Name: Dawn Valerian
Wanted For: Service to Elaith Thenswick, service to Nikumu, kidnapping, child abuse, arson, murder several times over, and, I don't know. Tax fraud with her non-profit cult.
Current Status: Deceased. Again. For good, presumably.
Weight: 120lbs. She's a wee thing, she is.
Hair: Naturally ash-blonde, but dyed green.
Dawn Valerian is a woman who does horrible and inexcusable things for perfectly valid reasons. This will become clearer in her biography section, and from the record of her efforts at resurrecting her master in From the Ashes.
Dawn prefers to prevaricate rather than lie whenever possible. She enjoys manipulating the assumptions of others, allowing them to dig their own grave in the face of her selective honesty.
Despite, or possibly because of her tendency to lie, Dawn knows well the value of truth, loyalty, and integrity. In fact, these three things could be considered her only values. The truth is too valuable to give to just anyone, loyalty must be absolute and therefore selectively given, and integrity... Integrity is everything. When the bodies are all counted, the lies revealed and sins totalled at the end of all things... integrity is all any mortal can call her own.
Anyone who does not share her obsessive attention to loyalty does not, in her mind, deserve to live. When Elaith Thenswick was betrayed by the very apprentice who had brought Dawn to him... it's possible that Dawn was angrier then Elaith himself. Despite a penchant for lies and treachery, anyone who earns Dawn's loyalty can expect from her complete honesty and dedication. Loyalty given lightly or surrendered for any reason is the highest sin a person can commit in Dawn's mind.
She calls no man Master unless he is her only master, and will follow through on that commitment no matter the consequences.
Dawn is an accomplished telepath, but has little talent for magic. She was born to Paul and Catherine Valerian, one of five children. In descending order, the legitimate members of the Valerian family are Donna, Daniel and Dmitri (the twins), Donny and Dawn. She also has a younger half-sister named Eva, daughter of Paul and the housekeeper. Dawn was the only member of the Valerian household who acknowledged Eva, but could never seem to decide whether Eva was her only friend or the lowest possible form of life. Once, when Dawn was eight and Eva was six, Dawn nearly drowned her younger sister. She used her powers on her, and could have forced her to drown herself. At the last instant, Dawn backpedaled and saved Eva.
Eva ran away from home at the age of twelve. Shortly thereafter Paul and Catherine Valerian killed each other in what was termed a marital dispute. When the matter of inheritance was raised, all of Paul and Catherine's children except their youngest fought one another for the money. Some said the pressure on the family was too much, others speculated that a strain of insanity ran through Catherine's side. Very few people knew why the children committed suicide one by one, leaving behind a suitably grief-stricken Dawn. Eva knew, but shen she heard that Dawn had the money she knew she was safe enough.
Eva and Dawn went their separate ways after that, and Eve's portion is a tale for another article.
Dawn, using the funds left to her by her parents, funded her own education at Gunnir Academy. A dedicated and talented student, many expexted her to take over for Malachi Lee as the head of the psionics department someday. However, she found that Gunnir was not giving her the direction she needed. Something was missing.
She had heard rumors of a former Gunnir student, a man by the name of Elaith Thenswick. All but the shadiest of students and teachers spoke of him with a mix of fear and disgust. They described him as brilliant but manipulative, depraved but obsessive and charismatic enough to dominate others for his own ends. Dawn spoke with people who had found him polite enough, but deeply unsettling.
Dawn was intrigued. Who was to say what these people knew and what they did not? Didn't Dawn herself lie every day, hiding her own desires and feelings? She knew what it meant to see others as a means to an end, a resource to accomplish certain goals. It was socially-unacceptable but common enough, and to hear others condemn Thenswick for it branded them as irredeemable hypocrites in her mind.
She decided to see for herself.
She left Gunnir, presumably to take a semester off. She followed rumors and sightings, violent acts and whisperings in taverns until she finally caught up with his apprentice. Through him, she got what she wanted, a meeting with the necromancer.
It was like every question she'd asked the gods about her own destiny had been answered in a single instant. Here was someone who understood what she was. Here was the first person she couldn't lie to and, more shockingly, the first person who could handle the truth about her. He knew that she was a treacherous, manipulative, calculating sociopath, and he accepted her. He didn't ask her to be anything but what she was. He offered her a place in his service, and she knew that whatever her destiny was, it lay with him. His success would be hers, his victory, his happiness, and even his defeat... she would share them all and do so gladly. She swore her loyalty to him, and never looked back.
In his quest to secure the heart of Genevive Sarith, he enslaved armies of dragons and conquered much of the Ka'thalan peninsula. Serving him loyally even to the extent of helping him claim another woman, Dawn was killed in the final assault on his base. If Dawn were any other woman the story would end there, but her promise ran deeper than that.
After her death she was claimed by the god of hate, who kept her long enough to torment her and turn her devotion to her master into something darker: an unwavering and all-consuming obsession. She would destroy anything, cause as much suffering as she needed, to get him back. She would tear the world apart for taking him from her, and she would do it gladly.
Nikumu brought her before him, and told her that he would invest her with power and a new chance at life if she would spread hate and suffering in his name. He offered Dawn whatever she wanted in exchange for the use of her talents. She wanted followers, and she wanted her master back. So, she was sent back to Gaera, where she juggled alliances with dark gods and the domination of a cult of pyrokinetic children, the Acolytes of the Phoenix. She instructed the children and gave Elaith to them as a messianic figure, the answer to the abuses they had suffered at the hands of their family, their teachers, of everyone they'd trusted to care for them. His resurrection would be their salvation, and hers.
This became the plotline From the Ashes, which can be elaborated upon in greater detail elsewhere.
After Dawn's eventual defeat, she was reclaimed by Nikumu, where her talents are being used once again. This time, she is no longer at the mercy of anyone but Nikumu himself. Bending the full force of her bitterness and resentment against her helpless victims, she tries in vain to fill her loneliness with the suffering of others.
Abilities and Powers
While she has always enjoyed the principles of necromancy, she had to settle for observing rituals and experiments. Dawn is no mage, but is a powerful telepath. She uses her powers in concert with her charisma and talent for manipulation, forming a deadly combination of psychological and psionic coercion.
About thirty cultists between the ages of one and thirteen swore loyalty to her and her two lieutentants. For a short time, her sister Eva could also be tossed into this category.