“I am not a fish!” Delia snapped. “I am a Nereana. There is a massive difference.”
--Delia to Pomona in Shadowskin
Nereana Cordelia 'Delia' Pisciscauda is a character in Shadowskin and its upcoming sequels. She is the daughter of King Nereus Porcys Pisciscaudus. Though mortal for the first nineteen years of her life, but after refusing to kill Silvana Leta Ruber she became a Filiaera and has lived ever since in this ghostlike form. She is the guardian of Leta's family and plays an instrumental role in defending Leviana-Silvana Pomona Decus and Princess Jovana Nevea Alba from the Tenebrari.
In her natural state, Delia looks like many other Nerei. She has a tail like a fish's. Her scales are mostly copper and brown, but she also has some silver and black scales scattered among them. Her skin tone is a brown/red color marked with a few black and kelp-green stripes along her temple and on her arms. These markings are natural and help her blend into her environment. Overall, her coloring is reminiscent of porphyry . Her hair is long, straight, and thick and is the color of waves breaking against the shore line (a creamy white color). The tips of her hair are black. Her tailfin mimics this color pattern. Her single-lidded eyes are as blue as the ocean she called home as a child.
Delia was very muscular and trim as most Nerei are. In her brief time in human form she stood at approximately 5 ft., 11 in. tall. She underwent some other changes in human form: most of her scales disappeared excepting those on her forearms and her thighs; her tongue was removed as part of the bargain making her human; her black and green skin markings vanished; and the webbing between her fingers and toes receded. Her hair retained its natural color.
After her attempted suicide, Delia was transformed into a Filiaera by the High King of Archland. In this form she became translucent and incorporeal. She can become invisible at will, and when she does appear to the human eye, it is typically only her head, shoulders, and torso that appear. She has lost all of her natural coloring and rather has a somewhat blue and white shade to her. She cannot physically disturb people or objects but she still has use of her Nereana magic. She also has some effect on the wind, though this is rather by consequence of her existence rather than any intent on her part. Even while stationary in this form Delia has the appearance of floating in water or being suspended in the air.
As a child Cordelia was the spoiled youngest princess of a Nerei king. She was beloved by her grandmother Sapphira and all of her older sisters. Some of her distinguishing traits included her daydreaming, her beautiful voice, and her intense curiosity. She was always dissatisfied with the thought that she did not have a soul; she certainly felt like she did. Her fascination with humans, her sense of entitlement, and her determination combined into a dangerous situation. Even when rendered mute, Delia was always a communicator. She would find ways to share what she was thinking whether or not she could say them. She is never afraid to say exactly what was on her mind, even if it got her in trouble. She often comes across as rude as a result, but she is not a patient person and does not like to deal with nonsense. She is distrusting out of habit and is not very friendly to people whom she has previously judged (rightly or not). Despite her rough edges, however, Delia is incredibly loyal and determined to make up for her past mistakes. She can be affectionate with those whom she has truly come to trust, and she will do whatever it takes to keep them safe. She is very hard on herself when she fails to do so, but her friends will always reassure her in the end. According to the Myers-Briggs Personality Test, she would be an ENFP.
Delia was born Princess Nereana Cordelia Pisciscauda of Ora, the Nerei city-state located between the coastline of Solharena and the Fortunate Isles. Her father was King Nereus Porcys Pisciscaudus, and she had six older sisters (Lumina, Solisa, Ardeama, Gavia, and Crystalla). She was taught by her grandmother, Nereana Sapphira Pisciscauda, the same stories that all Nerei were taught: because of their cursed state, Nerei could never travel East of the Sun and West of the Moon, unless they were loved as equals by a human. Nerei in other cities (primarily their neighbor, Deorsum) tried to find remedies to that by marrying humans from the Fortunate Isles. These marriages were considered reprehensible by Cordelia's people, but that did not stop Cordelia from dreaming about gaining her own soul one day and somehow finding a solution that would work for her family as well. The only contact with humans permitted by Cordelia's father was a trip to the surface once a year for an adventure, beginning on a Nerean's fifteenth birthday. Cordelia eagerly awaited her fifteenth birthday, and when she finally went to the surface, she encountered the human, Prince Cassian Ruber. Cordelia was enchanted by him, and when his ship was struck by a storm, she rescued him and took him safely to shore. Though she returned home, Cassian never left Cordelia's mind.
A year passed, and Cordelia was convinced that she was in love with Cassian. If she could get a chance to meet him, she was sure he would love her, too. Then he would marry her and she would finally have a soul. The difficulty was that she could not walk upon the shore where Cassian lived. Desperate, she traveled to an outcast Nereana, whose father had been a Tenebrarius. She had the power to make Cordelia human, but for a cost. After trying to persuade Cordelia out of her decision, the Nereana-Tenebraria cut out Cordelia's tongue and gave her a potion that split her tail in two, transforming her into a human. Though she now had legs, every step Cordelia took felt like knives cutting into her feet. She considered it all worth it, though, and she found Cassian just as charming as she imagined. She didn't manage to communicate her full name to him, but he was able to gather 'Delia' and began calling her that.
Unfortunately, Cassian did not consider Delia as more than a friend. They spent time together, but Cassian did not seem romantically inclined toward her. The situation became worse when, a year after Delia had arrived, a strange woman came to the palace claiming to be from the other side of the desert. She called herself Silvana Leta Aurelia. Cassian and Leta got on very well, no matter how Delia tried to interfere. Leta and Delia came to dislike each other. Leta and Cassian soon prepared to marry.
Delia had been warned by the Nereana-Tenebraria that she would die at dawn the day after Cassian married another. She mourned her fate near the sea. Her sisters came to her with a dagger that they had obtained by selling their hair to the sea witch. If Delia killed Leta and Cassian, she would not die at dawn. Delia took the dagger and was almost prepared to do the deed when she realized how very wrong it was. How could this be the answer to her desire for a soul? Instead of killing the new princess and her husband, Delia jumped overboard into the waves, dissolving into sea form.
She expected to die, but instead the High King raised her from the foam as a Filiaera. He told her that she had done the right thing by refusing to kill Leta and Cassian, for their descendant would end a great darkness in the world. As a reward, Delia could now remain in this new form and act as a guardian to Leta and her family until the darkness was destroyed or until the end of three hundred years.
As a Filiaera, Delia got to know Leta in a whole new way, and the two women became friends. Leta and Cassian had two girls named Silvana Nix Ruber and Silvana Rosa Ruber. Delia adored them almost as much as Leta and Cassian did. Sadly, when the girls were just a year old, the rival faction of Solharians called the Reliquia staged a coup with the aide of the Tenebrari and destroyed the palace, killing hundreds. Delia helped Leta, Nix, and Rosa escape, but Cassian was killed. Leta decided to take her daughters back across the desert and they settled in a cottage in Seneca, Norarchland. Delia protected them there until the girls were eighteen. At that time, a messenger from Leta's birth family came to announce the death of the queen, Leta's half-sister. Leta was next in line to the throne of Norarchland. Due to her experiences in Solharena, Leta had no interest in being royalty, especially because her family hid her away as a baby and never inquired after her. Rosa, however, agreed to become queen in her mother's stead. She went to Artorius and Delia stayed with Leta in Seneca.
Nix had already gone out on her own to make her own life. Delia did not feel right leaving Leta alone, so she stayed in Seneca. Nearly ten years later, Nix returned to Seneca with a young son, Levias Arion Decus, and an infant daughter, Pomona Decus. She spoke very little of what her life had been since she left, but she was very much a changed person. Clearly, the Tenebrari were interested in Nix's return, because a horrible curse befell Pomona at eighteen months of age. Not long after, the royal messengers returned to retrieve Nix to replace her deceased sister on the throne. Delia was horrified; she had not protected Rosa in Artorius because she had not expected danger there. She felt like a failure. This only became worse when Arion was cursed as Nix, Pomona, and Leta were forcibly removed from their cottage. Delia went with the women, but she could not also protect Arion.
Delia stay in the royal palace when Nix becomes Queen Demetra in Rosa's place. Pomona is raised by Leta in the royal garden, unaware of her mother's identity. Delia stays invisible by Nix's command so that Pomona will not find out the truth. She also takes on the responsibility of trying to protect Nevea, Rosa's only child. Delia first appears to Pomona when Nevea's Aetas Tree is set on fire by the Tenebrari. Despite her best efforts to avoid it, she ends up involved in Pomona's discovery of the queen's true identity. Delia cannot stop the Tenebrari's schemes to harm the family, so she must flee into the forest with Pomona and Nevea when Nevea's life is directly threatened. She leads the girls to Leta's former home, but they find it to be inhabited by Tenebrari. Delia stays to protect Nevea, who decides to remain in the cottage, but whenever Nevea's safety seem at risk, she contacts Pomona. She helps Pomona escape Artorius a second time after Pomona destroys the Tenebrari's cursed gold. She also helps Pomona orchestrate her scheme to trick the Tenebrari into thinking Nevea has died. She distracts the Tenebrari while Pomona runs to find Callisto, but afterward she is separated from Pomona until they reunite again later in Alcmena, Southarchland. Delia helps Pomona evade arrest, but she cannot stop Nix's execution. She is devastated by the loss of another of her charges. After Pomona makes it out of Southarchland, Delia turns her attention to Nevea, who has been cursed by the Tenebrari to take the form of a servant girl, Rena. She has lost sight of Pomona, but she is determined to keep Nevea safe no matter what it takes.
- King Nereus Porcys Pisciscaudus (father)
- Dowager Queen Nereana Sapphira Pisciscauda (grandmother)
- Princess Nereana Lumina Pisciscauda (sister)
- Princess Nereana Solisa Pisciscauda (sister)
- Princess Nereana Ardeama Pisciscauda (sister)
- Princess Nereana Gavia Pisciscauda (sister)
- Princess Nereana Crystalla Pisciscauda (sister)