Race: Dust moth (Wizard's familiar; also cursed to humanoid form)
Height: 4'4" (humanoid form)
Played by: Redpyre
Arrived: April 30, 2012
Grimoire: Grey, with mechanical butterfly
As a moth, she is entirely unremarkable in appearance. Just an average dust moth, only an inch or so in size. Other than giving off a bit of a magical aura, there is absolutely nothing to set her apart from any other bug fluttering around a light at night.
When she takes her humanoid form (which happens occasionally on purpose, usually on completely accident, and always quite abruptly) she stands only a little over four feet tall. Slightly childlike in proportion but not entirely so, it is impossible to really place any sort of physical age on her, and the fact that she's somewhat adorable is the only thing that really marks her as looking female at all. Plush fur covers anything that might identify her as such (not that it's actually present under all that fluff anyway). She also wears a small wooden tag that hangs from a string tied around her ankle, with the word "Dusty" neatly carved into it.
She's entirely covered in incredibly soft fuzz, pearlescent and ranging from pale beige to darker tans and grays. There are longer sections of fur on her forearms and shins, hips, a collar of it around her shoulders and chest, and on her head. The rest is extremely short and velvety, like the softest flannel imaginable. And, just like a moth, her fur is actually very delicate and wears off, leaving her eventually looking ragged and worn, with patches rubbing bald to the shiny skin underneath.
Her wings are the most delicate, easily wearing down and becoming damaged from being handled and running into objects. In human form, she has to sit on her feet to avoid crunching them when sitting. Just like any moth, the dust that rubs off of her wings are scales that she needs in order to fly, and they don't grow back on their own. If her wings are damaged, they remain that way until she dies and hatches again, all shiny and new.
Her eyes are glittering black and oversized, lidded like a human's but all faceted like an insect. She has a humanoid nose, but relies far more on her antennae for the senses of taste and smell, and her rudimentary ears are hidden under the fluff on her head. Her mouth is built like a human's, complete with with teeth that she never uses, but her pointed tongue is too skinny and too long to seem human--perfect for lapping up sugar and minerals.
Dusty is truly a moth-turned-human, and not the other way around... and her personality reflects this. She thinks like a moth that has been weirdly corrupted with human traits, further altered only by what she was taught by her wizard. This leaves her intelligence somewhere between that of a very smart bug, and a very stupid child. She's extremely curious, completely fascinated by pretty much everything she encounters in the world. She listens to every word spoken to her like she's eating them all up, but it's often hard to tell how much is actually sticking or being understood at all. She at least loves going through the motions of learning, even if the information is largely useless to her or will be quickly forgotten.
She is capable of most basic emotions, even if she is usually stuck in the happy-and-curious gear most of the time. Being partially human, she is capable of some things that normal moths aren't--enjoying simply physical contact, for instance. She has people and things that she likes and dislikes, she is capable of finding things funny (and often does), and gets mad or upset when bad things happen to things that she likes. She isn't afraid of much though, really only scared of things that a moth would fear--bats, birds, spiders, creatures that have proved obvious dangers in the past. She doesn't really have much sense of right and wrong, however, and her capacity for learning beyond that is hard to judge. Sometimes, she can seem quite bright, retaining knowledge and learning from it, demonstrating things that she's learned years ago from her wizard... but then randomly that information can seem to have simply fallen out of her brain minutes later. It seems that teaching her has a far greater rate of success when she's actually instructed to remember something. Then she knows it's important and puts forth more energy (both mental and magical) into committing it to memory.
Her capacity for speech is very poor. She physically has the ability to speak, and her thoughts can often be understood as words and phrases (sometimes quite complicated), but the mental processes needed to actually get her to speak out loud and converse is severely lacking. She does make accidental sounds--a base remnant of her brain being corrupted by human traits--and can be instructed to answer something verbally, if the instructor has the patience to keep her focused and can walk her through it. She can also repeat things, and answer with gestures (again with much patience on the part of her conversation partner), but really the easiest way to communicate with her is mentally or magically.
Like moths tend to do, she's totally drawn to significant sources of light, her cursed childlike personality making it worse with an extra thought of "this is so pretty!" She loves fire, and finds it very difficult not to reach out and touch or fly into. Beautiful light is the easiest way to distract or disorient her. Being a wizard's familiar, she is also drawn to sources of magic, which she can 'see' as easily as normal light. Enchanted items, people, sigils, places, all stand out to her, and she can frequently be found fluttering around or hanging out perched on them. Other than light and magic, the other thing Dusty is attracted to is things that smell or taste sweet, and sometimes also salty minerals. Flower nectar is her favorite, but anything sweet will do, which she happily laps up with her skinny little tongue.
There once was a very powerful, and very anti-social wizard. An infamous hermit, he locked himself away in his own tower as soon as he had the power to do so (like wizards were wont to do), absolutely despising the company of other humans. His familiar was a humble little moth, which wasn't a terribly intimidating servant, but surprisingly useful nonetheless. His little moth was one of the only ways he had of communicating with other wizards, and she was a wonderful little spy. His only real connection to the outside world, she was also his only companion. For decades, she served him unconditionally, learning from him and keeping him company in his sad later years.
And that's how it was, until the wizard's greatest rival finally found a way to truly wound him. He got a hold of the wizard's precious familiar, and cursed her--turning her into a human. She was now her wizard's very least favorite sort of creature, and all of her magical protection as a familiar was nullified. Dusty suddenly found herself nothing more than a very confused, very helpless, and very mortal girl.
The wizard was beside himself with grief, and couldn't bear to let her exist and die in this way... so he spent much of his remaining energy trying to fix her. He wasn't able to completely unravel the curse, so she still finds herself occasionally a confusing mix of moth and human, but he was at least able to restore her immortality. She remained his faithful familiar through the feeble-minded years that followed (even tolerating a tag being tied around her ankle when the now-forgetful wizard wanted to be able to remember what he'd named her), until she was abruptly pulled to Accord.
Abilities and WeaknessesEdit
She is a wizard's familiar, so she comes with a scattered variety of abilities that make her pretty useful if you know how to utilize them.
Her most useful trait, by far, is the fact that she is more or less immortal. Not in the fact that she can't die, however... because she does die. Often. But, after dying, her spirit hovers around for a day or so, before it finds someplace that it feels 'safe' and resurrects as a little cocoon, from which she hatches a couple of days later, good as new. Her life span is as short as any dust moth--a few weeks or months at the absolute most, and sometimes only as short as a few days. She flies into flame, gets swatted, is often eaten by predators, or simply wears down until she can no longer fly and survive. Dying hurts, but she doesn't quite feel pain and distress to the same extremity that a human would. In fact, if put through enough pain or stress, she simply dies from shock.
Her second most useful trait, is that she is very easy to communicate with mentally or magically. If someone has even the slightest penchant for mental communication, the ability to communicate with animals, scrying, or anything even remotely like that, she connects to that like two magnets drawn together, often bending the usual boundaries of powers to make it far easier than normal to do. It sometimes seems like she can just pick up thought or convey her own when there is very little explanation at all how it works. This is especially true for those she spends a lot of time around. She's sort of a freelance familiar, if you will. She can also communicate with other animals at will, and usually by accident.
And this easy link to the mind and magic of Dusty can be extremely useful if you know how to use it. She can record and relay complicated messages (though she doesn't understand them), and can be used as a near-perfect spying or messaging device. She's very good at remembering and following instructions when she understands the fact that she's being given a task, magically overcoming her naturally abysmal memory in order to serve her duty as a familiar. She can also be stored with a small amount of magic, which can allow her to be used as a remote trigger for spells, for example.
Other than that, she is useful for locating and identifying sources of magic, as she is highly drawn to them, and can sometimes sniff them out over great distances (if there is nothing else to divert or distract her). When found hovering around something, which is what she spends most of her time doing, nine times out of ten it is either a pretty light or a magic hotspot. It's actually pretty difficult to keep her away from them, and she will perch and bask, happily drinking in the magic aura, if she can get away with it--even if that place is the face of someone magical, or right in the middle of the page of an enchanted tome. She can be instructed to find these hotspots, but has a hard time consciously distinguishing them (from each other and from sources of especially pretty light) and can get confused.
Pretty much everything else about her is the same sort of strengths and weaknesses a normal moth or little girl would have. She's easily damaged and burned, often found worn down or leaking clear ichor from wounds if she's been alive for more than a couple weeks. She is not an intelligent creature, has no natural defenses to speak of, and is pretty bad at recognizing and evading danger. However, she is also difficult to notice and detect when in moth form, and her usefulness is very easy to underestimate. She's easy to ruin, but can be immensely valuable when put to work by the right hands.
- Her character is originally inspired by the moth that helps Gandalf escape the tower in Lord of the Rings. If you want to see Dusty in action, watch that scene. That's totally her. :3
- Don't be afraid to damage or kill her, intentionally or accidentally, if it's IC for your dudes to do so. She'll come back! It's all good. Everyone has automatic permission to injure or kill her.