Is this character from somewhere else? Where? Lydia's an import from Men Without Worlds
Name: Lydia Margaret Larson
Hair Color: Dark auburn
Eye Color: Hazel
Celebrity Playby: Anna Friel
- Too clumsy to be elegant, too buxom to be waiflike and a little too common to be beautiful, Lydia is instead the perennial girl-next-door, from her unruly curls to her beaming smile. She has a pretty face, with wide green eyes, a snub nose and full lips, often stifling another grin. Her hair is thick, lustrous and extremely difficult to control, as it seems to insist on growing in any and all directions. Frantic brushing and pinning are often required and often futile. You might think that years of working and enjoying her food might have taken their toll but her years in the military have done her body the world of good, and Lydia’s natural curves are complimented well by good shaping and toning. A short woman, she cuts a less than intimidating figure, but can well pack a punch if need be.
The colourful and classically feminine appeals to Lydia, and she dresses herself accordingly with bright prints and flowery patterns showy enough to make your eyes ache. Even when she was in uniform, a slick of red lipstick and a sunflower tied in her hair was often added for effect when no commanding officer was about. Mind you, her job is not one that invites a pristine appearance. Mess is second nature to Lydia by now and she barely notices the strange stains, smeared face and floured hair that comes with the territory. A little whirlwind of activity, Lydia scurries rather than walks, more often than not loaded down with utensils and various bags.
One the rare occasion when Lydia’s angry or discontented, her face changes, albeit subtly. Her cheeks might turn red, the side of her mouth twitch or her big eyes narrow a little. Her voice is a cheery lilting drawl that often gets faster as she launches into extended chatter or convoluted explanations, packed with informality and terms of endearment.
- - Prone to freckling, there is a fine mist of them across her shoulder blades and when it's hot, across her cheeks too.
- A small birthmark on the small of her back.
- A burn on her left wrist.
- - Good food
- Good company
- Organized chaos
- Singing (horribly off-key)
- Dancing (horribly off-kilter)
- -Rats (make that any pest)
- Processed foods
- Rainy days
- - More than anything Lydia would like to go home
- To get married and raise her own family, with lots of children!
- To become a renowned chef, with her own staff and recipes known across the worlds.
- - Sickness is a constant fear of Lydia's. Her mother had tuberculosis, which although eventually cured, left her a sickly and changed woman.
- Loneliness terrifies Lydia. She can't fear the thought of being cut off with no-one to talk to.
- Maybe it's all kitchen related, but Lydia cannot bear rats or other rodents. They come near her while she's working and she'll pitch a fit and start throwing things.
- Eternally optimistic, constantly cheerful and consistently upbeat, you might wonder what on earth someone with such a sunny (and slightly spacey) personality as Lydia was doing in the military at all! She seems to make it her personal mission to make just everyone as happy as she is and it’s extremely rare to catch her in a sombre mood. That is not to say however she is immature. Indeed, she shoulders her own responsibilities well and is highly maternal and dedicated by nature, taking it upon herself to try and bring others together and keep them safe. Tactile and gentle, she copes with hostility with sheer perseverance and makes tireless efforts to like and be liked.
Lydia has harnessed her creativity and eccentricity in her cooking. The culinary arts are her life and everything about the process excites her. From home cooking to the most obscure ancient recipes, she is willing to try anything, with great gusto and a little improvisation. If it doesn’t work, she will try again, then again. Managing a kitchen or a household is a second nature to her and she takes on her duties with a kind of happy steeliness, juggling task after task and not noticing her own exhaustion until she’s tumbled into bed. Even then, Lydia finds it very hard to switch ‘off’. A notoriously light sleeper, she has driven people to distraction with her constant tossing, turning and chatter.
Family is hugely important to Lydia, as evidenced by the little makeshift groups she seems to join wherever she goes. The idea of solitude distresses her, mainly due her happy upbringing full of siblings and distant relatives who flocked about constantly. She simply cannot comprehend someone wanting to be alone. Of course one day she hopes to be able to raise a family of her own, but for now a more independent, nomadic lifestyle suits her. She can always go home, right? Her church-going parents have instilled a strong moral code in the cook, she’s very rarely found with a drink with her hand, and gives casual romantic entanglements a wide birth almost to the point of prudishness. She will go out of her way to help those who ask and has a great deal of respect for her superiors (again brought on by a long family history in the military). Though not lacking in common sense Lydia is not book smart, almost to the point of illiteracy and when out of her comfort zone her demeanour is far more weak and submissive then the bolshy, breezy woman people are familiar with. Taking orders outside the kitchen has always been a second nature to her, and she’s far likely to be a follower than a leader, particularly if said leader is ‘respectable’ in her eyes. She is also far too trusting, if invested heavily in someone or something, she is apt to miss problems that may seem obvious to others.
Overall Lydia likes to consider herself a good cook and a good, simple person and hopes to convince anyone else of such.
- - A large copper ladle
- A wooden stirring spoon
- 5 packets of various herbs and spices
- Two small pearl earrings
- Lydia was born in an alternate 2490, on the rural side of a small planet, which had a bustling community and decent economy. The third of five children, and the only daughter to boot, her early life passed in a manic haze of activity. Her father was an engineer serving in the military, her Mother a seamstress who was often sickly. Consequentially in their absence Lydia soon established herself as the proper head of the household and found herself cheerfully cooking and cleaning for the entire brood. She wasn’t smart, but was always enthusiastic at school and had a great many friends and relatives constantly circling around her. A tomboy turned housewife almost overnight, Lydia always figured she would spend the rest of her days at home, eventually settling down then having kids of her own. And that was just fine by her! Indeed her life was without complaint or expectation until the war came.
As was the family tradition, every Larson boy of age had already enlisted and had gone to keep the universe safe from the rebels. Her Father, too old for active combat, nevertheless departed to assist with weapons manufacture. Lydia was left with her Mother and youngest brothers, and took care of all of them, whilst assisting the war effort any way she could. Her social life diminished and marriage was now out of the question, now most of the eligible boys had left town. Though her siblings sent any money they could, it was suddenly harder than ever to earn a living, and with rumours of enemy spies all around it was difficult to know who to trust. This depressing stalemate was broken by the news that Darryl, her sweet-hearted big brother had died in action. This was enough to make Lydia start questioning her life and exactly how helpful she was being by hanging around at home just waiting for something to happen. It’d been five long years, her mother was healthier, her family older and more capable. Adhering firmly to the principal ‘better late then never’ and despite the protests of just about everyone, Lydia enlisted. It was a tricky transition, and she was still undergoing basic training when the war was suddenly over. Undeterred, the young woman decided to stick at it, certain that she was going to be useful to the military in some way.
Private Larson carried on, searching for her niche, which turned out to be just what she was good at on her own planet. From a minor kitchen hand, Lydia was soon head chef in Persephone’s barracks, organising the serving of well over 1000 soldiers along with her own duties. She was happy, but she was stagnant, without combat, without action there seemed to be no opportunity. Luckily fate seemed to be on her side one day when an innocent fight disintegrated into a full blown riot. Taking the initiative and through sheer luck, Lydia was able to barricade the canteen, and knocked out the instigator with her own trusted ladle! Crisis averted, she was given a promotion for her dedication and bravery.
The next couple of years were filled with excitement and travel for Lydia, she was given her own galley to run on a security vessel, patrolling the less savoury planets that were around. Two long years passed in a blur of new people, climates and experiences and she had never been as happy. Homesickness crept in though, slowly but surely, and she was finally granted a week’s furlough back on her very own planet. A big reunion dinner was planned, invitations were sent towns over and Lydia intended to cook her grandest meal yet for everyone. It was there, at her most content in her very own home that she found herself in the White. She’d nipped into the downstairs pantry to pick up some dry herbs, when she stumbled and fell down the old stairs. Expecting a cracked skull, when she opened her eyes, the Door was in front of her instead.
She was in the pantry basement, the one where they kept the dries and the preserves. It might’ve been two years since she’d last seen the layout, but Lydia grabbed at little packets and bottles with an experts eye, trying not to spill as she tucked things into her apron. One of the little shelves collapsed before her eyes and she let out a groan that turned into a little laugh. This was what happened when she went away and left a house of supposedly self-sufficient men behind. The shelves were falling, the furniture collapsing and the basement stairs half gone entirely! Still, it was good to be home. It was good to be with family, and it was good to be making a stew to end all stews. Speaking of…
“Lydi! Sugar, this pot’s about to overflow!”
Upping the pace, Lydia made a bolt up the stairs in a scattering of powders and herbs, before stopping dead halfway up. “Hang on Daddy, I forgot the thyme!” A volley of catcalls and mock-complaints greeted this, and with a cackle, Lydia about turned and tried to zoom straight back the way she came. Too late, she’d missed the step. Twisting her knee around, Lydia grimaced in pain and groped for the bannister, before remembering again that it was no longer there and she was likely about to fly straight down the stairs. She screwed her eyes shut, limbs flailing and waited. Aw, hell Lyds, this is gonna hurt an awful l-
White. No pain, just white. So white it stung and she had to lift a hand to shield the eyes that had become accustomed to her basement’s dinginess. She was still on two feet inexplicably, though her breathing was fast, almost ragged. With a little cough, Lydia shook her head from side to side and she took a moment to try and get her thoughts back together. Thyme, she’d gone down for the thyme. But she wasn’t at home anymore. She’d gone from home to here in a fraction of a second, or at least that was what it had felt like. Common sense said otherwise. Was she doped, some smartass messing with the stewpot? That might’ve happened. But what trip could she possibly be on that warranted such stark, bright, empty clarity? “This isn’t right. I’m asleep,” she decided with a firm nod, and then a pinch on the arm for good measure. Unless…
“Oh, Lord,” Lydia breathed. “I died.” True she had never heard of anyone dying from falling down 6 steps, but that wasn’t to say it didn’t happen. She could’ve smashed her head or anything. “Probably deserved it too, flying up and down like that,” she murmured, trying again to squint ahead. There was something there alright, just in front, a splash of colour. But that didn’t mean she was going to go ahead and see it properly. Not yet, til she’d decided for sure where she was. Glancing down, she saw that everything was as it should be at home. Her apron was still on with her ladle swinging from the straps. There was still a streak of homemade ketchup down the front. A packet of parsley was nestled inside along with some salt and rosemary that sat by a wooden spoon. Had she inexplicably managed to smuggle contraband into the afterlife?!
“Hello?” Her voice was much quieter, much more tentative than usual, and this time she gave it much more trademark gusto. “Hello! I just wanna know where I am, is all! Am I in some kinda Heaven?” Well now she just felt silly. No-one was answering, that was for sure. Just the splash of red, which she know saw was a door. The aesthetics were oddly pleasing; she’d always enjoyed bright contrasts. Now it was clear it had become much more alluring and without even thinking Lydia found herself taking a few steps towards it. She extended a hand to touch it and found it solid enough. In this strange place of white that was more comforting still. Chewing her lip and taking one more glance behind her, Lydia decided that she may well have to abandon her previous plan and try and open it…