She was short, the same height as Accord. Parian wears a costume reminiscent of a Victorian-style porcelain doll, with golden curls. After joining the Undersiders, she changes her dress and hair to black in order to appear more intimidating.
Underneath the costume, she stands just over five feet tall and is of obvious Middle-Eastern descent, with dark skin, full lips, and large, dark eyes.
Parian's power gives her a fine control over lightweight materials. If she attempts to control anything heavier than a half-pound, her telekinesis falls apart. It becomes more unstable when she attempts to move large objects until it expands and dissipates over an area in an attempt to extend control to a number of tiny, lightweight objects.
Parian discovered that she could contain her power and keep it from dissipating. Porous materials worked best for this method as her power soaks into them and allows her to move the fabric rather than just the material. The gaps within the material also allow her to feed power into the 'shell' without it building to critical mass and collapsing.
Wildbow has mentioned that Parian has a "true use" of her power, which is effective against Behemoth, although it was not revealed in Worm.
The true use of Parian's power was later revealed to be working with the skin of dead humans. She can flay corpses and infuse their skins with her ability, manipulating it like she would any other material, but with better control and more strength. She can also use hair and tendons from corpses as thread. By sewing the skins of numerous dead together, she can create a giant construct that is capable of taking an attack from a Titan.
Sabah immigrated to the United States of America from Basra with her family before they moved to Brockton Bay. There she had been forced to learn English alongside other subject matter by herself as her parents were too busy. After graduating high school, she attended university where she studied the 'grittier' courses such as math and engineering.
Sabah drew attention from a boy in her class that became interested in her. She tried telling him 'no' multiple times but wound up being labeled as a 'bitch'. The other students wound up hearing and turned on her which lead to her schoolwork starting to suffer as no one wanted to work or study with her. She caved six weeks afterward and apologized to the boy, telling him that she had had a bad day. She began dreading going back to class and dealing with him.
Eventually, Sabah's father suffered a terminal heart attack. She triggered on what was only one in a long string of nights spent alone, stewing in frustration. It was the push she needed to get away from the boy as it gave her a new goal: success in fashion design.
After triggering, she was described by Taylor as only using her powers for "business or entertainment". She sometimes partnered with stores in downtown Brockton Bay, animating mascots or other large characters for promotional purposes.
After the people she was offering protection to were surgically altered by Bonesaw to look like the members of the Slaughterhouse Nine, she took up Skitter's offer to join the Undersiders in order to afford good doctors to reverse the result of Bonesaw's attention.
She struggled to take control of Bitch's old territory, not having the respect or other villainous qualities of the other Undersiders. She was extremely cautious of Accord, wary for a trap at any moment.
However, she would negotiate with the local heroes, leading to Skitter's Surrender. As events were underway, she was finally joined by her friend and ally Flechette, who changed her name to Foil and became Parian's lieutenant and lover.
Parian was alongside The Undersiders and Breakthrough during the oversight duty of Titan Oberon and Eve. During the battle of titans she stayed with the rear group, where she shielded people from the effects of the gas, and helped them to retreat later, saving Chastity Vasil. Later she provided expendable puppets until she ran out of materials. She recovered Foil and Switch Hitter with leather-made bird. With Wardens approval and on Tattletale insistence she used bodies of the fallen capes to create a giant skin puppet and tie down Titan Skadi.
She was present during the fight with Fortuna's titans.
“I’m just… I know what it’s like, to be on a single track, to feel compelled to keep going forward. It isn’t easy, to disappoint the people you care about, but sometimes it comes down to doing that… or doing what they want and being unhappy.” When asked what she knows about Skitter's motivations.
↑Parian is ~21 or so. Oldest member of the Undersiders. Not sure on this one, really don't feel like searching for it. Midway through a fashion degree when she makes her first appearance (this is after several years of an engineering degree IIRC) - see her interlude for details. - Post by Wildbow, archived on Spacebattles
↑ 2.02.1‘Master’ refers to the ability to control others or (in the case of specialized cases of other powers, like Tinkers) to create minons… Taylor, Parian, Crusader, Heartbreaker and Nilbog all fit this classification. Bitch is kind of an outlying case in this category because she doesn’t have absolute control or loyalty from those she creates. She has to train them – of the sixteen or so dogs she had at the one shelter, she only considered eight well trained enough to obey her and come with her in this chapter, and even then she was relying on Brutus and Judas to sort of herd them and keep them in line. - Comment on Extermination 8.5
↑“Parian,” Kid Win replied. “A parian doll was a kind of doll about a hundred and fifty years ago. Though Parian’s costume is actually closer to a more classical Victorian style porcelain doll, from the same era.”
“Oh.” That was random. What kind of guy knew that much about dolls?
He went on, “She’s a rogue. Fashion student with the costume and stuffed animals as a gimmick to help her build for a professional reputation and stand out. Tentative rating of Master-6, but we haven’t really seen her fight, outside of the Leviathan encounter.” - Excerpt from Sentinel 9.2
↑ 4.04.1Parian, Sabah – Controls the northern end of the city. Not an official member of the group, but tied to their alliance. Once a ‘rogue’, Parian saw many of her friends, family and classmates die when the Slaughterhouse Nine attacked the territory she was protecting. In the hopes of protecting and supporting others, and perhaps giving the Undersiders a more moral voice, she has joined their alliance and taken control of a territory of her own. Parian’s powers allow her fine manipulation of smaller and lighter objects, and can ‘fill’ larger vessels to render them effectively heavy, dense and heavy-hitting. She has used this to fashion cloth dolls she animates. Wears a frock as a costume, with a porcelain doll’s face for a mask, and a wig of golden curls. - Cast (in depth)
↑ 5.05.1Primarily to make her disguise more effective, also to make a statement.
She was working on the assumption that she’d reveal her identity at some point. It was common knowledge that she was a fashion student doing Rogue work and getting exposure as Parian to gain some prominence. Hiding her identity in that way was a way of doing such (because of her distinct appearance). Allowing some connection between her real race and her appearance would only make it blatantly obvious, with the clues that were already out there.
Eventually revealing herself to be middle eastern, down the road, would give her room to open a dialogue on the subject and add some drama to what otherwiise(sic) be a ‘meh’ moment. -
Comment by Wildbow on Sentinel 9.2
↑“There’s two major issues we have to deal with,” Tattletale said. “Accord is going to be one. The other is-
The girl entered the room, two large dogs flanking her, the wolf cub trailing behind, unmodified by her powers. The young American bulldog, still not fully grown, an older pitbull that bore the scars of old dogfights. The wolf cub was comparatively small. Adorable. Adorable and capable of turning into a murder machine the size of a pony.
Bitch was imposing in an entirely different way than Grue was. Grue was intimidating, but he was fair. Rational. Bitch wasn’t either of those things. Her blond hair was shaggy, having grown in, combed with little more than fingers, if appearance was any indication. The glimpses of her face that showed in the midst of the hair were a wary glower. - Excerpt from Interlude 21.y
↑“Stay back,” Parian warned. She peeked out from behind the gorilla. Her mask, a doll’s face, was smudged, and a crack ran from the corner of one eye to the ear. She wore a frock, different than the one she had worn for the Leviathan fight, but it was wet, dirty, and some of the lace had torn. There was a wood chip in the damp golden curls that were otherwise too perfectly coiled to be real hair[.][sic]
Parian hesitated, then reached up and removed her mask. Though her clothing style was western, her wig all blonde curls, her face was dark, middle eastern. There were bands of metal extending from the edges of her face to the middle of her cheekbones, her chin and her forehead. Mounts to keep her mask in position? She had full lips and large, dark eyes. “Sabah.” - Excerpt from Sentinel 9.2
↑ 9.09.1In her earlier incarnations, when I wrote her as a protagonist during some snippets, it was (most often) during a Behemoth attack. Flechette was present, as a rule, and the attraction was sort of reversed, with a bit of hero worship on Parian's part, that ran a bit deeper.
Parian against Behemoth sounds like a joke, but you see, there's a true use of Parian's power that doesn't show up in Worm. - Post by Wildbow on Spacebattles
↑And I saw her approach the rows of bodies. People covered in sheets. Some with people standing by them. She took the sheets, drawing out threads and weaving them together.
Then, with telekinetic control over fine blades, she began cutting into bodies. Some had been crushed, some had been cut, others afflicted with gas, their skin ulcerous.
“Oh my god,” I heard Foil. She pressed her hands over her mouth.
Flayed skin sewn to skin, like Parian had used cloth before. Orifices sealed shut. People became parts of a wider canvas. That canvas, with many dead, began to take form.
The sheets became one doll. Like Parian’s bigger creations, it reached a height of about twenty feet. I’d seen smaller at the fight against Leviathan. This one remained featureless. Nothing spared for decoration. Bloody, because the sheets had covered people that had been torn apart.
When thread ran out, she began using tendons from the body, or hair.
Skin stretched like most cloth didn’t. But that wasn’t why it was so much bigger, or why it seemed more flexible than the cloth creations, less clumsy.
The thing took form. It wasn’t Titan sized, but it was a bit bigger than the Gibborim Knight had been. Skin stretched translucent thin. It was mostly human shaped, streaked with the blood that had leaked out in the flaying.
Skadi plunged her blade straight down at Parian.
The skin-thing struck out, protecting its controller, wrestling Skadi to the ground.
She cut, and the telekinesis that saturated the skin seemed to protect it from the cut. - Excerpt from Radiation 18.6
↑Parian – A rogue, or a parahuman who focuses more on civilian life than on heroics/villainy, an aspiring fashion designer, she uses her telekinesis to maintain animated cloth puppets. - Cast (spoiler free)
↑A scattered few independent heroes and villains were around as well. Few I could name. I saw a girl dressed up like an old fashioned doll. Parian. She was local, and she wasn’t hero or villain. A rogue, who only used her powers for business or entertainment. She could sometimes be seen doing some promotion for a store downtown, giving life to some massive stuffed animal or a store mascot. She’d done an interview in a magazine I’d read back before I had powers, and I knew she was a fashion student, though she wasn’t revealing just who she was until after she was more established. She looked as though she were trapped in a conversation with a curly haired, dimple-cheeked villainess that looked no older than eight, who wore a frock that was maybe from the same period as Parian’s. The pseudo-child was Bambina, if I was remembering right. - Extermination 8.1