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Ash'waren Val'Sullisin'rune and her clan are a relic of the Moons Age, and both have seen much strife in their expansive history.
Appearance and Personality
Ash'waren displays wily characteristics not uncommon for a Sul and is not above diving into a battle of words to turn a situation in her favor. Under the decadent exterior lurks a deep rooted hatred for the Vel'Sharen for what they did to Ash'waren and her family in the 3rd century, and she orchestrates the current war against the Sharen using the Sarghress clan as puppets to further Sullisin'rune goals. She is also wholly against mandatory tainting at Orthorbbae and was opposed to the Vel'Vloz'ress becoming a great clan, along with Waes'soloth and Shimi'lande.
Ash'waren has the most daughters of any one left, suggesting that the large majority of the Sullisin'rune clan comprises of her descendents. With the widespread reach of her lineage, many Sullisins share her heterochromia trait. Ash'waren as a child used to have a green eye and a blue eye, but the intense mental trauma of her early life caused one eye to shift to a bright red earning her the title: "Devil Eye".
The Illharess usually either dons a blue sari or dark blue blouse and pants, heavy gold jewelry marked with her clan's insignia, and a painted face with both halves of her upper face in dark blue. Recently with the onset of the District War, Ash'waren had overcome what looks like an assassination attempt, and that left her chest with empathy healing marks.
Biography - Background
The Moons Age
Ash'waren and the origin of the Sullisin'rune clan descends from the plains region controlled by their ancestors east of Sharess' old domain, of which Thalamani was the capital. The neighbors were ancient enemies that often fought for control of resources in the region of the Inner Sea, but Thalamani in particular was a peaceful refuge for the Sul ancestors. The lands of the ancient Suls was once covered in lush, vibrant forests and wide expanse of rolling plains land, bordered on the west with a large chain of mountains.
However, the war against the demon summoners would eventually reach the Sul ancestors' lands and cause refugees from their northwestern territories to flood the city of Thalamani, hoping to escape the destruction. Eventually the city could not stand against the invading demon hordes, and soon after what happened became known as the legend of the Thalamani Slaughter. Ash'waren's people had tried to hold a Moon's end Festival which involved the customary opening of the gates, resulting in demons spilling into the city and killing all of those that had not sought shelter with the royal family. Later, Queen Koma'lawen was forced to make the decision to leave their ancient lands and head west, into Sharess' territory.
Ash'waren can recall little of the journey, but she knew that the trek to their enemies' land took several moonturns and across rugged terrain. Koma'lawen had greatly feared that the people of Sharess' domain would receive the refugees badly, but instead Sharess welcomed them with open arms. It was then that young Ash befriended Diva'ratrika and Blossom. However, eventually all of the refugees had to flee underground while Sharess prepared for her final assault against the nether.
Early Years of the Chel & the Third Century War
The descent into the Underworld was a tremendous effort, and many died on the way. The Sullisin'rune ancestors suffered the same fate as their counterparts from Sharess' domain and others who had joined the evacuation, but eventually the refugees were able to settle into what is now known today as Chel'el'Sussoloth. The City had a rough, violent beginning through the war between the horrified dark elves and their ashen offspring, the drowolaths, and concluded with most all dark elves being ostracized from society. It is unknown when Ash'waren had decided to hide her dark elven nature from the drow population with empathy, or whether or not the Suls know that she is one.
Around the 3rd century, the Sullisins engaged in a war against the Sharen for control over the dominion of the newborn empire. The war was hard fought to preserve the identity of the Sul ancestors, but results were disastrous: with the combined might of the Sharen and their vassal allies, such as the Val'Beldrobbaen, the Suls were crushed and its royal bloodline nearly wiped out, put to the sword by the now Val of Sharess Diva'ratrika and her mother. Out of all of the female survivors of the Thalamani immigrants only Ash'waren was spared.
The terms for surrender were that Ash was to swear an oath to the Vals of Sharen to become their vassal as an Illharess (a blow to the claim of royalty that Ash'waren held) and to never again war against the might of the Sharen clan. They were also to be locked into the Sullisin'rune dome to become a mere clan and lose their status as a nation. Though she agreed, the burning grudge against the Sharen lingered in Ash'waren's heart, and this decision to spare the Suls would later come back to haunt the Sharen.
Biography - Arc I
Sarghress Sponsorship & the Beginning of the End
It was Ash that served as an anchor for the Val'Sarghress to become one of the Nine Great Clans, and it was she that continues to serve as encouragement for Quain'tana to war against the Sharen forces to this day. Much to the displeasure of the then Val'Sharen and their allies. This is reflected by assassination attempts on Ash'waren's life, which the Illharess easily repelled by herself. One of the hidden terms of their alliance is for Quain'tana and her forces to serve as the military arm of the war efforts while the Sullisin'rune hang back and supply the Sarghress war machine.
One of her younger daughters, Faen, had killed her Vel'sharen teacher Sate'ja Vel'Sharen and ran away, but was later rescued by Ariel, the Sarghress heir. Upon her return, Ash was unable to remember who Faen even was and her other daughter Salan'dara that suggested that Faen stay away from the Dome for the time being to recover from her empathy damage.
Zala'ess Vel'Sharen had called for a council meeting of the clan leaders to discuss the rising tension happening around Chel, but it proved fruitless for only a tiresome war of words occurred between the Illharesses. Ash'waren here expresses her dislike for mandatory tainting for summoning at Orthorbbae, but the Vels counter that girls get to choose if they want to take the class or not.
Waes'soloth later suggests that they follow the example of the Kyorls and the Val'Illhar'dro by setting up individual schools ran by the clans, but again the Vels counter with a snark that Orthorbbae teaches children not to become spoiled like a Sul or xenophobic like a Kyorl. Ash'waren only smiles, stating that commoners have much to gain from the clans they associate with, seeing as that everyone has a different background (alluding to the fact that Ash'waren and the Sullisin'rune are descended from the Sharen's ancient enemies). In an attempt to garner sympathy for the Sharen cause, Zala'ess tries to create a false revelation by revealing that Ariel was "a monster conceived from the union of beast and drowolath" (referring to Mel'arnach and Zhor), but Ash'waren says that she is unable to believe anything the Vel'Sharen says.
Later on, Ash'waren visits Quain'tana to report on the happenings of the council meeting, and she is seen dropping her disguise to show her dark elven skin color. It is implied that Quain'tana had already known that Ash was a dark elf. She learns that the Sharen--under Zala'ess' orders--had actually sent attackers to the Sarghress fortress to destroy property and taint the citizens, all to draw out Sil'lice from hiding and provoke the Sarghress into declaring war.
Biography - Arc II
The Ill'haress had fully involved the Suls in a coalition with the Sarghress in a full scale war against the Sharen and their Black Sun and Beldrobbaen allies. By the Illharess' order, many Suls have been deployed to aid the war effort.
It is unknown when or what happened, but upon a visit made by Faen to inquire about the lack of supplies funneling into the troops, Ash'waren is shown with scars on her chest, covered by her sari. The supply drain placed on the clan has greatly soured her opinion of the Sarghress . By the harsh tone Ash'waren uses with Faen and the talk of traitors hiding within the Sullisin'rune, it is suggested that Ash'waren had survived an assassination attempt by traitors to the clan. Ash even goes as far as to force her way into Faen's mind to discern the truth of her words and intentions. In the end, Ash'waren deems Faen to be an honest person and insists that she trust no other Sullisin, and is instructed to seek Salan'dara in Machike'Shikumo should something happen.
In the aftermath of the Sarghress' final push on the Vel'Sharen's holdings, Ash'waren calls for an emergency meeting with Quain'tana to discuss the future of Chel'el'Sussoloth. She is clearly worried about the various problems arising from the war effort, and how it has made a turn for the worse. In addition to traitors lurking in her clan, the Sul plantations remain silent (in truth, destroyed by Nidraa'chal raiding) making the food shortage worse, and the remaining Chelian clans have all turned against the Sarghress/Sullisin'rune alliance. The return of Zala'ess and the Val'Illhar'dro with their Nuqrah'shareh allies would only drag the war on--with this knowledge, Ash'waren begs Quain'tana to end the war immediately with parley.
A New Home in Machike
Ash'waren has elected to surround herself with Sarghress guards rather than those from her own clan--a clear sign that she fears assassins and the traitors in her own family--to the effect of the Illharess fleeing her lands to the Sarghress colony of Machike'Shikumo. . It is there that she is at a loss with what to do, but Kel'noz reaffirms that the two clans will not fail if they stand together. Ash'waren even cheekily asks to share his "fire" with her, to which Kel'nz replied that he would not fail either clan.
Biography - Arc III
Kel'noz kept to his commitment of keeping the clans together to Ash'waren as they and her two nagas Xy'tin and Ba'dal stood in the Machike city mists, following a Nidraa'chal atack on the colony one day after the Hermionne siege. The Sul is amused but approving of Ariel's opptimisti statement and Kel'noz's determination. However, Ash'waren does not mist the chance to push Faen's buttons.
When the Nidraa'chal attack Machike, Ash'waren is particularly targeted by bombardment via Bae'rali's empathy, but she and her naga servants survive the attack when the lost colonists return. While on the run from the Alliance forces, she superceded command of the ship's cannons to fire on Shikomei colony, killing friend and foe alike in order to level Sang's legion. This action earned her the ire of the Kyorl'solenurn natives and several of the ship. Ash'aren merely brushed them all off, stating plainly that Quain'tana's old generals cannot and could never be trusted. It had become apparent that the old empath was in a rush to eliminate as many enemies as she could, as people in Snadhya's Feldian estate experienced her invasive abilities as the Illhar'ess searched for the hated Vel'Sharen, amplified by her children Bae'rali and Faen.
Outside of Moonless Age
Ash'waren has also appeared in:
- Daydream - Renewing Alliance, Goddess' Knight, Rise of the Jaal'darya, Illharess Meeting, Seksia Does Chel
"There is much to gain from independent institutions. Commoners affiliated to the clan owning the school could go there to learn culture and teachings specific to its people. A competition between the clans but one of intelligence and culture. After all, don't we all have different origins? Unless, the Vel'sharen feel they cannot compete in that field." -Ash'waren at the Illharess council meeting
"For centuries I fought, before there even was a thing known as the Chelian empire. My sisters died. My mother died. My aunts died. I alone held against the machinations of Diva'ratrika for so long. Now that victory nears.... Still, all things must come to an end." -to Faen in the Sul dome
- Concept AshChild.png
Concept art of Ash'waren as a child, Chapter 16.