It wasn't her height that they were particularly worried about, though, no matter how imposing her stature was. It was the tightly sculpted muscle that stretched over almost every inch of her frame, often times in places that normal people didn't have it. That didn't surprise them, considering what she was. What made them gawk was how brutally she used her strength and how quickly it adapted to nearly everything they threw at it. Even now, her handler could see her ivory skin shimmering with the nanotechnology that they had failed to replicate. It gave her a porcelain sheen that could easily draw a person's attention to her."Get another," a gruff, yet feminine voice rang out. It sounded as he imagined a Valkyrie would: like a mountain being ground into a fine dust while it rang a hollow roar into the wind.
"You do not fuck with Sventovit. She will scowl at you, threaten your life or disregard your existence entirely, but under no circumstances will you call her bluff because she will deliver. She is a woman of pure determination that's fueled by an anger that has been smoldering longer than most people have been alive. So, before you go and mouth off to her, know this: when you're found with your head caved into an alleyway wall, nobody will mourn for you because you should have known better."
To say that Desdemona trusts none of them would be an understatement. She loathes them. They are either traitors, failures or villains and she is unsure which is worse.
So, it is unsurprising that anger comes naturally to her. Yet, her fury is only one deeply embedded trait. Pride and a sense of duty also define who she is. In the off chance that rage fails to motivate her, Pride and Duty pick up the slack. That’s only natural, however. As an Atlantean, she was raised to believe that Atlantis was the greatest nation to have ever existed and the Atlanteans the greatest people. So, even if she regards 4th Agers as little more than ignorant children at best and useless trash deserving of slavery at worst, she believes she has the responsibility to at least protect the last vestiges of humanity... At least until Atlantis can be revived and her people can return to their rightful place as rulers of the mortal realm.Whether or not the restoration of Atlantis and the revival of her people is possible doesn't concern Desdemona. Victory is the only option that she will accept.
While she has given insight to Atlantean technology whenever it's found, she does not speak much of her time living during the 3rd Age. All anyone has are the basics: That she was a commander of some sort and that there was a great cataclysm that she just barely witnessed. It was this apocalypse that some believe likely ended the Third Age and birthed the Fourth.
In truth, Desdemona was born into House Azaes as the daughter of an Atlantean scientist by the name of Dr. Demosthenes and Eudokia, an Atlantean architect. Like all Atlanteans, her birth was the product of genetic engineering upon conception and her developmental years aided by cybernetic enhancements and rigorous training. Never did she wonder what she’d do with her life or what she was meant to accomplish, for Atlanteans were born with a purpose given to them; they did not stumble aimlessly in search of meaning.
Even among her fellow soldiers, Desdemona’s aptitude for warfare far exceeded expectations. As Atlantis continued to conquer the world, Desdemona carried its banner and rose through the ranks with each victory she claimed. As skilled as she was, however, the war never seemed to end and, frankly, she didn’t want it to. Combat and conflict were her life’s blood and she was proud to crush the enemies of Atlantis underfoot and relished in the honor that she brought to House Azaes.
Despite Atlantean superiority, however, they did not win every battle. During what would be their last campaign, they suffered defeat in a single battle. It was enough to drive the Atlanteans to a frenzy. Never before had they been so humbled, especially by lesser beings. In a fit of foolish rage and decrepit egotism, they decided to do the unspeakable. True, they could have simply sent a bigger force to easily conquer their foe, but it was less about the victory and more about the message they wanted to send. Unfortunately, Atlanteans that spoke against their fellows’ plot were ignored… and a husband and wife were there with open arms to aid the blood-thirsty conquerors with knowledge of an ancient power unlike what they had ever seen before.The plan backfired. Atlantis was lost and the 3rd Age came to an abrupt end.
World War II
When they opened up the tomb, they believed that what they'd find was evidence of their claims: remains of the Übermensch, from which they could officially proclaim that all pure-blooded Aryans originated from. They got much more.
The Atlantean was not so pleased. She lashed out immediately after gaining consciousness. Several men died, but soon her fear and angered ebbed just enough that those strange, small men could talk her down. The German language was easy to understand but hard to speak for Desdemona: she had the mind to easily pick up anything she heard, but she was not used to talking. The Thule Society would not wait for her to be able to speak clearly to them. They managed to convince Desdemona to trust them, then sedated her before transporting her elsewhere. Countless tests were run and Desdemona eventually learned to speak once more, yet on the precipice of declared success, the Thule Society was publicly disintegrated. World War II was declared soon after. Desdemona was no fool, however. She knew very well what had occurred: She had been woken up by a people desperate for meaning and power. Those same people took what they could from her and tumbled down the path to create the sort of utopia that Desdemona had described. The flung themselves feverishly at the idea. She should taken their obsession as the first sign. She knew that it would be flawed and she saw it all unfold: The Übermensch. Adolf Hitler. The Nazis. The Final Solution.
Supported by the Nazis that idiolized her, she became Colonel Falkenrath, but she cared for none of it. She saw the world being thrust towards complete obliteration, but she had other aims. The world as it looked in the 4th Age was still young, it seemed. It had grown over the ashes of the 3rd Age and there seemed to be no recollection that the 3rd Age managed to stop its own destruction. Logically, what had come for the 3rd Age may very well be coming for the 4th. So, she searched. What she found was the Filth. Was it the Filth that had devoured the 3rd Age? She couldn't be sure, but she ran into it again and again during her adventures. Guided by a dark whisper in her mind, she followed the black ink wherever it crept. Through battlefields and concentration camps, she followed despair and the Nazis funded her travels, wanting to use The Filth as they had used Desdemona's knowledge and praising the defeat she brought to the enemies in her way.Desdemona, however, suspected that the Filth had always been inside of them. With the end of the Nazis came the end of The Thule Society and the trail of the Filth seemingly disappeared. Had The Thule Society really vanished? She couldn't be sure but she didn't care to be sure. They were a tool. Had the Filth vanished? No and something begged Desdemona to find it again.
The Cold War
Like so many others, she discarded her Nazi uniform and escaped in secret. Unlike so many others, she did not seek to hide out her days in other countries, where they enjoyed the beach or took scraps of barely usable high technology to American companies in exchange for amnesty. Instead, she found The Red Hand waiting for her with open arms, stony faces and the nickname "Sventovit"; a slavic God of War.
In the company of the Soviet Union, she did not find the religious fanatics that had defined the Nazis. The lot in which she cast herself was still as passionate, but they were driven by science and logic rather than legends and mythologies. True, they found interest in Desdemona's status as a living Atlantean, but they did not seek to create a utopia based upon her memories. What they wanted to create, they wanted to create with their own hands, based upon their own genius. Desdemona was not cast to the side, but after they gave her the rank of General, they did little else with her.
They had other, bloodier, interests with origins in Romania. Still, they knew of the danger that Desdemona could pose and since they couldn't kill her or keep her hostage, the funded her personal missions. She wore their uniforms and she was "loyal", though she remained free to follow the whispers of the Filth wherever they led her. She soon came across The Facility, which had been kept secret from her despite her knowledge of The Red Hand. She didn't mind. The secrets of the Soviets were theirs to keep. However, the Soviets were not as comfortable with Desdemona, who was on a very thin and ineffective leash, knowing about their greatest project. She was caught unaware and turned into a test subject.
A preliminary test was run on Desdemona, (as they did with each prospective cosmonaut) and at first, nothing out of the ordinary showed itself. As an Atlantean, anything that they did to her either had no effect or was quickly rejected. Wounds healed too quickly to properly study; poisons were forced back out harmlessly through her pores or digested. Whether it be by training or an Atlantean brain, her mind was withstood any sort of abuse.
Perhaps they would have found a way to kill her. They had to, eventually, for they believed that she could escape at any moment and when she did, she would surely destroy them. If she was honest with herself, she wanted to, but a voice kept telling her to wait. And wait. And wait. It was only a matter of time before the scientists found that Desdemona was harboring Filth inside of her and had been for an unspeakable amount of time. Yet, she clearly wasn't deteriorating.The Red Hand within the Facility planned to use that information for their project concerning Anima and Anti-Anima. If they had managed to, Desdemona did not know. There was a terrible accident that rid her of consciousness. Instead of remaining shackled in a secret facility by the Red Hand, she found herself in the grip of The Templars.
To Desdemona, they are the epitome of military might and order. Within them, she sees passion, discipline and a respect for customs that had been lacking in her other benefactors. It was clear why the Templars had survived for so long, (though she had regarded them as little more that nuisances when she had come across them before): they were so tenacious that if they could not win through civility, they did so with brutality. That brutality came so thunderous and swift that there was often no fear of revenge.
The Templars regarded Desdemona with suspicion and worry, however. They immediately could tell that she was infected by the Filth, but they found no way to get rid of her. If she were to be left by herself, it was entirely possible that one of the other factions would pick her up. They had to find a way to keep her in their midst somehow, for a tool's natural instinct is to find a way to be used. After intense discussion, Desdemona found that they were of similar goals: the keep the 4th Age safe. Desdemona was content with knowing that the Templars would do anything to make sure that happened.She quickly found her place as an interrogator among the Inquisitors. Often keeping herself in the prison below Temple Hall, she has utilized her connection with the Filth to wrench secrets from her victims. While the Templars aren't proud of the way the Desdemona handles their business, nor of the fact that they have a Filth-infected within their ranks, they are willing to overlook as long as the job gets done and she keeps herself well in their sights. Still, not even the Templars are willing to let Desdemona's other abilities go to waste. A fine combatant, she is often sent on missions where the presence of Filth is or has been.
3rd Age Resonance
Filth Exhaust: Normally, the nanomachines would only produce oxygen as their waste product, however they were corrupted when she became infected with the Filth. Now, the nanomachines expunge Filth into the air. It looks like a black miasma that rises out of Desdemona's body, (as well as expelled from her nostrils and mouth), and the intensity of it varies from almost invisible to as thick as fog depending on how heavily she's using the nanomachines. Because the nanomachines keep her ageless, there is always a haze around her that, while it can't be seen, can be just barely detected and often leaves weaker people with a slight headache.Mask Necessity: Because the nanomachines no longer produce pure oxygen for her, Desdemona has been forced to wear a breathing apparatus, (in the form of a heavily filtered surgeon's mask), that cleanses the air for her. It also helps to protect others from the Filth that she breathes out. Without this mask, not only would she not be able to breathe fully, but her Filth infection rate would sky-rocket and her nanomachines' abilities would be reduced dramatically.
Filth Knowledge: By being in the presence of the Filth, Desdemona can have access to the same knowledge that the Filth in the area has. However, whether or not The Filth actually want to share this knowledge willingly with Desdemona is another question. Should they not want to, Desdemona can force the Filth to comply, though it takes great mental strain on her part and weakens her to further influence.Forced Knowledge Acquisition: While keeping direct eye contact with another person, the Filth can leave Desdemona's eyes and enter into the mind of a victim. Under Desdemona's guidance, the Filth begins to pilfer all they can from the subject's brain until the knowledge that Desdemona wants is secured and delivered. To the victim, it feels like a dull, rusty knife is being used to slice apart sections of their brain, and often leaves the subject mentally exhausted with a very intense feeling of violation.
No Personal Relationships: These are outright near impossible. The closer that Desdemona gets with anyone on an emotional, spiritual or physical level, the more dangerous for both parties it becomes. The worst case scenario is that the Filth devours the mind and sanity of those that Desdemona gets close with. She also knows that if there was something that she cared about other than the current Age itself, the Filth would try to use that against her. This has made her into a social wreck. She's outwardly abrasive and uncaring to people because it keeps them both safe. This, unfortunately, has come to include herself.
Dreamless: The first thing that the Filth took from Desdemona was her ability to rest peacefully. The Filth, in all of its hunger, devours whatever Desdemona dreams. This has ensured that the Atlantean never gets to mentally rest as most people do. This leaves her feeling psychologically exhausted while she is awake, at the edge of her insanity most of the time and sleeping has no real mental difference to her than staying awake. Because of this, she often goes without sleep until her body collapses wherever it is and she wakes up whenever she has enough strength to.
Hallucinations: As with anyone else, the longer that Desdemona goes without sleep, the more likely she is to suffer hallucinations. Slightly different from the breaks in reality that people normally experience from insomnia, her 'hallucinations' are fueled by the Filth looking through her. She has come to believe that the Dark Dream is a mirror reality to the one fueled by Anima and that the greater the influence that the Filth has over her senses, the more she's transported into the Filth's alternate reality. Though it is possible for her to gain useful information while enduring these hallucinations, it is by far such a horrifying experience that it's not worth it to her.
Dampened Anima: Due to the necessity of suppressing the Filth's presence within her, Desdemona has to limit the amount of Anima she uses. Thus, she relies on her physical attributes and technological enhancements instead of magic during combat. Ultimately, if something HAS to be subdued with magic, she won't be able to beat it.Mind-Breaking: The Filth watching through Desdemona does require payment every so often for its services. It is at these times that Desdemona maintains eye contact with an individual and allows the Filth to completely ravage the mind of her victim. Most of the time, this leaves nothing but a mindless husk of person, as if they had a lobotomy. The Atlantean has some idea what the Filth does with the victim's mind with their infinite hunger, but she benefits in no direct way by Mind-Breaking someone, unless further cooperation from the Filth counts. Should she not find a sacrifice, the Filth would start taking parts of her mind instead.