History (Submitted by Gremlin)
Ystina: Prehistory (~6,500 BCE - ~6,480 BCE)
Claiming to be born over 8,000 years ago, in the realm of Albion (a neighboring dimension to our own reality, ruled by sword and sorcery), Ystina (pronounced Yoo-stee-na) was born from poverty, a humble turnip farmer's daughter. As a young girl she was rescued from highwaymen by Sir Galahad of the Round Table.
This encounter with a knight of legend stirred up feelings in Ystina so the next day she disguised herself as a boy named "Justin" and went to pledge service to Galahad as his squire. Justin didn't have strength or skill, but Galahad saw Ystina's true spirit of character and agreed to train Justin.
As the squire Justin, Ystina trained with Galahad for nearly two years before being injured on the field of battle. When treating Justin's injuries, Galahad discovered that his squire was female. Galahad was surprised but he never told another soul of this.
Justin: Prehistory (~6,480 BCE - ~6,470 BCE)
When the extradimensional conquerors known as the Sheeda invaded Camelot, Galahad vouched for Justin to be knighted by King Arthur. In this skirmish, Justin proved to be a true and valiant knight, having saved the life of the king and no less than seven knights of the Round Table, including Sir Jason-of-the-Blood. Impressed by Justin's performance on the battlefield, Arthur chose to elevate Justin from mere knight to the sacred calling of Knight of the Round Table.
Ystina declined, saying that to do so would require her to keep no secrets from her king and her brethren, and she had yet to reveal a substantial secret. Outing herself as a young woman, Ystina was prepared to be sentenced to death for this violation, but King Arthur proved himself a truly just king, choosing to decree that gender should not determine anyone's worth or ability. After this decree was made, Ystina became "Sir Ystina the Shining".
Sir Ystina the Shining: ~6,470 BCE - 368 CE
She ventured far and wide with the other knights of Camelot. Blessed by the waters of Avalon which she drank from the Holy Grail, Ystina did not age. She became a living legend, venturing out from the magical keep of Camelot and across its mythic kingdom, even taking quests to our world.
Sir Ystina the Shining: 368 - 369
When the Sheeda returned to conquer Camelot, Arthur ordered his knights to escort the citizens of Camelot to safety, but trusted Ystina with a more sacred duty. Ordered not to allow the Holy Grail or Arthur's old sword Caliburn fall into the hands of the Sheeda, Ystina took possession of both relics and flew her steed Winged Victory to our plane of existence, the mortal realm.
Shining Knight: 369 - 413
After getting her bearings and finding Jason-of-the-Blood and Nimue among the survivors of Camelot's purge by the Sheeda, Ystina founded a new iteration of the Knights of the Round Table in what is now Ireland. Among other champions which they named as allies was an Amazonian who called herself Exoristos. Ystina and she became lovers for close to a half-century before Exoristos' sisters came to take her home.
Shining Knight: 413 - 1461
Though it changes its name repeatedly, the seven-strong-society stays intact for the next thousand years, with Ystina, Jason, and Nimue as a trinity of stability and joined by four rotating champions. Many great and powerful champions join the ranks of the fabled crew, the likes of the Horsewoman, Malagigi, the Iron Maiden, Son of Thunder, Sir Brian of Kent, Lady Celia Penbrook, Kanto, Jon Haraldson, Capucine, Brother Jonah, and Robert Gadling, among many others whose names have been lost to time and faulty memory.
In the fourteenth century, they ran afoul of a sect which would later become the Spanish Inquisition and were thus labeled the "Demon Knights", not that Ystina and her comrades minded as it only made it easier for them to find work as the catchy name spread their tales.
In the fifteenth century, Ystina rode with Jason, Nimue, the fabled healer Al Jabr, Vandal Savage, and the Enigmatic Daughter of Ducra, when they happened upon Exoristos in the French countryside living with her daughter and husband. For old times' sake, Exoristos agreed to one last adventure and the seven rode out to bring the mad king Geoffrey de Cantonna to justice. They stopped the knight, but were betrayed by Al Jabr and Ystina's heart was broken by Exoristos leaving.
Shining Knight: 1461 - Present
Ystina slipped into something of a funk following the heartache and betrayal. Eventually, she and her band of six took to the seas. They became privateers and pirate hunters, but Jason and Nimue grew tired of the adventure and left Ystina. Uncertain of what else to do, Ystina wandered the New World for many years until she settled in Gotham Town. She lived a peaceful existence until the Revolutionary War sparked her interest, causing her to don the look of a man named Justin Simms and enlist to fight, falling into a new band of comrades known as Tomahawk's Rangers, which became a seven-strong-society.
In truth, Ystina had hoped to die in that war, but found her zeal for life restored. When the war was over, Ystina traveled to Europe in an attempt to find Jason and Nimue, but found the love of an aristocrat instead. When the affair was discovered, the aristocrat was stripped of her titles and free to join Ystina in many occult adventures.
Ystina would later become caught up in both World Wars and in the second, had the Holy Grail stolen from her by a man claiming to be a rejuvenated Merlin. Greg Saunders offered to help retrieve the relic and Ystina joined his All-Star Squadron. Greg nearly died to save the Grail and so earned Ystina's undying respect. She soon trusted him to carry on the burden of leading the seven-strong-society.
- (Submitted by Four-Eyes) I felt it worth mentioning that time passes differently in Albion. So while Ystina was born almost 7,000 years before fleeing to Earth, she only lived through about 700 years in Albion.
- (Submitted by Prof) A most fascinating figure. I enjoyed the tales of the Round Table in my youth and I would greatly appreciate a chance to meet this fabled knight.
- (Submitted by Operator) Going off the estimate of her arrival to our reality in 369 CE, I found historical evidence of "Muirisc", a woman who protected an area of Ireland known as Mag Muirisce circa 370 to 550 CE.
- Grail Empowered Physiology: Having drank the waters of Avalon from the Holy Grail, Ystina has been endowed with certain abilities.
- Immortality: Ystina does not age, heals quicker than normal, and rarely falls ill.
- Supernatural Senses: Ystina's senses can pierce the veil.
- Indomitable Willpower: Ystina has the ability to control impulses and emotions in order to make clear choices, overcome fear, endure immense physical pain, and resist mind control.
- Legendary Knight Training & Rudimentary Mystical Training: Ystina is a true Knight of the Round Table, having been trained by Sir Galahad and mentored by Merlin. Ystina's training has been tested through hardship and battle over thousands of years, and always has seen her through every obstacle and opponent thrown at her.
- Brawling: Even without her armor or blades, Ystina is a formidable foe. She has slain wyverns and basilisks barehanded.
- Leadership & Tactics: For most of her time on Earth, Ystina has been the de facto leader of the spiritual successor to the Knights of the Round Table. Before that she learned the burden of leadership through command of armies under the banner of King Arthur's Camelot, proving herself as a gifted commander and strategist.
- Shining Armor: Ystina wears enchanted plate and mail armor which restores itself from damage when laid out near a ley line or place of power.
- Winged Victory: Ystina has a pegasus for a familiar. She retains a mental link to this steed and the two have survived countless battles together.
- Caliburn: Also known as Clarent and the "Sword in the Stone", and not to be confused with the more powerful Excalibur, this mystical blade was created in Avalon and bears the inscription "Whoso Pulleth Out the Sword of the Stone is Rightwise Found to Be Worthy". This eternally sharp blade cannot be wielded by anyone who is not 'Pure of Heart' and can cleave through stone and earth without difficulty.
- Holy Grail: This ancient chalice has a long and fabled history. Any liquid poured inside this relic will be endowed with immense healing properties that can heal any wound it is poured over. When combined with sacred waters, such as the Waters of Avalon, the Grail can bestow immortality upon those who drink such from the Grail. As a truly powerful relic, the Holy Grail can also be used as a focal point of some of the most powerful magic spells and rituals ever conceived.
- Detachment: Ystina copes with her immortality by keeping her relationships casual.
- Doubt: When stressed, Ystina shuts down and doubts her worth.
- Physicality: 4 - Expert / Enhanced
- Occult: 4 - Expert / Enhanced
- Weapons: 7 - Legendary
- Experience: 7 - Legendary
- Ranged: 3 - Trained / Exceptional
- Strategy: 5 - Master / Remarkable
Trivia and Notes
- She's a music fan. Sometimes she sings songs aloud in unlikely places.
- She gave Greg Saunders a drink from the Holy Grail after he took a bullet while trying to retrieve it. After that they became buddies.
- Caliburn when unsheathed makes sidhean thrums and produces sidhean sparks when clashed.
- She keeps Winged Victory in a stable in Kane County.
- Shining Knight has a Threat Assessment ranking of 140, marking her as a Severe Threat.
- In the comics Ystina was the Shining Knight Post-Crisis and in New 52. The original Shining Knight was Sir Justin Arthur.
- Her history was based on her Post-Crisis/New Earth appearances in comics, but her gender fluidity is a nod to New 52.
- The quote on her shirt comes from the Firefly TV series.
- Her alias of Justin Simms is makes her a composite with one of the members of the mainstream Tomahawk's Rangers, "Suicide" Simms.