It began innocently enough. Rivaqa's parents were great friends with the master swordsman and fighter named Firman Serge, who now ran a training school for boys wishing to become masters of weapons and martial arts themselves. Since Rivaqa's father was a police officer, there were worries all around about his being killed in the line of duty. Serge magnanimously offered to be a father figure for the young girl should her father ever be taken from her prematurely.
The unexpected set of explosions at her mother's chemical laboratory some three months after Rivaqa turned four could not have been expected. Her mother was killed in the initial blast; her father, after he ran into the remaining building looking for survivors, was caught in the second one, which also took the lives of nearly 50 other rescue personnel called to the scene. In her parents' will, her care was deeded to Firman Serge, and he placed her in separate housing on the training school's campus.
The little girl, curious to learn more about her new home, was soon mesmerized by the flash of weaponry and the shouts of battle, so Serge decided to train the girl in basic combat skills. Rivaqa had been drawn to the unarmed combat of martial arts; she thought the boys and young men looked like dancers, jumping about and evading their opponents. Serge agreed to train her in martial arts, and it became known within the compound that Serge had his first female student. The boys, at first skeptical, began to watch her with genuine curiosity, and finally grudging respect and admiration as Serge put her through strict training sessions that lasted for hours.
Rivaqa trained until she was nearly thirteen, and would have continued further. But Serge's attentions were now focused less on the forms of her martial arts, and more on the forms of her budding femininity. The training compound, once a place of shelter and camaraderie, now became a place of captivity and repeated rape at Serge's hands. He took her from the barracks where she had been allowed to sleep, and instead imprisoned her in his own quarters, separate enough from the rest of the compound so that no one would hear her or see her. Robbed of innocence and dignity, Rivaqa was forced to serve Serge as his personal slave for four months, doing so out of fear that she would be killed for any disobedience.
Her abrupt disappearance, however, did not escape the attention of the boys she trained with, who had become adoptive brothers to her in the years since she had been there. Working right under Serge's gaze, three of the boys discovered the truth of her disappearance together, and in the middle of the night, finally broke into Serge's quarters and freed her. Serge might have wished, as the boys shone accusing flashlights in his eyes, that he had not trained Rivaqa so well--the shadow of her well-aimed foot was the last thing the swordsman ever saw.
With her protector-turned-rapist dead at her feet, Rivaqa was now faced with a new set of problems: who would train the boys now? Where would she go? She had known no other life than this. As it turned out, the boys and the public newsmedia wanted nothing less than for her to become the new leader of the training compound. After a brief court case that emancipated her from the custody of any of Serge's remaining family, she took on the leadership of the training school, which began to accept female students on a regular basis as the stain of Firman Serge's despicable crimes slowly washed away.
When I went about first creating a character to play in Praetoria, I wanted to create a character that could possibly go either way (either hero or villain) because of her backstory. That, coupled with the fact that I had been interested in the Martial Arts powerset since I had seen a friend build an efficient, literally butt-kicking Scrapper, sealed the deal--I wanted a martial artist as my Praetorian.
I also wanted to try the Willpower powerset on a Scrapper, since I had seen with Austara just how indestructible the powerset made a Tank. I built Rivaqa's backstory soon after, weaving in how she got her Willpower and Martial Arts powers--she came through great adversity, and now has these powers, with which she can do whatever she wants.
I struggled to give this character a name that fit her strength and sounded a bit exotic, but I believe I succeeded in both aims. I also wanted the name to be different enough from my other heroes to be distinctive. The name does not have a typically "beautiful" sound to the ear; rather, it has an edge to it, much as Rivaqa herself does.
I am doing my best to make Rivaqa as Tanklike as possible, much as I worked with Catarinya. Rivaqa actually plays like a cross between Austara and Catarinya, oddly enough! I also aim to give her the healing powers that all of my heroines have been either naturally or artificially given, in order to suit her new role as leader of the martial arts training school. (I've also taken her on to Paragon City, once her time in Praetoria was up.)