Age: 10 moons
Rank: Apprentice Scholar
Skills: Skill 1- Sensory Shift; Skill 2- Feather-light and Heavy-weight; Skill 3- One Two Three
Family: Father- Fen; Mother- Bala; Brother- Caanen; Sister- Vayra
Scent:Lake water, moss, wind
Appearance: Shaila is a moderate to short cat, with a lean and lithe build. She has a rounder face that still has a moderately long muzzle and pointed ears. Her fur length is on the short side of moderate. Her tail tapers down to a point, and her legs are long, with small-ish paws.
Shaila's pelt pattern is somewhat evenly divided by white and shades of pale orange. Her patches of color are all across the top of her back and the sides of her flank, with connected ovals covering her shoulders and thighs. She also has smaller, seperate patches wrapping around the top of her forelegs, a couple of different patches on the top of her tail, and covering her neck and forehead. On her face, it runs in a triangle down her nose, covers her left eye and cheek, and on the right, only covers an almost semicircle on her face. The light orange base has a darker gradient from her spine and the middle of separate patches. Her reddish orange stripes are mostly straight and don't leave the orange color patches, but on her thigh and shoulder the swirl around each other. On her face, they fork around her eyes and curve on her forehead. Shai's eyes are gold.
*Witty and Intelligent:
What Shaila lacks in speed, strength, brawn, and sometimes common sense, she makes up for in cleverness and intelligence. She could think her way out of a locked, iron box of vipers without so much as getting scratched. This can make her a real boon to have in a group, especially when trouble springs up. She can use her intelligence to set traps, outmaneuver foes, plan out battle strategies, note weaknesses and strengths, and think up hiding places and escape routes out of thin air. If she spots danger before it spots her, she'll come up with plans A-Z before interacting with it. However, she frequently gets herself into situations where she has to rely on this trait for survival, so it's less of a boon for her than it is a requirement to keep up her lifestyle.
*Always, Always Curious:
Telling Shaila not to ask questions is like telling her not to breathe. It's like a biological imperative that she learn absolutely everything there is to know. She gets curious over the simplest of things, and asks questions about them that almost seem like pointless questions to ask. Shai doesn't really care if they are pointless questions though: if she has an unanswered question, it doesn't matter how small it is. It will nag at her and eat holes in her brain until it is answered, so even if her question is, "Why do rabbits dig warrens?", if it nags badly enough, she will go on a quest to try to find the answer. Her constant search for knowledge is endearing and can make her quite adorable at times, just be careful when she tries to bring you along on one of her excursions. Like, really careful.
*Bursting With Kitten-like Wonder All the Time:
Even when she understands something to the best she possibly can, Shaila is full of an insatiable wonder for the world around her 24/7. Some might even say that her mindset in this regard is permanently stuck in kitten mode. If she finds a rock with many facets and crystals, if she doesn't have anything else to do, she just might sit down and study it for an hour, just because it's pretty, turning it about every so often and getting closer or further away occasionally. This wonder and fascination is often infectious: she can make the most boring river stone seem like the most interesting object you encountered that day just by being near you and taking about it.
*Generous and Giving:
One could not accuse Shaila of being selfish and be accurate. That particular verb and proper noun just do not belong together in the same sentence. Food, water, baubles, and especially knowledge and help are all things she will give if she can and if asked. She loves to tell stories and explain her theories to anyone who is willing to sit down and listen to her talk at them. She'll give any essentials to cats that need it: in times of food shortage, she'll give her prey to someone who she feels is hungrier. If it is very cold out and someone just came in from patrol, she'll give them her warm nest, even if that means she has to sleep outside. She doesn't mind. She's the sweetest thing in that regard, and cats love her for it. But she does need to learn that she has to serve herself too if she's going to keep giving.
~Helpful... Sometimes too Helpful:
Shaila has this odd quirk; she loves to work, especially when she's doing it to help someone else. She's nice to have around for more than just that reason, but be careful when you accept her help. Because if you ask for/ accept her "help", she doesn't help: she does the job for you before you can sneeze, and then asks of there's anything else. No one knows why she likes to do so much, and she doesn't really either. Shai's current working theory is that it gives her something to do, is an outlet for her bursting energy. She also figures that this is a way she can give to others, which is one of her core traits: the one thing that invariably makes her happy. However, there being good and bad in everything, some cats want to do the work themselves and get annoyed at her when they ask for help with x and she finishes everything else afterwards. She can also run herself into the ground: even a seemingly infinite ball of energy like Shai needs to rest at some point, and sometimes it feels like you need to sit on her to get her to stop "helping".
Yet another reason you gotta be careful what you say around Shaila. She can take a comment casually tossed out there, read too far into it, and wonder, sometimes assume, that there's something of importance on the other side. Then she'll file it away for further research. This habit is good and bad: it has led her to some pretty extraordinary ideas, and has also led her hearing veiled digs and insults that aren't there. The worst part is she doesn't let it show. She'll File 13 a random comment, and if she feels it's interesting enough, will proceed to tune you out and ponder it. She'll then follow the trail of ideas and if she runs into a grand idea that she feels needs to be pursued right now, she'll just jump up and take off without a word. All from random, small-talk comments.
Shaila won't lie to you. "Lie" is not in her known vocabulary. At her worst she'll do some clever bending of the truth. But unless she feels it will threaten lives, she'll tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. If that means you ask her what she thinks and she doesn't think highly of it, she will say so. She doesn't sugar-coat anything. This honesty can sometimes be brutal, and injures pride and emotions at times, and makes her look like a bit of a jerk. The oddest thing is that this is where her obliviousness shows: she doesn't notice she hurt you. Such instances are somewhat akin to Shai cracking your hide with a whip and then blithely sauntering off, unaware that she drew blood. She's proud of her honesty: she thinks she did a good thing. If you feel hurt, you need to get in front of her and tell her to her face. She'll be appalled that it came across that way and will proceed to profusely apologize, but you have to call her on it. She also expects everyone to be as honest as she is, and so often takes things at face value. This makes her gullible.
~Goes to the Extreme
This is mostly for her personality traits. If she is a certain way or does a certain thing, she goes all the way with it, and then sometimes too far. It's like to her, it's not living unless you're on the cliff's edge of too far. Like, almost falling over too far. She's a terrible danger hound and adrenaline junky as well. To her, it's just an adventure. And she wants to share. She'll try her hardest to bring others to join her on her grand quest. She's a bit of a pawful, but she's always fun and energetic, and will make sure that you are never bored. Even if that means you get overwhelmed with her personality or get dragged into the Pit of Doom that Shaila just jumps into for fun.
If you're living in Shai's head, she isn't spontaneous at all. Everything she does makes complete sense. This is because she has a consistent train of thought that she's at least half following 24/7, and when she bumbles into an idea, she'll jump up and follow it. However, she isn't the kind of cat that thinks out loud all the time. Observing from the outside, she's quiet and still and zoning off one moment, and then randomly jumps up, transforming into a ball of energy that zooms off in a direction, leaving a cartoon puff of smoke where she had been sitting 2 seconds ago. She's a bit of a loose canon. Fortunately, she comes with a series of ticks and unique body language that, if you know how to watch her, will signal what she's thinking and when she's going to run off next.
-Can be Quite Oblivious
Sometimes when Shai padlocks, is deep in thought, or simply doesn't think much of her actions, she can be completely and blithely oblivious to her surroundings and how she effects them. Stepping on other cats's tails, blundering into something she didn't notice, knocking something over (she can be quite the klutz), or delivering an astounding insult (even if only because it's true), all of it goes completely over her head. If you don't call her on it, she won't notice, and if you don't say her name repeatedly and make sure she's looking at you instead of through you before you speak, she won't hear it. Not that she can hear you and elects to ignore it; she literally can't hear you.
Remember how I said you had to be really careful when Shaila tries to bring you on an "excursion"? Yeah, this is why. If Shai thinks she's on the tail of something fascinating (which is about a quarter of the time), especially if she thinks it's really fascinating, she can padlock on it to the point that she looses common sense. Like, checking around for dangerous foxes, badgers, dogs, making sure she isn't about to fall off of a cliff, getting food, etc. If there is knowledge to be found, nothing else matters. This is where her curiosity frequently gets her into trouble. Having developed this as a habit, it sometimes translates to other things that she does.
Shaila doesn't like getting into conflicts, be they physical or verbal. This leads to her giving up too much for the sake of avoiding a fight, and also to her internalizing perceived (or real) jabs and insults. Instead of coming out and confronting, she pushes it down and ignores it, letting it fester under her nose and build with other accumulating bits of hurt until it explodes, completely shocking everyone, including Shai herself. These explosions are the few times that you see Shaila mad, and when they happen, watch out. She goes supernova, pretty effectively burning everything and scaring everyone... and then will proceed to apologize to everyone three times a day for a month once it's out and resolved. However, it is still best to avoid this in the first place, so this is another reason to really get to know her and watch her: so you can resolve extrapolated hurts before they blow and keep her a truly happy cat.
Shaila was born off to the east of Nandryx, on an island society in the middle of a lake similar to the real-world's Jellyfish Lake, the same area Zwei (VT chronicler) was born. Her kit-name, and name she would keep her entire time at the island, Arla, was suggested by her older brother, Caanen. For clarity, Shai will be referred to with her island name while her pre-tribe history is described.
Arla then was always the rambunctious, thoughtful, energetic little fluffball she is now. She was notorious about the island for always wandering places she really wasn't supposed to be, eavesdropping on authorities because, "I was curious!", falling in the lake, and trying to bring along her friends and siblings along on her little missions of mischief. She got swim training early on, earlier than most, because she seemed to think that she was one of the fish she was supposed to be learning how to hunt, and her father, Fen, was paranoid that she would drown if she didn't learn right then. Despite all the commotion she caused, Arla's antics grew to be endearing, and at the very least, not a day went by that wasn't interesting near her.
In general, Arla got along with pretty much everyone, when she wasn't getting in trouble, and her kitten-hood was as they all should be: fun, exciting, full of playing (and getting busted), and learning about her world: her ultimate mission. When she wasn't playing, jumping in the lake to be a squirt, or vanishing and making cats nervously look over their shoulders, you could find her tailing Messengers, pestering them for stories and listening intently when they indulged her. That was how she learned of Nandryx, when she was four moons old, and the more time she spent near the Messengers, the more she and everyone else was sure: she was going to be a Messenger too.
When she came to be 6 moons old, she went through her Coming of Age ceremony. Her job: swim across a part of the lake, retrieve a stone, and bring it back. With her sister, Vayra, and a couple of her friends who were also of age, Arla couldn't have been more excited. She insisted on turning at least the first joint of the swim into a race, and was quickly overtaken by first her competitive friends, then Vayra (it didn't help that she had gotten distracted watching the fish and jellyfish below her, her friends' laughter lost on the wind to her.) By the time Arla got to the other side, her friends and sister were already jumping off, with their stones in their mouths and a merry gleam in their eyes. Arla waved them on, laughing, but when she turned off to pick her own stone, her search for the perfect one quickly led to her getting distracted and mesmerized by the new shore and land beyond. Her friends and family yelling at her to get a move on and come back were quickly tuned out. When her sister turned, she recognized that Arla was curiosity-padlocking, and turned about to go fetch her. By the time Varla caught up, it took her three tries to get Arla's attention and to remind her why she was really there. Casting glances over her shoulder, she completed the ceremony without further complications.
After her jaunt through the opposite lands though, she couldn't quite shake them from her thoughts. There was more out there, and she knew it. She'd seen it. Out there was more knowledge than she could dream of, and it drew her. She spent even more time with the Messengers whenever they got back, became oddly distracted, and couldn't seem to stop moving. Pacing became a normal activity to see her partaking in. Wanderlust had struck her, and it was gnawing at her bones. Her father was quite worried about her, but inquiries were met with a cheery smile and an assurance that she felt fine, and no more could be pried from her.
Her mother Bala, however, recognized the signs of wanderlust in her daughter. She knew that now, Arla could never be fully satisfied on their little island home. She knew that her little kit needed to get out there, to roam and satisfy her thirst for knowledge. Who knew, maybe she'd even find those Nandryx cats that had so captivated her imagination as a kitten. Confronted outright by her mother, Arla, not wanting to hurt her family and friends, tried to deny it, but Bala's clever tongue got it out of her. With her mother's influence, her family's support, and tearful goodbyes, Arla set out at 71/2 moons old, with spirits high, and hopes of returning, if only to visit, and to share all she had learned.
She started close to home, exploring every square inch of the west side of the lake. Eventually, she found new things that made her ask questions, and as she moved farther west she moved faster, and searched less thoroughly. For moons she did this, always heading west, until she ran into the mountains that marked the eastern border of Nandryx. Instead of trying to cross them, she detoured and turned, following them north.
That's where she discovered the tribes.
That's when everything changed.
Arla pads along under the trees of the woods, taking in all of the sensations that she'd come to grow used to and love: the rustle of the wind breezing through the trees, the feel of the soft ground beneath her pads, the smell of prey and trees and grass and leaves, and the feel of dappled afternoon sunlight across her back. She shakes herself lightly and stretches, extending her claws and gripping the ground. She sits and looks around happily. It is good to wander, she thinks. Never rooted down to the same things, belonging nowhere and yet everywhere at once, always finding new- hey, what's that?
A small clump of blue, purple, and white flowers catches her eye and she bounds over to investigate. It smells pleasant, but strong, and she sneezes. Very flowery. A caterpillar slowly inches across one of the leaves of the flower bush, trying to get closer to the center and so closer to safety. Arla watches with fascination as it moves. I wonder why they move like that. Seems like an awful lot of teeny little legs, almost too many. How would you even control that many legs? Are they legs? They don't look like legs but they act like them. What do you suppose they eat? Or how? I don't see a muzzle-
Something rustles off in the distance and Arla, pricking her ears, looks up, momentarily forgetting the caterpillar. What was that? Sounds like it's off at the edge of the woods. Rabbit? Maybe, but it sounded rather big for a rabbit... My size or bigger... Shaila thinks uncomfortably of a close encounter with a fox she'd had about a quarter moon ago. Think it could have followed me? Like a fox would care. Besides, she had kits to look after.
Curiosity rising insatiably, Arla crouches down and prowls toward the edge of the woods, toward the sound. Just looking. Make sure whatever it is doesn't know I'm there. And if it does see me, I'll jump into a tree and tree hop away. If that fails, there was a ditch back there that I might be able to trick them into. I almost fell in myself. Hard to spot. And if that fails-
She's at the edge of the trees now and finally sees what made the rustle: another cat. He's pretty big, strong looking, yet he's moving along in a half-crouch, watching where he puts his paws and looking around cautiously. He looks nervous, like he thinks he's being followed and doesn't want to draw attention to himself. The tall grass parts gently about him as he slowly tries to reach the tree line without being noticed.
Weird, Arla thinks. He looks like if he is being followed, he could surely handle himself in a fight. Why's he acting like a hunted rabbit?
The tom winces and stops, sitting back and turning his head to inspect a back leg.
Arla has to stifle a gasp at what she sees on the back of his head.
It's a tattoo.
It's blue, a couple of interlaced circles with a dot and a line going up over the top of his head. Arla remembers stories Messengers used to bring back at home: tales of cats with weird, almost unnatural patterns in the strangest colors on their fur, possessing powers that Arla never fully believed. The tattoos themselves, hard to believe they could exist. Setting yourself on fire? Summoning hurricanes? Controlling owls, making yourself completely untouchable, breathing underwater? No way. But here was a cat with those very same, unbelievable tattoos. Who was to say he couldn't do those things too? Arla wracks her memory, trying to find a description of that pattern. Void-Tribe.
Bad idea. I shouldn't. If it's true, who knows what he could do. And he looks like he's easy to startle right now. And like he'd hit me if I startled him. Like, claws out and everything. Like he's ready for a fight. But he looks hurt...
Eventually, curiosity gets the best of Arla: again. Cautiously, slowly, she stands up and starts to approach the tattooed, Void-Tribe tom...
Perhaps if I get in, I will add more details to her bio and change the art, but yeah! Here it is! My first application to The Golden Butterfly. Hope you guys like! MASSIVE
thanks to this one-->inkuii.deviantart.com
Thanks so much for you help, ideas, and info. You're awesome!