Aoife Van Halen: Fosterage of the Sun
The Nineteenth Card (a.k.a. Diver Down)
Aoife Van Halen was a Siorvill woman from Tosenza, Aelayeron and one of the 22 chosen by The Adjudicator of legend to participate in the 1499 Gathering of Roses. Originally found wandering a small village on the outskirts of the city of Canponti, only mumbling what was presumably her name, Aoife was taken in by the local monastery and brought up as a nun of the Asporaso Faith. At some point, she began to participate in an underground fighting circuit in the city of Temeio; her trips under the veil of religious excursions. This violent, secretive aspect of Aoife's life reasoned as "making the best use of her talents" by Abbess Willamina Van Halen and Abbot Orbison Van Halen: the pair of Asporaso disciples who managed the Canponti Monastery. Aoife was designated as "The Nineteenth Card" during the 1499 Gathering of Roses and represented The Sun of the Major Arcana."Shackle the slave and hear her cry. Bind the two and hang 'em high."— Abbot Orbison (Quoting the nursery rhyme "Diver Down")
AppearanceAoife's most defining traits were her all stature, the bags under her eyes, her massive amount of dark-green hair reaching past her knees and how gaunt she was. Her voice could be described as husky, though flat.
Adult YearsAs with most Siorvill, Aoife was a notably tall woman at around 1.9m or 6'4. Though, unlike others of her race, she had a distinct lack of musculature. Her outwardly scrawny appearance in conjunction with her personality would lead most to conclude she was rather weak in both body and spirit.
- Aoife's main attire consisted of a long and deep purple robe gifted to her by Abbess Willamina along with a metal hairband bearing an icon of the sun and single anchor-shaped earring. Aside from linen wrappings, as was the standard for undergarments in her convent, Aoife wore a pair of hobnail sandals beneath her robe; a curious choice for one of the Faith.
- As the masked fighter "Diver Down," Aoife would don a series of armor pieces originating from separate sets. These included a pair of thin, silver greaves, a pair of steel vambraces, a single gauntlet for the right hand, a black-steel breastplate and an iron mask. Aside from her armor, Aoife would roll up her robe and tie it in various places so as to allow greater mobility.
ChildhoodAfter an encounter with the supernatural entity referred to as the Chordette, Aoife became reduced in age: appearing to be around eight to ten years old. Her distinct bags beneath her eyes and wavy, dark-green hair remained, though significantly shorter. Aside from the Siorvill traits of pointed ears and protruding lower cuspids, Aoife wasn't much different than other human children, physically.
PersonalityAs a child, Aoife was quiet even compared to other Siorvill, going so far as to communicate almost exclusively in small, single-word sentences. Other occupants of the monastery noting that she would usually be found "clinging to the robes" of the few individuals she felt comfortable around or, failing that, she would seclude herself in some quiet spot. Hours could go by before someone who noticed her absence and look for her before she'd move. As an adult, much of her personality remains unchanged as Aoife would only speak when absolutely necessary, even towards other members of the Asporaso Faith. Additionally, when actually engaged in conversation, Aoife would either revert to speaking in single-word sentences or become greatly agitated: sweating, stuttering, fidgeting; sometimes to the point of crying. She also, as some of the other members of her convent put it, had a difficulty "understanding she was being victimized." An example being when mere children were able to take food directly out of her basket with Aoife only being able to ask them to give it back. Upon donning her helmet, Aoife would become a silent force of brutality: moving with speed, strength, and dexterity in stark contrast to her normal demeanor. Men would be crushed within their armor and beasts would have teeth and even limbs torn off. A notable aspect of Aoife's character is in regards to her freezing up at the sound of beads, usually wooden, clinking together. This noise would often cause her to become tense or even curl up in tears, though as "Diver Down," this effect would be lessened in that Aoife would instead refrain from approaching the source of the noise.
History & Major RelationshipsMuch of Aoife's life under the Apsoraso Faith was like any other member in which she carried out various religious duties and would frequently attend mass. As an orphan, she was given the surname of Van Halen, meaning "Of the Hall." The only known stigma against her being a romantic relationship she had with a boy from Canponti during her teenage years, though this would cease after strict discipline from the Abbot and Abbess.
- Abbot Orbison: In her youth, Abbot Orbison would be one of the few people Aoife would spend most of her time with. Though a polite and kind man, he was also well-known to be quite strict. Particularly in matters regarding the Faith, Orbison's discipline was harsh; Aoife's small, but numerous scars across her forearms and hands attesting to such.
- Abbess Willamina: Much like her brother, Abbess Willamina would raise Aoife alongside the other members of the monastery and teach her things such as cooking and sewing. The only time she ever punished Aoife was after the discovery of the girl's romantic activities and breach of religious vows. Abbess Willamina would only comment that she had, "Made sure Aoife would be unable to tempt others with her flesh again."
- Qurilius, Lord of Sunlight: As with most residents of Tosenza, Qurilius would visit Aoife to personally have a talk with her. The deity would admit she was a difficult case due to her unwillingness to speak with him; a point made even stranger considering she was an adherent of the Asporaso Faith. After her revelation as the 19th Card in the Major Arcana, Qurilius would go out of his way to visit her once a month until the Gathering of Roses would officially begin in the Summer of 1499.
Abilities & Equipment
Inhuman AthleticismUnlike most Siorvill, Aoife did not display the thick, burly body-type of her race but instead was thin to the point of appearing almost sickly. Any doubts toward her strength would be quickly snuffed out upon witnessing her feats of power as Diver Down such as lifting a Lillin male in full plate armor off the ground, her skin tightening to reveal musculature defined as if from iron. Her strength not only being above other Siorvill but as to come from such a physique would lead many to speculate on what sort of inhuman monster lay beneath the mask of Aoife's gladiatorial persona.
The Pretty WomanAlthough her armature would frequently change upon collecting pieces off of her foes which suited her tastes, Aoife's primary weapon was a large, iron anchor tied to a steel pole. The anchor seemed to be of an enchanted nature due to many witnessing it "drink blood." As to what purpose this ultimately served remained a mystery as the weapon presented no other supernatural qualities. Its name comes from the woman's face carved into the base of the anchor, Aoife describing it simply as a "pretty woman."
The Gentle SunAoife's ability as a Tarot Card would manifest as first a distinct chime, much like a cathedral bell, which would follow with everything in the immediate vicinity around her to become lit as if in direct sunlight. Though this light would have no seen source, as everything seemed to be illuminated from all sides, its effect was felt immediately as all living beings seemed to undergo exhaustion when in the area of effect. This allowed Aoife to easily kill victims as most were unable to properly fight back or even flee in some cases.
Namesake: Van Halen (Various references to the band's "Diver Down" album)
Leitmotif: "Intruder/(Oh) Pretty Woman"
Leitmotif: "Intruder/(Oh) Pretty Woman"