Carea

Carea is one of the oldest elves still living and active on mainland Astrom. The daughter of Therendir and grand-daughter of the fabled Firnar, King of the Wood-elves, she is immortal and no less beautiful now than she was when her life began its long story nearly 9,000 years ago. As a member of the Fandáth, the Third Generation of the elves, she was born during the Great Bliss and remembers the elder days before the Great Wars. She is older even than King Lancearon of Ithrill, and far more so than High King Lithan, yet for all her venerable lifespan and legendary prestige she is an outsider to the elven establishment, for all her life she has been a rebel…

Her youth was one of bliss in Therenmar, living in a forest realm untouched by war or sorrow. She delighted in the fresh beauty of the world and her love was given to the wide forests of Kalimar and the beasts that dwelt therein. Long before she came of age, she was distinguished by having a different spirit to those around her, a flame of intrepid independence that burned hotly within her soul. Eschewing the quiet lifestyle of other Wood-elf maidens, she pursued adventure and excitement, proving herself the equal of the other great explorers of that day, Prince Avar of the Avatar and Prince Lorthondir of the Marintors.

She was betrothed to a Wood-elven lord who shared her temperament, but their love was overshadowed by the coming of war. Carea’s betrothed was one of the first high-ranking casualties of the Great Wars, lost in the early onset when the majority of the Wood-elf nation hung back. Fuelled by grief and a desire for vengeance, Carea defied her father and went to the wars, fighting with her niece, Dácariel of Tol Ankil and the Sinithrai. She won great renown in the battles on the Triumblen Isles, and in those fateful days she discovered her true powers, innate magical ability that had lain dormant until awakened by dire need, and the ability to shape-shift into the form of birds and beasts. Thus, she became not only a celebrated warrior, but also a Wood-elf mage of great power. Yet her fame did little to reconcile her to her peace-loving father.

*

In the peace that followed the Great Wars she continued to reject her father’s wishes, spurning the advances of many suitors out of deference to the memory of her lost soulmate. She also grieved her father by studying magic at Oron Amular, where she cultivated her gifts as the apprentice of Firnai Master-Mage Kypranur. When she had learned all that she would of the magical arts, she left the League of Wizardry and revived her old passion for exploration. She conceived the desire to visit all the woodlands of Astrom, and she devoted long centuries to journeys which took her from the sun-scorched oases of the south to the everwhite forests of the snow-belt and everything in-between. On many occasions she travelled far in the company of Avar, whose wanderlust was the match of her own. Yet despite many rumours to the contrary, theirs was deep friendship and nothing more.

There came a time when she returned home to Therenmar and was reconciled with her parents, who loved her faithfully despite her headstrong ways. For her part she loved them dearly as well, and cherished the Healing Pools and peerless woods of her home, but her restless spirit did not let her spend long in idleness. For as the Second Chapter wore on her heart awoke to the heretical movements washing over the northern realms of Endomar and Ciricen, and the cause of faithful believers who came to experience increasing persecution. Setting forth once more in voluntary exile, she spent long centuries doing all in her power to succour the true believers among the Firnai, both in Endomar, Ciricen and Aranar. Yet she could not prevent the Great Betrayal, and sickened by that cataclysm, she retired to the Inner Isles and fell into a deep sleep of forgetfulness.

**

Carea slept so long in the far reaches of elven dreams that some feared she would never awaken. Eventually she did arise again to life and hope, but it was not long before rumours of worsening trouble in the world reached even the tranquil islands and disturbed the counsels of the elven lords. It was the ill-fated attack upon the elven islands by a Mortal armada that shocked Carea back into action, prompting her to sail to the mainland. She would never return, for in the aftermath of the attack High-King Avatar removed the islands from Mortal reach, veiling them behind a magical barrier.

Carea returned to Astrom with enmity for the Mortals in her heart, but she quickly perceived that the evil sorcerer was the true enemy, and she committed her talents and energy to the struggle against him. Reunited with her tutor, the Mage-lord Kypranur, she marched to Urunmar and the overthrow of Kurundar in the First War, but though she survived the harrowing encounter, her mentor did not. A new generation of Mage-lords succeeded to power in Oron Amular and when they refused to allow her to continue her studies, her link with the League of Wizardry was broken.

She returned to Therenmar and was reconciled with her family for a time. Many years she mourned her lost mentor at the Pools of Healing and lived contentedly in the woods while the world outside knew a brief interlude of peace. Yet it was her fate not to remain at ease forever, and when evil stirred again, she felt the call in her heart to go and oppose it wherever and howsoever she could.

She aided Lancearon of Ithrill in some of his endeavours and thwarted him in others. She came to the aid of the Lordai in their mortal struggle with the Sordai in Ciricen and for several generations of Mortals she ruled her own kingdom in Firwood, driving out the evil there and establishing a bastion of strength against many foes.

Ultimately her designs went awry, and she lost her crown amid much woe, and in long centuries of struggle against the dark wizards seduced to Kurundar’s side she suffered much. She would return ever and anon to Therenmar for rest and healing, but always it would be a brief sojourn before plunging back into the struggles of the world. Few elves were so committed to the fight against evil, and even fewer were so misunderstood by the elven hierarchy.

Deprived of much of the aid she needed and the thanks she deserved, Carea nevertheless was instrumental in the defence of Kalimar against Kurundar at the height of his power. Though less conspicuous than some, she was truly one of the great heroes who contrived his second downfall, winning for Astrom another brief peace. All too brief…

***

In the Second War of Kurundar Carea forged a lasting friendship with Curillian, the exiled Maristonian prince, and together they had many adventures and won much renown. After the war they went their separate ways, their deeds remembered and celebrated in elven song. Curillian won back his throne and Carea found a new niche for herself in Kalimar. Maintaining an uneasy friendship with High King Lithan, she took it upon herself to command the defence of its most vulnerable border, keeping vigilance over the mountain passes with Dorzand.

After long millennia of estrangement, she renewed ties with the League of Wizardry and learned much from the aging Keeper, Kulothiel. As the League declined and Kulothiel’s need of aid grew, Carea helped to guard Oron Amular against enemies and established a following of many brave and gifted elves. Kulothiel affirmed Carea’s calling from Prélan and instilled in her fresh conviction for her leading role in the great struggle against Kurundar. As many things passed away and new perils arose, the ailing Kulothiel hinted that her greatest deeds lay still before her…

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