Friday, July 19, 2013

Sanguinara, the Blood Witch

In appearance, the Blood Witch looks quite human… on the surface, at least. Her form is overall quite pleasing to the eye, seductively beautiful in a manner that makes most viewers instinctively feel both attracted and repelled in a manner they cannot explain. Her skin is incredibly pale—the color of milk—and her long, lustrous hair is a dark, coal black that seems to absorb the light. Her lips and eyes are a dark crimson—the hue of freshly-spilled blood. Her teeth—although perfect and gleaming—feature a prominent pair of fangs.

Before her arrival in Valkenholm, she had no other name. Upon assuming control, she took as her title Countess and decreed that she would be addressed as Sanguinara Nasady—a name whose significance, if any, is unknown to current scholars. She took seven of the capital’s most comely lasses as her handmaidens, and these young women serve her without question. Although she is the creator of both the vampires and the Dhampir, only a handful of the Accursed have chosen to openly serve as her agents. In fact, the vast majority of Dhampir have left Valkenholm, either to escape her influence or to join the Order of St. Vitus and fight against her minions.

Due to her frequent appearances at court, most citizens of Valkenholm have an understanding of Sanguinara’s character. She is cruel, seductive, and often quite capricious—choosing a favorite one day only to cast him down the next. These qualities are consistent with those displayed by the Unseelie Fey, but there are many decrees from the Countess that make it clear she tolerates none of their kind… with the possible exception of the assassin Little Red Cap. In her position of Countess, she tends to leave much of the actual governance of the realm to her advisors. She prefers instead to hold elaborate court sessions and decadent parties. She often dispatches messengers and envoys to the other realms of Morden, bearing her honeyed words to their rulers and people of import.

Many stories about the Blood Witch have spread throughout the land, often carried by travelers and merchants out of Valkenholm’s forests. One story says that she bathes nightly in a pool of fresh blood, rejuvenating her unearthly beauty and healing any wounds she may have suffered. Others say that she seems keenly interested in the Ash Plains and Hyphrates, and that she has asked many leading questions in her court about the possibility of annexing these regions to add to her own.

The Blood Witch’s magic centers around passion and desire. Her spells can enflame a warrior’s love of battle and winnow out the heart’s desire from a stoic priest. Many of Sanguinara’s magics have to do with altering these passions and desires, enhancing or limiting them as she wishes. In addition, the essence of blood also flows through the Countess’ witchcraft—the source of her name. It is not just the passions of the blood she can affect; Sanguinara’s magics have been known to literally boil the blood of those who displease her, or cause an enemy to begin bleeding uncontrollably from every orifice. Any foe with an open wound is a particular weakness that her spells can exploit, turning the smallest scratch into a serious threat.

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