Natacha Datchenka

Baroness of Pavlova

Air Elementalist of the Second Circle

AC 1016

"I'll box your ears if you don't!"

(Lady Natacha's common method of persuasion)

Appearance

Natacha Datchenka is a big ox of a woman, over 6 feet tall, with a muscular build and arms that are longer than they should be. Her fiery-red hair and golden-toned skin (which hides her paleness) hints at Flaemish lineage, but her other features are distinct of common Traladaran peasant stock.

Natacha's long, dry, wavy red hair is usually tied back in a bushy tail, or let loose and wind-swept like a mad medusa. Her forehead is prominent, with a deep unsightly scar across it (a gift from her brother, Ivor). Hiding beneath the think bushy eyebrows are her dark brown eyes, which have blood-red tinge. Her nose is flat, broken nose is crooked to one side (a gift from her other brother, Boris). Her mouth is wide like a toad's. On her right cheek is another deep scar, while her lower jaw is permanently shifted to the left (a gift from another brother, Feodor). Her teeth are so unhealthy—many are chipped, some are crooked, two are missing—that no one can notice the extra pair of sharp fangs. To put it simply, Natacha is ugly.

Natacha is a country girl and knows nothing of city fashions. She wears comfortable Traladaran attire, but is most often seen in a studded leather tunic (no AC value and no hindrance to spellcasting), leathers skirts, and hunting boots. She never wears jewelry and never puts on cosmetics. Due to her build, she looks silly in gowns and dresses. She made the mistake of wearing a chic Averoignian outfit once in Parliament, and has never worn such clothes again.

Personality & Quirks

Natacha is plainly a bully. She uses power to get thing done and make things go her way. Like most bullies, Natacha is only intimidated or moved by power. And her favorite form of power is simply brute physical force. She has not cares for emotion, wealth or the quest for knowledge.

Much can be said about how simple-minded, unsophisticated, nearsighted, slow-witted or artless Natacha is. But no one can argue with a good solid first buried in the yielding flesh of a hapless opponent. Natacha has a trademark habit of challenging the toughest looking person in any group at any occasion to a bout of fisticuffs—be they friends, foes, innocent bystanders, traveling merchants, Ethengar invaders, or dinner guests.

Background

Natacha Datchenka was born in AC 946 to the humble home of Pavol and Svetlana Datchenka in Pavlova. Pavol, a minor wizard educated in Rymskigrad, was the mayor of the small mining town of Pavlova, while Svetlana was a respected—if feared—hedge sorceress among the rustic Traladaran folk. Natacha was the sixth in a brood of seven, and had a tough childhood amidst her big rough-and-tumble brothers. Eventually, Natacha grew to be as big and brawny as her brothers. She learned to survive her their bullying and how to use her fists to fight back. The Datchenkas easily became the private militia of the town, policing Pavlova and beating up its criminal elements—and terrorizing the townsfolk if thieves and criminals became scarce.

In AC 978, trouble came to Pavlova in the form of a cadre of fanatic vampire hunters. For over a year, these vampire hunters (secretly lead by a rogue vampire) stirred up the superstitious townsfolk, preying on their fears and organizing hunting parties. These parties easily became mobs, and these hunts quickly escalated into public stakings.

News of the chaos in Pavlova eventually reached Prince Morphail Gorevitch-Woszlany. With the situation about to explode, Prince Morphail made a bid in Parliament to make Pavlova a barony and establish a definite military presence to control the are. Parliament passed the motion, and in AC 979, Pavlova was enfeoffed. As there were no other Glantrian politicians willing to rule a hotbed of civil unrest in the middle of a gloomy Boldavian countryside, Prince Morphail was free to install his own choice as the Baron of Pavlova. (In truth, Prince Morphail had successfully maneuvered for the enfeoffment of Pavlova, adding a new dominion under his control. It is speculated by some politicians that Prince Morphail himself planted the vampire hunters to spark the disturbances in Pavlova, but this cannot be proven.)

Prince Morphail had planned to install Pavol Datchenka, the present mayor, to be the new baron. But word of Pavol's death reached the Prince as he was about to make the pronouncement. Apparently, the mob had come to suspect that Pavol was a vampire, and had taken him and his whole family to be publicly executed by staking through the heart. Prince Morphail was at a loss, and made a secret visit to Pavlova to investigate the matter personally.

Within the next few days, Prince Morphail heard news that one of the Datchenkas had survived—the daughter Natacha—and she had organized her own band of militia and hunted down the vampire hunters. Natacha then installed herself as mayor of Pavlova and challenged any opposition to her claim to one-to-one combat. Prince Morphail arrived in Pavlova in time to witness the mob leader being beaten into a pulp by Natacha in a brutal boxing match. The mob died down and order was restored when Prince Morphail officially arrived with troops sent by the Council of Princes. Thoroughly impressed by her display of Amazonian strength, Prince Morphail proclaimed Natacha the new Baroness of Pavlova, and, to comply with Glantrian law, let it be known that she was a more powerful mage than she really was. ("She is a wizardess of unequalled prowess. If you doubt my princely word, well, you may always challenge her to a duel...") And to ensure her loyalty, Prince Morphail granted Natacha one final dark gift...

Natacha governed Pavlova quite efficiently, although her methods relied mostly on physical force and terror tactics. But the time of the iron gauntlet passed, and in the time of the velvet glove, Prince Morphail—and Lady Natacha herself—realized just how little power she truly possessed. Natacha had been seeking power for years, but finally found her chance in the Wrath of the Immortals War. Natacha was able to capture several powerful Alphatian wizards and imprison them in various dungeons and prisons all over Pavlova. Using threats, torture, and her vampire charm, she was able to coerce these wizards to reveal to her secrets of air magic. With her new-found source of power, Natacha sought to join the Secret Craft of Air Elementalism. Natacha found a sponsor in Lord Winston Merryweather (M10/Air Elementalist 3, LN), a Fenswick mage of good standing in the Craft but otherwise little power.

Web of Intrigue

The Baroness of Pavlova has no interest in Glantrian politics. Her vote in Parliament belongs to House Igorov. She does not even have regular communications with her representative, who instead takes instruction from Prince Morphail's representative, Sir Boris Gorevitch-Woszlany. She made the mistake once of appearing in a session, and ended up insulted and ridiculed by Lady Szasza Markovitch, Baroness of Vladimirov, for her less than up-to-date fashions and less than appealing looks. Lady Natacha knows not to attend the social events in Glantri City, but unlike Szasza, she stays away from the glitz and glamour of the Glantrian scene out of personal choice.

In Pavlova, Natacha has the solid support of the villagers, and is treated like a long-time comrade of an adventuring party. In fact her strongest supporters knew her from her adventuring days, and would attest to her magical powers and physical strengths. People are often so awed at her remarkable prowess and pugilist skills that the thought that she is something other than human does not usually cross their mind.

Natacha keeps a private army of twenty-odd bodyguards under her employ, mostly muscle-headed goons (at least F5 with Str 17 or higher) to help her keep order in Pavlova. Though once charmed, these goons have now sworn loyalty to Natacha, after being thoroughly impressed and intimidated by a woman who can out-box and out-muscle any one of them. In times of trouble, Natacha can easily increase her militia to about a hundred strong, through reserves, former comrades, eager recruits, local volunteers, mercenaries, or charmed minions from her barony.

Stashed away in various dungeons, prisons and abandoned mineshafts in Pavlova are some Alphatian prisoners-of-war, whom Natacha visits regularly when she needs magical assistance. Natacha influences these wizards through intimidation, physical force, torture or her vampire charms. They would surely seek vengeance against their captor if freed. As a last resort, Natacha can always call on her old "friend", Lord Winston Merryweather in Fenswick to help her in Air Elementalism.

Natacha has one personal enemy: Szasza Markovitch. Lady Szasza is everything Natacha is not—beautiful, sophisticated, from a noble family, a powerful sorceress, a skilled politician, and close to Prince Morphail—and Szasza makes it a point to always flaunt it in her face! If it were not for Morphail's bidding, she would have long done away with the vampire witch. As it is, Natacha contents herself with the belief that if they were ever to duel, Natacha could easily overpower Szasza , punching her unconscious or ripping out her throat.

Other members of the Secret Craft of Air Elementalism have a distinct distaste for the unsophisticated and ugly Natacha, but would otherwise stay out of her way. Higher-ranking members think her a hedge wizardess of little consequence, while her inferiors fear her powers, magical and otherwise.

Being the vampire pawn of Prince Morphail, she is bound to be loyal, honest, and obedient to him. In some ways, her affection towards him is genuine, particularly the gratitude in granting her the status of nobility and in bestowing upon her the extraordinary powers of a nosferatu. But more real is her fear of him and her fear of being replaced as Baroness of Pavlova. She realizes she is the weakest of Morphail's pawns, at least magically, and has moved to correct this by studying air elementalism, and by compensating with her physical prowess (She knows it was her boxing skills that caught Morphail's eye.). Natacha has also resolved to become more charming, more fawning, and more toadying towards her liege—which unfortunately only makes Morphail more disgusted at her.

Style of Magic & Combat

Statistics: 7th-level vampire mage (although often rumored to be a higher level, as high as M12), Air Elementalist of the 2nd Circle; Str 18 in AC 1000, 21 in AC 1016, Dex 14, Con 16, Wis 9, Dex 14, Cha 7; AL C (D&D), CE (AD&D).

Special Attacks: vampire abilities; swoop-punch attack (causing 3d4+4 damage on impact, save vs. death ray at –2, or be knocked out); swoop-rend attack (causing 2d4 damage, save vs. death ray, or sustain a deep gash and 1d4 hp loss from bleeding every round).

Special Defenses: vampire abilities.

Weapon Proficiencies: knife, dagger.

Skills: boxing +2, endurance, intimidation, local history (Pavlova), reading/writing.

Languages: Traladaran (Boldavian dialect), Thyatian (Glantrian dialect, with a thick Boldavian accent).

Natacha considers herself first and foremost to be a champion pugilist, especially since all her bullying brothers who taught her to box are now dead. Indeed, no one in Pavlova—or even in Prince Morphail's court—would dare question this. The foolish few who have accepted her boxing challenge have ended up brutally beaten, with broken bones and ruptured organs, and occasionally, severely bleeding gashes (Believed to be caused by the sheer force of Natacha's punches, these are actually caused by bites from her fangs. Natacha is not above cheating in a clinch.).

After receiving her dark gift from Prince Morphail, Natacha explored the full extent of her vampire powers. She discovered that her already impressive physical might (Str 18 in AC 1000) was gradually increasing (Str 21 in AC 1016) to superhuman levels, and she absolutely enjoys using them in conjunction with her hand-to-hand fighting. She knows that nothing disrupts a wizard's spellcasting better than a solid punch in the face or a quick gash to the jugular. It is perhaps her focus on physical combat that has held her back from becoming as powerful a wizard as Prince Morphail once declared her to be.

To Natacha, spells are a helpful advantage, but she has never taken magic seriously until recently. Though lacking in formal training, Natacha's Flaemish ancestry made it easy for her to handle magic. At the insistence of her father, she studied magic under a few local wizards, and learned a couple of practical spells, which either deal direct damage (such as magic missile and lightning bolt) or allow her to cause more damage in physical combat (such as shocking grasp, haste, spectral hand, strength, vampiric touch.)

Natacha is a member of the Secret Craft of Air Elementalism, but does not really care for air magic per se. She does however have a modest collection of magical items for air elementalists, mostly from her Alphatian prisoners or other members of the Craft whom she has defeated in duels.

The only thing Natacha loves about air magic is the power to fly. Natacha loves to fly, be it in bat, mist, or human form (with a fly spell, of course). She has incorporated her flying maneuvers into her combat, giving her a special swoop-punch attack or a swoop-rend attack, both of which are potentially fatal. Word of these exceptional maneuvers has reached Morphail's ears, and the Prince is thoroughly impressed. But he has decided to wait until he sees them for himself, before deciding to show his approval—or boredom—to Natacha.

Be it with magic, vampiric powers, or brute physical strength, the Baroness of Pavlova is a very deadly opponent in combat.

"She is the weakest of Morphail's pawns—politically, that is. Do not dare face her in any other field of combat."

(wise advice from Princesa Carnelia de Belcadiz)

References:

Morphail's Mundane Reflection

Spells of the Secret Craft of Air Elementalism

Author: Kit Navarro

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