Amongst the most
calculating, obsessive and brilliant minds to ever grace the continent of
Nybelmar, Eluda’shi Lashmara (often
adopting "Eluda" as an abbreviation) is attributed the achievement of producing
the Citystate of Marmarra using
nothing but a small town and her own intelligence. When Eluda (whose known life
spanned from 2480-1648 b.S.) resided within the jungle metropolises of the
Krean, being originally Lillivear in
descent, she rose through the ranks of the High Temple of Ankriss with
remarkable speed. She was amongst the "petals" groomed by the penultimate High
Priestess for the position of power beyond the extent of any mortal individual,
some claiming that she was actually offered the position but rejected it in
favour of "The Forbidden Arts".
After her defection from her homeland and the peninsula of Shar, honing her magic capabilities by deciphering the ruins of the Inami civilisation (and with the Kogian five and multitude of other mavericks under her banner) she transformed the small farming town of Marmarra into the colossal, feared and powerful institution it is today.
Picture description. The first Witch Queen of Marmarra, Eluda'shi Lashmara, the incredible Lillivear who founded the Citystate, possibly accompanied by the first Kogian (Kijuur Destius). Picture drawn by Sheil.
Eluda herself was often remarked (especially her younger years before her
defection) to be a very beautiful, youthful looking woman. As a priestess, she
was seen as rather slender with enough substance to avoid looking unnaturally
malnourished, as well as possessing a considerable level of height- nearing the
general maximum for a Lillivear at just under two peds (shy half a
palmspan or so). Many of her
admirers almost observed a high sense of grace (as well as self-awareness) in
her movements, manner and posture, polite yet dynamic, reserved yet dexterous.
Though the thick canopy of the Shar’s jungles tended to block out most sunlight generally resulting in quite light, sun-kissed tones amongst the Lillivear - a large amount of time spent in meditation outdoors (particularly perfecting her forms in "New Spring") presented Eluda'shi with a skin hue somewhere in-between the elegantly ashen Lillivear and warming gold Zhunites. Additionally, as is rare amongst the Krean, Eluda also was blessed with near waist-length jet-black locks (which due to her slight compulsive attitude towards cleanliness) often shined with the pious divinity befitting of a priestess. Her emerald green eyes, appearing to be made out of the stone rather than simply bearing its colour, set against her somewhat unusual warm brown skin gave her a new mystical aura even before her affiliation with magic - Krean or otherwise. She would generally choose to follow (or rather exceed) Krean fashions of the time in the way that she dressed, though not to and extent where her colourful pursuits distracted from or obscured her natural beauty (or made her seem too eccentric, which is quite difficult for the Lillivear).
After Eluda’s "fall" as her colleague and friend Alora described it, noticeable changes developed in her appearance. As she began to spend more time studying in secret (as well as developing the Aesteran penchant for being most active during the sunless hours) her skin began to lose its healthy glow - and though far from pallid certainly gave her a slightly more sinister appearance. She would also tend to wear duller and darker hues in her clothing, her previous plethora of colours being replaced mainly by blacks, greys and almost impossibly dark greens. Towards, during, and after her defection from the Krean EEuda seemed to develop a liking for cosmetics, darkening the colour of her lips and nails whilst lightening her skin-tone to various degrees (in some cases to ghost-like whites). After leaving the comforting cornucopia of life that was Shar her manner was also noted to change - her previous respectful grace replaced with a singular, focused, constantly driven series of habits.
Personality. As with the woman’s appearance, the personality of Eluda has also been observed to have changed over the years (recorded up to her 832nd). As a young woman she was quite a typical Lillivear in some ways. She was noted to have a keen interest in nature (which is probably a good thing considering she lived within a rainforest) and would often seek the company of various animals. Unlike many Krean however, she did not have particularly high aspirations or any desire to be of affluence (though this changed significantly after her defection). She joined the High Temple to serve as priestess with presumably no intention of becoming a petal, rather focusing on her own whims and impulses. She was far more concerned with her own personal pursuits, which had a tendency to change very quickly without much reason other than a lack of interest in the previous subject. As such she generally treated much of what happened around her with a sense of apathy, her lethargy only being postponed if something interested her. What was quite apparent, even in her younger years, was that we she did become captivated by something, she became obsessed. All that Eluda ever needed was one single sketch of an idea and she would burn herself out trying to accomplish it. Generally she had very little trouble with picking up new skills, even the somewhat complex realms of Krean magic did not seem to trouble her, becoming on par with many other high ranking priestesses after under a decade of tutelage. This aptitude to adapt and learn in culmination with her constantly changing areas of focus led Eluda to become somewhat of a polymath, becoming quickly and thoroughly informed about a whole manner of different things. Though some (such as Eluda’s rival "petals") would find this encyclopaedic knowledge and infallible wisdom irritating, it ultimately gave Eluda the groundwork to become the figure in Western Nybelmar that she did.
After her defection however, Eluda turned into a much more ominous, ruthless figure, the actions defining her as such being what she would be remembered for the rest of her life (the ‘end’ of her life being attributed to when she leaves Marmarra, since legends state Eluda is still alive to this day masquerading as the mysterious "Solemn Lady" in the Venlaken Enclave). She became increasingly demanding of her followers, often killing ‘pawns’ that failed to accomplish what they were told to. She founded the City of Marmarra on fundamental concepts of mercilessness, focus and achievement. Eluda would quickly become fixated with idea of growth and expansion and would be willing to allow anyone with the aptitude to succeed to collaborate on the Marmarran effort. Eluda, despite retaining her flawless focus, lost her all traces of understanding and became an arrogant and cold-hearted woman. Where her personal pursuits had previously occupied her mind and she had navigated through her duties and whims separately, now her personal pursuits (increasing in ambitiousness and extravagancy) perpetuated the entirety of her life and the outside world was no longer treated with apathy - but rather with malice.
Biography. Eluda’s Birth, Childhood and Early Teenage Years (2480- 2467 b.S.). Eluda’shi Lashmara was born, daughter of the minor Lillivear diplomat Tiaron Lashmara. In this period of her life she lived in the Krean capital of Sihitara, a relatively comfortable life at that. As a child she developed a penchant for playing the Krean harps and lyres, as well as the more uncommon flute. Though she didn’t possess exceptionally high skills in these instruments she was capable of entertaining herself, which was all she was genuinely concerned with at the time. Around age thirteen she began to notice that she had very vivid dreams, many aspects of which came true in reality (such as the burglary of a neighbour’s house). Eluda’s mother, concerned and intrigued by this, kept a journal of all her daughter’s dreams. When a vast majority appeared to come true over a series of months Eluda was taken to the High Temple wherein she was inspected for the Dreamer ability - a trait possessed by all the Temple’s High Priestesses in the past. After it was found that she had the ability, and at quite a high potency for such a young age, the temple offered to take the girl into their care. Her mother agreed, hopeful that her daughter may one day become a High Priestess. After her inauguration to the Temple, the High Priestess herself immediately took an interest in Eluda’shi who showed such potential at such a young age.
Time as a Priestess and Achievement of ‘Petal’ Status (2467- 2432 b.S.). Eluda, having spent around thirty-five years as a priestess at this point, had shown great development in terms of magical proficiency, academic knowledge and creative philosophy. She would seem to have perfected her Dreamer ability at this point too, with almost none of her prophecies being false, as well as developing her Seedshaping ability to a remarkable extent. She began also to delve deeper into capabilities of Krean magic though is warned by her good friend Alora that such investigations are forbidden. For the time being, she heeded her words and ceased her investigations.
Both priestesses, Eluda and Alora, were summoned the High Priestess. She informed the two that they, if they choose to accept it, had been chosen to become Petals (- a ‘petal’ being a priestess who will be groomed to become the next High Priestess by the current one). They both accepted the offer, and as such were communed telepathically with the High Priestess so that she may further investigate the minds of two of her prospective successors. The two additionally had their (already remarkable Krean ) life spans extended so that the High Priestess could make a more informed judgement on whom to choose.
Eluda’s Fall and Defection from the Krean (2432 -2344 b.S.). Eluda slowly (more reasons still unknown to this day) drifted apart from her friend Alora who previously had been a guiding, pure light for the somewhat obsessive individual. Alora additionally began to see Eluda as more of a threat to gaining High Priestess status rather than a good friend. Eluda’s infatuation with the "Forbidden Arts" began to "corrupt" her until she can no longer yield. Though the precise nature of what she performed is debated, it is thought that she partook in magic that included the breaking down of free-will, creation of disease as well as the changing of consciousness from one body to another. At this point though, her activities remained a secret from the rest of the Temple - all but Alora who found out (but kept the secret for a later date). It is also a possibility that the High Priestess who is in Eluda’s thoughts constantly would have known of these activities.
In 2359 b.S., the High Priestess summoned Eluda, Alora and the other four petals. She declared that she has made a decision. She has decided to pass the title onto Eluda. After 108 years in the care of the temple and after spending a substantial amount of time examining her internal personality and psyche she deemed her to be the most suitable to the wield the power. Eluda, however, for the first time in the History of the High Temple of Ankriss rejected the offer. Though she didn’t explain her motives (some suggesting that the High Priestess already knows of the reason, due to the tapping into her consciousness) she does not accept the title, relinquishing her Petal status. Reconsidering, the High Priestess gave the title to Alora, who willingly accepted, though is haunted by the fact that she is second best. Alora is disgusted by Eluda’s refusal however, and uncovers the fact that she has been partaking in forbidden magical practices. Scorned by the Temple, Eluda leaves the Jungles, but first gave one last prophecy (very few of which haven’t come true). She simply stated to Alora "What you will do will outweigh my damage at least one hundredfold" before she left the Shar to never return.
A fateful Meeting (2344 b.S.). After her self-imposed exile, Eluda came across the mysterious figure known as Kijuur Destius. At their initial soiree, the two viewed each other as a threat and engaged in combat. Kijuur however, whose origin is still debated, showed knowledge of New Spring (a Lillivear martial art), Usage of the Melaro Halberd (a Krath Military weapon) as well as possessing a seed-shaping ability despite denying ever being a part of the High Temple. Eluda was immediately intruiged by this character who seemed to be on par with her in terms of combat (at this point at least). Though he didn't explain where he came from, he did state that he is going to investigate the ruins of the Inami - conincidentally where she planned on going but did not know the way. As such the two departed together.
Study of the Ruins (2344-2332 b.S.). Eluda and Kijuur spent years trying to decipher the Inami ruins whislt warding off the parasitic Changlings as well as the more sinisters spirits the area is cursed with. During their stay in the forsaken place they discovered a variety of "lost secrets" which they believed to date back to the Ancient Inami civilisation. After the twelve year study (which is a very long time considering the speed at which Eluda could learn and master new fields) the two depart towards Zhun.
Arrival at Marmarra (2332 b.S.). Legends of a powerful sorceress accompanied by a mystical mage (who perhaps strikes up more interest than Eluda) spread across the Plains of Zhun. As such, when Eluda and Kijuur arrived at the small town that was Marmarra, the citizens were struck with a sense of awe. For a long time the town has craved power, power on the level to that of the nearby Citystate of Hootar. As such, the citizens saw this as their oppurtunity to raise the town's profile to something more than a simple hamlet. As the Marmarrans expressed their concern to Eluda and Kijuur, the two decided that they will stay in the village under the condition that Eluda be made the leader of the settlement and that she be allowed whatever she wished from the Town's resources for her own personal pursuits. The Marmarrans quickly agreed.
Expansion (2330 b.S.). Eluda, now having spent two years in Marmarra, grows tired of its simplicity. She was used to the splendour of Sihitara and though it was adequate for her to compile her research on the Inami ruins and expand the realms of her own capability, she was not satisfied. She and Kijuur (though many later attribute this as an idea of Kijuur) discussed and decided that they wish to turn Marmarra into something more - they wished to create a Citystate. It would seem that fate smiled upon Marmarra at this point, since Hiartun Rarkan - Karakanite Captain - along with his legion of traitorous soldiers arrived at Marmarra, the now fabled home of the 'Great Witch of Zhun'. In return for a safe haven from Karakanite repercussions (since it was unlikely if a legion of soldiers who had killed their general and defected would be treated kindly), Hiartun offered Eluda the servitude of him and his soldiers.
As the first stage of their plan for Marmarra's expansion they needed to acquire two things - money and renown. As such, using the newly acquired soldiers, Eluda began to give ultimatums to the nearby villages (of which there are many). Join us, or we shall pillage you. Though many refuse, which still has a positive outcome for Marmarra, those that chose to join were treated even worsely - many of them being forced to live in poverty. This practice continued until the arrival of Mila Venraius.
Flocking under the Banner (2329-2322 b.S.). In this time period many of a similar pysche and outlook to the power-hungry Marmarrans requested to join the 'Marmarran Effort' as Eluda called it. Many were trained to be soldiers, though others with more valuable skills and higher levels of aptitude are given more affluent positions or were trained by Kijuur and Eluda. At this point, Lyrias Meurtian also arrived after his studies in the Broken Woods. He shows Eluda his work on the Gaisho spirits (and how he has learned to manipulate them). These findings impress Eluda and she attempts to combine them (successfully) with Krean magic and the knowledge she found from the Inami ruins. This 'new' magic is of amazing power though only a select few showed ability to perform it (Eluda, Kijuur and Lyrias amongst them).
Final Kogian Arrivals (2325-2315 b.S.). Within the next decade the final two Kogians arrive under Marmarra's flag. Penultimately, Yian Tisare (of Hootar originally) was tired of the restraining nature of the Citystate she hails from. Hootarian customs seemed to dictate a very conservative, strict, obstinate way of thinking, which is far too containing for the free-flowing artistic mind of Yian. Being as overdramatic as she was, she imposed her own exile in search of a place that could contain and appreciate her pure, undiluted muse. Eluda took a shine to the Yian, seeing some similarities in her uncomprising attitude towards her creation (and being a classical Lillivear is greatly intruiged by her artistic ideas). Yian and the Tisare household in general will prove to have a strong bearing on Marmarran artistic styles, some attributing the entire conception of the Marresque architectural style to them.
Roughly five years after Yian's settlement within Marmarra, Mila Venraius appeared. A Cuscan by blood, her arrogance left to believe that she is too "brilliant" to be tied down to archaic construct of the "Salt Hill". Despite her condescending nature, Mila was brilliant, her intelligence matching if not exceeding that of Eluda. Eluda initially despised Mila, though whether it was through disgust at her nature or envy of her ability is unknown. Kijuur however, perhaps the only voice of reason within Eluda's life, strongly suggested that they accept her - "For the good of Marmarra" as he put it. After her inaugration to the "Citystate in the making" she immeadiately displayed her own ideas for Marmarra.
Marmarra's Growth and Establishment (2315- 2275 b.S.), Under the masterful (if not tense and bitter) collaborations of Mila and Eluda over the next 40 years economic growth happened at an amazing rate, the magically assisted construction of the City also happened faster than you would usually expect. Though Kijuur "died" in the skirmish that took the lives of "The Blades of the Witch" (see the "Brotherhood of the Eye" entry), the remaning Kogian were given estates as rewards for what they had given to reward their help in Marmarra's birth. Eluda's coronation as the first Witch Queen takes place and she quickly elected "Thorns" (a mockery of the "Petal" system) to succeed her. By this point Eluda'shi was 205 years old and many Kogian were on the verge of death (though the beautiful Yian managed to conceal it quite well).
Eluda's Reign and Disappearence (2275- 1648 b.S.). Despite a multitude of small problems arising within the City, the 627 years Eluda spent officially crowned as "Witch Queen2, her reign was relatively smooth. All of her original "Thorns" have either died of natural causes or have failed in challenges (since to succeed the Witch Queen you must challenge and kill her). She elected many "Thorns" during reign, most prematurely believing they could defeat the Witch Queen.
During her reign, Marmarra is said to be at its finest, despite the fact that Eluda wasn't always there. Eluda apparently spent a lot of time travelling, investigating, researching- just about anything that she wished. Many stories exist of seeing figures which could resemble Eluda as far as the Drifting Woods, though where Eluda went during her expeditions is completely unknown.
In the summer of 1648 b.S., Eluda went on a typical expedition alone. She did not return. The seven Thorns she had elected before her final departure fight amongst themselves until one remains - Dilara Kizmem (who becomes the second Witch Queen).
Eluda is thought to have discovered the secret of immortality - this being one of the findings she isn't known to have shared. Many attribute the mysterious personality in Venlaken known as "The Solemn Lady" to actually be Eluda'shi Lashmara (though that would suggest she is thousands of years old).
Importance. Eluda'shi Lashmara historically (despite the vital assistance of the Kogian five) is noted to have single-handedly turned a simple farming town into a collosal metropolis which rivals much more senior settlements in terms of power and affluence. The classically dominant states of Hootar, Kimbar and Cusca particularly had to make room for quite an abrupt, bold and dangerous neighbour, the reputation they made for themselves which has lasted until today being accredited mainly to Eluda herself. She is additionally considered to be amongst the main architects of the "Gaishen" system which is amongst the only remaining arcane arts that has roots in the Ancient Krean and is still in practice. Her great contribution to the system (along with Lyrias) made one of the most powerful and feared forms of magic on the Western half of Nybelmar.
As the "Mother of Marmarra" she conceived governing systems, inspired loyalty, produced disciplined armies and mastered economic growth without really trying too hard. Eluda'shi has served still to this day as a role model for what a Marmarran should be though her reign ended over a millenium ago. Eluda'shi essentially epitomises the virtues of talent, focus and ambition that produced arguably the most distinctive brand of Zhunite - the sinister "Marmarrans". If you are to consider things in all-encompassing terms, Eluda was capable of banding together a group of misfits and mavericks and turn them into an organisation legion of accomplished magi, clever diplomats, brilliant minds and unparalleled artists (at least in their own eyes). That legion is Marmarra, and it continues to grow even to this day.