Alignment: Neutral leaning Good
Power rating: 2
Description: She appears to be in her forties, though she's actually only 36, dark hair sprinkled with gray, crows feet around her cheerful blue eyes. Her skin is pale. Not 'undead' pale, just the pale of someone who hasn't seen a lot of sun. Her hands are calloused with short, dark stained fingernails.
Equipment and Abilities: She's very good at mining, drinking, gambling, and brawling. She has a mining pick hanging from her belt.
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The summer of Deryni's birth, the Red Fever was sweeping through the overcrowded tenements of Diamond Lake. When Mara Ironwood died, her brother, himself delerious with fever, cut the child out of her body. He did not long survive his sister, but the infant herself lived when even when her first wet nurse died.
As she grew up, the death that so often stalks a poor community seemed to pass her by. A fire that broke out in the hovels killed her foster family while she was in the mines as a young apprentice. A mine collapse occurred when she should have been on shift, but Dery was in jail, having been involved in a drunken brawl the night before. The illnesses and plagues that happen whenever the population grew too high never touched her, but always took someone she loved. She bore four stillborn children.
The day her last child was buried, her best friend died of childbed fever. Dery was still producing milk, and adopted the baby boy. Mauris became her pride and joy, and the light of her life. Like her, he became a miner, but unlike her, he dreams of escaping Diamond Lake and taking his wife and children to a better place. Though Dery could not imagine a life away from Diamond Lake, she would do anything for her milk son. To help him raise the money he needed, Dery was working extra shifts in the mine, when it seemed her luck had finally run out. When Mauris heard the news of the collapse, he rushed to the mines to aid in the rescue attempt. Three days later, he was himself killed in a further collapse.
Eight days after the collapse, a thin, dirty, nearly skeletal figure emerged into one of the working tunnels, climbing out of a crevice so thin that no sane person would have attempted to crawl through it. The miners could hardly believe that Deryni Ironwood had escaped death again, but soon it seemed that she had not completely escaped after all. Sometimes she seems to be the same Dery that she has always been, but she has not returned to work in the mines. When someone is dying, Deryni often appears at the deathbed without being summoned--sometimes to offer healing, but more often to provide last rites and a terrible compassion. When she learned that her milk son had died in the rescue attempt, she vowed to leave Diamond Lake forever, lest she bring down her curse on anyone else she loves.