P is for Piroska #atozchallenge

A former coven member of Cadaveria. A kind-hearted but unintentionally dangerous person who has unwittingly murdered countless victims.

With her blessing, Piroska was permitted to leave her service and take care of the flock of ravens living in the Northern Tower of the palace.

As a “reward” for this dedication, she was gifted with eternal youth and beauty… but only while she’s within the tower itself.

Inside the tower, her lovely presence lights up the dreary, shadowy place. When not attending to her duties, she writes poetry and songs that she plays with her lyre (Hecate’s Harp, which is currently in her possession).

Outside, however, her frame is bent and weak, her face that of a grey, elderly woman. Every day she can be seen taking a walk around the palace grounds, conversing with the ravens perched on her shoulders and walking staff.

Her duties with the ravens include:

  • blessing their eggs to a sombre goddess, such as Morrigan.
  • training them as spies and messengers for the Maidens, Desdemonia and the King.
  • casting wards against magical scrying on the palace

Piroska has some curious features that she’s acquired in her time as an occultist and raven-keeper:

  • she cannot remember nor recognize anyone by their face
  • when she sleeps, she becomes a huge white raven and patrols the Grey Isles from the sky, but she does not remember doing so
  • can transform into a Harpy (and back) once per day. In this form, her voice is incredibly enchanting and her claws are wicked: she can cast Charm as a spell-like ability as often as she wants (provided she can sing) and her claws cause weeping wounds that do not heal without magic (the victim will lose 1 hit point every hour until they are healed).
  • can grow feathers from her hair which, if given away voluntarily (once per week), can be used to make powerful magical items. If taken away without her consent, or by force, they have no magical traits. Here are some examples of objects that can be crafted from one of her feathers:
    • an arrow that can instantly kill the mightiest beings (save or die)
    • quill-pen that can create unbreakable pacts between those who sign their names with it (Geas)
    • wand that can dismiss storms or create gusts of wind that can fill a ship’s sails for an entire journey.

While at first content with her situation, she’s begun to yearn for human companionship. Chatting with the servants as an elderly lady helps somewhat, but she longs for the company of youth. She plays her lyre from an open window to lure mortals into her tower. If anyone visits her, there’s a 1-in-6 chance that a servant or stranger is already trapped there, enchanted by Piroska and her music. Unfortunately for them, and for Piroska, the Ravens become jealous and devour these hapless victims in their sleep. The Raven roost is littered with clean, white human bones that Piroska cannot recognize as if hidden by an illusion.

She belongs to the Ravens as much as they belong to the Grey Isles. Neither will ever die or leave that place.