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Name: Lydia Cassidy
Age: 28 (Looks) 53 (Actual)
Rank: Fire Master
Face Claim: Katerina Graham
| Compassionate | Diligent | Steadfast | Temperamental | Loner | Reserved |
On a summer night in the middle of New Orleans, Roman and Sheila welcomed their first child to the world, a beautiful baby girl. From the moment she was born, Lydia was a quiet child, the type to stare with wide-eyed wonder at everything around her and constantly being curious. Her parents doted on her, caring for her and consistently giving her the attention and love she deserved.
Lydia was too young at the time to understand the battleground she had been born into, her parents both proud element wielders and key members of the Initia community in a place that was in a constant struggle for power between Initia and Phoenixes. The first few years of her life were spent at home, always keeping the door double locked, watching her parents as they practiced their elements with wide-eyed wonder. Asking them if she would be able to do magic too one day. They promised her that one day she would and that was enough to curb her questioning at least for a little while.
It was at the age of five that her parents sat her down to explain the conflict between phoenixes and Initia, how the two factions have never been able to see eye-to-eye and that was why they constantly needed to be training, to be ready for an attack at any more. The war in New Orleans ran deep, fighting for territory and for power, revenge stories sparking from both sides thanks to the bad blood seen between them. Lydia could never fully get her head around it all, why they needed to fight, what made them all so different.
Still, being surrounded by that influence saw her slowly becoming turned against phoenixes, believing in the stories about their dangerousness, how they were out of control and made snap decisions when angry that could send a whole city up in flames. She went to a school made up of kids from the tribe, each of them learning both ordinary life subjects such as English and Math along with classes focused around their element specialty. When Lydia reached age seven her Initia mark finally appeared and she began searching for her affinity element. The logical choices were earth and air, the two elements her parents wielding, in fact, the majority of the tribe had similar elements.
The elders explained it as the gene doing it’s work, matching likely masters to Initia that would learn best from them, kinda like natural selection of sorts. So when Lydia woke up one night from a nightmare, only to find her blanket had set on fire, things definitely became complicated. Thanks to their fiery neighbors and all those lost in the name of the war with the, the fire affinity was generally not one often seen and the kids at the school with it were often outcasted because of it, they didn’t even have a fire master in the tribe to teach them. Usually the tribe insisted they diversity at 18 and learn another element they approved of.
It wasn’t a huge surprise that when Lydia turned 12 it was the mark of the fire element which appeared on her lower back. It was troubling for her, as the daughter of two Initia masters, she had always had this ideal in her head that she would follow in their footsteps and become a master too but she knew her tribe would never approve of that. Fire was the enemy to them, they were scared of it to the point where they actively discouraged her from using it and consistently denied her the training she wanted. It was six years until she could choose to diversify and that meant six years of not fitting in and being treated as though she was lesser to all those other people. For something she didn’t even choose.
She had no choice but to force it down and to focus on her human studies, which she always did decently well in and despite spending so much time on her own, she didn’t hate school. While the other kids avoided her, they knew better than to set off a fire Initia, because they were known for their temperamental outbursts and Lydia was no exception. She was treated like a trouble student because of it, always getting sent out to cool off the moment she showed any sign of frustration. It made her start becoming the rebel they seemed to all want her to be, she stayed out late, drank alcohol and snuck into clubs, started smoking just because it seemed like something they wouldn’t approve of.
By the time she was 15, the quiet sweet girl who was there before had been remade into someone who hated the system, hated how people were treated, hated being told what she was and wasn’t allowed to do. Which is why when she saw smoke coming from the woods, she didn’t hesitate to go and investigate. Lydia snuck out to the clearing only to see a male with explicit control over fire, he was able to bend it to his will and generate it from his fingertips. It was absolutely mesmerizing, seeing the grace he moved with it, how the fire didn’t escape and expand the way it always did with her. She was completely in awe.
She was about to run off back into the city when she tripped on a loose log and alerted the male’s attention to her. The moment he came closer she could see he was her age, perhaps a year or so older but his features were kind. He offered his hand to help her off the ground where she had fallen and she hesitantly thanked him from the help. It didn’t even occur to her at first that he might be a phoenix, she had just assumed like her, he was a fire Initia, practicing his ability in secret. But when she spotted the red lines which trailed down his arm as he pulled away she gasped.
She was about to scream but the male quickly pressed his hand against her mouth to quieten her “Don’t scream, they’ll hear you if you scream, I mean you no harm but they will” she struggled a little before the words eventually sunk in and she nodded gently. When he let her go he introduced himself as Devon Radix, with a kind smile. She was confused, she had always been told phoenixes were the enemy, vengeful kinds who hated the very sight of Initia. She was rightfully wary of him but the curiosity made her stay, introducing herself to him and asking him about his control over fire and how he learned it.
They talked for hours in that little clearing and the young fire Intia, always taught to be afraid of the phoenixes and of the very element she wielded, saw something very different for the first time in her life. She saw someone able to control the fire, to put it out when it became a danger, someone able to help people but also able to hold his own. She saw beauty in the element which had chosen her, her element. It was dangerous, they both knew that, they shouldn’t be friends, the world was completely against them but she had never been one to bow down to the will of the world.
So she asked Devon to train her. They had to meet in secret, his family had key roles in the Phoenix faction and she knew her parents and tribe would never be okay with her being friends with a phoenix. Through Devon she learned to gain control over her power, to be able to bend it to her will and use it in ways she’d never even considered before. She loved it, she loved the power it gave her and the sense of identity she gained from it. Something her community couldn’t give her. Her and Devon got very good at sneaking around and they both got stronger, always sparring and challenging each other. Lydia realized that maybe she didn’t need a master to embrace her element.
It felt like a countdown to her 18th birthday. Lydia already knew what she wanted to do but she also knew what choosing it meant, not to mention that she’d kept her ability to control fire so well a secret all the time. She was caught between the person her tribe wanted her to be and the person she really was and she knew choosing one meant losing the other. It was a struggle she went through right til the very last moment when the grand master asked her to state her choice and the crowd gasped when she chose the option no one expected her to. The moment she spoke it everyone was asked to leave the room, leaving only her parents and the elders of the tribe.
They wanted an explanation for her choice, they wanted to know how she intended to learn control over an element there was no master for and she didn’t have the answers to give, the last thing she would ever do was turn on the only person who had actually been there for her and supported her through everything and so she refused to answer and they threatened to banish her from the tribe. Still she stood strong, believing in the person who had always seen the best in her over those who constantly told her to change who she was.
And so that night she was given a few hours to pack her things and leave, the hardest part was seeing the look of shock and disappointment in her parent’s eyes as they pleaded with her to tell them the truth. She couldn’t do that, she knew the moment she did they would march to Devon’s family and a fight would kick off, people would get hurt. She’d rather take banishment than be responsible for the harming of her friend and his family, someone who had showed her kindness from the very day they met.
And next came goodbye. She’d never have asked Devon to leave with her, that would have put a target on both their backs and revealed the truth she was trying so hard to keep buried. They met in the woods one last time, where she thanked him for everything he had done and for believing in her and then she kissed him. And that was all that ever became of the romantic story and the last time she ever saw him in person. She promised she’d write but she knew she wouldn’t follow through. She’d got through most of her life alone so far and she intended to continue doing so. So she got on the next bus, took it to the next city that took her interest and got ready to start her next life, in Albuquerque.
Living alone without any real direction for your life though, that was hard, she was allowed to take the few things she owned with her but it was barely enough to make the first month’s rent in a tiny shoebox apartment. But there was nowhere to go back to so Lydia did what she needed to do and got a part time job working at one of the local restaurants as a waitress. It didn’t pay all that well but it was enough to keep a roof over her head and food in the kitchen and now that she was out in the world alone, she found people easier to approach. Not everyone was as judgmental as the kids in her school were and here she could be anyone she wanted to be, no one had to know about her past or even that she was anything but human.
She made a few friends in the city, coworkers who she liked to joke around with on the quiet moments and before long she had worked her way up to a shift management position. She kept practicing her fire element alone, but it was hard to keep true focus when she had so much going on in her life. She was trying to find a future for herself, something that sparked her interest and it wasn’t until one night when she was asked to help cover in the kitchen that she found it. After that, she found herself completely enthralled by cooking, always practicing at home and using her spare money to buy ingredients for new recipes. She was eventually hired into the kitchen and with time became one of the regular chefs for the restaurant.
One night when she was working the late shift she was closing up shop when she saw someone she thought she recognized walking by. Lydia did a double take before heading outside to chase down the male walking by but when he turned around it wasn’t Devon like she thought. She apologized profusely but just as she thought he was going to walk away the male said he recognized her from New Orleans. It didn’t take long to figure out that, the male, named Ryker was Devon’s elder brother and like his brother a phoenix.
Ryker stayed a while as Lydia closed up shop and he explained his story to her, how he had been kicked out of his clan for falling in love with an Initia and how they had both made a getaway to start a new like when they realized she was pregnant. Lydia could tell the two boys were related, they both had the same caring spirit and accepting personality that she immediately saw in Devon when she first met him. Ryker and Lydia became friends and later training partners, further their element practice and keeping their heritage alive by encouraging one another.
Lydia’s life continued like that for many years, she left her clan behind and started anew, she found herself in learning to cook and later enrolling in classes in culinary arts. She dreamed of one day owning and running her own restaurant where she could make her own dishes. With Ryker’s help she kept practicing her element and slowly by surely, she left behind the girl everyone wanted to be and found the person she was meant to be. The kind who really liked being inventive and creative, who spent a lot of her time alone but didn’t mind that. The kind who tended to wear her heart on her sleeve and care too much, which occasionally left her heartbroken and she experienced some pretty bad breakups during her time.
It wasn’t until she reached the age of 45 that she finally decided to leave her life in Albuquerque behind. Ryker was moving on with his life and taking his kids and wife to live on the coast. All of her friends from the restaurant had came and went, moving onto new things, really living their lives and enjoying it. While she felt stuck. She had spent so much time alone and while she was by no means miserable, she felt like there was something missing. A dream to chase perhaps. She had finally saved enough to afford a major business investment loan and at the same time she decided to pack up her life in this particular city and make her way to a new one. The Eternal City.
Lydia wasn’t really sure what she was expecting at first, but after much convincing to reconnect with who she was, she decided to reach out to the Initia community. The grand master was shocked at the way she could control fire beyond anything they had ever seen before, to the point where they couldn’t actually believe she hadn’t been training under a master all this time. She was reluctant at first but because Evermore was without a fire master and the grand master seemed to believe in her more than anyone ever did, she decided to take her mastery exam. And became the first fire master ever known to be taught by phoenixes. It spoke clear words to a community that had been long divided, that things didn’t have to be that way and that peace and coexistence was possible.
Lydia began to build the life she dreamed in Evermore, she was there for everyone who wielded the fire element, whether it was their affinity or she had the blessing of getting to share it with them. She was a patient teacher who tended on pair teaching and adapting each lesson for the student at hand. She was young for a master but many called her wise, because of how understanding and accepting she was. How willing to see other avenues and perspectives she was. Alongside, she worked on building her restaurant from the ground up, from the menu, to the staff, to the decor and the entertainment, it was entirely hers. And that meant everything.