A name like Sunny creates an expectation of inexhaustible optimism and positivity, some type of manic pixie dream girl. Not to say that she’s a downbeat sort of person. When she has the space to blossom, she’s a funny, playful girl who likes to have fun and relishes her innate strangeness. But she’d make a terrible manic pixie dream girl.
If Sunny could be summed up in a word, it’s determined. She isn’t a girl to accept defeat without putting up a good fight. Nor is she somebody for just believing everything will work out okay (Chichi and Sasha do that through bravado, and it drives her nuts). Sunny likes plans and information. It’s only when there’s no time that she’ll just skip to improvising.
Sunny is a girl who does what needs to get done. Nobody’s made dinner? She’ll make it. She needs to get somewhere without tipping off her parents? She’ll form a plan and have a perfect timetable of when she needs to get back. She may complain, sometimes with justification, but she’ll do it. She’d like to think that this pragmatism means she’s not going to do stupid, emotional things, but she can and she does. Because there’s a temper in there. And impatience.
Humor is important to her. She likes to get people laughing with her rather than at her, so between that and her innate need to poke holes in bad ideas, she’s fond of snark.
The best way to put all of Sunny’s abilities under one umbrella is to say that it’s a kind of shapeshifting into a West African masquerade. For now, this manifests as an ability to turn invisible and insubstantial. She acts as something of a magnet to spirits and ghosts and she can experience precognition through them sending her visions. She can move with inhumanly fluid grace, which gives her the illusion of greater speed and strength, but is more accurately ignoring the rules of time and space a little to move to her best advantage. When she really leans into her abilities, her face transforms into what looks like a mask of the sun.
For now, speaking with ghosts and the related precognition is an entirely passive ability. She has no control over when or how it happens. Neither does she have full control over when her face shifts.
The full extent of her powers that she hasn't discovered yet involves being able to enter what is in her culture called the wilderness (we would think of it as a spirit realm) and time manipulation.
Dancing. Sunny is a born dancer, though she has little in the way of formal training. Naturally athletic, she can play most any sport, but she excels at soccer and loves it most. She speaks Igbo and Nigerian Pidgin English fluently, along with a smattering of words and phrases in Yoruba, Hausa, Efik, Arabic, and French.
Soccer is a religion in Nigeria, and Sunny is an enthusiastic follower and player of the sport. Reading, writing, ballet. She is casually interested in video games, but only in multiplayer situations.
Sunny’s parents came to the US from Nigeria shortly after the birth of their second son, and they settled in Manhattan. When Sunny was born a couple of years later, two things were immediately apparent to Emeka and Ugwu Nwazue about their third child. First, she was a girl. Second, she was albino. For her father, one or the other might have been tolerable, but both was more than he could take.
It was a useful lesson for Sunny that people would see her as bad and wrong without her doing anything at all. She was very little when she first developed a love for sneaking up on her father, quiet as the dead, and then standing there until he noticed her, which never failed to make him jump and curse her for a ghost girl. But she also had her mother’s love and her brothers’ protection to teach her that there was nothing wrong with her. Between these opposing forces, she was prepared with the knowledge that the world wasn’t going to be kind to her, but that she could stand strong anyway.
School, in a word, sucked. Being accepted neither as a white girl nor as a black one, Sunny fit in nowhere and was often the victim of bullying. Her brothers, unable to fight all her battles for her, taught her how to protect herself. She’s been in more fights than she would ever tell her mother about. Ghost girl, they called her.
When Sunny was nine, her parents made the decision to go back to Nigeria. For Sunny, this was rather like leaving the frying pan and entering the fire. In the US the other kids would not accept her for being African and for being a “white girl” and in Nigeria they would not accept her for being American, a white girl, a ghost, and obviously she was a witch. Superstition surrounding Sunny’s albinism was rampant.
So she continued to have no friends for three more years, until one day a boy in her class stepped between her and her classmates when they ganged up on her after school. His name was Orlu, and for that act he’s been her best friend ever since. Through Orlu she met Chichi and Sasha. The four of them became fast friends, seeing past Sunny’s medical condition to a deeper connection that they shared.
All four of them were mutants. As it turned out, maybe there was something to that ghost girl taunt after all, but it took the right eyes to see it for what it was.
In spite of the danger—being accused of being a child witch is serious and deadly business in Nigeria—this began the happiest couple of years of Sunny’s life where, after swearing that they would never out each other, Sunny found in Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha the kind of friend group she’d always read about but never had herself. They were different as the four Hogwarts houses, but they loved each other fiercely and encouraged each other to learn how to use their abilities. The first time Sunny consciously used her powers, her face transformed into an appearance like a mask of the sun. The four of them named this other face of hers “Anyanwu” meaning “eye of the sun.” After that, Sunny also lost her sensitivity to sunlight, which none of them understood and Sunny at least never questioned as it was just a step too far in the weird department.
This was about when Black Hat entered the picture.
Over a period of several months, Black Hat (a man named Otokoto Ginny) left a trail of seventeen bodies in his wake. To the public at large, he looked like a ritual killer who had also turned to being a serial killer. A reality warper believing himself to be a sorcerer, he was gathering the parts of children in order to do some kind of juju. Sunny and her friends, barely more than kids themselves, never planned to be the ones to stop him. They just kind of fell into it after his kidnapping of a couple of toddlers got incredibly sloppy and they were the only ones around to do what had to be done. Sunny doesn’t like to talk about it. Or think about it. They got the children home safe and all it really cost her was watching Black Hat grin as he slit his own throat.
Unfortunately when you’re a young teenager, your parents don’t take it well when you disappear for three days while there’s a serial killer on the loose. For Emeka, it was all the confirmation that he needed that his daughter was just as shameful, dirty, and evil as he’d always thought. For Ugwu, it was a sign that she and her daughter needed to have a very serious talk. It was not until her mother asked her directly that Sunny finally admitted what she was. This was not a complete surprise to Ugwu, who suspected that her own mother had also been special. But they both knew Sunny’s father would never accept it, and worse, their community certainly never would.
What started out as sending Sunny to visit her mother’s sister, Chinwe, in the US turned into her quietly being taken in for several weeks by her aunt’s family. For a time none of them knew what this was going to mean for any of them long term. Was this going to be permanent? Family helps family and all that, but it wasn’t what anybody was prepared for. The solution came to them all in the form of a school. As it turned out, Emeka was glad to pay tuition for his daughter to learn to be a freak if it meant he wouldn’t have to see her or have her at home shaming the family.