Xanthium Dyvim is a half-elf (technically, three-quarters elf) of Faendryl origin, her father is Giliad Dyvim Faendryl (known as Asylum around the Landing and Solhaven) and her mother is Ysharra Nagorn, a ranger from an extrinsic human settlement in Northern Elanith originally, and currently a resident of Wehnimer's Landing.
Xanthium is another name for cocklebur, and in the Language of Flowers , cocklebur spears mean pertinacity, mimicking the manner in which the flowers and spurs adhere to passersby.
One summer Ysharra was traveling with her former paramour, Asylum, to visit their Faendryl kin just outside of New Ta'Faendryl, when they were both caught in a strange rift in the heart of Wyrdeep Forest. Munin, Ysharra's raven companion, managed to avoid the epicenter of the trap, and winged her way to Asylum's father, Dyvim Kalal, who mounted a rescue. It took some time to find, isolate and pierce the interior of rift to get them out, and when they did, both parties discovered that time had flowed differently on either side of the phenomenon, and Ysharra was heavily pregnant. They were taken to Dyvim Kalal's compound, and Ysharra soon gave birth to two daughters, Akonite and Xanthium.
Akonite, the elder twin, closely resembles her father, and has often been able to pass as Faendryl, despite her having pale coloring and coal-black hair. She shares those features with the Dyvims, as they had mostly been spared some of the aesthetic affects of living in Rhoska-Tor. Xanthium, on the other hand, takes after her mother in being very tall, possessing nearly white-blonde hair and alabaster skin. Her human heritage is far more obvious, and while she was accepted by the members of her Faendryl family, she led a much more isolated existence than her sister.
- You see Xanthium.
- She appears to be a Half-Elf from Ta'Faendryl.
- She is of a towering height. She appears to be very young. She has argent-haloed indigo eyes and pale porcelain skin. She has long, cascading white blonde hair flowing down into a riotous tumult of textured waves and gold-touched spiral curls. She has a fine-boned, heart-shaped face, a long, narrow nose and a bow of lush, mulberry red lips.
- She is in good shape.
- She is wearing an ornate black ironwood dragon earcuff, a billowing jade green robe collared in hematite and pewter beadwork, a dark orchid bell-sleeved blouse, a silver coiled serpent bracer, a floor-length viridian spidersilk skirt composed of deeply pleated layers, and some pale silk stockings wrapped in black velvet vines under some faenor-hued interlocked ringmail thigh-boots laced with copper wire.
Associations & Beliefs
When Xanthium and her sister first came to Wehnimer's Landing, her mother had been absent from her life for some time, as a result of going on a personal sojourn to temper her grief over her actions in the Griffin Sword Saga. When Xanthium and Akonite arrived to find her, she initially rejected them, and ordered them to return to New Ta'Faendryl. A Faendryl mage by the name of Lord Thrassus Feydark intervened on their behalf, and helped convince Ysharra to allow them to remain and find their own path to power and ability. Akonite had been allowed to join the Sorcerer's guild in New Ta'Faendryl, and was immediately glad of the chance to use their new settings as a practice ground to increase her Summoning and Necromancy experimentation and research. Xanthium, on the other hand, was hurt by her mother's first response, and spent most of her time alone, until recently.
Xanthium and her mother eventually made their peace, and now their bond is mended and stronger than before. Xanthium has taken up her mother's gardening avocation, and began accompanying her near-daily to the Temple of Ivas in Vipershroud, and while there met several of the Dancer's order. After some contemplation, she joined Ivas' order, and took her vows in the summer of 5119.
Xanthium is very fond of her new home in the Landing, and has bonded with her mother's beloved, the necromancer Melikor, as well as the Landing's former mayor Lylia Rashere, Priestess of Ivas Nola, her "guardian" Juspera Spintari and Thrassus' cousin, the warrior Zolis. She has grown particularly close with her superior in the Temple of Ivas, Brother Kothos Blud. During the year of 5120, she served as the co-campaign manager for mayoral candidate and barrister Faerinn Greatsinger.
Orchestrina Xanthium’s breath caught as she worked through the difficult axel turn, barely managing to bring her working leg down in enough time to prevent a fall. Now her rhythm was hopelessly kinked. Still, she finished the routine before completely beating herself up for it, and thus found herself able to get back onto the beat in the final pivot. The difference in effort and grace between now and when she took to the floor after Service was humbling, and she took it personally. She had been a dancer long before she took her vows, and her skill and love for it needed to be maintained. “You were off-balance from the first ball change.” For not the first time, Xanthium wondered just how her grandfather always knew where she was. This time, that was the rehearsal hall in the Landing’s bard guild. Not only know she was here, but how the pales did he get in himself? “But I started with the ball change, Grandfather.” “So you did.” The familiar smirk that accompanied the response was going to be etched in her memory deeper than her own name. Xanthium responded silently, giving him a long, searching stare instead, which he again easily countered. He grabbed her still-outstretched hand and hauled her into a spin, forcing her to fall into the fourth position, heels turned out, or be spilled upon the hardwood. She raised her arms up to match her feet, and twirled herself out into a pirouette, letting him be the one to keep up. He laughed, and they coursed across the floor together, letting their soft sounds of amusement and enjoyment be their score. Dyvim Kalal was one of the few elves she knew taller than she, and between their shared height and his centuries of experience, he was one of her favorite people to dance with. Xanthium breathed in his presence and humor, feeling them untangle the knot of anxiety and longing that was always knitted into her belly. She switched back to her native Faendryl, with a momentary sensation of comfort from that, in not having to constantly think of the correct translation. They paced across the imaginary corners of the floor, passing the lead back and forth with a few experimental turns. She pleased herself by occasionally outpacing him, their competitiveness and mirth a perfect remedy for her earlier awkwardness. Finally they came to a rest in the center of the hall, and he kissed her hand affectionately. His pale grey eyes creased with the smile, the only lines that ever crossed his face at all. It was a marvel, that face, and the raven-black hair that framed it- so he had been as for nearly two thousand years prior to her birth, and would be this way long after she turned to dust. "Speaking of meter..." They spoke as they left the hall, walking out to Parsnips Street, where she saw the tail end of Grandfather's caravan making its way toward Moot Hall. He had brought Lady Rashere what he could, from his own plantation and that of his Agrestis allies. Naimorai Kestrel's blight raged on past her demise, this shipment would help, at least for a little while. "...what I wanted to ask you about. Does your foundry still do contract work for the Chronomages?" He regarded her curiously and nodded, "We are far from being their only provider, but yes, we still produce the brass and gold suitable for their work. Why?" "I told you about the mystery unfolding in Mist Harbor. It's nearly worthy of one those stories you used to tell me. Shadowy figures and magic weapons..." "Those were not stories, Xanthium. They were warnings for you to pass on to anyone you might recite them to, to be wary of crossing your kin." He had a point, as they wandered closer to the Town Square, she had to pick her way around the putrid piles of snow and garbage, while he appeared to glide unhindered, as if the gunk and refuse dared not to cross him, either. It reminded her of the way in which the shadows seemed to part for Socius to come and go during the events of this past Restday, as well as the assassin and their most unusual dart. She told her grandfather of the attempt on Administrator Selbi's life, as it was, and how the dart left an impression of non-conformity, as if it did not quite belong- before it vanished from each appearance. "I heard the whir of a Chronomage device, when the Messenger- that's what Faerinn calls them- first appeared outside of Greth's bar. But I didn't see it. The dart might well be one of their devices, or at least known to them. It had that sensation, of displacement. I was hoping you might use your contacts to see if anyone would talk to me. Something I could pass on to those who seek out this strange attacker." Xanthium thought of the faces and personalities she'd been getting to know; Xilona with her kind smile and ready humor, verbose and poetic "Lord High" Nehor, stolid and protective Greth, fierce Darcena. She whispered some detailed observations to her grandfather, telling him of each of them, and finally, what she'd learned about the giantess, little as it was. As she spoke, her recollection settled upon one face in particular, and she decided- if she was fortunate enough to find out anything from the Chronomages, he would be the one she would share it with. At least, to start. "Xanthium, the Chronomages are notorious for being not just secretive, but veritably unknown outside of their services and their price for them. I am not sure even my status would warrant a meeting, much less useful information. But of course, I will try. Mist Harbor, you said? Once I am done here and meet with your father, I will travel hence. A few days. Best I can do." He pulled her hand back to his lips for a farewell kiss, and she looped her arms about his neck instead, regretting that most all their visits were so brief. His hand left hers and lighted down upon her face, a familiar gesture that made her miss him already. With that, he turned to go, and the distance between them seemed to swell with the stench of the blight; the noise and clatter of the midday square grew to a cacophonous force. The chill that came with it sparked a memory, and she called back out to him, getting him to turn and meet her gaze. "I know, you realize. I know I'm the spring lamb, Grandfather." He stared back at her, and the grief that met her eyes nearly made her fumble. They held their positions, the sky darkening with falling clouds. Finally, he nodded. "I will try, Xanthium." His posture became more reserved, though his grey eyes kept the pain of her reference upon their silvered surface. "Go find some company. You will need it, soon." With that, her grandfather vanished into the convoy, leaving her alone in the square.
Vespers Xanthium stretched her lithe frame up and over the last of the hurdles, and gazed down for a moment at the dizzying, stomach-bending sight of the cyclopean stone stairs falling to the jagged plains below. The angles swirled together in the thinner air, and combined with the hypnotic miasma of cold grey to black skies, she had to clutch the side of the top step, until her mind and body knew up from down. Besides the rumbling, coursing wind about her, the black shrine crowning the stairwell was still, and quiet, which, in fact, was why she had come to the Broken Lands. Standing before the shrine’s fresco, she was alone. No one came all the way out here, anymore, save for Lord Xorus, and she hoped that by now she knew his aura well enough to duck out should he come to look in on the halls and urns. The chill in the air mimicked her memory, of traveling to the Four Winds archipelago several weeks ago, while in a metaphorical cloud of tumult herself. She had recently been killed; she felt the need to flee the cold of Icemule, the mockery and questions of he who is beauty and vexation in the flesh, and seek warm, humid, heat. Only to find more gods-cursed snow. Fierce Darcena had told her that Mist Harbor was in a crisis, and if she wanted to help find out what was going wrong, to come the island on the next Restday, and so, she had. What followed was a chaotic puzzle of requests, solicitations, stories and faces that swept her into their midst as sure as the steady beat she started here with her lance against the stones of the dark shrine’s outer stone wall. The solid core of elemental magic thumped against the rock, like a marimba being struck with a weighted mallet, the air forming the lance’s outer shell vibrating with a sonic thrum. Her first vocal tones were soft, wordless hums, as she gained entry to the interior of the shrine, following the curved stone to rap out more of the building rhythm, weaving her voice in as the sonorous harmony. She had just started to sound out a scale of notes to match the reel of Mist Harbor faces when the first few denizens of the shrine returned her call. The vruul loped into the vestibule, spied her just below the mammoth-sized statue of the Destroyer, and charged, coloring her song with deep howls. Oh, she hummed; how I love to dance a little sidestep. The rustling of the vruuls’ vestigial wings blended with the rippling of her jade green robes as she dodged their advance, and countered with a sweep of the lance, knocking them both off their clawed feet. Her next notes crested across their misshapen skulls, seconds before the lance crushed them in. Xanthium’s voice rang out, pushing the dust from shredded vruuls away, and the force of the blow vaunted her into the air, landing in a pretty spill of a plié. The swell of music rose and fell with her chain of leaps and twirls across the ebon floor. Here, she could sing all that she felt with no one to hide it from. Juspera, her eyes and grin filled with guile, the defiant plucks of a shamisen’s strings swirling about Xanthium’s melody, with hazy outlines of tiny manacles in her wake. The soulful, plaintive pitch of the shawm surfaced from the storm-hued eyes of Traiva’s ethereal beauty, chased by poetic, secret sapphire chords of Lynaera’s richly-trilled mandolin. A rousing rat-a-tat-tat skittered about her leaping feet, as two ghostly foxes chased one another to the patter of a tambourine’s thrum, followed by a whimsy of fife-piping that coalesced into one of Ordim’s muffins and Mellny’s raven-black pigtails. Faerinn’s honey-hued curls blended into a playful kora’s strumming, as his warm smile over Selbi’s office door became the only truly righteous act she’d ever known. There, in the heat of her dance, amid the glimmer of balefire green, Lylia’s poised, elegant hands and questing eyes keyed into a dulcimer’s hypnotic skirls of sound. Lord Feydark gazed over them all with his ashen serpent winding across the stone, the hissing cymbals rolling along like flickering scales. Xanthium lost her step over the next alabaster face, nearly falling in the stone hall as the giantess’ voice cut through her song with a banshee wail. She stopped, and let the grief-stricken discord take over, becoming part of the wave of sound rushing across the landscape, before adding the next call: a keening lament, for those who sang their last, or became undone in the days of deception and desperation. Selbi, Socius, and even Nehor, his pretty face falling from his amused, triumphant smirk into a well of pain; the mad dash down from a harp’s shoulder to its brace, foreboding and consuming. Xanthium filled the dark corners of the sanctum with their song, a symphony of passion so strong it pulsed across the dark, with her a flash of green, silver and gold in the middle of the night-hued stone. The chorus thundered, and she knew that some day, soon, another brilliant storm would swell and take up this tune again, and all those she sang for would come back to dance, to burn, fight, die, and be reborn on the strange, paradise stage of Mist Harbor. Bringing her sonic lance about as a fulcrum to spin smoothly into an arabesque pose, Xanthium dropped into a final, graceful bow, a farewell and a thank you. An amen.
Berceuse Xanthium let the latch fall into its cradle, pausing there to take a long breath, her knitted brow pressed on the dark wood door. The room was the star-themed suite in the Cysaegir Hostelry, and had become her favored sleep chamber east of the Dragonspine, at least, while she was alone. Indeed, the room still held a hint of blood orange; the citrus tang was a comforting refugee from her meager evening meal earlier. Her next breath filled her nose with the sweet scent, and finally she turned, twirling on tip-toe with a grace she did not feel, and faced the small room. The incandescent white orbs that roosted in the dark grey room's corners beguiled her, flashing brightly enough that her eyes were immediately drawn to the chamber's main decorative element, the crystal dancer before the bed. Xanthium continued her ball change step over to the statue, and stopped in front of the shimmering Aelotoi figure, thinking how the gentle curves and shining wings reminded her of her friend Traiva. The dancer was large enough to block her enemy in the room, the sleighbed with snowy-white sheets waiting for her. Sighing from the effort of staying on her arches, Xanthium finally dropped down to a walk, and crossed the rest of the distance to the head of the bed. The next few battles were humbling. She disrobed down to her chemise, and each layer of clothing gone made her vulnerability closer, more tacit. By the time she got in bed, she was ashamed to see she was trembling. Her final task was to unwrap the curious and horrible gift from Jaysehn, the witchwood figurine of a crying child. She did so quickly, placing it upon the bedside table, and gave it a final, studying gaze. Hauntingly lifelike in its appearance, the child kneels, pitifully weeping away its sorrows. Still dressed in its bed-clothes, its emaciated arms grasp feebly at the remnants of a torn stuffed bear. Jaysehn claimed that this effigy would draw her night terrors to it, that she'd struggled with since her childhood. She turned from it, and as she laid back upon the silken pillows, she began the first few hums of a soft lullaby. When she settled, she put her power into it, and felt the soporific magic start to take hold of her, soothing her rampant pulse into a calmer rhythm. Tonight, to test this figurine's power, she wasn't going to escape into insomnia, she would force herself to sleep with her dulcet song. Just as she was about to drift away, the corner of her heavily-lidded eyes caught the flicker of the door opening. She tried to will herself up, feeling frightened anew, but her body would not respond, the lullaby had claimed her. Her heart clamored and rang, but the limbs and lungs surrounding it slumbered on. Paralyzed, she could only watch, dazed, as a figure strode into the room. "You and I need to have a little talk, Xandi." Seated now at the end of the bed was her mother, Ysharra's soft tones belying her ominous words and intrusion. Xanthium tried to respond, and once more felt nothing save the ache of fear in her throat. Not real, none of this is real... "You know you can't help them. You don't even truly want to, why would you? What is this Socius to you, or even Mist Harbor itself? You're just there to prove something, and you'll fail." The vision of her mother, with her streaming, ghost-white hair became more ethereal, still. Her voice had a mocking nature to it, and despite her mental reassurances, Xanthium felt herself be wounded by her accusations, tears welling up to join the terror. Ysharra leaned in, her silhouette distorted enough that her change of position brought her face directly in front of her own, hovering above her. "It is not just me who thinks that, no. I brought another who wishes to confront you, dear." Ysharra's face wavered and spun up, out of the way, as the room's other inhabitant dropped down from the deep grey ceiling. The beast's dark, armored carapace coiled down with silent grace, the only sound a soft clicking as the segments knitted together over her. Xanthium once again seized up, begging her legs and arms to move but as the thing pressed her down to the mattress, the weight of the monster and her own magic rendered her bound. Only her lips parted, and a moment later, with great effort, she turned her head, trying to shield herself from the insect-like creature. For a moment the crying child's effigy greeted her, but was quickly interrupted by her mother's shade. The dark red amulet about Ysharra's throat glimmered into focus, and raspy, noxious scratching sounds joined the terrifying chorus around Xanthium's head. The inky, rippling flaw in the crimson crystal flickered, and Xanthium's eyes were overtaken with a tapestry of images; of a sylvan bent over in pain, his silver hair clotted with blood, a redheaded Faendryl with all the color drained out of her dead face. Bronzed skin rent with lashings, shielding a sylvan woman with platinum, scarlet-tipped tresses and a broken neck. Honey-hued hair hanging from a severed scalp, storm-grey sorcerous eyes staring forever into oblivion. Spread between them all, a halfling boy connected the tableau of horror, gazing at Xanthium with shock and misery. "You know, this little thing might have worked, Xandi. If you hadn't stolen this amulet from your mother, and used your pretty voice to sing it a song." The distant sound of the wood figure clattering to the floor accompanied a thick, nauseating feeling of a spine being driven through her chest, and where it pierced went numb, leaving her more helpless than ever. The visions of her friends and beloved writhed, and slowly rewound, showing every stage of their deaths and torments while her mother's doppelgänger continued. "That means we aren't dreams, Xanthium. Much worse. We're your memory. A shadow you'll never be rid of. Sing for us again, if you can. You will certainly cry...ah, look, you are already." The beast above her joined not-Ysharra's loathsome threats, and a mind-rending shriek of discordant sound burrowed into Xanthium's brain, and the visions replayed on and on. Xanthium shuddered and whimpered, her strength fading fast. From outside, the hostelry's nightshift innkeeper wandered past the southern end of the upper hallway, making sure all was clean and calm. The night was silent, though he noticed that the Star Room's door had come slightly ajar. Knowing the young Ivasian was in there, he chuckled softly, clearly she and whoever was in there with her had distractions when they went in. As he pulled it shut, he heard the sounds of rustling silk, and smiled again, they were definitely busy! He turned, leaving the hallway to the almost muted tones of struggle and soft, still moans.
Fermata Xanthium stretched out the flat of her inner thigh across the length of the barre, letting the tension coil and release from the muscle, the last of yesterday's strain ebbing away into her workout. As soon as the spasms stilled, her pulse calmed, and she dismounted, landing upon the hardwood floor into an easy, graceful échappé, her feet and legs light and relaxed. It was good to be home; the Landing's bard guild was its usual refuge, silent, warm, a perfect place to reflect on her week-end, her trip to the Nations, and the news from yesterday's trial. Now that she was at rest, Xanthium dropped down to the floor, digging into her knapsack for a length of linen, winding the soft fabric around her breastbone, face, and throat in turn, to dab away the sweat and salt from her skin. Then she removed the silky, brilliant blue iris from her chignon, letting the rich waves and silver-touched curls flow down her back to the floor, while she rummaged until producing her raven quill and some lilac-hued vellum. There, on the dance floor, she began to write out the thoughts that had blossomed during her routine, those that pertained to the outcome for Lord Socius Leiffen, the Headsman of Mist Harbor. Barrister Faerinn, despite losing the trial in a nominal sense, had won the war, it seemed. Thus, she saw a path to perhaps soothe the tension 'pon both sides, and make a little headway of reconciliation, too. The other musings and passions that visited her in the realm of the devant, the tendu and so on would remain her own, until she chose to share them. Lord Leiffen, I hope this missive finds you well, and that the request within is one to your liking, as I believe it will accomplish some of what the magistrate has asked of you, and not be a hardship to you or the island folk that you serve and protect. And what's more, will give those I love, the Landing and its needful many, a true gesture of kindness and succor, in light of what you have all suffered. You entered into an agreement with my mentor and liege, Imperatrix Lylia Rashere Faendryl, where you agreed to provide some manner of sustenance to the Landing, when she was still Mayor and the town in the grips of Naimorai Kestral's blight. While we hope that the blight is waning, it lingered deep into the planting season, and it seems certain that the crops will not last the winter. Thus, I ask that the greater part of what you offer, should you and the Landing magistrate agree, to be a regular shipment of what the Island can spare, particularly stock such as rice, coconuts and tree nuts, which are richly nutritive and require no preservation. I would be more than happy, in my position as Emissary to House Brigatta and Lady Lylia, to act as liaison in this effort. Let us put the dead to rest, even if they lost their lives due to the actions of those who used us, in turn. Let us feed and comfort those who are still here, and turn our laments into a cautious, tremulous new chorale. Hope needs a little help here and there, and while you may not feel it, yet, and may never, the end of this savage act can be salvaged into a bow of joined cooperation, and budding strength. Lord Faerinn, your capable barrister, is my colleague in Brigatta, and I am certain that he will be of great help to us both, and the Landing and Harbor, too. Yours in Service, Emissary Xanthium Dyvim Xanthium stands, blowing carefully across the letter's ink, along with the similar one addressed to the magistrate in Moot Hall, and packs everything away, resolving to find one of the town's lithesome runners when she gains the streets once more. She rolls her shoulders in a jaunty little sidestep as she leaves, marveling upon the sky-blue glimmer, and the sunlight through the window panes. This summer would be blessed once more, the dark dreams scattered. Breathe.