Desiree — The Subtle Enchantress
“Lucien introduced me to another of his protegés this evening. It was obviously his intent to surprise me with her to gauge my reaction to her, because he didn’t forewarn me of his plans.
“To say she was beautiful might be considered an understatement. Long brown hair with red and mahogany highlights curled around a strong face with prominent cheekbones and brilliant gray-green eyes above a voluptuous figure wrapped in a translucent blue sari, she was more a Hindoo nymph of legend than a mortal woman.
“She was a charming thing, too, poised, confident and charismatic, obviously self-aware of her own beauty and how it affected others, and knowing exactly how to make full use of it. She used her own body language and skills of directed rapport as subtle weapons of enchantment, and she was evidently quite proficient with them. There were a number of instances where her pose indicated she was prepared to exercise a technique that would have had the effect of deepening our rapport with the intent of manipulating it, yet she stopped before committing to it. Whether it was the presence of Lucien that engendered her boldness in considering the attempt or her caution in not following through, I could not say, but I had no doubt that were we alone, she would have definitely made the first few attempts.
“Now I had to wonder about her relation to Lucien, knowing full well the fate of of many who Lucien also mentored, and so I asked indirectly about her history and her future as one who walked the Grand Stair. There was a brilliant mind behind her charming face: she was quick to understand the goal of my questioning and she indicated that she understood the full nature of her relationship with Lucien, and she seemed most satisfied with it.
“On the former, I had my doubts, but I kept my silence in Lucien’s presence.
“Of the latter, that, we shall see.”
– Cal’s Journal
Desiree received her title from her propensity for using her skills at enchantment on others. The priestly caste of her home world used the real magics of sorcery and enchantment and the mundane magics of psychology, including all matters regarding seduction, cold-reading, misdirection, sleight-of-hand magic and entrancement, as overt signs of their heightened spiritual development.
Desiree was an earnest student of all these aspects of magic. She believes it is her birthright to make full use of these arts on the lower castes in pursuit of her goals because of her high caste. She even believes that to manifest her prowess against her peers and higher castes, albeit subtly, is a sign of her immanent spiritual advancement. What she does by habit, the yet higher castes do naturally, and it is her intent to advance her own personal spiritual development through practice of these arts until they are equally as natural to her. However, she is now discovering yet higher though informal castes among the people she now associates with, and therefore is exercising subtle caution in her activities.
For Desiree and others of her world, physical beauty is always reflection of a person’s inner spiritual perfection, as demonstrated by Desiree’s stunning appearance. There are even higher caste individuals who must always veil themselves or else they would blind or stupefy anyone who looked at them. Like many of her caste and sex, she is a worshiper of Urvasi whose name means “one who controls” or “highly persuasive”: Urvasi is a Hindu apsara (nymph), who collectively were famous and notorious for seducing gods and men alike.
… possessed of eyes like lotus leaves, who were employed in enticing the hearts of persons practicing rigid austerities, danced there. And possessing slim waists and fair large hips, they began to perform various evolutions, shaking their deep bosoms, and casting their glances around, and exhibiting other attractive attitudes capable of stealing the hearts and resolutions and minds of the spectators.
She does not often carry a weapon but when she does, she carries a trishula which is a form of spear-like bladed trident.
While Desiree is a sorceress and enchantress foremost, she is also exceptionally curious about a wide range of topics. She is still relatively innocent enough to consider the pursuit of knowledge a worthy goal in its own right.
- Psyche: 20 points
- Strength: Paragon
- Endurance: Paragon
- Warfare: Paragon
- Cantrips [5 points] – Clarity, Flare, Focus, Invigorate, Mana, Numb, Paralyze, Reveal, Stun, Surge
- Invocation [20 points]
- Sorcery [15 points]
- Warden of the Stair [10 points]
- Clothing [8 points] — A full-length sari of translucent blue silk over a darker blue blouse and petticoat and gilded blue slippers, her clothing is designed to protect the wearer. The sari is normally worn over her left shoulder but it can be wrapped over her head and across her face for additional protection. Such clothing is not common to her world and is usually awarded to promising members of the highest castes.
- Invulnerable to Conventional Weapons [4 points]
- Mold Gossamer Reality [4 points] – Eliminate environmental hazards for the wearer
- Orb of Shakti [15 points] — A crystallize orb filled with a mesmerizing display of colors. This came into her possession after what she believes was an intense spiritual experience.
- Deadly Damage [4 points] – The orb can project a narrow or wide beam of blazing, multi-colored light. The damage level can be lowered or changed to non-lethal effects, primarily stunning the opponents or casting them into a drugged slumber.
- Capable of Hanging and Using Spells [4 points] – These are used as a last resort, triggered by the intense need of Desiree. These are usually defensive and healing spells.
- Mold Gossamer Reality [4 points] – Any spell hung and cast through the Orb will have full effect despite the existing conditions of the world.
- Psychic Sensitivity [1 point]
- Connected to a Power [Invocation] [1 point]
- Connected to a Power [Sorcery] [1 point]
- Traveling Satchel [1 point] — A white satchel embroidered with images of various Hindu deities, it has the potential of supplying anything she needs at the particular moment simply by her reaching into it. This is a common item carried by members of the highest castes.
- Mold Gossamer Matter [1 point]
- Sigil of Lucien [1 point] — Desiree wears a locket underneath her blouse: inside is an image of Ursvasi. Lucien had it crafted it so that it concealed an Icon of himself underneath it.
- Contains Icon [1 point] – Lucien
- Lucien [5 points] — For his own reasons, Lucien seems to take an unusual interest in the actions of Desiree. Whether that will be to her benefit remains to be seen.
- Duncan: He is at the highest level of the warrior caste. His next incarnation will surely be into the priestly caste.
- Kitten: She follows paths both material and spiritual of her own making. I must not interfere.
- Lord Zordd: Power, without purpose. Strength, without restraint. Knowledge, without wisdom. Until he learns these lessons, he will never advance spiritually.
- Paragon: He knows it not, his spiritual advancement is very high, certainly to within the levels of the priestly caste. His sense of failure limits his advancement, however, and I should help him overcome that.
- Umbral: Whatever thoughts go in to her head, especially the ones I take the pains to implant there, just go right on through and out the moment she gets distracted.
Home World: Golden Gupta Empire
The proud empire of the Golden Guptan dynasty has stood for over 1,000 years and will stand for thousands more. Its reach extends across the entire Indian subcontinent, north past the vast Himalayan mountains, east throughout Southeast Asia and west to the Mediterranean Sea. It is the center of learning and power throughout the world, overpowering and outlasting all other empires through its understanding of the true nature of the world.
The empire is highly stratified into a hereditary caste system incorporating reincarnation and advancement in caste through karma and good works. The highest caste is the priest caste, of which the highest sub-caste is the royal caste, from which all power flows. In reality, power is concentrated in the priest caste, rendering the royal caste merely a figurehead, more concentrated on the final steps of spiritual advancement than ruling. Power is maintained through subtle use of sorcerous enchantments and various inter-personal techniques of persuasion and influence. Political infighting is uncommon within the caste but not unknown.
Local variations of Sorcery and Invocation are very subtle and very powerful here, and are limited to the use of the priestly caste. Municipal sorcery is performed by the lower sub-castes of the priestly caste. Technology, on the other hand, is limited to steam power using a form of magic to produce heat.
There is one known Door to this world, guarded safely within the depths beneath the Great Temple outside the capital city.
The source image for this character was a picture of Aishwarya Rai, a Bollywood actress who is described as one of the most beautiful women in the world. Certainly her title as Miss World certainly does lend credence to that.