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Saffron
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post Aug 21 2011, 07:17 PM
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Name: Evangeline Alashire
Title: Saffron, The Taliver Witch
Age: 26
Gender: Female
Place of Birth: Bern
Nation/Group of Allegiance: N/A

Class: Shaman
Level: 10
Weapon Levels: Dark Magic - C
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Height: 179cm / 5'10"
Build: Full-figured
Appearance:
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Whenever the Taliver Witch comes up amongst the Bern peasantry, the usual mental assumption is that of a old crone in the barest scraps of clothing, who speaks only in the words of madness and delirium. The few that have actually met the said witch, however, know those rumors are mostly borne from the fears of the dark arts and the sort that live in Taliver in the first place. The rumors also happen to partly describe Saffron's late mother, but that's probably not the point.

Saffron herself looks quite well as a lady, and that isn't about to fade any time soon. Her features are soft and attractive, framed by a heart-shaped face that she takes after her mother. The length of her scarlet hair runs brazenly down her form, while her bangs barely part away from her steely, amber eyes. She has a tall, pronounced figure that is difficult to ignore, a trait of her blood and somehow of her lifestyle. The muscle in her form doesn't count for much, though she seems healthy enough with a olive tone in her skin that betrays her mixed heritage. Well, that's what she used to believe, at least.

This all in contrast to much of her attire, which may lend credence to some of the rumors. The shaman likes to dress as simply as she can, wearing light cloths of dark greens and greys. But far too often those same clothes appear in tatters, the result of too many brambles and scrapes without enough thread or patience to mend them back. She knows barely enough needlework to avoid serious affronts to her modesty, though otherwise finds it completely fine to walk about with tears on her blouse and cloak. Needless to say, this doesn't make her look any better than a bandit or beggar. An attractive one, perhaps, but nonetheless.

Overview:
Even Saffron's not sure anymore where she got the nickname from... but if her books mean anything, it's probably from the spice. A mild fragrance with a bitter taste, and that sounds about right.

She is a well-mannered lady for a witch and an outlaw, formal in speech and manner though rather unfamiliar with the graces that nobility expects. This doesn't actually make her very engaging for everyday conversation, though. While Saffron isn't entirely passive, she does come off as rather taciturn. She speaks tersely when she has to, and tends to push away others when it's more convenient for her.

It's not something that she does lightly, though. She really wants to be kind, but a lack of experience with people really hurts her ability to be too close. Sometimes, she thinks that only the dead are the only ones that listen to her. That's probably the reason that she believes so much in her mother's ability to perform séances. Saffron hasn't gotten her method quite right yet, but she was sure she'll figure out how it works.

When it comes to most anything else, she plays it in rather straightforward and pragmatic manner. Her life was once very simple, so she doesn't really understand much of the higher ideals and allegiances that motives certain people. All that matters most to her is further her own understanding of magic. It's her only real means to make sense of anything in the outside world.

Biography:
Saffron knew only very little of her life before the Taliver Mountains. She was only a few years of age, when her mother spirited her away from Bern for reasons vague to her. Her father was a terrible man, she heard, a Bern noble that grew to despise his Sacaen mistress when her presence became inconvenient for him. Mother said that she saved her from a life of misery and hate, and why would the girl not believe in her words? As she grew up, those trivial things no longer mattered to her. Taliver was the only home she's ever known.

In this harsh place, the young girl learned discipline here. She lived with her mother in a small hermit house, where she took care of the daily chores such as cleaning house and milking the goats. It was a peaceful sort of work, as seldom did anyone cross the mountains trails to disturb them. On those rare occasions that a traveler came close enough to their home, Saffron usually watched as her mother engaged them in conversation and trade. Or she scared them off in a blast of black magic. Or a bit of both, even. Either way, her mother often came back from those engagement with a gift for her daughter.

Saffron wouldn't have known those were the sort of things that started the rumors of the Taliver Witch. Nor did she hardly make conversation with people herself. All she cared for were the gifts, particularly the books. Her mother taught her to read over time, mostly so that the girl could help read out the recipe of some herbal mix or magical broth. In time, she found a fascination for them as well, and she enjoyed every time a new book found its way into her library. She took all the stories and the poems, all the treatises and essays, and put them all to heart. This is how she knew about the outside world, as much of a patch work as it was.

The knowledge of magic itself eventually followed afterward, when she reached her sixteenth. Saffron learned the basic principles from some of the documents she read, though they meant little to her without context. Her mother moved up her tutelage to that regard, and began to teach her the magic of their people. It was a strange form of magic, the sort the magic essays warned as dark and dangerous to the mind. Men supposedly drove themselves to madness and isolation in pursuit of the power of elder magic. Her mother assured her though, that there was little danger in the art... so long as Saffron followed every lesson to the letter.

Nonetheless, the process turned out as harsh and trying. It started simply at first, when she learned to draw her power from the essence of small creatures and plants. Her mother's magic drew from the cycle of life — a sacrifice that (as she claimed) granted much more power than the ways of the scholars, as it kept her own magical reserves in check. Indeed, Saffron managed to do so much with little. The life of a few violet flowers became enough for a fluxing blast that shattered a large rock, while a rodent or two allowed her to twist a small patch of grass into burned, corrupted glass. It horrified and fascinated her at the same time.

Even as she contemplated the extent of this power, her mother soon led the girl out of the house for a while. After half a day, when ere they crossed a part of a mountain she never entered before, the young shaman smelled something terrible. And then she saw them. The stretch led down on a far off pit, where a mass of bodies stewn down like a pile of discarded toys. Men and women, with bits of armor and weapons stewn along in terrible positions. Some of them looked like they passed away only recently, while most of them decayed long ago. All of them bore some sign of magical damage. Mother's magic.

Bandits and hunters, her mother explained, people driven to the rumors of a witch in the mountains. People that have harassed them for years, but Saffron never realized they did until now. But that wasn't the point of this. The old seer wanted the terrified girl to look at these bodies, stare straight at terrible, senseless death. She warned that this was inevitable, even for Saffron, for the token of blood granted the greatest power in their arts. Saffron sobbed, and only understood much later what mother meant.

A life should never be taken lightly, but she's went far enough on this road to avoid that now. On that realization, Saffron chose to embrace the path. If this is what her mother meant for her, then so be it. For the many years that followed, the redhead became devoted into the understanding of the power of life. She started to visit outside the mountains to the local villages, a daunting idea, but a necessary exercise when merchants traveled there with books to trade.

With new knowledge coming in from her book trips, she came to the idea that perhaps though magic, it became possible for one to still communicate with the recently departed, even for a short while. This of course interested her. Saffron realized that if she could learn this ability, even the people she needed to sacrifice can have some peace in the afterlife. She figured that the dead wouldn't be as awkward to talk with than people, anyway. Sadly, her texts didn't offer any real clues to go about it, but she knew in her heart it was possible.

Around this time, Saffron's mother was at last on her bed. The seer wasn't particularly old, but even with the power of life, the elder arts took a heavy toll on her well-being over the years. Her mother never really smiled much in all twenty or so years of her life, though that night she came to a particularly frightening grin. That was the night that Saffron heard her full name for the first time, the name that her father gave her at birth. Saffron frowned... why did that matter now? Because, the old seer admitted, it was something that she took away from the girl. Just as the woman took her away from her real family.

Saffron was never related to the Sacaen seer. The woman did love the girl's father once, though... that was a time where the two made frequent trysts, away from the attention of Saffron's mother. Her real mother, a pure, blonde Bern noblewoman, who already bore a few children into the Alashire line. The Sacaen mistress greatly wanted a child of her own in Bern descent, so she became the nobleman's mistress for that purpose. When that child died within the year, the seer became mad and spiteful, and her fit of madness, she took one the noblewoman's young, true-born children and took her away to the mountains. And in that way, the seer cackled to Saffron, was how she took all that she wanted from that family. And now the redhead needed to live with that.

Her Sacaen mother died that night. And, of course, Saffron's attempt to contact her spirit didn't work, especially for a soul at peace. The girl wished she responded to her that time... but it didn't matter, did it? It was too long ago, and the only one who cared whether she lived or not was soon buried in a field outside her house. Saffron indeed chose to live with what she knew, and took her mother's place as a hermit in the mountains. For the next several years, she did as her mother always did. She tended to the house, milked the goats, led lost travelers back into the path, and made sure that people that wanted to hunt the witch never came back to tell of her.

Saffron's magic lived on essence and the blood of those fallen, but she tried time and again not to enjoy doing it. The more she used the elder arts, the harder it became to tell what was right. But she remained in pursuit of the study of life and death, even if after all the years, the cheap texts of merchants no longer felt satisfactory. Regrettably, she needed to travel much further than Taliver to find her answers. So it was at her twenty-sixth that she cleared out the house, paid respects to her mother's grave, sold the goats, and went on her way.

Saffron had a vague notion to go west... that's where the nation of magic resided, she thought. There was a pretty picture about it in an old encyclopedia, a land where castles were made of ivory and magicians flew around and about in their own power. Well, she'd find out when she made it there.



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