coalition States twenty and some odd years ago.
- She discovered quickly she had a talent for feeling what was wrong with people when they were hurt or stressed and knowing just how to help. A psychic gift for healing that would have led to her being registered and/or hunted in the nation of her birth if she used it openly.
- Luckily, her father was of a rebellious nature and had a small illegal library from which he taught her to read early, so she recognized the ability as psychic from stories and kept it hidden except from him.
- She grew more rebellious herself as she got older, occasionally secretly teaching people various things she'd learned in books, healing those she could get away with healing without drawing down trouble.
- Eventually she became something of a relic hunter, seeking knowledge of pre-Rifts history, selling some of it and travelling widely.
- In time though, she was declared a rogue scientist for her spreading of knowledge and had to flee the Coalition States territory just ahead of bounty hunters.
- Unfortunately, five years ago, her fleeing fear caught the attention of Tarrynt Steele, a two hundred year old Shifter lich whose pact let him survive via a terror-fueled phylactery of his soul and the sacrifice of innocents to the dark hunger he served.
- She was kidnapped by the evil mage, but something stayed his hand initially in killing her. He kept her as a house servant for a time, bound from escaping by a crippling spell of dread he lay on her when she tried to leave the boundaries of the estate, but though he was fierce and frightening, he didn't treat her particularly badly.
- She came to know him, and know the pain in him through her healer's sense. To know the weight of choices made centuries ago for what he thought worthy reasons at the time, but that had been long since corrupted by the hungry darkness to which he was bound.
- Eventually, the weight of the hunger grew too much for him and, with sad eyes, he told her it was her time. She was released into a maze beneath the estate, told if she escaped him, she'd live, and then was hunted by him in various shapeshifted monstrous forms, building her terror to a a fever pitch.
- And then he caught her, and she knew it was over and she'd die, and yet...some part of her had known that pain in him, that conflict, and knew the key to it. With all the unexpected sympathy and love she'd developed for him, she told him she forgave him just as he lashed out to sacrifice her to the darkness and those words broke down the last barriers within his withered heart.
- He stayed his hand, despite the fury of the darkness, fought it back from her and saved her. She woke up some days later, cursemarked by the hungry dark's power, but alive. And it was then he professed his love for her, angrily at first, as if she'd somehow done it to him, but in time he broke down and begged for her to stay.
- From such a beginning, she never could have dreamed the life she lives now could have come about, but their unusual love has only grown, a marriage made, a child born, a life shaped. His patron was displeased with him and stripped him of some of his power, but he manages to walk a fine line still between darkness and light, feeding it still, but not in blood and death of the innocent, but those who would be threat to their chosen home.
- Meanwhile, she walks her own fine line, ever hounded by the cursemark of the darkness drawing on her health, threatening to take her from her child and husband, ever on the lookout for new ways to hold back its power and survive. The things we endure for love.
Shadow-Cursed Psi-Healing Lore Hunter and Rogue Scientist
Psychic healer, braniac, relic hunter, occasional rogue scientist, and, thanks to the monstrous man she'd eventually fall in love with and marry, cursed by a connection to a primeval hungry darkness that's slowly killing her. Charlie has had a complicated life.
Invoke: To give bonuses to heal the sick, decipher a mystery with her big brain, share knowledge, or get out of the temple with the stolen artifact before getting squished by the boulder trap.
Compel: To find it hard to resist helping the injured, seeking out knowledge, or getting into trouble with coalition bounty hunters or others who react badly to psychics. Also with suffering sickness, pain, or temptations to evil from her waxing curse or being compelled with some tantalizing hint of something that might help break the curse.
The Things One Does For Love
Falling in love with a monstrously evil two hundred year old lich who kidnapped her intent on eating her wasn't something she expected certainly, but love rarely makes sense. Now she's tasked with trying to tend the spark of light in a dark soul, even while his darkness has tainted her in turn and begun changing her. The daughter they've had together is one more point of light, but also a worry for what will happen to her if the curse ever takes away her mother.
Invoke: To go all out to protect the ones she loves or do something ruthless for a good reason, or showing up in the nick of time to help husband or daughter.
Compel: To be tempted to do something evil for love or let Steele do something evil without calling him on it, or for her daughter to complicate their lives in some way, or her husbands dark past to creep up on them
Curiosity Killed the Unprepared Explorer
She's always been a seeker of knowledge driven by her curiosity. That is a trait that can get her into horrible trouble more often than not.
Invoke: To bravely go where she probably shouldn't go or to luckily have prepared for unexpected eventualities.
Compel: To get tempted by shiny, shiny knowledge, artifacts, new healing techniques, or information about curses.
Books, All the Books
In a world where illiteracy runs rampant and the most powerful nation on the continent goes out of its way to keep people that way to control them, an obsession with the written word is not just weird, it's dangerous.
Invoke: To know obscure bits about just about everything or impress someone with ancient quotes or go full on Librarian in defense of ancient knowledge
Compel: To tempt her with rare tome that's way more dangerous to get to than its worth, to drive her into a rage with someone harming a book, or threatening her library.
Rookie Vesper Armsmen Investigator
Convinced by Steele that her skills could be useful and would let them work together closer, Charlie joined the elite agents of the Thirty Counselors of Vesper who are known as the Armsmen. One part secret police, one part guardians of the realms, one part independent problem-solvers, she is still new to it all, but fits in decently. Her unique blend of experience, knowledge, and talents has led her to fall into support and investigative roll primarily, and she complements Steele's more direct approach well.
Invoke: Acting to investigate threats to Vesper, call on the authority of the Armsmen or will of the Thirty, get along with other Armsmen or their agents
Compel: Get called upon for morally questionable assignments, be looked down on for her rookie status, get tangled in Vesper's complicated politics
I've Read about That! (Lore Stunt) (1)
Growing up in the Coalition States, where the populace are kept largely illiterate and rogue ideas face censure, it's a miracle she became what she was. A product of her father's rebellion in keeping all of his collection of books hidden and teaching her to read them young, she's spent much of her life seeking out knowledge and written word on every subject she could find. As such, she can spend a fate point to use Lore in place of any other skill for one roll or exchange, provided she can justify having read about the action she's attempting.
Hidden Knowledge (Lore Stunt) (1)
Even though she's psychic, she's studied extensively what she could find of magic tomes in turn, and even more esoteric things. This especially has been true since her magical curse. She may use Lore for topics relating to magic and the occult.
The Power of Deduction (Investigate Stunt) (1)
In the seeking of knowledge, one learns to assess patterns of everything and everyone you witness and she's perceptive enough to make good use of those patterns. Once per scene she can spend a fate point (and a few minutes of observation) to make a special Investigate roll representing her potent deductive faculties. For each shift she makes on this roll she discovers or creates an aspect, on either the scene or the target of her observations, though she may only invoke one of them for free.
Major Gateway: Psychic (Healing Specialist) (1)
She's always known when people were hurting and just how to help. Growing up in the Coalition States, she luckily realized how dangerous that talent was early and kept it under wraps better than she managed to keep her love of knowledge hidden later on. Still, being a healer of both the body and mind is one of the two parts fundamental to her core along with her love of knowledge. She can re-roll the first failed Will roll for Healing effects.
Mental Medicine (0)
Her preferred method of healing is tapping into holistic understanding of the body, mind, and soul. All three just seem to speak to her of what ails them, and just what surgery, medical technique, out advice is needed to repair them properly. It is easier to pass this off as knowledge of anatomy or psychology rather than psychic gift as well. The body can recover from a lot on its own, but some things require intervention. Mental Medicine is less the art of encouraging the body to heal itself and more the art of manipulating it back to wholeness. Like those psychics trained in bio-feedback, the ability to deaden pain and put patients to sleep is invaluable. From there the paths diverge though. Mental Medics listen to the body tell them what's wrong, gaining a very complete picutre of injury and illness, even when neither are obvious. From there they learn to set bones, repair arteries, mend flesh and even excise infection and necrosis with the skill of any surgeon. They also learn to purge illness and for those of a metaphysical nature who are faltering, even restore some mental and arcane energies that are faltering by sacrificing some of their own.
Body Manipulation (0)
An innate understanding of the body can lead to doing particularly nasty things to it. She doesn't _like_ to use it, but she's more than capable if it comes to it. Those same talents that are used in service of the healing arts do have other uses. Many healers choose not to pursue them simply because of temperament but they most certainly exist. Manipulating the bodies of others to strike them blind, deaf or mute, paralyze them or simply leave them in agony is all within the reach of those used to telling the body to ignore pain and heal itself. Some can even convince a body that it's ill, causing the victims to grow feaverish and weak even though its all in their head - as it were.
Psychic Defense (0)
A divergence from her sense for biology and healing, but a necessary one given the trouble she's faced over the years, she has experience with shaping force to deflect and even outright block physical dangers. This is the study of marshaling the mind to preserve the body from harm. Many of these gifts are similar in nature to telekinesis, but more potent and refined. Mental energies form fields like armor and shields that ward off physical harm as well as anything technology can provide. Special Note: Psychic Defense allows for psychic shields which enable the user to defend against physical attacks with his Will skill.
Minor Gateway: Dimensional Being (Shadow-Cursed) (2)
When the lich that she'd fall in love with tried to eat her terror and sacrifice her to the darkness that gives him immortality, only to fall in love and spare her...the darkness was _not_ pleased. It lashed out and marked her, and that mark was meant to kill her, something it almost has repeatedly. Through her own stubbornness and various magical attempts to cure her, she keeps the curse at bay, and has even learned to make use of the changes it affected her with to occasionally great effect.
-Energy Sensitized (Racial Quirk) (0)
The hungry dark craves energies of all sorts: life, magic, psi, and physical. She has a sense for those things, sources of magical and psi energy radiating to some inner sense, while living things stand out in even greater emphasis than her psychic senses before made them. Even the microbes of the air or rock can be seen if she concentrates, giving her a basic vision in even the darkest of spaces. Useful tricks for a relic hunter.
-Danger Sense (Racial Quirk) (0)
As extension of that energy sense, she's also found that she's developed an almost mystical sense for danger in turn, though sometimes she'll get senses of dread without source that make her wonder if she's garnering the attention of the darkness itself using this. Her Notice skill works unimpeded by conditions like total concealment, darkness, or other sensory impairments in situations where someone or something intends to harm her or those near her.
-Shadowportation (Racial Quirk) (0)
The most profound (and, to her, frightening) change that came about from the combination of curse and magics keeping her alive, she has developed an ability to mystically transport herself and her belongings via shadows. She has an innate sense for shadows large and dense enough to serve as portals and where they might lead, but can use this to teleport up to a few miles away, bypassing obstacles along the way. With a fate point, she can even take someone else with her. It's a terrifying experience though and always has a lingering feeling of... having been fed upon somehow.