Starling Leadswell is the Dust-caster of team EDWS and partnered with Dagobert Drephos
Starling is a woman of average height with a slim figure, fair skin and long light brown hair that reaches to the small of her back in a loose braid. She typically wears a deep red dress that flows into a sunset orange at the hem. Underneath that she wears a black tubetop with a magnetic connector for her weapon along with black shorts that are partly visible due to the high slit in the right of the dress. Starling also usually wears a silk scarf either over her shoulders or draped over her elbows. While preferring to go barefoot as often as possible, when outdoors Starling wears black stylish sandals.
At first glance Starling seems rather soft-spoken and calm in public, some even would call her timid, but this far from the truth. The good manners she was brought up with are very good at hiding the fire she inherited from her father which she only shows through her sharp wit and observant nature. Those closer to her know Starling to be far more laid back in her attitude than she lets on in public, being more to the point and less concerned with stepping on people's toes. Even so it is difficult for her to always express herself clearly given the way she was raised, and can have a tendency to bottle up her grievances and anger. Starling also has a pronounced sense of duty especially when it comes to her team, partly borne from her limited physical capabilities when she started her new career and her fear of dissapointing those around her for wasting her potential she often feels like she could do more to contribute, and sometimes needs help from Dagobert to help her calm down and not overwork herself.
Nachtmeer: Starling's primary way of dustcasting comes from the Dust she has woven into her characteristic black silk scarf called Nachtmeer. The scarf is infused with Fire, Ice and Gravity dust that each glow in different patterns and colours when Starling draws on their power. Although appearing only black when inactive Starling took great care when she first created Nachtmeer to have the dust patterns resemble a blazing sun, a starry sky and a pattern of celestial bodies respective of each dust type she uses. Not many get a chance to see the detail of her work, but she takes pride in it anyway. Another secret of Starling is that she actually has three scarves on her person at all times, one she wears with her outfit, two she has wrapped on each end of her other weapon Sterrenval.
Sterrenval: Starling's actual weapon to defend herself with from enemies not deterred by her skill with Dust is a simple but effective staff weapon. Usually carried on her back through a magnetic connector as a simple three foot long rod Sterrenval unfolds into a seven foot long staff of highly detailed black metal decorated on both ends with black silk cloth that partially hang loose creating a sort of tassel at each end of the staff.
The central part of the staff has a special loading mechanism that lets Starling insert up to 8 cylindrical Dust cartridges into the staff allowing her to use the staff as another way to cast her Dust attacks or enhance the strike power of the weapon in closer combat using the dust vents on each end of the weapon.
While normally Starling only uses it as a staff given her defensive style the top end of the staff can unfold a long and broad spearhead suitable for both piercing and slashing attacks that let her deal more effectively with Grimm, especially if they become trapped in her Semblance.
The bottom end of the staff holds a barrel capable of firing a blast of one of the loaded dust types in the central portion of the staff that allow Starling to launch dust projectiles over a longer distance like an elemental grenade launcher. The projectiles have a noticeable arc to them over longer distances so it is less effective against flying targets but makes for an excellent way to flush enemies from cover. Given the explosive nature of these projectiles Starling avoids using them in close quarters combat and relies on her more precise dust casting instead.
Starling carries with her in her purse additional Dust cartridges to load into Sterrenval if needed along with the necessary tools to maintain her dust infusions on Nachtmeer. After the Battle of Beacon she also received two special bracelets from Dagobert with built into them their new Goldwind Booster prototypes. These boosters are special emergency dust supplies that allow the user a 10 second doubling of their speed. The bracelets each hold only one charge before needing a refuel with their new dust mixture they dubbed 'Goldwind'.
Semblance: "Light's Law"
With help of her teacher Egil Crucible Starling has managed to develop three different styles of her semblance.
Law of Sunlight: The way Starling's semblance first manifested, Law of Sunlight has her aura radiate a bright golden light all around her. Anything touched by the light directly becomes 'marked' and Starling can then decide to apply the effect of her semblance on whatever is marked with her light. While Law of Sunlight is active Starling can cause marked targets to experience resistance to their movements towards her along with an increase to the gravity they experience proportional to their proximity to her. Within one meter of her the effect is comparable to trying to climb up a waterfall, but it steadily lessens over a distance until it is barely perceivable at her maximum range of 30 meters. People have remarked the experience feels like they are always fighting a literal uphill battle when in the light.
Law of Moonlight: Starling's first expansion of her powers under the guidance of her teachers at Signal, she learned she could project her semblance through Glyphs that would cast a beam of light that allowed her to focus the power of her semblance to one specific target, increasing the power of the semblance but not overcoming the steep decrease in effectiveness at range. In its current form Law of Moonlight allows Starling to create a single powerful glyph up to 25 meters away from her that acts as a spotlight to focus her semblance effect on single targets. It also makes for a useful 'platform' to build her more complex dust spells on. Starling can adjust certain variables of her Glyphs like magnitude, range and size and this allows her to configure her Moon Glyph to become a powerful shield that severely reduces the active range of her slow effect but makes it very adept at stopping attacks dead in their tracks. This shield form does take more energy from her to maintain for longer than a few seconds at a time so she prefers to use it only in emergencies.
Law of Starlight: Starling's latest development in her semblance, perfected halfway through her second year at Beacon. Using the techniques Egil Crucible taught her on maximising the efficiency of her Glyphs Starling can create a large number of weak small glyphs up to a range of 25 meters that combined allow her to surround and overwhelm a single target. At the moment she can create 6 glyphs per second and maintain up to a maximum of 60, although usually she prefers to hold it at a more manageable 40 Glyphs at a time. She calls it the Law of Starlight because the numerous Glyphs start to resemble a starry sky in larger groups. These Glyphs normally apply a weak resistance effect on their target and track it for up to 10 seconds before fading and needing to be replaced. Starling can also choose to infuse the Star Glyphs with her Dust, usually by firing one of her dust cannisters close to a group of them where they absorb the powdered Dust released from the cannister. Once charged with Dust the fragile Glyphs will have only a second to discharge the Dust in a focussed ray of elemental energy before detonating, a side effect Starling chose to not remedy by making her Glyphs larger and more stable.
Theoretically the Glyphs can absorb dust not sent in by Starling, but typically any dust used in combat is already used for a spell or in the process of detonating, leaving nothing to be absorbed.
In the end though regardless of how efficiently she can use her semblance there is still a limit to her aura and stamina. Currently, after long years of practice she can make continuous use of her semblance for roughly 20 minutes before she drains her reserves completely and leaves herself defenceless (during her second year at beacon her maximum was roughly 15 minutes). So in sustained combat using her semblance is something she tries to avoid, viewing it more as a secret weapon to finish a fight before things get out of hand. Instead Starling relies more on her dust to support her team with only a few uses of her glyphs to assist in her defence or set up a combo with her team.
While trained and competent with her Sterrenval Starling prefers to only engage in melee combat when she has the advantage and prefers to avoid close combat altogether.
Her armament is limited when it comes to long range, relying mostly on the launcher function of her staff and her dust casting, both becoming unreliable at extreme long range but still being very potent in closer ranges
Although she has little in the way of physical defences her semblance more than makes up for it, giving her ample protection against many forms of damage.
Dust is Starling's talent and she knows on an instinctual level how to wield it. Capable of making intricate combinations and even adept in mixing dust into new and potent combinations of her own.
Her advanced skill with her semblance and Dust required Starling to develop her aura too to keep up with other students who relied more on their physical talents.
not weighed down by weaponry or armour and trained to stay out of the heat of battle Starling knows how to make sure she is not caught out of position.
While she never considered herself or her parents particularly rich it was always clear to starling she was born to a privileged family. Her father's position in the Vale government as representative for one of the outlying cities and her mother's connections within the city of Vale itself made sure of that she given "plenty of opportunity to shine" as her mother would always put it. And indeed Starling would develop her talents and show great promise as a singer from an early age. She loved to sing and even with the sometimes maddening practice it required she loved the results it brought on stage.
During these years Starling's father was always busy with work, travelling between Vale and his home city and often only really being around for Starling in the occasional weekend. Looking back Starling can see how strange her relationship with her father was, as she idolized the public image he presented of a fierce outspoken politician making sure the outlying cities were not ignored, but at home he'd just be her dad who'd make sure to spoil his only daughter the few times he could actually be with her. The real authority in the house however had always been Starling's mother, she had to be due to her husband's absence. Starling had a strained but respectful relationship with her mother, who was adamant on seeing her daughter rise to fame. This relationship was not helped when Starling discovered her gift with Dust and Aura. After seeing a spectacular fireworks show with her family one day Starling became curious about the more creative uses for Dust, a resource she had barely paid any mind to before then.
Through her curiosity it became clear rather quickly that Starling had an uncanny talent for coaxing power from Dust crystals, showing exceptional control of the basics without prior training. The mentor they had hired to help teach Starling was amazed at the progress she made in such a short time and recommended she should not let the talent go to waste. Although Starling herself had rather quickly decided on what career she'd take, preferring to serve the people as a Huntress over entertaining them as a singer, her mother needed a lot more convincing. having spent so much of her time preparing Starling and making sure she'd succeed as a singer to have it all end like this was naturally a difficult thing, and Starling never was sure she'd be allowed to pursue her new dream of becoming a huntress. But eventually with help of her father Starling managed to get her mother's consent, and she even managed to get Starling started at Signal a year earlier than most students would join.
Starting a year early turned out to be a mixed blessing for Starling, because while she could get started so much earlier it also meant she was the youngest in her class, and while before she already had trouble socializing with others in school she had even more trouble now, having difficulty in finding friends for the first weeks. The first to actually befriend her was a boy called Dagobert who similarly had trouble making friends and one day the two had ended up as partners for an assignment because nobody else was available. It was a rather simple start of their friendship but it proved to be a long one. The reason they got along so well is that Dagobert allowed Starling to drop the formalities expected of her and just took her for who she was regardless of her family's status or wealth, and in turn she treated him like he didn't cheat his way into Signal for using his tech. Starling would get more friends after she really settled in at Signal and grew more confident again, but Dagobert would be her most trusted friend for years.
During her second year at signal starling was having trouble keeping up with the rest of her year when it came to her semblance. While her skill with Dust placed her amongst the top of her year her semblance was lagging behind until she received help from one of her teachers, Egil Crucible. Egil had a semblance that had some common elements with Starling's and offered to help her develop it into a more practical power and teach her some tricks to last longer in battle as a Dust specialist. During this time he also was helping Dagobert improve some of his weapon designs, and the two would befriend their mentor and occasionally keep in touch after leaving for Beacon.
By the time she started her first year at Beacon, Starling had started noticing Dagobert in a new light. They've always been close, but more and more did she catch herself considering moving it from friendship to something else entirely. However every time she considered this she could not bring herself to actually venture into that territory and risk their friendship. Looking back it was far too obvious to miss Dagobert's feelings but at the time Starling tried to keep herself focussed on her studies rather than the possibility of romance. It took an outside force like to finally let the truth sink in for her. Their leader Elroy, in his usual blunt way just shouted them into a relationship, being fed up with both of them being oblivious to the other's feelings while he and Wendy could tell from day one there was more going on. In the end Starling doesn't really care about the details of the start of her relationship with Dagobert, she is just glad they didn't waste even more time. Between her hooking up with Dagobert and Elroy's intentions to participate in the Vytal tournament team EDWS became very close by the end of their first year. Aside from the team Starling also made sure to not lose touch with her friends from Signal, like Penelope Reina.
On one of their first missions Elroy decided to trust Starling and the rest of the team with his reason for becoming a huntsman. Elroy wanted to bring on some big changes to the way Vale operated, but on his own he can't do that, so he decided to become a huntsman to gain influence in Vale. Although some on the group disagreed with his idea of just up and replacing the government Starling agreed there were some issues that needed to be addressed and if enough people agreed with them they could act to improve the system.
By the time of their third year team EDWS was starting to make a name for itself already, but Starling made sure to stay in the background and let Elroy get all the attention, if she had wanted fame she'd have become a singer.
- Starling's name alludes to starlight.
- Starling is influenced heavily by a few sentient godlike entities from fiction such as the Great Pattern of Amber and the Dawn Machine.
- Artwork Design by Roguespider and Winter Edition, Emblem by Winter Edition
|The Heavenstone Foundry|
|Team EDWS||Elroy Osmail • Wendy Castrenn • Dagobert Drephos • Starling Leadswell|
|Students||Jericho Corey • Merel Serac • Aeden Vesting|
|Huntsmen||Egil Lucian Crucible • Dutch Steiner • Helena Tenar|
|White Fang||Marko Pride • Lorica Oswald|