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Sephie of Meridian

Sephie is the daughter of Turos, Minister of Meridian. Meridian is quite possibly the most beautiful of the floating islands of Demetria. In most ways, Sephie's life was as gentle as can be, but Sephie lost her mother at an early age.

In her mid teens, her Uncle Ilahn comes to visit. Unknown to Sephie, Ilahn is an evil man who's heart's desire is to possess the island of Meridian, and he will stop at nothing to do so. Ilahn, Minister of Cadador, rules the strongest city-state and has his eyes on the entire world. The only one who can stop him is his niece, but she does not know it yet.

One evening during Ilahn's visit, he is standing out on a balcony with his brother Turos. The have just offered drinks to one another, when a mystical raven appears in the air before them. This magical beast confers great power to them both in the form of a red and yellow sigil. Turos (who has been unknowingly poisoned by Ilahn) cannot physically bear the power, and is brought immediately to death's door. When Sephie rushes to his side, the Sigil transfers itself to the young girl, forever changing her destiny. Turos passes away, his spirit soaring to the stars. 
 

Orphan on Cadador

 
As Sephie's only remaining blood kin, Ilahn takes Sephie as his own. In reality, he cares nothing for the girl other than his ability to rule Meridian through her. In a plot to control her, Ilahn hires an assassin to attack Sephie in her bed in the middle of the night. Ilahn, already somewhat aware of the new power they possess, believes she will survive, but is confident he can control Meridian even if she does not. Sephie unconsciously defends herself from the attack. Turos' house is set aflame as part of the plot, and Ilahn convinces Sephie she is no longer safe on Meridian. He takes her back to his island of Cadador as a "guest," while he orders his own army to invade Meridian as soon as he has departed.

Cadador is a very strict, conservative island. Women are relegated to second class in society, and are forced to cover their bodies from neck to toe for the sake of "modesty." Sephie is used to Meridian, with its equality among the sexes, and her ability to run barefoot through the fields in nothing more than a pretty summer dress.

Sephie sortly makes plans to escape Cadador, and does. One night, she escapes her room in Ilahn's palace and steals an airship. Once her course is set for Meridian, she is quickly overtake by sentry ships of Cadador's army. In the ensuing battle, she is knocked from her ship and is seen plummeting thousands of feet to the planet's surface, presumed dead by Ilahn and his forces.

Far in the past, Demetria was subjected to a great catastrophe. While the cause remains unknown, the effect was to fling great masses of earth into the air above the planet, leaving much of the remaining planetary surface poisoned with toxic chemicals. In time, airships were constructed, and the floating planets were colonized, becoming the most prosperous settlements on Demetria.

Fugitive

 
When Sephie falls from the sky, she lands in one of these barren wastelands near the village of Akasia. The immediate area around her landing site is miraculously healed from its affliction, vegetation growing abundantly. Maraya, Minister of Akasia, and members of her council find and take in Sephie. Sephie defends the village from an attack of a mutated monster, and uses her newfound powers of healing and restoration to "fix" parts of the village. Normally, the wood the village is made from is eventually destroyed by the ground's toxicity, forcing the villagers to move and rebuilt periodically. Sephie's gift allows her to reverse the damage and allow the village to stand longer than usual.

Sephie eventually discovers that Akasia's entire economy is based on forced child labor. The local toxic chemicals are harnessed by Akasians to make the dyed cloth for which they are famous. The dangerous work of harvesting and processing the chemicals is done by children who, if they survive to adulthood, are freed and allowed to become citizens. To keep Sephie from revealing the truth to the rest of Demetria, the Akasians enslave her and force her to work in their factory.

Meanwhile, Ilahn has sent messengers to every floating island to warm them against helping Sephie or any other Meridianite. Ilahn is not certain of her demise. The Muse of Gaitan (in actuality a splinter aspect of Danik) begins to guide Ilahn with cryptic messages which most often spur him into action against Sephie.

Using her powers, Sephie escapes from the Akasian factory by creating vines out of the floor, snapping loose her chains. Sephie tries to get the other children to escape with her, but they refuse. Sephie escapes from the clutches of three more of the mutant monsters and flees into the forests outside the boundary of Akasia's acidic soil. In the interim, the Muse of Gaitan has informed Ilahn that Sephie is alive and well in Akasia. Ilahn travels there, and Maraya tries to hold him captive for ransom from Cadador. Once Ilahn discovers Sephie has escaped, he uses his power to destroy most of Akasia, burning it to the ground.

The airships of Demetria are made from the wood of trees that have absorbed the minerals changed by the cataclysm into "buoyant" elements. Sephie, in her escape from Akasia, comes across one of these logging communities. After using her powers to save some of the loggers and a load of their wood, she accepted into the community. Ghetan, another of Danik's guises, serves as a mentor to Sephie during this time, prompting her to further allow the loggers into her confidence. These loggers lead her to an underground community of miners who may be of further help in her quest against Ilahn. Sephie begins at this point to assert herself as the true and rightful Minister of Meridian.

Meanwhile, Ilahn meets for the first time with a god, Rho Rhustane: Rhorf of the First.

Relief at Anheim

 
Cotson and two other loggers lead Sephie to a mining community which is situated over the lost city of Anheim. Anheim was believed destroyed in the cataclysm, and was in large part. The miners dig for rocks infused with the minerals which keep Demetria's islands afloat. A local bar is run by the beautiful and deadly Deren Beq. While in Deren's bar, Sephie is abducted by representatives of the hidden city of Anheim. Once she is assured that their intentions are honorable, Sephie accompanies them underground and sees the wonders of Anheim for the first time.

Anheim's location is unknown to most inhabitants of Demetria, but Sephie parents had been fast friends with Geres of Anheim, the city's Minister. Geres had met the Muse of Gaitan when he was younger. Also, a young Ideria (Sephie's mother) spoke a prophecy that her daughter with Turos would "join earth and sky." Soon after, the couple was forced to flee Anheim's surroundings when their airship came under attack by mercenaries under the command of Ilahn. Ideria left some of her artwork behind in Geres safekeeping. Geres now gives this artwork to Sephie, which helps him gain her trust.

Sephie meets Crenner, Geres' grandson, who is caretaker of Anheim's botany program. Crenner has been working on discovering and preserving as much of Demetria's untainted vegetation from before the cataclysm. He believes he can heal the acidic surface through the systematic and selective breeding of the pre-cataclysm flora. Crenner shows Sephie some seeds that he believes are beyond use, and she uses her sigil-power to repair the seeds. Crenner immediately falls head over heels for Sephie.

While looking through her mother's art book, Sephie discovers that her mother had drawn a dream of her daughter someday marrying Crenner of Anheim. Sephie quickly hides this from Crenner and her other friends, saying that the art book contains private thoughts. High above the world's surface, Ilahn and his new consort Reesha, are whisked away from Demetria to Rho Rhustane's home of Elysia.

During this time of discovery, Deren Beq has made her way under the earth to Anheim to discover what has become of Sephie. She reveals that she too had met (and loved) Sephie's mother when she was a child, and immediately becomes quite protective of the young girl. Sephie stays a recipient of Anheim's hospitality for some days, until the miners and loggers surprise her with a priceless gift.

While he stayed in Anheim, Turos had designed a special airship, and Geres had improved upon the design over the years. Together with the miners and loggers who had befriended Sephie, the craftsmen and artisans of Anheim build this ship, giving it sails with her own special mark. Her mark is her sigil intertwined with Meridian's own crest. Cotson and some of the other loggers, along with Deren Beq and some of the miners, join with Sephie as crew aboard her new ship. Crenner of Anheim, still entralled with Sephie's beauty and grace, joins the quest to reclaim Meridian as well.

All through this time, the remaining ruling council of Meridian, along with several hundred refugees, have abandoned Meridian to Cadador's control. They venture through one of the most dangerous sections of Demetria's skies until they reach the hidden refuge of Hesperia. They begin to build their new home, but are beset by many trial. In the center of their troubles they find the Muse of Giatan, who convinces Jad Takarty to go off on a mad quest to rescue the lost Sephie.

Pirates of the Wind


Sephie and her crew begin boarding and commandeering Cadadorian ship in true pirate style. Many of the Cadadorian soldiers join with Sephie in her fight, and stay on as crew of the newly acquired ships. Sephie's crusade takes her from island to island, meeting with Ministers and asking them to join in her new vision of trade. Some join, while others bide their time to see who ultimately wins the battle. Some, remembering Ilahn's threats, decisively tell Sephie they will never join with her. A systematic blockade of Cadador begins to form.

Unbeknownst to Sephie, Ilahn has returned from Elysia with Rho Rhustane as his somewhat unwilling servant. A servant who he unleashes on the inhabitants of Torbel. 

Jad Takarty is finally reunited with Sephie, and the two childhood friends pick up right where they left off. Crenner sees the relationship between the two, but does not act on his jealousy. Deren Beq, along with Cotson, confront Jad and warn him off from distracting Sephie from her destiny.

While Sephie and crew are continuing their blockade, Ilahn and Rho Rhustane hold the embargo on Torbel. Torbel is a huge, and mostly artificial island (the largest on Demetria) which is in need of a constant supply of ore to keep it in the air. Without the much needed ore, Torbel begins to plummet into the ocean below. The Pirates of the Wind show up too late, and are held off by the fiercest Cadadorian forces they have yet faced. 

Amidst the battle, Samandahl Rey, a Sigil-bearer from another planet appears suddenly in the middle of the air. Sephie rescues him as it seems his sigil does not grant him the power of flight. When they touch, the entirety of their lives since becoming Sigil-bearers are revealed to one another through a sort of sympathetic telepathy. Though Sephie doesn't entirely trust Sam, she asks him to aid them in the battle, which he does with destructive force, blowing a Cadadorian airship apart in mid air. Shortly thereafter, Samandahl disappears just like he had appeared, leaving Sephie to wonder what else might be out among the stars. 

Arriving at Torbel, Sephie and her crew works tirelessly to rescue as many people as possible from the failing island. Sephie attempts to use her sigil powers to repair the island, but the damage is beyond even her vast capabilities. In a last ditch effort, Sephie uses her powers to keep the island aloft as long as she can, giving her pirates more opportunity to rescue the Torbelites. Before long, Torbel succumbs to the stress and breaks apart in the air and Sephie's powers fail her. Torbel drops into the deep below with the loss of thousands of lives.

Sephie is totally spent and close to death after the fall of Torbel. The Muse of Gaitan appears to Sephie in the form of an energy being and re-energizes Sephie before she succumbs to death. After her recovery, she takes Rhustane's ship and proceeds to Meridian. She discovers that the island has been all but destroyed and her anger builds to a level higher than ever before. 

After her recovery, Sephie confronts Rho Rhustane, and confuses him for Trenin (whom she had seen in Sam Rey's memory). Rhustane has built a massive airship, complete with a canon (a weapon previously unknown on Demetria). Sephie tries to destroy the ship, but is unsuccessful, so she turns her attention to Rhustane directly. During the confrontation, Sephie gives in slightly to her frustration and anger, and her sigil flares red for the first time. Rhustane reveals that he is of the First, and he vanishes midway through their fight. 

Ilahn, who has been tracking her and waiting for opportunity, attacks Sephie and a great battle ensues. In the ruins of her father's house, the two unleash destructive forces against one another. Sephie, who had always before been unwilling to take a life, now realizes that she must defend herself with like force. Though Ilahn has more experience using his powers in an offensive manner, Sephie has been honed and hardened by her months on the run with her pirates.  

 
 When Ilahn and Sephie touch directly, the sympathetic telepathy she had shared with Sam Rey begins to form, but she rejects it and forces Ilahn's power back upon itself. To everyone looking on, it appears that Sephie disintegrates her uncle, but in reality he teleports himself away at the last moment, knowing he could not win the battle. For reasons all her own, Sephie does not tell her friends and crew otherwise, leaving them all to believe that she has killed her uncle.

Minister of Meridian and Cadador


Now that Sephie has liberated her homeland, she finds that it is no longer the place of her memory. Meridian has changed as a result of the Cadadorian occupation and subsequent abandonment, but it is Sephie herself who has experienced the greater change. Sephie uses her powers to help Meridian repair and recover, but she decides her leadership and abilities would be better suited elsewhere. Leaving Jon Takarty—who was already serving as interim-Minister—as the leader of the recovering colony, Sephie departs for Cadador.

 
Arriving at Cadador, Sephie confronts the city council and presses her claim as Ilahn's only living blood heir, and therefore the rightful claimant to the title Minister of Cadador. After a bit of military chicanery to convince the council to accept her, Sephie is allowed to begin the process of assuming the mantle of Cadadorian leadership. Reesha, former consort to Ilahn, secretly enters the city and bides her time for an opportunity to remove Sephie from her new found position of power. 

Sephie now finds herself in the ironic position of protecting Cadador from invaders. Refugees from Torbel, in retaliation for the destruction of their home, invade the island in an effort to take it as their own. Using a combination of her powers and diplomacy learned during her months on the run, Sephie is able to diffuse the situation fairly quickly. The island of Hesperia, no longer needed by Meridian's refugees, is given to the Torbelites as their new home.

 
Ilahn, who is not dead, reveals himself to Reesha and makes her privy to his plans. Along with his major-domo, Ilahn forges a will that states he left the Minister-ship of Cadador to his consort Reesha. Ilahn's schemes have now moved beyond dominance of Meridian, to absolute control of Demetria and the worlds beyond. To this end he plans to install Reesha as his puppet minister. At Sephie's installation ceremony, Reesha confronts the council with the fake will, and they proclaim it to be authentic. Reesha Teramu is installed as Minster instead of Sephie.

 
No longer able to govern on Cadador, Sephie turns to fulfill a promise she had made to the children of Akasia. Misguidedly, she descends on the already suffering community (after its near total destruction by Ilahn) and causes great damage. When she strives to get the children to leave with her, a large number of them refuse. Even though they have been held captive and forced to work against their will, many of the Akasian children believe their fate to be better than it would have been otherwise. The Akasian people found them and rescued them from the wild, and forced labor is seen as a better option than certain death. Allowing her revenge to drain away, Sephie leaves Akasia, taking what few children will accompany her to a new life on Meridian.

Mission of Unity


Sephie now embarks on a journey across Demetria to visit every city and village she can in an effort to break Cadador's stranglehold on trade and commerce. Most islands and land villages are cordial to her and her crew, but most refuse to join her. Many do not believe that Ilahn is really dead, and even if he is, the power of Cadador's army is too great to rebel against. In addition, there are a few who do not see the advantage of breaking from Cadador's network because it has been beneficial to them (at least to the upper and ruling classes).

Ilahn continues to work behind the scenes. Now that Cadador is firmly back under his control via Reesha Teramu, he turns his attention to getting his revenge on Sephie. Once he has taken care of her, he intends to fully conquer all of Demetria, then move on to make Elysia his next conquest in order to dominate the remainder of the galaxy. There seems no end to what and who Ilahn is willing to sacrifice in order to destroy Sephie. 

Ilahn begins working on perfecting his budding power of teleportation. Prodded on by the Muse of Giatan, he pushes himself further and further until he is successful in taking himself to other worlds. Accomplishing this, Ilahn approaches other Sigil-bearers and enlists their aide against Sephie (by lying about her true nature). 

Sephie and her Pirates of the Wind reach the quiet city of Nescoan in her sunship. Sephie sheds her usual dress and demeanor to better present herself to the Minister of Nescoan. The island prides itself on its etiquette and excellence. Nearly the entire city is a place of peace, with even the "bad" part of town being far better than most of Demetria's other larger cities. While Sephie meets with the city's Minister, Deren Beq and the crew look for a bit of excitement. Not finding their type of people very easily, they are finally directed to the only bar in town with a somewhat rough reputation. They soon find that even this place is a bit to refined and cultured for their tastes. They quickly fix this by instigating a wonderful bar fight, the best this quiet island had ever seen. 

Sephie discovers the treachery of Ilahn and the Minister of Nescoan. The negotiations nearly deteriorate into violence before Sephie can withdrawn in failure. Meanwhile, Deren is confronted with a ghost of her past, the boy who broke her heart and turned her into the woman she is today. She asserts herself once and for all and reclaims a bit of herself she had set aside in spite so long ago. Deren Beq takes it upon herself to become the chronicler of Sephie's story.

 
Led by Ghetan (an aspect of the ascended Atlantean Danik), Sephie begins a quest to discover the lost city of Sheristan. She comes to believe that she will find answers about herself and her planet which will help her heal the world's wounds and unify its populace. Following the cryptic clues available to them, the crew finally discovers the ruins of Sheristan in an abandoned desert canyon. Finding no one to greet them, indeed no sign of life at all, Sephie decides to explore the city. As she and her crew come in close, and gigantic windstorm of decidedly unnatural causes blows their ship like a straw in a tornado. Sephie struggles to save the ship, but she fails and the ship is destroyed.

Sephie awakes to find herself and her crew under the foundations of Sheristan in a cavern that has no exits. Sephie is greeted by a stranger totally unknown to her, but one who shares the same orange eyes of Ghetan and the Muse of Giatan. This stranger transports her somewhat magically to his "library," a private place he says he has shown no other mortal. This stranger (who is actually yet another aspect of Danik) shares with Sephie the big picture of what is going on in the universe, and what her role is in it.

 
The hardest revelation of all, and one she refuses to accept, is that the coming danger to the universe will need her to join with her hated uncle. Though she comes to understand the urgency and necessity of the Stranger's need, she cannot accept that Ilahn is crucial to the final outcome. While she is away, Deren Beq and the remaining crew awaken to find themselves in the cavern with Sephie nowhere to be found. After searching for a time, Sephie reappears to them and leads them out. In one of her greatest displays of power, Sephie gathers and completely repairs their sunship, even though it had been sundered into literally millions of pieces. Their ship repaired, they make their escape from the ghostly city of Sheristan. 

Final Confrontation

 
Sephie is now attacked by Ilahn and his co-opted Sigil-bearers from other worlds. Since they have been tricked into believing Sephie is evil, and because they are born warriors on their own worlds, these new enemies attack with great ferocity. Their combined attacks are nearly more than Sephie can take, but she handles herself well by remembering the life of Samandahl Rey. Ilahn also grows angry when they seem to nearly kill her, a pleasure he wanted reserved only for himself.

 
Sephie is saved by the very same sympathetic telepathy she had shared with Samandahl Rey. When she makes contact with Lord Birrema of Courabo, she learns that she is able to siphon off their sigil power in much the same way Ilahn was able to drain the First. She also learns his ability to make a sword, shield, and armor of light from the connection. In turn, Birrema learns of Sephie's true nature and the lies of Ilahn. He helps Sephie to her feet, and she quickly dispatches the remaining Sigil-bearers, leaving her free to confront Ilahn.

 
Sephie closes on Ilahn, and despite the Danik aspect's admonition, begins to drain Ilahn of his power. Believing the strength of his will is greater than her own, Ilahn presses into the connection, but is soon overwhelmed by Sephie greater resolve. She drains him of nearly every erg of power remaining to him, and rises stronger than ever before, dressed in armor of light.

 
With the little tiny bit of power remaining to him, Ilahn teleports himself away in an effort to rebuild his power. Sephie then tells her friends and crew that her time on Demetria is done, and that she knows her destiny. Sephie flies away from sight, into what fate has for her.


Note on CrossGen Comics

 
Meridian was one of the few CrossGen comics titles to come fully to a close before the company went bankrupt and ceased publishing. It is believed that Sephie would have played a major role in the Negation War title if the company had survived.



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