Nadezhda is dead to begin with. She’s a cameo character (so far) in the Ambergis novels who didn’t have a name until the beginning of the month. Before that, I referred to her as ‘The Rusalka’ but hadn’t explored her past enough to know what her name is.
And she’s not actually a rusalka either. She doesn’t know what she is, merely that her husband drowned her (when she was seventeen) and yet she continued to exist. No one showed up to tell her what to do with this new phase of her ‘life’, so she assumed for a long time that she’d become a rusalka….but after a decade she left her lake and her country behind, which seemed to indicate that wasn’t the case.
For the next twenty years she remained in hiding, skulking around libraries, trying to figure out what she is and how she can live again. Now she’s been hired to help with a transition of power, as an interrogator and, if necessary, an executioner.
Most people, upon meeting her, know there’s something wrong with her. They fear her. They experience a reaction of repulsion, even though they don’t know why. She shows very little emotion, stays at room temperature, and can kill or incapacitate with a mere touch. She forgets to breathe or blink.
But at rare times she comes back to life. Her heart starts beating, she breathes, her skin warms…and she’s alive. In life she was a Healer, so that ability returns during those brief periods.
I realized at the beginning of the month, I had NO N characters, which seemed very bizarre. So I recalled that she didn’t have a name yet, and stole the name of Nadezhda Durova, a Russian cavalry oficer. Which proved apt, since the name Nadezhda means “hope.”