Pet Profile: Rydia of Mist
John became interested in birds when petsitting for a neighbor while in high school. Years later while in college, John decided to adopt a pet bird, and after much research, chose a cockatiel. Rydia became John's first pet acquired and cared for all on his own.
Rydia's Story: Ghost Writer
Rydia takes a keen interest in John's hobby-hopefully-career of writing; in fact, she plays a central role that is completely unbeknownst to even John himself: Rydia is able to channel the spirits of the characters in John's work, bringing them to life from the void of the printed page.
Early on, John mistook her proferred assistance for simple affection when Rydia would fly from her cage or t-perch to his shoulder as he worked on the prose of his newest story, but Rydia remained insistent--climbing down his arm to peck at the keys and tugging sheets of printout across his desk--until John realized her true motivation.
What Rydia had found difficult to communicate was the special bond she felt to the characters on John's pages. Rydia knew the nereid Selandria in John's Worlds Saga stories; she was the mysterious Lori in his "Temptation," and of course, Rydia directly inspired and personally crafted her namesake character. Indeed, Rydia can channel the very characters on John's pages, subsuming herself within their identities until she fully understands their each and every nuance of being, which she is then able to express back to John to hone his writing.
How is Rydia able to accomplish this task? Is she communing with the ghostly spirits of the creative ether? Or does she simply have a finely-tuned literary ear? Speculation as to the former abounds at Halloween (which happens to be Rydia's "bird day") and on candlelit evenings, although Locke frequently cowers away at the mention of spirits and ghoulies and demands an end to such spectral speculation. Rydia even scares herself at times, finding herself struggling to return to her own true identity, if she's even able to truly discern what that might be after so much time spent living other people's (and animals') lives.
Many years ago, John's neighbor Krista asked him to look after her zebra finches while she was out of town, and John became intrigued by the tiny little creatures that went "peep" and fluttered around their cage. He still associate the moth-ball scent of the "mite protector" tabs hung outside the cage with those good memories (we don't use them ourselves, by the way; they can actually harm birds' lungs and poison them if eaten). When John moved off campus during college, the idea of a pet began bouncing around in his head, particularly a bird.
Much research later and he determined that a cockatiel would best fit him in terms of personality, space, and budget, and on an early March evening in 1997, Rydia came home with John on his way back from Spring Break.
Rydia has been the most loving pet John has ever had. Named for his favorite character in the game Final Fantasy IV, she isn't very vocal, but unlike most cockatiels (and like most true parrots), she picks up and holds her food in her "hand" to eat it.
Today, Rydia is a healthy adult bird (but still John's special little girl). She recently laid eggs for the first time in her life at age eight when her little sister Freya ignored her first clutch--Rydia wanted to show Freya "how it was done."