Sophia

White Knights, plain old good guys, folks who take charge and want to take the city's problems in hand altruistically are a natural fit for this section.

Sophia

Postby TennyoCeres84 » Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:29 pm

Name: Sophia
Age: 244 years old
Gender: Female
Species: Dryad

Strengths: As the Centennial Tree’s guardian, she is privy to everything it feels, knows and remembers. She functions as its conscience, speaker and foremost protector. As such, she was born with a series of abilities permitting her to carry out these functions.

Given the size of the nexus, she has complete control over the plant life in Central Park, parts of Southgate and Bucktown. This does not restrict her to only certain parts of Hope and is able to move throughout the bustling metropolis. She can use it to entrap threats, break through obstacles like walls, destroy roads, but also to shield friends from sunlight and protect them.

The assault by Evangeline Buck, through the possession of her lich husband Zebediah, led to brass prosthetics being attached to her spinal column that granted genius loci-like powers. The inscribed prosthetics give her access to the park’s lights and other electrical fixtures within it. By the fact she is so closely tied to nature, she has a detailed, up-to-date progress report of who, what, when, and where happens in Central Park, the surrounding areas and to her host plant. In extreme circumstances, she can place the park on lockdown to protect the Tree, herself, or the patrons.

The dryad received an education befitting that of a well-to-do person of the 1700s. She has an understanding of medicinal herbs, astronomy, mathematics, history, Greek, Latin and philosophy of that period, but that has not prevented her from educating herself in topics relevant to modern times.

Weaknesses:
The link between the Centennial Tree and Sophia is reciprocal as both must remain alive for the nexus to be focused. The Tree’s existence keeps the Buck curse at bay and acts as the progenitor for mages and gifted individuals. Cutting or burning down her host plant will immediately kill her. However, if seeds from her body are replanted, this will bring forth an older and somewhat different version of her.

Sophia also serves as a direct conduit of via. Forced telepathic control, Karthian mental hierarchies, mind/body swaps and intercourse are methods of accessing the power she holds, but it is extremely risky, either resulting in death or lichhood. Thankfully, she has learned to control this aspect of her nature.

Since her body is comprised of plant materials, she must receive regular sunshine, water and fertile soil to maintain her health.

Appearance: Standing at 5’10” and weighing 170 pounds, the nymph carries herself with the authority befitting the guardian of the Centennial Tree. A somewhat capricious wildness combined with an overall good nature lends itself to her bearing. She has a very voluptuous physique that balances out with her tall frame.

Upon touching the thick and tangled mane of hair on Sophia’s head, one would realize they’re touching fine, dark brown vines simulating human hair. It curls, entwines, and plaits around naturally growing leaves that change according to the season or whatever she decides to adorn her hair with. Brown bark texture goes along her hairline while blending back into her beige skin. Where the pinkish areas of skin, like the lips or eyelids, would be, they are a vivid green. She sports a flat, caprine nose and ears. Her large, almond-shaped eyes have dark green pupils, bright green irises and pale green sclera. Thick, taupe-colored horns come out from the sides of her head in a downward fashion and then then curl outwards in a fine point.

On her arms and torso is a deep set grain of bark and spiraling tree knots. Should she ever die, it’s likely these marks will become more pronounced in the next version of her. Along her spine is the brass prostheses Archibald Holden had attached to her spine after the attack by Evangeline Buck. Her digitigrade legs display the similar kind of hair composed of short, dark-brown vines that give it an unruly sort of look. She has also a short goat tail on her rump. Her cloven hooves are the same hue as her horns.

Sophia tends to wear the fashion of the day to blend in with the populace and also remain relatable to the people she is supposed to protect. When Eireann hosts one of her yearly galas, she will don gowns in earthy colors made of real bark and leaves.

Behavior: While it might seem like she has a one track mind, a large portion of her personality is devoted to protecting the Centennial Tree. It has the dual purpose of not only protecting her life, but Hope’s population as well. Her vigilance indirectly keeps most of the city healthy and generally prosperous, preventing the Buck curse from spreading.

With her ties to nature, she is influenced by the turn of the seasons. Spring usually has her assume a light-hearted and congenial nature. The storms associated with the season might see her become wilder, as the year wheels toward her main time of year. Summer sees her personality become bolder, more intense toward those around her. Beltane creates a strangely lusty, but quite chaste demeanor. Others find her attractive and approachable, but she remains stalwart against their affectionate advances, those either seeking power or simply notoriety. Autumn has her take on a somewhat frosty, but polite side. Those unfamiliar with her might think she’s uptight and slightly bitchy. Winter is when she is at her grumpiest, yet she will continue aid those in need. Similar to Oberon’s court, she will warm up to those she is closest to after seemingly pushing them away. All these natural shifts in her behavior result from her underlying wild nature, much like the nymphs from Greek myth.

Though on a daily basis, she is just like any other citizen of Hope, despite her arboreal exterior. Her days are usually spent tending the grounds around the Centennial Tree or finding other ways to keep her entertained. She might see the newest movie at the theater or check out books at the library. Thankfully, this has made her more relatable to the populace at large; on the other hand, it seems people keep their distance from the pleasant, but untouchable tree lady that serves as a permanent city fixture. An occasional conversation with someone is usually enough to stave off the deep-seated loneliness she experiences. For someone as old as she is, her few friends are either stuck in deep slumbers or busy with their duties.

Granted, in comparison to her male counterpart and friend, Jack Greene, her life has been much simpler. She too dealt with idiots wanting to take a piece of bark or pulp for whatever arcane purpose, but managed to defend her without harming said idiots. This has painted her in a contrastingly “softer” light to both the pumpkin-headed dryad and Hope’s citizens. However, after Rendell’s brutal assault in 1970s, she has no qualms letting out a surprisingly disturbing growl or acting aggressively against those who think she is a pushover.

Goals: Ultimately, Sophia’s main goal is just to keep her and host tree alive. She isn’t willing to kill anybody, unless they deserve it, but she will do whatever she can to ensure this objective continues.

On a deeper level, she would like to connect with others outside of the old-times like Jack, Archibald and Bucky or the casual acquaintance. With the formation of Shield, she finds that she might just get to do that as she works alongside them to protect the metropolis. In what manner these bonds will grow, she isn’t quite sure yet.

History: Sophia’s background as a fixture of the city starts in 1781, when Countess Eirean of Summer faced the unfocused via emanating from Hope’s nexus to plant a focal point that would diminish the effect of the Buck curse. By 1795, the oak tree had reached a sufficient size that allowed her to emerge from it. The young dryad was quite innocent and as wild as the nymphs of legend were. This displayed itself in her childlike demeanor and naked state, but the tutelary spirit would quickly learn about her duties and useful knowledge from Sir Percival and Countess Eirean.

Within the next five years, she understood that the Centennial Tree’s influence had its limits on the southwestern point of Green Island and could not prevent Samoset’s curse from affecting the farmers and other residents’ lives and livelihoods. She addressed the residents’ complaints to the Fae woman and gruff. Some searching by Eirean resulted in the arrival of Jack Greene, the second bulwark against the malevolent force. Sophia was quick to befriend him and would become a form of support through the male dryad’s years of abuse and slaying by the early Celtic inhabitants of Absalom. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t be alone in being the victim of attempted exploitation that could have easily resulted in death for her. It was only through luck and sufficient craftiness that saved her from the regular resurrections her compatriot had to endure.

She continued to help Jack in whatever way she could while also avoiding the reverent famers and their wives who desired to use her literal hide for various magical purposes. She still had other duties that drew her back to Hope. 1849 saw Sophia have her first experiences with the new technology: clanks. Like many dryads, she had been taught to have a healthy suspicion of technology. After all, who knew when someone could use it against her or nature in general? Given that the machinery was initially restricted to the wealthy; her interaction with clanks was sparse. This perspective would eventually change. She also saw her wards grow to include the clannish McLochs, other selkie families and a few other aquatic types in Mertown.

A major event that would be Sophia’s first brush with death came in 1888. This coincided with the Centennial Tree’s first stirring of via emanations. It gave birth to new superhumans and allowed the supernaturals to come alive, so to speak. The downside of this awakening was that it attracted the sights of the spectral Evangeline Buck, who had been assailing the city for two weeks. A portion of her power stemmed from the kidnapped mages and stolen grimoires, but also the accumulated emotions seeping from Buck Manor. During the attack, the dryad had attempted to help the local authorities stop her, but all her efforts resulted in was the possessed lich strangling the tree spirit to gather more power for her own purposes. Evangeline was defeated by the repeated use of Holden’s Holland & Holland Witchhunter rifle as it struck the lich’s body. With the ghost dealt with, the dryad was able to recover and made fast friends with the clank.

Their friendship had the automaton have the space underneath the Centennial Tree’s roots converted into a dwelling for the dryad. Today, it has been completely renovated to the point it is similar to a modern basement apartment. The actions of the entire Buck family during that encounter further soured the occasions she has had to deal with them. She will treat the family with a cold, albeit well-mannered way.

The dawn of the 20th century brought with it World War I and another friendship with Shamus Wallace, a.k.a. Bucky. The companionship offered by the two clanks shook her of her ingrained prejudice against technology. In fact, it had enhanced her ability to protect the Centennial Tree and Hope. Camaraderie aside, the nymph still had to deal with local yokels who thought it would be a good idea to snip off branches to turn into wands or otherwise thought she was a thing to be exploited.

The period stretching from around World War II through the 1960s proved to be a colorful and interesting time for her, in more ways than one. Being an obvious target for power-hungry types, she had to step it up when they showed up at her doorstep. A close call with another lich, Rasputin, forced Sophia to think quickly and somehow reverse the draining process, along with a heavy battering of the Mad Monk’s body. A dryad’s life is an experiential one, and it is one experience that she has never had the opportunity to relive again. It might be difficult for her to replicate the defense should she ever need to again. It remains to be seen if she can. A battle with the villain Dr. Cerebro, a Karthian and former lieutenant of Anastasius Romanov, occurred when he tried to force a mental hierarchy upon. Let’s just say he regretted it… While the superhero Seraph took the limelight, it was also a time of Sophia proving to the city that she wasn’t the arboreal version of a damsel in distress. July of 1965 proved to be a momentous time when the Vienna Accords were signed, giving her and other dryads equal status with mundanes.

Unfortunately, this spell of fortitude could not last. The biggest trial of Sophia’s life would happen in the summer of 1975 with the Battle of Hope. The incoming Chimeras and Gregory Rendell swamped Hope’s defenses in a focused attempt after previous isolated assaults on the city. Hope’s lot of mages, supernaturals and superheroes, along with Gov. Caliban Smith, fought against the powerful transhumans. A month of conflict passed without driving the enemy away.

Even with Wallace and Holden attempts at defense, the numbers of Chimeras were overwhelming; they took Centennial Park that August. Sophia kept up the defense until Rendell used his brute strength to ring the death knell on the dryad’s resistance. He paralyzed her after breaking both her spine and the brass prostheses over his knee. Thankfully, she was rescued by her friends and comrades and sent to curative mages and Fae specialists trained in the care of dryads. The recuperation process would be slow and agonizing as they worked to reconnect the damaged spine and prostheses. While at the hospital, Sophia continued to use the branches and roots to defend the Nexus, but the Chimeras’ progress would overpower her and her comrades’ attempts. Rendell focused his attention on cutting down the nearest branches and surface roots; his actions caused Sophia to feel like her own limbs were being cut off with machetes. Arduous rehabilitation would follow as she learned to use her body again. Thankfully, she is provided time to recover by the Drifter war effort and Romanov’s telepathic call to arms. Rendell is kept from merging with the Tree.

By the end of early October, Sophia had made a full recovery. More determined than ever, she voiced her wishes to end the battle once and for all. She is armed, armored and placed with a team including Amazo, Ethan Alderan, Jimmy Winters, Archibald Holden and Shamus Wallace. This turn of events will create an incredibly strong bond among most of them. She tells them that Rendell actually has to be allowed to start the assimilation process so that she can intercept him. Meanwhile, the threat of nuclear missiles by President Ford and the military loomed; time was short. She, against all odds, interrupted the T-rex in his attempt at becoming a lich and controlling the Nexus’ energies. She did so by having the very deepest roots of the Tree strangle him, which made the power surge to incapacitating levels. To fully stop the process she hit the “shut-off switch”, as she always thought of it as, in an extreme case like this one.

With the T-rex taken to prison, then came the time of good-byes and recovery. Archibald and Bucky had their keys taken out and were placed on exhibit in Holden Hall. With the Tree now dormant, it would be a while before the Earth would awaken it again. It was a time of rest for the dryad and Hope’s citizens. Time would be needed to rebuild the city after the devastation brought by Rendell and the Chimeras. In a way, she faded into the background even while helping in what way she could. For this, she was thankful.

Now in 2025, the Centennial Tree is displaying odd manifestations of power. She realizes something or someone is behind it. It also means there are threats on the horizon. Is it the Others? Mab? She doesn’t know. With many superhumans in retirement and the clanks in stasis, Hope will need others to rise to the occasion in order to protect the Tree and the City. She hopes that this will happen in time before they all face a threat that may be too much to contain.
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