Appearance: Doina is average in every way. Her height, weight, and build all conspire to make her as un-eyecatching as possible. She could blend into any crowd with her unimpressive height and slender, moderately curved but balanced figure. She is neither busty or hippy, and neither curvaceous or skinny, but the in between of all these.
Her face leans somewhat more towards heart-shaped than oval as she has a marginally broader forehead and a slightly pointed chin. She has large, almond-shaped indigo eyes with full, black lashes framed by thick, round glasses with steel frames, that at certain angles make her eyes seem round and even larger than they are, hence part of the reason for her nickname (the other reason being that her parents always said she was “cute as a bug”). Her eyebrows are a little on the thick side, but not bushy. Her nose is medium sized, with a slight angle at its bridge, a roman nose, and her lips shapely but a little thin, her upper lip being slightly fuller than the lower. Her slightly tapered chin has a dimple, as does her right cheek when she smiles.
Her very thick, waist length, raven hair is wavy, bordering on curly and tends to go frizzy at the slightest provocation of wind or humidity. For this reason she usually keeps it in a thick braid down her back, tied in a ponytail or held back like a headband with one of her colorful scarves. Her physique is toned as befitting someone who spends a great deal of her time outside and performing manual labor, but neither skinny nor particularly muscular, and her skin would be pale and creamy if she spent more of her life indoors, but her outdoor-loving ways have toasted her a light beige.
As is traditional for women of her culture, she wears lightweight, colorful attire, mostly skirts of calf or ankle length, loose peasant-style blouses, short comfortable boots, a wide leather belt, and scarves. She loves scarves and owns several that she incorporates into her garb any way she can think of. In fact, she incorporates color in any way she can think of, the louder the better, and things do not always have to match.
She also loves her gold hoop earrings, her first pair, given to her by her mother on her sixteenth birthday, the day she proclaimed her chosen profession before the Wandering Council. On her left wrist, she bears a gold chain bracelet. From it dangles ten coins, each from a different adult in her clan, each given to her on the eve of her Journeying. These are for luck, and her people believe they will lead the wandering youth home when they find what they seek. On her right hand is another chain bracelet, this one of silver. From this bracelet dangles the spaces for another ten coins, four of which are full. Each of these coins is part of the wage for a reading that was important to Doina in some way. If asked, she could tell you exactly the card spread for that reading, and why it was important to her. However, she holds her clients in the strictest confidence and would never tell you who received the spread.
On the ring finger of her right hand, Doina wears a ring of white metal. It is comprised of four interwoven bands of different white metals, each set with seven stones of a different nearly clear color. This is a ring of Fate, crafted with great care by Omentus Anima and given to Doina as payment for reading his cards. This ring cannot be removed from her person, short of cutting off her finger. Then, it will remain on the finger until the flesh itself disintegrates.
Carried Posessions: Doina carries her few possessions in a folded blanket tied across her back, over one shoulder and under the other like a sling. In this makeshift pack she carries a little food, herbal medicine, a few extra scarves, and a few extra articles of clothing. She carries a medium sized water skin, and around her waist is a simple leather belt with two pouches attached and resting over her right hip. One is a coin purse with a drawstring which may or may not contain a modest amount of her earnings. The other is rectangular, made of sturdy but well used leather, with a flap that folds over the top and closes using a button and loop. Roughly the size of her hand, it contains her most prized possession, her tarot deck.
Weapons: Doina carries a simple, but functional dagger in her right boot, and a light switchblade in a sheath strapped to the inside of her left forearm. These concealed weapons are Doina’s last line of defense. They are perfectly and razor sharp but ordinary in nature, possessing no powers of their own. Tarot Deck: Some of the cards in this deck are imbued with the powers of spirits Doina has befriended in her travels. She can call upon these “spirited cards” for magical aid. When in use, a spirit card will glow with pale lavender light. (These cards are covered further in the Skills/Magic section.)
Skills: A skilled knife fighter, Doina was taught from an early age to handle herself in dangerous situations, as is expected of women in her culture. Magic: Occasionally, during a reading, the spirit of the Querant (the person asking a question of the cards) will resonate with a spirit aligned with a specific card. This is not a spirit imprisoned within a specific card (like Cardcaptors), but rather that any number of spirits could be in alignment with aspects of a given card. Example: Aphrodite, Ishtar, or Freya might be aligned with the Empress card as they are all fertility deities, however, Ishtar might also be associated with the Seven of Wands in her warlike aspect, or Aphrodite might also be associated with the Lovers card or the Ten of Cups, and Freya could be associated with Death or the Ten of Swords.
If this card is representative of the Querant, and Doina can correctly understand its message or purpose for the Querant, she has an opportunity to appeal to the spirit resonating through the card. If she manages to create a pact with the Spirit, it will imbue the card with its power, and Doina can use the card to call on the Spirit for aid. A card that has been empowered through a pact with a Spirit is known as a “spirited card”.
To summon a Spirit, Doina holds the deck in one hand, concentrating on the card connected to the Spirit she needs. The chosen card will rise from the deck on its own and hover before her while emanating a pale lavender light. How the Spirit’s power manifests depends on how it chooses to interpret Doina’s need. The spirits also converse with Doina regularly, giving advice and insight. At such a time, you might see a pale lavender light peeking through her Tarot case. They manifest differently dependent on the situation, and some (Agni and Tuuliki currently) have no corporeal form.
Doina will empower more cards over time, but these are the Spirited Cards currently at her disposal: Queen of Pentacles: This card represents Doina’s mother. The attached spirit is Demeter, a symbol of abundance, earthly fertility and healing. This spirit can heal the body and also encourage plant growth. Demeter cannot be called upon while in battle. She often speaks to Doina, encouraging her to improve her skills, and encouraging her on her journey. Knight of Swords: One of Doina’s very first customers resonated with this card. The Spirit at her disposal through this card is Sirocco. This spirit is one of travel, allowing Doina to ride him to her next destination. Most often Sirocco manifests in the form of a white horse, sometimes an armed knight or a sword, and can summon strong buffeting winds (strong enough to knock some people off their feet). He often acts as a logical, if sometimes untactful counselor. Ace of Wands: The card of Doina’s youngest brother, this card is possessed by Agni, a minor fire spirit. Agni is a young spirit, and neither particularly powerful or skillful. It can light campfires and such. Ace of Swords: The card of a mischievous childhood friend, this card is home to the minor wind spirit Tuuliki. Like Agni, Tuuliki is a young, weaker spirit. It can make cooling breezes and small slicing bursts of wind, worse than paper cuts, but nothing near life-threatening. The High Priestess: This is Aurora the Ominae's card and is connected to the spirit of the god Shiva. Both creator and destroyer, this card holds tremendous power. Even Doina herself is not aware of the capabilities of this card and hesitates to use it, though she speaks with the god occasionally and holds a deep admiration and respect for him. She must appeal to him personally for any request or favor she desires, which he may or may not grant. The Tower: This is Omentus Anima's significator and through it Doina created a pact with the warrior goddess Oya, bringer of storms, goddess of transition, chaos, and the Gates of the afterlife. Through Oya, Doina can call lightning, tornadoes, and control storms. By contract, Oya can only be summoned one hundred times. At the end of this contract, or if Doina should die before its completion, Oya herself will take the gypsy's soul to be her handmaiden at the Gates for one hundred years. Each time Oya is used, a small mark in the shape of a lightning bolt appears on the border surrounding the picture of the Tower. When the marks have gone around the entire border, the contract will be complete.
The Ring of Fate: While this object of power possesses no overt magical properties, it's initial contact with Doina has fixed its abilities having to do with her natural abilities in reading the fate of others through the cards, and has bolstered her intuition to something so keen it could be misconstrued as premonition at times.
Strengths: Doina is quick and agile, a skillful knife fighter, having trained in that and self-defense from a young age, as are all the young women in her culture. If pushed to the point she feels she must fight, she fights to get away or to kill, as she was trained. She knows she doesn’t have the physical prowess needed to win a full on physical fight, so she will do whatever is necessary to win, including fighting dirty.
Weaknesses: While willing to do what is needed to win, she must be pushed to the point she believes her life is truly in danger. This may make it too late to effectively defend herself from an attack. Also, Doina is fast and agile, but only as much as is reasonable for a young human woman of her size. No super human capabilities here.
Demeter’s healing abilities cannot be used in battle.
Tuuliki and Agni, as stated before, are young, weak spirits and as such make better spies and distractions than fighters. They are unruly as well, and do not always take instruction well.
Personality: Doina is ruled by her heart above all else. She is driven by intuition, shaded by logic and a sharp mind. She is the firstborn of five children and as such is a perfectionist and very maternal in nature. She is a giving person, and would share her last loaf of bread without a second thought. She tends to want to believe the best of people, which is sometimes to her disadvantage, and tends to think “trust them until they prove they can’t be” rather than waiting for people to earn her trust. Doina is soft-hearted by nature and would much rather avoid conflict and see everyone at peace, or at least in truce. She has a quirky personality and loves to laugh. Likes: Laughing, camping, people, animals, sweets, storms, making people smile, helping people Dislikes: Lying, selfishness, mean-spirited people, spiders, hot muggy weather
History: The first child of a political match between the the far northern Bjorn tribe on her mother’s side and Southern Verdandi gypsy tribe on her father’s, Doina was nonetheless the love child of her parents. They had known each other for years, visiting together every time the tribes met at the great Wandering Council. This is an annual event, occurring one month out of every year, each time in a different territory. Representatives of each of the hundred or so clans, comprising 20 tribes, meet to trade goods, share news of the many lands they travel and where the elders meet to discuss matters of tribal law.
She spent alternate years of her young life with each of her parent’s tribes, learning both her people’s way of life and their expectations for her future. Her youth was spent learning about the skills and trades of both tribes as well as learning to competently look out for herself. She decided on her trade early in life, following in the footsteps of her maternal grandmother, a Reader of cards. At the tender age of five, she began watching her grandmother read the cards for her clients, and fascinated by the imagery, and spirituality of the cards she began to play with them. By ten, her grandmother had seen the potential in her, gave Doina her very own deck, and began training her more intensively, and she began doing her own readings.
Two years later, one of her friends asked her to read the cards for him. This was the first time a card held a special significance in a reading for Doina. It continued to draw her attention throughout the reading and seemed to the girl to be almost vibrating with its own energy in her hand. Her grandmother realized the significance of this and explained the “spirited cards” to her, leading to her pact with Tuuliki.
In the year of her sixteenth birthday, during the Wandering Council, Doina was brought before the elders, as was customary to proclaim her chosen trade. Without hesitation, she stated that she would be a Reader of the cards as was her grandmother before her, and showed them the two spirited cards of Tuuliki and Demeter. Her profession chosen, she returned with her family to her mother’s tribe in the far north to continue her training until her twentieth year, when she would begin her Journeying.
The Journeying is the right of passage for the youths of Doina’s culture into adulthood. They leave their home, and travel until they discover their true selves and come to terms with that inner person with their faults. It is a journey of self-discovery that it is believed every person must take before they can become a truly mature and complete adult and an integral and irreplaceable part of society. Doina began this Journey on her twentieth birthday, and looks forward to what the road and her friends the Cards will teach her, and looks forward to returning home to her people and her family with her new knowledge.