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The Faceless One (Planar / female githzerai / 0-level / Bleak Cabal / N, formerly CE)
It's hard to talk about a person with no name, let alone a belief without one. However, that's what has to be done. The founder of this vision we shall call simply The Faceless One, and the group of bloods who're living it are the Faceless.
The Faceless One doesn't have a life history. She gave that up long ago, back when she had a name. Her history instead belongs to a githzerai called Aquilla Moxx. That blood was born in limbo. Not the plane, berk, but in a flux between two places. See, Aquilla's mother Lovilo was a planewalker, a real famous one at the time. As everyone does though, she's faded to obscurity now. But that's not the story.
Aquilla was born in strange circumstances. See, there's some places where you're not meant to go, and other places where you wouldn't want to go either. There's even a few places which don't want you to go to them, and once you're there they certainly don't want you to leave either! Lovilo was in one of those places. She was heavily pregnant with Aquilla, but there wasn't any danger of her being born while Lovilo was out walking the Planes; she was too much of a blood for that. At least that's what she believed.
Lovilo'd been walking on the Abyss, and was about ready to go home to the Cage. She was with a party of strong cutters, and they had a key and a portal, so there wasn't a problem there. Time came to leave, and seeing as she was the fighter of the bunch, Lovilo remained behind last. They activated the portal, and her three companions stepped through. She was about to follow, when an earthquake hit the cave they were in. Lovilo was knocked flat on her stomach through the portal, and immediately went into labour.
Upon seeing her screaming face lurch through the portal, her companions assumed Lovilo'd been attacked, and pulled her through before the portal shut down. It collapsed before they'd got her waist through, forcing the mother through into Sigil, and the baby back to the Abyss.
Horrified at what'd happened, the four tried to reopen the portal, but to no avail. They'd used their last key, and vials of Styx water were never easy to come by. Thus it was that Aquilla was born between two planes, and lost her mother before she knew who she was. Lovilo reluctantly gave up hope of finding her child; it wasn't as if there was any chance it'd survive.
If you thought the story'd end there, you'd be wrong. By chance or design, the newborn baby was found by a bebilith. Again, you'd expect the nasty beast to have devoured the child there and then, but again you'd be wrong. For some reason, the child was rescued by the nightmare beast and 'cared' for. Maybe the bebilith thought the parents'd come back for the child, and it'd get a bigger meal that way, or maybe some strange mothering instinct took hold. Who can say? Whatever the fiend's motive, it was hardly a kindly parent. It showed the infant how to maim a corpse just right, how to eat the living flesh off its prey, and darker things no mortal should ever know. Aquilla survived until her tenth birthday, when the bebilith opened the portal for the child and pushed her into the Cage. They never saw each other again.
Moving in an instant from the darkest depths of the Abyss to the hustle and bustle of Sigil wouldn't have been easy for anyone, least of all for Aquilla. She was found by the Bleakers and taken in; a screaming barmy child with less than half a mind and no concept of humanity. It was years before she could even speak like a human; she had this unnerving habit of communicating telepathically and hissing her evil thoughts to all she could see.
While she learned to talk, Aquilla began to piece together her life, and understand the ramifications of what she was and would always be. As she learned what good was the thought of her cruel childhood of torture and indoctrination into pure evil filled her with horror. Her mind switched between the foulest wickedness and that of a child disgusted with its own thoughts. Aquilla tried many things to cure her of her past, but never suicide. She knew that'd drive her back to where the bebilith sprang from, for the evil in her life far outweighed the good. She wanted so much not to be evil.
On her twentieth birthday, she realised what she had to do. Aquilla forgot her own life, thrust aside her name, and history, and left the demons behind. A fresh start; a clean slate.
Almost at once, her tormented mind was healed. As she gave up her identity, becoming a woman with no name and no life to call her own, so everything that was wrong about her disappeared. She furthered the severance with her past by veiling herself and speaking of herself not as a singular, but as a plural.
"We peel ourselves that we're individuals. You and We, we're no different underneath," she used to tell her Bleaker mentors. "There is no purpose in anything, and that includes identity."
Many found they couldn't argue with her logic. She'd found her own truth, and it was one with no grounding, no facts to grasp upon, and nothing to show for it all except nothing itself.
For the Bleak Cabal, it was a popular ideology indeed.
The Faceless are Bleakers who've taken an extra step and lost their own identities. They don't use their names, and nor do they use aliases. It's us outsiders who call them the Faceless, berk, and don't forget that. With their release from their past, so to do they lose their madness, insecurities, and self-hate. It's a limbo between existing and not existing, really.
"Names weaken you," say the Faceless. Any conjurer can tell a cutter that everyone has a secret name, which wizards and fiends can use to gain power over a sod. Well, the Faceless don't; they lose theirs when they lose their identity. Even the Powers can't keep track of a body when there's no name he can be called. It plays havoc with Sigil's justice system too, when a defendant hasn't got a name to be recorded in the statute books, as many an angry Guvner secretary can testify.
Forget the labels; drop the assumptions; open your mind to nothing. That's the basic tenet of the belief. For some it's a release from responsibility, for others an administrative nightmare.
For more information, ask...oh, erm, actually I can't give you a name to contact. Oh, they all look the same; they have sheets over their faces. Just stop one of them.
Copyright 1997 by Jon Winter