About Ithilwen of the Myriad Stars
Half-drow bard (arcane duelist) 1
Concept and Background:
– Ithilwen was conceived by the union between the scion of a powerful drow household and a human slave. The matriarch, amused by her offspring’s faux pas, ordered her to carry the pregnancy to term, earning the young half-blood the perpetual enmity of her own mother, a priestess of Nocticula. Out of spite, she was given the name Gworneth, or soiled girl. She never had the chance of, nor the interest in, knowing her father. She assumes her mother had him executed on a whim before her birth.
– As a half-blood, her social status in the merciless drow society put her far below her pureblood sisters and aunts, yet above virtually everybody else, males included. She was the subject of cruel bullying by her older sisters throughout most of her comparatively short (for elven standards) life, yet her sheer tenacity (not to mention quick growth through puberty and adolescence – again, for elven standards) allowed her to carve out and strenuously defend her own niche within her family’s complex political manoeuvring. Other than that, she joyfully took part in many of the depraved rituals and traditions drow society had to offer, often mercilessly venting out her own anger and frustration on her slaves and inferiors.
– Though she wasn’t given much in terms of a scholarly education, she enjoyed some of the finest martial and arcane training Sekamina had to offer, being trained as both an infiltrator and an enforcer. Weakness in a family member, no matter how low her status, would have reflected poorly on the whole household – yet it was made clear leadership roles would have forever been beyond her grasp, and raised accordingly.
– As Nocticula’s clergy became more and more interested in other Demon Lords’ machinations on Golarion, she was sent to the Worldwound as part of a delegation led by her own mother. An altercation with the mercurial and unpredictable demons quickly followed their arrival, and in order to appease them (not to mention get rid of the constant reminder of her shame) Gworneth was given all the blame and handed over to the abyssal masters of that blighted realm – to do to her as they pleased.
– She desperately tried to flee, and was actually quite surprised when she managed to do so, only to quickly realize the demons let her go on purpose – the better to savour the thrill of the hunt. As the despair within her grew, she stumbled into a mysterious yet alluringly beautiful stranger apparently escorting a couple of humans to safety. Desperate and hopeless, and still suspecting this was just another trick on the demons’ part, she tried to play the part of the lost half-drow slave trying to escape from her cruel masters – but in her heart of hearts, she knew her would-be saviour saw straight through her ruse. It was much to her amazement then that not only she wasn’t slayed on sight, but eventually left in the care of a crusader scouting party. This selfless act of kindness, the first she had witnessed in her whole life, sparked a light into her. When she first raised her eyes and saw the starry sky above her, she renounced her ways and took a new name for herself – Ithilwen, or Starlight Maiden.
– Remembering the symbol her saviour used to carry on her constantly and her wonder at first gazing upon the myriad lights of the clear night sky, she embraced the cult of Desna as she awkwardly tries to find her place in this new, strange surface world she’s found herself in. She vowed to cleanse the world of any abyssal presence, be it the Worldwound or the subterranean demon-worshipping drow, this time not just in revenge, as a dark elf would have done, but out of a genuine sense of righteousness stirring within her newly-awakened soul. She offered her services to the Templars as a scout and spy, and, much to her own amazement, she was accepted into their ranks as a recruit.
– Ithilwen longs to meet again the mysterious woman who saved both her life and her soul. She feels tremendously indebted towards her, and would like nothing more than to have a chance to pay her back.
– Other than that, she’s solemnly vowed to fight until the Worldwound has been closed and the last demon-worshipper purged from the face of Golarion.
– (known) Ithilwen was once Gworneth, a half-drow worshipper of Nocticula, and as such, she has soiled her soul with many unspeakable acts, from killing slaves on a whim to elaborating cruel and humiliating plots against her sisters and rivals (which, in drow society, are one and the same thing). She knows that, if the Templars were to get a hint of only a fraction of those, she would immediately be put to the stake and burnt – and she wouldn’t blame them.
– (unknown) Her mother and father actually shared a romantic relationship (or at least the closest analogue to romanticism a drow is able to experience, which isn’t necessarily all that close in the first place), and instead of executing him, he was secretly allowed to flee to the surface, something her mother would later deeply regret for fear of her weakness being discovered.
– The cruel, satisfied expression on her mother’s face when she framed her, and then, the hunger in the demons’ eyes, both a predator savouring her prey and the promise of endless torment by their hands.
– On the other hand, the veneer of sadness in her saviour’s gaze when she first looked at her; the cleansing fire in which her sins had been both first brought to light, and forgiven at the same time.
– Armour Expert: among the cut-throat drow society, one has better have her back protected at all times. Ithilwen very soon discovered the wisdom in wearing armour like a second skin, and she never regretted her choice.
– Chance Encounter: see above
– Charming: the improbable mixture of human and drow blood has gifted Ithilwen with pleasant features and good looks, something she quickly learnt to turn to her advantage in her never-ending power games against her sisters.
– Irrepressible: the path to redemption is long and arduous, and Ithilwen sometimes doubts she’ll ever see the end of it. But until that day, she resolved to always be true to herself and herself alone – never a pawn in somebody else’s games.
– To her saviour, whoever and wherever she may be.
– To the extermination of every demon on the face of Golarion; the cruelty in their eyes dwarfing every malice the drow could have ever conceived. Their very existence is anathema, which cannot be born to pass.
– To her soul – may Desna have mercy on it, and sustain it on her path to redemption.
At 5 foot and 5 inches, Ithilwen is quite a bit on the short side for a half-elf, and just a bit shorter than your average human female. Where her elven heritage really shows, however, is in her sylph-like physique, long slender legs supporting an almost preternaturally thin waistline; her facial features are elegant and graceful, her human blood imperceptibly smoothing out her otherwise angular elven features: full purple lips and high cheekbones framing a pair of stunningly human-like, deep blue eyes flecked with only the vaguest hint of red and purple in deference to her drow ancestry. Her hair, long and silvery, she keeps freely flowing behind her back in the rare instances she's not training or expecting combat, and gathered in a complex knot above her head otherwise.
She's seldom seen out of her full-body leather armour, which she keeps meticulously clean though liberal use of spells such as mending or prestidigitation. Over the years, it has become a second skin of sorts to her, adhering to her supple body while highlighting every curve of her sinuous frame; beneath it, a pattern of nasty-looking scars marks her back and lower belly, poorly healed mementoes of her power struggles against her sisters. Hanging by her hip is a coiled, vicious looking whip with numerous sharp blades woven along its length.
Ithilwen is a penitent soul. As Gworneth, she used to lead a hedonistic lifestyle, indulging in every dark pleasure drow society had to offer while mercilessly scheming against her rivals. Now, she tries to put as much distance between her and her previous persona as possible, to the point she purposefully makes an effort to eschew most sorts of material pleasures, as if they could drag her back to her past habits – but deep inside, it's the pang of guilt such delectations bring about that restrain her, the guilt of a reward she doesn't really feel worthy of.
With strangers, she makes a point to put up a pragmatical and phlegmatic facade, but just like the stiller waters mask the greater depths, given the right circumstances her elven emotions can quickly resurface – for good or for bad.