Not every story has a heart-warming ending, the realms of Thera are a cold
place and full of tales of suffering. So it was for Firithien's mother.
Many years ago, though she has no means of counting, she was born in the Sylvan
Vale. Her mother was made pregnant as the product of a violent rape and she
was full of shame for it. When her daughter was born, she was named Cuiniel
meaning 'Girl full of life' for the baby was energetic and boisterous from the
first. She was beautiful and tall, very much Elvish in appearance, but grew
quickly and people soon took notice.
Cuiniel awoke, excited. The light of dawn was already shining on her tenth
birthday but it offered little heat to the woodland home her family lived in,
tucked away, as it was, in a shadowy corner of the Vale. She'd often asked her
mother why they lived so far from the others of their village, but her mother
didn't give many answers to questions like these.
None of that mattered today anyway, as mother had promised they would walk the
ranger's trail along the borders as a birthday present. She loved staring out
at the lands beyond the Vale but didn't get much opportunity as mother kept her
home most of the time, giving her lessons and teaching her of the Gods
Sedgwick, Myria, Vanisse and the others.
She bounced up from her cot filled of leaves, meaning to run into mother's room
and rouse her to start the day, but she wasn't there.
"Mother?", she yelled.
"Out here, my love." The answering call came from outside, the natural
clearing of trees within the copse.
She ran out of the crude house, to a strange sight. Gathered in the clearing
were several of the men from the village and standing in front of the men,
facing her mother was the elder mistress. Their glances didn't stray to
Cuiniel who stood back shyly.
"The child is not Elvish, Quellerain", the elder began. "We have performed
the divinations. We know."
"Wait, please!" Her mother had a pleading tone, she knew what this meant.
"We cannot wait Quellerain, and though it saddens us to do it the Laws are
Cuiniel started sniffling, sensing the tension. "Mother? It's my birthday,
remember? Why is everyone here?"
"Go inside, melethen. I'll be with you soon."
"No, child, she won't. You must," but the elder was cut off harshly.
"Don't speak to my daughter! She has nothing to do with you! You must leave
The men stepped forward, protective of the elder mistress. She was dressed
in white robes, pure and clean. Her face was beautiful and ageless, her eyes
like the stars, ancient and distant. But still beauty can be ugly, when it is
bent to it, and the elder's face was shadowed with anger and her voice quivered
with restrained rage.
"Do not think, Quellerain, that you can speak to me so. For many years our
people have allowed you to live here, isolated, untroubled, out of respect for
your suffering. But our kindness is betrayed! The father, he was not as
you've told us, is he?"
Quellerain's eyes fell to her feet, and she wept bitterly and loudly.
Cuiniel, not understanding but seeing her mother suffering ran to her. The
moments of silence passed slowly, stretching longer and longer, until Cuiniel's
mother wiped her eyes and looked up.
"It's true. Yes, I admit it now - finally, for what use are lies now, when
you know the truth anyway?" she said. "He was not as I told you. He was not
an Elf; indeed he was a Human," she said, shaking her head. Gasps came from
the men at this, and whispers between them broke out, quickly silenced by a
wave of the elder's hand.
"He found me, wandering as I would, though I know not where he came from or
who he was. He took me, Berethien, I did not want it! I tried to run but he
was strong and fierce." she shook her head sadly at these memories. "Would
you condemn me, then? Is this my crime?!"
The elder Berethien breathed deeply now and moved forward laying a soothing
hand on the lady. "No, my beautiful sister-daughter, I would not condemn you.
For you are Elvish and we will take you and heal you and you will be made whole
in the eyes of our people. But the child is not and cannot come, the Law is
"Curse your Law!" Quellerain pulled away roughly and stepped back. "I want
nothing of it! You would send an innocent babe alone into the world? No! I
won't let you!" She grabbed Cuiniel in her arms, holding her tight.
Berethien's facade of care fell away under this insolence. She nodded
slightly, and the men stepped forward as commanded. They grabbed the child and
the mother, separating them. Their screams and terror ringing through the
forest, disturbing creatures from their quiet morning.
The elder spoke loudly, her stark voice cutting through the noise, all
compassion gone from it. "Quellerain, you will be taken to Barandor and live
your days in servitude to our people."
Turning to the child, "You shall be taken, Cuiniel, and you will be banished
from this land. I take from you your name, and bestow upon you the name
And it was done. The elder turned back down the narrow path between trees,
walking away from the home in the copse trees. The men would carry out their
duties to their elder Berethien, and to the Law of their people that had stood
since the First Age of Serin.
The child was sent into the world, banished and disgraced. Her name
Etementhen a constant reminder of her past.
A muscular and lithe woman with a shaved head and wearing the livery of a
student monk is here. Her pointed ears expose her Elven heritage, while her
musculature is definitely Human.
Through her light clothing it is easy to discern strong shoulders, powerful
arms and legs and a serene face that looks calm and peaceful. Her pale skin is
adorned here and there with black and white tattoos, though it's difficult to
discern what is depicted.
A barbed and mangled red scar runs across the length of her throat. Its
breadth and colour speak of a wound not treated but left to fester for a time.