Lady of Pain


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This enigmatic being serves as the ruler of Sigil. None know her origins, or even her nature; she has existed for as long as Sigil has, and Sigil has been known almost as long as mortals have existed on the planes. Never speaking and rarely intervening, she acts only through her servants, the dabus. Resembling the dabus in some respects, the Lady appears as an expressionless female, hovering a few inches above the ground, never making a sound. Her pale face is ringed by a crown of blades, protruding from her flesh, and those whom her shadow falls across are flayed alive, sliced to ribbons by her very nature.

There are almost as many theories about her origins as there are citizens of Sigil; some serious, others less so. Some claim she is merely a fiend, the first being to discover Sigil and thus taken by it to rule. Others claim she has her origins in the ancient past of the multiverse, a contemporary of the Serpent or the Dark Powers. Still others claim her a daughter of Poseidon, an advanced form of dabus, or even seven giant squirrels on each others shoulders with a ring of levitation and a costume.

History

All that is known of the Lady is what has been observed by others. There are few stories of her, only those tales that have survived the years. It is known that in the far distant past, a mage whose name has been lost to the ages once attempted to gain control of Sigil through some sort of ritual, only to be cast into Agathion by the Lady. A later mage, Shekelor, publicly announced his attempt to duplicate this feat by discovering the location of this wizard some 10,000 years ago, only to burst into flames in the middle of the City Courts in front of all and sundry; most chalk this up to the Lady's doing.

At some point after this, the Lady is known to have discovered the method of imprisoning those within Sigil in the Mazes, giving her an alternative to trapping her enemies on the deepest layer of Pandemonium. However, other than this, not much else has been recorded about her over the eons. It is known that over 900 years ago, her conflict with Aoskar, a god of portals attempting to usurp the Lady's position, came to a head when Fell, one of her own dabus, began worship of him. Most believe the Lady herself killed him and shattered his temple; his corpse on the Astral, frozen in a scream of pain with numerous blades protruding from his skull, would be seen as evidence that this is the case. All known followers of Aoskar within Sigil either left or were Mazed, save Fell himself. Most assume he was left alone as a warning to the remainder of her dabus not to leave her fold.

The next recorded major incident involving her directly, the Great Upheaval, occurred 600 years ago. Putting an end to the constant violent in-fighting in the streets of Sigil, she sent her dabus to each factol with a message: "By the order of the Lady of Pain, there will be but fifteen factions in Sigil. Organize thy colors in a fortnight - or die." They quickly followed suit, and the wars on the streets ended after a mere 14 days.

Most recently was the expulsion of Vartus Timlin, factol of the Expansionists. Before his consignment to the Mazes, he spoke of taking power from the Lady, as many have in the past. And as all those in the past that would attempt to take the Throne of Blades, he was exiled from Sigil, his faction all but dissolving without his presence.

Mazes

The Mazes are portions of Sigil itself, twisted around a person and cast off into the fog of the Ethereal as a new demiplane. These people, when least suspecting, will be traveling down an empty hallway or corridor, only to find a new twist they'd never noticed before. Down this path are more branching pathways, circling around on one another, intersecting continuously. Those trapped within a maze never age, and have no need for food or drink; for the rest of their lives, they have almost no fate to look forward to but traveling the Maze. As a further punishment, each maze contains somewhere hidden within it a single portal out, giving those trapped within the constant hope of escape, as unlikely a prospect as that is. Still, some few have managed to escape, and it is from these individuals that what little is known about the Mazes has been revealed.

Some say those pulled into Mazes leave trails behind, psychic paths much like the silver cords of Astral travelers; further, some believe such trails can be followed to lead a person to the Maze in which they have been trapped. A slight few, such as the hr'a'cknir Djhek'nlarr, have the ability to follow these trails and find entry into their Maze from outside. These individuals map out the Mazes they find, selling the portal keys and maps to other travelers. Such actions are heavy crimes in Sigil, however, and even mere possession of a map of one of the Mazes brings heavy punishment from the Harmonium, wishing as they do not to bring the Lady's wrath upon themselves by allowing this trafficking either explicitly or implicitly.

Reference

  • Faction War, pg. 34
  • In the Cage: A Guide to Sigil, pg. 23
  • Uncaged: Faces of Sigil, pgs. 24-27, 36-37
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