While the world still felt the keen scars of Mahan's campaigns, a soft-spoken hero walked unnoticed upon the land, bringing with her a healing touch.
  A child.
  Born without fear or reservation.
  Turning the hearts of her enemies, she would bring peace wherever her journey would lead.
  And though the world would seek to convert or destroy her, a world which hated her people, history would record that the heart of an Evolu is not easily beset…or changed.
     

Faithful Defiance

Gifted beyond her years, the southern people of Äsä-Illäriu trained Iljänä in the holy ways of the (healer), and when she was yet a child, sent her to the capital to be tested.   Their hope was that 'one with' would do her people honor in passing her trials, and take the vows as a healer.   Iljänä astounded the Matriarchs at the capital--proving herself an old soul as she mastered herbs and oils, energies and frequencies--with the patience, understanding, and skill of the Matriarchs themselves.   With joyful hearts, the Matriarchs offered Iljänä a place at their side.   She declined.   Claiming her right of agency, she bore her testimony that she had received visions of a dying land, and that 'a voice' called her north. Upon deaf ears she shared her conviction that it was there her full purpose would be realized.   Against the council of her people, Iljänä gained passage on a human trade ship and set sail for Humär , leaving her family (and people) behind.      

Hatred Embraced

Venturing into a world where old alliances had faltered, Iljänä focused upon healing those who hated her. Looking to win souls at every turn, her first opportunity came while crossing the Black Coral Sea—when both captain and crew of the ‘Sea Turtle’ fell deathly ill.  
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Using rare supplies from her homeland, Iljänä nursed those affected back to health before landing at the ravaged port of @Westgaiden.   The once industrious and renown city had grown dark, both in mind and deed—becoming a hub for corrupt merchants who took coin in exchange for flesh of all kind.   It was here Iljänä’s beauty and purity worked against her. Kidnapped by the corrupt Human port officials, she was sold at auction to a Getti merchant. Before the sun set on the third day, she was loaded upon another ship pointed at the ancient land of Isumiir.    

Destiny’s Intervention

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The Getti ship, ripe with exotic treasures and trade goods, was attacked and boarded by Duron pirates while crossing open waters. Sailors slaughtered and merchants chained as captives, the pirates celebrated over the bounteous spoils.   Iljänä was soon discovered below deck.   …beaten, starved, and chained in a cage like a dog.   The Getti merchants were disemboweled on deck before sinking the vessel.   Legend says the captain and crew of the Sea Turtle then took their bounty and new found guest to the mythical city of Seafoam. It was here Iljänä remained, teaching the ways of healing for a generation under the protection of the seafaring folk.    

Unlikely Companions

The legend of Iljänä is found again among the early records of Darengard. The settlement at that time survived through heavy trade and exploration—earning a reputation with merchants as a city of ‘misfits’. Many races made their fortunes during the growth of the most diverse human city in history. And it was here Iljänä made a lasting mark.   For three generations she labored as the settlements healer and apothecary. Though she looked the age of a human maiden, several human lifetimes of experience in agriculture, animal husbandry, textiles, food preservation and fermentation earned Iljänä both respect and admiration among the citizenry.  
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Yet time passed, and so did her friends and companions as mortality made its claim on all flesh. All but her closest friend and ally—a young Kutollum hunter known as Icebeard.   Skilled, worn, and hungry for the unknown, Icebeard looked upon Darnegard as home—fighting both nature and threat to see the settlement survive. He admired the gentle wisdom and uncommon kindness of Iljänä. So much so, the dwarf stood by the maiden throughout the centuries, teaching her, and the citizens, ancient lore of the Northern people.   When Darengard was large enough to elected its first mayor, Iljänä and Icebeard set sail for the unbridled wilderness of Northern Humär.    

Legend of The Winter Lady

Though there are whispers throughout history of an Evolu maiden, fair and beautiful—using her healing skills among mortals, one tale can be found throughout Humär:   The Tale of The Winter Lady.   For over three hundred years trappers and travelers alike have shared their stories. Those who find themselves lost and often facing certain death across the frozen wastelands of Ambasere, only to be saved by the Lady.   She who commands the wolves of ice and sky, with golden fur and eyes of twilight.  
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Some travelers share bitter stories of losing hope…succumbing to the ever bitter snow of winter. Revealing the miracle of waking up in a small cabin, nestled by a fire, their wounds bandaged and bodies covered with fine linen or fur skins.   Others add details of a beautiful woman of unknown years, sitting and conversing with them, providing food and drink to their comfort.   A few stories mention the presence of a looming giant, covered in matted furs and numerous scars. Always present, always watching.   Yet every conveyer of these tales includes a similar ending.   Being offered a warm cup of tea…and waking up in The Hidden Path Tavern, without a clue as to how they arrived.    

Hell Hath No Fury

Ihough charity, compassion, and healing her fellow beings softened hearts—Iljänä’s legend had a darker side:  
“…outnumbered, those of us left repositioned ourselves in a circle, sword and axe outward. Ground thick with mud mixed with the blood of our fallen, we gathered what strength and courage we could muster for a final defense.   I remember prayers being whispered behind me, offered up to any god who would listen.   As for myself, I fought to make my last moments strong, growling from the center of my chest—in the hopes that such a display may put a fire in the bellies of my brothers.   I’d never seen a Therrin before.   Men who had given themselves to the blackness of the mind for so long, only animal remained. With only tooth and nail they had ripped through our ranks as if we’d been asleep at our posts.   Seeing those things feeding upon the flesh of my brethren would scar my nights…but the screams of those being eaten would haunt me forever.   I cannot remember how many times they circled us before attacking.   There was no sound in approaching.   Only flashes of blood, bodies carried across my field of vision…and a single, high-pitched scream of a woman with a longbow, riding atop the largest wolf I had ever seen.   The conflict was over in moments.   Dozens of beasts darting between the trees, attacking our foe without mercy…without restraint. All the while this woman, who later revealed herself as ‘Iljänä’, let arrows fly with astonishing accuracy.   Only nine of our company survived.   Thanks to The Winter Lady.”    
— Sargent Matias
Northern Guard
Winter, 6598s.
   

A New Generation

The world continues to change, but the need for love, charity, compassion, and healing has not.   Roaming the ice-laden forests of Northern Humär, The Winter Lady continues to be of service to those in need…and to defend the lands she now calls home.   Villagers speak her name in reverence, while following her example to care for the world around them.   If you look carefully, you will find statues in local villages, carved and kept in adoration. Children now cling to stories of the Evolu maiden Iljänä, who refused to let hatred or fear deter her from her calling:   To win souls and heal the world, one principled act at a time.   For an Evolu life is one of service.   Not for the love of the world—but because they loved the world first.
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ILJÄNÄ (ill-YAH-nah)

RACE:

Evolu

AGE:

unknown (400+)

HEIGHT:

5' 11"

WEIGHT:

unkown

EYES:

crystal blue

HAIR:

golden blonde

FEATURES:

Iljänä has many of the common features associated with the Evolu race: clear complexion, thin frame, long limbs, and blue eyes.

It should be noted that Iljänä has the physical makeup of an Evolu who engages in moderate regular exercise and eats a balances diet.

KNOWN SKILLS

• Healer -- trained as a nemenä (healer of the people)
• Herbalist
• Animal Husbandry
• Textiles
• Fermentation
• Food Preservation

KNOWN COMPANIONS

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LOPPU
(LOW-poo) "End/Finish/Termination"

SPECIES:

Ridge Wolf

AGE:

unknown

HEIGHT:

4' 6" at shoulder

WEIGHT:

322 lbs

EYES:

blue

FUR:

tan & winter blue

PERSONALITY:

Loppu is large, even for a ridge wolf--raised and trained by Iljänä herself. Discovered as a wounded pup, the canine was healed and given an ancient Evolu concoction, used to breed beasts of burden to incredible size. This, coupled with his impressive natural intelligence, makes Loppu a fierce adversary for anyone seeking to harm his mistress. Always watchful and attentive, he will usually be found at her side.  
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AKUMO
AH-koo-moe (stone/rock)

RACE:

Vallen (white)

AGE:

unknown

HEIGHT:

7' 7"

WEIGHT:

28 stone

EYES:

black

HAIR:

none

FACIAL HAIR:

smokey grey

FEATURES:

As one of rare tribes of 'white Vallen', Akumo was raised with intense violence as a way of life. Scars cover the whole of his body, as well as tribal tattoos signifying his position within the community--and deeds done as a warrior.

PERSONALITY:

When Iljänä defied Akumo's captors and gave him food, water, and tended his wounds without fear...he turned against his own race to defend her. Though he has shown intelligence, the giant rarely speaks--preferring to act as his mistresses hands, shield, and axe. Rejected by his own kind--Akumo pledged his life to Iljänä, and served her faithfully to his last breath.

Though he did not get along with Icebeard, Akumo had a strong bond with Loppu. The two were a near invincible team when engaged in combat in a forest setting.

Akumo has the size, strength, endurance, and peek physical makeup of a Vallen who engages in regular combat and lives under constant physical exertion. This includes a pain tolerance to exceed all other races.  
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ICEBEARD

RACE:

Kutollum

AGE:

unknown

HEIGHT:

4' 2"

WEIGHT:

16 stone

EYES:

cold grey

HAIR:

none

FACIAL HAIR:

light grey/white

FEATURES:

Stout and robust, Icebeard 's skin is covered in runes, used to magnify and compliment his already substantial skill sets as a hunter. Both ears are pierced, while great care is taken to both grow and maintain his facial hair--the signature of every Kutollum male.

PERSONALITY:

Icebeard is a fiercely loyal friend, and has developed a deep bond of both trust and respect with Iljänä of the course of several human lifetimes. Slow to anger, but quick to respond to violence, Ice is a hunter to be feared and respected. Those who forget their place will likely be reminded in a painful way...

Icebeard has the physical makeup of a Kutollum who engages in intense regular exercise, prefers to live in the elements, and feasts on wild game and berries. That and the occasional over indulgence of fermented drink.

DID YOU KNOW?

 
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]Ijänä was inspired by streamer, WoW Druid and all around lovely human being, Mette (a.k.a. Woffaith).   When she's not entertaining and encouraging others around the globe on Twitch, Mette has a talent to inspire people to be the best version of themselves--and we love her for it each and every day. Her smile alone brightens any room, and her kind words can soothe most of life's cuts and bruises.   You can learn more about Mette and see more of her life on Instagram @Wollfaith OR you can always join her on Twitch!   Thank You, Mette, for being a lovely example and showing how kindness changes hearts.

Comments

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Sage Serukis
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
2 Feb, 2021 00:39

This is such a nice looking article. I love the artwork. She sounds like an amazing character (and the lady she is inspired by sounds awesome), and I love her companions. :D

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea! Please check out my peculiar plants entry! :)
2 Feb, 2021 03:30

Thanks Sage---and I go to respond from another computer, which had the old, unfinished edition of this article....and I LOSE it!   **Sigh**   Time to rebuild it! =)

JAIME BUCKLEY
Your New Favorite Author
My World | Subscribe | Read my Books
2 Feb, 2021 12:44

Interesting and very thorough - I don't remember reading about many healers for the c hallenge, so that is a nice twist on it. The art is fantastic and the prose flows nicely   The only feedback I would give is that it isn't entirely clear what is happening in the Dark Side Of box. Did she summon demons and then ride a wolf? It could use with maybe some more clarity :)   Good work!


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.   Current challenge article: Peculiar Plant - the Mind-Shadowed Lotus
20 Feb, 2021 11:30

Thanks, Qurilion...that means a lot to me.   I was going to address that very issue--and the info is only half there--but I ran out of word count. If I do any more, I'll get disqualified for the contest.   Know that I wanted to be more clear AND show the tavern with massive detail---will all be added after the judging =)   wooHOO!

JAIME BUCKLEY
Your New Favorite Author
My World | Subscribe | Read my Books
18 Feb, 2021 23:30

I completely and utterly agree with the response of the pirates. "They f'ing did what now." And I love the impact she's made over time, she's cool. (Pun not intended.)

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
20 Feb, 2021 11:37

Yup, the Duron are a no-nonsense people who love and honer their women--so that was a...'brutal' moment.   What I did not include, was that the heads of those merchants were sent by runners to their homeland as a warning.   Hope you watched the speed drawing of the header on my YouTube channel:

JAIME BUCKLEY
Your New Favorite Author
My World | Subscribe | Read my Books
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