Vali's First Age incarnation was a solar named Golden Arms Zeal, a Zenith caste martial artist, renowned and named for the loss of his arms during the battles against the Primordials, his body cursed with terrible magics that blocked even Solar regeneration to prevent him from regrowing his lost limbs. He compensated with a pair of arms of Clockwork Elegance, or to be more precise, his arms where the prototypes for that later creation, crafted and fitted to his form by Autocthon and Twilight artisans, their might and power proved far greater than what he had enjoyed with his original arms, their touch alone could nullify shaping and he developed many personal charms to further improve their power. So much so that, by the a cure was finally found for the curse, he learned the charm, but did not use it.
After the war, like Queen Merela, he maintained close relations with the Dragon Kings after the ascension of the solars and receipt of the Mandate. In them he saw what he considered the ideal state of being, especially the Antlok, who like the Zenith caste solars where naturally implied priestkings of their kind, but who built no great temples or monuments. Instead, these noble saurians wandered the world, seeking adventure and glory, making fields of battle their temples and the blood of their enemies their prayers. He considered this pure and noble methodology to be truer to the will of Sol; Surely the temperate Ignus Divine disapproved of gaudy solar temple-palaces and elaborate ritualized courtly prayer. After all, if he didnt approve, why not direct the Dragon Kings otherwise?
This line of reasoning was, to his mind, fully proven when Sol turned his back on the solars, and he threw himself into the Wyld, battling fairfolk and driving reality into the teeth of the Wyld, fixing causality and expanding Creation on a personal crusade, meant to emulate the deeds of the Dragon Kings in the early days Creation and regain the favour of the Sun. His crusade was still ongoing when the Usurpation occurred, and his legion of Dragon Blooded warriors turned on him in the Wyld, his arms were sabotaged before the battle began, and during the melee his Lunar companion was killed, but he would not fall so easily, and retaliated by ripping up the laws he had laid down, and dropping the entire area that held their camp back into the Wyld, where the Fairfolk were only too happy to 'help' with the problem. Ten days later, he returned to Creation proper, armless and wounded, but alive, and no sign of his legion was ever been found.
It did not take him long to realize that what had happened to him was no freak, wyld-spawned betrayal, The evidence was before his eyes, he could see the burning cities from where he stood, and his charmed brought him the Truth before long. Still struggling to appreciate the scope of what was being done to the world, his mind immediately went to his young daughter, and he feared for her safety. He had not seen her in many years, a god blooded mortal, she would have grown fast and strong, but neither she nor her mother were any match for the exalted forces that even now hunted the remaining Solars, and for all he knew; those closest to them. He immediately set off for his home with all the world spanning speed he could muster, and arrived to find his villa a ruin, and feared the worst. He called out to the ruins, too fearful of what he might find if he called up his magic to seek her out. And he was answered twice. First, came the answering call of his daughter, blessedly safe, who emerged from the ruins, the child of one of the house staff in hand, and ran towards him. Second, came the motic hum of airships, a entire fleet, casting off the magics that had hidden them, all around, they filled the sky.
What followed was recorded
, and is considered by the few scholars of such matters, to be one of the biggest mistakes of the of the entire Usurpation. The Sidereal commander ordered the ships to attack... with his daughter in the line of fire. She was slain in the opening salvo of the assault, and in his grief, Zeal lost is mind entirely; his valour, pain and righteous anger coalescing into a mote of transcendent inspiration that caused him to simultaneously invent and master a new Celestial martial art, one based on valorous fury and destruction. Which he used to devastating effect on the skyships that had been sent after him... and then, on the entire south. In the end he slew thousands of dragonbloods and a dozen or more Sidereals, leveled half the South and caused more death and destruction than the breaking of the Dam and creation of the White Sea did in the North before he was finally taken down. Whats more, the echos of his fury reached all the way to Hell, where Malfeas used his transcendent intellect to reverse engineer the style for the creation of his Infernal Monster, which like everything else in Hell, is a debased mirrior of the original style of Zeal.
Vali was born with a different name, far to the north; a child of Deshan, a slave. She served as a slave to uncaring patricians, most often as a house-slave, cleaning their palaces and other little duties around their home, her parents where personal servants of a patrician household and so she was afforded a slightly better quality of life than some, though she was still a slave. Her life, such as it was, came to a end when one of the elder Patricians took a liking to her and tried to seduce her with a kind hand and sweets... though his interests turned out to be far more perverse. Though she was still a child, he tried to take her to this bed, however she refused and escaped, the old patrician unable to keep up with the girl. In his fury at being rejected, he said that she had attacked him, and had her drugged with opium until she was more.... pliant, though instead of sending her to the fields, he kept her around, under the pretense of using her as a example. He used her alright, for over a year, the young girl was frequently abused, and almost never escaped the has of opium. That was when the old man's wife discovered his 'affair', she banished Vali to the fields, with specific orders to the guards to have her worked to death, to get around having to ask permission to execute a slave.
They naturally took this a permission to do whatever they wanted with her, since she was slated for death anyway and another round of abuse began, this time however, things were much worse, rather than being the favourite toy of a perverse patrician, she was a slave labourer who was passed around the guards barracks at night, often she got no sleep at all. By the end of the week she was nearly dead, a drug hazed skeleton on legs... but thats when she found her will once more, she was so wasted, the guards hardly bothered to watch her any more, and on one particular morning, she stood in the fields and saw the sun setting... the sight touched something in her, and without realizing it.... took one step, then another, and then more, trees rose in her path, and branches lashed across her body like a master's whips, but she barely felt them, she wanted to see where the sun went at night, and all else seemed to fall away... just her and the sun, but strange, now that she really looked
, the sun looked like a man with four arms. He had a kind smile, and extended a hand to her, as if beckoning her onward.
She was awoken by the spray of chill surf on her face, the haze of opium was gone from her mind, and looking down at herself, she found she was hole and hale, even her slave brand was gone. In a panic, she realized that she had escaped. The Exalt
She looked around fearfully, expecting to see the landscape of the nearby White Sea.... but what met her eyes was nothing but, a endless expanse of white and blue, with none of the landmarks she knew... The Queen
Working together with Rannoc, Vali was able to save the crew of a ship that crashed on a reef in the wyld oceans, and brought them to the island to recover. As it turned out, they were not the crew (hense the crash) but slaves who had mutinied and taken over the ship, Vali offered them a place on the island, or transportation to Wavecrest if they wished to leave. Many chose to stay, seeing rightly that this was a place where they slave brands would not matter, and with the aid of dragon kings, they built a small village. Those who had left however, proved to be the most valuable assets in growing their nation, as they told stories of the land they had found, of its beneficent queen and lizard guardians who walked like men. Within the year, the story had caught on and spread far and wide, gaining the name of Sanctum. Before long those who would began to seek it out, braving the dangers for a chance at freedom and equality, and the island's human population rose rapidly, the village became and town, and then a city. Rannoc and Vali ruled jointly, overseeing the building and legislature, acting as a example of how the two races could work together. Together they forged Sanctum as it exists today, a bare few years from its conception, as a progressive metropolis, defended by humans and dragon kings, backed up with might of the island's god, and the essence weaponry of the isle's two manses, filled with happy people who share and work together for mutual benefit, with a culture of open sexuality, and sincere faith in the Sun.
As a ruler, Vali is seen as fair handed and kind, and none work harder than her to make it all work. When she is not with Rannoc, or engaged in offical duties, she spends much of her time wandering Sanctum, chatting with the people and dragon kings, providing aid here and there, and assisting with difficult tasks. Some of the smugger citizens consider her as much mascot as queen, and affectionately referr to her as Gentle Breeze. No one with two braincells to rub together question her spine and resolve though, as she is often at the forefront of repelling Fairfolk incursions, and out of moral obligation and religious duty, she performs all executions herself. Of which there have been blessedly few.
Many feel some degree of trepidation about her leaving, but that she will has been long known and the people have come to accept it, the fact that this puts them under the rule of Rannoc alone doesnt particularly concern them however, a strong trust exists between the humans the dragon kings of Sanctum, forged in their battles against the Fairfolk and shared struggle to build a future better than any of their pasts.Personality
Vali is a fundamentally just and righteous person, she genuinely cares about people, both in the specific sense of the human and dragon king inhabitants of her kingdom, and in general, and wants to create a land where everyone is happy. As a priestess-queen of the Sun, she is a devout believer follower and righteous crusader against the forces that would tear creation apart, the Fair Folk in particular, have a special place in her ire.
That all well and good, but as they say, the devil is in the details. Vali takes a somewhat inverted ideology towards nation building, most nations create a structure and fit people into it, with those who do not fit into a ordained role becoming criminals, outcasts, dissidents, or worse. Instead, she seeks to shape her nation to suit her people, the core of her ideology is that a good kingdom should have a place for everyone, no one should be unwanted or excluded that didnt choose such status for themselves. As such she strives to guide those with negative personality traits into harmony with the rest of society, rather than marginalizing them, and this extends to her interactions with anyone. Confronted with all but the blackest of souls she would try to guide their nature to some positive use... That said, she is both human and there are limits to her equanimity; While she understands that slavery is necessary to maintain other (lesser!) civilizations, masters who are abusive or exceptionally cruel, can expect a rather blunt, fist-shaped, response. Woe betide the slave owners of Deshan should she ever return to her homeland, and if those three gods have a issue with it, she has a fist for them too. Truly black souls, such as most Deathlords, and demons, non-friendly Raksha, and the most unhinged or despicable of mortal and exalt criminals she will purge and offer up their hearts to the Sun, that in burning away their darkness, the world may be made alittle brighter.
Shes been well educated on the First Age, though her learning is specifically though the lens of recorded Dragon King lore about that time, which places a particular slant on much of her considerations about that era, for example, her version of the solar faith is more or less a copy of the Dragon King's, rather than anything the Solar Deliberative ever approved of. She knows that the ancient Solars did things differently, but since their civilization fell, clearly they werent doing it right. Also, due to the increasing isolation of the Dragon Kings towards the end of the Deliberative peroid, she knows nothing about how erratic solars became during the twilight years of the First Age. One particularly important thing she did learn was about the various reality-reinforcing devices the ancient solars made, placing them at the very top of her list of things she would like to find, reckoning that a couple Reality Engines or a cache of Jade Pillars could re-stabilize large swaths of the West. Short of genocide, shes willing to do a great deal to get them.
Vali has a wanderer's soul, she loves to go to new places, see new things, and meet new people, It drove her to escape her old life, and its part of the reason her leaving the island at some point was always a foregone conclusion. No one expects her to remain forever, and though flying with her mentor provides a relief valve, shes always wanted to know what was just over the horizon. The main reasons she had not left before now, were due to the duties of running a country, which she takes very seriously, and didnt feel comfortable leaving until she was confident that it would remain stable in her absence. She was also waiting for the sages to finish going over the archives, to furnishing her with a list of things that could benefit the island, lore, technology and artefacts that she should be on the lookout for. In a official sense, the reason shes leaving is to seek out these items.
Emotional scars from her childhood left her incapable of physical intimacy for a over a decade, but the gentle therapy of her Dragon King mentor has finally closed those old wounds, and while she is now very open, relaxed, and indeed quite experienced, her relative lack of experience with human partners and kink often leaves her somewhat oblivious to human romance. She just doesnt look at people that way, like a proverbial pre-apple Eve. It also hasnt occured to her that people might look at her
that way. That isnt to say shes unavailable, itll just take some work to get her head to shift gears.
Beyond her surface personality however, there is a tight core of controlled anger, to put it most simply; shes angry at the world. Valour is her defining Virtue, and it constantly stokes her inner furnace as she silently rages against injustices great and small, though she controls and focuses it masterfully, shes quite afraid of what might happen if it was ever unleashed. In her darker moments, she wonders if infact, she
might be a bad person bent to positive ends. This is made even more poignant by the Monster. She doesnt know what it is, if its part of her nature as a solar, or some personal flaw, but at times she would swear there was something else behind her eyes, like a idea she could not quite grasp, she knows it feeds on her anger and valour, coming to the fore in her mind when she at her most unfettered, but she does not know what it portends. For now she considers it a foe like any other, and pushes it back down whenever it arises, which actually helps her control herself better, since its appearance is a clear sign that shes loosing her calm. As with the best of solutions, she has turned a negative into a positive.