Very tall, actually towering over most people is Avenel, standing 6’ 4", slim yet muscular, pale like freshly-fallen snow. Her hair falls down almost to her waist, held together by rings of silver and gold, so straight that it seems wet, reflecting light with a glossy sheen.
Her features are angular and finely crafted, yet marred by scars in the corners of her mouth, eyes and along the wrists, as well as the spine.
While she likes colours, he attire will not show it - most of the time it will be black, purple, or dark red, complemented with plain metal jewelry. Sometimes, she will wear manacles with a piece of ripped chain still attached, or a spiked collar of heavy iron.
Underneath her cloth, she hides a fine chain shirt, and a sword, as well as a long swishing tail, black like her hair, with a single red stripe along its whole length.
All things have a beginning, and all things must come to an end. Sometimes, actually more often so than not, the end of one thing gives birth to another. We are all children of the Phoenix, and therefore we shall thank for the breath that was given to us, but also not fear the end that awaits.
This is the story of a peculiar childe of the Phoenix, one that calls itself Maple-Blossom-saddened-by-Luna’s-Mourning, Avenel Iloven-Deone. This child’s song of creation was unique, for it was neither sung by a god in his sanctum, nor by two beings of flesh united, but by a sole mortal to many. A woman knowledgeable in the ways of both life and death, yet barren herself, gave life to a child with needle and spell at hand, taking it from others to infuse the form of her making. What nature does with the power that is its own she did by hand, bound sinew to bone, set the eyes in their sockets and blew the first breath into the lungs.
Life has found a vessel, and the child lived, crafted into the likelihood of an elf, it grew into a maid tall and slender, pale like virgin snow, hair black like the pupil in a beholder’s eye, the eyes and lips a lavender like the one the sky bears before a storm on midsummer night when the powers of old are strong, yet still, she did not grow into what her life-giver had intended her to. Back then, she was called Flame-that-dances-on-Cairns-crimson-with-Sunset, or Eilenne-Elspeath, for her mother wished for a successor in her rule by flame and steel that was fuelled by malice and fed on terror. Though given sustenance by the lives of a dozen children, the maid was also burdened by their memories, and those were love and warmth of a family hearth but also sorrow pure like only a child can feel, despair and uncertainty and the pain of a dozen deaths. And she remembered their names, and here I repeat them so that they shall not be forgotten. Twelve they were, and twelve guides the child of the Phoenix had to guide her out of her creator’s web:
Silke was called the first and her eyes are those Avenel sees with today. Despite being born of violence done to her mother by Drow hell-bent on villainy, she was brought up with the same care she would have been given by the very nature’s bosom.
Silke was to be priest before she was torn away from her chosen way to surrender her life. By her virtue can Avenel see the good inside all children of the Phoenix.
Walisse was a knight of tender age, the memory of being given her spurs fresh still. She was pure as a mountain spring, her blood sanguine and her heart strong yet loving. It is this heart that gives Avenel the courage and resolve to face the perils of existence and the villainy of mankind, and the blood that allows her to feel joy and love even in the darkest of hours when life itself seems dimmed by guilt and regret that is not even of Avenelâs own making.
Carmine was the name of a creature of the night, though Elven looks it bore. But daughter to the sister of Avenelâs maker she was, and the dark side of all emotion and learning was not foreign to her. This night-dweller has given her skull to house the newborn Avenelâs mind, and it is her dark thoughts that fill the time of uneasy sleep, waking at dusk. Still, this intimate contact with darkness has given Avenel knowledge of the vices of man, understanding of delight in pain, hatred and lust that drive the wicked. Thus she can judge and understand all she or others might feel.
Ark-Heppur watched the world with eyes vigilant, for it was a beholder, but their light faded the day his life was claimed to be given to another. It would have cried in defiance and cursed its murderess, yet its tongue was cut out to give a voice to Avenel, and therefore it spoke to her, told her the way to break her mother’s hold and enact revenge. Then, it could speak out once more and was content. Its voice carries through forest and city and over the sea, and speaks of places of darkness and mystery, and it is this voice Avenel speaks to plead, praise and soothe or command, mock and condemn.
Sovien was the child of a farmer, bound closely to earth and nature, destined to nurture life and fuel life. Her intestines rest within Avenel now and grant her life, but also a close bond to nature’s power and respect for all children of the Phoenix, fine and fragile or immense they may be.
Danae has also given what was dearest to her - slender and delicate hands she used to play a lute or harp, or run through her mother’s hair. Their gift still rests on, though warped by sadness and broken hopes. Thus, any music Avenel might play will carry the voice of sadness within, sadness that could bring fiends to cry and rivers to dry up.
Niola had to carry burdens all of her life, for she was lowest of the low and yet had to care for siblings meek and helpless. Her bones, strong and patient even though she was but twelve, carry Avenel now, loyally knowing that she needs all support she can get. Niola has carried and will carry, for such is her fate. Thanks to her, Avenel knows the value of trust and duty, for being given trust is one of the greatest honors that can be bestowed.
Jalven, daughter to Elf and Faerie folk, has gifted Avenel with her silken skin, yet flawed it became through a scar Avenel bears along her spine and wrists as well as the corners of the eyes and mouth. But the skin was not the only gift Jalven parted with, for she was modest despite her undeniable beauty, kind and wise beyond her years, and thus kindness and wisdom is what Avenel shows to others.
Xia-Xalune was the name of a promising child, inquisitive and interested in the workings of man, nature and the gods, and she was a mage-to-be, yet like a rose that stands out she was plucked to adorn some other place. Her greatest asset, the swift mind and judgment, adorn Avenel now, and make up what is her innermost self, for in the sanctum of her soul, she is still an inquisitive child, wide-eyed and lively, but tempered by the storms she had weathered to a more durable form, more fitting for this dire world and dire times. Still, the optimism and faith that all makes sense Xia possessed are what is needed to weather other storms that lie ahead.
Fiona dwelt in the wood, a child of Elvenkind and a forest spirit. By day she walked on two legs and spoke with words, by night four paws bore her and her voice was that of a wildcat. Into a net she was trapped, and a blade ended her life. Her teeth now give Avenel her bite, her nails arm Avenelâs hands and her tail that swishes behind Avenel when she is angry. From Fiona, Avenel inherited her love of nature and desire for freedom. And it is due to Fiona that Avenelâs heart beats the strongest in the night.
Nimoe and Nalai, twins born to a poor fisherman’s family, were not to be separated, and when a mysterious woman came looking for an apprentice with gold in hand, the two were given to her as one. The very same woman ended their lives to allow the birth of Avenel, and the twins died together, their last breaths fused into one. Their muscles and lungs drive now Avenel forward, but never will be forgotten the love for the sea, the appreciation of simple things and joy. But their most precious gift is the love Avenel can feel for someone close to her - unquestioning, loyal all-encompassing. Many times has life and fate tried to strip her of this feeling, but the legacy of the twins lives on.
Soon, still young and meek, Avenel fled, imagining that no place could be worse than that which she was forced to call home. How she was mistaken! The world was ruled by people who cared for nothing besides themselves, who inflicted pain for the sake of inflicting it, who killed men for but a golden tooth, who let children starve to gorge themselves with food and vomit it out again.
Soon she was to feel that world on her own skin when she was enslaved, and driven with whip and chain to follow her master’s every whim. Run away she did, only to be caught again - she saw people who could aid her avert their gazes, priests who had promised her a hiding place betraying her for a few coins and knights who swore to carry her away slake their lust instead. That was when she decided when flight was not the answer, and Walisse approved. Many years have passed since her first escape and she has grown in strength. Avenel tempted her jailor and then crushed his rips between her thighs, gouged out his eyes and snapped his neck - such was her anger then. With the keys in hand she opened the bonds of those who had to suffer along her, and soon the manor was cleansed of the slavers’ filth. Avenel herself lifted up a ceremonial sunstave of Madriel kept in the manor’s chapel, and not too soon it was bathed in blood, an earnest and immediate sacrifice. Life that was unworthy was returned to the cycle, and the heralds of the rising sun snuck out into the city, into other dens of oppression, only to carry the sun-kindled flame further. As the sun again set its gaze upon the world, the city was freed, and those who had to dwell in shadow bathed in its life-giving warmth, and those who had to look down were free to raise their gaze.
But Avenel left the place of first triumph, now no longer a rebel slave but an itinerant priest, an owl that carries the sun into dark places, a shadow clad in brightness, an illuminating eclipse.
Travel much she did, and many an evil she saw, often too powerful to combat. Still, driven by guilt and the voice of those that allowed her birth, she did not yield, but instead fell back like the sun clouded by a dragon’s wing. Instead of giving up where others would, she became tempered; determined and mellow in behavior instead of raging. Nonetheless, still she was ready to pick up a blade or sun-star to cull the vile and wicked from the flock, to return those who insult the sun by their presence back to the cycle to give them another chance to prove the worth of their soul.
The actions of others as well as her own were the cause for Avenel to choose the name she bears now, for it is the sun that sees all the wickedness but it is Luna who suffers, the sun’s sister that is pained by the evil that man does. She takes no pleasure in the blood that she sheds, even though it was intended to be her sustenance. She takes no pleasure in the pain she might cause, even though it was meant to be what drives her. Avenel is a child of the night, but the choice was hers, and she has chosen to walk the path of the sun.
Avenel is driven by deep caring for others - one of the few true altruists. Specially indebted she feels towards the families of those who had to give their lives to give her birth - she prefers to stay unknown, aiding them with both gold and deed, finding good mentors for the children and warding off enemies.
While she never curses, is polite and refined, do not let yourself be fooled, for she is capable of violence and ruthlessness if pushed far enough - but she will do everything in her power NOT to let that happen.
She’s humble, and little tempted by wealth or status - there are far more important concerns, after all.
Due to the ability to always seek consel with the twelve souls that make her up, she’s a very fast thinker indeed, rarely falling prey to indecision and procrastination. Also, she’s able to pay attention to several subjects at once, and her concentration is truly difficult to disturb (say, when spellcasting).
Weak spots of her character are her lack of experience with relationships, as she is actually afraid of starting one with a man - not surprising considering that she was the victim of sexual violence several times. Thus, a man who is kind to her and seems attractive might actually scare her.
Also, she’s better at speaking TO people than speaking WITH people - her oratory talent comes to the fore only in mass encounters, and not in a small-talk ... while she might have little trouble inciting a revolt, explaining a friend that he should say stop drinking, or calming a scared child might pose a far greater challenge.
Also, if something truly frightens her, she’s not one scared young woman, but rather twelve scared young women ... not very beneficial - but then, her anger and resolve are likewise harder to break.