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Post by TennyoCeres84 »

Name: Alastriona (Has a few nicknames, Trina, Allie, Tina, and Alex)
Age: Essentially a couple months old, but physically appears as a young adult
Gender: Technically hermaphroditic due to the species of tree, expresses herself as feminine. She/her pronouns are applicable.
Species: Dryad (oak subspecies of Yggdrasil)

Strengths: With the planting of Alastriona’s tree, she’ll have access to many of the same abilities as her predecessor. This includes understanding what her Host tree feels and experiences. Her youth offers her adaptability and the ability to learn quickly. Parts of the older Tree’s root system still exist, so this may allow her to tap into it and learn from it.

When her spirit still resided in an acorn, the dryad who would be known as Alastriona was able to learn from her older sister. Sophia shared her insights and interactions with Shield members, past conflicts, and foes. Some of Sophia’s energy was also transferred to the seedling, so there will be influences from her late teacher. Between the supplemental education provided by her guardians and the previous dryad, she’ll be well-versed in Hope’s history and its myriad of dynamics.

Besides the supplemental information about Hope, Eirean and Vernon gave her an education worthy of Fae nobility. Metaphysical topics, astronomy, English, Latin, Greek, mathematics, politics are but a handful of subjects in the girl’s repertoire. She also learned fencing from Vernon and has learned to adapt the martial art to her custom made parasol and with her tree’s limbs and roots.

Weaknesses: Alex’s youth, even with her solid education, leaves her inexperienced. She has to not only adapt to a terrestrial environment, but she will also have to deal with old and new threats seeking to take advantage of the Nexus’ power.

As she spent her formative years in the Vanguard’s cradle, there’s a certain innocence to her. With all of the stories she’s heard, she doesn’t know the members of Shield personally and will likely need time to get used to them. Her guardians were the main source of exposure to emotions, so honest, almost larger-than-life displays of moods and emotions are normal for her. This perspective could cause friction with those who are predominantly more staid in their behavior.

Like her older sister, Trina is intricately linked with her tree. Damage to her Tree will cause harm to her. With her young age, she may be more vulnerable to attacks, but the knowledge from Sophia can also teach her on how to protect against such vulnerabilities.

As with any plant-based life, Alastriona requires plentiful sunlight, fresh water, and good quality soil to function properly.

Appearance: While not identical, the young nymph resembles her sister very much. With her time in the Cradle, her coloration reflects this growth period. However, with a few months in Hope, the hues of her hair and bark will shift to the typical brown-gray, green, and beige shades.

She stands at 5’10” and weighs around 170 pounds, her physique youthful and shapely. While she does move with the expected poise of someone raised by two Fae nobles, it’s typically only when the occasion calls for it. Otherwise, her gait reflects the casual walk of a teenager.

In place of the usual arboreal tones, the light bark on her face is a soft gray with a slightly more pronounced nose than her predecessor’s. While Sophia’s eyes would glow while “powering up”, Allie’s tends to permanently glow a verdant green; this trait could change as her body adapts to her environment. Her eyes also to have a bit of age to them, due to some very faint lines and reflect her having inherited some of Sophia’s maturity and experience. As the dryad understood that her aid was needed in some capacity, her body grew armor that becomes tougher and more defined when threatened. When not needed, there are still visible lines indicating things like a chest plate, gauntlets, and so on. Her bark features a similar spiral pattern to Sophia’s. Her hair is composed of fine, greenish-white vines. She favors styling them into ponytails, partial up-dos, and braids. She has the familiar caprine traits, such as digitigrade legs, curling horns, roots shaped like cloven hooves, ears, and tail.

Her fashion sense takes influences from both McLeod and Haskill’s wardrobes. It’s not uncommon to see her in a modernized version of 19th century men’s wear. Other times she could be found wearing a blouse and pencil skirt. As the influences in her life widen, it’s possible she may even start wearing jeans. What’s interesting is her color palette borrows from the both the Winter and Summer Courts, which could raise an eyebrow or two.

An interesting accessory Tina developed was a parasol meant for both fencing and as a shield. Knowing she’d face different threats, she crafted it after studying Vernon’s umbrella. The canopy resembles lacy moss in shades of gray and green with a wooden shaft and handle. The lace is actually magically reinforced and can function as a shield to a degree. The parasol’s tip has been hardened and whetted to a sharp point, making it a useful weapon for close quarter combat.

Behavior: In contrast to Sophia, Alastriona has lived a sheltered life. With Eirean and Vernon as her main sources of emotional development, she’s inherited personality traits from both of them. Given that she’s a Summer dryad, the addition of Winter characteristics might puzzle or disconcert others.

She has the desired traits of being kind, cordial, and polite. With time, she’ll prove to be a good listening ear. Like Vernon, she’ll use smiles, handshakes, and other gestures to convey deeper feelings of friendship or choose to go for a stroll to talk things out with a friend or other person in need of advice or comfort.

For the most part, she’s very earnest. Seeing her guardians act and love freely had a major impact on how she is with others. She’ll have to get used to more reserved types and might encourage them to open up more, if they feel up to it. However, she’ll also be stubbornly resolute when faced with uptight Fae aristocrats if they bluster or cause trouble for her beloved guardians or her younger brother.

As for her reserved side, this will mostly come into play while meeting those who she only has memories of or strangers. She feels she should test the waters before displaying her more forward nature. Also, her remembered exposure to demons or jinn is limited, mostly with Khadim, Melmoth, and Tom. Her watching of the events that transpired during her time in the Cradle quickly and greatly affected her. At the very least, she feels that all demons should be approached with caution.

Vernon’s nature and his Mantle nurtured Winter traits in her. Even with her body’s limitations, she still relishes good food and her preferred tastes in beverages, outside of the normal requirement for water. During her fencing sessions with the Winter Lord, she’s shown being thrilled while sparring and might even be seen grinning in dire situations. The Winter influences are more noticeable with the shifts in the year’s cycles.

Like Sophia, the girl’s temperament changes with the seasons. In spring, she’ll show herself to be energetic and spirited with these tendencies being amplified in summer. While fall had Sophia’s demeanor start turn more somber and weary, Alastriona’s is more gleeful with the shift toward cooler weather. With winter, she exhibits an exuberant showing of hospitality in the frigid months and maintains a boisterous nature more in line with summer. She may be more crass and mercurial, depending on the environment.

Goals: With the loss of Sophia, the young dryad is fully aware of the void that was left behind. Life n the Cradle was relatively harmonious; most days were just her, Eirean, Vernon and their child. Hope stands in stark contrast to her previous residence, so she has some understanding that she has to protect the Tree and the Nexus it’ll be placed over. However, she also has a distinct learning curve to get used to.

Her initial objectives are to get settled in and adapt as quickly as possible, as she senses that’s what will be demanded of her by the city’s citizens. With the world still rebuilding from the Infernal War, she doesn’t feel like she’ll have much time to rest and figures it’s time to hit the ground running.

With Shield welcoming their newest occupant, she’ll need some time to get used to them after having a limited social circle. Her aim is to get to know them carefully as she forms new attachments with them.

History: Alastriona’s story begins with her older sister’s sensing the need to put aside some of the acorns that the Centennial Tree had produced. Around this time, the Goat was in the process of wearing down Leonard Ephesian’s mind and soul in preparation for taking control of it. The Tree’s sensitive network of roots told the dryad that a threat was stirring.
Now, the idea of preparing future seedlings to be potential replacements was nothing new for Sophia. Earlier on, she knew this was a possibility with how much trouble Hope seemed to attract. She felt that for the time being she could deter these threats, even ones such as Rendell and Elysium.
The threat the Goat posed felt even greater than the previous ones. Demons had the capability to corrupt and control elemental spirits, if they didn’t outright destroy the Nexus’ conduit. With Hope’s earlier history, she knew if she dug the roots deep enough, the Tree and herself could recover. Unfortunately, the deeper levels of Hope’s strata had already been tainted by the Void Weavers’ machinations and Samoset’s curse, and future versions of herself would be equally tainted. That solution wasn’t something she could bring herself to do, as it would leave Hope vulnerable to even worse dangers than demons.

As regularly as she could, she spent time with the acorns and kept track of the ones who showed the best potential, eventually coming to select one. She shared her memories of her friends, old and new, and spoke with the young nature spirit in the chance the worst happened and that she wouldn’t be able to. Sophia eventually transferred some of her essence into the acorn that would grow into Alastriona’s tree and gave it over to the Countess for safekeeping.

Fast forward to the worst shelling of of the incursions, which had Eirean and Vernon flee from Hope to London and then to the Drifters’ foldspace point. The pot in which the young tree grew was properly shielded against radiation as transportation was secured. The location for the new dryad’s development wasn’t to be any ordinary tract of land, but the Vanguard’s Cradle! All the way, the young spirit picked up on her guardians’ fear, worry, and trepidation during the journey. She wondered, Where were they going? Would there ever be a feeling of security?

Young Alastriona found the security she yearned for with her adopted parents and her sibling. During that time, she heard the recordings of Sophia’s Earth friends and common sounds heard around Hope. She was given all of the water and sunlight the Tree needed, while also picking up on the unfiltered emotions of her close-knit family. Her roots readily attached themselves to the alien soil (with Terran soil samples added in order to give her some adaptability) and grew eventually big enough for her body to develop and emerge from her Host plant.

Now that she was grown enough, she ate and learned directly from them. She saw Eirean and Vernon without the masks they put on for the Courts and understood that the friction between the two Courts was silly and unneeded. She wondered, Why couldn’t the Fae merely express themselves freely and not hide behind pretentious airs or self-centered politicking?

The concept of aging was essentially unheard of, as neither the Lord, Lady, or their child aged a day during the eighteen year stretch of residence in the Cradle. With her seeing Vernon’s attempts to focus his Wintertime battle lust, she eventually asked him to teach her how to fence with an umbrella and became quite skilled at it. The standard education for a Fae noble was given to her, with occasional visits from the Vanguard Queen Helena Nasir and her Heralds. The student deepened her knowledge of via’s opposite, the Warp and Weft or Dark Energy, which merely seemed like another side of a coin that was seldom looked upon. She understood Nasir’s measured mercies when the Queen explained her restraint toward the Goat’s forces.

With nearly two decades of learning under her belt, the time came to uproot the Tree and return it and her to their rightful home on Earth. The journey back was unsettling to say the least. Her early memories of the trip to the Cradle had faded some, and she was much more aware of the precarious trip’s ordeals. She encountered her first experiences with greed when a handful of Drifter merchants wished to buy the Tree from the Lord and Lady. Thankfully, some Oaths and outright ignoring abated the threat.

The departure from her first home and flight to her new one was nerve-wracking and harrowing for the young adult. The Cradle had been the closest thing to a utopia as she could imagine and now she was returning to a place she had only learned about through stories, photos, recordings, and her predecessor’s memories. Reality hit, and she realized she was actually a mere two months old, a minute fraction of what she had experienced with her family in the time-frozen demi-plane. During the flight, the time spent watching limited news sources over the War and post-War developments was gut-wrenching and sobering for the nymph. It confirmed her suspicions that Sophia had indeed passed, leaving her immediately grief-stricken for a sister she never got to meet.

With the new Tree’s unveiling, there’s much for the new dryad to be happy and concerned about. There’s old faces to re-familiarize herself with and new threats for her to defend against, some of which Sophia could only potentially plan for.
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