HtCB The Bleeding Heart:Main Page: Sakinah
Sakinah got to Spire the usual way Gnolls get to Spire - as a prisoner of war. Of course, that was just an elaborate Gnollish Intelligence operation to get her into place within a militarily-oriented Aelfir household - the house of Clouds-Hide-The-Pale-Mountains - where she could report back on logistics and so forth, and perhaps even subtly influence things (depending on her ability to make herself valuable and/or her captors exotic predilections).
She doesn't know how she got caught. Maybe someone turned. Maybe magic. Maybe she just wasn't a very good spy. Whatever it was, they sniffed her out. Said they had a very different mission in mind. And then, smiling, they introduced her to the Mask of Obedient Servitude.
Down in Derelictus, sniffing around the blood-wet edges of the Heart for any sign of the Aelfir's lost scion, she was little more than a clockwork servant. Until the bees found her, and offered her a deal. Now she is herself again. But then again, not...
• Who, or what, are your masters? Aelfir nobility; in the general, the house of Clouds-Hide-The-Pale-Mountain. In the specific, Barienna Clouds-Hide-The-Pale-Mountain, withered matriarch of that house.
• What do your masters want? The safe return of Fenii Clouds-Hide-The-Pale-Mountain, Barienna’s third child and only (surviving) son. He went into exile several years ago, after a misunderstanding involving the son (or was it daughter?) of Archdeacon Many-The-Seedlings, who sits on Spire’s ruling Council. The last the family heard of him was a garbled message left by his loyal retainer and bodyguard Antonio Quinn, saying they were heading into the undercity to restore his honour by hunting down… well, it sounded like nonsense, frankly. But Fenii always did have a dramatic streak. In time, once the fuss died down, he could have quietly returned to Amaranth. There was simply no need for such overblown gestures. And really? Everyone (or everyone who counts, at least) knows there’s no such thing as Angels. • How are your masters maintaining power over you? The Mask of Obedient Servitude, a brass and clockwork horror fused directly with Sakinah’s skull. Bars encage her face. Brass filaments inscribed with tiny sigils wind down to infiltrate the vertebrae at the base of the neck. And a rough loop of hemp twists around her throat, winding ever tighter with the faintest tick-tick-tick. They told her they can see through her eyes, if they choose. She dare not doubt it.
• How do your masters contact you? Through the mask itself; their voice grinds appallingly in the very bones of her skull, leaving Sakinah with a splitting headache and renewed hatred.
• Choose another player character. They have history with your masters too. What’s their relationship? Plum - he was a peer of Fenii, back in another life, back when he had power, prospects, a family, a home.
• Perform a seemingly unconnected action for your masters that has grim consequences.
• Do a favour for someone to gain leverage over them.
Collateral You have a knack for getting behind someone else when things kick off. Once per session, allocate stress to the nearest friendly target (PC or NPC) instead of marking it yourself.
The Hive The sweetlings nest within your body. Some of your organs are replaced with complex copies made from wax by industrious bees. They live within you – a few at first, but as you grow in power, great swarms. Their curious buzzing aligns your mind with the Hive. At the beginning of each situation, clear all Mind stress as incipient madness flows through you and into the Hive. You can never benefit from Mind protection or remove stress from Mind, aside from using this ability.
Release the Swarm You send out a swarm of bees, eager to defend you. Gain access to the following weapon: (Kill D4 (upgraded to D6, Spread, Ranged; See Delirium Spike).
Delirium Spike The sacred majesty of the Hive fills you with fizzing, unstable power. The stress inflicted by your RELEASE THE SWARM ability increases to D6. The first time you inflict stress using RELEASE THE SWARM in a situation, add your Mind stress to the stress inflicted on the target. After the action is resolved, reduce your Mind stress to 0. This supersedes the normal limitations on removing Mind stress outlined in THE HIVE.
A Perfect Machine You see that cogs, gears and engines are just echoes of the infinite, staggering majesty that is the Hive. Gain the Technology domain. Given time, you can repair technological devices even if you don’t have the right parts: you synthesise them from wax and extruded bone.
Intoxicant Pheromone glands pucker and blossom on your wrists and neck; you are alluring, irresistible, almost soporific. Gain the Compel skill. Once per session, when you talk to someone for five minutes or more, you convince them to revert to their basest impulses. They become driven solely by lust, hunger or a need for shelter – whichever they desire most right now.
Many Eyes Each of your companions is a vessel for your sight. Gain the Discern skill. When you stand still and close your eyes, you can see through the eyes of any of your bees, allowing you to spy around corners or look into closed spaces. You can’t control the bees directly, but you have enough at your disposal to cover the area around you.
Heartsbloom rose in a glass jar (D6 Occult, Fragile)
Hive Tool (Kill D4, Brutal)
Dimensional Barometer (Delve D6)
The Mask of Obedient Servitude
A book of unsolved mathematical equations. Originally intended for passing or decyphering messages, the Aelfir gave it back to her with a spiteful smirk, when they sent her down into Heart. Or at least she imagines they did. Behind those masks, who can tell?
Knotted weave of string that describes your grandmother. Grand-damm Aaeedah was a magnificent bitch, a towering figure of a woman who rules over her vastly extended clan with a honey-smeared claw; sweet, but nasty. Sakinah doesn't know what happened to her - she was just gone, one day, and nobody would speak of her except to flinch and gesture towards the shadows as if to ward off evil.