Updated the art for her Sybal form! Mostly art tweaks, so more a retcon than an in-story change. You can still see her old form here. (More tidying up may follow in order to better match the art styles, but I wanted to get the updated form up as soon as possible.)
Name: Yetunde Omokeyede
Nicknames: None, currently
Physical Age: 22 (arrived 1408)
As a civil engineer, Yetunde is committed to bettering the lives of all citizens in Sybal Heim, and she respects the work that Basileus and many of the Disciple community leaders have done to this end. While passionate in her allegiance, her situation bears many of the hallmarks that have motivated other citizens to support the Insurgency. There is a chance that her fervor could be turned in their favor, if approached at the right time with the right words.
Occupation: Civil engineer. Yetunde primarily works on large-scale improvement projects, seeking to most efficiently incorporate any new technologies brought to the city. With nearly five hundred years of experience, she finds novel ways to combine techniques and tools from opposite sides of the globe. When her schedule allows, she also does some independent inventing and tinkering on the side.
Sybal Form: The Armored Drill (full view of Sybal form here, size chart silhouette here)
Built like a bull, Yetunde’s Sybal form resembles a large primate with armored plates on her body and two tall horns on her forehead. When standing on all fours the top of her head comes to between eight and nine feet in height. The armor itself is made of hard organic material and sits on top of her fur. The main plates on her back are split in a manner similar to the elytra of a beetle, and she can lift and separate them via joints that connect just between her shoulders. These "wings" are not capable of flight and are mainly used for conveying emotion and emphasis. They flutter when she's feeling antsy.
Her curved horns, while sturdy, are neither sharp nor in a particularly good position to hit anything besides low doorways. The same is true of the ridges on her forearms, which are also slightly flexible.
She typically walks on all fours, but while stationary, she can rear herself into a sitting position or an unsteady standing one in order to better use her hands. Also useful for getting books off high shelves.
Yetunde’s Sybal form is both solid and tremendously strong, and she often uses it to transport heavy equipment at night. Her thick fur and armor are capable of protecting her from most physical dangers. However, this form is decidedly heavy due to the added burden of her armor. Her hands and feet are better designed for grasping and climbing than sprinting, and Yetunde cannot run quickly or for very long. She can swim, but any advantage conferred by her strength is negated by waterlogged fur and a general lack of buoyancy.
Sybal Power: Hematic Windows
Yetunde's Sybal power allows her to summon up to three diamond-shaped barriers that hang stationary in the air until dismissed. Each is approximately one inch thick and two by three feet in size, and can be summoned in any orientation no more than fifteen feet from Yetunde’s position. These shields can withstand sustained pressure or defend against a sudden impact. They also insulate against temperature and electricity, useful features when running equipment tests. They cannot, however, stop whatever energy may spill over the edges.
Yetunde usually only summons the barriers for an instant, more a reflex than a decision, but she can maintain all three for up to thirty seconds if pushed. A single shield can remain summoned for longer, but the exact duration depends on how much energy and attention she has to spare. Shields that sustain repeated impacts become increasingly brittle over the course of the night, and sufficient damage can cause one to shatter. A broken shield upsets Yetunde’s concentration, and that particular barrier cannot be resummoned until the next night.
The Hematic Windows appear similar to red stained glass, but the color and transparency depend on Yetunde’s emotional state. When she is calm and in control, the barriers are a crystalline blood-black, but when exceptionally frightened or angry, the color leaches until they are nearly completely transparent.
Fortunately, Yetunde’s life by night is typically calm enough that her main use for her power is as an extra set of hands when working on the construction-oriented aspects of her job.
Docile or Feral: Docile
Yetunde’s personality is virtually identical by day and by night, though she may make an effort to appear even more gentle and amiable while in her Sybal form. Most of the minor shifts in her behavior can easily be attributed to her increased sense of physical security, which in turn results in bolstered confidence. She is faster to stand up for others or her principles, and more likely to engage in debate than try to mediate. Still, she is never violent unless there is no other option, and quick to apologize if she pushes what was meant to be a friendly discussion too far.
This lowering of her inhibitions is not a source of embarrassment for Yetunde come morning; rather, she feels that it is who she is meant to be.
Personality: Brilliant and industrious, Yetunde possesses a burning desire to learn new things and seek out new experiences. From meeting new people to trying on new clothes, replicating a new technology or improving an old one, Yetunde’s life is driven by constant change.
She is especially dedicated to gathering knowledge from as many places and time periods as possible, so fresh arrivals in the city are of particular interest to her. This curiosity overpowers her inclination to introversion; she is eager to make new acquaintances in the hopes of learning about their lives.
Quiet by nature, it’s easy to mistake her for being unusually serious, but she’s just guarded. As soon as it becomes apparent that others bear no ill will, out come the smiles and laughter. She will eagerly discuss her research or interesting trivia for ages. Yetunde can turn this energy towards productivity without difficulty, and she collaborates often with inventors, architects, farmers, and a variety of other occupations as the situation demands. Like trying to figure out how to fit a new piece of machinery into a device already built, she can’t help herself always trying to figure out the best fit for everyone when working with a group.
Her generosity makes her a good team player, but her efforts to minimize conflict with others can at times lead her to be overly accommodating. Her patience is beyond what’s recommended, and unfortunately, it’s easy for the unscrupulous to take advantage. Yetunde will stand up for others who are being treated unfairly, even as the same happens to her. She is much faster to blame herself than other people for her difficulties.
Yetunde suffers from memory problems, mostly affecting her short-term recall. In hindsight, they’ve always been a part of her life, but they worsened significantly after her arrival to the city. On mild days, this manifests as a harmless air of forgetfulness, overcome easily enough by concentrating on a single task. The fear of worse days, where nearly every train of thought ends with a struggle to remember the last, motivates Yetunde to keep thorough notes.
When she first arrived in Sybal Heim, the sensation of suddenly knowing a written language was…alien to her. Unfamiliar as it was, though, her chosen line of work helped her get accustomed fast. Yetunde’s memory problems also make notes a necessity, and a sudden idea usually sends her scrambling for writing materials. On the plus side, it does provide a handy record of all she's done, making it easier to share her work with others.
Yetunde’s home is littered with her research notes and other mementos. She often collects souvenirs from important events in her lifetime, afraid that she will someday forget. Despite not having any major difficulties with long-term memory, every fading detail is cause for concern.
When Yetunde is uncomfortable or afraid, there is little she can do to hide it from those who know her well. Her curiosity and craving for knowledge are such key characteristics of her personality that it’s impossible not to notice when they’ve disappeared. Yetunde avoids discussing or investigating most things that upset her. She knows even reflecting too long on any of them will just initiate a long line of questions she’d rather not know the answers to.
High on the list is her arrival in Sybal Heim. Many of the citizens encountered the Forest after tragedy, after they had lost everything, when they felt their lives outside had become unsalvageable, but Yetunde disappeared at a time when those in her life needed her most.
Although she feels she entered the Forest at the wrong time, she does not blame the Organizer for it. Deep down, it is a source of guilt for her.
She worries what happened to her family when she disappeared. Did they survive? Did they look for her? Do they believe that she ran off, or was killed? It doesn’t take long for the worst-case scenarios to spiral out of hand. As badly as she wants to know if anyone in her district can give her any information on their fate, she’s too afraid to ask.
Adebisi had only one child of her own, a son named Monisola. He was a year older than Yetunde, and, most importantly to her twelve-year-old self, significantly shorter. Despite initial teasing, the two became fast friends. While their mothers caught up with each others' lives, Monisola and Yetunde would go exploring. Down to the edge of the swamp, where the dead trees stood like broken bones, or along the banks of the river where the white clay shone through the dirt and grass. They would take turns peering into the dark woods at the north end of the village and sharing what fantastical or frightening animals they were certain they saw inside. Monisola, it turned out, was too honest for this game, which made it all the more frightening when he finally did report a monster one day. The forest was off-limits after that.
Yetunde learned everything she could each trip, and Monisola was happy to answer her endless questions in exchange for stories from the city. The years passed, and every time Yetunde returned, she would hear about how Monisola had told almost everyone he knew about how excited he was to see her again. At the age of seventeen, she heard how his father died. He had been an old man by the time Monisola was finally born, and had fallen sick with a fever. It was a cruel but common disease, fevers that came in waves. It would die down, only to rise even stronger than before. Still, Monisola’s father had lived a long life, and his son was old enough and strong enough to help his mother keep the family standing.
That visit was a quiet one.
When Yetunde was nineteen, Monisola asked to marry her. While the request was met with resounding relief and approval from both families, there was fortunately great affection between the individuals as well. Adebisi had already become a second mother to Yetunde, the isolated farm a second home. They were married, and Yetunde joined Monisola and his mother in their tiny village and learned the life of a farmer. A year later, Yetunde gave birth to twin boys, which itself was a blessing. That all three survived, even more so. Adebisi was delighted to finally have grandchildren, and happy to spend her time caring for them when Yetunde resumed traveling to sell their crops. The small family was happy.
Two years later, the rains came strong, driving down in such torrents that no one dared to spend long in the open. The river to the west and the marshes to the south swelled with rainwater, but when neither flooded the farmlands, they believed they had escaped the worst nature had to offer. That, however, was yet to come.
When the storms had died down into a hot mist that hung low over the land, rumors began to spread of a disease. The same that had taken Monisola’s father, it was spreading fast in populated areas and posed the greatest threat to the very young and very old. The local doctor was called away to a neighboring town to treat the epidemic. Yetunde’s first fears were for her family back in the city, but when one of the twins threw up in the middle of the night, the panic crystallized into a cold spike in her gut. Monisola was soon bedridden with the fever as well, and Adebisi and Yetunde worked hard for days to keep it at bay. When Yetunde felt the first tremors of the chills in her back and the heat in her mouth, she knew she had to find the doctor. Monisola couldn't even rise from his bed, and it wouldn't be long before she followed suit. She and Monisola could survive it, she was sure, but if neither of them could care for the others, she was likely to lose her mother-in-law and both her children. With Adebisi’s promise that she could look after the other three, Yetunde left in the predawn dimness, unsure whether she was shaking with illness or with urgency. The road was long, and the rains had not left it unchanged. The muddy path had baked unevenly, full of swirling ridges and hidden trenches still half-full of water. It was all she could do to focus on placing one foot in front of the other.
Repeat as necessary.
The sun was high, and her own fever squirmed and boiled beneath her brow. The edges of her vision were darkening as the vise on her head closed tighter. When she stumbled over a rut she hadn’t seen and found herself sprawled on the road, she couldn’t even put together a course of action to stand again.
Yetunde lifted her head, saw the road stretch off farther than she could see in both directions, heard the river behind her—or was that the rushing of blood in her ears? She gathered her legs beneath her and knelt.
Longing shuddered through her, more forcefully than the fever or the pain of her aching muscles. It pulled at her skin in opposite directions. Threatened to tear her in half.
She wanted to make it to the next town, find the doctor, bring him back—here the full understanding of what that entailed hit her, and the weight of it nearly forced her down again. How could she ever make the journey a second time?
The pull in the direction of home strengthened, and for brief, selfish flash, she envisioned herself again at her husband’s side. They could all get better if she tried harder, kept their fevers low, waited it out. Even as she thought it, Yetunde knew it was a lie—the sickness was infamous for dying down only long enough to give false hope.
The churning despair at the impossibility of both options crashed down around her, along with a new wave of nausea. She dragged herself to the side of the road and retched.
How long had she been awake? Fatigue clouded her memory, which was answer enough. She needed rest, out of the sun. It was easier to focus on the moment than the future.
Yetunde planted her shaking palms and pushed herself to her feet. Her vision blackened, then returned. Before her, in silent, patient answer to her prayers, a gigantic forest stood.
The Traveler’s Forest had found her.
A chill of hope shivered up Yetunde’s spine, energy again seeping into her heavy limbs. Without a glance back, she entered.
Beyond the immediate relief she sought from the heat, she felt a deep yearning, some sort of hope that she would find an alternate solution to her dilemma, one altogether less unpleasant than the prospect of continuing her journey or turning back prematurely.
In a way, she did.
Yetunde’s first days in the city were first marked with confusion, then despair as she came to understand how truly separated she was from her family. There would be no answers as to whether they survived, or if they knew what became of her. Her Sybal form was smaller then, her power longer-lasting, and she used her it to isolate herself while she grieved. At least, she tried to. It was a muddled process, and she had difficulty convincing herself to feel sad. She shed more tears out of frustration than sorrow, annoyed that she couldn’t even mourn her old life in peace. Her only option, it seemed, was to open herself to the possibilities of the city. As the wonderment poured in, the knot of her emotions loosened, and she started to live again. Her curiosity rekindled into a burning flame. It took some tries to finally find her place in Sybal Heim, but with her innovative mind and desire to help others, civil engineering was a nearly perfect fit from the start.
• Absolutely fascinated by the Constables. If she has a spare moment at night, she'll just stand back and watch them work.
• Yetunde is mildly farsighted in both human and Sybal form and needs reading glasses if text is particularly small. She keeps a pair in her home or workshop and rarely wears them in public, unless she plans to spend time at the library.
• Physically speaking, she's pretty fit. She goes for runs in the morning, walks almost constantly when not indoors, and is accustomed to lifting heavy items. Definitely not a fighter, though.
• While she usually wears simple and practical clothing, Yetunde actually deeply enjoys fashion of all kinds. Buying a new outfit is one of her most common gifts to herself after completing a project.
• Her home and workshop were designed by her, and they've both been through several iterations and renovations as her needs have changed. Perhaps most importantly, they both include high, open spaces with doorways tall and wide enough to accommodate even the largest Sybals.
• Initially, Yetunde attempted to go into medicine when trying to find her place in the city. She soon found that, though serious injury or illness was uncommon in Sybal-Heim, even interacting with patients made her feel uncomfortable and helpless.
• Yetunde chooses her words with the care of a poet, and may pause mid-sentence to pick the one that sounds best. As a result, she usually takes some time to get to the point. Her written notes are far less careful, and many just hastily chain together key phrases. She prefers to listen to others speak or sing more so than share herself, but when she does, she has a low, smooth voice and a rhythmic grasp of language. If she were less concerned about being judged by others, she would probably make for a good public speaker.
• Yetunde enjoys the peace of the library, but not the silence, which can get overbearing after a time. She much prefers to hear others read, and has more than once considered making the trek to Heilig to take part in one of Darshil’s groups. She doesn’t consider herself a writer, though, and uncertainty over whether it’s a requirement has kept her away.
• Although Yetunde never learned directly from her father, through memory and practice and occasional requests for advice, she's taken up whittling. She does it to relax, the sensations familiar and familial even after so many years.
• She misses speaking and hearing Yoruba regularly, so the fastest way to Yetunde's heart is to share even a few sentences with her in her native tongue.
• Yetunde feels conflicted about her attempts to continue practicing her traditional religion, uncertain of how her deathless existence changes her relationship with her faith. It is one of the few areas of her life in Sybal-heim where she is most aware of what she has lost by coming there. She lives an endless life, incapable of rejoining the cycle except through the unthinkable, and a lack of guidance has left unable to reconcile her life and her faith.
Art and character by me.