Anstarra Silverain

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<Slowly getting updated. If you want more info... find me in-game! And I love rumors, feel free to add~>

Gridania-transparent.png Anstarra Silverain
AnComingStorm.png
A coming storm
Skybreaker...
Gender Female
Race Miqo'te
Clan Seeker of the Sun
Citizenship Gridania
Tribe Lynx ('She')
Birth Name X'anista (told to no one)
Nickname(s) An, Star


Character

General

This is the tale of a girl, grown from a savage tribal upbringing into an upstanding patriot of the Alliance. Her existence is dualistic, between the happy, normal(ish) life she has with Dubious Distributions, and her second life as an adventurer, monster-hunter, dungeon-delver, and all-around unsung hero. Which is how she likes it: unsung. To most people, she's just a pretty girl who's pretty good with a lance.. or bow.. or blade.. or book.. or turn of phrase. Whatever the day calls for.

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Appearance

Anstarra stands somewhat on the short side for female miqo'te.. which of course puts her far beneath most midlander hyurs, though she carries herself like someone taller. She has full, sensuous lips, lustrous green eyes and the blue-marked white hair characteristic of her sept of the Lynx tribe (when it's not dyed, that is). She has been described as beautiful, a trait which has alternately cursed and blessed her existence.

Though she moves with supple grace and lightness of step, Anstarra is rather heavier than you would expect; this is owed to a dense, high-grade musculature that renders her far stronger than her appearance would suggest (though she DOES look athletic and toned, one would not suspect what her muscles can do, until one touches them), comparable in power to a male roegadyn of similar athletic propensity. This trait is a genetic one, possessed of all members of the Falling Stars sept.

Behavior

People's first impressions of Star tend to be positive. She has a pleasant, welcoming demeanor, open to discussion on a broad variety of topics. If one doesn't look too deeply, she can come off as a dilettante, willing to go along with whatever is happening, to joke and smile and flatter as the situation requires. Among closer friends and acquaintances, one can begin to glean a deeper, more complex picture. She has a startlingly deep mind, and is always interested in learning more about the world.

One thing that does not change between acquaintances and close friends; she is flirty. A touch here, a smile there, a brush of the tail... she loves physical contact, and getting people to like her for her body. There is, in her mind, a distinction between simple sex and true intimacy. Most will never know the latter, with her; as for the former, well... if her interest is piqued, if someone seems particularly deserving and shows interest... who knows what can happen?

Anstarra likes to observe, and get to know people. Of late she's even taken to writing notes, observations on happenings and people around her. As a result, she has a reputation for being bookish, which amuses her privately, and she does little to dispel it. Some might call her devious, but to her mind it is simply a form of playfulness; after all, if someone really wanted to know what she was like, they could just ask. In the meantime she lets them keep their assumptions, as she makes her own.

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Combat

General

Anstarra lives and fights with spear in hand, or at least she used to. Her tribal sept's weapon of choice, the short spear, was the only thing she brought with her when she left home. As such, she is very much at ease with it, and with any other polearm; she is rarely seen without one. Tribal proclivities aside, the spear suits her temperament, as did the training of the Gridanian Lancers' Guild, once she joined it: direct, unhesitating, focused. She has always been a prodigy with the weapon, and is ready to draw in an eyeblink, to defend her friends or her cause.

She moves lightly, but hits hard. Very few unnecessary flourishes; if she's fighting to kill, she's deadly serious. If it's a spar, she will likely be grinning; she loves a good challenge, the exchange of blows, the dance and flow of weapons and muscles. There is something beautiful about her when she fights, as if she has become more complete in some way.

In recent days, however, Anstarra has not been seen with a spear. Not since returning from her disappearance. Instead, it is more common to spy her training with bow, or fist weapon, or even sporting an arcanist's grimoire (though this might just be her notebook). She makes no claims at excellence with these weapons, though her natural abilities and a lifetime of physical training render her a formidable combatant all the same. As of yet she has offered no explanation for the absence of the weapon which so defined her life.

Serious

Though it is known that Anstarra graduated from being a mere Lancer to learning the ways of the Dragoon, few know the extent to which she perfected her art. To wit, she does not fight with all her skill, most of the time. When she does, against foes of true evil or the deadly beasts of the dungeons she explores, she becomes a whirling dervish of destruction; blows almost too quick to follow, landing like bolts of lightning among her foes. A battle between her and one of comparable skill is a wonder and a terror to behold.

It is yet unknown as to whether Anstarra still turns to her spear in dire straits. Even for her frontier duties at the Maelstrom's behest, she wields the bow, at least publicly.

Tendencies

Likes

  • Fish, red meats, rich sauces, sweets (particularly chocolate), alcohol.
  • Sunrises, strong wind, lightning, dappled shadows on clear water, pure cold weather, snow.
  • Physical activities, such a sparring, climbing, swimming, acrobatics, and sex. Learning new things.

Dislikes

  • Raw meats, too-spicy food, seafood which isn't fish, tepid drinks (she prefers very cold or very hot).
  • Rain, dull and overcast weather, too much sun when it's particularly hot, humidity.
  • Boredom, discussions which spiral in a circle, threats to her friends, condescension, hypocrisy.

Hobbies/Talents

  • Physical activities as a whole come to her easily and satisfy certain instinctive desires to move, and do.
  • She loves learning; her education was stunted as a tribal child, and her mind absorbs new content like a sponge. Magic in particular fascinates her, and aether sciences as a whole.
  • Social interaction. Anstarra has studied and since adopted many noble mannerisms, and can easily integrate with high society. She can also dress down and slum it on the docks, but has not had reason to do so for some time.

Other

  • Anstarra is now a Captain with the Maelstrom. She earned her first commission for acts of heroism and leadership during the assault on Castrum Meridianum by the Alliance, became a Lieutenant by being the highest-ranking soldier willing to volunteer for thankless duties among the First Foreign Levy stationed in Coerthas, and was promoted most recently again following the Dragonsong War's conclusion (where they needed someone a little reckless and not too hidebound to captain an experimental ceruleum-powered steamship). Her duties sometimes weigh heavily on her, but she is loyal, and does what needs to be done. {Essentially, when I am off at work, so is she~}
  • Her ship, the Iron Bitch, a strong medium-sized frigate with a full complement of 250, has not yet blown up. It is crewed mostly by familiar faces from the First Foreign, but also by a small complement of field-commissioned officer-Adventurers, including Jana Ridah and Virara Wakuwa.
  • She never speaks of her childhood and family, except to a very select few intimates.
  • Anstarra relishes actual combat, but despises senseless conflict, especially among fellows. She has nothing but disdain for those who would betray or work against their comrades for their own interests. This disdain can translate into violence. She does not consider physical altercations to be a sign of deep wounds festering over; rather she perceives an almost purgative role in simple brawling, after which problems can be set aside.

Relationships

Family

Anstarra comes from a sept with what are considered 'traditional' values among tribal Seeker of the Sun miqo'te (strong patriarchal bend aside); as such, her father was a Nunh, and she has a fair number of brothers and sisters, both younger and older than her. Though her sire was prolific, the sept's brutal customs combine with nature's own hazards, keeping the population relatively stable.

Anstarra does not talk about her family.

There are good reasons for this, foremost being that she hates them all and would love nothing more than to see her whole sept fall into a volcanic rent. She also doesn't want anyone to go looking for them; not only would this possibly lead them back to her, but the world does not need more Falling Stars miqo'te wandering around, in Anstarra's opinion.

At this time, both her parents are dead, and the only sibling whose existence she can be sure of is X'zarann Silverfall. Her one older brother, and now technically her Nunh. She wants as little as possible to do with him, despite him being perhaps the only living being who could explain her true heritage. He, on the other hand, sees her as his destined mate, the perfect female upon which to father a dynasty that will last until the end of days. Anstarra would gladly slit his throat, but she feels she owes him a debt; he publicly murdered their father, and enabled her flight from the sept in the chaos that followed.

What she considers her true family are the hyur couple and their son who found and adopted her, a year after her escape. Living deep in the Shroud, in harmony with the elements, they eke out a living as herbalists of some small repute. Among Anstarra's happiest years were those spent with them; she still visits from time to time, and they welcome her home. Still, this connection she keeps private; she tells herself it's for their protection from her old sept, and while this is true, some part of her also yearns to keep this one part of her past pristine and untouched by the world.

Friends

Anstarra has met many interesting people over the course of her days. Many have marked her, in one way or another; just as many have been affected, for good or ill, by knowing her.

{This section is still under construction. Feel free to add your name, I'll toss on a comment sometime~}

  • Arblis Ellhis, an exceptionally fun and energetic friend of great curiosity and ambition.
  • Barbarccia Valadis, the woman who complicated her life immensely.
  • Clalaris Sil Laris, an interesting sometimes-friend, a curiosity, past kept secret.
  • D'ranmaia Shenn, a kind and devoted leader who knows not her own greatness, and how she touches the lives of others.
  • Enju Abbagliato, a dear lover and fellow warrior/scholar, troubled and devoted.
  • Faye Covington, a big sister of sorts, and symbol of nobility.
  • Flora Valerian, a brave and dutiful girl who doesn't put up with An's nonsense.
  • Ghalleon Helseth, a wise and learned man, devout, and probably the prettiest priest she's ever met.
  • Jana Ridah, a fierce ally and crew-member, reliable and very enthusiastic in a fight.
  • Jihl Wilzuun, a sweet girl who once salved her, and whom she is protective of.
  • Jil'enkette Denma, a fun-loving gladiator girl she hasn't seen in some time.
  • Khira Lhizahla, a clever and cunning adventurer, who's known the curse that love can be.
  • Khunbish Adarkim, a curious traveler from afar, a stranger from strange lands cheerfully finding his way.
  • Kiht Jakkya, a sister-in-arms, bold hunter-scholar, reclusive yet reliable and profoundly trusted.
  • Klynestyn Ketteram, a gentle giant, wise and kind, hilarious and accident-prone.
  • Lan Darklyn, a fellow in arms, ally, one of her oldest and most reliable friends.
  • Lost River, a mage with a troubled history.
  • Mimi Horo, a onetime lover, now tentative friend.
  • Nihka Mioni, Anstarra's betrothed and beloved, friend to all, of deepest kindness and compassion, sweetest lover...
  • Ophelia Rainteau, a onetime lover and now friend.
  • Orrin Halgren, a brave dragoon, incorrigible ladies' man, hero and sometimes lover.
  • Piers Hayward, a good man, stronger than he knows, handsome and kind, burdened yet unbowed.
  • Reppu Hijiri, an intriguing princess and ninja, surrounded by strife.
  • R'shesha Otharn, soul-sister to Nihka, clever and stoic, protector of her friends.
  • S'honji Hayakawa Nunh, her onetime mate, then friend, now drifted apart.
  • S'imba Tia, a disaster-prone male who tries so hard to be a hero, and sometimes even succeeds a little.
  • Spahro Llorn, a total bitch and great friend, the two of which are not so mutually-exclusive, it turns out.
  • Sukoa no Dokusha, a shy and gentle bringer of peace, diplomat and sage and sweetheart.
  • Terris Blackthorne, a scarred refugee from a dark empire, burdened by redemption he can never earn.
  • Val Nunh, a comrade in devotion, fellow warrior, and brother in spirit.
  • Verad Bellveil, a dubious duskwight of not-unconsiderable charm.
  • Virara Wakuwa, a somewhat disconcerting, yet stolid, stoic, reliable and deadly comrade-in-arms.
  • Zanzan Yanzan, a charming and well-spoken mage, friend of the people, foe of evil.
  • Zaphir Zurlac, a deeply knowledgeable mage of mysterious connections, scarred yet persevering.

???

  • X'cinna Ares, one of her many half-sisters, an alcoholic who just might have a chance at happiness.


  • Dravania; Anstarra's job with the Maelstrom was as liaison to Ishgard in Coerthas, and before serving with the Harbingers she undertook Dragoon training directly from the source. She has maintained strong ties with many other Ishgardian dragoons, as well as minor members of the Great Houses, and considers Ishgard's enemies to be her own. This view has softened, in light of the difficult questions raised at the end of the Dragonsong War, and she now must view Dravania as a place like any other, containing both light and dark.

Enemies

Anstarra doesn't count many SPECIFIC enemies to her name. In fact, the only one she could name would be her brother.

  • X'zarann Silverfall, her Nunh, who had her kidnapped by cultists and subjected to strange aetherial experiments. He has his own agenda, to be sure, though if it involves dragging her kicking and screaming back to the tribe he hasn't shown it yet. For some time Anstarra was ignorant of his actions, and especially their reason.. but upon a forced showdown with him in which she was shamed and defeated, she learned much and more. Now she sees him as the ultimate threat to her existence, and will use any means to see him dead.. even as he will, to force her to submit to him.
  • X'kirra Ares, her half-sister (as are all girls of the sept born within that decade, give or take). A huntress from her sept with a fixation upon X'zarann and a serious hate for Anstarra. Kirra sees Anista as her nemesis, both for her storied and undefeated skill with a lance, and for the Nunh's obsession with her. A skilled and deadly fighter herself, she intends to show Zarann who is the more worthy mate, once and for all...

Beyond this, she considers several organizations or states to be her enemies, as do most good people of Eorzea.

  • The Lambs of Dalamud; in addition to generally being evil jerks, they kidnapped her, secreted her to a ruined old Amdapori Keep, cut her open and strategically inserted materia at focal points in her body in accordance with a terrible and agonizing ritual. The materia were subsequently removed (by Barbarccia Valadis) upon her rescue (by S'honji Hayakawa, Mimiru Miru, Val Nunh and Anstarra's brother X'zarann Silverfall Nunh) and yet their energy had dissipated into Anstarra's aether by then, and they crumbled to dust. Two patterns had been described by the stones in her body, and had glowed through her skin: on her chest, the constellation representing Azeyma, the Warden (Anstarra's deity) and on her back, that of Althyk, the Keeper (the patron of her Sept). The significance of this was obscured for some time, but in time it became clear that it was a dual-edged gift which enabled her to absorb the aether directly from digested materia, in exchange for an even more heightened sensitivity to all aether. X'zarann's hand laid in both kidnapping and rescuing her, showing the Lambs to have been but pawns... all the same, Anstarra does not so easily forgive their role in her torment.
  • Garlemald; specifically the special task force which faced off with the Harbingers, and stole a strange orb somehow related to Leviathan, which had taken up residence in the Harbingers' Primarch Zularti Vensar's head where his right eye should have been. The final outcome of the battle with those forces cost the lives of two people Anstarra considered her friends, which has led her to introspection over the pain of loss, and an extension of her circle of empathy beyond herself...

Rumors

Common Rumors

  • "Likes the cold, don't she? Seen 'er fightin' half naked in the snow, up in Coerthas. Crazy, 'f you ask me, but damned easy on the eyes." - Maelstrom Sergeant
  • "Miss Silverain is a welcome client, affluent and fairly spoken. Nobility in the making, no doubt." - Ul'dah Banker
  • "An excellent lancer. It's no surprise that she was able to receive Dragoon training in Ishgard, despite how insular they are. Natural talent like that is not to be spat upon." - Wood Wailer
  • "I hear she was at Kokoripu Hohoripu's art auction... and made off with quite a trophy!" "Master Kokoripu's prize treasure? The one he held the silent auction for? How much do you suppose she paid for that?" "How often, you mean. She only left the house the following evening, from what I heard." "Scandalous~!" "Ohohoho..." - Ul'dahn Socialites

Moderate Rumors

  • "Shady. Yeah, she has a retainer, this fancy elezen fellow, and I seen him talking to the kinds of guys you don't bring to tea parties, you know? Making contacts, that sort of thing. You didn't hear this from me." - Brass Blade
  • "She used to be more fun. Struttin' the walkways and docks, showin' off 'er legs.. never turned down a dance or a drink. Or what comes after, 'f you catch my drift." "Actually, I hear she's at it again, since she got that promotion." "Where'd ya hear that?!" "Down at the Member, had quite a party..." - Lominsan Sailors
  • "It's peculiar, but I could have sworn her eyes used to be a different shade of green. And several moons prior to that, different again! Very odd." - Goldsmith
  • "That's her, 'Mateus', right? Yeah, I swiped one of their portfolios, look here. She shows up at the Rendezvous when they do those openings. Host Club. No, no, it's not a Brothel, they hate when people make that mistake..." - Well-heeled Adventurer

Rare Rumors

  • "She has a family out in the Shroud. Adopted, obviously; hyur, all three of them, herbalists who study the plants growing deep in the wood. They must have the Elementals' approval, they've been out there for many turns now." - Gridanian Woodworker
  • "She's tempered I tell ya! Saw lightnin' crackling all over her, no one else was around, she didn't have no focus or book nor nothin'! You watch her!" - Anonymous
  • "When she slew the dragon Vor'threx, she was found unconscious on the beast's shattered carcass. We thought her dead after such a fall, but no. Her armor was broken, and her nudity was concealed by scales jagged and blue-purple - like those of the fiend she struck down - which melted into her flesh before our eyes. I believe she may be some sort of dragon, or perhaps inhabited by one." - A Dragoon
  • "There's so many white-haired Adventurers about I really didn't think much of it at first, but doesn't she look a LOT like those boys and girls at the Cat House? No, that's not the real name... Bright Ones or something. Couple score miqos all moved in at once into that one house in the Goblet, weird thing. Eh, whole neighborhood's full of freaks anyway." - Goblet Resident

PC Rumors

  • "Truth be told, I don't know much about her. But she is a reliable and hard working woman. She was one of the members of the Harbingers and a good friend, that means that if you mess with her, I will put you in the ground." -Lan Darklyn
  • "A very charming woman with a good sense for nonsense." - Verad Bellveil
  • "The woman thinks too highly of herself. 'Tis a most unfortunate trend with adventurers." - Tengri Geneq
  • "She is the Forerunner, Anis.... but she don't like being called that. Think her Outsider name is Ny... An'yan'starra?" - X'cinna Ares
  • "She's extremely deadly all of the time. I was at a party once and I watched her strip down and kill a man with her bare thighs. I had to buy her pants after that. - S'imba Tia
  • "Her boat stinks of iron. She stinks of blood. It stirs the memory... She is too generous. I mislike it, being unable to refuse." - Virara Wakuwa

History/Timeline

Falling Stars

Little is known about the reclusive Falling Stars sept of the Lynx tribe of Seeker of the Sun Miqo'te. While it is unlikely that Anstarra is the only connection between her people and the rest of the world, several factors have kept them virtually unknown. For one, their location, in the cold and little-explored lands north and east of the Black Shroud. Finding their hunting lands is difficult enough; locating the sept itself, nigh-impossible. And then there is the ingrained xenophobia and hostility of the Falling Stars Miqo'te... strangers are invariably put to death, and the hunters know their lands well enough to always find others before they are found. Rare survivors of such encounters speak of primitive hunters with unnatural speed and strength, fighting and killing with a fierce kind of joy in their demeanor...

There is much that is strange about the people of this hidden sept, as Anstarra could attest. But her adoptive parents warned her not to share what little even she knew about her people, otherwise assuredly the covetous and ambitious would seek them out. As to their true heritage, even Star has no idea.. such secrets were the domain of the males, specifically the Nunhs, whose dominance was unquestioned and all-encompassing.

What she does know is that even among xenophobic tribal recluse societies, hers was one of the worst. Endowed with a (not entirely unjustified) sense of superiority, they tend to kill outsiders like one would slay any other wild beast that comes into their territory. Bloodsport and lethal competition is the norm; quick-healing and healthy, Falling Stars hunters do not hesitate to escalate feuds instantly, nor to kill one another over comparatively-minor disputes. The exception is with the Nunh, who, due to the special powers he wields, is nigh-untouchable and seen as something like unto a God.

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Child of Savagery

The girl X'anista was born in 1555 of the Sixth Astral Era, to X'ares Nunh and X'ennaliss Orthos. Her birth mother died when she was three years old; in accordance with custom she was raised by her aunts and cousins after this point. The only full-blooded sibling she has is X'zarann, the first child born to X'ennaliss. Anstarra never found out whether her mother somehow refused to have other children after herself, or was unable to. Her sept speaks of the dead but rarely, and usually with derision. If she and X'zarann are any indication, though, she was beautiful, as well as strong. Of course, their father was Nunh...

From a very young age, X'anista became a focus for attention. Her oldest memories involve violence.. and even in them, a spear was never far from her hand. Falling Stars kittens are taught to kill before they can walk; the grip, the grain, the balance of a thrust, the twist and slash.. and, most of all, to never be disarmed, to never be weak, to never lose. Cuts and breaks are common, as are young deaths. Scars, less so; it takes a truly deep and terrible wound to leave a scar on one of the Falling Stars, whose flesh knits and heals cleanly as part of their heritage.

X'anista was never scarred, but she did kill.

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Even as a child, even among the Falling Stars warriors, her skill with a spear was remarkable. It seemed as natural as walking, as reflexive as breathing, when she used one; in training she was never alone, always partnered against older children or many at once. She was never humbled, and yet neither did she become arrogant and strutting. This, too, was talked of, as though she was possessed of an unearthly calm. In truth, from the day of her first kills, she lived with a bone-deep kind of terror that she never dared show to anyone. Years would pass, day in and day out, and always she had to surpass expectations, always she had to kill with an eyeblink. Hunting was her only solace; it was considered a waste of time to partner other children with her, and so barely more than a kitten was she pitted against full-grown coeurls and spine wolves and other beasts that could easily kill an unprepared adult hunter. This was not unheard-of, though still rare at her age. Other children tried to match her; usually they failed, or died, or both.

It came to be a relief when another child would die. One less rival, one less threat, one less source of pressure to prove herself.

Only two ever got close to her, if you can call it that. One was her older brother, X'zarann. His existence was a relief, a distraction, because among males he was being closely watched. His own skills were exceptional, and some whispered he would be Nunh someday. Perhaps he suffered no less pressure, no less fear than X'anista. They spoke little, but at least he seemed to understand the kind of madness she sometimes felt. On the other hand, the way he looked at her as she grew, as her young body began showing promise of what it would become, was not brotherly.

The other was her half-brother, X'oran. Three years older, from another mother, he was the only one to treat her with any degree of care. If his attention began to teeter between brotherly and something more mature, as she approached her flowering, he nonetheless made her comfortable in ways that no one else did. Not her aunts, who saw her as an eventual rival. And not the children, who feared, hated and envied her. And not the Nunh... who watched her, with covetous eyes. At times, X'anista would dream of freedom, or would dream that X'oran would challenge the Nunh. He was one of the best hunters, and if it was him... but, he was still young. The odds of him actually challenging the nunh were yet slim.

Then her flowering happened, and X'anista's dreams came true.

It was in her twelfth year. Her body was beginning to show curves around hip and breast, and she was constantly adapting her fighting methods, feeling ungainly and coltish, gaining ilms of height overnight it seemed. Then one night, she woke to the scent of blood, and for a moment thought one of the others had finally managed to sneak up on her in her sleep - they'd tried before - but no, the blood was not from a wound. This was far worse. There are few secrets in a sept, and hers did not outlast the coming of the dawn; her scent made it clear, and word spread like wildfire.

X'ares Nunh came to see her. The Nunh, the terrifying warrior god in living flesh, who had watched her patiently over the years, waiting for this day. Her father.

Never had she felt so naked, so small and weak, standing before him as he cupped her chin and examined her, tilting her face this way and that. As his eyes roved over her body, while the whole sept looked on. It would happen sometimes, like this, when a young huntress came of age, that he would examine her, and make his decision. Now? Later? There was never refusal, not a question of if, only when.

For X'anista, it would be tomorrow.

That day and night were the longest in her life. No other male was allowed near her, in case one would seek to poach the Nunh's right - punishable by death, but success could mean an undermining of the leader's authority, and perhaps a new Nunh. The huntresses were assiduous, though; some saw it as a punishment for the arrogance she must surely conceal. Others saw it as an honor, so young, to be taken the day after. She would still be bleeding. It was romantic, to their minds; to X'anista's, it was a nightmare. She wanted to talk to X'oran, or even X'zarann, to be reassured, or protected, or anything.. but it was impossible. She remembered seeing the stricken look on X'oran's face, briefly. X'zarann had seemed uninterested... that night, she prayed to Azeyma, that the next day she would be saved.

At noon, the impossible happened, as though in answer to her prayers. X'oran challenged their father, challenged the Nunh, for leadership. There was no circle of trial, no limits, no protocol, other than that no one was to interfere. A challenge was sacred. Space was made, and it began. X'anista watched, prayed, fear and hope filling her to bursting, as her brother fought... for her, she knew. There could be no other reason. He fought bravely, fiercely, displaying skill that no one suspected. It was as though the goddess possessed him. Spears flashed in the bright light, as the two males clashed, one young and fierce, the other old and powerful.

It was closer than it should have been. X'oran landed a cut on the Nunh's face, and X'anista dared hope for a moment.

Then the Nunh laughed, and grabbed his rival's spear, wrenching it from his grip almost contemptuously. And drove both lances through X'oran's chest, pinning him to the ground, and killing him. Then he called for a feast, and there was a feast.

X'anista remembers none of it. Perhaps she was in shock. X'oran had been left where he laid, his own spear still impaling him; her eyes kept going to the sight. People laughed and joked and cheered, and the Nunh, her father, her heart-brother's killer, had her sit by his side as the festivities continued. She had never been more unaware, more helpless than that day; anyone could have slit her throat, then, and she wouldn't have put up a fight. She almost would have welcomed it.

Which made it all the more astonishing when her father's blood exploded over her.

He had turned his head to contemplate her, his child, his trophy, his soon-to-be conquest. Perhaps that was the distraction X'zarann had been waiting for. Sitting at the Nunh's left hand, as the most honored (still-living) hunter in the sept, he'd given every evidence the whole time of enjoying the festivities, had roared as well as everyone else at X'ares' victory in the challenge, had drank and feasted. And now, without warning, breaking all custom, he moved like lightning and ripped a jagged knife across the Nunh's throat from behind. Blood showered Anstarra's face, who had just turned to look up at him. That face that displayed shock, and rage, and, for the first time in anyone's memory, fear. He gripped X'zarann's wrist, just for a moment seeming truly invincible.. and then his mouth opened wide, and a spearhead drove out of it like a protruding tongue, as X'anista's blood-brother pushed the Nunh's own spear through the back of his head with his other hand.

Mayhem ensued.

X'anista remembers little of her flight. Only two things. X'zarann's eyes, briefly meeting hers, triumphant. And snatching up X'oran's spear, from his body. She ran, and ran, and ran, shedding her blood-soaked clothes, diving through a lake, carrying only the spear, always spear in hand.

Spear in Hand

Part 1: A Young Girl in the Woods

Twelve years old, naked, covered in blood, fleeing through the chilly northern tundra with not a possession to her name, save only the spear which had belonged to the one person she cared about, pulled from his cold body.

Things were starting to look up for X'anista.

For she was free. Free of her tribe, of her sept, of the pressure and jealousy and deadly games... free of her father, and her brother, and the other huntresses who looked on her with envy and spite and fear. And free she intended to remain, so she did not slow in her flight; she ran for two days straight, before her first stolen nap. She ate herbs and cold meat, animals she came upon at a run, taking them by surprise and slaying them before they could react. Fish and birds and small game mostly; the larger beasts she dared not take time to butcher, and thus avoided them as best she could. X'anista had left the camp in chaos, so she knew she had a head start... what she did not know was how long it would take for the others to give chase. If they even would.

At first, her every thought was calculated into flight, but as hours turned into days without any sign of pursuit, her mind would flicker back to the events leading to her escape. How unlikely it was, how impossible, that the Nunh should be dead. And taken by surprise.. X'anista had once witnessed him snatch an arrow out of the air, an arrow that had come in from behind, out of hiding. He had been training, but she knew when he trained he did not tell the huntresses what weapons to take, and let them hide themselves beforehand. Yet he always knew. He was never bested.

X'zarann had bested him though. Killed him, suddenly and brutally. Would he be Nunh now? He had gone against all custom; that alone would be cause for dispute, maybe even outright fighting. Custom was law, was unbreakable. What would happen? All she knew, deep in her bones, was that she would see X'zarann again. His eyes had told her as much, eyes like their father's, cruel and cunning and implacable. Eyes like her own, determined and fierce and hard. Someday they would face off once more. And then... then she would see.


Eventually, the land grew warmer. It was hard to tell in the north, but down here it was summer, and so tundra gave way to grasslands, then sparse woods.. and then suddenly, like a great, dark wall, to the Black Shroud.

X'anista knew of the Shroud; the Cursed Lands, her people called it. The true limit of their territory... testament, she would later know upon studying maps of Eorzea, of their arrogance, that they should lay claim to such a massive stretch of land. All she knew at the time was that in the woods she might escape her people, who would not dare enter... and between the terror she knew and the terror she didn't, she preferred the unknown in this instance. After spending days - or was it weeks now? - in flight, not daring even to stop and make clothes for herself, carrying a spear and a hastily-obtained, uncured skin which served as a carrying bag for spare cuts of meat, she was ready to brave the ghosts and demons said to haunt the Cursed Lands if it could mean even a few hours' rest. And so, she entered, leaving the grass and open sky behind for the first time in her life, to take refuge in the dappled shadows of the Shroud.


The girl from the north had never been in a forest, yet there are certain tricks and techniques for survival that serve in good stead anywhere. Find a source of water. Shelter to sleep. Cover your tracks. Negate your scent. Mind the wind. Learn the plants. Learn the predators. Learn the prey. Falling Stars kittens had to know how to survive from the youngest age in the harshest of conditions; this was no worse, and in many ways far better, for she had no fear of being caught out and killed by one of her fellow huntresses.

Soon, the Shroud, the Cursed Lands of her youth, came to be X'anista's sanctuary. For the first time in as far back as she could remember, the consuming terror that had gripped her very soul began to ease.

She still had to be careful, of course; the Shroud was filled with predators, with poisonous plants, with hidden dangers and threats. But these were natural things, normal things, and she was stronger and faster and more lethal than anything her size had any right to be, with a young lifetime of training in awareness and hunting and survival. She never made a large print on the land; instinct, or something deeper, told her that there was.. if not a curse, then something dangerous, something aware about this place, that would not take kindly to intruders who overstepped themselves. She was used to acting small and humble, though, and here it just felt natural to do so.

And so time passed, and the seasons changed, slipping into fall, and winter. It grew cold, but never like it had been in the north, and X'anista bore it easily. Winter passed on into spring, and she never saw another soul... not until summer had come again, and before she knew it it had been a year since she had left her people. A year since she had seen ANY people; even more than before she was a savage girl, now. She'd never seen fit to replace her clothes, dressing only in scraps of pelt and thongs of dried gut which served to hold the little bags and satchels she'd made for herself, filled with self-made hunting tools, herbs, and a few pretty stones she'd found in a riverbed. Her skin was bronzed, her hair kept hacked short, her nails dirty and face smudged.

This was how the boy found her, when suddenly he appeared in her camp. The boy she would call brother, and eventually more.

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It was a slow process, but eventually the young midlander named Kian gained X'anista's trust. His parents, Joan and Bors, were eccentrics who had decided to make a home for themselves deep in the Shroud. Joan had studied conjury in Stillglade Fane, in Gridania, and at each solstice and equinox would perform cleansing rituals to rid their home of woodsin. Bors was an alchemist and herbologist, also from Gridania, with a deep respect for the elementals. Like X'anista, they never took more than they needed, using only dead wood to build their house and furniture, then shoring it up through gentle conjury and alchemy until it was as comfortable as any place in the city. At times one or more of them would travel to other small outposts, or even the city itself, but such occasions were rare.

At first, it was difficult going; the savage girl their son had found could barely speak, would not sleep indoors, would not suffer to be touched, except by Kian. Bors recognized the danger in her, like a wild beast... yet his wife's heart could not help but go out to the poor girl, and in time he grew to feel the same. It took time, and patience, and there were setbacks... but at length

Finally, X'anista's old wounds began to heal over. She decided to give up her old name, to rid herself of her past, instead taking up a new one. Anstarra. She grew close to her adoptive family, her mother and father and brother, and knew love for the first time. In all its forms... for as her body properly matured, she found herself looking at Kian in different ways than before, and he, so bold at times, would blush and do the same. For though he was a couple years older than her, his family's hermit existence had given him little experience with girls... and here was one whose burgeoning beauty was lost on no one, not even her parents (to their occasional discomfort, but more frequent joy). Things started in the usual way, a tentative process of kissing and touching that quickly and suddenly blossomed into outright passion.

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It was at this time that Joan taught Anstarra about certain herbs that grew only in this, eastern part of the Shroud. Brewed into a tea, within three days of lovemaking, they would curtail any chance of pregnancy. This she did with a mixture of reticence and sagacity; perhaps more than Anstarra herself, Joan sensed the wild potency of the young miqo'te girl's passions. She could try to guilt her into abstinence and responsibility... or she could teach her caution, and protection, and let a soul that had known only suffering in its youth find joy however it could. For Joan saw another thing, before anyone else; that though her little Star loved Kian now, though they snuggled together and displayed all the wild and heedless adoration of youth, she knew it would not last. That this Star would travel far away, and would know many lovers, before coming to earth. The years since have not proven her wrong...

Part 2: A Lancer Comes
Part 3: Of Storms and Dragons

The Collared Dragon

Moon's Widow

Recently...

(1/16/2017) Life has taken many twists and turns for Anstarra, but at the same time things are looking up. The threat of her tribe rose and fell and now simmers, quietly waiting to continue... yet she is far from bored, preoccupied with her Captaincy of the Iron Bitch and responsibilities to the Maelstrom, her unusual (and extremely secret) fate as one of the Stars of Destiny, her investigations into cultists around Highbridge, and the affair of the Vylbrandi Chocobo, and any other number of amusements and preoccupations. For once, however, her love life couldn't be better. Engaged to and enamored of her lover Nihka, yet both of them still free to pursue and indulge in other lovers (as is often the miqo'te way), she finds pleasure and solace both in her own bed and others'... free to indulge her desires without guilt or recrimination (if not entirely without consequence, rumor mills being what they are).


(10/13/2014) It's a busy time to be Anstarra. Aside from her unrelenting (and sometimes tedious) duties for the Maelstrom, and the responsibilities she bears as a member of the Harbingers, she has become personally involved in two distinct affairs which are both tied in with her friend (and now partner-in-crime, so to speak), Verad Bellveil. One involves unfounded accusations leveled at him by the Wood Wailers of Quarrymill, and has led to becoming embroiled in a bitter conflict between desperate refugees and the ostensible forces of law and order in the Shroud. The other involves a vendetta between Verad and a nefarious criminal in Ul'dah's underworld, with his hired Brass Blade goons, and has seen Star and Verad infiltrating a warehouse and exposing illegal goods within, which was repaid by a savage beating which Verad is still recovering from, having taken sole blame for it.

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