- "Maybe there isn’t such a thing as fate. Maybe it’s just the opportunities we’re given, and what we do with them."
- ―Cress to Thorne in Cress
Crescent Moon Darnel, most commonly known as Cress, is one of the main characters in The Lunar Chronicles. She is a skilled Lunar hacker and programmer, who formerly worked for Queen Levana and Sybil and is now working with Linh Cinder.
Cress was born in the year 110 T.E. to Sage Darnel and her unnamed mother as a shell, a Lunar incapable of bioelectrical manipulation. Due to shell infanticide laws enacted by Queen Channary, she was taken away from her family in order to be killed when really their blood was used to make the letumosis antidote. Her father wanted to run away and bring her to Earth, but her mother was so devoted to the queen that she wanted nothing to do with Cress. Cress was therefore taken, but she was not killed—instead, she lived with other shells until she found that she was good at hacking. Eventually, she helped another shell named Julian contact his parents. However, instead of coming to get him, it is assumed that they called the authorities, and Julian was taken away, never to be seen again.
Becoming a spy for Luna
Sybil Mira, Queen Levana's head thaumaturge, noticed Cress's hacking ability and gave her special treatment. When asked to hack a communication link between a few European diplomats, Cress told Sybil that in order to do so, she needed to be closer to Earth, with better net connectivity and advanced software. A few months later, Cress was taken by Sybil to a satellite station that made one full orbit around Earth every sixteen hours, becoming Queen Levana's hacker and spy.
For over seven years, Cress was imprisoned in the satellite, alone to do the queen's bidding. Every three or four weeks, Sybil would visit her satellite in a podship to provide Cress with food and water, and to take blood samples via a hypodermic needle into Cress's arm. The netscreens in Cress's satellite were her only company, and all that screen time made Cress an excellent hacker. She was forced by her mistress to work as Queen Levana's programmer. For the last few years, she was ordered by Sybil to design countless spy systems for keeping watch on Earth's political systems, hacking the communication links between diplomats, and connecting feeds from Earth's political leaders to the queen's palace, including discussions, meetings, and document transfers.
In order to spy on Emperor Rikan of the Eastern Commonwealth outside of the netlinks, Cress is ordered to program a D-COMM chip for insertion into one of the royal androids. When Sybil stays in New Beijing Palace to discuss relations between the Eastern Commonwealth and Luna, she inserts this chip into Prince Kai's personal android Nainsi, who has been researching rumors about Princess Selene. As a result, Levana discovers all the information Nainsi has found and uses it to hunt down the princess. The transmission of data over the direct link through the D-COMM chip jams up the bandwidth to the point that it causes Nainsi to malfunction. Prince Kai brings the broken android to Cinder, who later discovers the chip and removes it from the android. Realizing the consequences of her work, Cress initiates a direct link to Earth and connects with Cinder. She warns Cinder about Levana's intentions to marry Kai in order to take control over the Eastern Commonwealth and then use her army to wage war against the rest of Earth.
When Cinder and Carswell Thorne escape from New Beijing Prison, Cress immediately receives orders from Queen Levana to track down Cinder. She is able to find the coordinates of the Rampion in which Cinder and Thorne are hiding and disrupts the signals of the ship to cloak it from detection. During this time, Sybil orders Cress to jam satellite signals in order to cloak Lunar ships from Earthen detection. Aboard those ships are the special operatives that are used to attack Earthens during the two-hour massacre on Earth that results in tens of thousands of deaths.
Also during this time, the information Cress finds about Thorne have makes her fall in love with him. Cress believes that he is a "hero" due to what she reads. In truth, it is mostly lies. Thorne realizes that Cress likes him very much and he finds it awkward for a while due to the fact she puts him on a pedestal and he feels he does not belong there. Later, Cress begins to learn more and more about the real him and falls in love with him even more. Her father, however, does not approve of them and tells Thorne multiple times that she is too good for him.
Cress, even though living mostly in solitude and acknowledging being lonely, is generally very upbeat and happy. She is imaginative, and when she is in distress or has to overcome a difficult task, she usually escapes into another world, pretending to be someone else who is fit for the role. Being alone prompted her to create a "little sister" modelled over her ten-year-old self, programmed on her satellite. Cress is also known for her shyness; proof is when she received a COMM from Cinder and ducked below right away. To add, she is very dependent on others, such as when Thorne had to assist her through the Sahara. Cress enjoys listening to music and watching net dramas, and she also loved to daydream about Thorne and what Earth would be like when she was in space.
Like Winter, Cress is incredibly curious about the world around her, easily enchanted by even small details. Despite the fact that Cress acknowledges her dependent nature, she is incredibly resilient. This trait is exhibited whenever Cress is faced with a dire situation. Rather than backing down, Cress channels her emotions within herself to find a solution; that may mean that she will create scenarios in her head, which surprisingly calm her down.
Cress has "the longest, waviest, most unruly mess of tangled blonde hair imaginable." This is because of it not being cut since she was put in the satellite. Cress has "a sweet heart-shaped face, giant sky-blue eyes and a sprinkle of freckles across her nose." Her hair is later cut short by Thorne and was cut awkwardly, due to Thorne's blindness at the time, and was all different lengths at the time. However, Iko, in her new android body that Thorne got for her, was able to shape Cress's short hair around her face in pretty waves. In height Cress is 153.48 centimetres tall, making her the shortest of the group.
Skills and abilities
- Computer specialist:
- Skilled hacker: Cress is a skillful hacker that eventually got noticed by Sybil Mira. At a young age, she has managed to hack in order to find out about the birth parents of several Shells. Cress has also been instructed to design a satellite if someone was to try to hack into Earthen data, showing that she is also very skilled in areas besides hacking.
- Talented singer: Cress sings very well, noted by Thorne.
Unlike Cinder or Scarlet, Cress is not very skilled at physical combat, which is understandable since she has been locked in a tight satellite with virtually no space to exercise, and has never been trained for combat or self-defense. Even though Cress has found ways and made sure she stayed physically fit, when actually in action, those preparations proved to be not enough. Her height also does not help her in combat situations, as she is mostly physically a lot smaller than her opponents; as of now, she has yet to find ways to overcome this setback, nor has she explored ways to use this trait as a surprise element to throw her enemies off guard.
For most of Cress's life, Sybil had been a key figure in shaping Cress's view on the world. For example, due to Cress's isolation at a young age, the only person she could depend on was Sybil who did nothing but give orders, criticize, or reprimand Cress throughout her days. Cress could not recognize the true beauty of the outside world because of her captivity in a satellite to fulfil her Lunar duties as a hacker. She had never experienced true kindness either, and found that through only Cinder's group of friends. When the group made an effort to rescue Cress, Sybil found out and misled the group by glamouring herself as Cress, locking and tying up the real Cress in a bathroom. Sybil showed that she did not truly care about Cress, but only Cress's role as the former queen's hacker.
Cress had researched Carswell Thorne and did not think of him to be as notorious as the Internet credited him to be. Ever since the beginning of their encounter, Cress refused to look at the bad aspects of Thorne and completely admired him. She would then make him promise to kiss her in their final moments. Thorne was originally disapproving of Cress's sudden attraction towards him, and he showed that he was uncomfortable through hints of his real personality. Once Cress tore down the barrier between them, Thorne eventually started to fall for Cress as well. They gradually commenced to develop feelings for one another and soon started a relationship by the end of Winter.
Iko and Cress have known to get along with each other very well. They share similar beliefs, interests, hobbies, and personalities. An example of an interest they share is their passion for trendy attire and fashion in general. As with their personalities, the two of them are upbeat individuals who are friendly with most people. They support each other through and through.
Dmitri Erland (Sage Darnel)
Linking with Cress's backstory, she had been given off to Lunar officials after her identity had been disclosed as a shell; Cress had thought that both of her parents abandoned her. For the majority of Cress's life, she had not known that one of her two parents still cared for her or watched over her by afar. Nevertheless, Dr. Dmitri Erland did so. It was not until Cress that she found out his true identity as Sage Darnel - "Erland" was an anagram of "Darnel". She was a little bit skeptical at first and did not believe that Erland truly cared for her after being abandoned. However, Cress soon discovered that despite the unfortunate series of events in her life that occurred, Erland still loved his daughter. Cress was extremely saddened by her father's death of mutilated letumosis.
Cress is initially the one who reaches out to Cinder, and it is unbeknownst to the two of them that they would later on end up crossing paths. In that later time, Cress solely shows her loyalty towards Cinder and her crew for getting her out of her satellite of three years and taking her on adventures. She trusts Cinder's judgment, knowing that Cinder has good intentions.
- "Cress" is a plant of the cabbage family, in which the garden cress in particular, or simply cress, is edible and can be used as sandwiches fillings or salads.
- In the original tale, the origin of Rapunzel's name came from the fact that during Rapunzel's mother's pregnancy, the woman had a strong craving for the rapunzel plant (other more common name includes "lamb's lettuce") that was growing in their neighbor's garden, and she pleaded her husband to steal some for her. Their neighbor turned out to be a witch, who demanded the unborn child in exchange for turning a blind eye to their thievery and trespassing. The witch then named the baby girl after the plant her birthmother craved for.
- As a result, both names of the characters also happened to be names of edible greens.
- Cress, like Rapunzel in the original tale, had considerably really long hair.
- Cress, also like Rapunzel, later has her hair cut short.
- Cress and Rapunzel were both in a desert at one point.
- Cress (and Thorne) landed in a desert after their fall.
- Rapunzel was banished to a desert.
- In an equally popular variation of the telling, instead of the rapunzel plant, the vegetable Rapunzel's mother craved for was the rampion.
- The name of Thorne's ship happens to be The Rampion.
- In the Disney movie Tangled, the person that took Rapunzel out of confinement (Flynn Rider) is a thief, similar to how Thorne, a wanted fugitive, attempted to take Cress out of confinement.
- See also: Images of Cress
|Cinder / Levana / Scarlet / Cress / Winter / Kai / Thorne / Wolf / Dr. Erland / Iko / Sybil / Mech6.0|