House V’neef is the youngest of the Great Houses, and in many ways it still has much to prove. When Ethaa was growing up, she was told, “Measure your life in the changes you make in the world,” – by which her parents meant, “You have accomplished nothing until you have power.” She was continuously compared to children from other families, especially Peleps Rithra. When Ethaa was outspoken, her parents pointed to Rithra’s quiet focus. When Ethaa was beaming at her accomplishments, her parents pointed to Rithra’s humility. Ethaa worked hard to please her family, but nothing she did was good enough.
When Ethaa was Chosen, her parents informed her that the family needed sorcerers, and she would be attending the Heptagram. This suited Ethaa just fine – it got her out of the Imperial City, and if the teachers at the Heptagram were difficult, at least they were fair. She expected long hours of obsessive work. What she didn’t expect was to fall in love.
Sapadi Am’beta was a servant at the Heptagram, brought by one of the instructors from the lakes region east of Kirighast. Ethaa found her irresistible. Sapadi slowly and shyly reciprocated – which, to Ethaa, was all part of an exhilarating conquest. When she graduated from the Heptagram, Ethaa bought Sapadi’s freedom, and took her away to her assignment in the distant Southeast, where Ethaa’s sorcery was to improve the islands near Lathe.
Sadly, Creation is a dangerous place, and the mountains of the Cinder Isles doubly so. Ethaa denies that her sorcerous workings disturbed the balance of the elements. Regardless of the cause, a sudden volcanic eruption capsized Ethaa’s ship and set fire to the wreckage. All hands on board drowned, including Sapadi. Ethaa, thanks to her gifts, survived.
Losing Sapadi drove Ethaa into an obsessive madness. She recovered her body from the seafloor, and stretched her magic to the utmost to call Sapadi’s soul back from its next life. The process was… imperfect. The thing that might have been Sapadi fled, and V’neef Ethaa abandoned her post to pursue her.
Ethaa has tracked Sapadi across the West, sustaining herself with sorcery, relentlessly pursuing her lost love. That pursuit led her to Athanor. Ethaa knows that Sapadi is here somewhere. She will be reunited with her lover, and woe to anyone who stands between them.
Ethaa is thin – thin eyes, thin eyebrows, and a long thin frame. She wears greens and blues that harmonize visually with her anima. Her robes have long sleeves and flowing skirts, and they blow around her impressively when she calls to the elements. Her branch of the family is from the East originally, and it shows in her green hair. She wears small accents of body jewelry.
When she was young, her face was plain and her body ordinary. One of her first acts with sorcery was to make herself beautiful. She is the spitting image of an elder in her house whom she considered breathtaking.
Ethaa never quite managed the trick of humility. Her parents’ attempts to instil this virtue were overwritten when she went to the Heptagram, where she was taught to be commanding and mysterious. This suited her much better.
Intimacies: “Peleps Rithra is a waste of the Dragons’ blessing.” (Defining, Negative), “Sapadi is the love of my life” (Defining, Positive), “My teachers at the Heptagram” (Major, Positive), “The Realm” (Positive), “The Sidereals” (Positive), “I will bend nature to my will”
Sorcery is Ethaa’s primary focus. Many of the skills she learned in childhood have atrophied in favor of geomancy, alchemy, and elementalism. Her tongue is still as quick as ever, her wit as clever, but she hasn’t picked up a war axe in years, and she’d probably fall off any horse that she didn’t conjure herself. She’s at home in a library, though. Her calligraphy is impeccable. She knows more of the secret history of the Realm than even her teachers taught her. She speaks High Realm, Watertongue, and (of course) Old Realm. She can plan and organize well, but is particularly good at improvising when those plans fail. She still wonders what more she might have done to restore Sapadi properly.
As a sorceress, Ethaa knows how to call demons and elementals, clear a battlefield with a rain of poisonous darts, send messages across the breadth of Creation, call a sleep-inducing mist, and call a small ship made of cherry blossoms and spun copper that can bear her across the sea. Beyond that, she uses her essence to uncover the truth about people and places, to hold her steady against waves and wind, and to notice those who might try to harm her before they come close.
Ethaa has multiple demons already summoned. She wears one as paper-thin armor beneath her robes, and another as a feather in her hair that lets her see the true nature of those with whom she converses. The rest wait nearby, immaterial, until she calls on them to defend her.
- V’neef Kharavi, the elder that Ethaa idolized. Glamorous, enterprising, worldly.
- Cathak Ledash, instructor at the Heptagram. Snooty, brilliant, entitled.
- Jul, the demon that Ethaa wears as armor. Finicky, patient, vague.
- What kind of demons does Ethaa have with her, and how many?
- Would Ethaa continue to partake in this contest if she were reunited with Sapadi?
- How would Ethaa react if Sapadi rejected her?