Age: 22, Eyes:Brown, Hair:Dark Purple, Height 5'7"
Or, to be more precise, an image!
(Most of this is known by Cardinal Messiah and some by his wife, Farida. Other than them, Shakti has not been in Gaera long enough for other people to know.)
DPG File: Shakti
Born: 1467AD Madrid, Spain
name: Esperanza Messiah
Salvador "Cardinal" Messiah
Juan Messiah (deceased)
The following includes a testimonial by the member for the official record. Following it is an appendix written by Sanjaya, her mentor during the period of her studies in the DPG. Following that is a record of transfer orders for the member.
I guess this is going to be my official record. I have a real chance to warp reality here, don't I? I'll just be a good professional and give the obligatory autobiography.
Growing up I was the middle of three children. My brothers' names were Juan and Salvador. They were boys, so they were occasionally a nuisance, but I could have done worse. I feel bad for saying this now, but Sal was probably my favorite of the two growing up. Maybe because he was older. I don't know. Sal and I kind of stopped talking when he started becoming more and more interested in the church. Juan and I spent more time wandering around the city amusing ourselves that in church where we "belonged." But we were kids and church was boring.
Things that were not boring: street performers, shopkeepers, city guards and passing gypsies. We met some of the nomads' kids, and they weren't so bad. Certainly not as evil as we'd been told. We couldn't bring Sal, though. Whenever we went to play with them we had to sneak, since Sal would probably have told our parents. As the officials got more and more hostile toward gypsies, Juan and I started to get worried. It didn't happen all at once, but over a couple of years it just got worse and worse. When we heard that the church was considering going after our nomadic friends, Juan and I made a quick decision to warn them and maybe leave with them if they'd have us. It meant leaving our family and everyone else, but they wouldn't have understood.
We didn't even say goodbye, which I felt guilty about at the time. I assumed Sal would never have been able to accept it and our parents would have stopped us. After all, I was sixteen and Juan was 14. Parents don't generally like their teenaged kids running away with Romany heretics.
The Romany split up into families and went their separate ways. Juan and I went with a group headed for the coasts of the Mediterranean.
I had to wait a week before I wrote down the rest. I've been rehashing what I said when I told Sanjaya, because that seemed to work.
It wasn't until later that I learned how the Inquisitors found us. Sal knew Juan and me better than any of the priests, and that was the key advantage they needed. Salvador was the reason they sent their agents to plays and shows. All we'd ever seen were Biblical productions, and the chance to see comedies or tragedies was too much to resist.
I don't know what happened to the others, the gypsies. I can only assume from what they did to Juan and me that our friends got more of the same. For assisting known heretics, consorting with spirits with the gypsies, for attending sacriligious theater productions, renouncing the church, I don't know. I'm almost certain there was more. So much of those couple of months is an incoherent mess in my memory, but I remember those.
I never did learn if Juan confessed. I know that Sal isn't allowed to read this or else I wouldn't mention it, but... I did confess. Once they decided I was guilty I was as good as dead anyway. The only question is whether you're dead or alive when they burn you. So, yeah. I repented in Christ's name at least once, but they don't like it when you take things like that back. They tend to renew their efforts to save your soul because a real friend tortures you into salvation.
I think they got... overzealous or something. Maybe I pissed them off. I seem to have that effect on people. I don't think I had any idea what was going on toward the end of it, and I'd be surprised if I was coherent enough to give them another confession. I don't remember when they brought us out. I think I was either unconscious or so mentally absent I might as well have been dead already. This is according to descriptions from people who were actually lucid at the time.
I came around some time later. It was hard to move and I didn't know where I was. As far as I knew the whole thing could just be another way to coerce me. The fear got worse when I saw my brother Sal there. I couldn't understand that he'd been taking care of me and at that point I technically owed him my life. All I saw was a priest, and I kept trying to get away from him. Looking back, those escape attempts were pretty pathetic. When your whole body's been pulled apart and ruined, sneaking and fleeing aren't exactly viable options. I'm sure I was an exhausting patient, but I couldn't help it. During that time I didn't speak much, and reacted to my environment with erratic bursts of fear and hostility.
Eventually I began to see Salvador not as a threat, but as my brother. Once it was clear he really didn't mean me any harm, I was able to relate to him as a human being again. I never said anything to Sal about it, but I hated him. I hated him for what he'd done to me and to our brother, but I had nowhere else to go. I didn't say anything but I think he knew.
Sal kept us on the move as soon as I was well enough to go. We ended up travelling from country to country to avoid detection by the church and Inquisition authorities.
When we reached England, a man addressed us in Spanish to inform us that he'd been watching us. He offered us positions in the Dimensional Protectors' Guild. We were told we'd be helping the DPG observe and maintain the equilibrium of planes currently monitored by the Guild.
Sal and I were trained, like most other members, in the dimensional nexus that serves as the Guild's headquarters. He started training a bit before I did, however. Someone in the Guild (probably that Englishman) decided that I still had some issues to work out before I could do anything else.
I was sent to a member stationed in India by the name of Sanjaya. I spent a month with him, with most of the first two weeks in total silence. Neither he nor I spoke. I thought it was stupid at the time, but it wasn't so bad. He was a crazy blind man, but I needed his help. I can admit that now. He was understanding, but he never once showed me pity. That was important to me. Still is, really. He never felt bad for me, or if he did he had the sense to hide it. He knew some ascetics as well, and they treated me more of less like Sanjaya did. They helped me work through things. A lot of meditation and, eventually, a lot of talking. Sanjaya's the only person who knows everything, mainly because he never asked.
When I got back to the DPG, I was doing a lot better than before my time with Sanjaya. The first thing I did when I returned was apologize to Salvador. Sanjaya had suggested in his roundabout way that it might be a good idea. Sal put a lot on the line to help me, and he didn't need to have all the other crap thrown in his face all the time. I found out that it was time for me to pick a new name for myself, my official name. Sal picked Cardinal, which he knows I find absolutely atrocious and will never use. This is an official document, and I want it on record that it's not going to happen.
As anyone reading this file already knows, I chose the name Shakti. It doesn't seem unusual for DPG members to choose a name from some religion or another, though Sanjaya and I are the only members I've met who chose names from Hindu literature. Sanjaya must have laughed when he heard what I picked. It's just like me to name myself after the divine feminine that destroys demons and gives gods the power to create. Maybe there are some minor ego inflation issues with it, but that's not uncommon either.
When I was developing my magic, it turned out Sal and I both had a predisposition toward star magic, an odd but wonderfully flashy and potentially destructive school. I picked different supplementary magic, though. I went for some purely destructive magic (telepathy and what-have-you), with a little healing thrown in because recovering naturally from injuries is not something I'm willing to do again.
Anything I've forgotten will likely be covered by someone else, so I'll leave it here.
Appendix A: Evaluation by DPG Member Sanjaya
When I agreed to forego retirement in favor of my current position, I should have realized the gravity of my assignment. Recruits like Esperanza Messiah always remind me. DPG members have access to power with which most people could not be trusted. Certain safeguards must be in place to assure that new members are prepared for the responsibilities of their respective positions.
Miss Messiah initially made me very concerned. I had been briefed before she arrived, but was given no specific information beyond the fact that she and another member had been involved in some unfortunate legal/religious circumstances. I was told that the girl in my care had quite probably been tortured nearly to death by the same authorities responsible for the death of her younger brother. I was also informed that these events were largely due to the actions of her older brother, who was recruited with Miss Messiah.
As I stated, I had doubts as to whether I could really prepare her for her duties. However, we take the assignments we're given.
When she arrived, I was not in the least surprised by her demeanor. She behaved more like a frightened animal than a human being and would not tolerate physical contact with anyone.
I was pleased to note in her interactions with her escorts that beneath the anger and the fear there was no reservoir of self-pity to contend with. After I dismissed her attendants, I introduced myself and informed her that we were to spend no less than one week in silence. It was important that she have time to become accustomed to me, and I to her.
When the routines of my life became familiar to her, we began to speak. I could not see the scars on her body but I could hear them in her voice and in the way she moved.
I spent a day telling Miss Messiah about the DPG. She seemed disdainful of our goals initially, and remarked that the DPG was taking too much power onto itself. She asked me who would be there to stop the Guild from taking over once it had members placed on several hundred dimensions. I could not answer her question immediately, nor could I expect her to place her faith in yet another well-intentioned centralized authority comprised of flawed individuals.
She was disinclined to speak of her experiences in her own country, so I thought it best not to press her on the subject. I began taking her with me to visit a few ascetics with whom I happen to be acquainted. I translated the prayers and chants for her, and she seemed interested in what she was hearing of Hinduism, but seemed better suited to what I told her of Buddhism. I was correct in my assumption that the sanctioned castes and jati system would not appeal to her, but it occurred to me that the introspection of Buddhism might be useful in helping her cope with recent events in her life.
My estimation seemed to be correct, and as she proceeded in her exercises she seemed to have less trouble sleeping. Once her nightmares no longer kept both of us awake, I was reassured that intensive meditation might be an answer for this particular young woman.
One night during supper she asked me how I had lost my eyesight. When I told her she was silent for the rest of the meal. She cleaned the dishes and began to tell me how she had ended up with the DPG. She talked for more than an hour and when she was done I told her I had thought of an answer to her question. By then she'd forgotten exactly what I meant, but I reminded her of our conversation about the potential dangers of the DPG. I told her that she was right, organizations who don't answer to anyone are easily corrupted. "But it will be watched, and it will always be supervised," I told her. "By members like you." She scowled at me as she always does, but I think it was the right answer.
Miss Messiah is not the warmest or friendliest member with whom I've been assigned to work, but I have faith in her ability to fulfill her duties as a member. She has my recommendation and my endorsement provided she trains with her older brother as often as possible. Making her peace with her unfortunate circumstances will be worth less if she does not make her peace with him.
Consultation with me is recommended regarding potential transfers and assignments.
Appendix B: Record of Member Assignments
At the time of Shakti's transfer, Ibidan was in a state of open warfare between the native Elven and human races. Both sides assert a religious claim to the Ibad Peninsula from which the overall landmass takes its name. The Peninsula is located on several trade routes, leading many to believe the war was not originally religiously-motivated, but picked up religious and racial overtones over the last two or three decades.
Shakti was sent to replace another member as a mediator between the opposing parties. Her unusual approach to military negotiations was relatively effective in this case. She opted to prove herself in combat against a representative of each side. Shakti claimed this was intended to force the parties to work in concert, even if it was to her detriment. It is the opinion of the DPG (most notably Sanjaya) that she in fact hoping to approach them and earn their respect on their own terms. If she was to act as an arbiter between the two parties, she must be seen by neither as weak or afraid.
After surviving combat with the representatives, she sought out those on each side who were interested in a cessation of hostilities. She used these moderates to assemble a secular council to help mediate disputes. Shakti claimed in her reports tat the judicious use of force was often more helpful than the council she helped create. Enforcement of council agreements and treaties was often delegated to Shakti and those she recruited. The overpolitization of the council led to Shakti's later request for a transfer.
Records pending. <p>-------------------------
"It has always been the prerogative of children and half-wits to point out that the emperor has no clothes. But the half-wit remains a half-wit and the emperor remains an emperor." -- Sandman "The Kindly Ones" </p>Edited by: Kai at: 12/19/05 22:38