OUT OF CHARACTER INFORMATION
Intent: Flesh out the Harbingers of Twilight by subbing a member.
Image Credit: Here. 'Daily sketch 232/365 by Takeda11.
Role: Scout, close range and melee support for the Harbingers of Twilight, friend of Ashana.
Permission: Can use Firemane tech because I own the company. Permission for all ArmaTech gear and all other subs made by Laira Darkhold's writer here and here.
Links: Yuuzhan Vong, To Hell and Back, Ashiranism, The Harrowed, Kaeshana, Church of Ashira, Aspirants, Kar'zun.
Force Sensitivity: Force Dead.
Appearance: Siona is an Eldorai female of average height, with long red hair and prominent pointed ears. Red hair is rare among the Eldorai and treated as a sign of good luck. She's certainly had her share of luck when it comes to getting out of unpleasant situations. She has a lean, athletic build. She has a couple tattoos on her face and upper arm. These represent religious symbols and are quite common among the Harbingers. She received her first to mark a rite of passage after she was rescued from Raevana. She has been endowed with Fighting Claws, a useful tool in hand to hand combat. They can be sent out and retracted as needed. Extending them is painful, but they can cut through steel, energy shields and resist lightsabres. After the loss of her right foot in combat, the shattered limb was replaced with a vua'sa foot implant, including a claw. Her eyes change colors depending on her mood much like Yuuzhan Vong Mqaaq’it The implant enables her to see beyond the visual light spectrum, and also makes her able to to zoom in on microscopic objects. Siona is a warrior and thus has many scars. One of them was inflicted by an Ashiran zealot, who stabbed in the abdomen with a concealed dagger. Siona was able to overcome her with the help of her amphistaff, but the wound has left a scar.
Name: Siona Vaerum.
Loyalties: Ashana, Emissaries of Illyria, Shadow Knights, Court of the Shadows, Raekana, Tynan Vanoth, Harbingers of Twilight, Asuran Star Combine, Sicarii.
Wealth: Average. Enough to cover her expenses, but not wealthy by any means. She has some loot stashed away though.
- Skerr Kyrric
- Cloak of Nuun
- Amphistaff. She calls it Tira.
- BCC BC-11 Comlink
- Copy of 'The Gnostic Gospel of Illyria', the holy book of the Emissaries of Illyria.
Personality: By the standards of most Eldorai, Siona is an abomination. She is an outcast who defies the Crown and denies Ashira's grace. She worships the Death Goddess Illyria, a traitorous member of the Eldorai Pantheon who rebelled against the Great Goddess Ashira out of jealousy and was cast into a hellish pit. She is also Force Dead, which from the perspective of an Ashiran means she has no soul. However, Siona is not bothered by this in the least. Indeed, she considers the way she is to be normal. Being Force Dead means she has been freed from Ashira's shackles. By contrast, those who can tap into their Sciia and draw upon its power are abnormal.
Her views have been challenged by her close friendship with Ashana, an former Angelii and rogue Force-user Siona encountered during her time in the Netherworld. Both teamed up to escape the Field of Blades, and Siona stuck with the amnesiac, near-feral Eldorai, whose sanity had been aversely affected by the trauma she'd endured. What she endured in the Netherworld after being raptured has left scars on Siona. To a degree, she manifests the attitude of someone with an outlook on life that can be summed up as 'the worst that could happen to me, has happened'. At first she believed that the rapture was a blessing from her Goddess and identified Akala with Illyria or one of her demons. However, she was soon disabused of that notion. Trapped in an endless cycle, she only escaped by teaming up with a Force-user. Their shared experience has made her very loyal to Ashana and she refused to forsake even when her brethren pushed her to do so. Compared to Ashana, Siona is more tactical and strategic in combat. This makes them a good team. She is also more reserved, patient and less hot-blooded. Siona takes her faith seriously and reacts poorly to disparaging or mocking comments about it.
Her upbringing has endowed Siona with some traits unusual among Eldorai. For one, she lacks the rampant sexism so common among her race. It is a little known fact, but Eldorai society was not sexist from the start. Rather the gender imbalance between females and males is something that developed over time, leading towards a highly stratified, matriarchal society, which can be considered the inversion of the patriarchal system so common among human societies. However, Siona's Illyrian cult reject this system and are fairly egalitarian. The reasoning for this is two-fold: Firstly, the Ashiran Church preaches that predominance of females is Ashira's will and the Illyrians see themselves as being opposed to her. Secondly, it would be impractical for the Harbingers to cling to cling to such a biased system because they lack the resources of their estranged kin and need all hands on deck.
Thus they are relatively egalitarian in gender matters, by Eldorai standards at any rate, which has shaped her perception. Rather than be a secretary or a stay at home dad who looked after the children while his wife was the breadwinner, her father was a warrior who taught her many things about combat. Some of the Shadow Knights think it's 'cute' that he's playing 'soldier' or believe that it would lead to a breakdown of discipline and morale, but it's never deterred him. This attitude has rubbed off on his daughter. She is also quite friendly towards Kar'zun, Kaeshana's second sentient race and long a foil and rival to the Eldorai. Indeed, she views the near-genocidal campaign the Eldorai enacted against the stone people as an injustice.
By contrast, Siona is biased against Force-users. While her friendship with Ashana has tempered her views, the bias remains. She does not advocate murdering or 'curing' them all, but is wary of them, as she believes they must always fight against the influence of the spirits and that many of them succumb. Like conservative Vong - and ironically conservative Eldorai! - she is droidphobic. Her people made little use of 'thinking machines' and her hostile encounters with Archangel's killing machines gave her a negative opinion. She has a personal reason for resentment, as her father was killed by an HRD that had been posing as an Eldorai. She reacts poorly when a medical droid tries to treat her injuries and insists of being cared for by organic medics. Since her time as their slave was most unpleasant, she is very prejudiced against Yuuzhan Vong.
In terms of personality, Siona is cynical, determined, independent and suspicious. She is devoted to the Harbingers and fairly loyal to to the Shadow Knights, but not immediately trusting of people outside her circle. The Harbinger is direct and not shy about voicing her opinion. This is was the cause of friction between her and Kaida during the mission to Kaeshana. The fact that Siona has a unique connection to Ashana also factors into this. Siona views Ashana in a sister-like manner and is very protective of her. Ironically, she would have strongly disliked the Eldorai berserker's original personality, as Lavina was stuckup, pompous and racist.
Weapon of Choice: Blasters and slugthrowers, Vong projectile biots, Amphistaff, bladed weapons. Fond of knives. Also makes use of her claws.
Combat Function: Siona is a raider and a commando. Being Force-Dead she is immune to direct applications of the Force, similar to the Yuuzhan Vong which afflicted her with such abilities. She has no presence within the Force and causes no ripples in its flow. While a great benefit, it does have the normal associated downfalls in that she cannot be aided by Force techniques such as Battle Meditation, Telepathy or Force Healing. Moreover, she can still be hurt by Force Lightning and can be indirectly affected by the Force. In short, all Force techniques that work against Vong or other Force Dead beings also work against her. Siona is trained in the use of an amphistaff and other traditional Vong ranged and melee weapons. In addition to being able to employ these, she is proficient in the use of conventional weapons such as blasters, polearms and vibroweapons. She is particularly talented in boarding actions, as well as movement and combat in a Zero-G environment.
Common Eldorai are very agile, dexterous and have impressive hand-eye coordination, but suffer from being less physically strong and having a lower pain threshold than humans. Being altered by the Vong 'treatment' has left Siona less dexterous than her Eldorai brethren, but as a tradeoff she is stronger and has a higher pain threshold. This is because the 'alterations' were extremely painful and toughened her up. Her physical strength is equal to that of a human and she is in very good condition. She has a high tolerance for pain. However, while her eye implants improve her sight, the implanatation process was rather crude. Siona is more vulnerable to bright lights or flashes than a normal human or Eldorai would be. Sensitive hearing makes her more vulnerable to high-pitch frequencies, such as those emitted by sonic weapons. Siona is a combat pragmatist in battle and can be rather brutal. She has no qualms about, say, biting someone's nose off in battle, attacking them with her claws or having her amphistaff sneak up and poison them.
- Being Force-Dead she is immune to direct applications of the Force, similar to the Yuuzhan Vong which afflicted her with such abilities. Moreover, she cannot be sensed in the Force.
- Crack soldier. Siona is in excellent physical shape, tough and skilled in the use of most ranged and melee weapons. Overall, she is a good raider and shock trooper. Siona has been through hell and is devout. Thus she is extremely strong-willed and does not scare easily.
- Siona is Force-Dead and thus completely void within the Force. While a great benefit, it does have the normal associated downfalls in that she cannot be aided by the Force either. For reasons that are obscure, Force Dead beings are also not immune to Force Lightning or Force Net. She can also be indirectly affected by the Force. For instance, chucking a boulder at her still works.
- The implanation process for her was crude. She is more vulnerable to bright lights or flashes than a normal human or elf would be. Her sensitive hearing makes her more vulnerable to high-pitch frequencies, such as those emitted by sonic weapons.
The Harbingers of Twilight are a cult most Eldorai dislike speaking about - those who know of them at any rate. This especially applies to conservative Ashirans. The Harbingers are not just Illyrians, worshipping a goddess who was banished into a hellish pit for creating demons and trying to strike down Ashira. They are Force Dead. This makes them soulless from the point of view of Ashira. This was not the cultists' own doing though. The cult came into being when Tirathana VI, the mother of the present, far more liberal and enlightened Star Queen, banished an entire community of Illyria worshippers from Kaeshana. The Queen's own legitimacy was somewhat questionable after deposing a branch of the royal family with a better claim to the throne, so she sought to bolster it by presenting herself as the standard-bearer of orthodoxy. Abandoned in deep space, the acolytes of Illyria were ambushed, captured and enslaved by Vong pirates. The Yuuzhan Vong did not just enslave them, but also conducted cruel biological experiments. Many of the captives did not make it, but those who did were turned Force Dead. The Vong cult used them as slave-soldiers.
Siona was still very little when this occured. Barely capable of making sense of the horrible things taking place all around her, she was forced to grow up fast despite her parents' best attempts to shield her. She lost an older sister to the Embrace of Pain, which the Vong used as a tool of torture and punishment for their slaves. Eldorai have a lower pain threshold than humans and so most of the elves who were exposed to it perished. Young Siona did not escape the 'alterations' the Vong saw fit to bestow upon their slaves. She breathed in the corrupted air of the Vong ships. The cruel abuse she suffered at the hands of her captors, who were eager to pass on their 'insights' about pain to their victims, left its mark on her.
As a result, the little one grew up with a bastardised understanding of her own culture, fused heavily with that of the Yuuzhan Vong she was forced to serve and despised. One of her earliest memories consists of hiding in the bowels of the Yong's worldship to evade the torment they inflicted. Forced to be self-reliant, she learned how to be sneaky and tough. A struggle between Vong warlords provided the impetus for the Eldorai slave-soldiers to rebel, take their revenge against their captors and escape. Siona got a taste of bloodshed then. Cornered by Vong warriors, she was saved when her father, who had served one of the Vong officers, intervened and struck the aliens down in a violent frenzy. During the civil war the worldship sustained severe damage, and the pair was stranded upon the planet Raevana.
On first sight, the tropical environment made it look like a paradise, but in actual fact it was a death world inhabited by manifold dangerous creatures, such as the savage Korhili, a semi-sentient of aggressive lizardmen. Many of the plants were carnivorous or contained mind-altering substances. Dangerous mosquitoes and other creatures abounded. Here Siona had to hunt, fight and forage. Hounded by creatures, she had to always be on her guard. Once when her father was down, she protected him against wild beasts using his amphistaff and improvised weapons. The pair was forced to fend for themselves for several weeks before they managed to establish contact with a rescue team led by Siona's mother. Rescuers arrived just in time to save the two from a Korhili horde. By then Siona was very sick because many of the planet's plants were poisonous and she had been infected by some nasty parasites. But she'd survived. It took a while before she'd been nursed back to health, under the care of her parents and the cult as a whole.
While she recuperated, the Harbingers set out to build a new future for themselves, away from both the Eldorai Matriarchy and the Vong who'd enslaved them. They came to see being turned Force Dead as a blessing, for it freed them from the shackles of Ashira and allowed them to commune with their Goddess, the Mistress of the Underworld. To a degree this might have been a coping mechanism, but over time it assumed the status of dogma and became the basis of their religion. This was the faith Siona was raised in. She was also taught how to utilise the Vong weapons and tech that her brethren had been able to salvage during their escape. While her father was a warrior-priest of the cult, her mother piloted one of the very few coralskippers the Harbingers had been able to salvage, before devoting herself to research after being injured during a raid.
Operating from an old warship, the Harbingers lived a nomadic existence. Thus Siona grew used to life in space, though she manifested an interest in exploration. Her people evolved into a force of raiders, explorers and mercenaries. Siona received training in Zero-G and basic piloting. Soon she was allowed to participate in raids. She distinguished herself in a raid on an Eldorai convoy, displaying bravery, but also fierceness and ferocity similar to the predators who had once preyed on her. Her memories of her life on Kaeshana were very blurry, as they seemed like another lifetime ago, but she'd learned to hate those who had scorned her and her people. She received her own amphistaff as a reward. During an early skirmish with soldiers from the fledgling Firemane corporation, Siona suffered severe injuries from a Firemane boltgun. However, she managed to injure the mercenary with a razor bug and took great pleasure cutting his throat with her talons.
Siona's life would have probably proceeded in a conventional fashion - or at least what passed for conventional among the Harbingers - if it had not been for the Netherworld event. Though brief, Akala's mad rampage left its mark upon the Galaxy and touched every world, for it caused trillions of people to be raptured into the Netherworld. In addition, the Force also turned wonky, effectively depowering countless beings who were used to be being above mere mortals, though the effect only lasted for a short while. Siona was among those unfortunate enough to awaken in the Netherworld. At first she did not see this as a bad thing.
When Siona was raptured, she was locked in the middle of a raid on an Ashiran temple and had been locked in a duel with an Angelii. Because Siona was Force Dead, the Force-user was unable to anticipate her moves or sense her within the Force. However, as Siona discovered, the Angelii's Lightning could still hurt her. Both combatants were still trading fierce blows when they were suddenly enveloped by a blinding white light and whisked away into the Netherworld. When they awoke they found themselves in a shadowy realm. At first neither seemed conscious of the change in scenery, for they went right back to fighting. Siona struck her opponent, who was unable to utilise the Force, down. It was only now that she realised that she was very far from home. Countless other people from across the Galaxy had been raptured as well. Dead spirits manifested, lamenting their fate, trying to manipulate or frighten the confused newcomers. When Siona realised where she was, she at first considered it a blessing. Force-users were seemingly cut off from their powers, knocking them from their pedestal. Truly, this had to be the doing of Illyria.
However, her euphoria soon vanished when she found herself upon the Field of Blades. Here was no grand plan, no purpose, no justice, only neverending slaughter. People fought, killed, died, rose again, fought, killed and died, only to rise again and continue the cycle. She fought, she died, she killed. As time lost its meaning, she clung to what remained of her identity. Being closed to the Force, Siona was immune to the whispers of malevolent spirits. This allowed her to keep more of her sanity intact as she underwent the cycle of death and rebirth in the Netherworld. It was there that she encountered the most unlikeliest of allies, an Eldorai Force-user called Lavina Taldir. Lavina had been an Angelii, then an Omega Pyre Lieutenant before becoming a Rogue Knight. However, the traumatic experiences in the Field of Blades caused her to lose her memory. As she fought she repeated the one mantra again and again; ‘Taeris ai Ashana’ ‘I will endure’. Over time she came to know nothing else, it became her name, her identity, her soul. Ashana, Endurance. When Siona encountered this Ashana, she was near feral. Somehow Siona managed to get through to her. She sought an escape and if she had to team up with a Force-user, so be it. Moreover, Ashana was a fellow Eldorai and something inside Siona felt sympathy for her plight.
While Ashana slew, Siona was able to guide them out of hell. The pair ended up on Dathomir after emerging through a portal. After some adventures there, Siona was able to get back in touch with the Harbingers. Her brethren were relieved to see that she was alive, but deeply suspicious of Ashana. Indeed they tried to force the 'Cure' on her, which caused the Eldorai berserker to lash out violently. Siona still believed that it would be to Ashana's benefit if she was freed from her 'curse', but she refused to forsake her companion after what they'd been through together. This caused a rift to develop between her and some of her brethren.
However, soon there was bigger fish to fry, for Kaeshana had been devastated by a huge asteroid. Many Eldorai had been able to escape the cataclysm, but some had been left behind. The Harbingers decided to get involved and help the survivors, who were struggling to survive on a post-apocalyptic planet. These were harsh times. An impact winter had set in, starvation and internecine strife among the survivors claimed many lives. Siona had to execute fellow Eldorai for practicing cannibalism. The circumstances were that dire. However, she also helped look after orphans who had lost their parents during the cataclysm or the tribulations that came after. The Harbingers allied themselves with the Shadow Knights, a rebel coalition trying to wrest some order from the chaos. Siona and Ashana fought against Archangel HRDs when the droid cult tried to raid an Eldorai settlement. Both made a good team fighting against the machine hordes. Ashana was the berserker, using a combination of her physical prowess and destructive Force powers, while Siona was the more tactical and cunning, putting her skills to observe, lay traps and stage ambushes to good use. Ashana's ferocity in that fight won her some respect among the Harbingers. Indeed one of their priestesses proclaimed the Hellborn may yet have a role to play.
Contact with the Shadows also exposed Siona to other Force-users, including Illyrians who shared her faith in the Death Goddess, but did not see any contradiction in using the Force. This was confusing, to say the least, though it lead to some interesting talks. Ashana and Siona fought in the Kaeshana Rebellion against the First Order, fighting alongside a band of Eldorai partisans. However, Ashana became so battle-crazed during the fight that Siona had to shoot her companion with a stun bolt and drag her away from the battlefield when they received the order to retreat after the Galactic Alliance's forces pulled out. Ashana reacted angrily after waking up from her unwanted slumber. Still the two friends remained together, even after Ashana became a nominal member of the Shadow Knights' Force warriors.
A rag-tag fleet composed of nomads and refugees is obviously not big on credits, so Siona tried to raise funds for her brethren by participating in the Mandalorian Civil War as a mercenary. Unsurprisingly, she took the side of the Mandalorians who rallied around Ra Vizsla. Her feelings on Force-users might have softened a bit, but it was still the logical side for a Harbinger to choose. Indeed, she felt some sympathy for their cause and the Mandalorians' raider culture had some similarities to the one she'd grown up in. In an ambush during a battle in Keldabe, Siona took down a Mandalorian Force-user who had sided with Mia Monroe's faction. The duel was fierce, as the Mandalorian resorted to the use of his jetpack, scattergun and flamethrower when he realised that many of his Force techniques would not work against her. But she prevailed in the end, despite suffering nasty burns and being injured by shrapnel, letting her amphistaff loose to ambush him and trip him while she fought him upfront. She bestowed the gift of death upon him through deft use of a Force pike.
She was there when Ra and Death Watch took control of Mandalore, implementing harsh measures against Force-users in Mandalorian space. These tended to revolve around treating the Force as a disease and administering a 'cure' to Mandalorian Force-Users or exiling them. Her life among the Harbingers had fed Siona with a healthy diet of anti-Forcer propaganda. After all, it was Sciians who had scorned them. It was also a Force entity that had caused the Netherworld event. Yet she was also friends with Ashana, a Sciian, and the Harbingers had joined the Shadow Knights' coalition, placing kinship and racial survival over dogma.
Eventually Ra disappeared like during the Omega War. After the Mandalorian attack on Dathomir, Siona was hired by some radical Mandalorian to capture fugitive Witches. However, she ran into a Witch family that had given her and Ashana shelter and guided them through the dense forest after they'd escaped the Netherworld. Feeling deeply conflicted and more than a little disgusted with herself, she was compelled to turn on her allies and help her former benefactors escape. Of course, the Witches still cursed her because she'd helped kill a bunch of their friends. With her contract voided by her betrayal, she found her way back to the Shadow Knights' migrant fleet, unsure of herself and her convictions. Ironically, the new Mandalorian régime suddenly changed its policies not long thereafter.
She had a lot to think about after a return. Taking a step back from a direct combat role for a while, she elected to fulfil the duties of a Starstrider, tasked with finding new colonies for her people to settle on. Presently Siona is still unaware of Ashana's true name and identity, as the former Angelii's memories have not returned. However, now that Ashana's sister Kaida Taldir had joined the Shadow Knights, some awkward revelations are bound to occur. More recently, Siona participated in the Shadow Knight expedition to Kaeshana. The Eldorai rebels had received reports that the planet had suddenly emerged on the other side of the Galaxy and was no longer occupied by the First Order.
This sounded crazy, to say the least, but probes had confirmed it. Thus the Shadows decided to dispatch a task force to investigate and look for survivors. Siona and Ashana were assigned to the team, which was led by Kaida Taldir. Siona and Kaida took an instant dislike to one another. For her part, Ashana did not recognise her little sister and responded poorly to attempts to reconnect with her. However, reunions would have to wait. When the team arrived in Kaeshana's orbit, they found that the reports were true. However, when they tried to land, a sort of disruption field caused their ship to crash.
Fortunately, they survived, but their ship was grounded. They found themselves in a twisted hellscape. After defending themselves against vicious beasts, they ran into a group of survivors, led by a Dark Eldorai insurgent called Morwen. The survivors understandably held a grudge. Siona was able to communicate with them, and the Shadows learned that Kaeshana had been dragged through the Netherworld. After some awkward negotiations, the two groups decided to team up to escape the planet. Yohara, the researcher of the Shadow Knight team, had determined the source of the disruption. On the way the party was assaulted by a horde of Ashiran fanatics, who believed that they could obtain Ashira's forgiveness and enter paradise if they purged the planet of infidels. Siona fought fiercely in the melee. She was stabbed in the abdomen by an Ashiran zealot, but bit her nose off and cut her down with the help of her trusted amphistaff.
After a brief respite, the group ran into the Harrowed, a mixed group of Kar'zun and Eldorai. Like the Harbingers, they were Force Dead, but this was due to the influence of the warp rather than experimentation. Some of them were also more than a little unhinged, such as a self-proclaimed Illyrian prophetess. The newcomers had to prove that they were alive and not mirages or ghosts. Once the Harrowed were satisfied, their leader, a Kar'zun called Brak'Vrasz, agreed to lead the Shadows to the source of the disturbance. It was a so-called anomaly.
They eventually reached the anomaly, where they were confronted by the Sicarii and their suspicious leader Raekana. The Sicarii were a cult of Illyrian assassins. Raekana was their prophetess and a bit of famous figure among Illyrians. Paranoid and suspicious of the newcomers, she was very reluctant to cooperate, especially since the party included former Angelii. Siona put her diplomatic talent to good use, describing that the followers of Illyria had a place among the Shadows and urging Raekana that it was time to move out of the darkness.
The anomaly was a curtain of red, a dome of crimson surrounding a darkening void. As Yohara, the Shadows' researcher explained, heart was a pure pierce of Nether energy, which should not exist inside the realspace of this galaxy. Therefore, the Force had formed a barrier around it. However, this in turn had caused an opposing barrier of Force null to form. Thus the barrier was composed of three layers, and the party required the three opposite to penetrate through: A Force-User, a Force Dead being and a Non-Force-User. Kaida went through first. She was able to complete her task and activate Yohara's machine, but then was assailed by powerful Nether energies.
Seeing her sister suffering caused Ashana to regain some of her memories and she went after her. She was able to protect her sister and regained her memories in the process. However, both sisters lost their respective connections to the Force. Siona was quick to follow Ashana and make sure she was alright once the storm had passed. While the sisters of ice and fire recovered, Brak'Vrasz and the primeval Eldorai warrior Eyrecae carried on. The Kar'zun became Force-Sensitive, while Eyrecae was turned Force Dead. With the last two layers penetrated, the field had been overcome and the Shadows were able to send ships to evacuate the survivors. Siona is uncertain what the return of Ashana's memories mean for them, but remains devoted to her companion, even if she does not like her sister.