No matter how one looks at Anya, she seems on the harmless side. A moderately tall willowy frame, barely the weight of a bundle of wet clothes by the looks of it, a chin-length wave of flowing blonde hair, framing a delicate face, small nose, lush lips often forming a faint smile, nothing that would indicate she was anything but harmless. Anya has doe-like emerald-coloured eyes that seem to always dart left and right, but can pierce right through you when they decide to focus. The rest of her body is no less captivating, being blessed by nature in what the wild tribes describe as proper child-bearing traits. Her smooth and fair skin is unmarked, no traces of duress or wounds to mar its surface despite the normally harsh conditions of life in the wild.
Anya usually allows anyone a good view of her skin most of the time in any case, preferring to dress revealingly when gracing the tribes with her presence, short and revealing fur tops, loincloths and other limited types of garments that match the wild habitats she frequents. She ornaments herself with tribal fetishes and talismans at all times, which hang from her clothes or adorn her neck and arms, causing a faint tingling sound, like chimes in the wind, despite the lack of any. At other times during storms she would not cause a single sound to be made from her array of tokens, despite them visibly moving. Despite her preferences, Anya can also be seen wearing more “civilized” clothing when needed, matching the local preferences, be it pants, shirts, skirts or robes. She is never caught wearing armour of any kind above bracers or the occasional anklet on the other hand, even when travelling in cities, often citing they feel “stuffy” and covering her overly much. On the other hand, pouches and small bags she does carry on her person, usually cinched at her waist, to carry her few belongings. In her hands she holds a rather detailed wooden staff, with leaf and flower motifs carved along the length, used as a walking stick often.
Of course, all the above is only when she is in her human guise and is hiding her true colors. When she reveals her nature, one can easily notice the extensive silvery array of tattoos covering her skin from the top of her feet to the knuckles on her hands, twin lines of arcane script winding up her lithe frame from each side. If able to pierce her obfuscating veil further, one can see that Anya has large pointed feline ears of white-like fur atop her head, which are actually her real ears. For all her apparent harmless outlook, the girl could easily rip a man in half while smiling, for she is a Lunar, a shapechanger, able to transform into terrifying beasts and creatures.
Her favored shape is her lynx form (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lynx_lynx_poing.jpg
), her spiritual totem animal which represents the core of her being. A small animal, merely 3 feet in length and about a foot tall, Anya’s form has short golden brown fur with darker spots mixed in, often turning to a beige-white color in the winter seasons. Her cast tattoos can be seen as a thin pattern of paler fur running along the sides and legs of her form, if one actually manages to detect them at all. With cat-like proportions and features, Anya can often be found napping in this form in the wilderness, despite the ability to change shape into something more impressive to not be bothered. Impressive is attained by merging her spiritual form and her human form so that she can assume her beast transformation, a hybrid cat-like creature taller than any northern man by a head. Short cropped gray fur, sleek and powerful muscles, with claws on her hands and feet that could shred wood and rend stone were she not using her preferred implement most of the time, an exquisite weapon able to change into the shape of a large scythe or spear at her command.
Anya barely remembers her early childhood; she has lived in the wilds for so long that even had she been born to city dwellers, the wilderness is her only true home now. She recalls having a father and mother at the same time, but their features are fuzzy when she tries to recall them. An attack by something or someone along a snow covered road during the night, screaming, a desperate run in densely packed woods for hours, the memory of biting cold and gnawing hunger are her real first memories. Wandering into a tribal community, Anya survived her ordeal but never knew what had occurred to her parents; she did not even know where she was or how to go back. The tribe took her in and raised her as their own, giving her a new name for her new life, teaching her their skills and lore, their rites and their beliefs. All things considered, there was much, much worse to cross in the wilds than a benevolent tribe of “barbarians” and Anya would always recall their benevolent reception of her.
It was only years later, when she was in her twentieth winter, that she truly became what she is now. Another winter night, an attack from mysterious attackers, men unwell of form and mind swarmed the encampment. This time, Anya did not run, she did not desire to lose another family, this was the time to stand and fight and she would die before she lived through loss such as she had felt again. She fought with a fury her friends and family had never seen in her, she refused to give in to her wounds and fought on well past the point her body should sustain. And yet she was standing when the last wild man fled. None could say she did not give her all for the tribe, she was as a legendary forest goddess of the tribe, a staunch defender. Anya’s wounds were severe on the other hand and as she finally collapsed, the tribe gathered to honour her last moments, to recall her bravery and make certain she knew the tribe was safe. They vowed to write stories and retell the tale of this night to their children, passing her name down the ages.
In answer to all this courage and ability, or perhaps because Luna already had sights on the young woman, Anya Exalted then, bathed in silver moonlight. It was a truly majestic feeling, the stories and legends of the god’s boon upon their champions came to mind. Anya healed fully a scant few moments later, instead of dying. She was changed now, her whole being felt imbued with power, her every sense suddenly showing her a nuance to the world she never knew, every feeling was like for the first time, and it took some time for her to settle in her new life, for Anya knew deep inside that it was a rebirth. The tribe did not know how to react, between wishing to hug the girl for returning to them and half between wanting to bow down in respect. It was the shaman that broke the awkwardness, indicating that Anya had to go on a quest to learn herself, and that the answers she found there would also be the answers the tribe needed.
She left for her quest then, only knowing that her new self would know what to do and trusting the shaman in his wisdom that a quest was required of her at this junction in her life. Her quest had many steps, such as when she acquired her Spirit Shape, but the turning point came when she had reached a clearing, far to the north-east, weeks after she had initially set out. The clearing was green and dry, despite the raging winter everywhere else, and it was empty but for a planted stick in the middle, surrounded by a sort of drape-like item. As she came closer to the middle, she knew she was where she was supposed to be, her senses and being had directed her, any other direction, for any amount of time, would have made her miss this wondrous place. The stick turned out to be a finely crafted staff, sturdy, dry, untouched by rot or decay despite being out in nature for so long. The cloth was a garment of some kind, far finer to the touch than the softest fur. Touching the items triggered images, perhaps visions, maybe memories, all of them carrying these very things. This was important, the reason for her quest, but she could not explain it, she needed wisdom from the village elders.
When she did return, she was received with love, but also awe, the shaman seemingly already aware of the completion of her Life Quest, and spread the news. As if a story coming to life, the tribe refused to see her as merely Anya anymore, but as the reincarnation of a legend, a living spirit. Despite all her rebuttals, recalling the hunting trips with the community hunters, the time spent with the mothers to cook meals, none of the villagers really saw her as simple Anya anymore; all interactions were tinted with awe and overly much respect. She resigned herself to accept their new devotion as it was, knowing they could not simply change their views than she could change who she now was. The only constant was the elderly shaman, he would never bow to anyone no matter their sudden transformation, and if anything else, became more strict with her than ever before.
Before she knew it, he was asking her to receive tattoos to represent her new status. The giving of tattoos was not something new to the community as such, but what she received was more than what hunters were given when they returned from a great hunt. It was more than anyone she had ever seen bear on their skin. A swirling series of designs and shapes, runes and images graced her form, circling her body, from her feet to the back of her hands, up her legs and onto her back. A boon for the tribe, the shaman said, needs symbols to represent such things. It did make Anya feel better for some reason, her mind at ease for the first time since she had risen from her deathbed. Once the tattoos had been bestowed, the shaman took constant interest in her, more than ever before. Talk of her dreams, discussions on animals, her new skills, abilities that she seemed to have gained. Although not displaying the same powers she had been gifted with, he seemed knowledgeable on a great many things, explaining that the histories of the tribe spoke of such wonders of nature and that it was a shaman's duty to assist with all the lore that was passed down.
She learned so much in those early days, managing to understand her nature and what she could do with much greater clarity. Weeks turned into months, and then years, and Anya remained, unchanging, while the tribe lost its elders, to be replaced by the younger generation, all growing up with their new protector. The elderly shaman left one day, never to return, to be replaced by a successor that was just as attentive to Anya as the previous one, but made the girl realized things had finally changed past her tolerance. Anya understood that she could not remain like this forever; she could not continue living here as if nothing had occurred, the village had grown, but it was becoming more and more dependent on her, as those who recalled Anya before her change all died. She would drive away the Wyld barbarians, talk with the spirits on the behalf of the village, she was quickly becoming too central to the community and she could not take it anymore.
One day, she announced that she had received a vision, and she had to undertake some great quest for the safety of the land. Despite her physical absence, she vowed that she would always be here in spirit to lend them courage, guide their shamans and assist as much as she could. With her gone, others would have to take up the mantle of defenders and oversee the community as it always had been. Of course, she had arranged a deal with the local forest and animal spirits before making that statement, to have them keep an eye on the village while she was gone. Anya would come to oversee her old friends from time to time, but she needed freedom and to be away from the constant prayers, despite knowing they would continue during her self-appointed exile.
She left soon afterwards, embarking on various adventures, traveling farther than she ever had before, learning things from land and sky, listening for the wisdom of Luna during the cloudless nights and learning from the visions of the past. She would always return to the community, which slowly kept growing over the years, but not too often or at least not seen too often. She had learned that infrequent sightings at critical times meant more to them now than her constant presence could before. They kept praying to her, but not exclusively anymore, asking for her courage and determination mostly. Someday, when she had grown fully into her power, she would return, helping the tribes grow safely, purging the Wyld barbarians for good.