narratives

Origin Story

Milara’s parents knew from the first that their little daughter had a flair for the natural world. While crawling in the little flower garden, flowers’ stalks and leaves would reach for her hand and curl around her chubby fingers like a cat winding figure-eights around its master’s ankles. Not only that, but if baby Milara spotted a flower starting to wilt for lack of water, it would not be too long before a small puff of cloud drifted over and hovered over the weakened blossom, dripping tiny spots of water gently onto the bended leaves and dry ground beneath.

Because of her great strength in making plants grow, Milara excelled in botany and eventually got her college degree in botanical sciences. The other botanists marveled at how the plants seemed to obey Milara’s will, growing precisely as she had wished them to grow, whether she cultivated a perfect morning glory clinging to a slender wooden dowel nearly 5 feet high, or whether it was the deliberate positioning of wisteria vines, already flowered and green, over a newly-installed garden trellis.

She continued this way for many years, growing and sheltering plants in her personal greenhouse, built near a lovely deep thicket of trees. Her colleagues often said of her that she loved trees like her family members, and seemed to commune with them as if they had some peace and wisdom she could not find in the midst of city life. Milara often took walks in this forest, delighting in the patterns of sunlight on the soft earth scattered with pine needles and acorns. It was, in fact, on one of these walks that Milara’s relatively quiet life took a turn for the heroic.

One evening, as greenhouse business was wrapping up for the day, Milara had gone outside after securing both doors and walked into the forest to tend a few rare plants she had been too afraid to uproot for fear they would perish. But as she entered the forest, a sharp smell of burning nearly smacked her in the face. Not only did it smell of wood burning, but green wood, living wood, plants and flowers, being consumed alive.

Milara heard the sounds of raucous laughter and the sizzling of fire as she ran toward the smell, becoming choked by the fumes as she got closer and closer. Finally, she came upon the perpetrators--a rowdy group of teenage boys, who had been setting small brush and grass fires with their cigarette lighters and were now getting ready to set off some fireworks to catch the leafy canopy of the forest on fire. They scattered away as the first firework went off, catching the broad leaves of an ancient oak on fire, and then, horribly, cheered as the tree began to burn in earnest. Rage swept up Milara’s spine like the flames racing along the branches, and she raised her hands in ceremonial warning; the boys were all frozen to the spot by curling vines and a cold, moaning wind that seemed to sap all the warmth out of them.

Neighbors found the hapless group of five a few hours later, washed down to the bottom of the hill by the freak squall that had gathered over the forest, thundering, blowing wind, and pouring down rain. The boys were alive, but terrified, some of them still wrapped in dying vines, some of them shivering with chill.

After a brief legal investigation, it was determined that the forest was considered Milara’s private property, and that the boys were trespassing with intent to damage. Though Milara’s methods of removing them from her property might have been considered a little unorthodox, she nonetheless gained the respect of neighbors, friends, and colleagues alike. Once word of her abilities got around to the ears of the Paragon City Police, it was not too long before she was formally asked to become a hero, using her skills at working with nature’s awesome forces to combat the recent crime waves. Milara agreed, and began contributing her skills to the teams of superheroes forming all across Paragon City.

Creating Milara

Concept

I actually did not have a good idea for a Controller until I had created my Villain character, Salartha, who is a Dark Blast/Dark Miasma Corruptor. I found that I really liked using some of Salartha’s holding and slowing powers, because they seemed to help my boyfriend’s Mastermind and the pet thugs get damage through a lot more easily. My boyfriend noticed that I enjoyed these powers, and commented that I would most likely enjoy playing a Controller if I liked the holding and slowing powers. So I decided to start conceptualizing a Controller.

I had scrolled through all the different Controller power sets and really wasn’t seeing much that I liked, until I got to Plant Control. I saw the power called Spirit Tree, and suddenly I had an idea--a Controller who loved trees? Hmm...well, what about a Controller who could call on all the forces of nature, like wind and water and plants? Then I saw the Storm Summoning power set, and everything kind of fell into place. I knew this character was going to be a “mother earth” kind of character, gentle and wise, but swift to protect and fierce in defending what she loved.

Name

The name "Milara" came pretty much out of nowhere--I can honestly say I woke up one morning some time after I had started mentally building my Controller, and I had the name in mind. It sounds a bit exotic to the ear, as most of my superheroine names do, but it also has an organic sound, easier to pronounce (and shorter to type in chat!). When I think of the name, I get an image of white-gold sunlight streaming through broad leaves so deeply green that they reflect back a cool green light to the eye.

Character Development

Milara has developed into an interesting defensive Controller. I have not taken the Giant Fly Trap pet power that most Plant Controllers take--instead, I took Spirit Tree as the "replacement" pet power. This makes her a little less potent in solo play, but GREAT as a large team's neutralizing force--I plant the healing Tree back behind the team and hold the baddies in place, slipping ice underneath them and raining sleet on top of them, choking them with vines. It makes defeating large crowds easier for teams with lots of aggressive heroes. I also have a targeted heal, O2 Boost, which works great when one of my teammates is getting severely hurt and can't get back to the Tree to heal.