Dungeons & Dragons Backstories:

Gabriela Anastasia von Steinz

Created and written by

Sora Miyuki 空 美雪

Deep clouds gathered, as usual, over Gastaf. This village, located in the country of Kessig, is well known and serves as a pilgrim's stopover on the road to the altar of Avacyn, an Archangel that is a central figure in the Church of Avacyn. Avacyn protects humans of Innistrad from forces of darkness, maintaining balance in that plane. Gabriela was on her way to see Bishop Helmut Gunter, who oversaw Gabriela during her time in Gastaf. As she walked through the streets, people bowed to her with a smile. Each time Gabriela bowed back with noble grace and a warm smile. It was her duty as a Priestess of Avacyn to act kindly towards humans of Innistrad. A child came to her and gave her a flower. She bowed and with a smile patted the girl's head.

"Thank you, my little angel," Gabriela said with a smile, using the phrase that her close friend keeps saying when referring to Gabriela. But that is just a mask...

“Just get out of my way,” Gabriela couldn't say that loud or show any sign of that emotion. “I have no interest in any of this,” thoughts ran through her head. After a moment, more people started approaching Gabriela. She was different from most priests in the Church of Avacyn; she was more approachable. She never turned down anyone and never asked for anything in return for her blessings. After a while, people in towns visited by Gabriela started calling her “A little saint”... but that is just a mask.

"Ah, Lady Gabriela," an older woman approached the priestess. "Thank you for being kind to us."

"It is my pleasure, Mrs. Gerta," Gabriela gave a bow to the older woman. "How are you feeling?"

"Much better," the older woman replied. "Thanks to you, the pain in my back nearly completely faded away."

"I am glad to hear it," Gabriela's hand touched the woman's head. "I will need to wash my hand," as she cast a healing spell on the older woman. "This should make the pain go away completely for now."

"Ah, my Lady!" The older woman started to cry. "You truly are a saint!"

"Pardon me now," Gabriela bowed. "Out of my way. Bishop Gunter has summoned me; it would be rude to keep him waiting."

Gabriela bowed and started walking towards a manor assigned to high-ranking officials while they were visiting Gastaf. People kept bowing to Gabriela, but she managed to reach the manor without any more interruptions. Guards never tried to stop her from entering the manor. Inside, one of the maids bowed to Gabriela.

"Bishop is expecting you," her face didn’t show any emotions. She was trained well, just like Gabriela, to hide her emotions. "This way."

Bishop Helmut Gunter was standing in front of the window. He was an older man, the head of the Church of Avacyn in Kessig. Gabriela bowed with grace.

"Good day, your excellency," Gabriela thought, "What do you want from me? How may I serve you today?"

"Ah, Gabriela, it's good to see you," he gave Gabriela a warm smile. "How are you today?"

"I am well," Gabriela thought, "Just get to business already. It is a lovely morning today."

"You mean the weather?" he asked, surprised. "Ah, yes, well, considering we are in this part of the realm, you are right. It is nice weather. I will pray for a bit of sun, though."

"Is there anything I could do for your excellency?" Gabriela thought, "I don’t care about your prayers; just get to the point."

"Ah, yes," his face suddenly got very serious. "We have an accusation. One of the villagers has been accused of dealing with werewolves."

"Like I care," Gabriela thought.

"We need to avoid villagers taking matters into their hands again," Bishop continued. "Mayor and I have decided that the best course of action will be for him to admit what he's done."

"What you want me to do? I could just be in my bed," Gabriela thought.

"I want you to make sure he stays alive until public execution," Bishop was acting slightly weird, but Gabriela hadn't noticed that.

"I could be drinking my tea right now or maybe reading something," Gabriela thought.

"I want you to be present while he will be tortured until he confesses," he said quickly, awaiting Gabriela's reaction. He didn’t want to put her in this position, but no other priest was available today.

"I could have a nap now.... Wait what?!?" Gabriela thought.

"Is that too much to ask?" Bishop asked Gabriela. "I know it will be hard for you, but I have no other option."

"I will do as you wish," Gabriela bowed slightly. Her expression did not change the entire time. Wars smile never left her face. "Tortures?! Are you mad?! You old bastard!"

"Good, thank you, Gabriela," he wiped the sweat from his head. "I’m sorry to give such a task. I hope you won’t hate me for that."

"Not at all," Gabriela replied. "I already hated you before that."

"Please head to the dungeon as soon as possible," he continued. "This matter is very urgent; we don’t want mobs in the city tonight."

"As you wish, excellency," Gabriela bowed and went toward the exit. "May Avacyn protect you, child," Bishop said when Gabriela reached the door. She turned back and bowed once more, giving Bishop another warm smile.

Gabriela headed straight to the dungeon; her head was full of thoughts, but her expression remained unchanged, a warm smile and gracious walk, exactly as she was taught throughout her life.

"What is this?! Why am I here? Why didn’t pick someone other than me? Torture? Is he mad?" The storm of thoughts accompanied Gabriela until she reached the dungeon where prisoners were held. It was a small stone building with colorful vitrages of Avacyn. The town guard headquarters was in the upper part of the building; the lower, underground, held a dungeon with cells designed for prisoners.

Gabriela was halted by the guard in front of the entrance; he recognized her instantly. Gabriela was a well-known priestess in Gastaf, and people were talking about her, so it was natural for the guard to know who she is.

"I am hereby order of Bishop Gunter," Gabriela said with a smile. "I am here to take care of the prisoner."

"Right, M’lady," the guard tried to act above his status, but he was not doing well. "The executioner is awaiting your arrival, M’lady."

Gabriela bowed graciously with a smile and followed the guard down the stairs toward the dungeon. A long dark hall with a few candles awaited them downstairs; it was wet, and the stench of mold filled Gabriela's nose. She followed the man toward the door at the end of the corridor; they passed cells along the way. People locked inside did not even bother to raise their eyes on passing people; Gabriela did not feel sadness or sorry for them. She did not feel anything towards them; they were irrelevant. The guard opened the door and let Gabriela inside. Her eyes needed to adjust to the brighter light; the room was well-lit with a single wooden chair in the middle. You could tell this chair was used many times in the past as it was covered with dry blood. A man in a hood was standing in front of the table by one of the walls; on the table, there were silver tools: knives, saws, pliers, and many more—everything to make people scream in agony.

"This is a nightmare! I want to run!" Gabriela thought.

The door to the room opened; a guard was holding a middle-aged man, his face was already purple from bruises. Gabriela instinctually reached towards his face and cast healing; the man's eyes opened as he realized who was standing in front of him.

"The saint," he muttered as he was seated in a chair. "I have done nothing! Please mercy!"

"What is this?! No!" Gabriela thought.

"That was unnecessary," a voice from behind her caused her almost to jump; it was a hooded man. "Your job is to keep him alive, not fix him."

"I will do what I must," Gabriela replied. "What is his problem?"

"Let’s start," he said. "If you want, you can wait outside; it won't be pretty."

Gabriela was too scared and shocked to even reply; however, her expression changed only slightly. The smile from her face vanished, replaced by concern. And then, it started. The hooded man reached for one of his tools and started to do his job...

...Scream...

"What is this?!"

...Agony...

"What is happening to me?!"

...Suffering...

"What is this feeling?!"

...Pain...

"What is this glorious expression on his face?!"

...Scream...

"Why do I feel hot down there?!"

...Agony...

"More!"

...Suffering...

"I want to see more!"

"Priestess," a sudden voice stopped and interrupted her. She was breathing heavily with eyes open and a grim expression on her face. "Are you all right?"

"Yes," she recovered her usual composure. "Why did you stop?"

"I am sorry... I never participated in such a thing."

"Don’t worry, but we're losing our prisoner," he pointed to the heavily bleeding man. "This is your job now."

Gabriela approached the prisoner and concentrated on her book to channel powers on healing. It took a while, but the prisoner started regaining consciousness.

"Priestess... Saint!" the man started crying. "I have done nothing; I didn’t break! I managed to hold pain; save me, I beg you!"

"But of course," Gabriela said, casting heal all the time. Her expression changed dramatically. She bowed to the prisoner and said, "But first... suffer for me a bit more..."

The prisoner was looking not at the saint but a devil. A vicious smile and eyes full of lust showed on her face. She could no longer control her posture; she enjoyed herself for the first time since she could remember.

After finishing healing, Gabriela approached the hooded man; he was cleaning his tools.

"I do not think he will break," the executioner said to Gabriela. "He endured quite a pain and did not admit his crimes. He might be innocent after all."

"No, No, No," Gabriela thought. "We need to continue; I need it!"

"If you can vouch for him," the man didn’t stop his monologue, "townspeople might be convinced."

"No, No, No. I want more! More, do you hear?" Gabriela thought.

"He did confess," Gabriele lied with an innocent smile. "Yes, That's it! As soon as he regained consciousness..."

"What!?" she saw the fury in the executioner's eyes. "Are you sure?!"

"Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, a bit more!" Gabriela thought.

"He was confused," Gabriela continued her lie with an innocent smile. "He didn’t know where he is; just a little more, and he will tell you everything..."

"I'll make sure he will this time," the furious executioner grabbed his tool and rushed toward the prisoner, the prisoner that just a moment ago saw a devil and lost all hopes of salvation...

"More! More! More!" Gabriela thought.

And it continued... for hours. Gabriela didn’t notice her dress getting all wet in the lower parts as she enjoyed every moment in the Dungeon until the man finally lied and admitted to crimes he did not commit. His execution would be carried out just before dusk, but Gabriela would not be there. Death is not what she is seeking. She wants something else. She wants to see suffering on people's faces....

Gabriela headed to the inn that served as her home for the time being. She shared the room with her best friend, Lilith; they knew each other for ages and always have been assigned to the same posts. When Gabriela opened the door to her room, Lilith was already there, sitting on the bed and reading a book.

"Took you a long time," Lilith said with a faint smile. "I was beginning to think you ran away with some knight in shining armor."

"Very funny," Gabriela said. She could drop the charade. Lilith was the only person in the world that knew the true Gabriela, not a mask of a saint she wore on a daily basis. "Bishop sent me on his errands..."

"So I heard," Lilith replied. "You had fun? What did that old geezer want you to do?"

"I..." Gabriela wasn't sure if she should share with Lilith about what happened in the dungeons. "It was a long day..."

"Save that bullshit for your worshipers," Lilith laughed. "For me, you are my little angel, so tell me what that old bastard told you to do."

Lilith's face came closer and closer as she was just in front of Gabriella, her white skin and ash hair reflected moonlight coming from the window, faint candlelight gave Lilith's eyes a slightly red color. Gabriela could not stop looking at her; their lips merged as both lovers were finally reunited. Their love was one of the secrets that they both had, but in front of Lilith, Gabriela could finally take off all the masks and be herself. She would do everything for her...

"He asked me to keep alive a prisoner during tortures," Gabriela stopped kissing Lilith, trying to take off the black dress Lilith was wearing.

"Oh my..." her face looked sad, but she did not stop undressing Gabriela. "Are you all right?"

"I am fine..." their conversation was stopped by constant kissing. Lilith started going slightly down, kissing Gabriela's neck. "I enjoyed it..."

"You did?" Lilith asked. Gabriela could not see her face as she was looking up at the ceiling. Lilith was kissing her lower and lower. Slightly cold Lilith's hands were touching Gabriela's body.

A sudden burst of memories and emotions came to Gabriela. She was imagining the face of a prisoner full of agony, which made Gabriela even more responsive to Lilith's touch. She caught Lilith on her back and dipped her nails into Lilith's back; Lilith moaned loudly.

"I-I am sorry!" Gabriela shouted.

"Do not apologize, my angel," Lilith said with a smile, and suddenly, with strength that no one would expect to have, Lilith pushed Gabriela on her back and gave her another long kiss...

Later that night, Lilith was sitting on a bed, and naked Gabriela was sleeping next to her. Lilith was stroking her hair with love. It was just barely after midnight. Normal people living in Gastaf would know better than to leave their houses during the night, but for Lilith, it was her time. She dressed and left the inn. There was no one on the street at this hour. You could hear howling in nearby forests; beasts were hunting during the night, but she was not prey. If someone would check, Lilith is a hunter. She moved fast through the streets of Gastaf, heading to a manor that Gabriela had visited during the day. No one noticed her. With amazing agility, Lilith jumped off the first-floor balcony; the door was open as planned. Lilith entered Bishop Gunter's bedroom; the man was waiting for her.

"You know you could just use the front doors?" he said without turning his face towards Lilith.

"It would not be so exciting," she replied with a smile. "How are you, Bishop?"

"Skip that charade," Bishop was offended by the presence of Lilith. In normal circumstances, he would never lower himself to speak with the undead. "How is she?"

"She sleeps in the inn," Lilith replied.

"That is not what I am asking," he muttered.

"Of course not," she smirked. "You're asking how she handled the interrogation."

"And?" he was very irritated by Lilith's games.

"It does not affect her," Lilith deliberately lied to Bishop. "She is your little saint, even after you put her to watch that horror show of yours."

"It must be done," Bishop replied. "Avacyn is trapped in Hellvault for over six months now. There is no one to protect humans now. Gabriela is our only hope."

"I am on your side," Lilith calmed Bishop. "Even among vampires, there is a faction that understands what Sorin Markov's intention was. If humans are gone, there is only death awaiting vampires. That's why we agree to help."

"Is she ready?" Bishop asked with hope in his voice.

"Not yet," Lilith replied. "Her angelic powers are dormant. I have been fusing her blood with the blood of Avacyn for years now. I can feel divine magic in her, but it is not fully awakened."

"It is your job to make it work!" Bishop lashed out at Lilith. "We even gave you a magic medallion that surpasses your vampiric powers and allows you to walk in the sun."

"We cannot speed up the process," Lilith argued. "We need time! Or we can lose her."

"Leave now," Bishop replied. "I cannot stand your undead stench any longer."

"As you wish," Lilith bowed, trying to control her rage.

If not for the fact that she needed the Church of Avacyn's cooperation, she would just kill that useless Bishop right where he stands. But Sorin Markov was right; vampires need humans to survive. If the blood supply ends, vampires will start a cannibalistic war among themselves. It must be avoided at all costs. She needs Bishop Gunter... for now.

Chapter I

Wearing a mask wears you out. Faking it is fatiguing. The most exhausting activity is pretending to be what you know you are not.

Chapter II

The world is full of monsters with friendly faces and angels full of scars.

Nearly two years have passed; the plane of Innistrad has seen massive changes. Avacyn has been freed from the Helvault, and shortly after, she appeared in Gatstaf, offering help to werewolves, allowing them to transform into Wolfirs. However, she did not anticipate that the curse of lycanthropy would corrupt her. Soon after, she turned on humanity, and the Church of Avacyn is now in shambles. Both Gabriela and Lilith were forced to run away from Gastaf a few days ago. They headed northwest towards Bower Passage, hoping to reach Thraben and find shelter among what is left of the Church of Avacyn.

"We're nearly there," Lilith shouted, protecting her face from the strong wind. They reached the mountains in the morning and were following the old trade route to Trostad. "We should reach Bower Passage before dusk."

"We need to find someplace to camp," Gabriela said, trying to stay warm. "Why didn't we take more people with us?"

"We'll be passing Trostad," Lilith shouted. "A large group would attract unwanted attention. It's dangerous since the village has fallen into the hands of Geralf. Trostad is now overrun by undead since this human village has fallen into the hands of Geralf the Necromancer. Lilith's plan was to pass Bower Passage, head east, and then turn west to Thraben. With a bit of luck, within a few weeks, they will be able to reach Thraben."

"There must be," Lilith shouted. "It used to be a busy trade route."

They pushed forward. Time passed, the usual sun hiding behind thick clouds, and the weather getting colder as they climbed higher. Each night, both Lilith and Gabriela camped without fire, eating dry, cold food, trying to hide their presence as much as possible. They were in unfriendly lands, and danger lurked in every shadow. They found comfort in each other's arms, making this trip a less nightmarish. They lost the place to call home and strength from their faith, but they had each other. That's what Gabriela was thinking, and that kept her pushing forward. The whole world could go to hell, but as long as Lilith was with her, that was more than she wanted.

Days passed without major incidents when a sudden movement alerted Lilith and Gabriela. It was a huge creature standing in the middle of the road far in the distance. Its skin was sewn from different beasts, weirdly disproportionate limbs standing out from its corpse. Gabriela's undead sense was bursting in her head. This is a dangerous creature. Gabriela was terrified, wanting to turn back. Now. Lilith's hand touched her shoulder, fear released, and Gabriela could think straight again.

"There is a cave over there," Lilith pointed towards the edge of the cliff. "I will cast slow fall, and we will be able to jump there. With a bit of luck, we will pass that monster."

"Maybe we should turn around?" Gabriela said with fear in her voice.

"And do what? Find another way around the mountains?" Lilith shook her head. "We have not enough food. The cave might provide us with some resources. It's a better chance than turning back."

"Alright," Gabriela nodded. She could not argue with Lilith. Lilith was leading them all that time, and Gabriela did not know how to survive outside of towns. They were alive thanks to Lilith. It took a while, but they reached the cave entrance and moved forward. The cave was not as dark as Gabriela was expecting. She could see perfectly fine without a torch. Lilith was intensely observing Gabriela when she was looking around in the cave. After a while, Lilith lighted the torch with a smile of satisfaction.

"Is that better, my little angel?" She was looking intensely at Gabriela.

"I was fine without it," Gabriela replied, not noticing Lilith's strange behavior.

They traveled for hours, hoping to find another exit from the cave. They started to feel more tired, not even knowing what time of day it was. During their journey, they encountered a few monsters, but nothing that both of them could not handle.

"Let us have a break," Lilith said. "We need to recover some of the fatigue."

"Alright," Gabriela responded. "Would you like something to eat?"

"I am fi..." Lilith stopped mid-sentence and suddenly jumped on Gabriela, pulling her off her feet. Gabriela suddenly went dizzy; her head hurt. She felt Lilith holding her head as the cave was filled with bright light. After a moment, Gabriela tried to open her eyes. She could not grasp what she was seeing. Instead of the cave, she saw the blue sky and sun, bright like never before. Lilith was next to her, covering her face in pain. The smell of burnt flesh hit Gabriela's nose when an explosion erupted just behind her. Darkness swallowed her once more.

Gabriela struggled to open her eyes. She was laying on the ground, feeling dust and rocks on her. With a corner of her eyes, she saw a movement. Someone was holding a person on shoulders, covered by clothes, but Gabriela could tell. Someone is taking Lilith. Get up. Her head screamed as she drifted into darkness again.

Bright light woke up Gabriela again. The sun was high in a blue sky. Gabriela, with pain, stood up and looked around. She could not grasp what she was seeing—a tall building like she had never seen before. Where is she? That was the first question that popped into her head, but then panic hit her. Where is Lilith?!