The melding of two souls birthed Zephy in the town of Yaralon. Her mother a care giver and herbalist; her father forever a mystery. Zephy often spent her nights daydreaming of his exploits - was he a farmer, a doctor, an adventurist, a pirate?! She was to never know. For as long as she can remember it has been her and her mother, side by side. Any time Zephy pushed for more about her father, her mother simply said they separated on differences of values and ideals, whatever that meant. Few others of note ever lasted in her life; moving almost constantly Zephy always welcomed a new city, village, or new culture to explore. As they shuffled about the world, Zephy was never able to pick up any more than a few words here and there in many other languages other than common, besides that of Xantha. The language seemed to stick the easiest in her mind, she loved how it rolled in her mouth and with her mother often seeking out Sev'ryn merchants for their herbs and plants for her trade, it was the only other language Zephy really came in contact with.
Living on the road most of her life, Zephy practically grew up in the back of the old cart, owning little more than the clothes on her back, yet never yearning for more. It was sometimes a tough life for a youngster to be thrust into living among the wilderness, but her mother was always patiently coaching her how to scavenge and forage. As a rule though they almost always sought refuge at night behind the security of the walls of society. From a youngling, she helped her mother most days running her market stall, selling dried herbs and teas. Zephy was in charge of hauling goods crates from the cart, counting merchandise and most importantly, caring for the small cache of herbal plants that her mother grew in pots and took with them on the road. It wasn't easy caring for soil and plants trapped in boxes, but it was Zephy's job while her mother dealt with the trickier aspect of the business, which was practically everything else. It wasn't a lucrative endeavour but it kept them fed enough and the cart in good order to roll into the next town. On special occasions such as birthtrials, Zephy and her mother would sleep in an inn and spend the next day exploring the architectural and cultural aspects of whatever piece of Idalos they were in. Those memories Zephy treasures the most. So many wonders in the world of Idalos.
Her mother never told her why they always moved around, never settling in one place for more than an arc, and yet Zephy never thought to ask. Her mother was a careful creature, paranoid and distrustful of anyone who wished to get close and these attributes Zephy adopted, for she knew her mother must be this way for a good reason.
The older Zephy grew, the more her mother divulged her knowledge of medicinal herbs and how to brew them, discovering her mother had been documenting her research over the years in a journal. With her mother's journal almost always in hand, detailed drawings of favourable plants to keep her right, Zephy was soon allowed to roam the forests and wilds to search for their stock for the teas to sell.
This arc Zephy remembers vividly. This was the arc her mother revealed who she truly was - what she truly was and showed her the way into the Uleuda. Mind reeling, it took trials for her to fully grasp what the Yludih were, what she was. It took trials of her mother trying to teach Zephy to calm her mind enough to explore her true being. She could only master simple changes, like her hair; what once was golden from birth now a rainbow of colours, an expression of her inner self. But she now felt that there was a larger family out there, in the Uleuda, waiting for her. It was no longer just the two of them.
Every evening, over their campfire meal, Zephy would quiz her mother passionately, barely letting one question finish before spouting out another one. Now her nights were spent delving into the Uleuda, where she was beginning to undergo her education to control her power and practice ways of subtly and subterfuge to keep her identity a secret. Her mother finally embellished the terrifying cause for her paranoia and nomadic lifestyle - that the Yludih are widely feared for their shapeshifting nature and in the past many had been hunted down. Zephy now looked upon the world of Idalos with fear and trepidation. "No-one can ever know who you truly are" The finality of her mother's words resonate deep within her, even still.
Yet still their lives continued, the world had not changed, though Zephy and her perception of it had. Zephy and her mother continued to ply their trade where they could. Winding their way across the eastern continent, the pair made their way to Athart. Aware that this city was rife with slavery, her mother warned that they dare not linger. It was to be a simple resupply before heading back up the coast. Though, it was not to be.
Her mother had gone to seek out merchants on the docks for some rarer herbs, Zephy was huddled in the back of their cart, practicing simple changes to her skin colour and hair. Under the tarped roof, she believed to be concealed and safe from view. This was not so. They were discovered. They fled.
As fast as their horses could draw the cart, their home and livelihood, they escaped the gates of Athart. Her mother knew that Yludih were sought after, many would use their shifting abilities for their own gains - this she warned Zephy. For a couple breaks it appeared that no one pursued. Zephy released the breath she had held since leaving the city! Alas, one's guard should never be truly lowered, not when one is Yludih.
Suddenly their cart was highjacked on the road by bandits. Zephy's mother was dragged from the cart in the fray as the brigands attempted to board. The horses would not stop. Zephy couldn't control them, couldn't stop them. She screamed for her mother, eyes streaming, her voice coarse. The last words of her mother were to not stop, run!
Night fell and Zephy and the cart were miles ahead. The bandits had given up the chase, though Zephy didn't know why. She spurred the horses off the road and into the thick brush. She headed back on foot in search of her mother. She was gone.
Devastated and alone, she had nowhere to go. After breaks of crying in despair and searching the Uleuda for any sign of her mother's essence, Zephy finally pulled herself together and rummaged through the cart. She found her mother's journal and sifted through the pages. In amongst the herbal remedies, Zephy had once found a scrap piece of paper, where was it?! There! All that was written on the note was Desnind and a rough sketch of a man. Zephy had suspected before that this might be her father. She was just waiting for her mother to broach the subject when she was ready.
Her only hope was to get help and return to find her mother. Save for a few precious items and necessities in a bag and the clothes on her skin, Zephy sold the cart with everything in it, along with the horses for a seafare to Desnind across the waters. All that her mother had worked for, their home, it was gone. All of it.
Zephy has now arrived in Desnind and must begin the search for a man she doesn't even know...