Canon:Lady of Pain
|Lady of Pain|
'Lady of Pain - original on the cover of Dragon Magazine issue #339 (January 2006 edition).
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The Lady of Pain is the protector of the city of Sigil in the Planescape campaign setting of the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. She is also known as Her Serenity, for the permanently vacant expression on her face, The Bladed Queen, or simply The Lady. She is only a lady insofar as she is characterized as female in her countenance. In the second edition AD&D Planescape setting, the Lady may as well have been male or sexless, or such a type that traditional gender classification is impossible.
Description and history
A very powerful being, many of the hive dwellers consider the Lady of Pain to be a deity. The Lady is sometimes seen as a floating, robed woman with a mantle of blades around her expressionless face. No one knows how she came to be or what her true purpose is. Her obvious objective is maintaining the balance within Sigil, by throwing defilers and denizens who anger her into one of her magical mazes. Often, she will only interfere when the very balance and stability of Sigil is threatened.
The Lady is an entity of inscrutable motives, and often those who cross her path, even if accidentally, are flayed to death or teleported to one of her Mazes (an almost inescapable pocket universe). Rumor has it that even greater deities have fallen before the Lady, and she was able to kill the otherwise immortal Nameless One. The Shattered Temple in Sigil was a major temple of Aoskar, the god of portals, who attempted to bring the city under his control. After one of the dabus abandoned its duty to worship Aoskar, she killed him with a thought, shattering the grand temple and throwing his priests into the Mazes of her making. The ruined temple eventually became the headquarters of the Athar. The vast majority of Sigil's denizens dread her apparitions, and avoid mentioning her name aloud for fear of drawing her attention.
The Lady has the power to control each and every portal in Sigil, opening and barring them at will. The dabus, her servants, maintain the city, forever fixing and patching its streets. For all her power, she apparently refuses to be worshiped as a goddess, and anyone brave (or careless) enough to worship her has met a grisly demise in the shadow of her blades.
A theory that appears late in the computer game Planescape: Torment is that the Lady is a prisoner and that Sigil is her cage. This theory is plausible in that its coiner, Ravel Puzzlewell, who would refer to herself as "the solver of puzzles not needing solving", had a level of understanding about the mechanics of the planes incomprehensible by men. Unfortunately (or consequently), she was also insane; whether her insanity set in before or after being "mazed" by the Lady is unknown.
Additionally, the novel Pages of Pain suggests that she may be the daughter of Poseidon from the Greek Pantheon of Arborea. However this is not made clear and even suggested that the memories of her early life released from an amphora may have been faked by the god himself in order to potentially sway the Protector of the Cage towards his way of thinking.
According to Die Vecna Die! she is a being of the same origin as The Serpent (representation of magic itself).
- David Cook (1994). Planescape Campaign Setting. TSR. ISBN 1560768347.
- Bruce R. Cordell, Steve Miller (2000). Die Vecna Die!. TSR. ISBN 0786916621.
- Denning, Troy (1997). Pages of Pain. TSR. ISBN 0786906715
- Black Isle Studios. Planescape: Torment. (Interplay). (December 12, 1999)
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