"You're very special."
"Things will work out. Eventually."
For the longest time, that's what Sofiya Zahara could remember her parents telling her. That she wasn't abnormal and that there should be no reason that would warrant her worries whether or not her worth is lesser than anyone else's. It was the only thing she could remember her parents telling her; those two particular sentences uttered from their lips every morning for 5 years. But words were just words. It's not powerful until you believe in it. So for a while, it didn't. Not when they passed away from a car accident, leaving behind an insecure 5-year-old girl who had no one to turn to for comfort and solace. Sofi didn't have any other relatives, both her parents had been excommunicated from their own respective tribes when they chose to flee to another country. Disowned, if one should say. Discarded. Thrown aside like they were worth nothing.
It was a scandalous affair; Maria and Michael, one is Fire while the other is Earth. Long story short, their tribes were not a big fan of disloyalty. One wanted to follow the other and she couldn't do that when she had her own responsibilities as a tribe member and as a daughter. While the other wanted to flee his own tribe after suffering years of mistreatment as he endured torment from his brothers. One was happy with her life and the other was not. An unplanned friendship that blossomed into flowers of affection and love, weeks turned into months and months turned years. Somehow, they reached a mutual understanding about what they both needed and it didn't take them long after that to plan their future together. They wanted to build a new life where their child would have the best of both worlds, because what parent wouldn't want that for their offspring? That happened.
On the 14th day of January 1941, Sofiya Yekaterina Zahara was delivered safely into the world. She had her father's cerulean optics and her mother's light locks. Sofi was a healthy baby girl, there were no difficulties during her birth, she cried a great number of tears when she was born and Maria wished she wouldn't ever forget that auspicious day. Shortly after her discharge, Sofi was welcomed home with two loving parents who doted on her very much. They were supposed to live a happy life in Budapest, their family was stable. Nothing was bothering them, they were far from any countries involved in the war. Or so they thought. A few months later, Hungary marched against the Soviet Union which used to be their home. It was ground zero again and they didn't want to raise Sofi in a war zone.
So they didn't. They packed up and departed for Andorra before the circumstances worsen. For what seemed to be a serene period of their life, with their only child tucked away from the impending war, settling in Andorra was the best choice they knew they made. After spending 5 years in a peaceful country, the persistent child that was Sofi grew up in a sheltered home, she befriended people easily as if she had a glow to her for it. Wherever Sofi goes, she always came back with more acquaintances, no matter if they were young or old. But her outgoing traits did not overshadow her more elusive ones, she had an affinity for being impulsive and that often made her somewhat reckless. Their parents found a new tribe in Andorra when they moved there and everything was blissful. Something was wrong. It was too good to be true.
One fateful day, Sofi was spending her evening with her neighbors, while her parents went to town to buy some groceries. She couldn't recall what was truly said to her, only that her parents didn't survive the car crash and that she's an orphan at 5. Of course, a 5-year-old wouldn't know any better, so for weeks long, she waited for her parents to come to fetch her from her neighbor's house. Surprisingly, there were no tears in her eyes, only whining cries for affection. The authorities decided that it was best to send her to an orphanage seeing as she had no legal guardian with her after her parents' passing. Despite her neighbor, Aunt Mia's pleas, for them to resort to a better option, her attempts were futile and two weeks later, Sofi was sent to a local orphanage.
It was a new life for her. Sofi survived, she had to. She used to make a promise to her parents that she would behave every time they left and that didn't change anywhere else. She didn't receive the same warmth she was used to, in fact, there was no warmth at all. It was as stale as any stale thing can be. There were no affection or sincerity lacing her supervisor's tone, so much that she could almost taste the bitterness in it. When she turned 7, a roommate asked her about the mark on her lower back while she was changing. Completely unbeknownst to Sofi who didn't know better, she shrugged it off and dismissed the questions in her head by trying to convince herself it was just a birthmark that stretched out as she grew. Keyword; try.
For a long while, Sofi tried to figure out what the mark meant because there was this feeling that's been bugging her to no end that the mark is something. She spent 4 years in the orphanage, but she wasn't alone. 2 years after her admission, she caught the interest of one man named Kris. Initially, he was only there to pay a visit, until he saw her. Sofi figured he developed an interest in her and while she didn't have any hopes of being adopted, it didn't mean she was going to be thoroughly rude to the nice man for no reason. Manners maketh man, Kris told her. For the next 2 years of his frequent weekly visitation, she desperately wished to get out of the orphanage and travel the world like what he did prior to his move. Her wishes came true. Admittedly, Sofi was disheartened to find out that they would be leaving Andorra since it has been her home but it also served her memories of her parents' passing. They had a happy and content life, it was bittersweet, and Sofi didn't like the bitter part.
Kris brought her back to Kiev, Ukraine, shortly after revealing his identity to her. He was a good friend of her mother and was heartbroken when she left. The war left a devastating image on the country and Sofi realized that her parents fled to give her a better life, and away from all the catastrophe. When he brought her 9-year-old self back to his tribe, people had mixed feelings about her presence since they still saw Maria as a selfish person who left them when they were struggling against the war. Kris ensured her passage and vouched for her to the Grand Master, saying that he would like to give a potential Initia child a chance. While they still held bitterness against her parents, they were already damaged from the war that took many innocent lives, and Kris was known for his leadership qualities as a Metal Master, someone who the Grand Master trusted more than anyone else.
For the next 3 years, Kris tried to help her find her element but to no avail, they failed. When asked to see her Initia mark to help them understand better, no one recognized it. It was a mark that everyone thought to be nothing more but a birthmark. During that time, everyone thought she was born human and the mark on her lower back did not mean anything. Being human never proved to be a problem, there were a few humans in the tribe that didn't receive the Initia gene, but the majority of the tribe consisted of Initia and the children often felt discouraged and envious because of the bond that the Initia has with others. She wasn't excluded for that lot either. Watching Kris teach people how to wield the metal element created a sense of wanting to belong somewhere. Kris noticed that, so one night, he tried to show her the ropes to it. She wasn't a natural learner, and the insecurity of being a human always bothered her because she felt she wasn't qualified to learn the elements, but when the persistent female practiced every night until the initiation ceremony, she knew it was a chance at learning.
There was nowhere else for her to go, the tribe was her home now. And God knows how much she wanted to feel like she belonged there. It wasn't much, but it was there. Kris offered to teach her the metal element should she choose to go through with the initiation. Sofi chose the metal element and being a Metal Master, Kris, approved it with a smile, knowing that with her due diligence, she would follow quickly. She did not disappoint. Sofi spent her entire teenhood practicing and training with every change that she gets, it was easier to get ahold of Kris who had no family, since she lived with him. Technically on the adoption papers, she is his adopted daughter. Every night before heading to bed, the flaxen-haired Initia would often rub soothing lines on her Metal mark, telling herself that one day she will succeed and will prove it to everyone else that she wasn't a failure. Her resilience proved herself to be a formidable opponent when it comes to training, it was no surprise why she eventually became Kris' favorite student and even captured the attention of other Masters.
By the time Sofi reached 18, between choosing to diversify her elements or to stay in one lane and master the metal element, she chose the latter. To say the least, her choice made everyone wonder in confusion while some others understood why. Choosing to master one element and eventually raking the rank of a Master was seen as an ambitious move for any Initia since that alone would take up decades, sometimes half a century, to master it. Years after years passed and without knowing, it's been almost 30 years since she decided to master the element of Metal. Her physical appearance still remained youthful despite her actual age, thanks to Initia's gene. Kris could not contain the pride that swelled in his chest when she finally mastered it. Upon finishing her completion on her mastery level of the Metal element, during her initiation ceremony, Sofi developed tattoo-like marks on her arms that symbolized the element itself. She could not contain the giddiness and enthusiasm in her chest, she would look up to the sky and smile to herself.
What Happened After
Just when she thought everything finally worked out. A few months after her initiation as a Master, she began having strange dreams and weirdly enough, they were not nightmares. Sofi couldn't focus on teaching because she kept hallucinating; there were voices whispering inside her head, sometimes she would even trail far off in the forest staring at the clearing before her with a blank look. It felt like she could feel a mysterious energy force surrounding her, it was overwhelming so to say. She told Kris about it and even after consultation with the Grand Master himself, there were no answers to her many questions. There was nothing that matched the description she told him, nothing that came anywhere close. It was only understandable that she grew stressful about the problem she had, so she started to search for any clues that would help her. Books, articles, anything. From what she has gathered, she concluded that she was either going mad or she's just overthinking and being paranoid. It wasn't even that long ago when she finally became a Master.
The traits alone said that she may be experiencing psychological distress. There were plenty of theories she found on the internet about the supernaturals and whatnot, it wasn't as if she could dismiss it easily since she too was a part of the same supernatural community. A month later, Sofi asked the other Masters in their council to give her their permission to search more about her 'condition' and though they were disheartened to see her go, they've grown fond of the whimsical blonde and they care more about her well-being above everything else. With a crestfallen look from Kris, she hugged him and bid him farewell, promising that she will never forget what he's done for her. Sofi departed for England to start her journey since she heard that there was someone who had a rare element. Unfortunately, the moment she got there, it was all just a rumor. Although feeling slightly discouraged, she didn't think much of it since it was rare to find any tribes that possessed more than 4 to 5 Masters of elements.
Sofi enrolled herself in a university there, majoring in Psychology. It was a chance to learn more about herself and perhaps she will have a chance at finding out what it meant. She has always trusted her instincts and it has never betrayed her this long while; there was something going on. She spent her days like any other students, from being punctual and attending every class, conducting her own extra research and studying more about a person's mind in the library from morning till the sun sets, even up to meditating on her 'free time'. It was mostly theories at first, there was no actual concrete evidence that stated the mind can do more once they learn to unlock its potential after delving deep enough into it. Who would believe that? Well… Sofi did. A year into her studies, Sofi met Rowan Mckenzie; a Scottish lad who she befriended quickly after accidentally knocking the books from the next aisle to topple on top of him.
Their friendship grew the more they spent time with one another, Rowan was a thorn by her side, or at least that's what she claimed. She discovered that he was just like her, not in a literal sense in element-wise, but Rowan was an Initia. It wasn't until she was staring into space, with her right hand twirling her pen while her left hand played with the helm of her blouse, that it happened. Originally, Sofi was just thinking about moving things around randomly, specifically the towel on the chair, it was one of those days where Rowan got home all drenched from head to toe because he forgot to bring an umbrella with him. She had accidentally tossed the towel to him, only the problem is, she didn't touch it and it was tossed at an incredible speed that it actually ended up slapping her best friend on the face.
From that day forward, Rowan had been her constant contact about every progress, which made it increasingly easy because they were roommates. He became her trusted confidant and supported her on her bad days when she sometimes broke down for no reason. Sofi did have a hunch, that he secretly knew it was the overload that often made her faint or pass out from her own persistence, resulting in the excessive push that was way out of her bounds. On a trip to Oslo during their 4th year, she found out about the Psychic element; an ancient and very rare element of the Initia. Good news, she finally found the answer to her years' worth question. Bad news, there weren't as many books as she thought she could get from the tribes there. In fact, there were none. Neither one of them documented anything about a Psychic Initia, let alone a Psychic Master. Their search drove them back to England and Sofi decided to study about the Psychic energy on her own. However, before she came back, she was told by a member of the tribe there, that it was said one existed half a millennium ago.
It was said that once an Initia chose to master their element, they cannot opt for another one. But seeing as Sofi could wield a rare element called Psychic, she knew there was probably more to the picture. At least for her. She continued her studies, majoring in Psychology until she reached the highest form of education, before prancing off to another country in search for more answers. Rowan didn't tag along this time, Sofi was a bit upset that she wouldn't have her best friend with her but also understood that he had his own path and she had her own. It wasn't a goodbye, of course. She never did like goodbyes. Her journey somehow led her to America; Evermore. Something about the eternal city drew her in, it was beautiful. It was everything she pictured to be an ideal home. To her surprise, she found another familiar face amidst the community, of course, he'd be here. Evermore was rumored to be a city of possibilities and potentials. A safe haven for supernaturals and humans alike.
In all those years away, she still kept in contact with Rowan, checking in casually every once in a while to see how he was doing. Surprisingly, Sofi didn't return back to Kiev, though she did tend to visit a few times. Hopping from one country to another, it was a never-ending journey for the blonde. She wouldn't rest until she finally got a hold of it, and after spending years abroad, it was time to go home.