|Akasha Ibn Harad|
|Series||As The Last Leaf Falls|
|Epithet||Snake, Child of the Void, God Killer, Lady Luck, Lady Red|
Akasha Ibn Harad is one of the main characters of the second and third installments of the As The Last Leaf Falls series. A gypsy whose true identity is the embodiment of the primordial Destruction, she is responsible for the widespread catastrophe known as the Akasha Incident.
She is a pivotal character in the history of Gaia; many characters (both human and otherwise) reference her life and achievements in later stories.
Akasha was born into one of the scattered tribes that traversed the Grand Desert, a land rife with ruins of kingdoms from ages past. Adopting the lost lore of their ancestors, the nomadic people of these parts shared a common belief in the Grand Scheme, a story of creation foretelling the return of the end times when a child "birthed in void" would appear. Akasha was that one child; born with eyes of unknown colors that swirled around abyss-like pupils. The village elders were alarmed upon seeing the child's eyes, and by the time the news had spread, the whole village was in a state of panic. In a fit of insanity (which was, unknown to them, actually fueled by demons who sensed the child's powers), the tribe resorted to a mass suicide, burning themselves in their own homes and leaving the young Akasha the lone survivor.
A passing caravan of performers were apalled when they caught sight of the horrible ruins the next day. Discovering a young child amongst the rubble, they decided to take her away from that place and raise her as one of their own, while keeping secret her macabre origins. Aside from a strange dream she saw from time to time, the secret was kept well enough as Akasha experienced the unique childhood a traveling troupe could offer: out in the road from city to city, much like the life she would've lead had she been a normal child. Years passed without incident and she eventually became a fully-fledged performer, working for the troupe as one of its main attractions.
However, despite the family's efforts to hide Akasha's past, the demons who were responsible for her tribe's death- Rashid, Calimh, and Mirzak- waited in the shadows for the young gypsy's powers to mature, to use her in a plan to wrest control of Gaia from the gods.
Disguising themselves as desert folk, they came showed her a vision that revealed her past and the dormant power within her. At first, Akasha could not help but think they were crazy. An endless void? A terrible power inside her? The images she had seen seemed too impossible to accept. But, as unreal as it seemed, there was something in the vision she could not shake off.
It was the scene of fire. She envisioned herself in a village burning in the dark of night, with nothing but the crackling flames breaking the eerie silence. With it came the feeling of guilt: an unknown fear that was rising up over her. She had seen this image time and again; it was the vague dream she had since she was little.
Her doubts rising, she ran back to the one place she called home.
Akasha confronted her family, asking them if they knew something about her past. Feigning ignorance at first, it eventually dawned on them that they couldn't keep her past away from her. Akasha managed only to confirm the grim truth: that she was an orphan, found in the smouldering ruins of a village. It was the last crack that shattered her illusion of a normal life. Feelings of fear, rage and confusion overwhelmed Akasha as she ran away from the troupe, going as far away as her feet took her.
It was then that the demons used Akasha's grief to win her over. Appearing before her once more, they told her that while changing one's origin may be impossible, changing one's future is a different matter, especially to one as special as her. They then revealed to her the "nature of fate", a web where mortals were entangled since birth, their strings pulled along by the gods as they see fit.
"In your hands lies the power to change this rotten world."
With those words, Akasha gained a new resolve. It was the start of her quest to overthrow the gods and change the very laws of Gaia.
Initially, Akasha was a ruthless, hot-headed, focused individual, who had a talent for masking her true intentions behind a sarcastic, hardboiled persona. She harbored an intense hatred towards fate, seeing it as gods merely toying with human lives. As a result, she developed a self-righteous, almost fanatical view of her mission to kill the gods, using her tragic past to fuel her desire to bring about change, no matter the consequence. Despite this, she was never able to get fully accustomed to killing; her unconscious shaking and discomfort whenever taking a life revealed cracks in her otherwise unshakable resolve. In truth, as revealed by Caspe in their confrontation in the second installment, Akasha was afraid that in her attempts to change the cruelty of fate, she was becoming the very thing she tried to avoid.
Akasha's personality greatly changed when she was saved by Caspe and members of the School of Thought. She has been able to open up to a number of characters in the stories, revealing her to be a gutsy, energetic woman who likes to speak her mind. Akasha also retains her tough, sarcastic exterior, as evident in her being capable of subduing hard-headed characters like Caspe and Windrell with a stare down or a single sharp remark. She has also been revealed to have a mischievous side, almost to the point of appearing like a bully to easily-coerced characters.
Another notable trait of Akasha's is her awkwardness in terms of affection. She gets embarrased easily when expressing affection, often leading to a violent outburst on the unfortunate soul. On the rare occassion that she does make her point through, Akasha would often act timidly for a period of time; a far cry from her usual fiery self. Being expressed to with affection seems leads to the same result; as seen with Caspe's perpetual "confusion about women" as he endures the occasional abuse and snubbing from her. The only exception to this reaction of hers are children, as seen from her 'big sister' personality towards orphans at the start of the third story.
Powers and Abilities
Coming from a family of acrobatic performers, Akasha is an extremely quick and agile individual, highly trained in disciplines such as archery and dagger handling from constant practices for dangerous circus acts. Furthermore, she has been able to adapt these skills into a fighting style of her own that involves single, sudden attacks that can come from almost any direction, similar to a snake's movements.
However, despite her athleticism, the most lethal weapon in her arsenal is her ability to see and destroy concepts, through the use of her eyes. They allow her to see the concepts (seen as points on the target's body) that make up whatever she sees, be it physical, magical, or even so far as intangible objects (seen as how she was able to cut into the fabric of reality).
As a killing tool, this effectively makes her the deadliest character in the series; a serious threat even for immortal beings and those with no concept of death, as her ability enables her to attack their very existence. This ability is especially lethal for beings defined by few concepts (such as gods, most of which only represent one concept), but is less effective against mortals, as Akasha would have to concentrate longer to differentiate the points.
At the end of the third story, to reverse the universe's rejection of Akasha's existence, Deus changes the source of Akasha's ability from Destruction to Creation, thus changing the nature of her eyes. Instead of the destruction of concepts, her eyes now enabled her to "know" and change aspects of anything through the concepts that bound it. These aspects can include an object's age, history, composition and physical limitations among many others; the result is a far more versatile ability, but with a downside of being more taxing, as a large rush of information may cause Akasha headaches.