Female Warden of the Watchful Owl Tribe
Name: Fera Windsilver
Hair color: Light red-brown
Eye color: Brilliant blue
Build: Toned and athletic
Fera’s hair is chopped and short in the front, ending just below her chin, but long in the back and tethered in a braid wrapped in a long leather cord like a whip. Her eyes are keen and alert, watching for danger at all times. The marks on her face are silver-white but are not tattoos or make-up, but symbols given to her by the elemental spirits when she accepted their charge to become a warden in exchange for their power and insight. They cannot be removed by any means unless she turns her back on her calling.
Fera appears to be aloof, gruff and no-nonsense and she is…now. With her tribe’s recovery her only goal, she seems likely to run roughshod over anything she deems an obstacle or unnecessary. However, the Fera of old was not like this. In her younger years, she was prone to laughing, singing, smiling, whatever her mood dictated. Someday she may return to her younger self, but only if her family, which she considers the entire tribe to be, is returned to her. She is also on the lookout for any of the other 11 members of her tribe wandering Faerun.
Crouching low to the ground, Fera closed her eyes as she sank her fingers into the rich soil beneath her feet, sighing at the feel of familiarity after such a long absence from her homeland. She had been gone for 3 long years but it had all been worth it. At her side dangled a bulging leather pouch the size of a dragonborn’s fist, the contents within the sole salvation for her beloved younger sister. Fighting the exhaustion that had dogged her heels for days, she pushed to her feet again and made her way once more, heading towards Mistwalker, her warhorse. ‘Just a bit more and Lyndria can breathe easy again,’ she thought to herself. As she made her way up to the lands where she knew her tribe would be spending the winter, she thought back to what had made her leave her beloved mountains.
Fera had grown up, the middle child of parents who belonged to a nomadic tribe, the Tribe of the Watchful Owl. Born during a thunderstorm where the lightning had struck the peak of the highest mountain among the Star Mounts, Fera had been seen as a child of fortune, though it was never said if it was good or bad fortune. Her parents raised wild horses into formidable warsteeds that were sold down in Loudwater (part of the Silver Marches), fetching huge sums for their hardiness, loyal but fierce tempers and ability to climb the sheerest mountains. They sold only their cast-offs but such were the quality of these beasts that nobles and royalty traveled all across Faerun for the chance at one of these magnificent mounts. She spent her early years traveling all across the Star Mounts and occasionally the Greypeak Mountains as well, her tribe roaming all over for the best forage for their wild beasts. Her older brother, Tyne, was a skilled warrior, his ability to throw a double-axe at running prey or enemies was known far and wide. It was said he could split a tree with one throw and she spent much of her time riding his shoulders. Her older sister, Bree, was sweet-faced and could sing like a nightingale, charming the same birds from the trees. It was no surprise that the chief of a neighboring tribe, the Tribe of the Enduring Mountain, had laid an exorbitant bride-price in front of her father in order to marry her. Though she saw her sister only occasionally now, she knew the other was happy with her hulking husband. The youngest of her siblings, Lyndria had been born several years after Fera, and was a delicate child, but she loved to spin and embroider, using the wool from the highly prized sheep some of the other families raised. Fera herself was gifted with a sense of the land that was unparalleled. She could find water and forage for their herds as easily as breathing and was known to scamper up the rocks like their horses and goats. Unlike her two sisters, Fera was much more the hands-on type and she trained with Tyne when time allowed and with her tribe’s warriors when it didn’t. She grew wild like the starflowers that twined down the mountainside, hardy and mysterious.
But her days with her tribe were shortened when a mysterious disease began to strike her tribesmen, many falling ill within days of each other. By the time the epidemic had run its course, nearly a quarter of the tribe was stricken, each victim laying still as if already dead though their hearts still beat and they still breathed the mountain air. Lyndria had been stricken as well and the doll-like figure seemed to waste away before their tribe’s shaman found a way to preserve the bodies of the ill. Each was carefully wrapped in moss from fire-oak trees and then laid in the deepest caverns of the mountains where they wintered, the chill preserving their bodies. It was called Dreamer’s Death for the victims looked as if they slumbered. The shaman then ordered many of their tribesmen to seek out whatever possible remedies they could find before the patients finally fully succumbed to the disease and truly died. Fera, strangely untouched by any symptoms of the disease, was sent far south towards the Farsea Swamp near Cormyr to look for a rare vine called Selune’s Star to see if that could be a possible cure. It took her many long months before she reached her destination, the thought of her younger sister constantly pushing her farther and harder along the way. Sleep became an option, not a necessity, and if there were days that passed where food was a hazy memory it was all for a good cause. Any obstacle or hindrance was irritating and Fera acted as if she were possessed, brushing off cautions or advice from townspeople on those rare occasions she had to go into one to refresh her supplies. The only people she listened to were apothecaries or healers, anyone she could find who could confirm or deny the healing properties of the vine she was looking for. She listened to the land closely, the wind and soil and the animals telling her where to go though she had never traveled this far alone. At any other time she might have stopped to marvel at the different species of flora and fauna that crossed her path but at this time she tucked them into her memory for later inspection.
When she finally reached the swamp, it was enough to make her gag. She had lived in pure mountain air and crystal ice streams, where nature was still untouched except by those who loved it and revered it accordingly. Before her was stagnant water and rotting vegetation, humidity beyond comprehension and stench that seemed to be a living thing. This was unnatural, even beyond the normal for a regular swamp. As proof, the beasts and reptiles here were larger, some glowing or misshapen with an eerie blue fire. She feared for Mystwalker, her only companion on this journey, so she tethered him loosely before entering. If threatened, he could easily escape or fight but she knew he would stay for her. Theirs was a bond like those between rangers and their beast companions. She left him behind only because the swampy and fetid swamp would cause his hooves to rot and soften. She was tested to her limits and beyond as she traveled through the Farsea Swamp, ever vigilant, ever cautious. But she couldn’t dawdle for time was of the essence so a new, harder Fera emerged. These abominations of nature were quickly dispatched, either a sharp blade or heavy maul ending their lives with precision. She knew these mutants were not to blame for their condition so she tried to kill them as mercifully as possible, not letting them suffer from sloppy handiwork. At the heart of the swamp, she came upon her target, a black withered vine, gnarled practically into knots. Here was the true test. She would have to wait until the full moon, a full 3 weeks away, before it bloomed and became potent enough to harvest. She would have to survive three weeks in this fetid swamp, a target for all of the foul creatures there. She couldn’t afford to wait elsewhere for the plant also attracted monsters, who devoured it when it fully bloomed.
For three weeks, she fought tooth and claw against any and all of the beasts who impinged on her territory. She slept in a tree that could barely support her weight but it was better than sleeping on the marshy floor where serpents longer than coiled ropes and insects bigger than wild boars roamed freely. Every beast that attempted to make a meal of her was killed immediately and with extreme prejudice, their corpses thrown into the swamp to prevent further predators from coming. Finally, on the night of the full moon, she watched with bated breath as moonbeams struck the vine and it began to unfurl, turning silvery white. Small blooms blossomed along the length, white with deep purple centers and silver gleaming pistils, a scent so lovely that it made tears come to her eyes wafting from it. Carefully, she crept from her perch and harvested the plant with a small silver sickle given to her by the shaman, coiling it almost lovingly into the pouch that had hung empty at her side. Then came the gauntlet as an enraged roar resounded through the swamp, Fera flying through the swamp as if she was on fire. She was dead tired, exhausted to the marrow of her bones, but by her side lay the cure for her tribe, her sister. She gritted her teeth and pushed onward, sheathing her maul across her back. It was too heavy to carry in her arms anymore and she needed the precious speed she could muster to get to Mistwalker. Once she saw her stallion, she knew he could carry her safely home but she had to get to him first! Finally, after an eternity of running and dodging what seemed like a horde of vicious beasts, she spied the smooth silvery coat and a faint whistle left her parched lips. ‘Let him hear me, by all the gods, let him hear me!’ And since the beginning of her trip, she felt as if her prayers had been answered. Mistwalker’s responding neigh resounded through the area and the heavy pound of hooves reverberated through her skull but he was there and somehow she found the strength to swing up onto the horse blanket and cling as he kicked with mighty hooves, decapitating a gruesome cross of what looked like an alligator and a lion before charging off.
Time had little meaning to Fera as Mistwalker made his way home without her guidance. She had fallen asleep on his back as she had done many times before, but this time she slept as if dead. It wasn’t until late afternoon of the next day that she woke up, looking around blearily as the landscape passed by. Mistwalker knew the way home and was faithfully retracing his way back, careful of the human friend who loved and cared for him since his birth. The journey back was largely uneventful but Fera wasted no time. She knew she had to get back to her people as soon as she was able to.
When she finally crossed the borders and into the rocky terrain of the Star Mountains, she began to breathe easier, hope fluttering in her chest like a wild bird. Mistwalker too sensed the change and his steps were quicker, surer. They slept for one night before continuing…..
Before her eyes was the impossible. She knew the routes her tribe took every year and unless there was a major catastrophe, they followed them near religiously. But there was nothing to ever signal that her tribe had existed. There were no animal sounds or the laughter of playing children, no soft scoldings from the mothers of those children cautioning them to be careful, no gruff voices from the men who hunted or herded their animals. There was simply…nothing. The ground was completely undisturbed as if no one had ever been there. Snow blanketed the ground in pristine sheets. Eyes wild and choking on the air she breathed, she scrabbled for the cave where her sister and the other stricken villagers had been put away in preserving cocoons. Disregarding her own safety, she half-slid, half raced down into the underground cave where the breath she had been holding was released in a primal scream that should have shattered rock. Instead it echoed hauntingly in the empty cavern, a melody of regret and anguish. There was nothing, absolutely nothing, as bare underground as it was above. The young woman collapsed, the strength drained from her as she gazed unseeingly at what should have been filled with cocoons. Instead there was nothing, not even a shred of moss to signify anything had ever been here either. Darkness consumed her senses as she listed to one side, unconsciousness claiming her.
In her sleep, wisps of what seemed like formless smoke surrounded her, dancing around her in comforting sweeps. But where normal smoke was dark and gray, these tendrils were soft shades of red, blue, green, silver and gold. Some were abstract shapes but others looked like the shapes of antlers or cat eyes, even more like leaves, clouds or bolts of lightning. She looked at them in awe until finally voices could be discerned, soft murmurs mixed with excited chattering. “she wakes.”, “poor one, so alone…”, “can she find the others?”, “how to live outside the green?”
“Where am I and who are you? Where is my tribe?” Fera’s voice was rusty from disuse and screaming, her throat raw. Immediately, wisps of blue surrounded her and she felt refreshed, her throat easing.
“We are what you call nature spirits. We are the embodiment of the water, the fire, the air, the flowers and the beasts. We are everything that surrounds you and gives you life. We have lived in harmony with you and yours for eons. And that is why we came to tell you of your tribe.”
At this Fera sat forward, her fists clenched upon her thighs. “What has happened? Where have they gone and why did they take the sick away?”
“They have not left. They are tied to this land like you are. They were taken, all of them, man and beast alike. All that remains of your clan, your tribe, are those who, like yourself, were sent away to look for a cure for the illness that plagued the others. None have yet returned but all others have been visited by those like us. Fera, you must bring your tribe back to these lands. Our survival and theirs depends upon your success and the success of the 12 others.”
“Where do I begin? Who could have done such a thing? We were a threat to no one! We lived here happily,” Frustration and anger colored her voice, fists clenched so hard that blood began to trickle between her fingers from where her nails cut into her palms.
“We know not of whom has taken them but the magic and power to do so is enormous. This is the first step towards something much more ominous and grander in scale.” The wisps flowed around her once more, offering comfort that Fera took in greedily. “But fear not, we will help you in however we can. We will be your strength and comfort while those you call your human family are away. Use our power to help you, Fera, please. Become a warden of all that is living and we will always aid you.”
“Yes. I cannot do this alone. Please help me.” Visions of her brother’s chiseled face breaking out into a loud guffaw of laughter, her mother’s sweet smile while she gave her a bit of dripping honeycomb, her father’s rough hum as he smoothed back her hair and finally her youngest sister’s look of innocence, these all drove her back to consciousness.
When she awoke, she felt renewed, power pulsing through her body, a sense of purpose giving her strength where before she had felt crushed. First she would travel to her sister’s tribe and see if there was anything they knew. From there she would go wherever the wind directed her. Climbing from the cave, she smiled to see Mistwalker standing patiently for her, waiting for her.
“Let’s go. Let’s bring our family back.”
Question and Answer for Lady Saharel
“How do I get to where my family is being held?”