A’tha, The Explorer

Background

Please. Hear me. You know what it’s like to lose your father. Don’t make me lose mine.

I was born here in the Wathia-lands, like you. I grew up in Fefa, to the south. Despite our people’s oppression, my family was happy. We were farther from Shirakh, and the Shirakhi only came to our village to collect taxes. They were not our constant jailors, as I know they are with you.

My leg was like this when I was born. I learned to read early – it was the only way I could see the world. My parents knew an inventor in the village, though, and he built these leg-crutches for me when I was growing up, so I could work the fields and walk the cows to market. But I wasn’t a good child. As soon as I could walk, I wanted to run. I went everywhere. I spent hours in the hills to the south, finding things left over from the Shogunate. I sold some for tax money; traded others for stories about what else was in the hills. I tried to earn my keep.

One day when I came home my father was on the floor! He had fallen, and did not wake for three days. Mother explained, when she came back from the field, that he had been in poor health. He was getting worse. He didn’t want to tell me because he was worried I would stay home. Mother couldn’t afford a doctor – and you, of all people, know that even silver does not guarantee a visit from a Shirakhi doctor. I have seen him waste away in just a few weeks.

Then the meteor came. And yes, I was changed. I went to see the crater myself, but it was empty, and I could not stay to learn more.

There are stories of an ancient manse in the southern hills. A place where a brilliant surgeon lived during the Shogunate, a Wood-aspect who poured her magic into the trees there. They say that the dates from these trees can cure any illness. This is my only hope. It may only be rumor, but I must try.

I cannot help you now. I cannot. But help me find this place, help me save my father, and I will stand by you against the Shirakhi. Whatever the cost.

Appearance

atha-500

A’tha is surrounded by encouragement from her village. Her hair is caked with incnse and red-pink mud, a treatment promised by local healers to keep away her father’s wasting sickness. She wears dozens of bead necklaces made by her aunts and uncles, to reminder her of their faith in her.

A’tha’s face shows the strain of her current situation. Her dark brown eyes are weary. Her young face is becoming worn by lack of sleep. Her skin, normally a moderate reddish brown, is darkening from all her time spent in the sun. Her clothing is becoming tattered. Her right leg is a prosthesis from the knee down.

Demeanor

Focused, determined, and desperate. A’tha has a sharp mind that soaks in facts. Her snap decisions are better than most people’s careful thinking. It’s impossible to see her as unemotional in this time of need, but she’s decidedly a rational thinker. She’ll weigh the options and choose the path that has the highest chance of success.

Behind all this, A’tha feels incredibly guilty. She is slowly coming apart at the seams under the pressure of finding a cure for her father. She wishes that she had stayed home and worked the farm instead of spending weeks at a time in the southern hills. Perhaps then she would have noticed… but it is too late for that now. She pushes the guilt aside and works to find a cure. At this point she’d even accept help from the Shirakhi.

Intimacies: Family comes first (defining), See the world (major), The city of Shirakh is a poison (major), Only fools rush in.

Capabilities

A’tha’s youth gave her intellect; her adolescence gave her strength and endurance. Walking with a crutch required greater stamina, so she built up to it. She’s a little awkward, both physically and socially. She knows how to find food and shelter in the wilderness, and how to navigate. Her knowledge of the Wathia-lands is encyclopedic – if she hasn’t been somewhere, she’s met someone who has. She’s also learned how to build her own prosthetics, though they’re not quite as good as the ones the inventor makes.

When the meteor fell, Atha’a became one of the Twilight caste. Lore is her supernal ability. She breathes in knowledge and breathes out wisdom. The study of old ruins and tomes replenishes her. (This makes her inability to find a cure all the more frustrating.) She was always interested in languages; now she’s a mathematician to boot. Artifacts open to reveal her their secrets. Buildings practically tell her how they’re laid out. Where other Solars might have their past incarnations whispering the knowledge of ancient times into their minds, A’tha gains knowledge from the world itself.

A’tha isn’t above picking up a few “dirty tricks” to make her exploration easier. She can walk through doors, open locks with a touch, and slip out of both handcuffs and tight spaces. She can feel the click of a trap mechanism and hear the hiss of poison gas entering a room. She’s sort of a jack of all trades when it comes to exploration.

A’tha carries a boomerang for hunting, and a longknife that she can use for self-defense. She parries well. Her skin hardens against assaults. She’s not a trained warrior, but she’d be deadly leading a group of insurgents into the castle.

Supporting Characters

  • Osthes, who smuggled books to her parents when she was young. Bossy, industrious, discrete.
  • Eixafel, the inventor of her prosthesis – imprisoned by the Shirakhi. Austere, hilarious, insightful.
  • Yesesh, a hermit she met in the hills. Hedonistic, boastful, carefree.
  • Ivriash, the village healer. Calm, cautious, incompetent.

Questions

  • Would A’tha trust an outsider to heal her father?
  • How much has A’tha pushed herself? Is she close to falling apart, either mentally or physically?
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