Lydia

Description:

Details
-

Name: Lydia
Class: Wizard
Level: 5
Gender:
Race: Human
Hair/Eyes: Light Brown/Gray
Development Points: 400/600
Height/Weight: 4’10"/102lbs
Size Score: 9
Appearance Score: 7
Wealth: Middle Class (1 GC)


Attributes:
-

AGI: 6
CON: 5
DEX: 7
STR: 4
INT: 12
PER 6
POW: 10
WP: 6

Initiative: 65
Life Points: 190
Fatigue: 5
Movement: 70 feet (14 squares)
Weight Index: Natural – 50lbs/ Maximum 130lbs

Resistances:
Physical: 90
Disease: 90
Poison: 90
Magic: 110
Psychic: 90

Armor: cut 8 imp 8 thr 8 heat 8 ele 8 cold 8 ene 0

Attack: – 95
Block: -75
Dodge: 0 (80 when not “blind”)

Skills:

Animals: 27
Memorize: 27
Herbal Lore: 27
History: 27
M. Appraisal: 62
Medicine: 27
Navigation: 27
Occult: 42
Sciences: 27

Magic Accumulation: 180
Total zeon: 1135

Spell levels:

Essence: 10
Water: 10
Light: 40
Creation: 76

Individually known spells:
Shell (earth)
Alter Growth (essence)
Transmigrate Soul (essence)


Creation Points:
-

Advantages:

  • The Gift – 2 CP (Enables magic use)
  • Superior Magic Recovery III – 3 CP_ (Quadruple standard zeon recovery rate)_
  • Artifact – 1 CP (Grants minor artifact)
  • See Supernatural -1 CP (Abillity to see auras of any supernatural origin)
  • Magic Nature – 2 CP (+100 Zeon per level)

Disadvantages:

  • Blind + 2 CP
  • Damned + 2 CP
    Unlucky Destiny + 2 CP

Level 0 DP Expenditures: 400DP/400DP
-
Physical (50% Limit)
Dodge: 50 (100 DP)

Supernatural (60% Limit)

Magic Accumulation Multiples – 5 (200 DP)
Magic Projection: + 5 (10 DP)

Secondary Abilities: (90 DP)
DP Cost| Skill
2 | Animals: 5 + 15
2 |Herbal Lore: 5 + 15
2 | History: 5 + 15
1 | Magic Appraisal: 10+ 15
2 | Medicine: 5 + 15
2 | Memorize: 5 + 15
2 | Navigation: 5 + 15
2 | Occult: 5 + 15
2 | Sciences: 5 + 15


Level 1 DP Expenditures 600DP/600DP
-

Physical (50% Limit)
Dodge: 75 (150 DP)

Supernatural (60% Limit)

Magic Accumulation Multiples – 8 (350 DP)
Magic Projection: + 5 (10 DP)

Secondary Abilities: (90 DP)
DP Cost| Skill
2 | Animals: 5 + 15
2 |Herbal Lore: 5 + 15
2 | History:* 5 + 15*
1 | Magic Appraisal: 10+ 15
2 | Medicine: 5 + 15
2 | Memorize: 5 + 15
2 | Navigation: 5 + 15
2 | Occult: 5 + 15
2 | Sciences: 5 + 15


Spell Level Paths:
-
Path|Level
Creation | 22
Water | 22

Individual Spells:

Shell (Earth Magic, Pg. 147)6 Levels


Gear
-

Wealth: Middle Class (92.9/100 SC spent) 47/50 lbs

Supplies:
Week of Decent Field Rations x 1 – 5 CC – 15 lbs

Gear:

Shirt x5 – 10 SC
Pants x5 – 5 SC
Gloves – 2 SC
Belt – 1 SC
Walking Boots – 5 SC
Coat – 5 SC
Corset – 5 SC
Scarf – 1 SC
Women’s Underwear x 5 – 10 SC
Armor Long coat – 5SC 3 lbs

Miscellaneous:

Walking Stick – 2 CC 4 lbs
90ft of decent rope – 15 SC – 12 lbs
Large Bag – 5 SC – 2 lbs
Fishing Net (3 foot) 10 SC 1 lb
Small Sack X2 – 4 SC 1 lb
Soap x 5 – 5 SC 5 lbs
Wineskin x 2 4 SC
Torch -2 CC 2 lbs
Oil – 5 CC 2 lbs

(RIGHT CLICK THE IMAGE AND SELECTVIEW IMAGEFOR FULL SIZE)
Lydia.png
(RIGHT CLICK THE IMAGE AND SELECTVIEW IMAGEFOR FULL SIZE)

Bio:

1139 A.C. – April 4th
Three years prior to current events
Unknown Location

The air stirred as a massive form moved through the labyrinth of tunnels that formed a seemingly endless maze engulfed in utter darkness. The sound of Lydia’s own breathing made her nervous as she hid just around the corner from the horror that hunted her. For now, it had moved on to search other parts of the caverns for a trace of her scent. She was getting tired, and sooner or later if the creature didn’t claim her, exhaustion would.

She’d been warned to be quick, though that was easier said than done in the disorienting layout of the endless web of tunnels. Because of the complete lack of light, a slow pace was required simply to keep from tripping or ramming into a wall by accident. Furthermore, without the ability to see in the slightest, getting lost had proven to be a very easy task while getting a grip on the layout had proven impossible thus far.

So far, there didn’t seem to be any sort of pattern, or limit to the extent of the tunnel system. Some tunnels ran straight forward while some rose sharply upward, plummeted downward, or followed any form of steepness in between. The question of whether she’d been in the same place twice so far had brushed her mind frequently as she searched for any signs of familiarity; she found none in the darkness.

With no clear method of escaping, Lydia had been trapped in the tunnel system for several days’ time. There was no food, and sleeping was far too dangerous as her stalker seemed to track her scent, therefore constant movement was required to avoid the unknown monster. What little water had accumulated in the tunnels was stagnant and murky, though there remained enough to keep her from dying of dehydration.

Still, Lydia remained hopeful that she would soon find a way out despite the tremendously unfavorable odds.


1131 A.C. – August 12th
Eleven years prior to current events
Port of Eternia

“Lydia! Get away from there, it isn’t safe!” the young girl’s father called as the girl hung over the dock to swat at the small fish just off the shore line. Lydia was the first and only child of Frank and Chessa Daklough. Chessa had been ill for the past week, and Frank decided it would be best to bring the girl along for work so that his spouse could rest without growing concerned that the curious child would get into trouble.

At the age of eight, “sit down and don’t move” during a twelve hour workday was a difficult order to manage. Every time Lydia was chastised or scolded, it was no more than twenty minutes later that she’d creep up onto her feet and wander over to the water again when she thought her father wasn’t looking.

Swimming had been a large part of Lydia’s life from a very early age having grown up on the coast near the ocean. Her father was a simple dock worker, so with a lack of luxuries or the abundance of friends that came with being rich, the girl was often left to swim for fun under the close eye of one or both of her parents. However, nothing could prepare the young girl for the events to follow as she ignored her father and soon slid too far over the dock and plunged head first into the water.

Lydia’s thin boney body quickly sank several feet as water began to pour into her nose. Panic ensued and the girl quickly thrashed to try to turn herself right side up and reach the surface to replenish her limited air supply. In her hastened efforts, Lydia caught herself in the long strands of plant life which were rooted tightly to the sea floor only several feet further down.

The kicking and flailing only seemed to make the matter worse as she began to feel the burn in her chest which begged for oxygen and in turn caused yet more panic. Only moments more passed before Lydia’s brain took over and sharply inhaled the ocean water. Her lungs quickly filled with the liquid she would have sworn was boiling as bad as it burned. Slowly, her consciousness faded as her brain began to shut down to preserve its final reserves of air before her vision faded from a red haze to black.

The first thing Lydia saw upon waking up was her father’s face against her own he forced precious air into her lungs through her mouth. The girl coughed and sputtered as the invasive water exited her airway.

“You stupid, stupid girl!” the man yelled, “I told you the water isn’t safe when I am not watching!” Frank picked the girl up off of the ground and embraced her tightly with tears of relief streaming from his eyes.

“I’m sorry,” the girl told him as she hung loosely in the man’s arms.

“Let’s get you home, your mother will just have to put up with you for the remainder of the day,” he told Lydia as he hoisted her further up and allowed her to hug the back of his neck. As they walked on, the girl noticed a massive and partially transparent leviathan figure overshadowing the town from the sky. It floated along slowly like a massive sky fortress of flesh, bellowing as it turned its one large eye straight to the girl who watched it. Uncertain of whether or not to believe her eyes, she quickly looked to the other citizens who walked the streets who went about their everyday business. How was it that no one else could see something so large?

“Dad, what is that?” she asked nervously. The way it seemed to focus on her was unsettling and caused her to grip her father more tightly than before.

“I don’t see anything unusual,” he said as he casually looked up, expecting to see a strange bird.

“There’s a monster,” she whispered fearfully as her voice faltered and the beginnings of tears welled up in her eyes.

“Are you alright? You must be seeing things,” Frank sighed as the situation got far messier than he’d presumed.

“You have to hurry, it’s watching us!”

“Shhh. Just try to relax, Lydia,” he told her as he stroked her hair, “Whatever it is up there that you see, it’s not real. It must be the water making you see things. After all, you almost drowned.” The girl closed her eyes tightly and buried her face in her father’s shoulder. Soon, the two arrived at their home, and Lydia looked up one last time to see the monster in the sky was gone.


1139 A.C. – April 5th
Three years prior to current events
Unknown Location

Shivering in the cold as she walked, Lydia continued to contemplate a method of navigating the tunnels without her sight. First she’d tried feeling the walls, though her hands soon became raw and numb as the rough cold stone removed any functional feeling from her skin. Making her own light had come to mind, though fire was hopeless in such a damp and barren environment, nor did what little magic she knew seem to function within the confines of the cave.

Still clueless, the girl sighed and sat down to rest. Her legs felt heavy and the thought of recovery time plagued her mind to the point that it became difficult to think of anything to else to even a small extent. Realizing it was time to meet her needs, Lydia decided a break would be in her best interest having figured that even a small bit of relief would make rationalizing far easier than it had been in the past hours.

“Was there something I missed?” she asked herself. “Have I been doomed to fail all along?” Doubt about her “destiny,” as it had been called, had certainly taken root into Lydia’s mind over time. Perhaps, she considered, she was not chosen as everyone had thought she was.

Suddenly, a voice cried out from the dark. Lydia perked up with renewed vigor as she heard the sound of a distressed girl crying in the distance. Standing to her feet, she rushed in the direction she thought it had come from. “What could an innocent girl be doing in a terrible place such as this,” she wondered to herself. The crying grew closer as she approached, causing her to pick up her pace in hopes of soon reaching the girl. “I couldn’t live with myself if the monster got a hold of her,” she thought.

Lydia paused, stopping dead in her tracks as she considered the reality of the situation. “Why would there be an innocent girl be in a terrible place like this?” The idea simply didn’t sit right as she began to suspect that foul play was about. Deciding to approach quietly and with caution, Lydia inched forward carefully. “If it turns out there really is a girl and she’s alone, then there would be nothing to be afraid of,” the girl reasoned, “better safe than sorry.” As she wrapped around the bend, she listened closely for any signs of what waited beyond.

After a few moments of silence, more cries emanated from the dark. Heavy, bestial breathing followed as Lydia heard the sound of the predator shifting its weight and panting hungrily as it waiting for its pray to wander into the trap. A chill ran down her spine as another sob left the creature’s mouth. While Lydia had begun to suspect live bait, she hadn’t imagined the beast that hunted her to be so terrifyingly intelligent. As Lydia nervously backed up, she tripped on a stone protruding from the ground. When the daze of hitting her head wore off and she’d realized what had happened, only one thought filled her mind:

I am going to die


_1133 A.C. – May 22nd
Nine years prior to current events
The Eternia Ward for Mentally Disturbed Children
_
“Lydia!” called a familiar voice. The young girl rubbed her eyes as she sat up in her bed to see her caretaker, Yvonne Foley, peering into the room through the partially opened door. “Someone is here to see you, so be a good girl, get dressed, and come out to meet your visitors.”

“What time is it?” she asked curiously with sleepiness still in her eyes.

“It is still late, but I wouldn’t be bothering you if it weren’t important, so hurry!” Ms. Foley chastised before closing the door quietly. Lydia scooted slowly off the bed with a yawn and sloppily slipped a tunic past her bed hair and over her under-shirt before finding a suitable pair of pants. Wandering out into the hallway, the sounds of chatter between the woman and two unfamiliar voices caught her attention. She listened closely as she stood just out of view, leaving Ms. Foley to suspect she was either still dressing or remaining in bed.

“What is it you’re suggesting exactly?” the woman asked the two older men dressed in flowing blue robes. The one on the right, whom did most of the talking, smiled as he considered his words carefully.

“You mentioned that Lydia nearly drowned several years ago?”

“Yes, I did. It’s believed that the lack of oxygen damaged her brain and has caused her to see all of these strange hallucinations,” Ms. Foley explained. “There’s little treatment aside from tranquilizing her troubled mind with magic, though if we can help it we keep her lucid as often as possible.”

“What if I told you that Lydia was not damaged by her near death experience, but given a gift,” the man asked. Lydia’s eyes widened at the suggestion; she’d always been made to believe that she was simply damaged goods that could no longer function in society after her desperate parents resigned custody in hopes of providing full-time treatment.

“How do you mean?”

“We believe that some people who have met death and survived can see things that mortal eyes cannot. Their vision partially pierces the veil between our world and the spirit world.”

“And what if you’re wrong?” the woman chuckled in an almost condescending fashion.

“That may be. We are not all knowing, we are simply men,” the man stated humbly. “Perhaps you will allow the girl to partake in a test to be certain?”

“Absolutely not! We practice medicine here, not superstitious theories.”

“Wait!” Lydia stepped forward out of the shadows, surprising all three adults who sat in the play room of the facility. “Please, I have to know,” she toned her voice down to a quiet whisper as the sudden attention sprouted unexpected nervousness. Both the two men and the girl looked to Ms. Foley anxiously as they awaited her final answer.

“If that’s what Lydia wants, then may she have it,” the woman asked after thinking on the matter for a moment, “and I need not warn you there is a strong possibility of disappointment,” she added. Lydia nodded, and stepped forward to face the two men. The second man, who had largely remained quiet, looked to the first for approval before pulling a scroll from his bag. He opened it and presented it’s contents to Ms. Foley for her to clearly see.

“What do you see upon the scroll, Ms. Foley?” the man asked plainly.

“Nothing, it’s a blank scroll,” the woman answered after a moment of hesitation.

“And this one?” he held out another scroll after setting the first flat on the floor.

“Once again, it seems to be a blank.”

“How about you, Lydia? What do you see upon these scrolls,” he asked as he lay the second down on the floor next to the first.

“It’s a bird sitting on a branch,” she smiled as she pointed to the one on the left. “It’s got a twig with some leaves in its toes. There is a half-moon with lots of stars in the sky.”

“And what about this one, Lydia?”

“I don’t see anything. It’s just a blank piece of paper,” she gave a look of disappointment to the man then picked up his scrolls. The two men looked at each other and nodded before pulling a third scroll from the bag. “Behold, this child is gifted,” he opened the scroll for Ms. Foley to see. It depicted an image exactly as the girl had described. “

The ink on the scroll is invisible to the naked eye,” the first man explained, “but it is charged with zeon, or magical energy. The other scroll is indeed blank. The children who would lie to us fall for this trap every time. We seek only those with both the sight, and the purest of heart.”

“I’m at a loss for words.”

“It is simple. Lydia has the ability to see the supernatural. With your permission, we would like to take this girl from this place. She does not belong here anymore,” the man continued.

“I agree,” the woman nodded as she looked at Lydia who still knelt on the floor next to the scrolls.

“What of her parents? We must seek their permission as well.”

“I have not seen them since the girl was brought here. I do not know what has become of them or how to find them,” Ms. Foley told the robed man.

“Good, then we will take the girl into our care. We have great things in mind for her if she passes all of our tests to prove her worth. If not, she will still make a fine edition to the staff at the Mercury Lighthouse.”

“What do you think, Lydia? Would you like to go to Mercia with these men?”

“Of course I would,” she smiled at the thought of a chance to explore more of the world outside of Eternia.

“Great tribulation lies ahead, Lydia. But we will prepare you for every step of the way,” the man placed his hand on the girl’s shoulder and smiled; He had not yet decided if this girl had what it takes to fill such a demanding role in the lighthouse, or if she would be willing to pay the price that came with it.


1139 A.C. – April 5th
Three years prior to current events
Unknown Location

Pain filled Lydia’s leg as the jaws of the beast crushed her ankle, causing her to cry out in pain. As the adrenaline kicked in, the girl kicked with her other leg blindly and desperately through the darkness at the monster. She had little luck as it shook her viciously as if to rip her foot from her leg until she felt her boot come in contact with a patch of soft flesh, more than likely its eye. A shrill, feral cry followed and caused the monster to recoil while letting go of the girl’s leg.

Without a moment’s hesitation, Lydia jumped to her feet and ran for her life as the beast whined and stepped back to reorient itself after suffering the shock of the blow to its sensory organ. It wasn’t until the urgency of the moment had worn off that the pain grew to a crippling intensity that brought her to a limp. It wasn’t difficult to guess that when the monster recovered it would likely be following the trail of blood she left behind due to the injury, particularly now that it had a fresh taste.

In an effort to control the bleeding and keep the wound clean, Lydia tore off her tunic and trusted her undershirt would provide enough warmth in the damp and chilly caverns. Ripping several strips of cloth off of the tunic, she wrapped her foot snugly in such a way to create a make-shift brace for ankle support and left of the remains of the cloth behind in hopes of distracting it her foe for even a moment.

Lydia began limping off as quickly as she could as her mind raced for a plan of action, something she needed now more than ever. For now, all she could do was try to take the most unpredictable path possible through the tunnels in an effort to buy more time to find an exit, or a solution, or whatever it was she needed to end this living nightmare.

It was many long hours before Lydia sat down once more. By now, her overexerted foot was swollen and practically radiating pain. Tears of hopelessness flooded down her cheeks as she tried to suppress any unintentional sounds that may draw in her predator.

“So you are human,” spoke a male voice in dark. Lydia gasped with a startled jumped as she became alerted to the other nearby presence. It sounded to be an older man. “I couldn’t be sure until I heard you crying just now.”

“Are you going to kill me?” she asked, half expecting another trick.

“Of course not. I was hoping we could work together to get out of here.”

“I don’t even know how long I’ve been in here anymore. I’m tired, and starving, and now I’m injured so badly I can hardly walk. You’d be better off alone,” Lydia told him as traces of her weeping manifested in her trembling voice.

“Don’t talk like that. Think about what you’ve been through and tell me why you think you should give up now.” The sound of light footsteps signaled that the man was approaching. “Come,“ he put his hand on her shoulder, “let me help you walk.”

“You’re too kind, but I ask that you reconsider the matter one final time before you decide for certain,” Lydia insisted.

“I’ve already made up my mind. Come along now, we’ve got to hurry before that thing catches up to us.” Gripping his hand, he pulled Lydia up to her feet and allowed her to put her arm over his shoulders for support.

“Have you a name then, kind stranger?” the girl asked as they took their first steps together.

“Ronald,” the older man replied. “Ron is fine, if you should so desire.”

“I am Lydia. Thank you, Ronald.”


1139 A.C. – April 1st
Three years prior to current events
The Mercury Lighthouse

“Trial of Darkness?” Lydia asked her mentor, Cleric Annabelle, curiously when she mentioned the term. She seat on a stool in front of a wardrobe equipped with a large mirror with the woman brushing the knots out of her hair from behind.

“Yes. I believe you to be ready after these many years of training. It is the final test that we have prepared for you in your path to destiny,” the older woman informed her.

“What is it, exactly?”

“I cannot say. The trial is different for everyone, but it takes place within your mind. Few who survive choose to speak of what they saw.”

“Survive?” Lydia became alarmed at the term.

“The Trial of Darkness is not to be toiled with. It is a test of survival against the darkest parts of your mind. We know you have succeeded if you ever wake from your sleep. Otherwise, your body will eventually give out on its own despite out best efforts. Many have perished in our search these last years.” Lydia went quiet as she took in the information she’d been given. “Do not think that anyone is forcing you to do this. It is honorable to step down and strive to become a cleric instead, and no one will blame you for turning down a task that most do not survive.”

“No, I’m ready,” she nodded. Lydia felt uneasy and anxious, but she wasn’t going to let the past six years of discipline and training go to waste.

“Very well. Grand Cleric Helen awaits us in the upper chamber. Do you have any further questions,” the woman asked as she tied the girl’s hair into a loose, but neat bun.

“What is my goal in this trial? That has not been made clear.”

“Your only goal is to stay strong and make it out alive. Even the few experiences shared with me vary too much for me to say anything else,” the woman explained. Lydia stood from her chair and nodded to Annabelle to signal she was ready to go. “Do not fear, you will have lots of support. Many of the clergy do not leave the side of the participant in order to provide any strength their presence may provide.” The girl remained silent as Annabelle led her to the room in which the trial was to take place. Most if not all of the clergy seemed to be present, sitting in a wide circle around a simple wooden bed build for this very purpose. Next to the bed stood The Grand Cleric Helen along with a small folding table with several neat coils of silk rope, a bowl with a thick purple fluid, a small brush, and an ancient looking book with small hand drawn text and images.

As she approached the center of the circle, The Grand Cleric Helen greeted Lydia and took her hand. Guiding her along, she pulled the girl to stand near the bed and faced her to address the circle of clergy.

“The Trial of Darkness is not a ritual we perform here often. If we, the clergy of the Mercury Lighthouse are to be a beacon to the people of this world, we must know how to face the darkness ourselves before we can light the way for others. Lydia, you are called her today to face the Trial of Darkness, in which great peril will await you, to both demonstrate what you’ve learned and prepare you to face great tribulation should you find it later in life. If you are to be the shining light of our temple, you must overcome it. Do you accept?” the woman asked clearly for everyone to hear.

“I do,” she nodded.

“Then give me your robe, and lay down.” Lydia did as she was told, stripping the robe from her shoulders and laying down on the cold wood in a tube top and a pair of tight cotton shorts. “I must secure your limbs to the table so you do not hurt yourself while you sleep,” she told Lydia.

The girl nodded, and The Grand Cleric began to secure her wrists and ankles to their own anchors built into the frame of the bed at each corner. When the woman was satisfied with the other bindings, she lightly wrapped several passes of one final rope around Lydia’s waist just below her pectoral muscles before securing each end to additional anchors mounted at the sides.

Once Lydia was held securely in place, The Grand Cleric lifted the bowl and thin brush before standing over the girl as she looked back up her nervously.

“This will be cold,” the woman warned, “but try not to move too much.” The Grand Cleric dipped the brush in the purple fluid before placing the first strokes around the girl’s naval. Lydia tensed and tried to focus on avoiding her urge to squirm as the brush created an intricate pattern across her abdomen. When the woman had finished the pattern across most of the girl’s body, she set the bowl down and began chanting. A flood of gray energy slowly sank from her hands and into the markings.

Without even realizing what was happening, Lydia drifted off to into a deep sleep. When she awoke, she found herself in a cold, dark environment. Unable to even see her hand in front of her face, she felt the floor consisted of rough, damp stone.

“Hello?” she called out only to hear herself echo through what seemed to be a cavern.

So this is why they called it “The Trial of Darkness”


1139 A.C. – April 5th
Three years prior to current events
Unknown Location

“Is there any end to these tunnels?” Ronald interrupted the hours of silence that had passed to avoid attracting unwanted attention. She continued to put her weight on the older man who had been helping her press forward despite her injured ankle.

“I have wondered the same more times than I can count,” Lydia whispered back. Once again, the two walked without words for quite some time before Ronald spoke up again.

“What is that?” the man asked.

“What?” Lydia asked as she looked up from her wilted posture. There was a trace of white light ahead just around the bend of the cavern. “I thought I’d never live see an inkling of light again!” The two increased their pace as trace of hope rose from the ash in Lydia’s mind. As they rounded the corner, the two stared in awe at the true size of the tunnels revealed by the light. The final tunnel was easily thirty feet high and twenty feet wide while the remaining length to the surface seemed to be a little over half of a mile.

“We’re going to make it!” Ronald laughed as he pushed her to go faster. At that moment an untimely, feral, roar echoed from behind. While it was a ways off, it was uncomfortably close.

“Come on, hurry!” Lydia urged. Heavy sounds of the quickly approaching monster ravaged the tunnel and the two struggled to cover such a large distance at what seemed like a hopeless pace.

“We’re not going to survive at this rate!” Ronald shouted fearfully as he glanced behind for any sign of the beast.

“Yes we are,” Lydia assured, “we can do this! We can’t fail now! Not after all of this, I won’t let you die.” Lydia paused at her words. She’d meant to say “us die,” however she now could not deny that she knew it was hopeless for her. “Let go of me,” she stopped and forced her way out of the man’s arm.

“What are you doing? Don’t be an idiot!”

“You have to keep going, Ronald. I thank you for your support, but I’m too slow with my ankle in such a state. If nothing else I can buy you some time.”

“Just come on!” the man reached for her arm as he hoped to snag her unexpectedly. Lydia pulled away, and gave him a stern look.

“Ronald! If you waste any more time neither of us are getting out! So go!” The man hesitated a moment before his face softened.

“I will never forget your courage, or you kindness, girl!” Without another word he turned and ran for his life far faster than he could have managed otherwise. Lydia turned to face her death as the shadow of her predator loomed around the corner and violently roared. The girl felt her knees quiver and her heart pounded within her chest. Even if she’d failed the trial, Lydia knew she could die knowing she’d saved a friend’s life.

As the massive figure rounded the corner and set it’s eyes on it’s prey, it growled once more before charging into a ravenous pounce that would soon rip her limb from limb. As the monstrous claws gutted her abdomen in one quick swipe, light engulfed her vision.

Lydia had awoken upon the ceremonial bed which she had initially drifted to sleep on. She felt famished, and the skin under the ropes that bound her ached from the strain of flailing around in her dreams. Almost immediately, the small group of clergy who had remained through the duration of the several day trial stood from their chairs. The Grand Cleric Helen peered into her vision with a smile as she loosed Lydia’s bonds. The girl simply lay her head back down as she waited to be freed; it was all she could do to try to calm down from what had been a terrifyingly real dream.

“How long was I gone?” Lydia asked quietly as the room stirred with chatter among the group of ten or so men and women.

“Nearly six days,” The Grand Cleric answered as she finished removing the final binding. The woman helped Lydia sit up on the bed. “Lydia will want to recover before we proceed with the final part of the ceremony,” she announced, “The time will be disclosed as soon as it is known. Thank you to all of those who remained her over the course of the past several days to be with this apprentice.” As she looked back to Lydia, she found her slumped forward and fast asleep. Even if she’d been unconscious all of this time, it had been far more strenuous than restful. “Annabelle, please take Lydia back to her chambers to rest,”

“Of course, your Greatness,” the other woman nodded before cradling the girl in her arms and carrying her off to rest.


1139 A.C. – April 12th
Three years prior to current events
The Mercury Lighthouse

“Brothers and sisters, this is indeed a grand day,” The Grand Cleric Helen spoke with Lydia knelt beside her and three other clerics. “Today, our little Lydia who joined us only six short years ago has come so far. She has seen what other who were tested from across the entire land have failed to see. She learned what they could not learn through extensive study. She showed willpower and discipline that only few others could. And finally, three days ago, she lived through the Trial of Darkness where so many other candidates perished. Now she kneels before us, ready to accept the duties and responsibilities of one of the most important roles here at the Mercurial Lighthouse. She has agreed to take the position of ‘Oracle’ to bring light and guidance to all, and to receive visions from the Mercurial Eye,” The Grand Cleric gestured to a tangerine sized gemstone held by one of the clerics in a black satin handkerchief.

The gathering of people and clerics reverently clapped as Lydia gave a shallow bow towards them from her kneeling position.

“However, there is one last matter to attend to before she can be made Oracle. She must be Shrouded so that she may better see the light that shines from the Mercurial Eye. It will be difficult as it has been for every Oracle, but Lydia, even when she came to us years ago, has shown willingness to plunge herself into a life without sight and shrouded in darkness so that she may be a guiding light to all. Unless there are any objections, we will now proceed with the Shrouding.” The Grand Cleric looked about for a moment to any raised hands. “Very well. Brothers, hold her still. I do not want to cause her unnecessary injury if she moves.”

The clerics took hold of Lydia tightly, each with one hand on a shoulder, and the other gripping a bicep. The third cleric stepped behind the girl and placed one hand on the back of her head, with the other under her jaw to hold her head in place. Lydia took a deep breath and tried to push the fear of permanent blindness out of her mind. The Grand Cleric Helen stepped in front of Lydia and twisted a cloth in her hands before holding it in front of the girl’s lips.

“Bite down on this. The Shrouding is very painful,” the woman instructed. Lydia nodded before taking hold of the cloth in her mouth with an anxious sigh. “Are you ready for me to begin?” she asked the girl who knelt before her.

“Yes, your Greatness,” Lydia answered as clearly as the cloth obstructing her tongue would permit. The Grand Cleric nodded and placed her hand over the girl’s eyes and began chanting. Lydia began to tense up as the magic began to do its work and pain trickled into the nerves in her eyes. Her breathing grew heavier as the chanting continued, and occasionally gave an instinctual jerk as her body begged her to escape the source of damage. By the time it was done, the burning in her eyes had grown so severe that Lydia had begun whimpering as she bit down on the cloth with all of her strength to avoid breaking into a full blown sob.

Blood streamed past The Grand Cleric’s hand and down Lydia’s cheeks as the woman finished. The girl went limp in the three cleric’s arms in relief as the agony finally dissipated and slowly opened her eyes as the woman lifted her palm from her face. The darkness remained even as nothing obstructed her vision, and the true reality of blindness began to set in with a heavy weight in her stomach. The Grand Cleric held up her blood soaked palm for the crowd to see for a moment before speaking.

“Brothers and sisters, may I present to you the new Oracle of Mercia.” Quiet applauding and whispers of chatter broke out among the small crowd of citizens and clerics who’d come to watch the ceremony as the three men assisted the girl to her feet. The woman softly grabbed Lydia’s hand and placed the gem in her palm; Gently she forced the girl’s fingers to close around it to signal that it was now entrusted to her posession. “Annabelle,” she called for the girl’s caretaker, “see the Oracle back to her chambers and get her cleaned up. I will finished the ceremony and we can handle the congratulations then.”

The woman nodded before approaching Lydia from behind and placed her hands on the girl’s shoulders to guide her forward. With the loss of her vision, her comfortable walking pace had come to a near crawling speed as she fought the feeling that she would run into something or trip on an unseen obstacle. Despite the slow pace, Annabelle patiently allowed Lydia to dictate her own walking rate as the woman simply steered her in the correct direction.

“I think I’m bleeding,” Lydia commented nervously as she felt the liquid she’d initially mistaken for tears that dripped from her eyes.

“It’s a normal side effect, it will stop soon,” Annabelle promised. The two soon arrived in Lydia’s chambers, and Annabelle sat the girl down on her bed. After fetching some warm water and some cloth, the woman soaked a clean rag and began to brush it softly against Lydia’s eyes. “Well, congratulations, Oracle,” Annabelle told the girl. “I didn’t always think you had it in you to make it all the way, and yet here you are.”

“Thank you,” Lydia nodded humbly. When Annabelle was satisfied that the blood had been cleaned out of the girl’s eyes before she dressed them with several tight wraps of bandage. Finally, she helped Lydia undress from the ceremonial robes and lay down in her bed to rest.

“Sleep well, Lydia. Helen will want to begin your lessons as soon as you are well.”
-

Lydia

Anima: The Masquerade DeadJim