Lady of Malta; Lady Hospitallier
MDU Halloween Special 2016
30 Oct 2016
Don "Major Deej" Finger
18 Apr 2009
Sarena Camilleri (Mother)
Verne Camilleri, (Father, deceased)
Zosta Camilleri (brother)
At age 6, young Censa Camilleri of the island nation of Malta attended, was with her family for the formal knighting ceremony of her father as a Knight of Malta; an honorary title earned through numerous years of her father's selfless dedication to helping the poor and disenfranchised with medical care, surgeries and medicine. During the ceremony, that cold January day in 2000 the Soltan Star Empire invaded Earth...and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta at Fort St. Angelo in Malta.
Only a year before, Fort St. Angelo had been allowed to once again house the Order of Malta as it once did hundreds of years before. The accommodations were sparse at that time with a large amount of construction equipment, scaffolding and 'in progress' construction operations.
At the time of the Soltan attack, three large squadrons of Soltan troops descended upon the fort after blasting it from aerial fighters and bombers. The Soltan troops were later discovered to be looking for any powerful energy items and/or magical items or relics. As it was, the Grandmaster of the Order of Malta was officiating the knighting ceremony for Censa's father, Verne Camilleri, when the Soltans burst into the room demanding the staff held by the Grandmaster. Four security guards of the Grandmaster shot at the troops, where three of the guards quickly died at the Soltan's hands. As a result of the fight, a temporary construction beam holding up the floor beneath the ceremony's room gave way, causing the aged fort's floor to collapse down through two levels below. The Camilleri family, the Grandmaster and one surviving guard, along with several Soltans, fell through the floor as well. The Grandmaster caught hold of a protruding support beam only one level below, and was hanging precariously onto it over the vast hole below him. A Soltan trooper, translating in English, told the Grandmaster, 'Give staff at me. Now or die.'. The Grandmaster looked as if to hand it to the trooper, but instead let go of the beam and fell to be floor below, causing both of his legs to break upon landing.
At the bottom of the debris-littered hole that everyone had fallen through, young Censa was able to crawl out from her father's lifeless arms. He died protecting her from the fall. Her mother was buried under a pile of wood and debris and her brother was nowhere to be seen. That's when the other Soltans stood up just as the Grandmaster fell from his momentary encounter on the floor above. Once the Grandmaster landed in pain, he looked about wildly and saw Censa, yelling at her to take the staff and run and to never give it to the Soltans. Surprisingly, the staff was light and easy for her to lift. She took the staff and ran under pews in the fort's church that they'd all fallen into. As Censa scampered under the pews with the staff, the Soltans ripped up the pews, tossing them into the air, chasing Censa and the staff. The one remaining security guard found Censa at the front of the church's pews, grabbed her up and said "Let's get you to safety, little one" in Maltese. He then pulled her into a room with a large, heavy metal door and closed and locked the door from the inside. They were safe for the moment, but they were also trapped.
As the Soltan troops started blasting at the heavy metal door, the security guard looked at Censa and asked her if she was brave enough to climb atop the room's tall shelves and out through a window over 14 feet above in the room. She nervously nodded. He held the staff as she started her climb with the agility of a gymnast, for which she'd only taken gymnastics months earlier for the first time. When she reached the top he tossed the staff up to her and told he to keep the staff safe and to only give it to a Knight of Malta and no other, EVER. He told her that God himself needed her to complete her task and not get taken captive by the Soltans, no matter the cost. When she yelled down to him to follow her up, her looked up at her smiled, and said, "I'm about to do God's work here by destroying these evil creatures chasing us. If God wills that I survive, I will see you again, until then, go; go now...and go with God, my brave Lady of Malta". Censa crawled through the window and out onto a rampart where she was able to eventually escape the Soltan invaders, hiding in a sewer pipe for the better part of the next day.
She never saw the security guard or the Grandmaster ever again.
All alone, and sure that her parents were dead, Censa walked through the sewers of Malta for the next few days, foraging for food, dodging Soltan patrols and attempting to find anyone who looked like a traditional 'knight'. Sadly, no one came to her rescue nor was she able to trust anyone who wasn't a knight, ergo, she was on her own. Finally after a week's time, a massive majority of the Soltan troops left, leaving only one squadron to maintain security, using Fort St. Angelo as their base. That's when she saw a team of Italian special forces troops quietly come out from the Mediterranean waters and up onto the beach in front of Censa in her storm drain hiding place. That's when she saw that one of the troops was wearing the emblem of a Knight of Malta on his shoulder. She used a flashlight she'd appropriated in her travels to signal the troops, who almost unloaded their weapons on her as a result. Luckily, the troops held back their shooting and scattered to the storm drain. There, the special forces troops were stunned to see the girl and one of their ten objectives for their mission - the Staff of Life, there with the girl.
The man who wore the emblem of a Knight of Malta asked her how she came by the staff. She told him the whole story. The man looked at Censa with admiration, stating that 'no other person he knows would be so brave in such conditions'. As part of her conversation with him, she told him that the security guard called her the "Lady of Malta" and if that was a title she was supposed to bear while holding the staff; the man's reply, "It is now. Come Lady Malta, let's get you and that staff to safety. With the delicacy of a father's love, the man explained about the scuba tank they were about to use and that he'd help her swim to a submarine off the coast where she, he, a couple of teammates and the staff would be able to get away from the evil aliens safely. With the bravery of a seasoned veteran, Censa swam with the Knight of Malta, sharing the Scuba mouthpiece and swam to the submerged submarine off the Maltan coast. Together, they entered the sub and were rescued. Hours later, the rest of the Knight of Malta's team returned, again with several other people and artifacts. Their mission completed, the submarine took them to a remote island off the Italian coast known as La Madelana.
The base at La Madelena had already been destroyed by the Soltans, however, no Soltan troops were left to guard the island, believing it to be of no value. Occasionally, a Soltan aerial patrol would fly-over, but the troops secretly hiding there knew well in advance of any potential attacks or patrols.
For the rest of the Soltan invasion, Censa remained in La Madelena, where she quickly became quite the talk of the base. The stories of her bravery, and sacrifice, were told again and again to others to bolster their spirits and resolve to fight against the Soltans. Rather than do nothing, Censa began to learn how to fight; Krav Maga, knife-fighting and staff fighting. In a few short months, she'd become a dynamo of a fighter for such a young girl.
The Staff of Life they'd liberated from Malta was put to good use. It was a magical staff that was quickly discovered to heal others. The staff was used by the man Censa only knew as the "Knight of Malta", where he took the staff out on missions to help save others and, at times, fight the Soltans. Censa and the Knight grew close, but he never told her his name, nor did he tell anyone else, ergo why others simply started calling him the "Knight of Malta". He, on the other hand, never called Censa by her name, but always called her "Lady Malta", and, usually in jest rather than actual civility, would bow to her each time he saw her. Others seeing this truly thought Censa was some form of nobility and as such, began treating her with a greater respect and politeness.
In August of 2000, the final battles with the Soltans raged across the globe. The "Knight of Malta" told his "Lady Malta" goodbye before he left, however, he never returned. He died in battle in China fighting beside the magical super-powered team known as the Knights Arcanus and thousands of other troops from all over the world in one of the most epic and climactic battles of the invasion. After the Soltans left Earth and escaped back to space, a liberated Earth began to finally take stock in all that had been lost. The troops that operated out of La Madelena all left, leaving several dozen civilians to care for the facility. Censa was told to pack what she had and that all the remaining folks on La Madelena would go back to the mainland in Italy and each find a way to get back home. For Censa, that meant finding her way back to Malta.
It took four months of perilous dealings to finally get a boat ride back to Malta. When she arrived back in Malta, she saw that most of the island was in decent shape; only Fort St Angelo and the Capital city of Valletta had been damaged by the Soltans. Censa went back to her home where she saw that someone had been living there.
It was her mother and brother.
They'd both survived the Soltan invasion. After a tearful reunion and stories told, they all settled in back to a normal life as best they could under the impoverished conditions that the island was now under.
A day after Censa's return, Censa's mother in one of her dozens of stories of the invasion, mentioned that a strange man in a black and orange cloak appeared at their home weeks after the end of the invasion asking for a "Lady Malta" and that they sent him away not knowing who he was talking about. Censa excitedly demanded to know more about this man, wondering if it was her 'Knight of Malta'. In describing the cloaked man, Censa quickly realized it was not the "Knight of Malta" she knew. At that point the mother said the strange man gave her a smooth rock and told Censa's mother that if Lady Malta was ever found to give her the rock, break it, and wait for him to return to her, also mentioning it was vitally important. After explaining to her mother that she herself was the actual "Lady Malta", Censa asked where the rock was. The mother said she thought the man was crazy and dropped the rock on the ground outside the house.
After searching for a half hour around the outside of their house, they found the smooth stone. Censa quickly broke the stone in two and patiently waited.
After several hours, Censa finally went off to bed, saddened and frustrated over this whole situation, truly believing the cloaked man to be nothing more that an actual crazy man that just happened to hear the name "Lady Malta" in story one day. Censa went to sleep with a tear on her cheek.
At midnight, Censa awoke to a dark figure standing over the foot of her bed. As she was about to scream, the dark figure placed a finger to his lips, smiled, and bowed, stating "My quest is over. I have finally found you, Lady Malta". The imposing man was a figure she'd seen on the TV and in the news; he was the leader of the Knights Arcanus - the famous Samhain Knight.
Censa lept out of bed quickly demanding to know where her "Knight of Malta" was. Samhain Knight knelt down to the girl and said, "I have much to tell you, but first, let's wake your mother and brother, because they too will want to hear the tale of what I know so that others, such as yourself, will one day, be able to tell about a man with a lion's savagery and a warrior's heart all contained with the kindness and gentleness of a dove".
After awaking the rest of the family and hot tea made, Samhain Knight told the family of his encounter with the man only known as the "Knight of Malta". They'd fought in several battles prior to the last great battle in China and, using the staff of life, he'd saved several of his knights from certain death. Sadly, in the final battle in China, he died early in the fight. There was nothing that could be done, and no body to recover. All that was left was part of his cloak and the Staff of Life. Prior to charging into battle, Samhain Knight mentioned that this great man made him promise that should the 'Knight of Malta' die that day in battle that I was charged do everything possible to get the staff back to the only person he deemed worthy of bearing it again; the Lady Malta from the island of Malta. After describing the Lady Malta's age and features, the Knight of Malta hoped that one day, Censa would take up the staff and once again use it as he did to save lives in the name of God and for the sake of humanity. Samhain Knight shed a tear as he told the story, stating several more time that he was a 'good man'. Censa hugged the crying knight and both cried together over their loss. Not a dry eye existed in that house by story's end.
All had fallen asleep amidst their final hour together, awaking some eight o'clock that morning. Samhain Knight had left already, leaving behind the Staff of Life, wrapped in a wool blanket, along with the remnants of the tunic that her brave Knight of Malta once wore...and another smooth stone. After admiring the staff's beauty once again, she grew sad, remembering the good that her Knight of Malta had done with the staff.
That's when Censa got a look of determination on her face.
She took the staff and went to the local hospital where over three dozen people resided due to their injuries during the Soltan Invasion and/or dysentery. She went from patient to patient, gently applying the top of the staff onto the body of each hospitalized person, attempting to heal them in some way. Some had lost limbs, which, even with the staff, sadly, were not able to grow back. The best part of her actions though, was that all the patients all felt 'better' than they'd felt in a long time. Those near death or with dysentery were soon up and out of bed as if nothing were ever wrong with them. Those with internal injuries from the war were repaired and back on their feet as if nothing was ever wrong with them. The doctors and nurses called it a 'miracle', however, the local pastor, visiting the hospital at that time, had other words to say.
He knew what the staff was and yelled at Censa that it belonged to the Grandmaster of the Order of Malta before the invasion and that the staff was not hers. As he attempted to take it away from her, Censa used her Crav Maga training and fought the pastor, knocking him to the ground. The pastor, displeased and angry, ran off into the streets. The encounter with the pastor would create a situation that would take decades later to resolve.
After running home again, two hours later, police and a group of men dressed in the Order of Malta arrived at Censa's home. In a tense discussion, the story was told of what had happened to the staff and that she was 'charged' by the previous Grandmaster to care for it, as was the Knight of Malta and Samhain Knight himself. To that, Malta's premiere Master of Malta told Censa that only those of the first class of the Order of Malta were allowed to bear if not touch the staff and that she was in violation of dozens of Papal orders of the Catholic church for what had been done with the staff. She yelled, screamed and demanded that the staff was her responsibility and that 'if the "Order" had done their job, that their Grandmaster and her father would be alive today. She stated that the current "Order" wasn't worthy to touch the staff because they weren't using it for what it was made for; to help people; instead they used it as a relic to parade around with'.
At this point, the police demanded Censa to turn over the staff to the Order, stating that it would be considered stolen property otherwise. Instead, Censa ran across the room, grabbed the smooth rock left by Samhain Knight and smashed the rock on the table, breaking it in two. Censa stood before the police with a look of disdain, blocking them from the staff, stating, if you want the staff, 'you'll have to talk to him'. After inquiring for a minute's time 'who' 'him' was, a cloaked figure appeared in the the Camilleri's front doorway - it was the Samhain Knight.
The police drew their weapons only to be disarmed before they knew what was happening. Samhain Knight field stripped the weapons, letting the gun parts fall to the floor before them without ever looking away from the entourage. Angrily, the representatives from the Order demanded Samhain knight leave and that he had no part of this. Samhain Knight smirked, stating that he had 'everything' to do with this, since THIS staff was stolen property, thanks to Merlin about 1500 years ago. He stated that Merlin stole this from 'the owners' of the staff and left it out amongst normal men, whom the staff was never meant for. The staff is an item that was created by the Holy school of magic and that his own "Order", to which he stated he no longer belonged to, would want it back.
Even Censa was a bit upset hearing this, yet Samhain Knight continued on...
"As it is, my "order" and your "order" are at odds over the 'finders-keepers' situation that this staff represents, acting on behalf of those who once owned the staff, I recommend a compromise". The Order of Malta men told him to state the compromise, but they were sure they wouldn't agree to it with Samhain Knight being a 'pagan', non-Christian killer. Samhain Knight mentioned he took offense to that, and as such stated that the compromise would now be harsher for their uncaring words.
Samhain Knight then proposed that the Order of Malta would retain the staff, for now, and use it however they see fit, however, upon such time as Censa...Lady Malta, here....is ready to do so, she will claim responsibility of it and use it as it was entrusted for her to be used for by YOUR last Grandmaster, YOUR last security guard who abdicated the staff's safety to the young lady, the last true Knight or YOUR order worthy to even touch the staff, and of course, the young lady herself, whose bravery and dedication to the staff has proven her worthiness of the staff FAR MORE than anyone in this room or elsewhere deserves."
Samhain Knight whispered to Censa, "I saw what you did at the hospital; brilliant idea!".
Samhain Knight then focused back on the entourage and sternly stated, "When she is done with the staff or she dies, the staff goes back to MY order, unless of course, YOUR order is deemed more worthy to continue its safe keeping. The arbiter of such decision will be Censa herself, who will identify in her last will & testament who shall receive the staff. I think THAT is fair, and as such dare you to come up with a more viable compromise before I depart in the next few minutes for breakfast. What say you?"
Stuttering and mumbling the men of the Order of Malta finally stated that their orders about this situation can only come from the Pope himself, since the staff was entrusted to the order by the Pope hundreds of years before. Samhain Knight then said, "AH! Of course; his Eminence! Good thinking!" With that, Samhain Knight pulled out a large satellite phone from his belt and started dialing. A minute later, Samhain Knight handed the Satphone to the Order of Malta's leaders so they could talk directly to the Pope himself about the situation.
The Pope agreed with Samhain Knight, much to the surprise of all involved.
The men of the Order of Malta agreed to the compromise, but explained that they were deeply concerned over giving over the staff to a 'girl'. Samhain Knight responded, "You need to get with the times, gentlemen; women are beyond burning at stakes and drowning in the name of God; they are far more worthy to carry a source of saving lives than even I or any of my knights deem to dare ourselves. I believe you need to expand your thinking, sir, before you become more archaic than this armor I wear". With a bow to Censa, he dropped a smooth rock on the floor before her, and gave a stern look to the Order of Malta and the police. He then turned back onto the street and simply disappeared into thin air.
The Order of Malta took the staff back to Rome, where it was said to have been 'studied' by scientists and clerics who'd never known the full extent of the staff's powers. It was eventually entrusted to the next Grandmaster of the Order of Malta, with the proviso that once Censa was ready to accept the staff, the Grandmaster would be responsible for its safety. Aside from several attempts at stealing it, the Order and Knights of Malta protected the staff until the day Censa finally arrived to claim it.
From the time the "Compromise of the Staff of Life" was performed in the foyer of the Camilleri's Maltan home, Censa took her new tasking to heart. She trained her mind to be disciplined; her body to be a weapon, and her skills to follow in the name of God. As a good Catholic girl, she followed the faith as a devout Christian. She also spent 10 hours a week practicing judo, Crav Maga, Savate, Tao-Bo and staff/stick fighting. She also trained to become a doctor of medicine, majoring in trauma and emergency medicines. She'd also joined the Order of Malta and began her efforts towards becoming a Knight of Malta, going through the rituals and eventually becoming a 2nd class knight in the order. As such, she earned the title of "Knight of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and Malta".
Pleased with Censa's efforts to earn the staff through working with the Order of Malta rather than against it, on her 23rd birthday, at Sensa's bequest, she was re-presented the Staff of Light. With the staff, she also received instructions on what the staff was capable of, now that the Papacy had instructed their scientists to test and write procedures regarding all of what the staff was capable of. In a formal ceremony, she was made a First Class Knight of the Order and Knights of Malta. After the ceremony, Censa was placed on a videochat with the Pope himself, telling her that he would pray for her everyday and to let her know that the faith believes in her and her actions.
Censa had followed the exploits of Samhain Knight and his Knights Arcanus over the previous decade and a half. She realized that in order to use the staff to its best capacity, she would honor the previous Knight of Malta and take his place amongst the Knights Arcanus' ranks, of course, after earning her spot amongst them as a true knight of their order. With that, Censa broke the smooth stone that Samhain Knight had left her years before. Within hours, Samhain knight appeared before her; older, more battle-worn, but still with the same air of leadership he'd shown more than a decade before. He gave Censa a slight bow, for which she returned as well. After asking Samhain Knight for the honor to be allowed to be tested to be worthy of being a knight of the Knights Arcanus, Samhain Knight noted that their life was rife with conflict, combat and at times harsh conditions; situation not normally befitting a lady. Censa replied, unless you intend to burn me at a stake or drown me in the name of God, I believe I can perform as a proper knight, should you accept me, that is. WIth that, Censa was entitled as a Knight Errant, and her training began.
After several grueling months of hardship, training, and two trials, she was awarded knighthood with the Knights Arcanus.
The Order of Malta was incensed.
NEVER had a Knight of Malta also been a knight in any 'pagan' religion at the same time; it was unheard of; scandalous. The Grandmaster of the Order of Malta recalled Censa to Rome to discuss the situation. In the end, Censa stated that it was the order's choice whether to denounce her or not, but she was only acting the best way for the safety and most practical utilization of the staff; amidst the Knights Arcanus, where they would protect her and die for her as she would die for them, all to ensure no one else unworthy of the staff was ever to take it from her. The Grandmaster expressed his disdain over the situation and said he 'will pray' for her swift death so that the staff would find its way back to the church...one way or another.
As a side note, the current Grandmaster of the Order of Malta is said to had been ill days after the staff left the Order of Malta and through some miracle, beat death, looking more lively than ever before and with a whole new view of how the order was to operate. It almost seemed like he was a completely different man...
Today, "Lady Malta" is a member of both the Knights Arcanus and the Knights of Malta; she divides her time between humanitarian work, saving lives with her skills and/or the staff, and fighting alongside her fellow Knights Arcanus. Since her arrival with the Knights Arcanus, several attempts had been made on her life, all unsuccessfully, causing her to take up residency at the Knights Arcanus' base of operations, The Hacienda. She is still unmarried, living a life of celibacy and poverty. She attends church as a devout Catholic Christian and spends all her spare time helping others, especially children. When she fights, she is a whole different person; focused, combative and offensive in her actions as equally as defensive.
She had yet to take a life, but she has already stated that if it is 'God's will' that she take a life, then that is how she will accept it as. She visits her family on occasion, and even keeps in contact with her college and med school friends from the University of Malta, drinking nothing stronger than Horlicks malted milk (her favorite drink). The only emotion she shows to any man is her leader, Samhain Knight, for whom she admires and trusts with her life not only as a leader, but a mentor.
First Class Knight of Justice in the Knights of Malta
Malta Knight of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and Malta
None. Normal human.
The Malta Staff (Staff of Life)
Unearthly material staff
2 Millennia old Holy relic found by human non-magic users and used only by Conglomerate; Merlin leaves Conglomerate in 5th century and takes the relic with him, putting it into his walking stick; lost after death of King Arthur; found again in European cave in 1100s and given to Pope who eventually ordained it to Knights Hospitalle to 'heal' during Crusades; after Crusades, went back to Pope and made into a religious staff in 1600s; given to Grandmasters of Order of Malta held onto it in secret up until Soltan Invasion
Upon contact, can induce incredible healing for each few seconds the staff is in contact with the subject
Subject can be brought back from the dead so long as not missing >30% of body parts and that body has not been dead for longer than 10 minutes
Cannot regrow missing limbs, fingers, toes, eyes, ears etc.
Cleanses subject's psyche from any form of incredibly strong mental control, curse or dark arts-based magical and/or mental effects or attacks
So long as bearer is touching the staff, bearer has incredible mental protection and magical attack protection (negates magical attacks, but not associated effects (i.e., stuns, slams).
If within a few hundred feet of a Ley Line, the staff's abilities increased by an additional rank/factor.
Typical protection vs all forms of attack/effects
Arcane Flight Boots
Excellent material strength.
Can levitate the wearer to fly up to 25 mph at an altitude of no greater than 400 feet above the ground.
Must be mystically recharged every quarter year (usually done on day of solstices).
Medical Field Belt
Censa carries a wide variety of standard and magical medical and healing items and accouterments for use in field medicine.
Always wears mask, provides remarkable toxin/poison filtering and protection
Goggles are normally kept in tunic, but can be quickly applied, providing remarkable toxin/poison protection and good flash/light blast protection
Steed: White Andalusian Horse (Thoroughbred) - "Tama" ("Hope")
Excellent speed on ground and air
Has a magically instilled 'healing' aura, allowing poor level healing every several seconds when one rides atop Tama.
Has typical warhorse armor for physical, energy and magical protection
Martial Arts Training (Master)
Medical Doctor (Master)
Military Field Surgery
Christian Religion (Professional)
Christian Holy Relics
Ancient Christian Texts and Tomes
Order of Malta