The Samson power armor lay on the edge of the field of battle, victorious.
Unfortunately, only a little more than half of the power armor remained. One arm was gone, both legs were gone, and a fearfully large spray of crimson drained from the shattered lower part of what remained.
With a groan and screech of protesting metal, the upper torso access seals were wrenched open, daylight surging inside, to meet the wisps of smoke and reek of blood and viscera surging out.
A pained rattle of breath came from within, channeled through charred lips. Then the inarticulate sound ceased.
A large hand reached down, stroked a gore-streaked temple and matted hair.
Then another hand with pale skin and long fingers reached in and by, touched the neck, ran down the exposed chest.
Over the ruined Samson and its unfortunate occupant stood a tall gray-cloaked figure, a folded scythe beside it. Standing next to it was another figure, tall, thin, and clad in dark, somber, working clothes. They both regarded the dying power armor pilot.
“A brave girl.”
“Indeed, quite brave.”
“She will be remembered for generations for her courage here in my community.”
“She will rise to new glories in my Tribe.”
“You’ve come, for this one, I take it?”
“The visions told of a brave one to be found here, one whose path both ends and begins again on the field of battle.”
“A hero, one might say.”
“Yes, she saved many lives.” The cloaked figure gestured at one end of the field where an unspeakable abomination lay quite dead, its eldritch flesh already rapidly decomposing into ash.
“The hero’s remaining lung and liver could save additional lives.” The thin darkclad figure looked over at the other end of the battlefield, where other figures, small in the distance, ran to and fro and shuttled stretchers towards hastily erected tents and open buildings at the edge of a small town.
“Since the hero won’t be needing her old lungs in her new life, you may have them. I just require the brain and spinal cord.”
The thin darkclad woman and the tall cloaked woman both nodded in understanding to each other, turned, got out their tools, and went to work
EShemar Valkaris Elite: The Choosers of the Slain
aka ‘Vultures’, ‘Head Stealers’.
The Valkaris are a very specialized Elite class that emerged from the Psi-Shamanesses, who, themselves, can arise from any of the EShemar. Valkari are not born, but they arise from the existing classes; as Elite they find their way to their profession; the task of finding and collecting those to be reborn as NeShemar.
While any of the EShemar may select and sponsor outsiders to become adopted NeShemar, the Valkari specialize in choosing those unfortunates whose circumstances prevent their worthiness from being witnessed by enough of the lay-EShemar to be selected for admission into the Tribes. Valkaris, like the Valkyries, prowl battlefields and disaster areas looking for freshly dead and near-dead to salvage and send to a more fitting place; in this case to made over into NeShemar. Guided as much by visions sent them by their expanded psionic abilities, as by their sensors, the Valkaris hunt for fresh prospects. Once they do find a prospect, they will prepare them for transport to the Tribe for induction. If the prospect is wounded, the Valkari seeks to stabilize their injuries using both psionic and technological means, then arrange for their transport. If the prospective NeShemar’s condition is terminal, or has just recently deceased, the Valkari will quickly work to extract the prospect’s brain and as much else as can be salvaged, keeping the organs viable with psionic infusions, nanite injections, and placement in stasis containers.
Valkaris may select and ‘harvest’ the slain for conversion into NeShemar, but they rarely have any hand in raising them. Once they’ve turned their sorry collections of broken flesh and bone over to the Spinster/Healers to be remade, the Valkaris are off again to seek new prospects or carry out other missions at the behest of their Chieftains and War Goddesses. Sometimes those they choose do not survive the conversion process, or their conversion is delayed because the Tribe lacks the available resources (a fairly common occurence in the early days of the EShemar emergence and the Shemarrian Civil War) to devote to creating NeShemar cyborgs, requiring the jarred brains to be ‘put on ice’ until better times. In some cases, the Valkari may step forward and serve as the disembodied’s advocate, making the case that conversion and induction of the prospective NeShemar, even in lean times, is in the best interests of the Tribe.
Among the EShemar, Valkaris possess a particularly powerful array of psionic powers, though they are decidedly limited and ‘fixed’ in regard to selection, and focus on Sensitive and Healing abilities that help in their work. In fact it is this blossoming of psionic abilities that often signals the original EShemar’s decision to become a Valkari. Valkaris are arguably in greater tune with both their own inner visions and with the life forces of others, and are better able to feel the pain and suffering of others, as well as their attitudes and thoughts, and this helps draw them to prospective NeShemar.
Valkaris typically work alone, as they are rarely more than a handful in each Tribe anyway (not many are needed). They work closely with the Male Shemarrians (who help them find battle sites and communities) and with the Spinster/Healers (who are responsible for the conversion work). However, the Valkaris are as adept as any other Shemarrian in the arts of war, and will readily join with any war party and fight alongside their sister gynoids if and when needed. Indeed, their blurr-cloaks and viciously sharp vibroscythes make them nearly as feared and effective as Berserkers.
Despite their decidedly morbid specialty, Valkaris can be surprisingly sociable in a strange, awkward, way. If they have the time, and are not pestered, they will help others at a site deal with proper burial and disposal of the dead. They will distribute any salvage they do not claim for their Tribe to other bystanders. They will also help administer medical attention to those who need it. They typically will not accept any repayment for these deeds and will leave as soon as their services are no longer needed. Valkaris also get along well with the Posluznik D-bees (indeed, the Posluzniks have shared their embalming concoctions and much of their knowledge of funerary rites with the Valkaris, and the two peoples can be found amicably working side by side to turn death into a fighting chance for life). Valkaris do NOT get along with ghouls, of both the human and supernatural sort, and many a fallen hero or fresh corpse has been the scene of a SECOND battle between those fighting over the still warm remains. AS of yet, the Valkaris have not yet encountered any of the Nordic Valkyries, so there’s no telling what might happen if the two forces tried to claim the same fallen hero to add to their number.
In addition to their more arguably altruistic objectives, Valkaris also scavenge for usable cybernetic and bionic parts, taking such from the dead to be be recycled by the Tribal Spinster-Tinkers. Unfortunately, those who have been observed doing this have been equated with Body Choppers, and the tales have spread that the Valkaris use their scythes and blades to finish off still-living cyborgs, in order to steal their machine parts. This is utterly untrue, but the morbid rumors still continue to spread.
Because of the highly specialized role of the Valkari, they are rare among the EShemar (and entirely missing from the Ghost Riders, though reportedly they aren’t above imitating the ‘Grim Reaper’ look of the Valkari). There are minor variations between the Tribes with regards to equipment (the Wayfinders incorporate TW systems for instance), but all typically follow the same general profile and mission.
All Valkaris have the following abilities/modifications made to their frames. Thus Valkaris can come from virtually any elite caste and still perform their duties.
In addition to the normal EShemar psionics, Valkaris have the following:
- Clairvoyance (4 ISP)
- See Aura (6 ISP)
- Telepathy (4 ISP)
- Empathy (4 ISP)
- Sixth Sense (2 ISP)
- Object Read (6 ISP)
- Psychic Diagnosis (4 ISP)
- Suppress Fear (8 ISP)
- Induce Sleep (4 ISP)
- Deaden Pain (4 ISP)
- Healing Touch (6 ISP)
Life Preservation (Special)
This is not so much a healing ability as it is a sustaining ability, keeping the spark of life alive in a person or in tissues and organs, extending the amount of time they have to reach medical aid. Note that this is NOT a healing power, but a form of bio-stasis, keeping the person’s condition, from deteriorating any further over the fatal threshold, until help can be reached. This power also keeps severed limbs and appendages viable for transplant or re-attachment by staving off necrosis. The Valkari can preserve viability for 1 hour per 10 ISP.
Valkaris count as MAJOR Psychics and have a base ISP of 1d6x10 +M.E. + 2d4 per level of experience
Valkaris become immune to the Banishment/Exorcism vulnerability at Level 9 of experience.
The Valkaris’ hands can gain a wealth of medical information from touch; pulse, respiration, blood oxygen level, body temperature, electro-cardiac activity, brain wave activity (if placed on the head), even the presence of certain chemicals on the skin).
|Range2||Laser 50 ft|
|Damage||Blade 1d3 SDC, 1d4 MD|
|Damage2||Laser 1d6, 3d6 SDC, 1 MD|
|Rate of Fire||ECHH|
The Valkaris sport forearms that incorporate three auxiliary machine-arms/tendrils, with an array of scalpels, clamps, retractors, and other medical instruments/tools.
Note: The fine precision of these tools gives the Valkari a +10% to Pick Locks, Pick Pockets, or Safecracking if she possesses any of those skills.
|Damage||2d6 MD ea|
|Rate of Fire||ECHH|
Because the forearms can no longer sport combat lasers, the Valkaris have multi-mode lasers in their eyes that can double as highly accurate laser scalpels or as combat weapons. Those bystanders who have seen these lasers in action speak of the Valkaris’ ‘burning gaze’.
Bonus: +2 to strike (in addition to any other bonuses)
Drug Injectors (2)
One of the Valkari’s fingers on each hand has a retractable drug injector needle and drug reservoir, identical to the cybernetic system.
In addition to the normal (E)Shemarrian combat and espionage programming, Valkaris have the following:
- General Maintenance and Repair (50%+5% per level of experience)
- Paramedic (70%+5% per level of experience)
- Field Surgery (40%+5% per level of experience)
- Bioware Mechanics (40%+5% per level of experience) (Note: the EShemar’s Telemechanics psionics offset any other prerequisite skill requirements for this field)
- Biology(Human/iod) (50%+5% per level of experience)
- Chemistry (60%+5% per level of experience)
- Lore: Funeral
Rites (40%+5% per level of experience): This is an arguably lesser form of the skill Mortuary Sciences in that it covers a general knowledge of the cultural customs of death and its aftermath; interment, mummfication, cremation, etc. While a person possessing this skill wouldn’t be able to do a body reconstruction with any great skill, they would know the rites and procedures associated with a number of cultures and societies, including who to consult/inform, and basic services for the departed.
- W.P. Bonuses: Valkari gain an extra +1 to strike and parry with their vibrosycthes.
Valkari, in addition to their normal war gear, typically carry vibroscythes (great for clearing brush around a crash site or prying open robots and power armor), and wear an armored cloak with several large pockets in it for holding stasis sacks and jars. Other tools of their trade include a tool kit and field surgery kit, RMK and IRMSS systems, and a folding stretcher. Their vehicle of choice is a beast of burden, such as a Monstrex or Monstrex Pack-Mule (though it is rumored that the oldest known Valkari, of the Hawkmoon Tribe, has a winged Warmount patterned after a Black Vulture).
Many Valkari have a robotic, bionic, or E-animal ‘familiar’, such as a Shemarrian Wolf (or more), avian, or other as companion, watch-beast, and scout.
This is an armored cloak or robe worn over the Valkari’s regular armor. About half of them incorporate Blurr-Mesh (copied from a Paladin Steel design they bought)
- MDC: 80
- Blurr Mesh Bonuses: The faster the wearer moves, the greater the distortion; at speeds of 3 or less, no bonus, 4-10; -1 to strike the wearer, 10-16; -2 to strike, 16-22; -3 to strike, 23 or greater, -4 to strike. Takes 10 MDC before being degraded sufficient to stop operating.
- Large Pockets/Sheaths: A Valkari robe typically has four large padded pockets on the inside that can hold a stasis sack or sample case. Two smaller pockets and several external ones hold additional surgical supplies, medical kits, knives/scalpels, e-clips, and other items.