Dia: the stone guardian.

Dia, short for Aegedia, is cypher, a former sentinel. He's Locksley's self-appointed guardian. He appears to be in his early forties, he's 6'2", with broad shoulders, dark skin, and eyes the color of steel. His black, short-cropped hair and beard are flecked with gray.

He was once a Destroyer belonging to a god of blood and battle named Menheqat. Known as the Devouring God or the God Who Mauls, Menheqat is an Ascendant God. She has the shiny, black, chitinous skin and stinging tail of a scorpion, the talons of a predator bird, steel cat eyes, and a mane of raven feathers in place of hair.

Dia was dedicated and faithful, never straying from his duty. He reveled in blood and fought proudly in the Gods' War. And then he spent centuries hunting down his god's descendants and slaughtering them at her command. But there was no honor or glory in his butchery, and Menheqat's praise began to sicken him. He grew bitter, tiring of fickle gods and their petty ways.

When Menheqat sent him after a young child, the last of her known descendants, Dia couldn't bring himself to finish his task. He looked into that liitle girl's defiant steel eyes glaring at him past the raven hair whipping around her face, and he decided he was done following his god's orders. He knew if he just severed his link, Menheqat would simply send another Destroyer in his stead. In order to protect the girl, he did the unthinkable, and made a deal with a demon.

And not just any demon, a Royal Demon. After his failed attempt to take control of all twelve hells, the Shadow King was exiled to the nightlands, the precipice realm between the netherworld and the mortal realm. And he had been attempting to escape ever since. As strong as he was, he didn't possess the strength to breach the Veil separating the realms.

But he could manage it, just barely, escaping into the mortal realm with the combined strength of a Royal Demon and a god. And that's where Dia came in. In exchange for the girl's safety from Menheqat, Dia would deliver his creator to the Shadow King.

The Shadow King siphoned away Menheqat's power, rendering her little more than a mortal husk. With all that excess power, he was finally able to breach the Veil, taking his faithful familiar with him. However, their bodies were destroyed in the process, leaving them nothing but spirits in search of bodies to possess.

When negotiating his demon deal, Dia insisted on the girl's safety from Menheqat, but he apparently wasn't specific enough. Because Dia's fellow Destroyers found him afterwards, while he was trying to help the girl escape,. They killed her, and then they forcibly severed his link with Menheqat.

The grace inside him burned away like molten lead, taking his sentinel abilities, his wings, and most of his memories with it, turning night to day with its incandescence. The force sent him reeling into the mortal realm.

The only remainder of his raven wings are shades that looked like black, moving tattoos on his back and shoulders. His wrists bore scars from his manacles, forever branded into his skin when his burning grace melted the steel from his flesh. Scattered around him, his once gleaming sword lay in broken shards.

As divine retribution for desertion, cyphers can never again see the light of day. They turn into stone statues at dawn, remaining so until dusk releases them from their daily interment. Dia dreams during his daily internment as a stone statue, but they fade quickly from memory as soon as he wakes. To add insult to injury, no cypher can so much as place a foot on sacred ground. Those who try feel excruciating pain, eventually dying if they stay there too long.

Normally, when sentinels' grace burns away, it takes their personal memories and their wings with it. However, a great deal of the knowledge they obtain over their vast lifetime doesn't fade, they just don't remember how or when they gained the numerous facts rattling around in their heads. Their first real memories are usually of waking in the crater they had created upon their landing in the mortal realm after the force of their burning grace propels them from the netherworld.

Dia, on the other hand, was able to keep some of his personal memories as part of a demon deal with the Shadow King. He couldn't keep all of them because it would have been too much for a mortal mind. So he chose to remember the names and faces of every mortal he had killed in his god's name.

So when he awoke in a small crater in the mortal realm, he still remembered the girl, and her death. Even though he hadn't killed her with his own hands, she was still his responsibility. Blinded by grief and, he accepted a standing offer from the Bone Scythes assassin guild. And he spent the next two decades killing. All that death did nothing to extinguish hiss anger, though. He grew more and more reckless until the bloody death he was subconsciously seeking was nearly upon him. He took on a contract by himself for an entire immortal clan. He succeeded, but his wounds were grievous. While he was gripped in fever and heavily medicated with laudanum and a hallucinogenic spirit called elysium.

His anger burned itself out along with his fever, only to be replaced with despair. While he recovered from his wounds, drowning himself in laudanum, he contemplated suicide. In an attempt to bring him back from the brink, the Bone Scythes tasked him with training their newest recruit, a young girl named Locksley. They hoped a bundle of energy and sarcasm would distract him from his brooding.

He recognized the impotent rage burning behind her quicksilver eyes. He was afraid she might turn out like him. His own anger had done nothing to dissipate his pain, only serving to harden his heart. A seed of his former self remained, however. And Locksley proved a beam of light sent to pierce the darkness he had wrapped around himself. She worked her way into his heart, and made him want to be a better man. A man who was worthy of that little girl's love. But there is still darkness in him, and there is nothing he wouldn't do to protect her.

Dia is the closest thing Locksley, and the others, have for a father. Unlike their own parents, Dia has always been there for them. And as long as he draws breath, he always will. He inspires a great deal of loyalty, and even love, from his "family" and allies, and no small amount of fear in his enemies. He is more than willing to be a complete bastard to protect the ones he loves.

After his right leg was shattered during a battle with demons, the surgeon had no choice but to amputate it. Dia refused Jules and Chenzi's offer to make him a prosthesis. He wanted a simple peg leg instead, saying that it would make him look like a dashing pirate. They compromised and made him a hydraulic peg leg using the same material as Jules's own biomech arm. And Locksley presented him with a lovely, matching sword cane, which he keeps with him at all times.

He can be secretive and cagey, but only to protect the others, a sin-eater carrying burdens so those he cares about don't have to. Although some might describe him as morally flexible, Dia always keeps his word. When he has agreed to do something, he does it. And that's that.