THE SHENDAR COMPENDIUM WRITER TALIA STURMWIND

APPEARANCE - PERSONALITY - BIOGRAPHY - IMPORTANCE

Talia Sturmwind, as she is known throughout Santharia, or Ta'lia of the Seven Jewels, filja of Are'ej the Lovely, filja of Ghaa'liya, one of the Shen-D'auras, which is her correct name (filja meaning "daughter"), is one of the most connoting Shendar expert of our days[1]. Her origin is in the dark and so an exact birthday cannot be given, but she appears to be about fourty years of age. She was found in the Ráhaz-Dáth near the area of the Seven Jewels on the 3rd day of Fallen Leaf in the year 1654 a.S. by some travelling Shendar of the Shen-D'auras tribe and so she sees this location as her "birthplace" and the day it happened as her "birthday".

After rescuing some children from an attacking ráhaz-estár, she was fully accepted into the tribe and adopted by the Mother of an important dome. Later she managed to bond with an aj'nuvic despite her age and from this day on she felt as a true Shendar woman. Around four years ago she left the desert to travel Santharia and Aeruillin. Since this time she contributes to the Compendium of the Great Library in New-Santhala with descriptions and researches about the way of life in the Ráhaz-Dáth, of the Shendar, the towns of the Shendar and various other subjects including clerical magic. Every now and then she even illustrates her submissions with a picture. Her official date of joining the contributors of the Great Compendium is the 6th of Turning Star in the year 1662 a.S.

The Compendiumist Talia Sturmwind

View picture in full size Image description. Talia Sturmwind on the steps of the Great Library. Picture drawn by Faugar.

Appearance/Personality. Talia could well be a Shendar of origin, maybe more from the Kha'si than from the D'auras subtribe. Tall and slender, but not thin, she has a well trained body as any of her desert-sisters or brothers. Her dark, shiny, though not black hair is most times tied together to a tight plait falling down her back. A small braided snake-skin ribbon around her head holds back the meddlesome wisps which are escaping the plait. And there are the first white, well, let's call it "silvery streaks" in her hair. She denies them, pointing out that these strands are in fact red, however as she dyes her hair with hen'di as it is custom with the D'auras, everybody knows these dark red streaks, glaring like the Injčrá's fire herself when the sun shines on them, are actually silvery, a first sign of her age. But these strands, be they red or silvery, don't tell you how old she is, nor does her face, not old, not young, reveal her true age. Bright grey eyes with some greenish spots in them dominate her oval face, first wrinkles deepen, if she smiles and occasionally her eyes glitter with high spirits if not mischief. Her skin is fair, but tanned from the desert sun; hands and feet have hen'di ornaments, though they are not as brown as they used to be when she still stayed with her tribe.

You will surely recognize her, should you meet her accidentally in New-Santhala, for she persists in wearing her
Shendar outfit, if the weather allows it. That is in her case a blue leather tunic, covering a thin, toccon, raw white shirt with long sleeves with small braces at the end, white toccon trousers, silvery looking long boots and belt made of the same material, the skin of the ráhaz-estár. She owns one of these famous Shendar armours as well, but never has it with her when working in the Library.
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Personality. Talia's personality is difficult to describe: Sometimes she is so full of high spirits, that she is sparkling like a water drop in the sunshine, at other times a deep melancholy possesses her and she is hard to comfort. Most times she is very thoughtful and considerate, but sometimes she is straight-on and impatient and rushes into arguments with other visitors of the Library. Pointing out her age to her and that she should be more composed is the worst thing to do in that moment. At times she can be scintillatingly witty, however, if subjects are touched where she has no interest in it, she may well appear quite simple minded. If she does this deliberately not even her best friends have found out yet.

Talia is always ready to join in some fun others invite her to, be it to unsettle some of the taverns of New-Santhala during a long night with her friends of the Library or to do a competition in swimming through the Thaehelvil at Firstflame afterwards. Whoever gives her the opportunity and a reason for it she will tease, provided that he is a friend. But this will happen with a little mischief only, for her biggest trait is her friendliness, an emotion coming from her heart.
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Biography. An Unusual "Birth". Talia Sturmwind's Santharian biography starts on the day she was found by a group of young Shendar men several strals west of the area of the Seven Jewels near a deep hidden well, a strange place, source of a lot of lore and myths about apparitions and unexplainable events. The appearance of Talia at this place, seemingly out of nowhere, only added to these stories.

On the 3rd day of the Fallen Leaf in the year 1654 a.S., As'ad, son of Mi'neera and his close friend Ha'min, son of Zai'nah the Beautiful, both from the Kirilit dome which had at this time Are'ej the Lovely, daughter of Ghaa'liya as leading Mother, tried to prove themselves (or to impress the female members of other families at the next Rah'mat) that they didn't fear anything in the desert, not even a haunted place. When arriving there in the evening, just before the Injčrá set, they found an unconscious woman who was burned from the sun, with only a few rags on her body, but her hands clutching tight to a beautiful, strange looking sword. They showed great courage when trying to help this unfortunate, strange looking woman at a place, where they expected to find ghosts or other phantoms, giving her something to drink and wrapping her in a blanket to protect her from the cold of the night and the heat of the next day. The following morning they carried Talia back to their dome, where she was cared for. It took three days, so Are'ej tells, till she came out of her unconsciousness, released the grip on her sword and fell in a deep sleep.

Acceptance at the Shendar. Lady Sturmwind stayed in the Kirilit dome, welcomed by all its members and soon loved for her natural friendliness, her willingness to learn the way of the Shendar and to accept her fate: the loss of the memory of her past life. The only thing she remembered was a name, Talia, and so she was called.

Kirra, filja of Sa'dija, a Shendar warrior and sister-daughter of Are'ej had taken her as an apprentice and started to teach her how to use her sword, a sling and the bane whip, the last two are weapons which the Shendar are especially proficient with. Talia was quite happy apart from times when her lost past bothered her, though she was still only a guest. That changed the day she saved some playing children from an attacking ráhaz-estár. She described the event like this:

Talia's Fight with the Ráhaz'Estár. Several families had gathered at the east border of the biggest of the Jewels, called "Deep Water". There had been a sequence of arid years and so what was not very common, the seeds of the sand lily had found their way to the nearby dunes. A heavy thunderstorm days before had brought some rain and so some tribe members had set out to harvest the precious leaves. I had accompanied them, along with a horde of kids who enjoyed the desert, but who had not to harvest the leaves and to expose themselves to the hallucinogen scent the lilies emitted.

The Shendar didn't expect me to help them either and after my stomach told me that this was not a task I could fulfill easily I retreated to practice the bane whip, a Shendar weapon I was not used to and hoped to master in some distant time. Out of an intuition I had carried my sword with me as well this day. Normally it rested beside my bed in the dome, but on this day it was on my back in its sheath. I wasn't very good with it, neither my mind nor my body couldn't remember it. So I thought some practice would not hurt.

The children were playing "Jump the Dunes" , a game which just requires to climb on the next dune and jump it down as far as possible and then roll down as quickly as possible, when the sword on my back started to hum and to vibrate slightly. I hadn't known so far, that it could do that and looked up from my practise with the whip. I was about to draw it, but decided otherwise and went over to the kids with the whip in my hand. They all had just gathered at the base of a dune when I recognised some movement of the sand. I don't recall very well what then happened, all went so quickly. A giant body emerged with a terribly fast speed from the sand , aiming at the group of children. It was sheer luck, that I was standing there with my aka'pi whip in the hand and even more so: while using it I caught the snake at the right spot - the whip snarled around its neck short behind the head, where it has its most vulnerable part. My whip changed the direction of the attack and the beast missed the child it had aimed for. It was by far not defeated, maybe a little hurt, nothing more. As a reaction to the whip around its body it had moved back violently and with that I lost hold of the whip; it was still attached to the neck of the snake. Terrified I couldn't run away like the children did, but stood there and drew my still humming sword, held it before me with trembling hands. The snake must have been only a young individual, for it rose no more than about a ped or little more in front of me, not too close, but close enough that I thought I had to die in this very moment. When the attack came I moved my sword up and closed my eyes, I didn't want to die with my eyes open. But to my surprise I wasn't bitten, but a weight on my sword pulled my arms down and I lost the grip of my sword as well. Opening my eyes again, I stared at a long body writhering before me with my sword partly in its throat and this time I was jumping backwards quickly.

The screaming children had alerted the other Shendar harvesting the lily leaves and they were now here and watched the snake closely. Finally they used their whips to crush the scull of the beast and to end its life a bit more quickly, and its pain. I was meanwhile sitting in the sand, my whole body trembled and I was weeping, with relief or out of tautness, I don't know. My Shendar friends were quite - amused. They laughed, hugged me and brought to my awareness, what I hadn't realised so far: "Hey, you killed your first ráhaz-estár!"

Lady Sturmwind had been living with the Shendar for about a year when she killed this young ráhaz-estár. So far she had been a guest, now she was offered to be integrated into the tribe fully. Are'ej the Lovely, the leading mother of the Kirilit Dome, adopted Talia during a great ceremony as own daughter and with this day she had all rights of a Shendar woman. Now she was known among the Shendar as Ta'lia of the Seven Jewels, filja of Are'ej the Lovely, filja of Chaa'liya, one of the Shen-D'auras.

The Way of the Shendar. Ta'lia of the Seven Jewels was as happy as she could be and content with her life - there was just one thing she missed and which told her every day, that though she was accepted as a daughter and a member of the tribe, she missed something - she had no aj'nuvic. Most Shendar youth found their bonding partner during their adolescence, but Talia was a grown up woman, not even a young woman, but in her best years. Nobody knew, if an adult was able to bond with the Shendar companion, if the young aj would accept an older bonding partner.

Are'ej voted strongly for an attempt and so in the next spring Talia was brought to the grasslands of the Narfost Plain. There the Shendar set up a fenced area as always in which they guided one of the young aj'nuvics which was just old enough to mate. They left some food and water for Talia, rarely enough for the 66 days she should stay there to win the friendship of the young aj'nuvic. Talia never wanted to talk about this time which is hard for both, human and animal; she returned on her own after 33 days - on the back of her aj which she had named "Swing". Both had lost a considerable amount of weight and were very exhausted - but smiling.

Ta'lia of the Seven Jewels lived many years with her tribe. She learned the way of the Shendar on their long travels to the Narfost Plains and back - and took it to her heart. Bardavos and its splendours like the Hanging Bridge or the temple of Baveras fascinated her and she would have loved to stay there a bit longer, but it was not yet the time to leave her tribe. Kirra completed her training as a warrior as far as it was possible over the following years. Ta'lia didn't have a genuine interest in learning the ways of the weapons at first, but Kirra persuaded her with the argument, that somebody with such a special sword should know how to wield it. The other Shendar weapons like the sling and the whip followed naturally, once her interest was caught. After seven years of training Kirra gave her a present: A Shendar armour made out of the skin of the ráhaz-estár she had killed when saving the children.

At Rah'mat in the year 1658 she met for the first time many members of the other sub tribes and there she was invited to visit them and learn about the differences between them. She gladly accepted and travelled all of the Ráhaz-Dáth, including the long trail over the Aj'nuvic Grounds to the Lands of Pain and to the foothills of the Norong'Sorno. Uderza was the first Shendar town she encountered, the others like Varcopas and Strata followed.

Writer for the Compendium. The rescue of the children was not only the start of Talia's full integration into the tribe, she gained through it the friendship of one of the most important contemporary personalities in the Shendar society - the H'rul Zhaeón, for he was born in the Kirilit dome and one of the attacked children was a direct descendant of him (a grandson). Quan'Dshin, invited her to accompany him to New-Santhala. She accepted gladly and so both went in the summer of 1661 to the the capital of the Santharian kingdom. He introduced her to King Tiandor and Queen Elantrea, but what was more important to Ta'lia's further life - to the sage of the Great Santhalian Library, Artimidor Federkiel and his fellow Compendium writers and artists. Sir Federkiel proposed to her to write down what she knew about her life with the Shendar and after the H'rul Zhaeón supported the idea she accepted gladly and joined the Compendium writers on the sixth day of Turning Star in the year 1662.

As a member of the Library she started to travel. Of course the famous places of Santharia were her first goal, but later she visited parts of Aeruillin as well, which she liked especially, maybe because she had become a true desert-daughter while staying with the Shendar. During her visits to the Great Library and on her travels she made the acquaintance of many people known throughout Santharia, some became her friends. One of the first was Gean Firefeet, due to their conjoint interest in the affairs of the southernmost tribes of Sarvonia, for he is an historian and expert for the Stratanian area and with the best knowledge about the Shendar - apart from Talia. Many others followed like Faugar, the Santharian artist whom she trusted to paint her portrait for the Compendium or people form far away continents like Coren Frozen Zephyr, the literate and eloquent mage from a lost but reawakening civilisation of the far away Nybelmar who wants to persuade her to visit his homelands. On her travels to Aeruillin she met Artemis, a strange winged person from the very south of this continent. Not much is known yet about her race, nothing written down for the Great Compendium, but Talia Sturmwind hopes that her friendship with Artemis will reveal more about this fascinating people.
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Importance. Though Gean Firefeet has done a lot of studies about the Stratanian Kingdom and the Shendar, it was Talia Sturmwind who could reveal a lot of knowledge about the Shendar which were not known till this day. Her picturesque and enthusiastic description of the Ráhaz-Dáth can inveigle you to think it is a nice place to live in. Her abilities to describe places or beasts as well as more 'philosophical matters' like clerical magic add to her value for the progress of expanding the Great Compendium.
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Footnotes.
[1]  I, Arthéos Mirabíphilus Federkiel, was asked to write this person's entry. I doubt, that I am the right person for it, for I know Talia Sturmwind too well to be able to describe her objectively. Sometimes I surely should praise her more, but knowing, that she doesn't like it, I have to refrain in order not to sound too biased. Often I will exaggerate and describe details not necessary in such an entry. I hope she will forgive me, if I show some of her traits which she denies to have or if I tell too much about her personal life. No doubt, she deserves an entry, so you might well be satisfied with what I will present to you. [Back]

 Date of last edit 17th Changing Winds 1666 a.S.

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