|Pronouns||Variable, see current identity|
|Affiliation||Midnight Carnival (Devilfish)|
Ardha’s true form has scarcely been captured on camera beyond grainy security footage and blurry-ass Cryptid shots taken by a cellphone. The remains of Ardha’s more fleeting forms are better captured: injured corpses without a skeletal or nervous system, appearing as strips of flesh torn off the bone and piles of limbs that have been hollowed out by the skeleton’s departure.
Law enforcement may know enough to establish a broad “con artist” M.O.: Ardha masquerading as a given person, profitably fucking up their life, and absconding into the night, leaving the victim to deal with the fallout of her actions.
Ardha’s true form is something that resembles a vague and featureless wireframe model of a human being, filled in with a highly reflective metallic grey substance. While the size, proportions, and posture of the form are variable (dependent on the size/prop./posture of the last copied individual), it is always both incredibly lightweight and distractingly shiny. A mannaz rune is etched between the shoulderblades of this form.
Ardha can assume the appearance of nearly any human being when using her power, and the only consistent tell seems to be the lack of access to the parahuman abilities her target should have.
Some of her currently copied targets are "Rachel" (a lanky lady with short black hair and a distinctive burn-scar on her wrist) and "George" (a skinny dude with messy hair and a very yellow wardrobe).
Equipment and Resources
- About 25,000 in cash, taken from various individuals and elegantly stashed. (Wealth Level 4)
- A sedan, registered to an identity she has long since discarded. The plates expire in about a year.
- A pretty nice set of golf clubs, taken from a now ex-city councilman.
- An apartment in the nicer parts of Devilfish, paid for by the withdrawn funds of said ex-city councilman.
- A coil of rope, courtesy of the Cabelas Stockroom.
- A partially depleted medkit, also courtesy of the Cabelas Stockroom.
- Three knives, concealed on various parts of her person.
- A crossbow and a quiver of 14 arrows, usually stored in her trunk.
- Four sets of handcuffs.
Skills and Specializations
- Decent marksmanship with her crossbow, barely adequate marksmanship with a firearm.
- Extensive experience with believably lying her ass off.
- Extensive experience with properly applying restraints, tying knots, treating flesh wounds, cleaning bloodstains, and everything else that entails keeping captives alive for an extended period of time.
- Great public speaker.
- Excellent method actor.
Ardha is a whimsical, manipulative, and cruel individual without much of a moral code. Hella prideful and egotistic (if naming herself after a deity is any indication). Is much more troubled than she lets on by the whole “not knowing who she really is or was” thing, and actively seeks out individuals or pastimes that seem to remind her of who she may have been.
Ardha’s primary ability is to form a Bond with any human being who is presently observing her via any means, so long as she is certain of both the observer’s existence and the fact that they are currently observing her.
When this Bond is established, Ardha will begin constructing a body that is a mirror image of the observer in every respect, morphing her true form into a skeletal and nervous system and growing flesh atop it. Both the accuracy of the constructed body (compared to the original) and the rate that said body is constructed are dependent on both the observer and Ardha’s actions:
- Looking at Ardha will cause Ardha to visually appear more like the observer. The more details Ardha and the observer can accurately discern about each other’s appearance, the more accurately and quickly Ardha’s constructed body will form. Details Ardha cannot visually discern about the person will not be accurately reflected in the body she constructs. (e.g. if Ardha cannot see their eyes in their entirety, the body’s eyes will not be an accurate color or shape. If the eyes are entirely obscured by something like a visor or opaque sunglasses, the power will construct the eyewear over her body’s eyes, and the eyewear would be impossible to remove without losing quite a bit of flesh on her face)
- Hearing Ardha will cause Ardha to sound more like the observer. The more clearly and accurately Ardha and the observer can hear each other, the more quickly Ardha’s body will form and the more like the observer Ardha’s voice will sound. If they cannot hear each other whatsoever, Ardha’s constructed body will not be capable of speech.
- Touching Ardha will cause Ardha to feel more like the observer (WRT texture, body heat, etc). The longer contact with Ardha is sustained, the more quickly Ardha’s body will form and the more accurate the texture of her body/created accessories will be. If Ardha and the observer neglect to touch each other, the texture of her body will be both wildly inaccurate and uniform. In addition, Ardha’s constructed body may neglect to develop a pain response to injury that does not concern the skeleton or head.
Depending on the situation and the actions undertaken by both Ardha and the observer, it can take anywhere from thirty seconds to twenty minutes for her constructed body to fully form. Once her body is finished forming, no further details can be incorporated and her secondary power may be used.
Ardha’s secondary power allows her to either heal damage to her own body, heal damage to the body of the Observer she is bonded with, or impart damage to her own body onto the body of her Observer. Her power seeks to retain the “mirror image” between their bodies, and making it aware of any discrepancies will prompt her power to either construct additional flesh or excise flesh from her paramour. (in less flowery terms: while her and her bonded observer are currently observing each other and aware of an injury on either party, she can force their bodies to “mirror each other” again by either healing herself to match her observer’s current state, healing her observer to match her current state, or injuring her observer to match her current state.) This process takes a minute of unbroken observation, which can be cut down to 30 seconds via sustained physical contact. If her constructed body “dies” before this process ends, the bond between herself and her observer will be severed and no injuries will be imparted.
Clarifying Deets I Could Not Organically Incorporate:
- Ardha cannot functionally copy any parahuman abilities whatsoever. However, parahuman abilities that cause the human body to look somewhat different while still humanoid (most Changers, the “monstergirl” C53’s, some Breakers, Brutes, and Tinkers) will cause the constructed body to create nonfunctional replicas of whatever horns/wings/exoskeleton/lampshade-esque armor/etc the cape possesses. Said replicas are usually made from especially rigid flesh and/or oddly colored skin, and can be somewhat convincing if one ignores their complete lack of function.
- Parahuman abilities that would cause the observer to no longer appear remotely humanoid (some Changers, actual C53’s, most Breakers, the really funky Biotinkers) would also make the observer’s appearance impossible to feasibly copy/ form a bond with outside of their altered form.
- Unless the observer is entirely nude, it is likely that the power will create clothing or other accessories fused with Ardha’s skin as opposed to “filling in the blanks” with regards to the skin beneath. The texture of this false clothing/jewelry/piercings will be unsettlingly similar to skin unless Ardha and the observer touch each other while her body forms.
- The strength and physique of Ardha’s constructed body will be identical to the strength and physique of the observer she bonded with, unless those are enhanced by a parahuman ability.
- Ardha can initiate a Bond while within a constructed body, causing her to more traditionally shapeshift into the target’s appearance as opposed to building a body from scratch. The same variables and restrictions apply regardless.
- Ardha can have up to three Bonds formed with Observers at any given time, provided that the bodies constructed in their image are complete. It is relatively trivial and quick to shift between “saved” bodies, taking about thirty seconds to shapeshift into another body. This process is fairly obvious to onlookers.
- Ardha can discard Bonds and their associated body at will, rendering her permanently incapable of copying that individual’s appearance. Wounds imparted on said individual via her secondary power will be instantly healed as a consequence. Upon the death of Ardha’s true form, treat all her Bonds as discarded.
Abilities from Altered Biology: Ardha’s true form constitutes a heavily altered human nervous and skeletal system (albeit one that can move under its own power), wrapped up in a lightweight and metallic package. This means that while puny shit like a functioning circulatory, gastrointestinal, and respiratory system might be needed to keep one of her constructed bodies alive, her real body has no such limitations. It also allows her to ditch a dying or dead constructed body via tearing her real body out, leaving a bloody mess in her wake (although doing so irreversibly severs the bond to that person, rending Ardha unable to construct or shift into their body again)
The lightweight nature of her true form makes her much more agile outside of a constructed body, although it also means much less force needs to be exerted to take her down. Her body is also more brittle and vulnerable than a normal human skeleton would be, and the only means to repair damage to her true form is by hopping in a constructed body and either waiting for the skeleton to heal like everyone else or shifting the damage from her skeletal and/or nervous system onto whoever that body is bonded with.
Her true form lacks the means to speak, although she can still communicate through writing or gestures. In addition, it requires no food to function, getting energy through sunlight instead.
One day, the individual who was not presently remarkable managed to contact Coven. They composed an inelegant and unremarkable sob story, complaining of relentlessly encroaching debt, trouble with their blood relatives, and the fear that they could not last another week. The representative responded with silence over a telephone line. The individual quickly changed tactics: hurling insults and obscenities at the representative and their organization for a period of eight seconds, staying in shamed silence for thirteen, remorsefully pleading for twenty-six, and truthfully asserting that they would do anything to leave behind their “life in ashes” for six. The representative made an offer, dutifully outlining the debts and responsibilities this individual would undertake in exchange for power. The individual foolishly accepted without further consideration or negotiation.
Ardhanarishvara awoke four hours later, dearly missing something she could not identify.
Over the next eight months, she coasted on impulse under the incorrect assumption that her subconscious mind understood something her conscious mind lacked. Her subconscious instead lead her down a disappointing rabbit hole of violence, exploitation, crime, and substance abuse, the consequences of which mostly pinned on others less fortunate than even her former self.
Over the next four, she turned to vanity as a solution. Deities did not concern themselves with matters of the past, after all. This particular deity instead concerned herself with finding worthy supplicants to nurture, forming a bond between them that would create something far greater than the sum of their parts. Devilfish seemed in dire need of her guidance, if the mass influx of masked maniacs were any indication.