Azila

Hawa Azila Najjar - perceptual perculiarities

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Hello everyone,

 

I have a technical question regarding Azila’s color vision. I’ve been thinking about giving her an ultraviolet photoreceptor, which would cause her to see a different world compared to most of us, in the most direct sense of these words, and would add more ground for potential miscommunication. Furthermore, it would enable Azila to detect the ultraviolet markings on insects and flowers, which are invisible to us unless viewed through a UV-filter, and which might have been present on the integument of her own species, her own as well as that of the native, non-assimilated Tha’i’n, as an ornament or an additional means of mutual identification.

 

Apart from being able to see UV light, she may lack one of the usual three receptor groups (red, green, blue).

 

There are a few considerations I had in mind:

 

She sees her former name, which, in effect, is not hers anymore, as a brilliant sky-blue with a bluish-green blob and a slight metallic tinge on the entire image. These are bright, pure colors with positive connotations, but they belong in the background – one would associate them with the sky, the sea and certain types of vegetation.

 

She sees her present name as scarlet with some darker red and droplets of metallic gold or saffron orange. These are singular colors, which stand out and attract attention, and in many cultures they have associations with royalty and power.

 

Her favorite color is a brilliant lettuce green.

 

I’m very open to any suggestions as to how one could play around with the color symbolism, considering the fact that the color of her new name does not have to coincide with her favorite color and that she could be unable to perceive either of these two colors in her surroundings.

 

If she has ultraviolet, blue and green photoreceptors, as bees do, she would be unable to see the colors she associates with her current name, along with any shades of brown, rust-red and orange.

 

However, this is counter-intuitive as the colony was situated in an arid region where these shades were predominant, so she would require an ability to discern them to be able to function. If anything, it’s far more plausible that her red photoreceptors would be more diversified than ours, enabling her to identify a greater number of red and brown hues. Of course, she might have been a tetrachromat or polychromat prior to de-assimilation and developed the color vision deficiency as a result of the neurological damage.  

 

If she has ultraviolet, red and blue photoreceptors, she would be unable to see her favorite color and would perceive vegetation as a velvety black – an uncanny, bizarre and potentially depressing effect.

 

I would greatly appreciate any feedback because every new perspective allows me to see the character from an angle I wouldn’t have considered by myself. Thanks! :)

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To go with the theme of the site, I would most likely, develop some sort of 'magical' reason for the synesethesia as well as the 'insect' like receptors. This seems kind of 'Faerie-like' to me, but there can of course be all sorts of other reasons (since she's an Altered Human). I like to tie all the abilities of my character into a theme, if possible.

 

Why might she see the world in a different way? Mutations can be random and unfavourable, but often in our setting they're beneficial and it's nice to develop a reason for that benefit. I like disadvantages to them as well, hence the fact, she can't see the world normally... as a human might. Perceiving the world so differently will have profound psychological effects as well.

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Thank you so much for the response. :)

 

Why might she see the world in a different way? Mutations can be random and unfavourable, but often in our setting they're beneficial and it's nice to develop a reason for that benefit. I like disadvantages to them as well, hence the fact, she can't see the world normally... as a human might. Perceiving the world so differently will have profound psychological effects as well.

I'm not sure the word mutation would be appropriate here. The color vision could be either a characteristic of the collective species who took her, once upon a time, and turned her into one of their own, in which case her photoreceptors would have been altered during the process of assimilation, or an accidental result of the neurological damage she sustained when she was severed from them (which may or may not not have followed the same course as comparable neural degradation in humans because of the vastly different physiology).

 

To be honest, I was thinking more in terms of the disadvantages. I'd say she is already unable to perceive her surroundings normally - "missing" spoken language by 1/2 or more, risking going into shutdown from sensory stimuli of moderate intensity, including traffic noises and bright sunlight, or having difficulty converging sensory detail into the cohesive image of an object is not normal for any species - and the deficient or unusual color vision would take the lack of normality to a whole other level. In the narrative the character originated from (still in progress, in the final stages by now), this is a major plot point. In effect, she was incapacitated by the separation and would have had to return to her kind for reassimilation in any case, regardless of how the events might have unfolded, simply because she would have died otherwise. In that respect, she is the opposite of rogue drone characters like Seven of Nine on ST VOY or Frederick in "The Madness Season" in that she cannot survive outside of her collective (as in, literally), knows she belongs with them and misses them, but decides to stay separate on her own accord (because "others before self" - drone mentality, one might say, but in the better sense of those words). The perceptual disturbances would make it difficult to function on an elementary day-to-day level, which is a major part of her character development - we have had her grow as she adapts to an alien society and struggles with the practical obstacles waiting for her at every corner, often forfeiting her comfort or well-being in the process, and eventually achieves a balance between adjustment and self-sacrifice, on the one hand, and basic self-care on the other. Once again, the visual deficiency would give an additional dimension to this.

 

At the end of the day, I don't really think I will use the different color vision on the site, as it would entail a layer of complexity that is best left out, but it's always helpful to have some third-party feedback all the same.

 

 

To go with the theme of the site, I would most likely, develop some sort of 'magical' reason for the synesethesia as well as the 'insect' like receptors. This seems kind of 'Faerie-like' to me, but there can of course be all sorts of other reasons (since she's an Altered Human). I like to tie all the abilities of my character into a theme, if possible.

That's an interesting idea, though I'm not clear on what exactly you have in mind when you say "magical". The reasons why we gave her the chromesthesia was that a) it appears to be particularly common among those on the autism spectrum and B) I happen to have it myself. This is why I'd rather not alter the "color profile" of the two names; the associations are my own, and while in theory I could attribute any color values I choose to the sounds, it's very difficult to ignore the imagery drifting in front of me as I write. It's a constant distraction and I don't think it would be worth that extra effort. (Of course, the human Hawa Najjar might have been a synaesthete as well, what with sound/color synaesthesia having a prevalence of 1-3 in 100 or so among the general population, but at this point it is almost irrelevant what she may or may not have been like)

 

Insect-like receptors could mean many different things depending on the particular species of arthropod you have in mind. If these are honey bees, she would have some receptors for UV wavelengths, but none attuned to the red portion of the spectrum, which would render her incapable of distinguishing most warm hues (red, rust, brown, ochre, orange). This is not really plausible, as differentiating between hues in this range would be necessary for survival and normal functioning in a habitat dominated by brown and rust-red rock, especially considering that the species had the same coloration due to the need for mimicry. Butterfly-like vision is more probable, but once again, there are plenty of different varieties to choose from. If you take the Japanese yellow swallowtail as a model, she should be a pentachromat with red, green, blue, violet and ultraviolet receptors; if you take the common bluebottle, she should have a group of three or four receptors for the green and blue sections of the spectrum, respectively, which would enable her to identify some exceptionally subtle hues of these two primary colors. I've been thinking about giving her an amalgam of the two, but haven't decided on the details yet.

 

This is important for the narrative; the exoskeletons of her species came exclusively in shades of brown, ochre and rust-red to allow them to blend into the environment, with some concealed violet markings, and appeared homogeneous and bland to humans, but if you saw them as one of their own, you would realize that the markings were a lot more sophisticated and beautiful and that there were other iridescent patterns elsewhere. The same would apply to Azila's exoskeleton, which would seem to be a boring umbre brown to the human eye, but, in actual fact, would have UV-reflective whorls.

 

I do have trouble thinking of Azila as faerie-like, regardless of whether or not she has insect-like vision and photoreceptors, but that might be just me. ;)

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Everything in this world is actually the result of magic one way or another, or rather what we call magic. The Resonance unleashed a new law, I guess we could term it, into this universe. So it's really all magic.

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Well, I don't have any real input here, but: is she an altered human or a veil-crosser? In Resonance those are different things. So if she's a veil-crosser that would make a difference too vs if she's an Altered Human. Since there are different limitations, etc. for each thing. If a veil-crosser and you're making the own race the stuff you want may work, but the magic capabilities of them in this world may be different/weaker than in their home world for example.

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Well, I don't have any real input here, but: is she an altered human or a veil-crosser? In Resonance those are different things. So if she's a veil-crosser that would make a difference too vs if she's an Altered Human. Since there are different limitations, etc. for each thing. If a veil-crosser and you're making the own race the stuff you want may work, but the magic capabilities of them in this world may be different/weaker than in their home world for example.

 

Ah thanks, I didn't realize I had left that ambiguous. I've changed the race to veil-crosser. :)

 

I would rather not make her an altered human in the Resonance-specific sense, as this would mean having to introduce additional changes to the character. Neither would I like her to have any magical abilities as such; hers is a unique physiology with a few moderate advantages offset (or, rather, altogether outweighed) by the one massive disadvantage, but I don't really see her as having powers not grounded in her bodily organization. Not quite my genre, I guess. 

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Ah thanks, I didn't realize I had left that ambiguous. I've changed the race to veil-crosser. :)

 

I would rather not make her an altered human in the Resonance-specific sense, as this would mean having to introduce additional changes to the character. Neither would I like her to have any magical abilities as such; hers is a unique physiology with a few moderate advantages offset (or, rather, altogether outweighed) by the one massive disadvantage, but I don't really see her as having powers not grounded in her bodily organization. Not quite my genre, I guess. 

 

That's fine. Though I don't think we really view magic in that manner. It's not just something that's there. There's all sorts of stuff about magic in this universe, physiological changes caused by it, etc. So yeah, if you're unsure on that front I'd ask. I'd like to give you input on your earlier posts, but the text is too small to read. If you adjust that maybe I can give a suggestion that'd help with you looking for potential weaknesses vs more strengths.

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I'd like to give you input on your earlier posts, but the text is too small to read. If you adjust that maybe I can give a suggestion that'd help with you looking for potential weaknesses vs more strengths.

So sorry, the font looked larger on the cellphone and I hadn't double-checked the post from the laptop. I've just changed the size to a more reader-friendly one. And thanks so much! :)

 

 

Though I don't think we really view magic in that manner. It's not just something that's there. There's all sorts of stuff about magic in this universe, physiological changes caused by it, etc. So yeah, if you're unsure on that front I'd ask.

I probably should go over the site notes again. It's been a while.

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I think if say you did decide to add the chromothesia(sp?), you could do it while working within the theme of the sight. In that how they modified/assimilated her could've been done via magi-scientific means. For example, Cass was experimented on using both magic and science. And there's a lot in the setting of this world that fits that along with the other worlds touched by Resonance either way back when, during little events, etc. You could have it be just an odd side-effect of one of the magic treatments they used on your character when messing with her. However, I'm looking at the way you spoke above and it seems like she has a lot of disadvantages already. Not just in the sense of abilities, but in the sense of just emotional, mental ,etc. stuff too so you don't really need another thing to add on that category. You could somehow make this an advantage instead if you did go with it.

 

But basically, I'd think there's ways to both incorporate a bit of the site theme of Resonance and the magic that touches the world(s) with your goals too.

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Once again, thanks a lot. :) I think I have an idea as to how the sight/synaesthesia combination might be used, although it's pretty vague at this point and I'll have to sleep on it for a few days (or weeks) before I know for certain.

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