Place of Origin: Altara (Ebou Dari)
Appearance: 5'9" with long, very dark, brown hair which she customarily wears loose. She has a shapely, curvaceous figure and an oval face marked by an almost permanent hard expression. Her olive complexion sets off her dark brown eyes which are her most striking feature. She's a handsome woman rather than conventionally pretty. Her long, tapered fingers are unadorned but large golden hoops are worn in her ears and through her waist sash she carries, at all times, two curved duelling daggers. She has various scars on her arms from duelling and one above her right eyebrow that runs to her hairline.
Personality: Elynde is a survivor. She will do what she must to get by but this is tempered by a strong sense of what is right. She's a woman hardened by life, down-to-earth with a dry sense of humour and an almost ridiculous loyalty to the few she trusts.
Primary Weapon: Sword
Secondary Weapon: Twin dueling daggers
The woman stood, eying her reflection in the clear waters of the stream, their calmness making it almost like looking into a mirror. She snorted softly at her appearance. Gone were the colourful petticoats and flat slippers she'd worn till 2 years ago. Now she stood garbed in plain brown leather trousers tightly cinched at the waist with a belt which yet held her twin daggers, a white shirt left open at the neck and sturdy black knee length boots. Her hands rested lightly on the pommel of a sword, grounded in the soft grass at her feet. She was learning to weild it to good effect these days, strange though it still sometimes felt. This life on the open roads was a far cry from her home in the city but she found she enjoyed it. Still, she knew she needed something more than aimless wandering. She needed a place to call her own. As her gaze swept the far banks, checking for anything untoward, her ears caught the not too distant sounds of the other guards setting up camp. That was all superfluous though, habit more than anything else and already her mind was flying back down the months and years... remembering...
Elynde was born near the harbour in Ebou Dar, the Altaran capital, the only child of Cairalle and Berslon Sidoro. Her mother was native to the city but her father was Illianer born and raised, a sailor who had met Cairalle in her family's dock side inn, The Black Gull. He left his life on the ocean to marry her soon afterwards and the couple took over the running of the place from Cairalle's elderly parents, eventually inheriting it a few years after Elynde came along.
Theirs was a rough life. Elynde grew up in the Rahad's narrow streets with their stench of decay, thriving flies and vermin and duels which were an almost hourly occurrence. Like her mother, Elynde had the fierce Ebou Dari spirit and courage as well as a strong survival instinct and, not long after she turned 12, that survival instinct became essential as a knife to the back from some opportunistic thief deprived her of her father. Elynde worked alongside Cairalle in the Inn then, taking her father's place and learning to deal with the unwanted drunken attentions of sailors on shore time and difficult patrons intent on brawling. She was soon known to be more than capable with her fists and words both.
By the time she was 27, Elynde had grown into a hard eyed woman, well able to take care of herself, and an experienced dueller. Her looks made her a common target for other unmarried women, despite her disinterest in men generally, but her mother and the livelihood they shared had taught her well. In any rare free time she had, she liked to wander around the harbour, watching the Sea Folk vessels, the galleys and traders as they docked and unloaded their cargoes, listening to the banter of the sailors as they stepped onto dry land for the first time in weeks and to feel the cool sea breeze. On even rarer occasions, she would set out for the nearby coastline, tramp her way along the sea cliffs and dream of freedom from the daily grind that she never expected to have.
On one such day, however, Elynde had returned from her few hours of respite to find disaster. A brawl, it transpired, had broken out earlier and a knocked over lantern had started a fire which spread rapidly across the ale soaked boards of the Inn's floor. It had taken a lot of desperate effort to prevent the fire spreading with the buildings so closely packed together and worse news was to come as a neighbour gently broke the news that Cairalle had not escaped the flames. Elynde's world was shattered in seconds. No family, no business, no home or belongings.
She came back to the present, blinking away unshed tears, lips compressed into a thin line. The grief was still there, still raw. There had never been time to deal with it and there was none now. She'd put it aside almost immediately, her father's practicality surfacing in her as she had worked out what to do. Her first move had been to sell the many rings which had decorated her fingers, adding some few coins to what little she'd carried with her. Her next had been to find work. A friend of her father had come through with a job that very night, offering her the position of cook in his merchant train. With few options, Elynde had agreed, enticed by the chance to travel and to leave the too fresh scene of her sorrow.
Over the intervening months, she'd learned all she could from the merchant, pestering the guards to teach her to use a sword despite their initial laughter, and had gradually moved up to a guard's position herself. It paid more. She astutely put the money aside, saving against future eventualities, determined not to be without means of her own. Eventually, she'd left to serve in other caravans, gaining a basic grounding in sword play, able at least to use her weapon adequately though by no means an expert. When it came to defending herself, she still relied on her duelling daggers with which she was lethal.
Elynde turned her head as her nostrils caught a whiff of rabbit stew. She would not be eating with the others tonight. She'd already spoken to Jerome, the merchant, and told him that she was leaving. An older, kindly man, he'd been sorry to lose her service but had paid her what she was due and admonished her to be careful. Travelling alone was a different matter to travelling with a large, well defended group. He couldn't know of course that she was meeting someone.
In the last few months, she'd heard more and more stories about a Band of the Red Hand, about their success in battle and about the cause they fought for. Everywhere they stopped, she heard of them. Finally, deciding she wanted to join them, some instinct telling her that her destiny was calling, she'd found a man who said he could lead her to the general area they were in.
The man was true to his word. Some hours later, he came to a halt and turned to tell her that he'd be going no further. She'd have to make her own way from there. Nodding and speaking her thanks, she watched as he retraced his footsteps and disappeared from view. There was nothing for it now but to continue. Elynde hoisted her pack higher on her shoulder and set out once more at a ground eating pace, filled with an apprehensive excitement and determined to reach her goal before nightfall.