“The Spirit of the White Stag leaves no mind untouched. O, woe is yours, poor maiden Lätar! Will your madness ever be healed? Will you return to us?”
- - Nikänen of the Aäinen Grove
All across the Orient and beyond, tales are told about the Maiden of Tartarion, one that was once called Ophellätar (or just Lätar), meaning Pure in her people's tongue. Bards say that she was once a heiress of a forest Däisarvi realm, a prodigious sorceress admired by her people, but has been driven mad by the magic given to her by the gods and now wanders the land, seeking something known only to her broken mind. Guided by her prophetic gift, she appears where natural order is in danger, guarding it with her druidic magic, moving from town to town seemingly unaware of the destruction she encounters and averts. Always alone, Lätar is only accompanied by Mikko, a small boulder that she is convinced is alive and sapient.
What is truly inside the mind of the Mad Oracle? Is she actually insane or does she simply sees the world in a different way thanks to her oracular powers? What drives her, what is her motive and does she actually understand what she is doing? Nobody seems to know. The only answer lies inside the mad young woman herself, and that's a puzzle that cannot be solved by even the greatest minds of Koldenwelt.
The Tale of the Mad Oracle
Of Latar's past and her descent towards insanity there is no truth - only stories, rumours and tales, all of which are apocryphal at best. While Koldenwelti bards agree that the Mad Oracle hails from the forests of Tartarion, their stories diverge from there. Most tales describe Latar as a former noble of her primitive species, the Daisarvi, born to a lofty position - nobility or even royalty; others, however, portray her as an acolyte of the forest people's druidic clergy. One way or another, it is known that Latar was taught from birth to adhere to strict rules and laws, laws that the naive Daisarvi girl somehow violated - and was then disgraced, banished, and subsequently driven towards madness. Every bard takes a spin of his own on this part of the story: romantic storytellers turn the legend of the Mad Oracle into a tale of amorousness and lament - with a tragic ending - while those with a darker predisposition tell instead that supernatural powers were behind the Oracle's disgrace and that she dabbled in powers too terrible to be named, powers diabolical and hellish. Others yet tell that Ophellatar was a victim of courtly strife, accused falsely of murder and sacrilege by her powerhungry sister. The White Stag, the mysterious deity of the Daisarvi species, appears in most of these stories, either as Latar's protector or the catalyst behind her insanity, but its role in the true story is not understood.
After her exile, Latar has apparently become a wanderer, driven by her mad visions to places where natural order is at danger. Always in trance - hardly understanding the world as it truly is - she has neverthless saved thousands of lives on multiple occasions. In some places, she is seen as a messenger of the forces of good, a mysterious sorcerous beauty that brings light into the darkness of Koldenwelt; others (L'Ammanori humans among them), however, see her as an evil omen, knowing full well that she only comes in places that are devastated - or will be devastated - by war, calamity or illness. Sometimes, it happens, that the Oracle accompanies heroes, bestowing her druidic magic upon them to aid in their adventures (whom she sees as play). Among these heroes were the explorers of the Golden Necropolis.
Despite being a Theriocephalia, Ophellatar nevertheless possesses features more similar to those of a young Deiwos woman - and an attractive one at that. In almost every tale where she is mentioned, she is described as a lovely beauty, graceful and with a slim, feminine figure and a moderately generous bosom; her youthful face, carrying certain cervine features such as small antlers and large, green eyes but otherwise elvish in appearance, is said to remain forever in one's memory once one has set sight on it. Her hair, bright orange-red in colour, is usually left unkempt and disheveled by the mad Daisarvi, although she often decorates it with flowers which she herself conjures. Like all members of her species, Ophellatar possesses fur, although hers is shorter and brighter in colour, and can be confused for bare dark skin at first glance.
Latar typically dresses in traditional Daisarvi fashion, her somewhat minimalistic clothing composed of a top and a short skirt and made of leaves and other natural materials. In truth, however, it was not made by her species's tailors but is instead created by Latar's own magical powers, and can be changed, expanded into a long dress or removed at will as she desires. Latar also possesses a small pouch on her waist where she keeps Mikko with her; decorated greatly with flowers and plants, it resembles a small Daisarvi house, complete with a miniature bed and a window. Hurting the pouch (or, what's more important, the rock inside) can enrage the usually placid Latar into a state of single-minded fury.
If there's anything that is clear about Ophellatar, it is that she is not in the right mind. Seeing the world through madness-tinted glasses, plagued by constant visions of the future, she walks without tact or logic in her actions, sings nursery rhymes to herself, fails to discern the difference between play and battle (thinking of a conflagration as of a fireworks display, for example) and often talks with rocks or twigs as if they were sapient, living beings - in other words, she is completely and utterly mad. While it is not clear what caused Latar's insanity, many believe that it has a supernatural origin and is linked to her prophetic gift - the same force that gave her her powers also taking her ability to percieve the world as it - but there may be other reasons for it as well.
Despite her state of mind, however, Latar still maintains a friendly attitude and is amiable towards those she protects or travels with, often giving them flowers or trying to cheer them up with her druidic magic - not that she often succeeds, that is. Certain words and phrases (such as mentioning the White Stag), however, can hurt Latar severely and turn her extremely depressive - until a few minutes pass and she forgets about it. Ultimately, Latar is a force of good, always trying to do the right thing even despite her twisted view of the world. Notably, she shares a unique bond with forest animals, bunnies in particular, and spends time talking with them whenever possible - and, if her friends are in danger, riling them against her enemies. Because of this relationship with wildlife, Latar is also known as the Forest Princess.
Ophellatar is a powerful druid. With powers far beyond her species's common abilities, she controls Source in ways few do, effectively bending nature to her will; indeed, her power over it is so great that she unconsciously makes the land she walks on bloom. Most of the time, however, she is hesitant of using her magic to its full potential - either that or it is subconscious - and her powers are mostly limited to healing and conjuration of flowers and other plants. When pushed to an edge (when Mikko is hurt, for example), however, Latar is fully capable of wielding her power to destroy as well as to create, transforming grass into black, thorny vines, sucking lifeforce out of living beings, or even raising the dead by infusing them with the essence of life.
The source of Ophellatar's powers is unclear. Although the rest of the Daisarvi's druidism is purely Source-based, drawn from the land itself, the Mad Oracle's magic seems to have a stranger origin; there have been rumours that she draws her power from another realm - possibly even the Outworld itself. The most notable power Latar possesses - that is, her oracular gift - also makes many believe that she is linked somehow to such entities as Samayapalaka or Kalisearan.
Mikko (apparently a common Daisarvi name) is the name Latar uses for a rock that she always carries with herself. Seemingly ordinary, Latar believes it to be sentient and live, and claims that they can conversate for hours with each other, and indeed asked him for advice on multiple occasions during the quest for the Golden Necropolis. Notably, Mikko is apparently the focal point of Latar's prophetic abilities, as whenever she foresees an event, she claims that it was him that told her about it. Those more curious and more ready to believe in the unlikely consider Mikko to be a magically infused stone, probably linked to Latar's insanity somehow; the rest of the world thinks it is just a rock. Latar doesn't care; no matter how her friend looks like and how people call him, Mikko is still hers, and will be hers forever.
- Mikko - He's not an ordinary rock! Really!]]
- Sea Witch - “What do you mean by "rock"?”
- Clothovera Moirai - “Let me read your book! I like reading.”
- Pelagrios - “Yarr!”
- Headhunter Kanna - “So you hunt heads? They don't move, silly!”
- Ndrthyr - “You're scary. A bit. Maybe if I put a flower in your head...”
- Khadia - “You're a really strange orc.”
- Archavior - “Your fireworks scare little bunnies!”
“I've seen this... Maiden of Tartarion once. I'd rather not meet her again.”
“Her head on a pike!”
- - Pelagrios
“This creature is delusional.”
- - Archavior
“I have heard tales from soldiers and merchants of a "rabbiting beastwoman" who would save them from danger and foretell their fate. I never believed such stories myself.”
- Latar was initially planned to be a human droid called Ophelia Skyward; her species was changed later in her development.
- Originally, Latar was intended to be a potential love interest for Marcos Ridgewood.