Lyra is the daughter of a mother – and presumably a father, though she’s never known him. Lyra’s mother – Merith worked as a bartender in one of the more upmarket inns of City. As she tells the story, a roving bard came in one night, singing of love and the joy of making love. He seemed to be singing only to Merith. One thing then led to another, and Lyra was the result. Her mother was never bothered that the bard never returned, though was generally reluctant to talk about it.
Only one thing marred the happiness of mother and daughter – Merith had a mental illness. She was prone to migraines and nausea. Even worse, she displayed wild and uncontrolled bursts of raw mental power. Lyra learned to recognise the warning signs at a young age, and grew adept at getting her mother out of harm’s way. She seemed unable to control these outbursts, and began insisting that she could hear voices. Visits to temples and churches, long consultations with clerics, the odd paladin, and even a wizard or two yielded nothing. Eventually, as word spread, and the clientele of the inn shrank, Merith was committed to an institute where she could be kept in safety.
Lyra got into breaking and entering for fun, profit and excitement. Money is just a way of keeping score – although she’ll rarely say no to a shiny coin or sparkly gem. For her, it is about the challenge of getting in and out unseen, unheard, and unnoticed. Sometimes she won’t even steal anything. Sometimes she leaves a note instead (never very polite). Sometimes she takes an item, only to return it the following night. A few citizens of City have taken Lyra’s presence as a challenge, and created defences designed to keep her out. She has a measure of respect for these precious few, and sees it as a game they are playing. She will never steal from these citizens, but leaves notes instead – occasionally with advice on how to go about bolstering their defences next time.
Lyra has always had very good instincts and a sort of sixth sense. She is popular with other thieves in the city as a lookout, for her seemingly magical ability to sense discovery. This is a problem for her. For years she has hidden the headaches, nausea and uncontrolled bursts of mental powers she apparently inherited from her mother. After one of these bursts resulted in destroying the mind of a friend, Lyra has redoubled her efforts both to control the affects, and hide them. She is too afraid to seek help from a cleric or wizard, for fear she will be locked away like her mother.
Fortunately, she is extremely strong-willed, and has had some measure of success at controlling her unusual abilities. She has taught herself to control each ability as it manifests through the simple expedient of making herself scarce. However she is still terrified of what she can do, and will unleash even the controlled abilities only reluctantly. She prefers to rely on the roguish skills thieving and sneaking have granted her. She has learned to recognise the signs in herself of a new ability making itself manifest – nonetheless until she learns to control it, it is unpredictable and prone to shooting off without warning. Sometimes to the detriment of others, but more often to the detriment of Lyra herself.
In fact, Lyra is so paranoid about someone finding out that she tries to pass off her abilities as spell casting. She carries a spell component pouch, rather obviously on her belt. Unfortunately for Lyra, she doesn’t possess a particularly good understanding of how magic works, so her attempts at deception are not always perfect. She can often been seen practicing hand movements, muttering ‘magic-sounding’ words under her breath, and pouring over components with a puzzled look on her face.
The few people she trusts completely know the truth about her, and they too have learned to recognise the warning signs. Those two friends have learned the quickest and best ways to get her out of harm’s way (and everyone else out of her way). Unfortunately for Lyra, sometimes the quickest and best way is a sharp rap over the head with a stout stick. Anyone around her for long enough, and is familiar with spells, will probably start to realise that what she does doesn’t jell with actual spell casting.
Lyra chose to leave City after the locals decided they didn’t appreciate her sense of humour, or her choice in games. One of her ‘regulars’ whom she was really very fond of, and suspected that he in turn knew who she really was, had left a note on the table when she broke in. It suggested that the local police were setting up an operation to catch her, by order of the council. It also suggested she might want to think about vacating the premises before this happened. Lyra had also noticed that two of the clerics who had tried to treat her mother seemed to be taking an almost obsessive interest in her. Prudence, at this point, suggested she leave town immediately. She promptly left the area and has since made her living working for the highest bidder.