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Amethyst (DC Comics New52) face closeup

Princess Amaya of the House of Amethyst

(Part #2)


Context

This is the second half of the article, which was split for reading comfort. So of course you should read the first, eh ?


Gemstones

Nilaa is never called “Gemworld”. Though it is a new version of the 1980s Amethyst story there are significant differences. Having the heroine be in her late teens considerably changed the themes.

Since the series couldn’t run long enough to fully explore the world, we’ll resort to a list of known facts.


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Origins

The inhabitants of Nilaa are Humans. They originally came from Earth, which they call the First Home, but emigrated to Nilaa using magical portals. The fauna and flora of Nilaa are alien, but not confusingly so. It’s closer to an heroic fantasy world.

The houses

Nilaa is organised in separate nations, ruled by noble houses. Each house is named after a gemstone, and those of noble blood can have magical powers.

These powers are determined by their house of origin. The Lord or Lady of the house holds the greatest power by far. This power is usually transferred to the designated heir upon their death or abdication. This transfer of power cannot take place until the heir is 17.

Noble blood

A person closely related by blood to a house, but who is not a Lord or Lady of the house, will have a “dormant” version of the house’s lineage power.

Apparently, this means that they can use gems that have been enchanted by their house, but not create those themselves. Neither can they wield more direct magic if that is part of their house’s lineage power. They can awaken their power if a Lord or Lady of their house dies and they are next in the succession line.

The bastard children of nobles, called “wild seed”, exist but are generally considered a problem.

  1. First, they dilute the blood power of the house, by having a tiny part of it.
  2. Second, the randomness of genetics means that a wild seed might have relatively pure noble blood and capture a greater portion of the power than expected. Especially if one or more noblewomen had fun on the side and lied about the paternity of their children, who were actually bastards.

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Furthermore, it is possible for a noble not to inherit the genetic markers of the blood power of their house. Graciel’s older brother Bhoj, for instance, cannot wield House of Amethyst magic at all.

Normally, a house only has a single Lord or Lady. One gets the impression that this person holds something like 95% of their house’s lineage power, with the rest hopelessly dispersed among people with dormant power, and wild seeds.

The setup of the House of Amethyst, with the potential for several Lords and Ladies sharing the power and the path of heart/path of blood choice, might be unique to them.

Usually, the lineage power will go to the youngest and strongest heir. But this is not guaranteed. Thus, intra-familial assassination to increase the odds of being the one to inherit the power is far from unheard.

Murdering the wild seed of the House of Amethyst, as Mordiel did to reclaim their part of the power, did not seem to be cost-effective. It might only make sense for the House of Amethyst with its Shazam-like distribution of power, and it likely was a result of Mordiel jonesing for even minuscule power increases. She also had enough wealth to pay blutgeld  to those whose children she killed.

Noble blood – appearance

Those who have enough noble blood from a house can be readily identified by their eye colour. For instance full-blooded House of Amethyst members have distinctively purple eyes, Citrine has light orange eyes, Turquoise light blue-green eyes, etc.

Palace of the House of Amethyst

The palace of the House of Amethyst.

Likewise nobles favour garb themed after their eye colour, and if pure-blooded will have a specific hair colour. The hair colour isn’t the same as the eye colour – for instance the House of Amethyst is associated with a rich blond hair, Citrine with a dark orange, and Diamond with pure white with strands of jet black.

If a noble lacks the blood power, they will not have these markers. For instance the magic-less Bhoj of the House of Amethyst has brown hair and grey eyes.

More generally there tend to be ethnic types associated with the houses and their commoners. For instance the Amethyst population generally looks Northern European, whereas Citrine population presents a variety of skin tones and features reminiscent of Earth’s India or Indonesia. Turquoise often looks like they are from areas around modern Sahara.

Seniority of the Houses

The houses that were seen or mentioned are Amethyst, Turquoise, Citrine, Diamond, Onyx, Emerald, Ruby and possibly Topaz. There is at least one additional house with a light pink gemstone (Sapphire ? Morganite ? Spinel ? There are quite a few possibilities).

Citrine was twice described as a minor house, and Amethyst is obviously a major house. But the difference and in which category each house fits is unrevealed. One scene depicts Ruby and Amethyst as having larger markers than the other visible houses.

The known house rulers are :

  • Lady Amaya of the House of Amethyst (after Lady Mordiel and Lady Graciel abdicate in her favour in the last issue).
  • Lady Ingvie of the House of Citrine (after Lady Senshe is slain by Eclipso).
  • Lady Akikra of the House of Onyx.
  • The yet-to-be-recognised Lord Preet, wild seed of the House of Turquoise (after the death of Lord Firojha).
  • Lord Zushan of the House of Diamond (after Lord Reishan is slain by Eclipso).

The other Houses weren’t seen.

Lineage powers

The theme of the houses’ powers are :

  • Storing and managing knowledge (Citrine).
  • Medicine and healing (Ruby).
  • Agriculture and plant growth (Emerald).
  • Shadow and neutralising the powers of other houses (Onyx).
  • Illusion and ephemera (Turquoise).
  • Diamond seems associated with strength.

Amethyst appears to be the pivotal house. They control the crystals themselves and thus make it possible for other houses to enchant.

Furthermore, the most powerful effects on Nilaa can only be created using crystals enchanted by the full power of the House of Amethyst. For instance, portals to First Home have apparently only ever been created by House of Amethyst nobles.

Other houses may have direct control of minor elements reflecting their nature. For instance Turquoise can control a very rare fabric called mist-silk.

The case of House Onyx

Onyx plays a special role. An ancient Lord of the House of Onyx, now known as Eclipso, plunged Nilaa in a terrible war thousands of years ago and nearly killed everyone. Furthermore, Onyx’s ability to neutralise the blood power of other houses, combined with their assassin training and shadowstepping  power, make them able to murder the Lords and Ladies of other houses.

After the Eclipse War, Onyx was bound by strict rules about whom it was allowed to kill and its relations with other houses. They adapted well. Onyx even came to consider that following these rules and always fulfilling their promises and contracts was where their honour was.

A tomb in the House of Turquoise style

A royal tomb of the House of Turquoise.

That the other houses were giving them a regular monetary tribute also helped sugar-coating the deal. As did an agreement not to have every house eradicate the House of Onyx to prevent further disasters.

Under the leadership of Lady Akikra, the House of Onyx discreetly favoured Lady Graciel and her allies. In Akikra’s own creepy ninja tattooed bald old lady way.

Militaries

The militaries of Nilaa seem to chiefly be organised by gender, with women generally forming lighter and more mobile units. For instance the female warriors of the House of Citrine all seem to be archers in light leather armour, whereas the men are melee fighters (mostly swordsmen) in scale armour.

Even the Hunter People appear to follow suit. The men were assaulters while the one woman who was seen seemed to be a tracker. As was the only House of Amethyst female commoner soldier we saw.

Onyx breaks that pattern. Both Onyx men and women are trained as shadowstepping acrobatic stealth assassins dual-wielding  large daggers.

Technology

The tech level is generally that of an heroic fantasy world. It reaches the level of crossbows, plate armour and large stone buildings with intricate architecture.

Magic isn’t used directly in everyday life, but enchanted crystals raise the effective tech level. Frex nobles have luminous crystals performing much like electrical lighting.

Portals exist between the houses’ seats and other major points of interest. And some nobles have magical rubies for emergency medical care.

The palace of the house of Citrine has running water coming from faucets. And their enchanted citrines of knowledge worked much like a dictaphone.

Miscellany

The areas that were seen seemed generally clean, well-fed and prosperous, though the story focused on the nobility.

One gets the impression that the gemstones of Nilaa aren’t the same as Earth gemstones. They were presumably just named after Earth gemstones with a similar colour.

Several characters make references to “the powers”. But next to nothing is known about these divinities. The one exception is several mentions of “Mother Moon”, who apparently protects thieves (perhaps because they work at night). Lord Reishan mentions “the demons”, apparently another pantheon or a subset of “the powers”.


Truly outrageous notes about Nilaa

Though the full writer’s bible for Nilaa probably cannot be shared, Ms. Marx kindly sent us some of her worldbuilding notes. These cover information that was not in the published comics. They also clarify some of our speculations in the previous sections.

Nilaa

An Earth-like alternate world settled by people from Earth who came through a dimensional portal that they created thousands of years ago.

  • These people from Earth had magical abilities and were under attack, forcing them to find a new home.
  • Earth is known in their history as “First Home”.
  • The location they came from on Earth is now known as the ruins of Harappa along the Indus River .
  • They brought plants and animals with them from Earth. These Earth organisms co-exist alongside Nilaian native species, mainly through magically-induced terraforming.
  • Consequently, the closer to the cities and settled lands, the more Earth-like it appears. The further out into the wild, the more alien it appears.
  • The general trade language of Nilaa is Nilaian. There are many dialects.

Coloring guide

Only characters that are indicated to have all the specific genetic traits (a Full-blood or Wild Seed) of each House will fall under these coloring guidelines.

Any other character who is a part of the House, but not a Full-blood, can have any kind of hair, skin or eye color. But none of them should match the particular colors of eyes or combination of eyes, hair, etc. that are used for the Full-bloods.

In other words, anyone can have blue eyes, but only a Full-blood of House Sapphire should have cobalt-blue eyes, and only a Full-blood of House Turquoise should have that particular blue-green. Anyone can be a blonde, but only a Full-blood of House Amethyst should have that particular color of golden hair, etc.

This means selecting specific colors for those traits and tracking to be sure they’re only used for the Full-bloods and not for incidental characters.

House traits Eye color Hair color Skin color Other
AMETHYST Amethyst-purple Golden-blonde Pale
DIAMOND Gray Silvery-white with distinctive black streaks, black eyebrows Pale brown
RUBY One blue, one brown Deep, rich red Warm light brown
EMERALD Emerald-green Raven-black Black
SAPPHIRE Cobalt-blue Platinum-blonde Pale skin with a faint bluish-tint Frilled ears with blue ridges
Minor Houses
CITRINE Citrine-gold Orange-gold Warm medium brown
TURQUOISE Turquoise-blue-green Can vary Reddish-brown
ONYX Dark, dark charcoal gray (almost black) Hairless (no body hair at all, both genders) Pale

Blood powers

These are the guidelines for how the magical blood-powers of the Houses work.

The power of each House can only be passed to someone who has the specific genetic traits of that House, as detailed elsewhere. That can include either:

  • Full-blood. A direct relative who has inherited the full genetic traits (child, brother, sister, niece, nephew, etc.) and has the latent blood-power of the House.
  • Wild Seed. Someone who has inherited these traits seeming out of the blue, but stemming from an intermingling of the House blood at some time in the distant past of that genetic line. E.g. a Lord getting various mistresses pregnant several generations back could produce a Wild Seed from the descendents of that woman.

The power resides in the Lord or the Lady of that House. Whoever has the power is automatically is considered the Lord or Lady, no matter how they obtain it. Assassination to gain power is a common practice.

Others who are Full-bloods (have the full set of genetic traits), will have latent powers that can only be activated if the blood-power is passed to them.

The power can be shared with a Full-blood or a Wild Seed, but each time the power is shared, it is divided equally between the giver and receiver. Example: Graciel and Mordiel, as twins, each inherited half the power of House Amethyst, but when Graciel shares the power with her daughter, the three women end up with one-third of the power each.

Those who share the same blood-power can use it in unison to achieve the same effect as one person with the full power using it.

Upon the death of the Lord or Lady, the power tends to pass to the Full-Blood who is closest in the genetic line (e.g. mother to daughter rather than mother to niece).

If there is no close genetic relative, the power can pass to anyone with the correct genetic traits, including a Wild Seed.

(End of Ms. Marx’s notes).


Description

On Earth, Amy favoured a tough girl look. She wore boots, rugged jeans, a leather jacket, a purple T-shirt, US Army-style small haversack > for her schoolbooks.

Her hair colour was difficult to determine. Various strands were dyed purple, light blue, jet black and green, with most of the purple being around her face, most of the green being around her occiput, and the bulk being blue.

She wore a pair of small earrings, owned an iPhone, and used purple eyeshadow (the same colour as her mother’s).

She also wears a distinctive, ornate necklace with two gems – turquoise and amethyst. She only understood its significance, and that it had minor magical powers, once on Nilaa.

On Nilaa she is very much dressed like a fantasy princess, with purples being of course omnipresent. Though many 12-year-old girls would consider this a super-cool princess getup, the 17-year old and not-particularly-girly Amy is generally indifferent toward it. But it’s comfortable and durable clothing.


Personality

Amy is generally a pleasant, positive and friendly person.

She has many traits of a typical middle-class American 17 year-old, albeit she’s something of an outsider. She tends to use Valleyspeak-inspired, teenaged mannerisms. This is presumably out of a general wish to sound normal and fit in.

Amethyst creating a sword

These common expressions, including such basics as “this sucks” or “this is cool”, tend to create confusion on Nilaa. Since Citrine magic renders these literally rather than as idioms.

Though these teenaged mannerisms can make her sound like a cheerful airhead, she’s certainly not one. For a youth catapulted into a strange and magical land, she has adapted remarkably well. There hasn’t been enough time yet for her to really know what she’s doing, but she’s learning very quickly.

More assets

She also has a strong personality and willpower. She’s too young for these assets to be fully formed yet, but the potential is obvious and it gives her a big advantage for various mystical pursuits testing her integrity and resolve.

She likewise holds very strong ethics. Amy will reliably and reflexively do the right thing, albeit with a modern American definition of “right”.

She is highly resistant to temptation and corruption, and clearly isn’t at risk of ever having an overdeveloped ego. Amaya also seems terrible at nursing grudges, and will happily forgive people if given a chance.

She hates killing, and will only slay or badly hurt people if she has no choice.

It’s okay, she’s a princess

Whereas her mum is a deadly serious, hard-as-nails warrior queen, Amy is much more spontaneous and free-flowing. She is determined, but she is not emotionally guarded and acts in an open, trusting, upbeat manner.

Her morale is sunnier on Nilaa than on Earth. She now feels important and accepted, no longer has to struggle to have friends and a social life, and is now free of money problems and immigration problems.

Amethyst and her allies at the end of the Sword of Sorcery run

Back row – Moriel (House of Amethyst), Lady Ingvie of the House of Citrine, Elzere (serving the House of Citrine), Graciel (House of Amethyst).
Middle – Lady Amaya of the House of Amethyst.
Front – Lord Hadran (House of Diamond), Preet (House of Turquoise).

Amy sincerely loves her mum. There were teenage moments back on Earth, but they were understandable given the lifestyle constraints that “Gracie” and the lack of money were imposing on “Amy”.

Graciel is bullheaded and authoritarian, and has an habit not to tell her daughter some essential information. However, there’s always a sound justification for the latter, and the former is obviously a result of preparing her daughter for the rigours of Nilaa and rulership.

Amaya generally gets along very well with her mother and is a wonderful daughter. But friction does appear when Graciel is overprotective – or rather, more protective than usual.

During the series’ run Amaya is letting her mum make nearly all decisions. This seems to be a direct result of Graciel having all the information, whereas Amy is just discovering an entire new world.

The girl is no wallflower, though. Once she has sufficient information to orient herself, she’s fully capable of making strategic and tactical decisions, formulate plans, and the like.

Amy greatly missed having a family beyond her mother for most of her life. She reacts very positively to opportunities to meet family members or learn about her father.


Quotes

(Unexpectedly asked to record an allocution for the historical archives) “Oh, ummmmm… hi. It’s… ummmmm… It’s nice to be here. Uh, can I start over ?”

(Sarcastically) “I have the power to be blonde. Wow. I am soooooo thrilled with that.”

“Sorry, Ingvie. On Earth… I mean, First Home — when we’re unhappy about something, we say ’it sucks’.” (beat) “Don’t ask me why.”

“Omigod ! This is so cool !”

Princess Amaya (looking at a vyala winged steed) “Come *on*, these things couldn’t fly. The physics are all wrong. The wings couldn’t possibly lift this weight —”
Lady Graciel: “Did I mention magic ?”

“Wow, you totally flunked Evil Overlord 101.”

Bhoj: “Oh ! Just look at you ! The very image of your mother when she was your age. You’re the most beautiful niece I have.”
Amaya (smiling politely): “I’m the only niece you have, Uncle Bhoj.”

“Mo-o-om, that’s *not* helpful !”

“I’m going to make this right. No matter what I have to do, no matter what it costs me… I will make this right.” (some hours later, Amaya is facetanking Eclipso)

Eclipso (realising that the Black Diamond is missing): “NO !! IMPOSSIBLE !”
Amaya (smirking as she produces the Diamond): “Yes, possible.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Amethyst (early)

Dex: 05 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Uphold Good
Int: 04 Wil: 04 Min: 05 Occupation: Warrior princess
Inf: 04 Aur: 05 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 006
Init: 015 HP: 050

Powers:
Comprehend Languages: 15, Crystal Production: 06, Enchantment: 06, Neutralise: 09

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • All Powers are Mystic-Linked.
  • Comprehend Languages is likely limited to languages known on Nilaa.
  • Crystal production was never seen encasing targets in blocks of crystal.
  • Crystal Production may have the Permanent Bonus.
  • Enchantment is Elementally Linked to Crystal Production, and can only be used to increase the BODY of her Crystal Production constructs.
  • Neutralise has a Range of Touch, and can only be used to disrupt Turquoise illusory disguises. It is a permanent effect, but Amaya can suspend it with a small effort of will (and thus touch a Turquoise-disguised person without ruining their illusion).

Skills:
Animal handling (Horses): 03, Martial Artist: 05, Occultist (Build artefact): 06, Weaponry (Melee, Crystal Production): 06, Weaponry (Archery): 04

Advantages
Credentials (House of Amethyst, High ; House of Citrine, Medium ; House of Turquoise, Medium), Expertise (Crystallography), Familiarity (Vyala riding, Hang-gliding), Iron Nerves, Language (Nilaan language), Rich Friend (House of Amethyst), Scholar (Performing House of Amethyst crystal magic rituals).

Connections:
Lady Ingvie of the House of Citrine (High), Not-Quite-Lord Preet of the House of Turquoise (Low).

Drawbacks:
Exile (Amaya doesn’t know much about Nilaa, or even the House of Amethyst. Back on Earth the same Drawback represented her semi-nomadic life and she also had Age (Young)) ; Creepy Appearance (a shade of blonde hair marking her as a House of Amethyst noble).

Equipment:

  • Broadsword [BODY 08, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 06), Descriptor: Slashing, piercing]. Howbeit, she increasingly does without and creates a sword using Crystal Production. She has occasionally used a sabre or a mace instead.
  • SMALL SHIELD [BODY (Hardened Defenses) 05, EV 02 (05 w/STR), Recommended STR 01, Note: OV/RV bonus when using the Block Manoeuvre is 1 AP, Note: the OV bonus for the Shield Cover Manoeuvre is 1 AP] though she usually does without and creates a shield using Crystal Production.
  • MIST-SILK TRAIN [BODY 05, Dispersal: 09, Stretching: 01, Range: 03, Limitation: Stretching has No Fine Manipulation, Limitation: Dispersal only on the Mist-Silk itself – this material is normally insubstantial to everything but persons with House of Turquoise blood, Note: Range allows Amaya to remotely control the Mist-Silk at a distance. When she does that the Stretching still conveys her STR.].
  • Two-Stone Necklace [BODY 04, Insta-Change].

By Sébastien Alexandre Andrivet.

Source of Character: Sword of Sorcery (2012 volume) plus two crossovers.

Helper(s): Darci, Christy Marx.

Writeup completed on the 16th of December, 2013.

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