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Calista

"I have become what I need to be, and I will not regret that."

0 · 189 views · located in Baekoth

a character in “Revolution of the Heretical”, originally authored by Kurokiku, as played by RolePlayGateway

Description

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"In the end, all we have are ourselves. Why should we not cultivate these to the apex of their potential?"



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“Everyone has their strength. The thing that lies deep in the core of their being and can be tapped, like a ley-line of power. Mine is anger, and that was horrific for a time. But I have learned to accept this about myself, even if others cannot.”



Description
A nymph is a fair creature by nature, though of course there is no universal standard by which such things can be measured. Calista’s is a rather delicate aspect, and if she could be compared to another denizen of the forest, she might do best when analogized to a hummingbird—bright and colorful, but assuredly fragile. Her plumage, so to speak, is every bit as vibrant, and her bones just as hollow. This is not the case with all nymphs, but she shows favor to the element of air, making her of the sylph subtype, rather than the earthier dryad or the watery naiad. This affinity manifests in subtle ways that, when taken together, are a little more pronounced. There is, for instance, a certain smooth flow to everything she does, from the way she moves to the cadence of her words, which also carry a whispery undertone. She is colored similarly to sun and sky, and very, very small by human standards. Notably smells—rather literally—like a breath of fresh air, with a touch of pine or cedar.

Appearance
  • Hair: Sunny blonde, with touches of fawn-brown. Loose, it reaches just below her waist, softly-wavy.
  • Eyes: Blue-green, almond-shaped.
  • Build: Willowy, and honestly less sturdy-looking than most. She appears as though a sufficiently-strong breeze could carry her away. All things considered, that makes sense.
  • Skin Tone: Fair, but clearly at least touched by sunlight.
  • Height: 5’0”
  • Weight: 65—though admittedly, she doesn’t look quite so thin. Her bones are partially hollow, which accounts for her negligible heft. If they were not, she would perhaps hit 100. Barely.
  • Voice: Airy, soft, but with a note of stubbornness that never used to be there.
  • Handed: Decent with both, favors the right a bit.
  • Body Markings: None.
  • Scar Tissue: None.
  • Unique Body Features: Calista’s pupils do not change size, regardless of light stimulation.

Name
Calista

Nickname
None

Title
Occasionally, she has been called Greenspeaker. More recently, those she once called her sisters have stripped her of all such titles. She is only Unfettered, now, and this is not a good thing.

Race
Nymph (Sylph)

Visual Age
Mid-twenties

Factual Age
24

Gender
Female

Sexual Orientation
Demisexual, panromantic.

Mage Ranking
Dur’hest, the Zealous

Class
Mage



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“Only those who love can be moved to rage. Though many of these love only themselves, and so their rage is fire—it burns hot, but not long, and then they are reduced to petty grudges. This, I have learned, is not the true nature of anger.”



Personality
Nymphs, while subject to some degree of individual variation, are less diverse in terms of personality than humans, generally. This is partially due to their deep connection with and empathy for nature, which predisposes them to gentle, shy demeanors, including a touch of playful curiosity. They are innocent, they are jovial, they are naïve. Calista is none of these things, not any longer.

Circumstances have made her into something quite different. While all of her kind are prone to be careful guardians of their homes, being without one has warped that gentle protectiveness into something much darker, something vengeful, in truth. She is a guardian with nothing to guard, and it has set her adrift in a way so fundamental that even her sisters acknowledge it. There is a word—the Common translation is Unfettered. While to most it would carry a connotation of freedom, to a nymph it means placelessness, being set adrift, without purpose. It is cause for deep existential crisis, and great uncertainty. Others of her kind have died from it, from the severing of that vital connection to one’s being-place, one’s home.

Calista did not die, but she expects that one day, it will kill her. Whether that is from the grief or in the attempt to avenge herself on those responsible, she doesn’t much seem to care. She was never a hateful or angry person before, but it feels as if what was torn away from her left a chasm, an empty space where her soul used to be, and what rushed in to fill that void was rage at its loss. She had never been violent, either, but things have a way of changing, and she has changed with them. Calista is hard now, and cold, though at first pass she may still seem soft and warm—she laughs and dances and smiles still, but to her alone, all of these things feel empty and meaningless. She is a broken thing, irreparably altered and alienated from herself and those like her.

Well, there are no longer those like her. She is Unfettered, and that means she is alone.

In her interactions with those she comes across, she can seem fey and strange. There’s a certain kind of celerity to her demeanor, something that keeps her always buzzing with some kind of humming movement, an energy and a restlessness. She’s friendly in an effortless sort of way, being generally pleasant in appearance, smiling and clean and not reeking of blood and dirt. She isn’t all that shy, anymore, and can pick up a conversation as quickly and easily as her lilting, slightly-awkward grasp of the Common tongue will allow. She flits around as breezily as any bird, the hem of her dress dancing around her knees, and for all that it’s as though she might well disappear at any moment, leaving only an echo behind.

When it’s time to get down to business, however, she is not the one who has most difficulty. Her magic is second-nature; she was born with an innate understanding of much of it, and the rest, she learned from her sisters. Calista is not afraid of what she can do, and though she respects the magic, viewing it as a gift from the Forest to herself, she is liberal in its use all the same, and over the last few years, has shifted from the applications required of a guardian and a gatekeeper to those needed by one who goes to war. Because this is the path she treads now, and though it takes her further from what she was, it takes her forward, and that is all that matters, now.

Quirks
  • Blank Stare || Calista is blind. This is not necessarily the easiest thing to discern, because she does a very good job of navigating in most environments due to the application of her abilities. She is also quite skilled at locating people relative to herself, and will often make something very close to direct eye contact with someone who is speaking to her. Though she does not, at first pass, appear to be blind, there is something a little vacant about her eyes, which can be slightly unnerving, though it is often difficult to say why. The explanation usually clears things up.
  • Flautist || Though unable to see, Calista’s other senses are things she has honed to be as good as possible, and she is very talented at differentiating sounds, even to minute degrees. This gives her excellent, if not perfect, pitch, and she greatly enjoys music. Herself a flautist, she plays primarily for the sense of calm it gives her, something she has learned to value a great deal.
  • Tactile || She gets to know things by touching them. This is simply a facet of her situation. It helps that she was once very affectionate and touchy in that sense, and so was relatively used to interpersonal contact of benign sorts beforehand. She is aware that not everyone takes this sort of thing well, and so generally curbs the tendency when it comes to humanoid beings, but pretty much everything else is fair game.

Moral Alignment
  • Chaotic Good || The forest does not recognize the laws of men and others. It knows only its own mandate, and even then, the nymphs are a kind apart. Capable of great benevolence, they are also fiercely protective and deeply rooted in tradition. Calista’s pursuit of vengeance and reparations for what was done to her home are not perhaps in keeping with goodness in some senses of the word, but she herself is still capable of much beneficence, even if she does not quite believe it.

Virtue/Creed
  • The Forest will have her due.

Motivation
  • Justice/Vengeance || Calista is without a being-place, and that is to be other than nymph. There is no hope of regaining what was lost. Desiring not to be without purpose entirely, she has set herself with surprising stubbornness and fortitude upon the path of retribution. What was taken may not be returned, but something equal will be taken in turn. She will make sure of it.

Fears
  • Cages || Thankfully, it is quite difficult to cage the wind, but Calista is far too free-spirited and in need of open space and independence to tolerate any form of imprisonment. Even her work with the rebels is done of her own volition, and she is perhaps not the best at taking orders—not until she can be made to see the benefit in doing so, anyway.
  • Fire || Her being-place was burned, her soul consumed in Aule’s fire. If that is not reason to fear, then there is no reason.

Goal
  • A Death || She knows not his name of his title, but she does know that he worked for the Messiah-Queen, and burned through her little forest on his way to whatever greater affairs he had in mind. She will find him, and then one of them will die. Deep down, Calista suspects that it will be her—for he has soldiers and weapons, and she has anger and magic. Nevertheless, she finds it honestly difficult to care—what is the death of an empty shell? Surely no great loss to the world. What she is is already gone, in truth, all that remains is a husk around a broken heart.

Likes
  • Flying || There is simply no other feeling like it in the world. Nothing left to her matches the feel of the open air carrying her, the wind lifting her away from the ground. She can’t see things passing by below, but she doesn’t need to.
  • Music and Dancing || The theft of her sight was not the theft of her voice, and in that sense at least, she is still in some small measure the person she used to be. One of the few things she has not lost is her enjoyment of the simplest pleasures, among them certainly music.
  • Flora and Fauna || The sylvan tongue is not a language the way common was a language. Animals and plants do not speak in the literal sense. But they can be understood, in the sense of a sort of primal empathy. It finds expression in a tongue spoken by Calista’s people, and as such, she fears nothing in the wilderness, for she is as much of it as any other fern or rabbit is.

Dislikes
  • Soldiers || Not the kinds of people who fight because they have to, but the kinds of people who fight because they want to. She can’t decide of this dislike is because she finds them so utterly alien in the cruelty of it, or so hauntingly familiar, and similar to what she feels herself becoming.
  • Aule || t’s not like her kind have a special sort of inside knowledge on the gods, though… they do come into contact with them perhaps more often than humans do, in some ways. Whatever the case, Calista’s dislike of Aule stems simply from the fact that, bottom line, he is responsible for the destruction of her being-place, and he is not nearly so merciful as he styles himself. It is ill mercy indeed that purges the innocent with the guilty in the same flame.

Strengths
  • Willpower || Calista is not easily swayed from the paths she chooses, and though her stubbornness may not be the bullheaded kind, but more subtle, she is in the end just as immovable when she desires to be. While capricious on the surface, she has acquired a core of steel.
  • Magic || Unlike wizards or witches or even shamans, nymphs don’t require much in the way of tutelage to master their magic. It is a primitive form of the stuff perhaps, but no less potent for that. The innateness of it has both advantages and disadvantages, but for the most part, it has proven helpful.

Weaknesses
  • Culture Shock || Well, don’t ask her to spy for you. Calista is clever enough to do so, but she wasn’t raised the same way as other people, and it does show. While there are few enough nymphs around that most people don’t really believe in them, it is nevertheless evident that there’s something… different about her, so she’s bound to draw notice without intending to do so.
  • Weapons || Objects of iron and steel are largely unfamiliar to her. She can certainly hold one without cutting herself, but anything more than that is asking a bit much. Also, she might have trouble lifting even something like a longsword—physical powerhouse, she is not.

Literacy
Well… the blind can’t exactly read. Calista’s passable but not fantastic in Common, and idioms are sometimes taken too literally, for instance. Her native language is Sylvan, the tongue of the trees and the beasts. She can also speak elvish, to a better degree than Common.



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“The trees need no tongues to speak, and you no ears to hear them.”



Head
On some days, she may be sporting a headscarf of some kind, but mostly she goes bareheaded, her hair somewhere between pinned up and let loose.

Neck
Sometimes, a headscarf is just a scarf. Chances are, it’s in some kind of bright color but cheap fabric, as she favors the former and cannot afford anything but the latter. Actually, she doesn’t have money at all, but the rebels don’t mind supplying her when need-be, and since she doesn’t need or want armor or anything of that sort, it’s hardly a bother to get the girl a scarf.

Chest
Calista usually wears nothing more complicated than a dress. She has a couple different ones, but her favorite seems to be the green one, at least based on how frequently she can be seen in it. Interestingly, temperature doesn’t really seem to bother her much either way, and so she is never really in need of a cloak or more layers than the one. Even the dress is sleeveless and only hits her knees or so. Considering she used to wear leaves and such, it’s actually a bit more than she’s used to, but she kind of likes it, really.

Arm/Shoulder
She has a matched set of carved antler armbands, one thicker and one thinner, around her left upper arm.

Waist
There’s usually some form of belt holding the dress in around her waist. Usually thins is nothing more complicated than a hempen rope.

Feet
Most often nothing, though she’s been convinced to wear sandals from time to time, and boots if she needs to do so to convince someone that she’s not going to get frostbite on her toes. She finds them uncomfortable though.



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“The Forest has given me this strength, and I have failed to make a showing of her gift. That will change—they will know the wrath of the wronged, and I shall deliver it. Even if it kills me.”



Rating System
[Perfect] - [Excellent] - [Good] - [Above Average] - [Average] - [Below Average] - [Poor] - [Very Poor]


Combativeness
  • Hand-to-Hand Combat: || [Very Poor] She’s tiny and bird-boned, not to mention thoroughly untrained. She was never meant to be smacking people around, and this is relatively obvious to anyone who cares to spend more than five seconds considering it.
  • Melee Combat: || [Poor] She’d have trouble lifting anything heavier than a dagger for any length of time, for a start, and armor is entirely out of the question. That said, anything with a pointy end requires less force to use than her own hands, so it’s better than trying to wail on something with her fists. That isn’t saying much.
  • Ranged Combat: || [Very Poor] She might be able to fire a shortbow if trained, but she isn’t trained, so that’s more or less out of the question as well. Also, she's blind, which means that telling her to shoot something is incredibly stupid.
  • Magic Combat: || [Excellent] Innate understanding of her capabilities and quite a lot of practice combined with a newfound willingness to do harm to others has a way of producing potency. She is not Azanthiel, but all the same, Calista is a force of nature, and the wise would not take her physical frailty to be evidence of her capability elsewhere.
  • Mounted Combat: || [Average] She does not have need to ride anything, though she does know how. Admittedly, her mounts were slender deer rather than large warhorses, but her way with animals is usually enough to at least ensure that any given beast is friendly to her. That said, there’s simply no real reason to bother riding into a fight. Why remain tethered to the ground when you can fly?

Racial Abilities
  • Greenspeak || [Excellent] The sylvan tongue is the “language” of plants and animals, though to think of it as a language in the stripe of common or elvish is to make a conceptual error. It is not the kind of language in which one carries on conversation, because the ones spoken to are not themselves capable of speech. In a sense, it’s like connecting to the “mind” of a plant or creature, and using the speech to convey what one wishes. The other responds more with raw feeling, and sometimes the odd image in the case of animals. Interpretation of what a tree “tells” is the actual primary skill involved, and the art is primitive, though not in the sense of being unsophisticated. Perhaps primal is the better word. Interestingly, Calista insists that anyone can learn it, but some people are better than others, because of the traits it requires.
  • Survival || [Excellent] Though she is no longer wholly one with her environs, as she used to be, she is still not an enemy but an ally of nature, and as such, it is considerably less hostile to her than it is to loud, clumsy invaders. She never wants for anything in the wild, though she would be very out-of-place in a settlement.
  • Stealth || [Good] If nymphs were easy to find, everyone would still believe they existed. Should she need to, Calista can hide quite effectively, though generally speaking, she can’t do much while hidden. Assassin she is not, and her stealth, while quite good, cannot be utilized for hostile purposes, given the form it takes.

Natural Talent
  • Flight || [Excellent] Calista flies now by something like wings, but through the manipulation of air pressure and streams of wind. Theoretically, therefore, she could do this for anyone, though she is most practiced at flying herself, and as such, it might not be the best idea.
  • Agility || [Good] Being of an essentially air-based nature has its perks, and being able to move more quickly than someone more solid is one of those advantages. It’s not blink-and-you-miss-it quick or anything, but he is speedy, especially if she can build up to a dead sprint. A tailwind rarely goes awry, after all.
  • Flexibility || [Excellent] There’s nothing much to it: she’s just bendy.
  • Element Sense || [Excellent] How does one get by in the world more or less alone when one cannot see? Fairly well, if one shares Calista’s repertoire of powers. Her native element is air, and for any given radius about her person, she can perceive what the air is doing, including the ways in which it is moved. In this sense, she can detect motion. Since air itself is never perfectly still, she can also feel it bounce off solid, unmoving objects like trees. It could be likened to echolocation, without the need for sound, and works just as well behind her as in front. In that way, it may be better than sight. It works to some degree for other elements—she can feel vibrations in the ground from further away, for instance, assuming the moving object causing them is large enough. Likewise, she can sort-of tell what’s going on around her underwater, but these methods are less precise than her use of air, and can at best give her a general sense of her surroundings. Her radius is perhaps fifteen feet in any direction for the most precision, but really big stuff moving is obviously perceptible from greater distances, just as it would be for anyone.

Spells/Powers
  • Elemental Manipulation || [Excellent] Calista has some degree of control over all the primary and derivative elements, but her best efforts are obviously the ones undertaken with air. Earth is the hardest to alter, but plants are quite useable as an alternative, so she doesn’t really have a major magical weakness as such. Notably, she can combine the elements to generate small-scale weather phenomena as well, though this takes a lot out of her.
  • Healing || [Good] It’s not her primary talent, but she has the knack.
  • Gaseous Form || [Perfect] Varying by subtype, every nymph has an elemental form in line with her element. Naiads become liquid, dryads blend with trees and leaves. Sylph, like Calista, become as air itself, only slightly less transparent than the rest, resembling perhaps the palest of ghosts. Interestingly, the air molecules hold together, and reform when scattered, so she retains the same general shape. It makes her hard to see, and is thus primarily useful for hiding and flying, which is much easier when not solid.



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“So many choose to steal what would be freely-given, if only it were asked for. Thieves they are even so.”



Items
  • Flute || Carved from wood, though not by her. The thing is somewhat elaborate, at least in the details, which include patterns of vines and leaves and clouds, worked up and down the length of it. The mouthpiece is made from reed, so it has a whispery sort of tone to it.
  • Caramels || She’s rather fond of caramel candies, something she only recently discovered, and tends to carry them around in a small bag tied to her belt. Interestingly, she will sometimes attempt to use them to pay for things. They’re certainly better to have than disks of yellow or grey metal—why should they not be acceptable as currency?

Memorabilia
  • Amber || A chunk of amber, formed into something roughly like a flat diamond shape, hangs from a rawhide cord around her neck. The crude nature of the item seems to be at odds with Calista somehow, suggesting that it was not originally hers.

Accessories
  • Armbands || Made of carved antler, they seem to be the work of someone who really knew what they were doing. Smooth, polished, and carved, they are the slight off-white of natural bone.
  • Feathers || Woven into her hair, mostly. Calista has a strange sense of aesthetics, by most standards, and tends to pick up brightly-colored or particularly impressive feathers and braid them into small sections of her hair.



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“What I am is Untethered. Faithless, without center. I can never go back, and the way forward is dark now.”



Group Affiliation
Presently, she’s with the Rebellion. The official one, led by the daemon-lady, not the new one forming with the slaves and the forgotten princess. She’s actually not yet aware of that one. Not that she would care all that much if she did—frankly, the death she seeks is the only thing that registers as of particular concern anymore, and this seems like the best way to get it, so this is what she’s doing.

Marital Status
Single, and admittedly a little perplexed by the institution. Not that she objects, it’s just not something that nymphs do.

Relatives
Anyone she would have called family is either dead or has forsaken her, now. There will be no going back, once she is done, because it is not in the nature of her kind to take life.

Origin
A relatively small forest grove in one of the Aule’s many conquered territories. Nobody cared then, and she doesn’t expect that anyone will care now. She was born from a whisper of wind over the trees, she was told, but perhaps she was born from the storms after all.

Social Rank
Unfettered—to her own people, an outcast, a placeless one. To everyone else, a strange girl with an odd lack of knowledge regarding the obvious. Some have speculated that she’s a camp-follower. She does not behave as they do, however.

Occupation
Rebel, if you want to call it that.

Bio/History

"Tell me, ye Zephyrs! that unfold,
While fluttering o'er this gay Recess,
Pinions that fanned the teeming mould
Of Eden's blissful wilderness,
Did only softly-stealing hours
There close the peaceful lives of flowers?”



Though half-nymphs do exist, usually as talented witches or wizards with an affinity for the element of their mothers, the full-blooded sort are carried to term in no mother’s womb, for the world itself is their mother and father both. They come to be in showings of the elements themselves. Dryads are born form the most ancient and wise of the trees, undines from the frothing waves of the ocean or the steady flow of deep rivers, and sylphs like Calista from breezes and gusts of wind. She was, she was told, manifested from a prolonged summer breeze, warm and gentle.

The truth of it is, she was born in a fierce gale, a thunderstorm that tore apart the canopies of trees, but such things are ill omens among her people, and are never spoken of aloud.

She grew in the company of her sisters, experimenting with her magic and her nature as all young nymphs do, surrounded by music and laughter and light. Hers was a small forest, in the grand scheme of things, but it was bountiful and beautiful both, and the creatures that dwelled in it wanted for nothing, including the nymphs themselves. She flew with the birds, whispered with the trees, and slept beside the wolves and deer at night. Time had little consequence, and the outside world even less. Her concern was only for the forest and its other dwellers. She, like her sisters, was guardian of the place, and encouraged to use her talents to help it flourish. Calista learned to speak to the Forest, and how to understand the ways in which the Forest could speak back. It was a deeply spiritual experience, and her very essence was bound up in the physical place.

But a wind moves, and that was the only thing that saved her.


"Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.”



She doesn't know how old she is, or was, but it was fifteen or so summers from her manifestation that it happened. The armies of Aule were on the move, and they in the fashion of their god enacted a scorched-earth policy. Whether this was the doing of the Messiah Queen herself or simply the preference of one underling, Calista neither knows nor cares. There is no room to care, not when her memories are already so full. Vivid with the thuds of marching boots, too heavy against the forest floor. Vivid with the harsh, barking laughter of men, the clang of iron armor and swords, the flashes of the sun glinting off their plate and chain.

Vivid most of all with the yellow-orange of the fire that destroyed everything, the acrid stench of wood smoke and ash and burning animal flesh from those creatures not swift or wise enough to escape, with the screams of her sisters, alight in the conflagrations of horror. She remembers all of these things, and she remembers running, taking refuge as little more than a stream of air, but unable to escape the other agony—the feeling of the Forest, her mother, her guardian, her ward and her child in equal measure—dying.

Her sisters died, and Calista was Unfettered—her bonds to the place of her birth cut. Her sight, too, was taken, but the rest remained to her, perhaps so she could hear them pronounce her fate. She was no longer fey—because to be Unfettered, placeless, was to be Other. And others had no place among her sisters. Where would she go, anyway? There would never, will never, be another being-place for her; all that is left is a forlorn existence, drifting wherever the wind carries her, never to linger anywhere for long, lest she be reminded that there is nowhere at all to rest.


" But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing”



That utter lack of tie to anything was a prison all its own, and it was not kind to Calista’s psyche. Without the mediation and balance afforded her by her Forest-mother and her sisters, she was utterly alone, and in her loneliness and her grief, she discovered something about herself that horrified her: she wanted to kill them. To destroy the people that had destroyed her sisters. Destroyed her being-place. Destroyed her. But for that, she would need strength far beyond what she possessed.

Calista spent several years on her own, drawing more and more upon the dormant magic in herself, learning to wield it not to nurture and coax, but to ravage and destroy. She found her affinities shifting, from the little songbirds in the trees to the great raptors that soared, to the wolves and the sleek hunting cats and the bears, even. The predators. From they, she took her lessons, and she honed her craft. The empty space that the Forest had left behind was filled to the very brim with a quiet, cold rage, and she learned to tap it, to accept that it was part of her now. Nymphs are gentle and kind and weak to the ways of men.

Calista is not a nymph anymore. She is Unfettered. Unbound by the morality and mercy of her kind.

She is the daughter of a storm.

And she will have her vengeance.


"You will hear thunder and remember me,
And think: she wanted storms. The rim
Of the sky will be the colour of hard crimson,
And your heart, as it was then, will be on fire.”



Poets Quoted (In order):
William Wordsworth
Langston Hughes
Maya Angelou
Anna Akhmatova

So begins...

Calista's Story