Anastasia is a paladin hailing from Mount Celestia who originally worshipped Lathander, one of the gods from the world of Toril. She eventually discovered the terrible history behind the Wall of the Faithless and couldn't bear to follow a god that was complacent with such a vile creation. She now serves the Athar and their cause, hoping to one day find the means to help the poor souls trapped for eternity. Known for her temperate demeanor, she works to further the goodly domains as best as she can and discover the truth behind the mysteries of godhood alongside her Defier peers.
Anastasia is the love child of a human and an aasimar, born during a time where her parents were fleeing from the wrath of a demonic cult in the Prime world of Toril. Fearing for the life of their child, they eventually traveled to Mount Celestia where she was spirited away into the care of Brom, a hound archon who had become an old friend of the two during their adventures.
Brom took it upon himself to become the child's guardian, educating her alongside other archons in Lunia, the first heaven of Celestia. She lived a relatively peaceful life, as one often does in such a goodly plane. She was raised on the ideals of the Celestial Hebdomad from a young age, which nurtured her towards the path of a paladin. She started off as the squire to her foster father and was taught good manners, good work ethics and other things that helped her excel at her education. Once Brom felt she was old enough to exercise caution and safety, he began to teach her what weapons were and why people used them. He taught her how the planes were a dangerous place and many people use weapons to defend themselves with. Anastasia was taught the basics of swordsmanship, starting with a shortsword since she was still at a young age.
As she grew older, Brom furthered her training by teaching her how to wield the signature weapon of many hound archons: The greatsword. At first, Anastasia wasn't strong enough to wield such a lengthy weapon. Greatswords were weapons used for warriors and she still had much to prove before she could even be considered a paladin. The young woman continued to train alongside other initiates and spent as much time as she could exercising to build up the strength to wield greatswords.
Once she trained enough to build up the physique, she began her swordsmanship training once more and eventually learned how to wield the kind of weapons that would define her fighting style for many years to come. With both body and mind conditioned for the rigors of battle, she was presented towards a sword archon for initiation into her final test.
The Rite of Passage
As her final test, Anastasia was given her very first quest: On a distant prime world where magic runs scarce, two nations have fought a bloody war for many, many generations. The archons of Celestia often keep an eye on worlds such as these, usually sending forth paladins to serve as diplomats and offer humanitarian aid to those suffering from the endless onslaught that war brings. She was tasked with protecting villages that were often a target for bandits and deserters who found such places ripe for the picking while the nations send off their armies to war. Being an outlander from another world, she had to create her own identity and make the most of the skills she was taught to succeed in her quest.
For most of her years spent in that world, she took it upon herself to teach those who were willing and able to fight how to properly defend themselves. Using the help of local carpenters, she was able to make use of practice weapons to help demonstrate the basics of swordsmanship and soldiering to help create a militia force for every village she came across in her adventures. Many of the peasants were no real warriors, but many have the courage and the spirit to defend their homes. With the help of the paladin, the village elders eventually decided to form a council that allowed them to coordinate defense efforts against future bandit attacks which ultimately proved useful when a particular warband set its eyes upon the largest village in her charge.
Anastasia personally led the militia forces on horseback, using what knowledge she had of military tactics from her time spent reading books on warfare. Despite the lack of experience, the militia forces were able to follow her orders and bloodied themselves in the crucible of battle. Her first taste of actual combat was an uneasy one, but this proved to be an important experience for her duties as a paladin. The fighting continued on and on until the militia finally emerged victorious, albeit at a great cost. Eventually, she was given recognition by the king of the very nation she was protecting and was invited to his court for an audience.
The Warlord's Folly
For her courageous actions in the defense of his lands, the monarch asked for her help in searching for the warlord of the bandit clan that was hoping to prey on the villages under her care. Anastasia, knowing that the elimination of such a man could help secure the safety of the villages, happily agreed to hunt him down for the good of the people. She cooperated with the steward who helped to direct her towards a particular town that was known to have trouble against the same warband. The paladin rode off towards the town and decided to settle there for a few weeks to look for clues. One night at a tavern, she met a ranger who had a history with the bandits and was also pursuing them himself. The man introduced himself as Koralas and offered to be her guide in the wilderness if they were to adventure together. Knowing that she could use all the help she could get, she allowed him to join her quest and soon set off to begin their hunt for the location of the bandit hideout.
For many months, the two of them hunted down bandit raiding camps one by one to look for more clues on the whereabouts of the warband's hideout. As time went on, the quiet ranger opened up more to Anastasia and soon the both of them began to form a close friendship. Given the delicate nature of their relationship, the paladin was torn between her true feelings and her sense of duty. A part of her wanted to push it further as she wanted to open her heart to him, but she knew that she still had a mission to complete. Once snow had begun to fall during the world's winter season, she confessed herself towards him and revealed her true nature as a paladin from Celestia. Koralas, out of deep respect for her, made a promise to keep her true identity a secret and accepted her feelings towards him.
Near the end of the cold winter season, the both of them had finally found the location of the warband's hideout and began to fight a long and bloody skirmish against the remnants of the warband. Cornered like rats, the warlord and his bodyguards gathered for a last stand. When Koralas met face-to-face with his adversary, the two of them exchanged words and it was revealed that Koralas was the original warlord all along who renounced the clan after they went too far with their actions during the recent war. In order to keep the warband from falling apart, his second-in-command took his place as warlord and drove them to banditry to keep them satisfied after they felt betrayed by their leader. The final battle ensued after the warlord cried out for vengeance, firing off a strange handheld weapon that he pulled from his belt. Anastasia lunged forward to block the shot, suffering a terrible wound that left Koralas to fight against the warlord himself. Thus ended the reunion of two old comrades, now fighting as enemies to the bitter end.
It wasn't long before the ranger outskilled his second-in-command, emerging victorious in his duel. As he left his opponent dead on the floor, the familiar clanking of armor was heard as royal knights stormed in to secure the area. The sergeant in command of the squadron identified Koralas almost immediately and demanded his surrender. Anastasia struggled to bring light to the truth of the matter, but couldn't speak as she choked on her own blood. She could only watch helplessly as she was carried out towards a healer for emergency medical care. Once she had recovered a few weeks later back at the castle, she pleaded with the king in private to reconsider his execution. She told him the truth, how he was a man who sought redemption for his actions and helped her defeat the bandit clan. Unfortunately, the king refused her request stating that the people deserve vengeance for all of the years of bloodshed that they've caused.
Anastasia ultimately resigned to her fate and marched her beloved to the chopping block, hiding her sorrow beneath her helmet.
She was a hero and it was time to leave.
The Oaths of Hope
Once she had returned to Celestia, she was congratulated on her success and was given the honor of deciding her oaths. Given her extraordinary efforts in rallying mere peasants to defend their homes even when things looked dire, she swore herself to a set of oaths that revolved around the concept of Hope and what it stands for.
Standing in front of her archon mentors, Anastasia recited six oaths in Celestial:
- "I shall strive to become a beacon of hope to those around me, even in my darkest hour."
- "I shall strive to dispel the creatures of despair that live amongst the Dark should they threaten the warmth of Hope."
- "I shall strive to nurture Hope, no matter how large or how small."
- "I shall strive to inspire many with the warmth of Hope, stirring their hearts to inspire others."
- "I shall strive to let my hopes, not my fears shape the future."
- "I shall strive to gain Hope from my failures, where one's true strength is produced."
Once she had finished speaking her oaths towards the archons, the ceremony was complete and she was officially recognized by Celestia as a Paladin of Hope, ready to embark on her new journey across the Planes.
In her travels across the Planes, she has made many friends and acquaintances from all corners of the Multiverse.
- MacLasiar O'Fearghail - MacLasiar was a paladin of Moradin that Anastasia originally steered clear of due to rocky introductions. Despite this, the two of them eventually grew to become close friends and Anastasia offers him advice from time to time when he feels the need to talk to someone.
- Aoife Pyremane - An azerblood cleric with a heart as giant as her faith, Aoife and Anastasia are often friendly with each other on a daily basis. They share a few common interests, mostly bashing the Evil that plagues a majority of the Planes.
- Tarquin Weszt - A tiefling rogue with a reputation for thievery, Tarquin seems to be the most unlikely person to become one of Anastasia's closest friends. However, after saving her life twice and standing up for her more than once, the paladin has nurtured a strong friendship with him ever since.
- Poppy Swiftleaf - A sneaky halfling woman with a love for daggers, Poppy often traveled with her and Tarquin on their adventures together. Two rogues are better than one, after all.
- Athun Cauter - A fire genasi swordsman with an ego as hot as his birthright, Athun has shown himself to be an odd one to her. The two of them are good acquaintances but sometimes the fire genasi gets himself in trouble in the strangest ways possible.
- Vivvie - Vivvie is an aasimar sorceress that became one of Anastasia's first friends soon after she arrived in Sigil. Alongside Tarquin and the others, the paladin regards her as a close friend as well. However, ever since Vivvie joined the Bleak Cabal, Anastasia is deeply worried that the faction might be too much for her to handle and she hopes that the sorceress will stay strong in the end.
- Hyeronimus Barxire - Anastasia has recently become a well-known acquaintance to the troubled champion of Mystra, helping him in his fight against the shadows of despair that the paladin is sworn to destroy. She keeps in touch with the powerful theurge, willing to help him again at a moment's notice should Darkness rise once more.