|Portrayed by||Charity Wakefield|
Isla was born with her father’s good bones and her mother’s large eyes, making for a rather striking -- if more handsome than pretty -- combination. Her hair is light brown and those large eyes are an expressive blue. The latter usually gives her a slightly bewildered expression, unless she is particularly angry, which stands counter to her history and training.
She is neither tall nor short, but is lean and toned, owing to her many hours training to be a soldier alongside her father. She may no longer be a soldier like she had expected, or once had been, but she maintains her body type. She has no intention to stop training. All of the training from before hadn’t been enough to protect herself when she needed it most, and she is determined that it won’t happen again.
Her body bears witness to her treatment at the hands of the friends and family she once had, scars that somehow have yet to seem to heal properly and start to fade, like time would have suggested they would have. People have asked her why that is, but she doesn’t tell them. (If someone illustrated words and concepts, there might well be a picture of Isla next to “trust issues.”)
Of course, “conflicted” would run a pretty good shot at getting a picture of her as well, while she trains alongside the people she spent her entire life being taught to hate, to fight, and to kill. Now, they are her only hope, barring the Light-forbidden act of taking her own life. This Tower makes a case for how one can use this One Power and still walk in the Light, but there is one act forbidden to her heart above all...and so she is determined to make her best of this new life, even if she doesn’t understand where she belongs in it.
Isla Arkema was born a child of the Light.
On the morning when the birth throes began, the sun was shining brightly in the sky and it seemed the world was aglow. It seemed that the Creator himself had blessed the birth of this child.
However, as her mother's labor wore on toward the night with more pain than progress, a storm descended. The thunder shook the well-appointed house in Amadacia where Ivette Arkema lived as the wife of Arjun Arkema, a commander in the forces of the Children of the Light. Arjun was away with his regiment at the time Ivette’s labor pains began, and so he was not in attendance to the event.
He would long after convince himself that if he had been, things would have been different. However, as it was, Ivette was alone with the midwife and her unborn child as the lightning lit the dim room deep into the night.
By morning, Isla was born, and Ivette was dead.
Arjun returned to find his infant daughter in the care of a wet nurse and his beloved wife in the ground. Instead of losing himself in his grief, however, he buried himself in the care of his child, the first and thus only progeny he would have with his wife. However, this was a man used to commanding soldiers. He had no idea what to do with a daughter, and so she was raised like a son, in many ways. She became the darling of Arjun’s regiment, watched like a hawk and raised by all.
She was raised to believe all that the Children of the Light believed, almost their symbol for the innocence of the world that they had to defend from the evils of Darkfriends and any who used the cursed One Power.
By the time she was an adolescent, it should have come as no surprise that she would want to follow in the footsteps of her father and all the soldiers that raised her. It was certainly against the grain, women did not serve as soldiers among the Children, but the power of her father and his inability to tell her no saw it happen. She trained with the men, learning the martial ways from the perspective of a fellow rather than a protectorate.
Her body was lithe, and her intuition impassable.
The storms would come again to her life, however, and in a way that she never could have imagined.
As soon as she woke up that morning, she had a pervasive sense of foreboding. When she was dressed and out in the open air, it felt like there was a storm coming. The sky was clear, but she felt like rain was touching upon her and lightning could strike at any moment. However, she ignored it and went about her day.
Maybe it would have been better for her had she stayed in bed, but she didn't and so the Wheel weaved as it willed.
Her father's regiment took a report of a witch harbored in a town near their present location in Altara, and they went to rout her out. If they had expected trouble in locating her, they need not have been concerned. The woman simply walked out of an inn as the small contingent of the Children marched down the street. The Darkfriend stood tall, showing none of the fear and subservience that she should have. Her blue-green eyes were piercing, and Isla felt almost ill looking at them.
Something shifted inside her and she thought she saw...something around the woman. Isla had to shake her head to clear her view before turning to see the redheaded man with the two drawn swords beside her. Neither showed deference, at the first or when her father called for their surrender.
"I kneel to no man," the woman said with a disarming smile. Isla felt a sudden, strident need to run. She did not allow herself to give into it and held her place. Somehow, the woman found her among all of her brethren. It shook Isla to her core. Her father gave them one last chance, but the woman lifted her hand into the air and a bolt of lightning struck into the very heart of her brothers. It outright charred some, and sent others flying.
Within a moment, the redheaded swordsman was within their numbers. Her brothers were skilled, but nothing like this. They fought valiantly, but those not cut down by blades of steel fell to blades she could not see.
Isla screamed and ran for the woman, knowing that the witch was the source of their trouble. She did something that, in the moment, she had no idea what she was doing. (Later, she and all of the survivors would realize that she had channeled, but the witch was too skilled and the weave was cut short before reaching anything.) The Children were all but decimated, and the witch and her lackey escaped. Arjun, Isla, and two others survived.
Numbers just enough to recognize what she had done. Before she even comprehended, the rescuing Children learned of what had happened and clapped her in shackles. Darling no more. She was filthy, tainted, and thrown to the wolves. All cries for mercy to her father unheeded, she was now a prisoner of the Children of the Light.
She was questioned for how long she had known she could channel, and her protestations of innocence went unheard amid their abuse. Their tactics were not softened by her previous allegiance and how she had called them family. Nothing stopped them in pursuit of what little she could possibly know. She resigned herself to their brutality and her eventual death. Besides, what better could there be for her? She was a Darkfriend. An anathema to everything she had been raised to believe.
Death was not to come to her now. Her father, overwhelmed by his weakness for his child, freed her. Against all of his convictions, he released her from her bonds and told her to run to the nearest Tower. His wife had died and he could not face seeing the same thing happen to his only child, regardless of everything. She had almost welcomed death, but his plea sent her running. With all injury and humiliation, she fled.
The Grey Tower was where she went.
- Novice (28 June 2017)