Caera Hickey
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Ceara Hickey is one of the local teachers. She arrived in town a few years ago, and managed to get a position at the schoolhouse. Known for being a bit of a recluse, she spends most of her time teaching, or gathering materials for teaching, or preparing for teaching, and seems to strongly value her privacy otherwise, and often takes long walks alone. She doesn't get out much in the social sense, but is extremely knowledgeable about many things which otherwise have been assumed lost since before the fall.

The source of her extensive knowledge is her magic, which she keeps a secret. When touching a bit of corpse, or old bone, or other bits of the dead, she can take knowledge from them, viewing their life and what they knew the way we might view a book. She has seen what the ancient dead saw, from their own perspective. She learned to read, learned science, history, mathematics, art…all from the minds of the ancient dead. She is a treasure trove of knowledge, some of which may have literally been lost to all but the dead.


Info

Full Name: Ceara Hickey (Pronounced as 'Kiera')
Age: 23
Hair: Red
Eyes: Blue

Status: Alive
Occupation: Schoolteacher
Origin: Ireland
Allegiance: Clan Ross

First Seen:
Last Seen: None

Description:
This willowy woman stands about 5'2" tall. She is healthy, having eaten well for a few years, but -thin- in that sort of way that those who eat very little for many years tend to acquire. She has little in the way of muscles, but is lean and wirey of build. She has very long red hair, hanging about halfway down her waist, pretty but rather frayed. Her wide eyes are a bright shade of blue, and they have a tendency to squint.

She is wearing a green peasant-style dress, dirty around the hems from a great deal of walking around in it. The fabric is rather frayed in places from too much walking around in the woodlands.

Family:

  • Biological Parents - Current Status: Unknown
  • Twin Sister - Current Status: Unknown
  • Foster Parents - Current Status: Dead

Portrayed by: Lauren Ambrose


History

Caera Hickey is the daughter of Gwen and Aodh Hickey. She originally hailed from a small fishing village on the southeast coast of Ireland. The mainstay of the village was its fishing industry and what used to be a catholic monastery, and was still more-or-less used for the same purpose that it had been used for since long before the fall of humanity, the fact that the 'monks' admitted women and worshiped the saints more then Jesus notwithstanding. It was a harsh village, ruled by stern people, but they had enough to eat and were more or less as safe as anyone else, with only the usual deaths due to the many causes of life in these harsh days.

Caera's problem, unfortunately, was two-fold. First, she was born with a twin…considered an ill-omen. Her birth was considered a punishment of the Saints; a sign that her family had performed some great sin. And when it was discovered that she and her sister were -mages- her family was all but ostracized; for whatever sin her parents had committed must have been terrible indeed.

There were two ways to cure a child of magery, according to the people of her village. The first was hard work. It was believed that honest, Saint-Fearing work, in very large back-breaking quantities, could 'teach virtue' to a child, so they would give up enough of their sinful ways that they would be cured of magic. The second was to kill the child's familiar, while it was still young and impressionable, and had not yet become old enough that the child could not recover from its sinful attachment to the foul thing.

First, however, the child had to be taught the virtues of work, and of the evils of the familiar and of magic. Only once those were firmly ingrained into the sinful child's mind would capturing and killing the thing be of use.

It was not a kind village. But everyone ate.

Caera no longer remembers the name of her twin sister. She remembers her mother, and her father, but not the name of her own twin. A terrible thing. She remembers the work though, and the beatings, and of the horror on her sisters face when they killed her familiar spirit in front of them both. Caera isn't sure how old she was then; but she remembers running. Her familiar was always intelligent, and it helped her to get away, and stay away long enough to elude those who came to look for her. They didn't look for long.

Eventually, Caera found her way to another village, where she was taken in by farmers who had lost their own daughter to plague. She stayed. She learned the things a little girl should learn. Sewing, cooking, cleaning. She wasn't old enough to learn how to farm or hunt small game. They were, however, better to her then her real family ever was. They were even understanding about her magic. Suspicious of it, frowned on it, but understanding. Of course, the fact that neither she nor they had any idea what her ability was helped.

She eventually discovered it when helping her new mother prepare the harvest feast; she kept having visions (scattered, fragmentary…she was young) of the turkey being butchered. Frightened her terribly, but wasn't seen as being much of a threat. She was allowed to stay in the family, and was casually kept out of sight when visitors from the more powerful village to the south came to visit. Her life was actually good, and pretty happy. She grew into a woman. She learned how to farm, and how to raise and take care of animals, and how to hunt small game with a bow and arrow. (Her parents being too poor for firearms).

Caera's life continued in this fashion until she was in her 13th year of age. Life had its hard points. The town she had escaped from turned towards slavery on occasion when the fishing dried up, and there were raids. Monsters attacked. Crops got the blight. But she was actually given a relatively normal childhood. She has no real bad memories of this time. And then the plague came. Caera isn't sure who brought it to the farming village, or what happened, but many people in the town, over a little while, got a fever, accompanied by headache, stomach pains, and a bright red rash. Including her adopted parents. Half the town died. It was then that Caera realized the true extent of her powers.

She found that, when she touched her foster parents bodies, she could review parts of their lives, see what they had done and what they had learned, what they felt. It was very happy, watching their love for each other and for her…and very sad. She didn't want to touch any other fevered corpses, and she didn't want to stay in that house with so many happy memories when she knew she would be sad. So she left.

She knew enough to survive, but only barely. She hunted small game with a bow and arrow. She was cold and tired and hungry most of the time. She wasn't really a live off the land type. It was a stupid decision of her. But she stayed where she thought she could hide and be warm. When she could stay in old-world ruins, she did, and observed them…and the bones of those left behind, from those memories of distant times. And from those bones, she learned.

Caera's power does not -teach- her, par se. She cannot touch the corpse of a fighter and know how to fight. It doesn't work that way. She can't take the skeleton of a physicist, pick off a bit of his ribcage; and then expect to know physics. It doesn't work that way. Its no different then reading a book, for her. But it is a book with sound and thoughts and pictures, where all too often, the person who had skills needed to learn them at some point or other. And so she studied corpses, the way others studied books. And through this means, while huddled half-starving in the dark and the cold, she learned how to read. She learned history, and science, and mathematics. She learned the way the world was, and what the ruins and bits of technology around her meant. She learned the value of graveyards, and the importance of staying hidden.

She grew to be a woman, an adult, with the bones of the dead for company. She wandered across Ireland, sticking to the places where she could find the most ancient of dead, or where she could take from the more-recent dead without being disturbed. On occasion, she stopped in a village or town, but always she left. She was a young female, and those are always in demand.

By the time she was 19, she had made her way across the sea to Scotland. She was more sociable by this time, more confident in herself and her skills. She no longer had such a need to hide all the time. She began to offer her knowledge and wisdom as a service; always keeping its source a secret.

Eventually, through years of travel, she made her way to Dornie. By that time, she had begun to tire of travel, of being hungry and cold. She met up with Dina Ross, and managed to impress her with her knowledge. She stayed in the town, as a schoolmarm. That was several years ago, and she has not regretted it. She has found she -loves- teaching children, loves passing on what she knows to others. And in her own way, she has made peace with her past. For her, it is dead and forgotten…as the actual dead are not.


Personality

Caera has a complex personality. She is most comfortable and confident when alone and silent. She is confident in the wilderness, in the ruins of old humanity, with the dead remains of ancient cultures and ancient bodies. She is also confident when teaching something, or lecturing, because she can feel removed and knowledable and secure in that way. She is 'less comfortable' - which is to say, shy and timid, in most other venues of town life.

She is is not a warrior, not a fighter. For that matter, she doesn't really understand politics, or people, and doesn't deal well with conflict of any sort. Her response to conflict, whether social or physical, is usually to flee. She can talk quite a bit about a number of subjects if allowed; but trusts only very slowly, and does not open up easily. Most people probably would think of her as being nothing more then an enthusiastic, if shy teacher and reclusive scholar of the old world.

But, again, her timidity is only in certain areas, and it would be a mistake to think that a general personality characteristic. When it comes to the wilderness, or exploring (or finding corpses) - she is anything but timid. Likewise with teaching. She either has a high degree of confidence or a very low degree, and not much in-between.

Her loyalty depends on friendship and emotional attachments. There is very little that can convince her to be loyal for sake of a reward, or for motivations like greed or self-interest. This is not to say she is necessarily ethical with her loyalty; she could easily form a friendship with a necromancer, grave-robber, or monster and have no moral qualms about doing so. For her, loyalty comes from attachments. She is very loyal to the children who attend the school (whom she thinks of as 'her' children), and rather loyal to Dina Ross, whom she admires. Thus far, she has little loyalty to anyone else, and is likely to build such loyalties very slowly.


Magic

Caera's magical sphere is Necromancy. Specifically, she has the power to, when she touches the remains of a living being, review its memories and its knowledge. This can be any part of a dead being. It does not need to be the whole being. The being does not need to have been willing. It does not matter how long they have been dead.

It does not, however, actually teach her anything.

The knowledge she gains is essentially the knowledge of a book. You could not learn math by reading a math book, once. You could not learn to fight by reading a book about fighting, once. (or even ten times). Learning a skill comes with long practice. You could look something up, perhaps, by returning to the book, but to learn it takes effort and time. She does not even necessarily remember the information particularly long - again, her memory is only as good as one's memory would be for any book they read. There is nothing to stop her, however, from saving a bit of the "book" to review again, later.

The main limitation to her power is its surprisingly mundane nature. She can see and hear everything a particular corpse has ever seen and heard, learn what they have learned…but its not some special download. It doesn't take a lifetime to read these "books" obviously; but its still not instant knowledge. Her gift requires the same study and effort any other scholar would need. Its main virtue is that she can study and learn from any field she can find a relevent corpose on. She is, perhaps, one of the only people left with access to wide-ranging amounts of information. Who needs a library when you have the dead?

Familiar Name: Gealach

Common forms: Mountain Hare, red fox, weasel.

Familiar Personality: Gealach (Gaelic for Moon) is an intelligent, cunning familiar. He has always been with Ceara, as long as she can remember, to warn her when to run, and when it is safe to stay. As a girl, he helped her find food, and would tell her when to stay very quiet, and very still, for fear of some large predator or monster. Unlike Caera, he is never afraid or timid, he is very calm and confident, and often tries to calm her down when she is afraid; particularly of social situations.