The Elyrian Ventures
Naia Ayani Edasseril
Titles / Titulations
“Lady Ayani” (formal)
“Mau Ayani” (family/inherited, Katanga equivalent of “Lady”)
“Thakathi Ayani” (religious role: healing)
“Onyama Ayani” (lesser priesthood, female)
Deity / Religion
The Flamelord of Katanga (Dracoism)
The story so far
Although her journey starts from the deeper parts of Katanga, the first step she’s willing to talk about is her departure from the Elyrian outpost on the northern shore of Katanga. This is the port where she met Isabella, who offered Naia passage on the same ship as her.
From there they journeyed to the pearl city Riva and further along the river to Mellowstream.
Questions about her homelands are either evaded or dismissed as being irrelevant since it’s all just dangerous jungle.
The Mellowstream Candidates
Although she was more conservative with her money than Isabella, she was still running low. And since Isabella was closer to running dry, they both took an offer as mercenaries for a rather peculiar assignment: as guests spying on other guests.
After some training learning the local culture, etiquette and practices, they set out on their mission to find proper candidates for inheriting control over the small region. She soon realized that most of the guests were aware of their role from the start.
Apart from talking to some of the guests, the only noticable events was being “screened” magically by the priest Ayr Daran during a dance, and dancing with Nightshade.
During the debriefing, she was lured away from the others when she sensed Nightshade’s aura. They had a brief conversation about magic, her future and such, and they left on rather good terms since he inadvertently bribed her with some fancy glassware.
After this party, she have had a taste of the luxury of the higher parts of society, and she wanted more.
Additionally, Sir Quintin seemed like a nice fellow to spend some time with, and after the party she felt a bit guilty that she couldn’t give him her full attention.
The Mellowstream Smugglers
This period was rather troublesome. She had hoped the others would take initiative and lead on, but this seemed to fail. She wanted to take the lead, but since the bishop of the church had made his presence known, she’d rather stay in the back.
Regardless, rumors told of smugglers moving goods through the region, and the circumstancial evidence pointed to Sir Samuel being involved. While she understood little of how the city was governed, she understood even less of the Elyrian military authority and hierarchy, so she looked to the others for answers.
She tried her best to guide the others through, but in the end they made some unexpected decisions. Ares decided to take an arrow from a stranger, and while the effort was commendable, he still paid little regard to his own life. He was barely saved, but drew attention to himself, and with his newfound mark on his chest, the bishop almost called for the inquisition. While Ares was being saved, she sensed som element-twisting magic from Irina.
Sir Ulrich tried to assert his authority, but seemed to lack the experience for it. He caved when the limits of his authority was cast in doubt, and ended up getting scolded by Lord Greymist himself.
Some good came of it though, as they managed to establish contact to a part of the thieves guild in the city, and managed to confirm the smuggling activities in the harbor area.
Some time was spent with Sir Quintin as to make up for the lack of attention he got at the party.
Naia liked what she saw from the main city of Blackthorn. It was a prosperous place, and while the riches was kept to few people, efforts were made so it wasn’t going to waste.
What she liked even more was that the two most powerful casters (as far as she could tell) seemed friendly towards her, so her main efforts were to keep the appearances formal.
Of notable events, she spent some nights drawing the cityscape from up high on the castle. It was rare to get such a view for her, and she felt it was worth the time spent.
When being debriefed about her opinion of Blackthorn as an ally, she agreed that it would be the best option. The only reason she hesitated was because she didn’t want to seem to eager to the others.
A tribe in Lost Gorhal
While waiting for spring, Naia focused on revising her survival skills for the cold weather of the North. She didn’t really participate in the hunting parties, but focused rather on being able to make repairs or replacement gear, in case gear would break down on the forecoming trip.
When offered a foretelling session, she asked – in a private session – for what people she might meet on the trip which would influence her. The session warned her of Lashiel, Manathan and – indirectly – Neela.
A year in the North
After spending more than a year in the cold regions north of Lost Gorhal, her appearance has changed slightly as she started to run out of supplies for disguising:
Her once soot-black hair was eventually revealed to be golden-yellow-orange with a metallic hue.
With the weakened sun, her dark tan also faded and she’s now as light-skinned as most Elyrians.
When asked about this “disguise”, she simply states that most Elyrians would frown upon her “distinct” appearance, so she’d rather hide it. She claims to use a simple black dye for the hair, while using a soot-based substance for masking the shininess.
When asked if her looks are normal and natural for the Katanga region, she avoids answering and changes the topic instead.
Elantris and Sanctum
When entering Sanctum, she was referred to as “Child of Malsumis” by Eskiath, which seemed to puzzle her a bit.
In the time spent in Sanctum, she spent a lot of the time gathering lost knowledge. As much as she’d like to pick up a craft, she has a hard time finding a suitable craft for her – especially, when everyone else is so much more gifted craftsmen than she could ever hope to be. She did find some comfort in crafting cloth, dyes and clothing, as it’s easier to relate to style that way.
To feel like she gave something back to the little community, she entertained the kids and used magic to make fruitflavored ice for them. In that regard, her skills were unique enough to make her feel useful.
When scavenging in Elantris, her main focus was pretty accessories and clothing for herself. She had an idea for breaking into the storehouse, but was reluctant. It might have been a fear of getting caught, or it might have been something “else”, she didn’t want to reveal.
When given the option between a luxury ride and a cargo box, the choice was decided before she even saw the second option.
The Mountain of Fire
Greatly outnumbered by the orc clans, she once again tried to stay in the background. She’s not particularly a fan of military might, especially not when she doesn’t know where it’s allegiance lies.
When presented with the option of going to the Castle of Ash or the Crystal Tower, she would rather have gone to the Crystal Tower, but she didn’t want to undermine Sir Ulrich’s authority. It just looked nicer, cleaner and more interesting from the outside.
The fine food and wine supplied by Manathan was well-received by her and made her far less distrusting.
She cared little for the value of Manathan’s “gift”, as it would leave her indebted to a being of dubious morale. Instead, she opted for a path with less ambition and asked for a tour of the forge area with the possibility of having an item crafted in the newly-found red metal.
Manathan might not have thought highly of it, but at least she didn’t offend him as much as declining a gift would have.
When Lashiel was introduced, Naia was pleasantly surprised.
She recognized the Isini name, but as she tried to tell the others (and answer Lashiel’s question), all she uttered was dumbfounded gibberish, as she had forgotten about her geas. Reminded this way, she kept her mouth, as she doubted they would get any privacy at all in this region.
Her biggest concern is the sanity of Sir Ulrich, as he excitedly bargained for a top position in Manathan’s army. In her eyes, his train of thoughts was a misguided case of chivalry, as he believed he could keep Irina Blackthorne safe from the invading army this way.
Although this might be attributed to the “corruption” from Neela, he has previously shown interest in being an army leader and attaining grand titles and land.
Naia’s sad about what has happened with Neela, since she hates burning bridges. On the other hand, she feels betrayed about that “corruption” part she left inside Naia. She will calm down eventually, but is unlikely to have any dealings with Neela until that “part” is removed from her.
When Lashiel revealed that Manathan was actually a dragon, it changed a lot. She’s afraid what might happen, if a dragon would once again start to wage open warfare in the south. As much as she wants to see him stopped, though, she doesn’t believe she has the right to oppose him directly, and in her eyes, an open battle against him would be without her support. She doesn’t have qualms about aiding an opposing side indirectly by readying their defenses and offenses.
The trials of Fire Mountain
She wasn’t entirely happy appearing naked in front of strange dwarves, but at least they didn’t make lewd comments or bring it up in front of others. She appreciated the respect given and returned it in kind, especially in front of the dwarven council.
While gear was being arranged for the others, she spent some time at the master smith, trying to figure out how they made their orichalcum items without the use of magic. Unfortunately for her, it’s well beyond her skills and even a century spent learning it wouldn’t bring her much closer. It wasn’t much of a disappointment though, as she suspected as much from the beginning. Her main reasoning for this was to see how it deviated from the crude methods of the orcs, as she’s looking for new ways to work with the metal.
A couple of days later and the team was ready to wake up the sleeping Eosians. The gates were opened with no delay, and apart from her friends being slightly afraid of being left behind, the entry trials began.
Of the founders, she picked Katanga. For her, it was the most obvious considering her upbringing, although personalitywise it probably wasn’t the most suited for her. Still, she has been raised as a pillar of the community and taught to help others and lead the way.
When confronted with the choice of bearing a burden herself or letting a friend carry it instead, she opted for the first – not out of the goodness of her heart, but rather due to pride. She hates relying on others for help, and she hates having others pay her dues. Besides, if she had picked latter option, the others would have known. This is also her main reason for choosing to sacrifice physical strength, as this would more likely go unnoticed among the others.
A fleeting dream lasting half a year (+/-) 6 months
As part of the trial – and subsequent Eosian awakening – she spent the better part of a year inside the Eosian dreamscape. In both cases, she went inside in the shape of the original owner of her necklace. For the first part it was to explore who she was, and for the second part it was due to convenience as that person had the necessary knowledge.
At first she enjoyed the experience, but soon felt lonely and misplaced inside. She was afraid of hurting anyone with her newfound abilities and couldn’t try them out. Additionally, she started to grow jealous of her new body and new powers since everyone
Spending almost a full year in another body simply just left her feeling dysphoric, powerless and out of place afterwards.
The pearl – being a symbol of this experience – just keeps reminding her of what she is not, and what she can never be.
The Eosian awakening
Due to the few number of partymembers around and due to the nature of the enemies left behind by the traitor, she had to resolve to use an ability she would rather have kept hidden from the others: the ability to move briefly into the shadowrealm.
Nonetheless, it worked apart from having caught the attention of a being on the other side.
She talked a bit with the eosian Adrian about magic, history and knowledge. He offered some views on shadowmagic in particular.
He offered a gift of gratitude, and she asked for an enchanted orichalcum circlet, since he was probably one of the few people in the area capable of making orichalcum items she could stand being near.
Since the test was done, she wondered what to do with the pearl. Although it was a handy token, it would remind her of who she is, what she pretended to be for almost a year, and what she can never be. She decided to carry it along for the trip up to the dragon, and would decide before arriving back at the mountain.
After regrouping with the others, the trip went northwards. The obvious reason was that the group needed to move the sled away from the soon-to-be-slaughterzone around the mountain. The personal reason was that it was a chance to visit the Winterlord – an enormous dragon of water and ice. This would probably be the only chance, as any journey southwards would start their long trek home.
After a weeks time and a short 1000 km trip, the group arrived at at big ice-cave. Even magically protected against the climate, it was dangerously cold. Still, she wanted to see one of the beings she reveres, so she dragged the rest of them into the cave.
After being woken up, the dragon shared a lot of information.
Of interest to Naia, the Well of Eternity was brought up, with the dragon sharing some information about the curse on it. It also said that Anasharal and Incinerator of All Life both could help with her true name. From the description of Incinerator, Naia also drew a connection between Highmage Iliana, Incinerator and Irina.
It also shared the locations – and some personality traits – of the other great dragons. The great dragon of winds would be far to the west in the center of an ever-raging storm. The great dragon of stone could be found “somewhere in the Blight”, as it travels around and removes blight. The great dragon of flames would obviously be in Katanga, and most likely also be the most inhospitable of the dragons, considering its annoyingly large retinue. The last of the great dragons – one of darkness and shadows – guards the world from creatures of the shadowplane. Her strange dreams considered, she believes it might be the creature calling out to her. This last great dragon can be found in the Eosian capitol or anywhere else where the barriers between the two places are weak. Considering its nature of defending the world against shadows, it should be hospitable, but unfortunately – due to its darkness nature – probably also deadly to approach without alerting it first.
Neela’s “taint” was removed from Naia, along with the connection from the unknown shadowcreature. The whole party got a checkup to confirm that no lingering effects were present.
On Naia’s request, the dragon examined the necklace Neela is bound to and – after confirming she wasn’t evil – Naia asked the dragon to make her a body. It agreed, and even though it might take some years, at least that bridge doesn’t seem to have been burned.
As a more personal boon, Naia’s holy symbol was granted the ability to communicate with the dragon, when she’s sleeping.
Finally, the dragon offered a dose of its waters of life. As much as she wanted the youthful option, she knew that the others would rather give it to the aging Vincent instead of her, and the backlash from drinking it secretly would be too great.
Return to the Mountain
Upon returning the the dragons, most of the gifts were ready. Her circlet (“Winter’s End”) wasn’t fully enchanted yet, but it suited her fine. When it was finished, Adrian put in a rather powerful fire spell, which she plans to keep for a while. It does give a pleasant tingle after all.
She was grateful for the new holy symbol made by the dwarves, but since it hadn’t gotten the blessing of the Winterlord, she decided to keep it as a ceremonial piece and wear her less extravagant symbol instead. Still, it was a worthy gift for her.
She paid little attention to the gifts the others received except for the few orichalcum items crafted. With such items in somewhat close proximity, the others can be sure that she’ll keep her distance to them.
The rest of her “credit” from the dwarves went to simple goods in gold, and a pouch of raw orichalcum. That would give her the means to show the Alfirions that something had changed in the power balance outside their magic forest, and would also allow her to acquire some of their services.
She handed back the pearl to Adrian and explained that the pearl was like a constant wound reminding her of her limits, and until she had fully processed the time spent inside the dreamscape, she didn’t want it. He noted that they would keep it until then.
The Lost Forest
Outside the forest, she got annoyed when the others hesitated and went in not caring whether the others came along or not. She was conflicted though, as the change in climate demanded a change in clothing and she didn’t want to give Ares any free passes. Lately, he had claimed that since he’d already seen most of her on the long trip northwards, it wouldn’t matter if she stripped naked in front of him. She disagreed, and a few steps behind cover almost seperated them due to that.
Having been raised in Katanga, with its deadly flora and fauna, she was wary of the forest at first. Unfortunately for her, the sweet smells and beautiful flowers quickly lowered her guard. Luckily for her, nothing bad happened. She wouldn’t have minded petting that big cat though.
The meeting with Lerena eased her up a bit too. She was afraid they wouldn’t be welcomed, but her curiosity about humans helped. As curiosities from “outside”, they might actually stand a chance of respect. It was also good practice for treating the Alfirion with respect by -among other things – using correct titles, answering questions and not just barging into their homes uninvited.
Arriving at the Dark Court was an unexpected part of their journey. She had some suspicions when she was show a “perfect” room for her, and she didn’t care much for it. It was a nice gesture, but it still felt wrong as she hadn’t asked for it and it felt intrusive.
The party at the Dark Court allowed her to shine a bit, showing off her dancing skills. To her it seemed to pay off, as she was approached by the Lord of Twilight, an Alfirion defensive commander. When talking in private, she gladly passed on the outside information she wanted to spread about the Eosians reactivating the mountain defenses. She doubted she could get any higher in the hierarchy and as long as the information was used to hurt the orcish advances outside, she was happy.
He gave her the attention and help she needed, and she also regained a big part of her selfconfidence after a couple of pleasurable nights (it also helped that he looked like Nightshade, whom she hadn’t dared to make an advance on). With her strange fetish for overwhelming magical auras, she was sated for some time.
The Lord of Twilight guided her to another Lord capable of crafting the items she wanted. In particular, she wanted two dresses made for her. One in spidersilk to be used for grand parties, and one in darkweave for more casual gatherings in high society and maybe adventuring, if needed (pictures above).
The rest of the gold was spent on Alfirion goods, to be sold in Blackthorn when they would get back through the Shadow Ways.
Due to the unfortunate faux pas from Sir Ulrich and Ares, she had to keep her distance to them, and she had to admit it made the whole stay much more enjoyable.
She also found out that Isabella can’t be trusted with dangerous items, since she’s capable of killing herself by dropping a book.
The Shadow Ways
During the journey through the Shadow Ways, she didn’t really pay much attention to the others. Her main focus was on the guide and not losing sight and touch with him. She insisted on being close to the others, as she didn’t feel like trusting them with her life, and considering the interruptions (which she didn’t notice the cause of), Ares got blamed for almost making them lose track twice.
In the end it wasn’t those events which affected her opinion of him, but rather the haphazardly “stapping-himself-in-the-heart-for-no-reason” that got her concerned.
The items borrowed from Irina was returned, and a long report was given. Most details were given, either upfront or in private without the others around, except for the details concerning Sanctum.
Nightshade got the report too with the same amount of details, and in addition, he got the story about the faux pas in the Dark Court.
In return, Nightshade introduced her to the craft of rituals and arranged for a meeting with Incinerator.
In a private talk with Irina, she expressed concern for Sir Ulrich’s fascination of Irina and her background – a fascination she believes might go wrong for him or influence Irina badly, as he is prone to make decisions on other people’s behalf.
In a very private moment, she also spent the night together with Nightshade. After having tried her “luck” with the Lord of Twilight, she actually got around to show her interest, and she accepted his offer.
Mødet med Incinerator
She gained some useful information from Incinerator, especially about the Living Spell, and the human-alternative version of Waters of Eternity. It gave her some goals to aim towards.
This was especially due to her reluctance to enter the trials of the Alfirion Waters of Eternity, as she might inadvertently break the curse.
Incinerator gave her partial access to the palaces of the gods through a word of power.
She asked Incinerator for a symbolic blessing for her holy symbol, and was put through another word of power, from which she barely survived. She did learn from the affair and the symbol had its power upgraded, even though that’s not what she asked for.
Back at Mellowstream
Before they went for Mellowstream, she sold the Alfirion goods, apart for some bottles of Alfirion wine intended as gifts for Lord Greymist and Sir Quintin.
When having a short rest in Mellowstream on their way to the Greymist region, she visited Sir Quintin and promised him a date when she had the time. She also paid Lord Mellowstream a visit and suggested to him an idea for Ares’ future.
When she arrived in Greymist, she went to the Lord’s manor and offered some of her remaining goods as a proof of her trading skills. She hoped they would recognize the talents in her for that craft and offer her proper training.