Zia’s fingers danced deftly over the articulations of a lifeless puppet. The puppet might have been a shepherd once… Or perhaps a hunter, with a mustache like those worn by the local men. It had taken her some time to realize that the mass of tangled threads and broken wood that the little boy had brought her had once stood on two legs.
“He’s in pretty bad shape,” she remarked. The boy’s eyes welled with tears. With a wavering voice, he said,
“The other children… They took it from me, and they broke it. Please, ma’am, before you go… You helped everyone else…”
She didn’t need to hear any more. She unshouldered the enormous bundle she was carrying, letting it slip to the ground. She sat down cross-legged on the floor and went to work. The puppet was laid out akimbo on the floor, its shattered limbs splayed out expertly before her, as she patiently untangled the threads that connected it to the cross-bar. Zia had acquired a certain talent for repairing complex things; she had cut her teeth on the locks that filled her family’s workshop. Repairing a toy was child’s play for her. Though the mechanics of this puppet were simple, it had been carved with an astonishing attention to detail: the puppet’s tunic was teeming with accessories, and the mustache had been whittled from the wood.
“It’s almost done,” breathed the boy from behind her, almost as if in prayer.
Dusk fell. Zia rose, gripping the cross-bar in one hand. The strings pulled taut, snapping the puppet to its feet.
A grin crept across the shepherd-hunter’s painted face. A wild grin. Menacing. Ravenous. What had once been a mustache now wrapped grotesquely around both sides of its head like a pair of tentacles. Instead of arms, two sharp blades wriggled at the puppet’s sides.
“Yes!” crowed a ghastly voice that had been the child’s, which now emanated from the puppet.
The little boy behind her had vanished.
Zia unleashed the spell she had been crafting all along. Flashes of lightning spurted from the young woman’s outstretched hand and crackled down the puppet’s strings. The wood burst into flames, which curled up around the sinister doll’s face.
“Now, show yourself!” ordered Zia, in an almost weary voice.
She sent another intense burst of lightning down the strings, splintering the toy into a million pieces. The wraith fled the puppet, swirling with rage and frustration before the Soul Raider.
“How did you know?”
Without taking her eyes off the malevolent cloud, Zia leaned down toward her bundle and calmly unwrapped a magnificent sword.
“Don’t worry,” she replied. “It’ll be over in the blink of an eye.”
Zia is quick to think and act, combining a sharp and logical mind to uncanny reflexes. It makes her a perfect puzzle-solver, both on an intellectual and manual level, capable of executing very precise tasks. Her sharpness of mind also gives her an edge in most social interactions. While her natural kindness inclines her to help others at every opportunity she gets, if trouble arises she can turn into a deadly whirlwind of steel in a heartbeat.
These traits are reflected in the game by her bonuses to any Precision and Persuasion actions. She has a set of spells that tends to facilitate her party’s progression in the chapter: her Lightning bolts allows her to remove several enemies slowing down the heroes with a single burst of energy, Foresight provides a a sneak peek into any location of the chapter for the whole group, and Velocity helps her to get there quickly. Fast as lightning!