Elaejia Silithyr is an elf originally from Ta'Loenthra. Daughter of Aeric and Irinjia Silithyr, she was born on the 14th of Fashanos, 4793. She was a bookish and introverted youth, but was encouraged by her socialite mother to come to enjoy society life. Following a disreputable incident, the Silithyr family retreated to their country estate in 5114. After spending several years closeted at the estate, she departed with her faithful Winedotter, Wilver, to join society circles outside of Ta'Loenthra, which is not currently disposed to accept Silithyrs.
Elaejia is an accomplished sculptor and calligrapher, and pursues varied related artistic endeavors. She occasionally offers private tutoring in the arts to students who show promise. She also maintains a botanical conservatory in the Silithyr Villa and studies magical dendrology and sylviculture.
- You see Lady Elaejia Silithyr Loenthra the Aristocrat.
- She appears to be an Elf.
- She is moderately tall and has a muscled, but soft physique. She appears to have come of age. She has subtly tilted cobalt-violet eyes and rose-tinted fair skin. She has very long, silky caramel-brushed blonde hair pulled back from the temples into twinned fishtail braids and bound in a low chignon. She has a thin-boned, gracefully angular countenance, tapering to a softly pointed chin.
- Within a golden unified frame, a silver harp is set on a dark amethyst field. It is above a threaded needle piercing a columbine bloom. On the upper left, a slender stalk of purple gladiolus serves as the flourish, and flanking the harp to the lower left is a needlepoint pillow pierced by a sleek golden needle; to the right, a mosaic death mask.
Elaejia took up textile artwork in her time spent at the Silithyr country estate. She also sculpts in stone in her spare time, but unfortunately her last piece was lost to Western highwaymen on its way to her first exhibition outside Ta'Loenthra in 5119, the Cairnfang Manor Grand Art Exhibit. In early 5020, the piece was recovered with the help of her cousin Aendir and was resubmitted to the same gallery exhibition, albeit via a more heavily guarded caravan:
- "Talador Will Rise" -- by Elaejia and Aendir Silithyr
- an on pointe elven maiden statuette raising a squalling human child - Garbed in airy, layered fabrics, the maiden displays flowing, gold-shot marble hair and a peacock feather pendant. With a look of satisfaction, she holds a human child, its face contorted in angry tears. She holds the toddler upward with implicit tenderness while he twists within her grasp. His eyes are inset with blue shimmarglin sapphires, the glint of the gem giving the illusion of tears. Fallen stones carved with illegible elven script comprise the base, her tiptoed posture heedless.
In the same exhibition in 5121, Elaejia and her cousin again cooperated on a submission, one that hearkens back to the culture of Ta'Loenthra. An example of a submission to the Chelboa Regatta, hosted every three years by the naval academy of the same name based in Ta'Loenthra. Participants in regatta, which occurs in the canals that criss-cross the city, ostensibly compete for coveted engineering and shipwrighting educations within the private academy, however it is also not uncommon for particularly beautiful pieces to result in invitations to several art academies of Ta'Loenthra as well. The regatta itself is a very popular affair, drawing large crowds to the bridges and spires of the city to cheer on their favored young builders.
- "Canal Hopper" -- by Elaejia and Aendir Silithyr
- a double-hulled lacecut cypress faering - Large enough for one or two children, the two layers of this small vessel's hull display careful attention to each detail. The grey-washed outer hull is a study in delicate laceworking, a motif of water lilies making use of more negative space than actual cypress wood. The lilac-tinted inner hull is stippled in pointille gold that echo the pattern, glinting in the ambient light. A pair of benches span the interior, and two gilt oar-rests rise from the gunwhales, carved in the shape of open-mouthed toads.
| After the court session, Joss left with Lady Orelwen, Aendir would likely soon follow Lady Rohese, and Ela was left again, alone. Alone after the unsatisfying drama of the poisoners, brought for nothing from Mist Harbor, even with a mountain of circumstantial evidence and the testimonies of respected Elves.
If the Mirror will not raise a finger to protect her people, for fear of appearing tyrannical even to outsiders, what business is it of mine to involve myself any longer? Let all of Illistim fall gasping, purple-faced, at her Reflection’s feet then.
Ela strode on through the night, avoiding the direction of the villa, avoiding her kin and their companions without realizing it. Her sandaled feet took her toward Veythorne at first, but she turned aside. (He might have taken her there, breathed through her mind, unnoticed). Southwestward then.
A tinge of regret, and self-recrimination: Friends... They are endangered by the Mirror's hesitance. Do I dare open myself to friends? The earnest kindness of some of these Elves is written upon their sleeves. The cleverness too, the subtlety, and the concern for Elvenkind is clear, even under the city-state's current regime.
The postern gate. Perhaps some uncultivated environs, true and straightforward. (Lacking soft dark eyes, glancing elsewhere, whispered by again, unconsidered.)
The westward path was rocky, unwelcoming to those unused to appreciating nature's artistry. a delicate, prickled vine clinging to the cliff side (perhaps a cutting to nurture up the southern wall of the villa), a cluster of white tufted nagel flowers, spreading a soft sweet scent from a hearty shrub, slowly widening a crack in the granite, (he's never been able to tame that tuft), a tableau of pale fallen stones festooned with night darkened lichens and mosses (the contrasts there are interesting, perhaps a sculpture could be thus adorned with the right encouragement...).
A startled yelp, a face whipped toward the sound of something large, clattering explosively upon the stones, peering into the darkness. Nothing at first made itself obvious, but a shattered shape lay among the stones. What could that... it looks like a broken staff or bough.. but there aren't any trees large enough here...
The rushing sound of wings filled the air. Looking up, she saw an absurdly large dark form sweeping downward. Not large enough to be a griffin, thankfully; still, its wingspan must have been nine feet. A dusky head, was that grey or reddish? Difficult to tell in the darkness. It glided smoothly down to land among the shattered remnants of the bough-- of the bone, she realized. It had been a bone, a femur perhaps, of some large creature. An ogre? The bird, a vulture, it dawned on her, ignored her and began picking through the shards, pulling marrow in clumpy ropes from the remnants and tossing its narrow feathered head up and back with jagged, knifelike precision to catch them in a cruelly hooked beak.
Revulsion rolled across her skin, at the same time that a spark of fascination flickered to life, curiously, just at the back of her throat. She blinked and shook her head, raising a hand from where it had lain clutched at her breast to cover her mouth for a moment. The movement caught the creature's attention and it stopped its rooting to regard her, turning its large head this way and that. Long dark feathers trailed from its sharp eyes, and a dark tuft sprouted beneath its chin. Rusty red, she decided, its head is stained rust red... Could it be blood? Did it find a dead ogre and dismember it only for a leg to break open for marrow? ... Or kill one itself?
The bird clacked its beak in her direction, once, twice. Protecting its meal, she guessed and took a step back, I should move on before it takes greater umbrage. But it had returned to its gory business, seemingly filled with purpose, and her feet had apparently taken up common cause with her throat and, transfixed, refused to move.
She glanced down at her court gown and snorted a little laugh at herself, What a fool I can be sometimes. This creature has clearly seen fit to remind me in a memorable fashion. Heedless of the dear fabric, she cast about for a moment and then quietly sat on a nearby mossy stone. He clearly doesn't mind my company and I wish to order my thoughts on the mockery of a court. This is as good a place as any, and who knows, perhaps he is a sign. She chuckled inwardly at this silly notion. Is there any advantage here for the Silithyrs to turn in their favor?
A wet slap disrupted her thoughts. Glancing down, a long string of vermillion marrow lay at her feet, a length stretching over the arch of her left foot.
A disgusted sound escaped her and she shook off the gore and shuffled backwards before glancing up at her company. "Am I disturbing you after all?" she demanded in an aggrieved but soft tone. The bird made no reply but watched her intently for a moment before reaching down and taking another ungainly swallow of the awful marrow. It paused and regarded her again. It clacked its beak. Did it sound... irritable? It spread its wings and beat them in her direction.
"A gift?" she asked aloud, surprising herself with her own voice. The bird clicked its razor beak in rapid succession, almost... Very nearly sounding like a snicker. Don't be ridiculous, Ela. Vultures don't share meals, and they certainly do not laugh. They're solitary unless raising young and you very clearly aren't a vile vulture fledgling.
"Well, I would not want to put you off your supper, so I will take my leave," she said primly, rising to her feet and sidestepping the congealing mass, be it an offering or pelted warning. She turned to head back to the city but hesitated; It's still early, the villa might well be... in use. Some tiny satellite in her breast drew a tide of stinging salt water within her to a crest of gooseflesh and then subsided. She shook the feeling off with a clenched jaw, refusing by fierce will to pin any language to the feeling.
Instead she turned northwest and continued up the path toward Seethe Naedal. The vulture watched her go, clicking its beak softly.
She picked her way to the hot spring, and finding a suitable spot sat beside it. She unlaced her sandals and lowered her feet into the warm water, taking a moment to scrub the blood from her foot with a grimace. Ugh. I had no idea vultures guarded their finds with slung shreds of it... seems rather wasteful and counter-productive against other beasts. Perhaps it was an example of avian madness.
"Oh, for pity's sake," she cried, "I left you in peace, leave me in mine!"
The vulture clacked at her, staring intently. It tore some marrow from its new find and straightened, the gore dangling wetly. It seemed to Ela that it was eyeing the distance to her speculatively
"Oh no, I don't want it," she said hurriedly, "It's all yours!"
Falling partially on a stone to her right, a lengthy, looping, loathsome tendril flopped partway into the spring. This creature could be Celaena's spirit animal, it's implacable. The gelatinous rope in the hot spring water tightened in the heat. She watched it, sickly entranced for a moment. The spark in her throat grew into an ember. Her stomach, however, clenched, repulsed.
"I am not interested in sharing your supper," she said tightly. The vulture only looked at her expectantly. Frowning, she steeled herself and picked the now firm mass of marrow from the spring, peeling the uncooked (auuuguurh...) portion from the stone, and flipped it back in the vulture's direction. The reaction was instantaneous.
The vulture snapped the gore from the air, swallowing it in a flash, and released a piercing trill that drilled into her ears like drake daggers. Copper flooded her mouth, and the ember in her throat seemed to hiss and throw sparks that landed variously in her earlobes, along her collarbone, in her chest, her belly, her thighs. She gasped in shock, back arched. She felt alight along all her nerves for an incredible, interminable moment. Just as suddenly, the sparks winked out. Only the ember remained, pallid, drawing into itself, creating a... vacuum.
Stricken, horrified, staring at the vulture, Ela croaked "What.. what are you?"
It chattered its razor beak at her again, snickering.
She got to her feet and ran.
Her sandals lay forgotten, the crust of blood on the vamp of the left drying in the evening air.
Whispering the cantrip that would camouflage her, make eyes slip over her without recognizing her presence, Ela crept into the villa's courtyard and thence to the sitting room. Her caution was unneeded, the ground floor of the manse was dark and silent. Her bare feet made no sound on the cold marble floor.
She had run nearly all the way to the Silithyr residence, looking up constantly for evidence of pursuit, but the clouded night sky held its secrets, and no moon betrayed dark wings behind her.
She slid open a drawer in her writing desk, pulling a sheet of rose-hued paper and a quill from it. After a few deep, steadying breaths, she leaned over the desk and wrote in a ragged hand:
Aendir, Joss, I must go for a short while, something pressing has made itself known to me... I will say no more until I improve my understanding. Do not look for me, please, I will not thank you for it.
She paused here for a span of heartbeats, and then signed it: All my love, Ela.
Murmuring thanks that the creature apparently didn't approve of indoor spaces, Ela eased into the cabin warily. She had passed it many times and knew it was uninhabited, but still in decent enough condition.
An irresistible feeling had overtaken her as she had left the villa. Initially her intention had been to seek knowledge, from books or else from some wise person (who? she hadn't decided yet). However, as she made her way toward the library Aeis, again her feet seemed to deny her. She turned instead toward the Sapphire gate, keeping to the shadows. Still barefoot and in her increasingly bedraggled gown (it would probably be a total loss), she carried only a small valise containing paper and quill and ink. She kept up the camouflaging magic in (likely vain) hopes of confounding the creature, and made her way eventually to this place.
What I need to know... I think I already know. Or at least the beginnings of it. And I won't find advice in any tome.
She thought back to her advice to Joss, Write it down...
The surviving ancient Ashrim treatises on the creatures and mysteries of the sea had always held a special fascination for her, when she had been a bookish youth. They had obviously taken special care to discover all they could about their chosen domain, and used weighted lines to measure the depths of the sea. On occasion, things returned from those depths with their lines. They were not always pleasant things.
Ela looked out the window at the trees surrounding her retreat. 'My weighted line is out there, I think. Now to record my findings... It would not be easy, but plumbing the depths of anything never are.
Resolved not to waste another breath, Elaejia clenched her jaw and strode out of the villa. Finding her sea star brooch, she turned it with such violence that she broke off one of the spindly brittle arms, which crumbled into dust in her hand.
“Gods damn it!” she hissed, just as the magic blackened her surroundings with a wrenching twist, the oath lost in the dark void between the Shining City and Mist Harbor.
Distantly glad the persistent rain plaguing the isle had abated, she made her way with a angry stride toward the fountain in the northern neighborhood where she had often found blessed solitude. That insufferable creature had managed to get under even Aendir’s skin, to the point that he left his own home.
Her thoughts continued in this vein as she reached her destination on the Boreas Ridge and took up a moody pacing. Eventually the sound of the fountain would work its way into her regard and her blood would cool, and the roaring in her ears would abate. It always worked, in time.
A shrill cry pealed above her, cauterizing her internal tirade in a heartbeat. She was rooted in place as the bearded vulture wheeled down from the heights and lit upon the invar railing on the far side of the mountainside path. It turned its cruel head this way and that, peering at her.
The dam within her broke. She snapped, “Why? I do not want any of your scraps, and especially not today!”
The creature blinked back at her, and began jerking his head back and forth, almost ... playfully. He then turned its back and began preening his feathers.
“You always turn up when you’re least wanted,” she muttered, and resumed her pacing. The vulture clacked its beak in response, in that infuriatingly mocking manner. “What could you know, anyway?” she demanded, and again, softer, “What is it that you know?”
The vulture sidled closer upon the railing to where she stood and ducked his head in her direction several times, inscrutably. She leaned moodily upon the railing just out of his reach, keeping her arms wrapped tightly around herself. “My brother named you Harbinger,” she whispered, closing her eyes for a long moment at the distraction of thinking of Jossarian. Joss... What have you entered into? Why do we see such different things?
She felt a gentle pressure beneath her right arm and her eyes snapped open. In the same instant, that familiar slow-moving molten heat flowed through her from the point of contact with the creature, settling in her stomach and setting her senses alight. Suddenly the colors around her, muted in the evening, took on a bluish radiance, the gentle wafting of the breeze became a roaring in her ears. She hunched her shoulders, clutched at her belly with a soft moan, slid down the railings until she sat crumpled in the vulture’s moonlit shadow.
“You bring this wracking to me,” she panted, “ What are you?”
From the roiling magma in her belly, a tendril slithered upward, searing around her heart, continued upward. It built upon itself, growing thicker, denser, as it crept up the veins in her neck, finally spidering into a webwork cradle around the base of her skull.
From this cradle, a feeling of wry amusement sidled into her thoughts. Elaejia choked out a rasped, “Harbinger…”
She reacted unthinkingly, recoiling and scrambling back from the railing. It can speak to me... After a fashion.
The vulture locked eyes with her a second time, jerking its stained ruby head back and forth. Amused, indulgent.
A feeling, her own, grew within her, finally. Resolve. Taking a deep breath, Elaejia stood slowly, and approached the railing once again. The vulture did not move, simply watched her. She reached toward it with a hand she was distantly surprised to see was not shaking. Her fingers lit on its shoulder and, for an instant, she could see her fingertips sink into the creature’s form, still visible, as if through a pale viridian haze.
A notion flashed across her mind. Aendir... I need your help.
| Routine. Starting every day with the same routine was important. A cup or two of strong black coffee, a glance through her ledgers and calendar, perhaps a few moments with a familiar book. Then a long hot bath, a few moments spent at the mirror with a brush, and at the wardrobe with a critical eye. These little rituals were important to center oneself and prepare for the day ahead.
However, on this morning, and on those of the past several weeks, Elaejia made a small but salient change to her routine. She drank wine.
Wilver delivered her requested bottle each morning with a worried look, and had on several occasions attempted to chide her, but after the first week even his most cantankerous exhortations were silenced by Elaejia’s temper.
Another new addition to the routine: reading the letter. It was the second letter he had ever written to her, and like the first, it had arrived late.
"I thought it high time I ceased my retreat from accountability... Leaving you was no easy feat... There is nothing I desire more in the lands than to be in your company."
Seven years. That was the span of time she had believed him dead.
Three years, the span of time since she received his first letter, a bolt from the blue.
Two years, the span of time since she watched him pledge himself to another.
At each juncture, Elaejia had endured a different ember of torment, and employed different effort to douse it. The first was a heavy, leaden thing, a collar that burned her throat and compressed her heart. She had drunk endless cups of tea with his widowed mother Maescia, as the grieving woman attempted to divine any rhyme or reason in their leaves.
The second was a breathless, pulse-pounding storm of white hot sparks that tore through her breast, shattering the collar. She had tried brandy then, to dull their pinpricks of confused ire and hope, as she set her mind to the journey west.
The third was a bitter and grainy coal that sat lumpen in her mouth, and could not be dislodged, only swallowed time and time again. This last she doused in coffee, strong and equally bitter, busied herself frenetically with work, and believed if she befriended his fiance, she could at last choke it down for good.
This last of course was accompanied by her introduction to Rauka, who seemed to be summoned by the tempestuous storms of her emotions. Had he been there every time before, lingering nearby, waiting? She could not say for certain. What peace she had not been able to find in her conversations with the Lorekeeper, she had finally managed to locate in his alien, vulturine companionship. But now outside the window, Rauka perched in his usual spot, and she studiously ignored his piercing crimson gaze.
This latest outrage had undone all her work again, and a new heat flared to life around her heart: a delicate molten glass lamina, threatening to harden... or shatter.
In truth, Elaejia felt made all of glass, liable to crack at any moment. The wine created a comfortable cotton feeling of safety that let her go about her days with relative normalcy. Elaejia poured the last of today’s bottle into her goblet and stared moodily at nothing as she drank it mechanically, without enjoyment, waiting for its swaddling armor to surround her.
"Wilver, draw the bath," she whispered tonelessly into the wind, knowing it would carry her request to his ear. It was time to start the day.
Some days later, her morning review of her calendar revealed that today she had agreed to travel west with Daevian. They had discussed this trip excitedly some time ago, to trek back to the uncanny Broken Lands and revisit the flora there to study whether its properties might be of interest or use.
She glanced longingly at the still-corked bottle set on her table that morning, but knew she should not. Daevian was far too perceptive. It was likely only the social settings of their past few meetings that had allowed her to mask her wine-steeped mind with apparent good humor.
"Aside from the foolish spectacle you made last week, of course," she thought grimly as she sorted through her wardrobe. She cursed herself for the hundredth time for her inability to contain that outburst at Aquilon and Lady Veloth. "There’s no way to salvage that gracefully, either, you bloody-minded fool."
Dry amusement tinged with a hint of pity once again filtered through the link she shared with Rauka, where he’d settled in the back of her mind. She glanced disgustedly through the open window at the vulture ready to snap at him, but the molten heat around her heart crackled dangerously and closed her eyes instead, turning away. His amusement faded and the pity transformed into a perversely comforting feeling of determination.
"Yes, today I will manage to appear normal. I can do that much, at least. Though I do wish you would come with me today, Rauka." The link shivered with revulsion and Elaejia got the sense that the bird could not understand her desire to return.
Shaking her head again, she finished dressing and braided her hair. "Well, I intend to stay in the west for some time. I cannot look at this villa one more day. So at the very least you can make your way to Vornavis and await me there."
Rauka regarded her with one red-ringed eye for a long moment, before leaping into the sky with heavy beats of his powerful wings.