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nameHer Celestial Highness Cressida Of House Argyrís, Evgenís Of Astériae, The Arcane Hyena
place of birthAstériae
face claimDove Cameron
Some of Cressida’s earliest memories are of the storeroom, particularly of the scents. She’d begun cataloging the smells in her mind before she ever learned the plants’ names, utterly fascinated by the way they changed from growing out in nature, to hanging from the ceiling as they dried, and then to powder or elixirs or balms. They could heal or kill in equal measure. Even when her royal education began, she never lost her fascination with herb lore and in between the lessons in diplomacy, history, languages, and the courtly arts, there was always time to be made for other lessons. Anything she might learn could be used as a weapon, after all, and she had family to protect. Not her parents, they knew how to fend for themselves better than anyone else she knew, but her siblings were the centre of her world and there was nothing she wouldn’t do for them. Melina as future Kyríarchos, Jocasta with her soft heart, they in particular would need her to be the secret dagger to keep them safe. Not that Cressida was cold or cruel by nature, but if it meant protecting those she loved, she would never hesitate. In that, she was a true hunter: if it’s truly necessary, make the kill, but make it clean, precise, and quick.
When her seer abilities began to emerge during her childhood, Cressida was fascinated rather than frightened, as learning to control it was a new skill to acquire. The visions were fleeting glimpses at first, then more solid, but for the moment, they’re just as likely to be of the distant past as the future. Over time, she became one of the best healers in the court, but what almost no one knew was that Cressida worked just as hard at her skills with poison, with an aim to creating the perfect poison: no traces left, looking entirely like natural causes, and no warning taste or smell. Every house has enemies, especially royal ones, and enemies will always need to be dealt with.
Unfortunately, none of Cressida’s healing skills could help save her father and when her mother followed a few days later, she was devastated. All she'd been able to do was help the other healers ease her father's passing, but her mother had been a loss she wasn't expecting and for the first time that she could remember, Cressida had found the most secluded place possible and cried herself sick. Wearing her emotions openly had never been a trait of hers, even if it meant sometimes people thought her cold or unfeeling, but before the pyres were lit, seventeen-year-old Cressida made her parents a promise: no matter what it took or what it cost her, she would keep her family and Astériae safe. It was a vow she silently renewed at Melina’s coronation, standing beside her family and feeling her heart ready to burst with pride as her oldest sibling took the throne. It was bittersweet to see Melina in their parents' place, a day she'd always known was coming but foolishly assumed was far in the future, but she knew there was no one who would fighter harder to protect Astériae than the new Kyríarchos with all her fiery strength, and whatever she could do to help Melina, Cressida was going to do. There's no one and nothing she's more loyal to than her family.
While there was freedom from the expectation to marry that most royals faced, the Argyrís children were encouraged to have heirs; from an early age, Cressida firmly decided that her siblings were going to have to fill that role, NOT her. It wasn’t that she didn’t like children, quite the opposite, but the thought of becoming a parent herself was horrifying to her. No, she’d happily play the doting aunt rather than have a child herself, not that there was much chance of the possibility at all. Pansexual, Cressida has had a handful of lovers over the years, but none of them lasted beyond an encounter or two as the most important quality in a bedmate for her is high intelligence. Distractions weren’t something she was willing to afford herself, not with the recent Volubisia conflicts and everything that's meant for Astériae. If Cressida was a weapon, then she was sharpening her edges every chance she got to be ready for whatever might come. Just as she’d sworn to their parents, she would keep the family safe.
And Cressida will never, ever break a promise.
Cressida is an enigma to most people and that’s exactly how she prefers it. She's extremely cerebral and views most emotions as a nuisance because they cloud one's judgement, though she'll make the occasional exception to that rule. Cressida's sense of humour is dry and cutting, especially if you're on the receiving end, though she saves much of it for her banter with her brother Evander. She’s a human encyclopedia who literally can’t turn her brain off, and while she can be quite charming when she wants to be, there’s usually a purpose to it. Her goal in life is to learn everything there is to know and she’s going to use it to protect the people she loves. Apart from her family and Astériae, her greatest love is the study of herbs and while she usually focuses on healing, she's just as fascinated by their capacity to kill.
If you’re part of her family or in her inner circle, there are absolutely no limits to what Cressida will do for you. Making true friends doesn’t come easily to her at all, but if you’re willing to put in the effort and be really, really patient (and don’t EVER lie to her), you just might earn her trust. Just don’t expect her to make it easy for you.
Cressida is pansexual, but above all, she’s attracted to intelligence. If you’re not close to her level in the brains department, then forget it. She’s experimented with a few people she found physically attractive, but it never lasted beyond a hook-up or two because they couldn’t hold her interest when it comes to conversation. She’ll use flirtation the same way she’d use any other skill to gain information, but it rarely indicates genuine interest on her part.
If you come after her family or Astériae, she will poison you and take notes as you’re dying. Seriously. She doesn’t take delight in cruelty, but if something needs to be done, then Cressida’s going to make sure it's done cleanly. She can be ruthless, but she’s far from reckless and it’ll take being a serious threat that can’t be neutralised any other way to make her actually kill.