Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Handmaiden Devil

Hell is a vile meritocracy only for some—female overlords are rare in the chauvinist hierarchy.  They and their handmaidens, the gylous, often chafe at the brimstone ceiling under which they labor—a fact that PCs (especially female ones) may be able to use to propose alliances or escape punishment. 

But they should never forget that handmaiden devils are beings of great power, subtlety, and evil.  Those of mortal extraction often committed dark acts of coolly logical social climbing—inventing accidents that caused rivals to miscarry, for instance, or having cynical abortions for purely political gain (typically to cement a rich marriage without calendar-counting).  Others caused underlings pain without even the balm of desire and physical reward offered by other fiendish dominatrices.  So any PC looking to create a bond of sisterhood with a gylous may find herself in bonds of quite another kind…

Lumial is an erinyes who longs to escape the attentions of her handmaiden devil duchess.  And she thinks she has found the key to her freedom: the soul of the gylou’s lost child—a babe whose crib death after a string of miscarriages broke the then-mortal duchess’s heart and sent her down the path to evil.  But the soul dwells in the Crèche of the Lost, where Lumial has no power, so she seeks mortal agents to gull into retrieving it for her.

Countess Evane’s godmother has always been a mysterious benefactress, whose insistence on flagellation and mortification rituals were paired with tutelage in spellcraft that has made Evane the foremost summoner in the land.  But now Evane is married and pregnant…and as her due date draws near, her godmother seems to be barely able to contain some violent fury.

The city-state of Temara is a rare example of a mortal city openly ruled by a devil. Gylou Amidela ascended to the throne after a complicated web of marriages, divorces and subterfuges ensured that three of the four possible claimants were her guises.  Now she rules an orderly outpost of the Hells.  The signs are subtle—too-clean streets that alternate with blocks of squalor, booming human and hobgoblin slave markets, and an influx of tiefling merchants.  And then there are the roving bailiffs from the Court of Silence, who—like centurions from the Book of Wren—dash the brains of any infant heard to wail in public.  And the queen herself is never without a thrall or prisoner of one kind or another trapped beneath the gown of tentacles—for what reasons only she can say.

Pathfinder Bestiary 2 86

Given that a browse of my Tumblr feed reveals that The Daily Bestiary followers include kick-ass feminists, proud queer theorists, and devoted Christian college students, I want to be clear that in the above I’m only talking about fantasy abortions by people of evil alignment for purely political gain.  We cool?  Cool.  Also real dominatrices are often awesome people who provide valuable services to consensual adults.  As far as I know they are not servants of Hell, but I do know they are hilarious at parties.  Trust me on that last part.

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