Lyssadia began life as a normal child of a well-to-do family, mostly being raised by nursemaids who doted on the little girl. She was fascinated by the inner workings of objects, like her favorite music box, painted with tiny flowers in delicate shades of pink and cream, which had been discovered in a corner of the attic during a grand expedition and tour of the house. The tiny ballerina twirling round and round to the tinkling of fairy-like music made Lyssadia giggle with delight.
One day, when she was about five years old and finally able to reach the top of the table where the music box stood, Lyssadia took down the little box, determined to find out what it was that made the toy ballerina so graceful—-she herself had tried to adopt its poised posture and twirl around in the same way, with disastrous results (a vase in the hallway was never quite the same). She opened the box and reached for the little figure of the ballerina, intending to remove it and look at the spinning apparatus underneath. She never got past the first touch of her fingertip against the cool plastic—-the little doll began to glow with a light that alternated between shades of emerald, turquoise, and pearlescent white.
By the time Lyssadia's nursemaid came up to the room, she beheld the little girl's face bathed in this multicolored light, and quickly swept the music box from her hands, dashing its parts on the floor. Unbeknownst to both nursemaid and child, however, the magic that the light represented had already transmuted itself into Lyssadia's flesh.
After the incident with the music box, every time Lyssadia was with a group of children and one of them was hurt, Lyssadia would also burst into tears, as if she was injured herself. Finally, her mother got fed up with Lyssadia's frequent "hysterics" and packed her off to a boarding school to learn "proper social graces." However, the young girl was sent home after the first year, with the weight of 13 different instances of student injury on her record, and 1 case of injury to a teacher. All 13 student victims had either fallen, been burned, or otherwise severely injured, and all 13 victims reported Lyssadia being there at the time of the incident. One girl in particular had a particularly damning case against Lyssadia, saying that "I fell down the stairs near my dormitory--I was nowhere near the dining hall, and yet suddenly I was there, and Lyssadia was there too--she stretched out a hand to me, and I began to glow!" The victims neglected to mention that they were significantly healed of their injuries before even visiting the infirmary.
The teacher, by contrast, had been part of the prosecution during Lyssadia's student council hearing, and after a private conference with Lyssadia, she exhibited signs of being burned with something that looked like a cross between fire and electricity. Lyssadia, when questioned, said that she had been trying to explain her side of the story, and got overwhelmed with emotion. The teacher and Lyssadia were in agreement on one thing--after she had begun to cry, her hands had started to glow with a blue radiance, and suddenly the teacher was blasted back against the wall. Lyssadia protested that she had not meant any harm, but the school could not take any more chances, and so sent her home.
Lyssadia's mother, not knowing what to do with her "troublesome daughter" anymore, sent her to intern in the nursing ward of the local hospital, since the young woman had shown exceptional conventional healing skills while at boarding school. After a few months of serving there, the doctor that was attendant during Lyssadia's shift noticed that the patients on Lyssadia's rounds were getting markedly better than the other sets of patients. Lyssadia, by contrast, looked paler and thinner every day she showed up for work. Intrigued, the doctor set up a silent experiment, sending Lyssadia to visit two specific patients, while two others who had the same illness at the same stage served as the control group. All four received the same medicine, the same diet, and the same amount of rest. As the doctor had suspected, the patients who were visited by the young nurse improved rapidly, while the patients Lyssadia didn't visit remained the same.
Armed with this evidence, the doctor called Lyssadia into her office one night after her shift was over. "Lyssadia, you are an excellent nurse," she said. "But I know that you are also doing more for these patients than I--or any other nurse in this hospital, for that matter--could do." She showed the young woman the results of her experiment, and watched Lyssadia's eyes widen. "As you see, everyone you visit is nearly healthy. You, on the other hand, are not. You have been taking on their pain, Lyssadia, and that is dangerous...but noble of you. You have a gift beyond mine, and I urge you to use it."
She then encouraged Lyssadia to become a hero for Paragon City, to train her incredible abilities so that she wouldn't keep exhausting herself. Lyssadia gratefully accepted, taking on the heroic mantle, and has been a gentle force on the side of Paragon City ever since.
I liked the Empathy power set from the first time I watched my boyfriend play his Plant Control/Empathy Controller, but I knew also that running that power set took a lot of looking after the other players on a team, and at the time, I was still getting used to CoH and was used to Tanking for a team, not healing it. I didn’t think I was responsive (or responsible) enough to be steward of a team’s health!
However, one day, I was playing Austara (my Tank) and was asked to join a team of three Blasters to run a few missions. In one of the levels, we got ambushed by three red bosses and a ton of yellow and white lackeys. The Blasters ended up getting surrounded by the lackeys and were defeated one by one, while I took out the bosses. I cleared out the room (there weren’t too many baddies left after the three Blasters had finished with them), and then proceeded to make 3 Awakens out of the stash of Inspirations I had. After each of my teammates popped the Awaken, I guarded them until they had Rested enough to continue on.
This battle left me thinking, "Hey, I actually liked being the healer of the team for a little while...that was kinda cool!" So I knew I wanted to build an Empathy Defender from that point on. I knew I wanted a gentle or more defensive type of heroine to contrast with the other two more aggressive heroines I already had built (Austara and Catarinya). Furthermore, the Energy Blast powerset, with its ability to knock back enemies, seemed like just the type of attack a defensive character would need--knock the bad guys back without hurting them quite so much. So I built Lyssadia...but her original concept as an aloof upper-class lady did not stick around long!
I struggled greatly with the name—-"Lyssa" was the original name of the character, but that was already taken, as were the other 9 or 10 names I tried before "Lyssadia." Though I was dubious of the name at first, now I couldn’t imagine her being named anything else—-the first chunk of the name, "Lyssa," communicates benevolence and gentleness, while the "dia" gives the name a bit of sparkle and strength (and makes the name sound a bit like an ancient Greek goddess’ name, for some reason).
Lyssadia as we know her now did not take her real form until many levels into her heroic life. Her first costume spoke more to an ice queen persona, more aloof than loving, and I played her mostly alone, which turned out more disastrous than beneficial; she spent most of her time flat on the ground or being teleported back to the hospital. Even leveling her up quickly in a farm mission didn't seem to help, and I wasn't sure I wanted to keep her.
When I got her to level 20 and got the second costume slot, I designed an angelic costume for her, on a whim. I played her in large teams shortly after that, and found that this was where she shone, not as a solo character. I was amazed at how well her power sets fit into the concept of a “guardian angel”—-she can fly, heal, and protect her fellow teammates by shooting down and knocking back enemies.
Thus, she is more an angel now than anything, which suits her Magic origin story just fine—-the magical music box, after all, could have bestowed heavenly powers on her. I found that I wanted a Defender that was all softness and light, gentleness and humility, and incredible powers, and after 20-odd levels, she got there!