Princess Amaya of the House of Amethyst
Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld was a fondly-remembered 1980s DC Comics. In 2011, during DC’s New 52 thingamabob, a new and different version of the story was commissioned from Christy Marx and Aaron Lopresti. DC deployed impressive efforts to convince me not to read any New 52 material, but since I like both Marx’s and Lopresti’s work
It remains an “everyday girl adventures into a fantasy world of high magic” story, though the heroine is older – which changes many of the themes and atmosphere. Unfortunately, like most intriguing book in that relaunch, Sword of Sorcery was quickly axed as only the traditional super-hero material was selling well enough.
Our narration of the storyline stops as issue #2 ends, for brevity and to limit S P O I L E R S. However, the description of her abilities and of the milieu spans the entire run. So there are numerous S P O I L E R S on that front.
The profile also includes some notes Christy Marx sent us. These will be in part #2 – this profile was split into halves due to length.
- Real Name: Lady Amaya of the House of Amethyst.
- Previous Aliases: Princess Amaya of the House of Amethyst.
- Other Aliases: Amy Winston. The blood of the House of Amethyst also confers upon her the title Lightbringer, and in the final issue she calls herself the Catalyst.
- Marital Status: Single.
- Known Relatives: Lady Graciel of the House of Amethyst (mother), Lady Mordiel of the House of Amethyst (aunt), Prince Vyrian of the House of Turquoise (father, deceased), Bhoj (uncle), Lord Firojha of the House of Turquoise (grandfather, deceased), Lady Chandra of the House of Amethyst (ancestor, deceased).
- Group Affiliation: House of Amethyst. Vaguely and briefly a Justice League Dark member.
- Base Of Operations: Mobile across Nilaa.
- Height: 5’9” Weight: 130 lbs.
- Eyes: Purple Hair: Blonde (on Earth, mixed colours).
Powers & Abilities
“Amy Winston” was trained from infanthood to be a warrior queen and use the crystal magic of the House of Amethyst.
Though the depth of this training is unrevealed she demonstrated superior skills in hand-to-hand combat and swordswomanship. She mentioned that she studied crystallography for several years (albeit presumably the Nilaan version).
She was also taught to ride horses and hang-glide, as a preparation for riding flying Nilaan steeds. On Nilaa, she is seen training in archery.
Amaya is well fit, and about as tall as most boys her age. She is courageous, decisive and smart, though of course she doesn’t have significant experience yet.
She’s also personable. Though she couldn’t fit in on Earth due to circumstances, she’s unusually open and outgoing and makes friends easily.
Amy proved remarkably resilient to intimidation, corruption and temptation. She can get nervous, but she doesn’t actually get afraid even when facing Eclipso-grade opponents.
A kind of magic
Being royal blood of the House of Amethyst, she has a number of mystical abilities. Those that were demonstrated are :
She can generate purple masses of sharp crystal from thin air. This has been primarily used to form smallshields, swords, maces, and a sort of giant clawed hand encasing her real hand.
Her mother once used this power to have large spikes burst from the ground and impale opponents around her. However, that was clearly draining for her.
Amethyst could generate and hurl crystal spikes as deadly projectiles. Even by her first use these struck hard enough to embed themselves into solid metal.
The full power of the House can form large structures, such as a thick wall encasing a building.
Citrine of tongues
A stone of the House of Citrine was used to “upload” fluency in the Nilaan language into her mind. However, various expressions and metaphors can still be lost in translation.
It is further stated that the citrine-of-tongues gave Amaya a command of “all languages”. This claim wasn’t tested in the published stories, but is assumed to be mostly true in our game stats.
The power of the House of Amethyst rapidly made her even stronger, faster and martially adept. To her surprise she could wield a huge mace without difficulties, and could outfight deadly assassins with her sword.
Our game stats represent Amaya after several days on Nilaa, with the bulk of these enhancements having already taken place. In DC Heroes terms her Physical Attributes, Mystical Attributes and several of her Skills were one AP lower back on Earth.
Susceptibility to power addiction
The blood power of a House is addictive. Persons with an addiction-prone personality, a thirst for power, etc. can come to crave having more of it, at any cost.
However, even at 17, Amaya demonstrated that she was highly resilient to this addiction.
The royals of the House of Amethyst can magically realign the lattice of crystals found on Nilaa. Once a crystal has been thus prepared, the nobles of other houses can enchant it with their own lineage power.
For instance, Amaya can alter a ruby to make it enchantable. Then a noble of the House of Ruby can use their power to actually infuse the ruby with healing energy. To do so Amaya must focus her power through a pure Nilaa amethyst, which serves as a catalyst for her lattice-rearrangement magical energy.
The royals of the House of Amethyst can also use the power within gemstones enchanted by other houses. For instance they can heal someone with the aforementioned ruby-of-healing. One gets the impression that only Amethyst nobles and the nobles of the House that enchanted a given gem can do so.
The most powerful artefact of the House of Amethyst is the Prime Catalyst. It is a gigantic amethyst through which the full House of Amethyst blood power can be channelled. It is used to perform the most demanding crystal rearrangement operations.
For instance, it was the only catalyst powerful enough to allow for manipulation of the Black Diamond wielded by Eclipso. This required the, errr, focused psychic totality of the House of Amethyst lineage power. The Prime Catalyst is destroyed as the Sword of Sorcery run ends.
A minor application of the lattice-rearrangement power is to turn any kind of crystal into a permanent lightsource. But these days this seems to mostly be a training exercise.
Blood of two houses
Amaya has both the blood of the House of Amethyst and the blood of the House of Turquoise. This is considered an unstable combination to be avoided. Due to her mixed Amethyst/Turquoise heritage, some magical energies and artefacts may react to her in inexplicable ways.
Amaya was known to have the blood power of the House of Amethyst from infanthood. But it was only on Nilaa that it was realised that she also had some level of House of Turquoise blood power.
She is thus able to dispel Turquoise illusory disguises just by touching them. This works even if she isn’t aware that it’s an illusion. If she concentrates, she can touch a Turquoise illusion without ruining it.
Power over mist-silk
The purple train of fabric between her right shoulder and her left wrist is made of mist-silk. It thus weighs nothing, and behaves like mist. It’s essentially immaterial.
However, for a royal of the House of Turquoise, it behaves like fabric. Furthermore, a minor degree of telekinetic control can be exerted upon it. A Turquoise noble can even make the mist-silk solid for other persons if they so wish. Amaya once used the train to choke somebody who had stolen her costume, and once as an improvised whip to trip someone.
The blood power of the House of Amethyst is apparently the only one that can enchant crystals to serve as teleportation portals. This is considered the most crucial and difficult use of Amethyst lineage magic.
With the full power of the house, it is possible to enchant a pair of crystals to create a gate all the way back to Earth. One such pair of crystals was created by Graciel and Vyrian, but John Constantine destroyed the crystal that was left back on Earth.
Mordiel used a similar pair enchanted by her mother to pay Onyx rogue assassins, who were later killed in action. These crystals may now be in Onyx hands.
Both Amy and her mother have a necklace that includes an enchanted turquoise. On Earth it permanently disguised their appearance with a glamour, and particularly their hair colour. Though on Earth it’s not too remarkable, on Nilaa their specific blonde hair was a dead giveaway that they were House of Amethyst nobles.
Amy can use the turquoise in her pendant to switch at will between her Earth clothing and and her Nilaa clothing. This is beyond the nominal power of the gem, but Amy is also a noble of the House of Turquoise and can thus feed extra energy to the jewel.
The glamour also makes her equipment, such as her Nilaa broadsword or her Earth haversack, disappear or reappear.
One of the major portal crystals — the one that matched the crystal destroyed by Constantine — disintegrated and was absorbed by the amethyst in Amaya’s necklace. Nobody could tell what it means. But is is likely that the necklace acquired other properties, possibly related to Amaya’s father.
Bane to Eclipso
Amaya cannot be enthralled by Eclipso, unless his powers are magnified by an eclipse. This ability is shared by all persons with the full blood of a House of Nilaa, including those whose power is dormant.
Amaya’s crystal constructs also seemed to have an unusual ability to hurt Eclipso. This is likely true of all House of Amethyst constructs.
In the final pages, Amaya had just been granted the full power of the House of Amethyst, as her mother and aunt abdicated in her favour.
Furthermore, during her reign Mordiel had killed every bastard of the House of Amethyst she could find, to absorb what little part of the Amethyst lineage power they had. See the the “Gemstones” section for more about the houses and their blood power.
Amaya’s Amethyst magic is so powerful at this point that she can directly rearrange the magic of the Black Diamond, without the Prime Catalyst.
Power level notes
The series ran too briefly for Amaya’s capabilities to be properly documented. Furthermore, they were rapidly growing through the entire run. Our game stats are very much guesstimates and averages.
Her magical powers, strength and her swordswomanship clearly improved in the final issue as she became the Lady of the House of Amethyst. In DC Heroes terms 3 additional APs to most of her scores sounds about right. She could even face Eclipso directly, though she would have eventually lost a direct confrontation.
This is a conservative estimate. At this point Lady Amaya might well be a major mystical player on the level of a Doctor Fate. There’s no way to tell.
“Amy Winston” was raised by her mum “Gracie”. She was told that her father had died when she was just a baby. They lived in a trailer and were mobile across the US, parking the trailer in isolated areas beyond city limits.
Apparently, Mrs. Winston could consistently arrange for her daughter to join local schools. However Amy’s status as a perennial new girl and outsider inevitably caused tension, up to and including brawls. Gracie earned what she could in typical female working class jobs, such as waiting tables at diners.
Though Amy dearly loved her mum and the trailer could be kept clean and relatively comfortable, she felt like a freak. Mrs. Winston kept moving on and laying low, and often behaved with military-like discipline.
“Gracie” had her daughter practice the broadsword with her in daily sparring sessions, using live steel and body armour. She also home-schooled her in a sort of crystallography with quasi-New Age overtones.
Amy was also well-trained in the martial arts, with an emphasis on winning actual fights and taking down her opponents, and in a variety of sports.
It’s only mystery
Gracie further had her daughter wear a specific necklace at all times, with a turquoise and amethyst pendant. Gracie had similar jewellery on at all times. She just told her daughter than the necklace was very important and had been made by her father.
More generally, Mrs. Winston declined to explain anything. However, she promised to her daughter that once she was 17, they would return to whence they were from and she would take her to her father’s grave.
Since it was impossible to get further explanations about their past Amy just let go of the matter. She apparently assumed that they were from another country, though she only knew about America.
You want the truth ?
The truth was considerably more exotic. Presumably Mrs. Winston never told her daughter anything since a little girl couldn’t reliably hide such a secret.
”Gracie Winston”, while Human, wasn’t from Earth but from another realm called Nilaa. Her previous occupation was being a warrior queen with magical crystal powers. Lady Graciel of the House of Amethyst had fled Nilaa with her baby when her sister, Lady Mordiel, tried to have her killed.
Like the Shazam power, the power of a noble house of Nilaa is divided among the royals – as long as they are aged 17 or more. Thus, if Graciel died, Mordiel would double her puissance as her sister’s power would flow into her.
Likewise, if Graciel’s baby lived to see her 17th birthday, she could claim a part of the power. One-third, if Graciel and Mordiel were both alive at that point.
Young Graciel had fallen in love with and married Vyrian, Prince of House Turquoise. This was a controversial union. Graciel was supposed to wed Prince Reishan of the House of Diamond, but ran off with Vyrian instead.
Furthermore, their decision to have a child was unseemly. The combination of Amethyst and Turquoise blood was known to be magically unstable.
Vyrian’s father, Lord Firojha, nevertheless backed his son’s decision. He even abdicated so Vyrian could become Lord Vyrian and receive the full power of the House of Turquoise. Firojha feared that the brutal Reishan would try to kill Vyrian. He wanted his son to be powerful enough to defend himself against the warriors of the House of Diamond.
Vyrian and Graciel gave their baby daughter a first name in the style of House Turquoise, Amaya. However, within weeks of Amaya’s birth, Mordiel declared war on her sister.
With Mordiel allied to the powerful House of Diamond, and with treachery amidst the House of Turquoise, Graciel and Vyrian found themselves cut off from their supporters. They had to flee.
Young Vyrian was fascinated by the long-lost origin of the people of Nilaa – namely Earth, which they called the First Home. He had thus researched the one known historical instance of a magical portal back to First Home being created on Nilaa.
As their enemies closed in on their hiding place, Vyrian used this knowledge to create a portal to First Home. He and his wife combined their magic so they could flee to another world. What Vyrian didn’t tell Graciel was that this grand portal could only be fully opened with the sacrifice of a life – his.
You can’t handle the truth !
The widow Graciel thus found herself on Earth, alone with her baby. Strong, intelligent and disciplined, she adapted and learned local languages. Though there were incidents where she used her powers, she soon stopped as it drew too much attention.
After stopping in several countries she adopted a semi-nomadic lifestyle across the USA. This avoided people getting too curious about her and her little girl. This also presumably allowed her to dodge controls as an undocumented migrant.
However, there was a plan. Before opening the portal, Vyrian and Graciel had made a deal with the House of Onyx. Onyx would secretly keep one of the two portal-opening crystals enchanted by the young couple.
The mistress of the House of Onyx was to wait 17 years. She would then hand over the crystal and instructions to Graciel’s most trusted allies – the House of Citrine, headed by her friend the Lady Senshe. Once “Amy” would be 17, “Gracie” would return to Nilaa by activating her portal crystal. She trusted her Citrine allies to position the matching crystal in a safe area.
Since Amaya would be old enough to receive the power of the House of Amethyst, the balance could suddenly change. Graciel and Amaya would hold ⅔ of the power and Mordiel would be left with just ⅓.
Furthermore, “Amy” was trained as a fighter and taught enough about crystal lattices to quickly learn applied House of Amethyst magic.
Within minutes of Amy’s 17th birthday, her impatient mother took her to an isolated hilltop. There she could activate her crystal and open a portal to its twin, which was being activated by agents of the House of Citrine. The Lady Graciel thus made her return to Nilaa, along with her grown-up (and quite disoriented) daughter.
However, non-house-aligned mercenaries had been hired by Mordiel. They watched over areas where Graciel would be likely to make her return. Mordiel knew that her intense sister wouldn’t waste a minute coming back.
Thus, fighters of the Hunter People soon attacked the Citrine detail welcoming Lady Graciel and Princess Amaya. The mercenaries were winning until Graciel used the power of the House of Amethyst to kill them all with crystal spikes.
In the fray Amaya was forced to kill somebody for the first time, making her quite sick.
Though she had been catapulted into a strange new world and was now part of a war, Amy good-naturedly adapted. She quickly became a friend of the Princess of the House of Citrine, Ingvie. She also met her grandfather, and finally learned about her father and his life.
Meanwhile, Lady Senshe of the House of Citrine and Lord Firojha of the House of Turquoise brought Lady Graciel up to speed about the politics of the last 17 years.
Graciel had the ceremony of power of the House of Amethyst take place on Citrine land. This put Graciel, Mordiel and Amaya in telepathic contact. What Graciel hadn’t told her daughter was that Amaya would have to make a choice between the path of heart (fairly sharing the power three ways) and the path of blood (killing her mother so that she’d get a greater share of the power).
Graciel was aligned with the path of the heart, but Mordiel was aligned with the path of blood. One assumes that Mordiel had murdered either the previous Lady of the House of Amethyst, or an unrevealed fourth sibling, when she was 17.
Though telepathically stirred by Mordiel to take the path of blood, Amaya refused to strike her beloved mother. Graciel had thus proven that her daughter spontaneously belonged to the path of heart. The blood power of the House of Amethyst was now split three ways.
This article continues in part #2 with more about the world, an excerpt from the writing bible, the Description and Personality sections, the stats, etc..
Source of Character: Sword of Sorcery (2012 volume) plus two crossovers.
Helper(s): Darci, Christy Marx.
Writeup completed on the 16th of December, 2013.