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Chrys'tel Vel'Sharen

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Appeared in chapters   2 3  5  7 8 9  11  13   16 17        25 26 27 28   31 32  34  36* 37* 38*   41  43 44  46 47   50 51     56 57  

Chrys'tel is a younger daughter of Zala'ess and an Imperial Vel'Sharen Overseer. She and her protector twin Shinae have been exploring the dark secrets of her family's history.

Despite raising doubts of her loyalty, she continued the quest for truth and became an ally and double agent of her exiled aunt, Sil'lice. Chrys'tel was eventually promoted to the rank of Imperial Overseer, and afterwards to Captain of the Guard by her empress mother, Zala'ess.

Appearance and Personality

Chrys'tel is a natural leader with an attitude to match. She is proud, headstrong, and determined in her endeavors, and is empowered by the knowledge that she is a descendant of the most powerful ruling clan. When her faith in her clan was shaken, it disturbed her greatly, forcing her to channel her energies towards a relentless quest for truth.

Chrys' attitude to those she considers lower than her is generally haughty and dimissive. With age and understanding she has become more diplomatic, but she still sometimes holds to her ingrained Vel'Sharen pride. She naturally takes command of most situations, and is skilled at uniting people in the causes she pursues.

Her relationship with her protector twin has been rocky. She has a tendency to take advantage of her position and force Shinae into undesirable sitations, but Shinae is equally as likely to lash out at Chrys'tel for anything that she doesn't agree with. Chrys'tel slowly found it difficult to trust Shinae, but with the knowledge that tainted drow are truly ticking time bombs with a short fuse, she pledged to be a better sister to Shinae in the time she has left.

In her youth, Chrys'tel almost always wore her single-eyed circlet and short dresses that showed her wealth freely. She wore her hair in long twin pigtails. She now dons the uniform of an Imperial Overseer of Zala'ess' lineage with her hair tied back in a practical bun. Her crown now bears three eyes with rounded points, a nod to the modified circlet Shinae made for her at the end of Arc I.

Biography - Arc I

As is Vel'Sharen custom, Chrys'tel was paired with a protector twin at a very young age. The girl who she was paired with was named Shinae, and they have spent most of their lives at each other's side[1].

Chrys'tel was very young when the Nidraa'chal uprising took place, but remembers bits and pieces of the time before that. She was tainted as a child when mandatory tainting became law in the Vel'Sharen clan.

The Orthorbbae Years

Chrys'tel was sent to school at the Orthorbbae to become educated and to form political connections for her family. She roomed with Faen'arae Val'Sullisin'rune, an empath she considered weak and soft. She tried to harden Faen up for her own sake, but Faen remained fearful, sensitive and compassionate.

Faen and Chrys first encountered Ariel Val'Sarghress lying injured and bleeding in the basement of the school, having fallen from her floater. Chrys'tel immediately expressed a hostile attitude towards Ariel, mainly because Ariel was a younger female student who wasn't worth saving if she couldn't help herself. Faen sympathized with the injured girl and tried her hardest to heal her as Chrys left them both behind. When Faen brought Ariel back to her room to heal, Chrys'tel yelled at her for being weak-willed[2].

After the incident which left their friend Naal'suul Val'Beldrobbaen badly tainted, Faen became noticeably more agitated around the tainted. Faen tried to explain her fears of demons to Chrys'tel, but the Sharen mocked her for them, calling her "Mad Eyes." Despite her efforts to save Faen from her own weakness, Faen descended into crippling anxiety. Chrys'tel placed the blame for this on Ariel, whose compassion for Faen she felt was only encouraging her softness.

File:Val Girl Squad.jpeg
From left: Kyo'nne, Chrys'tel, Naal'suul, Shinae, and Kiel'ndia during their time at school.[3]

After Ariel left the school, Faen's condition only worsened. Chrys'tel, in a final effort to save her roommate, arranged for Faen to take summoning classes, reasoning that if Faen could only face her fears and learn to master the demons that plagued her dreams, she would be free from the empathetic fits she was experiencing. Faen reluctantly agreed to take part in the mandatory tainting ceremony required for these classes.

However, on the way to the ceremony Faen collapsed in a fit. Chrys'tel's cousin, Nihi'liir, grew quickly impatient and slapped Faen to force her to her senses. Faen snapped, and the emotional overload hit everyone in the vicinity, knocking Chrys'tel senseless. When she came to, Faen was in a strange trance, Nihi'liir's arm was destroyed, and the teacher's mind was lost entirely. When Faen came out of her fugue state, she panicked and fled the Orthorbbae.

A month later, on the next school break, Chrys'tel was walking with her friends down the streets of Chel'el'sussoloth when she spotted Faen in a nearby alleyway. She followed Faen, confronting her about the failed tainting incident and berating her for returning - due to the damage to Nihi'liir's arm and the death of their teacher, the Sharen would continue to hunt her down. Now that she had returned, Chrys would have no choice but to bring her in to the clan. Chrys'tel noticed too late that Faen's demeanor had changed - just in time to be attacked by the timid Sullisin'rune. To her shock, she quickly found herself fighting Ariel Val'Sarghress, who had used her high sorcery to shapeshift into Faen's form in order to lure Chrys into a trap.

Chrys'tel discovers that Faen is not who she appears to be.

Ariel was able to get the upper hand during the fight, and subdued Chrys'tel. As she lay stunned, they were joined by Chrys'tel's friends - Shinae, Kiel'ndia, Naal'suul, and Kyo'nne. The older girls taunted the young Sarghress, but before they could come to Chrys' defense, they were again interrupted, this time by a squad of Val'Kyorl'Solenurn templars led by the warden Chirinide. The warden ordered the templars to arrest all of the tainted, as well as Kyo'nne. The girls immediately fled, leaving Chrys behind[4].

Seeing no other choice, Chrys'tel submitted herself to the younger drow's questioning, which revolved around the circumstances leading to Faen's disappearance. She recounted the story for Ariel, including Faen's slow descent into anxiety and paranoia, followed by the failed tainting ceremony. Chiri'nide attempted to explain the dangers of the tainted to Ariel during this time, which Chrys'tel argued against; it was the only safe way to protect summoners from being possessed by nether demons. After finishing her tale, she then asked Ariel what they planned to do with her - if the young Sarghress didn't make a decision soon, her bleeding wounds would make it for her. Unwilling to leave an enemy at her back, Ariel opted to bring Chrys'tel back to the Val'Sarghress Fortress[5].

Prisoner of the Sarghress

After being brought to the fortress, Chrys was turned over toSil'lice Val'Sharen, the supposed traitor behind the Nidraa'chal uprising, where the elder Sharen began tormenting her. Sil'lice took delight in shattering Chrys' view of her clan and replacing it with the truth - that Chrys' own mother and aunts had murdered their mother, the Empress, and that Diva'ratrika had been dead for decades. Her aunt also revealed that the Nidraa'chal had secretly won the war, and that the widespread tainting was the proof. Chrys refused to believe it, so Sil'lice prompted her to check the basement of the Orthorbbae and the Val'Sharess tower the next time she had the chance.

Sil'lice discovers her captive[6]

During her captivity, Chrys'tel was driven to despair by Sil'lice's harsh ways. Just when she had assumed all hope was lost, a stranger showed up at her cell. It was Syphile, a tainted Sarghress Val who had just been stripped of her rank and exiled from the clan. Syphile promised to help Chrys escape in exchange for a position in the Vel'Sharen clan. She also told the young Vel'Sharen a clan secret, hoping to gain favor: Ariel was born of a spider aware, and was thus not a drow at all. Chrys agreed to do her best for Syphile, and the two escaped to the Vel'Sharen palace[7].

Unfortunately, she did not receive the warm welcome home that she had hoped for; during her time as a prisoner, her clan had been told that Chrys was a spy, and assisted with capturing Sharen agents who had infiltrated the Sarghress. Instead, she was met by Nihi'liir and several guards, and again thrown into a prison cell. The next day, her cell door was opened by Zala'ess Vel'Sharen, who immediately questioned her regarding her supposed collaboration with the Sargress. Looking her mother in the eye, Chrys'tel continued to insist that she was innocent. Thankfully, her mother believed her, and congratulated her on escaping on her own.

After being instructed to clean herself up and rest, she was reunited with Shinae, who had been beaten and imprisoned in her absence for her failure to protect Chrys'tel. While she, Shinae and Syphile shared a bath and a meal, Chrys reflected on her memories of the Nidraa'chal War, as well as Sil'lice's words. Afterwards, they were given an audience with Zala'ess; Chrys'tel explained how she had escaped from the Val'Sarghress with Syphile's help, and insisted that Syphile be made a noble in hopes of repaying the wayward Val'Sarghress for her help.

Zala'ess laughed at her request, and explained how she had met Syphile previously when she had traveled to the Val'Sarghress fortress to bargain for her release - she had no use for a weakling who had brought shame upon her own clan. Furthermore, she would not allow a Sarghress under her roof; Syphile would be paid for her service and sent on her way. Chrys persisted, however, reminding her mother that a true Vel'Sharen always paid her debts. When asked to prove that Syphile could be trusted, Chrys'tel revealed the secret that the Val'Sarghress had told her regarding Ariel's bloodline. Zala'ess remained unconvinced, however, being unwilling to trust the words of someone who had betrayed their own clan, or could be a spy sent to infiltrate them.

Not willing to give up, the young Sharen offered another suggestion: Syphile would be allowed to train with the Vel'Sharen, after which she would attempt to assassinate another Val'Sarghress, or even Quain'tana. If successful, she would have proven her newfound loyalty to the Sharen. If she failed, she would be at Quain'tana's mercy. Intrigued by the idea, Zala'ess agreed, promising that if Syphile succeeded, she would be allowed to start her own vassal line within the Vel'Sharen clan. She then praised Chrys, showing great pride in her recent growth.

Before their meeting was over, Chrys'tel went on to tell her mother one additional secret, which was sure to sour her mood...that Sil'lice had taken shelter with their enemies, the Val'Sarghress[8].

Quest for Truth

Main article: Chrys'tel's Quest for Truth
File:Chrys' Discovery.jpeg
Chrys'tel is shocked to find Val'Sharess tower in ruins.[9]


Sil'lice's words still buzzed in the back of Chrys'tel's head, and she began to grow restless with questions. She found herself unable to confide in Shinae, but still needed to prove Sil'lice wrong. She stole one of her mother's crowns, and used the keystone to gain access to the Val'Sharess tower, which she found in ruin. She also visited a cousin who had left to join the Illhar'dro just before the war broke out. She began to question him about Diva'ratrika, primarily when the last time was that he had actually seen her, but they were interrupted by Shodun, a tainted guest of his that kept her from probing too deep.

Unsettled by what she had seen and still yearning for answers, Chrys'tel caved and told Shinae about Sil'lice's story of Diva'ratrika's death and Zala'ess' conspiratory cover-up while sparring in their quarters. Shinae intially chastised Chrys for even thinking about Sil'lice's garbage, but Chrys convinced her sister to help dig deeper. Shinae didn't like it, but she knew she had no choice but to continue to follow and protect Chrys. Their discussion was soon interrupted by the arrival of a messenger creature, sent from Kiel'ndia Vel'Vloz'ress, inviting them to a meeting at the Beldrobbaen Fortress.

Chrys'tel, Kiel'ndia and Naal'sul vow to always remain friends, no matter what happens.

Chrys and Shinae agreed to meet with their old schoolmates Kiel'ndia Vel'Vloz'ress and Naal'suul Val'Beldrobbaen, and arrived at the Beldrobbaen Fortress discretely. They shared their recent experiences, with Chrys filling Kiel in on her time spent as a Sarghress prisoner, and Kiel telling them of her plans to take leadership of the Vel'Vloz'ress. Realizing that there was more at stake than the issues within their own clans, the group agreed that they would help each other solve their internal clan problems. Kiel and Naal promised to explore the basement of Orthorbbae with Chrys, so long as Chrys and Shinae would later provide support in Kiel's quest to revolutionize the Vel'Vloz'ress clan. Shinae continued to be skeptical about their plans, and finally left the room in protest.

Once Shinae had made her exit, Kiel revealed to Chrys'tel how Shinae had acted after her capture, insisting that the protector twin had intended to take Chrys' place in the clan. Naal stopped her from elaborating further, stating that it wasn't the time to cause further trouble between the two. Unsure of whether or not to trust her own sister, Chrys then joined with Naal and Kiel into an agreement - no matter what happened, they would always remain friends to each other. With that, the young girls set out to change the world[10].

Discovering the Orthorbbae's Secrets

At the Orthorbbae, the girls followed Chrys' lead. Upon reaching the entrance, they were joined by Chrys' younger brother Nau'kheol and Naal's younger brother Khal'harror Val'Beldrobbaen, who had become bored with the nearby festival. Nau questioned his sisters on what would bring them to the school if not the festival, to which Chrys'tel replied that if he wanted to find out, he would have to come with her. He agreed, curious as to what she was up to, and Khal'harror followed suit. The boys would have trouble, however, as the main halls of the Orthorbbae were dangerous to males. Assistance came in the form of Sorane'saniil Val'Illhar'dro, who had overhead them, and volunteered to help them disguise the boys in order to access the Crescent.

The group made their way down to the basement, where they found themselves facing an enormous door, locked with a magical lock. Chrys'tel attempted to open the door, but found that even her mother's keystone would not unlock the door - they would most likely need one belonging to the headmistress herself, Snadhya'rune.

Taking advantage of Naal falling ill due to her seed acting up, they called for the headmistress to intervene in the distraction[11]. While Snadhya'rune tended to Naal, the others snuck into her quarters, where Chrys managed to locate another gem that felt like a keystone. As they searched, they were confronted by Lulianne, who questioned them on why they were there. Claiming that they were there to seek an audience with her aunt, they were then chased out by the Sarghress warrior. The group then reconvened at the basement for another attempt to open the door.

Using the new stone, they were able to open the door in the basement of the school, revealing a large, ice-filled room containing multiple bodies. Among them was the body of Sate'ja, the teacher that Faen had accidentally mind-wiped with her empathy. To their shock and surprise, the group was addressed by an adult, and found Sate'ja standing in the doorway, alive and able-bodied despite her frozen presence on the table beside them[12]. The teacher attacked, and the group fought back valiantly. After wounding her during their fight, they soon realized that they were battling a corporeal summon of Sate'ja - an abomination the teens never thought possible.

The six students confront the living summon of Sate'ja.[13]

Sate'ja eventually gained the upper hand and stabbed Naal'suul through the heart, prompting Naal to lose control of her seed. She sadly apologized before she transformed into a demon and consumed Sate'ja on the spot. The group quickly retreated from the freezer and sealed the door behind them, much to Kiel's fury. Chrys attempted to reason with her distraught friend, regretfully stating that all that was left was a glutton demon who would eat her. As they turned to leave, Chrys'tel again promised that Kiel would have her help if she needed it.

The group left the basement, with Chrys feeling defeated with the horrors she had seen. She dragged a reluctant Shinae to the Vel'Vloz'ress fortress to help Kiel as best the could, still intent on keeping their pact to help each other. There, they left her in the care of Nanai, along with the keystone and a request that someone meet them at the gate the next day to show them into the fortress. Respecting Kiel's wish to be alone, the two Sharen left to return home, but not before Chrys gave an apology for Kiel's loss.

The next day, as promised, Chrys and Shinae returned to the Vel'Vloz'ress fortress, joining Kiel as she worked on controlling Sene'kha's nagas. They provided moral support for the downtrodden girl, watching as she challenged for leadership of her clan and to everyone's surprise, succeeded in securing her place as the de facto leader of the Vel'Vloz'ress clan. As they departed, Chrys voiced her admiration for their friend's accomplishment, commenting that she could be the next big bad wolf of their generation, as well as her doubts that the other Vel'Vloz'ress would assist her, should she resist their political maneuvering[14].

Final Steps

Days later, Chrys'tel became more determined than ever to get to the bottom of things. After seeing a tainted summon kill a Vel'Sharen slave, listening to her mother's continued lies, and meeting with the palace's seer, she knew she needed to return to Sil'lice for answers. As she left the seer's quarters, she was confronted by Zala'ess, who admonished her for visiting someone from a different clan who might influence her with religious propaganda. Ignoring the chastisement, Chrys instead informed her mother of her slave's death, only to be told that such a thing was impossible - the summons were under their line's commands.

The young Sharen then requested an audience with her grandmother again, only to be told that the untrusting Empress would not see her own daughters, much less anyone else. Chrys challenged Zala'ess' claim, telling her that Sil'lice had informed her of the Empress' death. When her mother threatened to cancel her school leaves, lest she continue to be corrupted by outside influences, Chrys'tel argued that locking her up in the Orthorbbae wouldn't stop her search for the truth. Realizing that her daughter was not going to give in, Zala'ess relented, warning her that others were watching her and their bloodline, just waiting for a reason to ruin her life[15].

After a brief reunion between her school friends, Chrys'tel tried to depart for the Val'Sarghress clan. Shinae begged her not to go, but Chrys was unsure if she could even trust Shinae anymore. She threw her crown at Shinae's feet and said that is she wanted Chrys' title, she should just take it and go. Leaving Shinae behind, she was joined again by Nau'kheol, who reminded her that she had promised to tell him what was going on...twice. After an attempt to discourage him failed, she relented, telling him that she would fill him in along the way.

Returning to Sil'lice

File:Chrys' Apology.jpeg
Chrys'tel reconciles with Shinae.[16]

Chrys and Nau arrived at the Sarghress fortress, slipping in amongst a crowd of commoners. Claiming to be Syphile's children, they attempted to pass through the fortress gate, but were challenged by the guards. Before the guards could investigate further, an alarm was raised as Snadhya'rune and Mel'arnach arrived in a carriage at the main gate. After dodging into the shadows of the fortress alleys, they located Sil'lice's tower. There, they met Diva, a servant who claimed to have worked for Val'Sharess Diva'ratrika before the uprising. Chrys'tel - initially shocked to find the strange girl wearing her old clothes - grew excited to hear what the girl had to say, and all three of them entered Sil'lice's tower together[17].

Before they could locate Sil'lice, they were found by Kadara, who immediately assaulted them with a crossbow. She severely injured Nau's foot and threw the protesting children into a pair of iron maidens. Ignoring Chrys'tel's pleas to let Nau go, Kadara took Diva aside, insisting that she provide her a foot massage as she explained what they were doing there.

When Sil'lice finally arrived to release them, Nau had collapsed of exhaustion and blood loss, prompting the elder Sharen to comment that Kadara must have been in a foul mood. She then called in two children Kau and Shala, instructing them to care for Nau's injury. As the gleeful children dragged Nau away, the distressed and beaten Chrys'tel desperately pleaded for the truth, admitting to Sil'lice what she had found in her investigation, and that she no longer knew what to do. Sil'lice simply said that all she could do was survive until an opportunity to act presented itself. Unsure if Nau'kheol could be trusted, the elder Sharen debated finishing him, but Chrys'tel insisted that he was loyal - he would never run away from a challenge, no matter what.

Sil'lice agreed to spare Nau, citing that loyalty was rare, as were trustworthy companions - she did not kill those who could be changed, even if they had been corrupted. Telling Chrys that she had proven herself wiser than her older peers, Sil'lice gave Chrys a token to mark her as part of Sil'lice's faction, allowing her to return unchallenged whenever she wished. She then sent the two young Vals back to the Vel'Sharen palace to serve as double agents.

After having been escorted back to the fortress gate by Kadara, an angry Nau'kheol questioned Chrys'tel, asking if it was true that they would die after becoming adults despite winning every battle for the clan. Chrys was honest, admitting that Sil'lice believed it to be true, but that she could also be wrong. Once they returned home, he silently left her to her own thoughts. Upon returning to her quarters, Chrys found that Shinae had modified her crown to feature a rounded point. Chrys'tel accepted it warmly, and promised Shinae that in the time she had left she wanted them to be better sisters to each other[18].

Biography - Arc II

Fifteen years have passed since the District War began. Chrystel transformed from a cautious girl to a woman grown. Now an Overseer supporting Zala'ess bid for Empress of Chel'el'Sussoloth--as well as being given her own dragon mount, Cahal--the young Vel'Sharen rose in the hierarchy of importance. However, her duties brought on even greater challenges threatening her clan and their way of life.

File:Chrys'tel Overseer.jpeg
Chrys'tel as an Imperial Overseer.[19]

Nuqrah'Shareh Civil War

Main article: Nuqrah'shareh Civil War

She led Zala'ess' forces when they departed for Nuqrah'Shareh to aid in the Civil War that had broken out, with hope that they would be able to form an alliance with the clans of Nuqrah'shareh. Upon their arrival in Nuqrah'shareh, they were greeted by an envoy from the Balvhakara Clan, Sara'hilana Balvhakara. The envoy gave the Sharen an official welcome to Nuqrah'shareh, and showed them the way to the Jie'yen clan home. Along the way, they had a quick run-in with the Duskian clan - a neutral faction of religious zealots who made sure to let the convoy know that any nether summoning attempts would be met with a violent end.

When they arrived at the Jie'yen palace, Chrys'tel introduced herself as the Empress' Overseer, and announced that the Empress herself had come to parlay with them. To the Nuqrahn's surprise, however, the carriage occupant was revealed to be Zala'ess, and not Diva'ratrika. Announcing herself as the new Empress, she ordered Chrys to attend her as she met with the ruler of Nuqrah'shareh - Nega'fanae Val'Illhar'dro]]. After a short meeting, the queens worked out a mutually beneficial alliance: the Sharen army would assist Nega'fanae with recovering control over Nuqrah'shareh, in exchange for their help in securing Zala'ess' throne in Chel.

Chrys'tel and Nau fought alongside the Loyalist forces as they assaulted the High Palace, attempting to retake control of it from the rebels. During the attack, they were alerted to the presence of a nether gate, opened within the palace walls. They searched for the rogue summoner, hoping to also find the leader of the coup, Balsii. During their search, they stumbled upon a desperate Shen'fya Val'Illhar'dro, who attempted to force them into leaving the palace by activating a massive summoning crystal. The resulting summon instead completely drained Shen'fya completely, wrecking the surrounding floor in the process[20]. Unable to take the palace due to the presence of nether gates found throughout the area, they closed as many as possible before reporting back to Zala'ess.

Chrys'tel and Nau'kheol take on a rebel golem, mounted on Cahal.

While reporting their progress to the new Empress, Chrys'tel questioned her mother on her decision to make her an Overseer, having spoken a traitor's words before. Zala'ess assured her that she did not consider Chrys to be a traitor, and that she wished her to continue her habit of seeking the truth for as long as she remained Overseer[21]. They were soon interrupted, however, by the announcement that the traitor, Balsii had surrendered at the gate. Despite this, however, the rebel forces stayed strong in their efforts to gain control of a weapon the Val'Illhar'dro clan was rumored to possess, meaning that the Sharen's work was not done yet.

In Search of a Weapon

After a successful joint mission to disable a rebel war golem, Chrys'tel and Nau'kheol were tasked with seeking out the unknown weapon, under the premise of investigating a post that was currently held by rebel forces. Joined by Yami'ni, Jiaan, and Quar'imar, they set out towards the Wailing Well, which was rumored to be the hiding place of the ancient Illhar'dro weapon. Fearing that it might fall into enemy hands, Zala'ess had been informed that Nega'fanae had ordered its collapse - even if it meant losing the Trader's Lift and access to the surface.

Hoping to find the engineers in charge of the weapon, the group infiltrated the Wailing Well, fighting their way to the depths of the Well and past the rebel forces guarding it. Within the Well, they managed to locate the missing engineers, who seemed to be in a sort of trance. Unable to make them stop their work, Chrys'tel and her group were forced to leave them behind as they searched the facility further.

Realizing the source of the attack, the group came under psychic assault, courtesy of the Sul trio - Mae'rali, Sae'rali, and Bae'rali. The powerful empaths quickly subdued the group of Sharen, forcing them to face their insecurities with crippling strength. Chrys'tel was able to finally recover, but not before Yami'ni was struck down and Jiaan was captured by another Nidraa'chall agent, Kalki. Barely escaping with Nau and Quar'imar, Chrys leapt off of the main platform, and watched as the weapon - now revealed to be a zeppelin airship lifted off into the air and made its way towards the surface[22].

The Sul Nidra'chaal suppress Zala'ess' infiltrators.

In hopes of intercepting the ship, Chrys and her allies went to the surface using an Illhar'dro trade route. Once they had reached the surface, Chrys'tel marveled at the openness and dryness of the world around her - such a mana barren area should have been devoid of life, in her opinion, yet it bloomed. While she took a moment to sit and catch her breath, they were joined by Phani'lath and Nau'kheol, who had scouted the nearby colony of Saosh. Rather than discuss the colony's state, however, Phani'lath opted to tease Chrys about her Balvhakara suitor, Kedren, and began to gossip with Sara'hilana. Chrys and Nau returned to Saosh to join An'jin, who was also investigating the sacked settlement. Quickly, they discovered signs that the airship's raid had been supported by ground troops, as well as evidence left behind which pointed directly at the Val'Sarghress clan.[23]

Zala'ess' Return to Chel

A handful of messengers were sent ahead of the army marching from Nuqrah'shareh, among them Chrys and Nau. Responding to a signal sent by the Beldrobbaen in response to Kiel'ndia Vel'Vloz'ress' attack on the false Empress, they found themselves in the Beldrobaben districts, where they come across Kiel being pursued by Nir'naya and other Imperials. The siblings manage to fool Nir'naya that the Vloz'ress is dead using Chrys' blood sorcery, but not before hearing Nir'naya's warning for Zala'ess: she was the one that helped the siblings' mother for years and Zala'ess was to be reminded that neither Sarv'swati nor Nir'naya would look kindly on her charade to become Empress.

Once Nir'naya had gone, Kiel informed Chrys and Nau of what had happened at the Beldrobbaen fortress - that she had assassinated the false Empress that Sarv'swati had placed on the throne with insider help from Khaless Sharen. Chrys'tel immediately recognized that Snadhya'rune may be behind these events, as well in addition to the Nuqrah'shareh civil war and the conflict at Machike'shikumo. She insisted that Kiel bring her to Khaless and Snadhya the next time they meet - she owed Chrys for saving her life, after all. Kiel agreed, but pointed out that Khaless was likely to be in Felde, as well as informing her that there was a party being held there, hosted by her aunt. Luckily, Kiel had been given an invitation, and offered Chrys'tel the opportunity to tag along with her. First, however, Chrys would have to help her get out of the Beldrobbaen district alive[24].

Chrys then agreed to assist Kiel again, not knowing that Nemea'tari had heard part of their conversation.

Plans In The Making

The next day, Chrys and Nau met with Kiel and Baliir to discuss the recent events and the current state of the District War. Chrys again attempted to impress upon her friend the seriousness of the disturbance she had created by her recent actions, stating that the only option left - to end the true mastermind behind everything. Asking her again to bring them to Felde, Kiel refused, insisting that she couldn't leave Kharla alone for long. Frustrated with Kiel's refusal to face her troubles, Chrys was at a loss regarding how to convince her when Nau offered a suggestion - offer her the summoner killer. Knowing of Kiel's obsession with turtles, the massive summon was sure to get the young Vloz's old spark back.

After several days of effort, Chrys was able to secure the summoner killer crystal, presenting it to the Vloz'ress clan as a gift. It was shown to the summoners and soul seekers of the clan, who calculated that it would be suicide to try to summon it - the power needed to feed it would drain any summoner dry before it would be satisfied. Koana Vloz'ress, an educated berserker, in fact calculated that it would take at least twelve summoners working together to draw it out. Chrys and Nau's hopes for being able to see the summon being activated for the first time in ages were nearly dashed when Kiel arrived with Kharla'ggen, who promised to summon the great turtle[25].

Excited to see such a feat, Chrys'tel ordered everyone else away from the stone, and watched in awe as the Vloz'ress Illhar'ess effortlessly summoned the giant turtle forth. While Kiel'ndia was cheering over the embodiment of her turtle obsession, Chrys'tel asked for Nyo'ka to guide her to the Vloz'ress gate.

A Difficult Reunion

Shinae vents her frustrations on Chrys'tel, who did not know of her protector twin's ordeal.

As they walked towards the fortress gate, Chrys then asked for the summoner to order a guard to open the gate to allow admittance to a Val'Illhar'dro messenger, Kyu'dosha, who brought with her two children. The children were revealed to be Nyo'ka's own son and daughter, Kys'sea and Tamiir - returned to Chel after their stay in Nuqrah'shareh. Chrys then revealed her true reason to speak with Nyo'ka - that Zala'ess was seeking an open gate for the return of her expeditionary force, as well as any other wards from Chel who sought to return after surviving the civil war in Nuqrah'shareh. Nyo'ka agreed to a deal: in exchange for access through the Vloz'ress Fortress gate for Zala'ess' army, they would in turn stay out of Vloz'ress affairs[26].

With her business concluded at the Vloz'ress clan, Chrys returned to the Sharen Home District edge, where she met with Shinae and Saph'ala Vel'Sharen. She greeted Shinae warmly, asking how her child was; Saphala excused herself and took Chrys's companion Kyudosha aside in order to leave the sisters their privacy. Once alone, Shinae angrily snapped at Chrys'tel, accusing her of being up to her old spy activities again. Flying into a rage, she showed jealousy of Chrys, pointing out the honors that Chrys had received, such as her Overseer title and dragon, while Shinae was left at home to deal with the fallout. When Chrys attempted to placate her, commenting that she would rather have stayed home with her where it was safe, Shinae lashed out again, striking her twin with her cane and causing Chrys' dragon to snarl at her protectively.

Hoping to calm both twin and dragon, Chrys ordered Cahal to flop over, exposing his belly to them and placing Shinae's there with her own - they were twins, and what was hers was Shinae's, including Cahal. Shinae broke down, and finally told Chrys'tel about the loss of her child. Chrys then told Shinae of her suspicions regarding their reproductive troubles - she had had problems of her own that she would rather not mention, as they paled in comparison to Shinae's experience[27].

Once they had been rejoined by Saphala and Kyudosha, Chrys advised them that she would be following a lead of great importance that would take her away from the clan until the end of the month. When Shinae commented angrily that she was being left behind, she offered to leave Cahal in Shinae's care. After her twin refused to take her dragon, Chrys'tel realized that Shinae preferred to go with her this time, despite it being a long distance. When Shinae pointed out that she could barely walk, Chrys'tel told her with amusement that thankfully, they had a mount for everyone.

The Felde Investigation

Main article: Felde Gathering

Chrys'tel and Nau, now joined by Shinae, returned to the Vloz'ress Fortress to embark on their journey with Kiel and her crew. They were also met by An'jin and Sara'hilana, who had been sent by their clans to join her mission in hopes of bringing the information about the conspiracy back to their matriarchs. After agreeing to obey Kharla's orders, Kiel allowed the two new additions to the "crew," and they set off for the city of Felde[28].

Chrys'tel's taint sickness has progressed to cause severe hemorrhaging.[29].

During their journey, Chrys's own set of personal troubles manifested, as she began to bleed profusely. Shinae tended her, assisting her with cleaning herself up and slamming the door in Kiel's face when their friend attempted to check in on them. When asked if this was the troubles that she spoke of, Chrys'tel admitted to Shinae that it was - their shared "troubles" were enough to convince her that what had happened to both of them was deliberate, and the reason she was driven to try to confront Snadhya'rune[30].

Once the group arrived at Felde, Chrys'tel and her siblings donned masks to match the rest of Kiel's crew, attempting to act as retainers to Kiel and Kharla'ggen. Splitting up, Nau and Shinae wandered away to investigate on their own, while Chrys remained with Kiel's group. Her attempt to follow Kiel into the meeting hall was thwarted by Erusakel, however, who insisted that retainers without their own invitations would have to remain outside. She could only observe from the doorway as Kiel met with Snadhya'rune; during their conversation, another Sharen by the name of Ran'diirk Xyrrai'zestu Sharen charged the First Daughter, hoping to kill her with a suicidal attack. The assault failed, and Randiirk was killed in the resulting explosion while Snadhya'rune was revealed to have been protected by a traditional dragon summon. Snadhya'rune then absorbed Randiirk's mana, turning him into another guardian summon[31].

Amidst the chaotic event, Chrys'tel was able to slip into the crowd, joining Kiel'ndia. She was then called forth by Snadhya'rune, who had recognized the nether seed within her, and was brought in front of everyone. The First Daughter spoke to the audience about the consequences of Chrys' seed eventually consuming her from within, unless she was willing to act to prevent it. Chrys was then handed a vial filled with a strange liquid, which Snadhya revealed to be a poison intended for the clan leaders who refused to bow to her leadership.

As if to add additional spectacle to Snadhya'rune's speech, the crowd witnessed the arrival of the stolen airship, which landed at the Central Tower behind the assembled group. Chrys'tel recognized Shodun aboard the craft, as well as Jiaan, who was revealed to be their prisoner. After being forced to the floor, the tortured Sharen pledged himself to Snadhya'rune's service, even winning a duel for her with another potential suitor. After Snadhya'rune declared Jiaan the victor, Shodun then used her spellsong to enforce an order for the crowd to kneel to the First Daughter; unable to resist the order, Chrys'tel found herself kneeling with the rest[32].

The Search for a Cure

Main article: The Flower Plague

Chrys'tel was not deterred by Snadhya's grand speech - she became determined to discover whether or not there was a cure for the poison that Snadhya'rune intended to inflict upon her enemies. Rejoined by Shinae, the sisters continued to investigate Snadhya's tower, eventually meeting with An'jin again in the tower gardens, where he had seen a suspicious group enter one of the structures. Despite Shinae's misgivings, she opted to continue their search, even knowing that Snadhya'rune had already identified them as Sharen agents. Finally discarding their masks, as it had become futile to continue to hide their faces, they wandered through the garden towards the building that An'jin had spoken of.

The building turned out to be a laboratory, where samples of a beautiful mana flower were growing, as well as specimens of Jaal'darya origin in a large water tank and a nearby cage. Lying on the floor was a dying Jaal'darya researcher; Chrys'tel attempted to stop the woman's bleeding, but ultimately was unsuccessful. They spotted a vial of the same toxin that Snadhya'rune had shown the crowd the day before, but no sign of the cure itself. With her last words, the dying researcher implied that her work had been taken by the Sarghress intruders[33].

Later, they joined Kiel'ndia again, they attended another meeting with Snadhya'rune, this time to witness the execution of the squad of Sarghress infiltrators who had been captured. To their surprise, the execution was turned into a spectacle, with the airship's mana cannons being used to perform the deed. As the rest watched on in amazement at the display of power, Sara'hilana called Chrys'tel over, and quietly told her that she had the vial that Snadhya'rune's people were looking for.

Escape From Felde

A freshly merged Shinae walks dazed, as Snadhya'rune takes on more hopefuls.

Realizing it was time to leave now that they had secured a sample of the supposed antidote, the group gathered again in the tower halls, where they noted that An'jin had gone missing. A nearby crowd also had gathered to witness a modified tainting ceremony; when asked if she would be taking part in it in order to merge her demon seed, she declined, feeling it unwise to put herself under the First Daughter's influence.

Shinae, however, did not feel the same, and volunteered for the merging ceremony, feeling that she had nothing left to lose if it should fail. Chrys could only watch as her twin willingly entered the ceremonial chamber, only to come out of it with a serene smile and calmness that she had been lacking previously. Along with showing a new inner peace, Shinae admitted that she no longer wished to follow the orders of the Sharen - her days as a "protector slave" were over[34].

Afterwards, Chrys managed to leave the tower with Shinae and Sara'hilana, and returned to the Giant Turtle Summon to wait for their comrades to return. Once the rest of the "crew" had returned as well - with the addition of Ariel Val'Sarghress and her squad - Sara revealed that she had in fact acquired a vial that had been hidden in her armor - the one she believed to be the cure for Snadhya's poison[35].

Return To Chel

Back aboard the Great Turtle, the assembled passengers reviewed the information they had discovered and shared their opinions as to who would end up winning the power struggle in Chel. As they did so, the turtle summon buckled slightly, falling inactive as Kharla'ggen fainted from hunger. They worked together to form a chain, catching the Illhar'ess before she could fall from the turtle.

After scavenging some food for Kharla, the turtle finally reached the Vloz'ress Fortress, which had been filled with Val'Sarghress and Vel'Sharen troops during their absence. Chrys was confronted by an irate Kiel'ndia, who had forgotten their previous discussion about the Sharen troops gaining passage through Vloz territory, and was unaware of Chrys'tel's deal with Nyo'ka. Explaining that the Vloz'ress territory held the only unwatched gate that they could safely bring the expeditionary force through, Chrys remained unapologetic. When she prepared to return to leave to return to her mother's forces, she attempted to bring Nau'kheol with her; to everyone's surprise, the normally passive Nau refused, loudly insisting that he could make his own decision - a surprise decision to stay with Kiel.

To Chrys'tel's further astonishment, she finally realized that one of Lar'vova's scourges, Finol, was wearing one of her mother's discarded dresses. She confronted the mercenary, asking her if she had stolen Zala'ess' undergarments as well. When Finol refused to give an admission of guilt, Shinae commented that some things were better left unknown[36].

Chrys'tel falls victim to Kharla'ggen's puppeteering abilities, and is forced to attack Zala'ess.

The Puppeteer Incident

Chrys'tel quickly located Zala'ess, reporting her findings from the excursion to Felde to the would-be Empress. Instead of congratulating her, however, the Fifth Daughter scolded her, telling Chrys that she had taken too great an initiative. She did confirm the young overseer's suspicions as well that she had at least suspected Snadhya'rune's involvement in the Nuqrah'Shareh civil war, stating that Snadhya'rune had always had a knack for convincing people to do the most foolish things.

To their surprise, Shinae approached, bringing Zala'ess a cup of tea. Noting something different about the protector twin's behavior, Zala'ess commented that something had changed, and then asked about her child. To Chrys'tel's confusion, Shinae replied that the baby was fine. When Shinae was dismissed during Chrys' report about Snadhya's plot to poison the clan leaders, Chrys excused herself, having spotted something in Shinae's hands. Hoping to find out if she had brought a poison vial back with her, she confronted her twin, but found nothing in Shinae's possession. She then asked why Shinae had lied to their mother; Shinae reminded her that Zala'ess would hold little value - for her, or Chrys'tel - if she knew the truth about their barreness.

Chrys'tel then returned to her mother's side, continuing their discussion. She then asked her mother about the presence of a Ninth Tower at the Orthorrbae, admitting that an Zhor had hinted that they should investigate there. Zala'ess replied that she did not know of any additional tower - it had been just a story, to her knowledge, and she was now unable to confirm it with her sisters. Hoping to gain access for another investigation, Chrys asked who currently held sway over the school, but her mother again was uncertain, due to the gates currently being closed.

A short time later, to her horror, Chrys'tel found herself being controlled by an unknown force, along with her sisters and cousins. Reaching out to try to throttle her mother, Chrys found that she was unable to resist the strange power. Their attempts were finally halted by the intervention of Sabrorr, who managed to fend off Zala'ess' attackers, ultimately sacrificing himself and succumbing to his seed in the process[37].

Maintaining the Vulnerable Alliance

A Sister Lost

After the Puppeteer Incident had settled down, Chrys'tel pursued Shinae, who had fled the Sharen encampment. Hoping to prove that Shinae's attempt to kill their mother had been due to the demonic control, like everyone else, she called out for her sister to stop running. Shinae rebuffed her pleas, however, admitting that her attempt on Zala'ess' life had been under her own power - she had not been under someone's control at the time. Assisted by Nona'brail and Sorn'mal, they continued trying to reach out to the wayward protector twin, but were ultimately forced to give up the hunt after Shinae attacked them, going so far as to take Nona'bril hostage before escaping with help from an unknown source[38].

The Virus Consumes

Sil'lice confronts her sister during a chance meeting in the Sarghress fortress.

After receiving word that Sil'lice would be returning to her Sarghress allies, Chrys'tel informed her mother as such, noting already several changes in her mother's behavior. Later, Zala'ess went to greet her lost sister, seemingly having forgotten that they had previously been feuding or that she had betrayed Sil'lice so many years ago. Encountering Sil'lice as she left the Sarghress commander's meeting, the sister's reunion did not go well, with Sil'lice remaining extremely hostile to them. Chrys attempted to placate her, stating that Zala'ess had had no choice to go along with Snadhya'rune and Sarv'swati's plans, but the Third Sister would not be swayed[39].

Several days later, Chrys'tel continued to watch over her mother, enlisting assistance from a Val'Jaal'darya scientist. Giving the physician the sample of the cure recovered from Felde, Chrys was assured that no mistakes would be made in their search for a cure, though it would take time to analyze it. Chrys'tel informed the scientist that they had little time - if no cure was found soon, then the single cure vial was to be used for the Empress, contrary to Zala'ess' insistence that she could hold out until one could be made.

While the researcher worked on collecting blood samples from everyone in order to test for infection, Zala'ess gave her next order - if she were to lose her mind, they had her authorization to use force on her - the preservation of the fledgling Alliance was to be their priority. Chrys could only ponder just what sort of damage Shinae had done to them, by assisting in the plot to infect Zala'ess.

The next day, Chrys'tel monitored her mother's progress as she met with the other remaining clan leaders of Chel'el'Sussoloth in order to discuss the formation of an official Alliance. As they debated the merits and disadvantages of trusting Snadhya'rune, as well as what steps needed to be taken to stabilize Chel, their opposing ideals and experiences began to clash, causing the delegates to descend into bickering amongst themselves. Finally, Zala'ess took the floor, and announced an outline of her plan to unify the clans, and to spread various responsibilities and duties amongst the clans most suited for the task. The clans seemed open to the proposition, until she began to say where the Sharen stood in this proposition.

Chrys'tel could only watch as Zala'ess paused, and began to panic as she failed to recognize those around her. Whisking her away from the meeting, Chrys attempted to get her mother to safety, only to find that Zala'ess no longer recognized her[40]. Ariel Val'Sarghress approached her at this time, hoping for an explanation of what had happened. She quickly explained how Zala'ess had also been poisoned with the mind-altering toxin, and asked the Sarghress heir to tell Quain'tana to hold the Alliance together until they could resolve the situation.

The Search For A Cure Resumes

A short time later, Chrys met with An'jin to ask his help again, this time to try to locate Snadhya'rune; while the Sarghress were working to hunt the First Sister down, the Overseer hoped to reach her first in order to obtain another sample of the cure. He appeared hesitant at first, but agreed to assist her for the sake of the Alliance. She was to monitor the search for Snadhya'rune's location, while he followed the Nal'Sarkoth envoys to find out if they had any samples of the cure.

Chrys'tel arrived at the end of the joint assault on Snadhya'rune's home base, noting that the aftermath was like a scene straight from the Nidraa'chal war. Approaching the Sarghress commander, Sang, she requested permission to search the tower. Sang granted it, so long as she stayed out of their way. Inside the tower, the only survivor found of Snadhya'rune's followers was Erusa'kel; when asked where they had hidden the cure, he laughed maniacally, claiming that they had smashed all of it, and their kin were doomed to insanity unless the First Sister could pull off another miracle.

On the tenth day after the Puppeteer Incident, An'jin returned to Chrys'tel with news - Snadhya'rune was hiding in the Nal'Sarkoth District. Bringing this information to Nishi'kanta, Chrys'tel begged her aunt for her help, noting that the last time the other commanders had gotten involved had resulted in disaster. The intention was to get in, find the cure, and steal it. Luckily, the Fourth Daughter was willing to assist them, and agreed to meet with them again after recovering a weapon from the Sharen vaults. As she left to locate her weapon, Chrys'tel visited her mother one more time, if only to let someone know that they had gone, should the mission fail[41]. Begging her mother to hold on until she returned, Chrys turned to leave, overhearing her mother mumble Shinae's name and telling her to trust no one.

Showdown At The Nal'Sarkoth District

Mel warns Chrys'tel to stay out of Snadhya's things.

Enacting her plan to infiltrate the Val'Nal'Sarkoth District, Chrys'tel snuck into the clan's guest compound, where Snadhya'rune was staying with her followers. Nishi'kanta succeeded in distracting the clan's defenders as she charged their main gates with a unique and powerful war golem, bursting through their defenses and challenging her sister to a one-on-one fight. Meanwhile, Sara'hilana and An'jin managed to make their way to the soon-to-be battleground, and attempted to whittle down the First Sister's fighting force by distracting Shinae and Neh'leanee. They continued to confront Snadhya'rune's inner circle, while Chrys'tel encountered Ji'aan again[42].

Sneaking up behind him and holding a blade to his neck, she attempted to reason with the male, only to find that he refused to give up. When she tried to remind him that he was a Sharen like her, he pointed out that so was his mistress, Snadhya'rune, and he refused to be bound by blood again. Unable to sway him, she instead fled once an opening allowed it, finding her way to the stairs leading to the guest rooms. Using her position as Overseer to intimidate the guest house staff, she was finally given Snadhya'rune's specific room number.

Upon locating the room, she wasted no time ransacking it, hoping to find the cure. Instead, however, all she found were the First Daughter's personal belongings, as well as Mel'arnach and Zhor. Chrys refused to back down from the irate Mel, instead demanding to know where the cure was being hidden. As Mel prepared to attack, she was stopped by Zhor, who told Chrys'tel the truth - the cure wasn't there. Ordering Mel to not get involved, he insisted that they let Snadhya deal with her own trouble that she had brewed - they owed her nothing. Ignoring Mel's protests, Zhor then told Chrys'tel that he had heard of one sample of the cure having been given to some Jaal'darya allies, who were working on reproducing it. To her horror, she realized that it sounded just like the vial she herself had handed over to the Jaal'darya - it couldn't be a coincidence[43].

Chrys'tel is seemingly torn apart by Mae'rali and Sae'rali's formidable empathy.

Hearing Shinae and Ji'aan approaching, Chrys'tel was forced to make her escape. With some unexpected help from Zhor - who attempted to stall Ji'aan - she was able to run to the end of the hallway, with Shinae continuing to give chase and taunting her. She found herself on an upper floor balcony, with nowhere left to run. Throwing a blood vial at Shinae, her former protector shrugged it off, and tackled her to the balcony floor. She began to angrily berate Chrys'tel, insisting that Chrys was the clan's pet now instead of her, along with demanding that she should be made to feel the same as Shinae had for so many years. At the end of her tirade, however, Shinae relented, realizing that if the entire Sharen clan died and faded away into nothing...so would Chrys.

Chrys'tel took advantage of her sister's moment of reflection to throw a punch, but was then overpowered by the combined strength of Mae'rali and Sae'rali, who began to ruthlessly torture Chrys with an empathic attack. The sisters attempted to coerce Chrys into leaping from the balcony, as it would lead to her death; to her shock, Shinae intervened, tossing Sae'rali over the balcony and finishing Mae'rali off with a pressure attack. Clan enemies or not, Chrys'tel was still her sister.

Recovering, Chrys'tel asked Shinae if her assistance meant she was back to normal. Shinae merely smiled again, admitting that she hadn't been "normal" since her baby had died. Making one last attempt to convince her twin to return with her, Chrys told her that they had an unprecedented chance to truly change the clan, and even Chel. Shinae refused, however, preferring to stay and watch the world burn - she would contact Chrys again in the future[44].

With the new information in hand, she returned home with An'jin and Sara'hilana, but without Nishi'kanta - the Fourth Sister had surrendered to the Nal'Sarkoth defenders, and would be unable to return with them.

Vel'Sharen's New Leaders

Chrys'tel is shocked to hear that she has been promoted to Captain of the Imperial Guard.

Upon her return from the Nal'sarkoth Fortress, Chrys'tel was informed by Sorn'mal of Zala's sudden recovery. Immediate suspicions of Nidraa'chal meddling prompted the young Overseer to seek Nir'naya's prison for questioning - Chrys'tel believed that Zala'ess' order to install a new Captain of the Imperial Guard meant that Snadhya was using Nir'naya as a lackey. After reaching Nir'naya's cell with Sarai and Sorn'mal, she discovered that the former Captain had been brutally tortured by Sarghress interrogators and thus was unable to lead. Her fears were dissipated when she heard the confirmation from Al'tesh Vel'Sharen that Snadhya'rune had finally miscalculated in her plotting. Zala'ess had negotiated with Snadhya on multiple terms and conditions of ruling: while Nir'naya was still to serve in the Imperial Guard, another person would be promoted to Captain - that person being Chrys'tel herself[45].

Biography - Arc III

Three years have passed since becoming the Captain of the Imperial Guard, and Chrys'tel's work to preserve the integrity of the clan became increasingly more difficult. With the loss of Quain'tana to an inter-clan civil war, the growing issue of famine, and Snadhya's return into Vel'Sharen clan politics, the stability of the Alliance was hanging by a thread. Zala'ess' had been forced to agree to installing white-cloaked Nidraa'chal agents within the Imperial Guard and throughout the Val'Sharess' Royal Tower to remind her of who is truly in charge of Chel'el'Sussoloth.

The Rebellious Cels

The Captain takes out a Nidraa'chal plant disobeying her order[46].

Out of urgency, Chrys'tel lead a team of Imperial Guards to find out what happened to Guards who went missing near the Sarghress fortress, comprised of Al'tesh, Sarai, Nemea'tari, and Jaharka[47]. Upon reaching the gates, the shock of seeing many corpses of Imperial Guards hanging from the ramparts overwhelmed Nemea'tari--she recognized one Beldrobbaen corpse as her own sister. The Sarghress sneered at their demands to cut the body down, until Jaharka did it herself. It was then that Chrys'tel was brought to attention by the arrival of a procession of captured people, as mentioned before by Al'tesh when he returned from Felde.

Kor'maril was more willing to answer questions. He explained that his group had returned from Felde after capturing a rogue Sarghress faction on Zala'ess' orders. In the wake of the conflict, Felde got infested with demons after the rogue faction blew up Snadhya'rune's stolen airship[48]. The Chelian delegation's whereabouts were unknown, and Kor'maril didn't care to search. In return, he warned Chrys'tel to take her soldiers and leave, before the anti-Val faction came to kill them, too.

Jaharka took this opportunity to dash off with the important words to be carried to Snadhya'rune, but Chrys'tel was ready for her. Cahal chased after the rogue Imperial Guard and got close enough for the Captain to throw her blood vial at the fleeing dragon. With dagger in hand, she pushed Jaharka into a nearby lake and stabbed the Nidraa'chal several times. After a moment, Jaharka emerged struggling to get out, but Al'tesh decided at that moment to stomp her face in. Dragged back into the lake, Chrys'tel finished the job and left the corpse floating--her remaining Guards had gathered to question her actions, to which Chrys'tel simply replied that Snadhya'rune could not be allowed to take advantage of the Empress any further. She had been killing Nidraa'chal Imperial Guards with the intent to slow down information getting to her aunt.

A Precarious Position For The Sharen

The Captain, admonished by her own Empress mother[49].

As the Imperial guards walked the streets, they continued to discuss Chrys'tel's behavior--an old friend then sent her a message via demonic presence, who had followed her. Their return to the royal tower met with no fanfare, not even from the Val'Illhar'dro Sarai antagonized. Word from Tlu'rath that the Alliance meeting was going sour with news of the Nuqrah allies withdrawing did not improve the atmosphere, but a surprise meeting with Kiel, Nau and a demonic Naal was the first bit of good news for the Captain. Kiel was happy to explore the place, looking for 'killers in white', while Nau wanted nothing more than to hug his big sister and talk about his child with Kiel.

Knowing that these 'killers in white' were certainly Nidraa'chal Imperial Guards, Chrys'tel gave them as much info as she could about their activities. With a warning to lay low, she saw the two off and retired--however, Naal'suul stayed behind. She worried over Chrys'tel's taint sickness progressing to a dangerous level, who now suffered from hemorrhaging at an alarming rate. The news of the Balvhakara withdrawing from Chel forced her lover Kedren to break up pushed the demon to attempt comforting her friend[50].

Soon after, Chrys made her way to the Council halls, where her sister Tehur, brother Zuhur, and Nata'sinh informed the Captain that a meeting was ongoing, and one of two 'killers in white' was present. The meeting was indeed going badly for Zala'ess, who struggled to mediate between the Val'Kyorl'solenurn's desire to find the source of the appearance of demons in the districts, and Balvhakara and Jie'yen's twin desire to withdraw to Nuqrah'shareh. When inside, Chrys'tel is confronted by another one of Snadhya's minions pressing her for Jaharka's whereabouts[51]. The Captain fed her a half-truth about Jaharka meeting her end in the hostile Sarghress lands; the woman doubted her word but seemingly accepted it. However, she was quick to ask with a sneer if Chrys'tel's taint sickness progressed, noticing Naal'suul, and was burned inside her chest by mana for the trouble.

The Evil Within

Their bickering was finally interrupted by Zala'ess herself, and Chrys'tel excused the two of them to handle the pawn personally. Outside, the Nidraa'chal was forcibly taken into custody by the loyal Guards but Chrys'tel was taken surprise by Shinae's joyous compliments on her brutality. The relationship between the two remained tenuous, but Shinae happily expressed that she too had become an Overseer--for the First Daughter, though the former protector twin suspected it was because she once protected Chrys[52]. The more important aspect to Shinae was watching Zala'ess suffer under the weight of keeping the Alliance together in these dire times. Surprisingly, Snadhya'rune held a vested interest in preventing the Alliance from folding.

When the two returned to the meeting hall, Zala'ess was no less frustrated with events than when Chrys'tel left her. She has only just heard from the Beldrobbaen attendees that Snadhya hosted a secret meeting in Felde behind her back, and that they were forced to flee when Felde came under siege. She did not know the current state of the city, and Chrys'tel chose not to tell her, but instead needed to speak with her mother privately. The Empress flatly refused, ordering Chrys'tel to beg for her elder sister's aid, fearing retaliation--Chrys'tel moved to protest, but there was no refusing Zala'ess.

Nidraa'chal Machinations

Forced to take an elevator to the top of the royal tower, Chrys'tel vented her frustration with a flurry of words directed at her mother, and how she folds too easily to Snadhya's threats. At the top, she is greeted by a surprised Saph'ala. She now served as a family liaison between the lines, with majority of the Sharen relocated to the royal tower. She informed her little sister of how Snadhya'rune begun to withdraw from the world just as Diva'ratrika did, and not much as happened in these upper reaches save for one returning a cycle prior. The question of merging comes up as Chrys'tel hemorrhaged once again, but the fear of being controlled by their aunt was too great of a risk to take.

Just them, the Captain heard a familiar voice... That of Jaharka, who sneered at seeing her killer, describing in gory detail of the memory of drowning in the Sarghress lake. Death was temporary, for a living summon. Naal sense immense danger and warned her friend to flee, as Saph'ala--now a merged drow herself--warned Chrys'tel of the mistake she has made in killing Snadhya's minion. The younger Sharen bolted for the elevator, but Jaharka gave chase. Naal'suul drained mana from the platform to increase velocity[53], but the living summon fired a nether bolt on the platform, narrowly missing Chrys. The Captain plummeted to the ground floor with a loud crash, but none of her loyal Guards were around to answer her weakened call to arms. Only Tlu'rath remained, and informed of how the rest of the Imperial Guard were called away to address the growing threat within the Sarghress lands. Chrys'tel issued an order of her own to gather there, then fled to the dragon stables to retrieve Cahal.

She ran into Sara'hilana and Baliir who initially planned to say goodbye, but the promise of adventure and being chased by enemies quickly changed the Balvakhara's mind about leaving. The three reconvened in a sewer to discuss events, then were joined by Kiel and Nau with grim news about the happenings in the Val'Sharess' tower: the Nidraa'chal were keeping a secret prison beneath the complex where many Sarghress were imprisoned, and there was a separate facility full of corpses[54]. Worst of all was the large presence of demons (which Yakuise had suspected in the prior meeting).

It is then decided to make their way through the sewer system to entreat with the Sarghress. Unknown to the group, they were being followed by a spy, Sehra'ven Nidraa'chal.

So It Is Treason, Then

The Captain stands among the bodies of traitorous Nidraa'chal Guards[55].

Upon arrival in the Sarghress lands--courtesy of Sara and Baliir's flight capability--they discovered an inter-clan conflict in progress, with Ariel fighting for her life against anti-Val soldiers[56]. While Kiel, Sara and Baliir go down to assist, Chry'stel and Nau stayed behind until the conflict was resolved, and the now Ill'haress Ariel approached them for a solution to their starvation problem[57]. Ariel asked the Vals present to petition to their clan leaders for parley in exchange for supplies: they would have their districts returned, or maintained by former owners with Sarghress support. Chrys'tel countered her offer with another solution, which was to march with her to eliminate Snadhya'rune once and for all, or parley with the Sharen would be for naught. After at time Chrys'tel gathered the Imperial Guards waiting int he wings and went on the march with Ariel's army[58].

When nearing closer to the Royal Tower, Chrys'tel's Imperial Guard split off with the main body on a hunch from their dragon mounts. Just as they disappear, Nidraa'chal mana cannons began to bombard the Sarghress forces causing numerous casualties. A second bombardment revealed itself, but was put to a swift end by the Sharen dragons. However, Nata'sinh expressed her fear of what was to come at the Royal Tower, if the killers in white came with that kind of firepower[59]. Chrys'tel ordered an all-clear flare sent, but moments later she witnessed an ominous orange mana flare shoot up near the Sarghress' position. The Guards moved out to rush to their side, with Chrys, Zuhur and Leona trailing behind--and crashed into another Nidraa'chal trap meant for Cahal, whose neck was sliced by wire held by two groups. The dragon reeled and his rider tumbled off, and before the Captain could recognize what happened, she was peppered with a hail of crossbow bolts[60].

Seeing his rider attacked, Cahal moved to attack the right side group of assaints. Though he too suffered from several bolt wounds, the faithful mount savaged two of the Nidraa'chal and yanked a third into the left side group. Two more masked killers dropped on Zuhur and Leona, rendering them unable to help their wounded leader. In this vulnerable state, another masked killer in white took the time to approach, this one sporting grey hair and with chastising words for the Captain. She spoke of how easy it was to ambush the Captain of the Guard, and how her death will put a stop to this rebellion[61]. The woman seemingly apologized for the way things were, and said goodbye to her sister; it was then that Chrys'tel retaliated. Blood from both herself and Cahal exploded, empowered by her mana into an acidic hazard, catching everyone around her. Leona and Zuhur escaped most of the damage, but those closes to the younger Sharen were obliterated by her sorcery.

The only assailant left alive is the severely burned woman who tried to end her life, revealed to be none other than Saph'ala; before a stunned Chrys'tel, she questioned her little sister's reason behind endangering what was left of the clan just to save one person--their Empress Mother[62]. Saph'ala pushed and urged her younger sister to stop pursuing revenge and let go of the past, for it meant survival of the clan, then Zala'ess allying with Snadhya'rune was the best path to take. To Chrys'tel, her sister's were were unbelievable, but it gave her enough pause for Saph'ala to push for merging once more--Leona went right for the kill, and reminded the Overseer of the bitter truth that even Sharen could become enemies[63]. Shortly afterward, the young Sharen fainted.

Notable Quotes

"Imprisoning me in school will not help me sort the truth from the lies." - To Zala'ess Vel'Sharen, regarding her search for answers[64].

"I need to know...why did you make me your overseer? I spoke a traitor's words. For years I have nurtured the knowledge that Diva'ratrika was murdered. That your sister, Sil'lice, is not a traitor. You know this, brother knows this, Shinae knows this. The whole clan must have heard by now." - To Zala'ess Vel'Sharen, questioning her trust despite Chrys'tel's previous actions[65].

"Come with me, Shinae! We can go back together, you and I. Everything is changing! We have an unprecedented chance to change the clan for the better, perhaps even change Chel itself." - To Shinae, hoping to convince her to return home[66].

"The Sharen time of glory is long past. Foreign forces on our land, and barely contained commoner militia under Sarghress colors everywhere. all it would need is one small spark for what's left to go up in flames..." - Chrys'tel lamenting the state of her clan.[67].

Character Concept