Priya "Lakshmi" Upasani
Name: Priya Upasani
Order: The Mysterium
Birthdate: December 15th, 1982 (24 years old)
Birthplace: Mumbai, India
Nationality: Indian (Deshastha Brahmin)
Occupation: Conservationist, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Asian Conservation Studio and Object Conservation Lab
Status: Leigewoman of the Mysterium, Museum Status 1
Favored Arcana: Fate
Degrees and Accredations:
B.A. Oxford University – Art History, 2003
B.F.A Oxford University – Fine Arts, 2003
MS.T Oxford University – Art History, focus 19th Century English Art 2004,
Dphil Oxford University – Fine Arts, 2006
Come On Closer
A small, slender, shapely woman with large, pale brown eyes, an infectious charm, and a devil-may-care smile, Priya is a classic Indian beauty. Her voice is a melodious, throaty contralto still thick with the lilting tonality of her Indian accent and bearing a few hints of her British schooling. She frequently wears traditional dress, sporting a 9 foot sari more often than not, with a red bindi marking her honey-brown skin.
Sought out by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts due to her brilliant work on her Dphil thesis and work, her almost pre-natural skill in restorations, and her versatility of media, Priya has quickly made a name for herself within the small Museum community for being able to work miracles on works previously thought as unsalvageable. Known equally for her knowledge as an Art Historian and appraiser as well as her appealing personality and disarming demeanor, she none the less causes grumbles with some of her other female co-workers who attribute her popularity more to her appearance than talent.
And You Are Looking At Me
Somewhere upstairs in a box that has yet to be unpacked from her move to Boston, Priya still keeps the newspaper headline with her birth, neatly folded and wrapped away in paper. Most of her life prior to Awakening can be found and explained in that same box; photographs of her mother at red carpet Bollywood openings, news clippings of scientific advancements with her father looking nobly forward in center, little snippets of private school graduations, old uniforms for cricket, bracelets made by her brothers for good luck and flowers picked and pressed meticulously… all kept tucked away to be looked upon fondly on rainy afternoons, and to remind her of blessings passed.
When Priya met Sanjay Shrivasta while at Oxford University it was love at first sight – the two bumped into each other while she was beginning her studies for her graduate degree. He walked up to her while she was struggling through questionably passages on Botticelli’s work with two cups of coffee and the two were nigh inseparable after that – Sanjay always showing up to look over her work and offer maddeningly complex suggestions to something already difficult. What began as happiness rose into pure ecstatic bliss after six short months, with Priya walking about with her head in the clouds for every instant of it. Absently Priya debates what would have become of her if she hadn’t agreed to come smoke hashish with Sanjay when his friends were in town.
The sweet smell filled the room as the muscles relaxed in her back and she found her head resting on Sanjay’s lap, hair being stroked lovingly as his friend and he debated some text. Words were said, and Priya exited the gathering dreamily after hearing a strange sound, to find herself walking down a river to follow a trail of lotuses that floated down the water. Every so often she would find something -- a bridal sari, something to henna herself with, and slowly but surely Priya realized she was heading to her own marriage, unaware that someone was also following her until she was stolen away by the vulture king while she was sleeping and locked in a cage.
Night after night, he offered Priya jewelry, cosmetics, pretty clothing and anything else many could afford if she'd just return with him to his kingdom and give up this jewelry. He sent men in to try and defile her to take away her airs, but Priya bit and scratched and kicked like a wild woman and deterred there efforts as they did not yet wish to hurt her. She cried and cried until finally her sobs were heard by the Monkey King. He opened the door to her cage and Priya explained how she'd been held there and how she needed to escape. He quickly helped her from the building and gave her a magic cloak that would make her invisible to the Vulture King. True as the Monkey King said, she was able to slip by the Vulture King without him noting her presence at all. Ecstatic, she threw off her disguise and cheered -- too soon. The Vulture King chased her until finally Priya backed herself into a cliff. He laughed mockingly, telling her that none would accept a bride that lived in another man’s house; none would believe she would be pure enough. Her consort would never accept her. The Vulture King offered two choices then; marriage or jumping from the cliff to dash upon the rocks as there was no future for an unmarriable woman otherwise. Priya took a breath and closed her eyes, falling backwards off of the cliff into a lotus below floating down the river she'd followed so far, larger than all the rest, the Monkey King smiling fondly at her. She gave him a kiss and some gold for his troubles, and let the lotus bear her up a waterfall to find her true consort in Vaikunta -- waiting with proud eyes. The place rang with bliss and happiness, flowers growing and before her, Priya could see a light that she recognized in her heart. Around her, she saw incarnation after incarnation of herself standing as her own bride’s maids and names written about her. She stood forth and dressed herself in the bridal clothes and obediently bowed her head, signing her name where she stood as her current incarnation.
Wondering Who I Am
Her parents delighted clapping called Priya back into the world, congratulating her on having found such a wonderful husband and insisting that next time she returned to India that she bring him (and, preferably, give them some warning). They marveled at how lovely she'd become since she'd left for college -- how large her eyes looked, how she had filled out from being quiet so skinny, and how much clearer her skin! Even her teeth were straighter and whiter somehow. As they stated pride over how their daughter had truly become her mother's child, Priya understood the blessing she'd been given in Vaikunta and took the name of Lakshimi in her heart.
When Priya returned to England, Sanjay was waiting for her as Charavanti, thrilled that she had Awoke and proceeded to try and guide her through the veils. He lovingly prepared everything, even finding the dirtiest, most horrific person he could for her Crimson Veil and was horrified when she couldn’t bring herself to end another human life.
Even having completed her Dphil in Art tasted like ashes as the failure caused irreparable damage on their relationship. It was with relative disgust that Sanjay introduced her to the local Mysterium and the local consilium – the space between the former lovers grew. Arguments turned into fights and tears, until finally the two agreed to never speak to each other again after a particularly passionate argument. When the offer came from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts to work there, despite Priya having never truly applied in the first place, she accepted it without looking back or considering the strange serendipity – pouring every last drop of money she had into buying an apartment and her plane ticket to America without the slightest concern for how she would live.
A Twinkle In Your Eye
A fate-twister first and foremost, few people suspect that Priya’s devil-may-care demeanor is her way of showing her utter devotion to her arcane. She rarely plans for the future, instead taking signs and omens as they come and collecting every strange bit of paper or stone or what-have-you that catches her attention. All of them find their way into an intensely cluttered room in her apartment, organized by time and date along the wall along with small, cramped writings until such time as their use has come – in which case they’re transferred to her box of blessings that’s grown over time.
For the most part, Priya dresses very traditionally -- favoring brightly and boldly colored 9 foot sari made of varying quality. Her choli are typically short, bearing most of her stomach and part of her back, though in cold weather have been known to be replaced by longer garments. She wears no small amount of jewelry, and any day might see earrings of all shapes and sizes, necklaces, and bracelets with only one constant - the silver and aquamarine bracelet ring on her left hand that she uses for a magical tool. Her other magical tool is frequently tucked behind her ear; an expensive, high quality ox-hair paintbrush made from mahogony that Priya uses as a wand. While sometimes tucked into her choli and sometimes in her hand, Priya is never without it.
Priya’s nimbus consists of twisting, psychedelic colors and the soft sound of sitar music. As her nimbus grows stronger, she gains the appearance of having two more arms, her bindi takes on a golden glow, and the air gains the sweet scent of hashish. Whether this is enthralling or maddening tends to weigh on the intent of her magic.
After This I Guarantee You’ll Never Want To Leave
(please feel free to leave quotes here)
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