Woo, alias Soomi, has recently escaped the loop of dysfunctional life she was born into and is still suffering from culture shock. Traveling to the other side of the world does that. While her passive vocabulary in English is sufficient for daily life, she isn't as prepared for simple chitchat or bemoaning the woes of a demigod. Her company is hence less wordy than most. Make no mistake, because silence can cut you and the soul her body is in possession of doesn't seem squeamish about it.
► Full Name:
Hoo Woo (후 우) Jo Soo-Mi (조 수미)
► Species: Demigoddess
► Nationality: Korean
► Ethnicity: Korean-Turkish
► Birthday: 1 December 2007 (9 years old)
► Registered Parents: Jo Ka-Hee and Jo Yong-Jin
► Guardian: Jo Yong-Jin
► Height: 133 cm (4"3')
► Date of Arrival: 30/1/2017
► Claimed by: Pandia
► Time of Claiming: Immediately upon arrival
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Scar Two Moons
People never know what to make of myths. They have a funny way of collapsing the universe into small, neat categories they can understand. Simple and efficient. A pity that it rarely works out that way.
Hailing from a yangban family, Hoo Miran was one of those people. She was as typical as typical went for someone of her class - except for the one time she royally screwed up and infuriated the Lord of the Underworld. To her, it had been a small business deal; to the Greek world, she had taken a dastardly escapee soul under her wing and tricked her lover into protecting them both. The woman was wily beyond belief. Nothing less was to be expected from one of Apate’s favored mortals. This mortal had the gall to fool not one, but two gods. She seemed unaffected by the death sentence hanging over her head and how one mistake could tarnish all her hard work. It was truly something worth goggling at.
Why Pandia had become smitten with her was a no-brainer. Miran was that person everyone was simply mesmerized by. She couldn’t see through the Mist and she didn’t have a drop of god blood in her veins, yet she was a rare mortal who had the audacity to try and be on the level of a god. Pandia was bemired the moment she laid eyes on the virago. Unable to resist, she became yet another neurospast Miran commanded. She, like many others, overheld Miran’s presence in their life and injudiciously allowed her to escalade too far within. Consequently, her captor was witness to her unbosoming herself both ways. Brangling or striking her down with an unerring beam of moonlight were thoughts that faded faster than Metis.
No one is ever the villain of their own story. Nonetheless, nothing justified Miran’s dollhouse attitude with which she approached others. It was bound to keep her alive only for so long. A woman in the Joseon era wasn’t powerful, and Miran had sacrificed everything to grasp what she yearned for. After stealing her husband back from the Underworld and having Pandia bestow her protection, all the pieces neatly slid into place. Minjoon was puppeteered by his own fear and respect for his once “useless” wife, thus he went against his feelings and did not comment on the coquettish words and lingering gazes she and Pandia traded. Yet another person that Miran had ensnared. With Apate and Pandia backing her, it seemed she would have become crucial in Korea’s history if it wasn’t for her untimely demise.
Attacking head on wasn’t an option, but Hades hungered for swift, excruciating payback. He set his eyes on Miran and Pandia’s newly born demigod daughter and ossified his plans. The weapon that would fast forward Miran’s due time in the Fields of Punishment had just been handed to him on an endophyllous cultriform silver platter. In other words, a wickedly sharp platter wrapped up in the disguise of a demigod. The soul Miran’s daughter contained was swapped out for another. When the sun rose once more and the child woke, her eyes fortokened the maleficent fate she would breathe into the world once again. A parasite had latched onto Hoo Yoosin’s body and against its own will, it was to stay there until the host failed. That usually didn’t take long.
짜릿한 걸 원할 뿐인데
텅 빈 사람들 꿈속은 따분하잖아
Visions plagued Miran. Their origins were unknown to her, though Pandia suspected the other gods had something to do with it. Although Miran was indeed a remarkable mortal, it did not qualify her to see back in time. They came and went like they were never there, ergo they were dismissed as nothing fatal. But the seed of suspicion had already been planted, and in Miran’s mind, Yoosin was to be a liability. The moment she bid her jimil nain to hide the child who had moons as eyes was the moment her fate was sealed. An affronted Pandia returned to her senses and sorrowfully refused to face Miran ever again. If Miran had not given in to her nature, if she had not acted like a god, she could’ve made a more permanent mark on this world.
Maybe it could have braced the world for what kind of monster she had allowed into it.
For years to come, people would recall how Miran’s household crumbled on itself. The traded captious whispers offered little insight, and even more scarce were grains of truth. Those who knew the truth, namely the jimil nain, chose to say little. People were aware that there had been a failed attempt on Minjoon’s life, and his wife had perished while saving him. It was just like Miran to leave the world of the living with her name untainted. Nobody knew of the little slave girl. How could they? Miran had ensured that her existence was unknown.
To the jimil nain who witnessed it all, she had seen the little girl’s eyes. Dazed from the blow to her head, she could only watch as Yoosin plunged the poisoned edge of a knife into Miran’s solar plexus.
Her eyes had been colder than the moon.
Given the jimil nain’s condition at the time, it would be safe to say she didn’t see everything. She too acknowledged this possibility, and wisely held her tongue afterwards. Whatever had transpired in the household was only for the gods to know and see. A smug Hades hadn’t felt the need to add insult to injury and refrained from smearing Miran’s name. When word reached Pandia, she knew time had not stayed its hand. She dared to learn the last words that had sprung forth from her ex-lover’s lips. The knowledge licked at the wounds scratched there by her guilt.
If gods could bear the weight of the world on their shoulders, then why could she barely bring herself to inquire her last question? Pandia had to make sure, though somewhere in her heart, she already knew. After all, she had been the one who to originally bear her. All that was left to ask was the heartbreaking confirmation that it was indeed...
If Second Chances Existed
If second chances existed, so many people would not have died.
If second chances existed, the gods would not be so cruel.
If second chances existed, cursed beings would not walk this earth.
If second chances existed, pain would not go beyond death.
If second chances existed, Kiseob would not have existed.
For millennia, a damned spirit let herself be nameless. Bearing the full weight of every crime she was forced to commit, she felt that she had no right to one. There was once a name she had, one she has long since forgotten and one that she was stripped of when she first crossed from the living to the dead. Would she have taken it if she was given the choice? No. A name is a chance and she lost it. In the bodies she took, their identities never applied to her. There had been a lifetime or two where she almost felt like a person again. It wasn’t ever enough, but it kept her sane. Fanning the weak flames of her spirit, she struggled to breathe in every horror of life presented to her.
본능을 난 따를 뿐인데
빨간 사과를 한 입 딱 베어 물고서
A jilted goddess beckoned for reality to distort. One thought, one moment of pure rage was all it took to crush two worlds together and birth something that would belong to neither. The same can be said for many of those we call demigods, and that may be why this creature’s essence was drawn to them. Apate looked at what she had done, and felt nothing but victory as a small girl sobbed into the unmoving chest of the man she regarded as a father. Under the sympathetic circle of moonlight, the scene’s crudest features softened. Even the air that reeked of death and the blood that gave the walls a fresh new color were muted. With her need for revenge quenched, Apate’s vision was freed from the blur that hid the obvious. The puppet she had just discarded was a demigod. Dread flooded her throat like a certain fluid.
It would not do for a demigod to seek retribution in the future. Apate considered eliminating the child then and there, urge her to fall upon her own weapon out of self hatred. Her hesitation stole the crucial moment from her and before she could decide, the tragedy reached the king of the dead. The news was delivered by none other than his fallen son — the little girl’s father. To see these mighty deities fall prey to mere emotions would have been a lesson to any mortal. In the same brazen rage that had overtaken Apate, Hades enjoined his Furies to do away with the murderer. The massacre of an entire family was taboo alone, but the death of one of his sons rubbed salt into the wound. Mercy had no mention in the plans he had.
Eternity has no time to spare for ill-advised decisions of gods, and neither did Pandia. While her daughter was prepared to shoulder the punishment, she was not. As Tisiphone descended on the quivering child, Pandia lifted a finger. The damned became stone before the startled Fury’s gaze. The moon itself was blocked by the clouds at the exact same moment, as a vain attempt to hide the truth. Vain it was indeed, for anyone could see that the goddess wished to have her daughter spared. Night fought for both sides. It was a neutral ground that obscured who would edge out. In haste, Pandia trekked to the Underworld to seek amnesty for her child. A bemused Melinoe remained unmoved by her pleas. Not even the moon’s pull could turn these tides. Incensed by the Furies’ report, Hades took it upon himself to lay down the foundation of a curse and a legend.
꿈속에 가득 던져
Death was too light a sentence for Hades to even consider now. He released the child’s soul from its rock reprieve and let irony take charge. How would it be for a daughter of the moon to suffer from the very roots of her own power? To let the dark side of Nature to fully take course? Hades held nothing back. He stowed away the girl’s body in a place she would always find but never enter. And so, the components of his plan were set.
Do you know what they say of the moon? It never dies.
Do you know what they see of the moon? It endlessly writes time.
Do you know what they know of the moon? It is ashamed.
There is a spirit that roams the mortal realm like any other spirit. It is different.
Its scars outnumber the lives it has lived. The gods have turned away from it. Once, it was loved. Once, it was not forced to take lives it did not want to take. Once, it had a name.
When it was expelled from its own body, it became something irreversibly tainted. Death would tail it but shy away from it. With each life and each body it was forced to assume, it smote the mortal that had borne it. Each time, its own lifeline was snuffed out by someone it cherished. It is said that it craves to find its true body at any cost. In its desperation, thousands of lives have been and lost over the millennia. Disgusted, the gods themselves allowed it to fall deeper into its self-destructive ways. It wished for nothing more than for the blood on its hands to be its own.
Its body, when hidden from moonlight, remained as a statue and preserved. Only when the soul died in its original body would it be permitted to pass on. Such a pity that this was not to be any time soon, if the god that cursed it had their way. The one goddess who wanted nothing more than to free it was forbidden from doing so. As time moved on, its debt to the gods exponentially increased. Despite the lack of escape, it refused to cave in to the fate seemingly picked out for it. Memories became firmly embedded into its existence as proof, and it began remembering the pain that compelled it forward. The king of the dead wished to impede his slave, for it had grown useful and to relinquish control of it would be a waste. He offered it a deal and would not take no for an answer.
Temporary asylum within a body it couldn’t control was the closest thing to a break that it might have. The dominant soul gave it anything but peace and quiet, yet it didn’t mind. Was this happiness, or was it relief? The spirit refused to dwell on it any longer than it should. For the first time, it stayed put and was not subject to the curse for a few centuries. No matter how much it dreaded the goodbye, the years came to a close. It bid farewell to the concord and was sentenced back to the cycle. One day, it promised its friend, they would cross paths again. False comfort and empty promises did not sit well with this soul, and it was sure to come through.
Through the one that spilled its blood over and over, it found a way to recall the warmth from the memories that were no longer there. They gave it a name, and that name gave it strength. The name was the first thought on its lips every rebirth, every new body. It died away, of course, but it had been there and it would be there again, when the body could process such thoughts. Names truly have power, but at their own cost. As long term investments, they reaped more than what they had asked for. Consequently, it was a last ditch effort by many to immortalize themselves.
Its name was Kiseob.
Even Dead Eyes Whisper
How many kids can say they’ve closed someone’s eyes?
While this occurrence is common among demigods, deaths are usually because of gnashing teeth and eager claws. Woo’s mother died from a bullet of a gun her daughter held.
Hoo Miso blazed like the morning star, and would’ve burned down the world if she had to. She smiled like everything was dying, moved with accepted pain, and had tears that humbled gods. Little could rival her passion, never mind how blindly she used it. Overshadowed by her stable, more capable siblings, she was nothing more than a pretty face to be married off in her chaebol parents’ eyes. If they hadn’t been so hasty in their decision, they wouldn’t have died within a fortnight. Beauty hurts, doesn’t it? Miso’s takeover happened too quickly for anyone to take advantage of the situation. Her befuddled relatives were wisely submissive as they wondered how this had come to be. Miso only smiled. An immortal’s love, if used correctly, could be everything.
Turkey. That’s where Pandia had been rejected by a revolted Miso. Nursing her hurt feelings, Pandia assumed the form of a Turkish man and hoped that her efforts wouldn’t go to waste. It didn’t. Miso spilled all her woes to her smitten lover and together, they hatched a plot to tidy up Miso’s life. By the end of it, Miso was pregnant and the sole heir of her parents’ wealth. The man who had assisted her vanished, but she was too elated to care. Disposal of the kid would be an easy matter, and hiding the pregnancy was laughably achievable. Hoo Woo was born and given away on the same day to one of Miso’s trusted associates.
Miso’s associate sent the child to a Bom Jaehwa, whose wife was barren. From the get go, her caretakers noted that Woo wouldn’t be useful in illicit affairs. They had wanted a successor to their not quite legal businesses and Woo was too soft-hearted and a girl to boot. Her being the child of a chaebol, however, was enough reason to keep her around. She was quiet and deemed harmless, so they talked freely around her. Contrary to her lack of reactions, she grew up terrified of these people, who spoke as if blood was useless. They didn’t neglect her physical needs, but like many parents, their child’s mental state meant nothing to them. School was no escape either; her peers sneered at the girl who struggled to read and barely spoke. The ridicule stopped at laughter and the occasional snide remark, because her “parents” were high up on the food chain.
The day her “father” decided to bring her along to the assassination of her real mother was the day everything changed. Woo hadn’t expected to be face to face with a woman who shared so many of her features, nor did she realize how twisted and psychotic her guardian’s plans were. In Hoo Miso’s own bedroom, Jaehwa placed Woo’s hands on the gun and used them to pull the trigger. She made sense of what was happening a minute too late: her ears hurt, she was screaming, and the woman was slumped across her bed. Blood stained the pretty white sheets.
Hoo Miso was dead, and Woo was why.
잘 모르겠어 난 이런 게 바로 나인 걸
Oh oh oh oh oh
Everything went fuzzy after that. A baffling sense of self-loathing overcame Woo for the days to come. Jaehwa kept a closer eye on her, though there was nothing to see since she remained in shock. He and his wife had already figured out how to make her useful and the moment Woo showed signs of feeling normal again, they began their training regime. Deception, self defense, and everything relevant to making her the usurper of the empire Miso had left behind was drilled into her head. When she couldn’t keep up, they belittled her as encouragement. Two years of this was all Woo could take. The trembling nine year old outwitted the security detail and hid on one of the private planes that Jaehwa’s men used to deliver their goods. Turns out, this one headed straight to the States.
How she managed to escape totally unscathed, Woo can't comprehend herself. Then again, the people who'd been piloting the plane and those working with them upon landing were too occupied to notice anything. It was by pure luck and desperation that she found someone who could speak Korean. As a safety precaution, she introduced herself by the name Jaehwa gave her: Jo Soomi. Her grueling lessons took care of any possible holes in the story she wove and the person took pity on her. Genuinely nice people who had no heinous intent are relatively rare, but she didn't have to figure out if her new friend was one or not. Woo was almost immediately discovered by a satyr who lived next door as she waited on the woman's porch. The downside was that this satyr was already watching out for another demigod who lived on the same block, and Woo's appearance notified two giant scorpions to their location. This resulted in a short fight between the satyr and the arachnids, while the two clueless demigods stared with huge question marks hovering over their heads. After the scorpions returned to Tartarus, the satyr brought them up to speed, told them to get ready to travel, and dragged them to a safehouse once they recollected themselves.
Although the monsters were worrying, their ages posed the greatest threat as they traveled. These difficulties were solved when they encountered a summer camper, a Themis kid to be exact, who arranged for a speedier and much safer arrival. The demigod was only slightly reluctant to give the children weapons. They received one chance to test these out when a fire-breathing horse tried to stamp their lives out, and decided they didn't care to repeat the experience until they received more training. This occurrence spurred them on. The small trio crossed the border not two weeks after first meeting. Disheveled and sleep deprived as they were, it was hard to miss the glowing sign that immediately exploded into existence above Woo's head. Pandia had claimed her on the spot. The satyr commented that there was no doubt about it if you noticed how Woo's eyes looked like moons. It's only been a day since, and Woo is far from settled in.
Years of living in fear has compressed Woo’s heart into a small sterling gem, obstinate and isolated. As she is but a child, it seems only fair to cut her some slack. However, she has proven time and time again that she can handle the pressure of life’s blade against her neck. Having ‘cornered animal’ mode as a default inhibits her social growth and puts her survival skills a few notches above the average demigod. Forget how unperturbed her facade is — she takes most things rather well and without dissolving into the hollow paranoia that clouds her judgment. Instead of moping about how she doesn’t have wisdom beyond her years, she applies whatever assets are available. Not everyone is a child genius with straight As and multitudinous academic achievements and honorable mentions and if South Korea can’t process that, it can sink into the ocean for all she cares. The same concerns the rest of the world as well. In the end, the classroom is still a heavily controlled environment based after when people worked at factories and got graded like meat. Woo isn’t the sharpest crayon in the box, but she’s relieved to know that no, her grades do not make her any less of a person.
Once disassembled and identified, it becomes increasingly harder to excuse her inability to stand her ground. She employs every card up her sleeve to displace the sense of accountability to someone else. Mention responsibility and she may very well take off running. Faultless doesn't ring a bell in her head, but does evoke a suffocating sense of shame. Consequences have always been so dire in her case that to flee and let someone else endure the blow was the only choice in her favor. Most people grit their teeth at the decisions they have to make — Woo is no different. In time, shifting the extremes into something less seems palpable, but for the present, she'll have to wallow and try to live with herself. She's a coward, so be it, but at least she's alive. Sugarcoating the truth feels like too much of a pity act now; you won't hear a peep of protest if you call her out. Some part of her won't agree and will heatedly argue that it's justified. She muffles that voice through decreased eye contact and zipped lips.
► A dozen or so pairs of scissors strung on her belt. Look harmless until you realize they're Celestial bronze. Each one be tugged apart and reattached. Act as daggers.
► A pouch of Celestial bronze thumbtacks and magnets.
► A separate bag full of finely ground Celestial bronze. Emergencies only.
► Three changes of clothes.