A haunting eladrin with pale hair and grey eyes. Ebon obsidian chain armor covers her body. Ghostly effegy emblazon the breastplate, greeves, and shoulder guards. She wields a spear tipped with a broad, heavy blade. A cold light seems to emanate from the
Norn is a member of a fading race inhabiting a dying land. The Heart of Air is failing and the wind-lands are torn asunder. The eladrin are scattered, their nations failed or crumbling. Only a few dwindling enclaves remain.
Kestrel, Norn’s home, is one such place. It is a desert of volcanic glass undercut by a thousand crystal caves. Mighty spires of obsidian rise like dread fingers to the sky, guarding a once-living but now petrified forest. They call this the Bone Wood. It is now the last refuge of Norn’s people.
Kestrel is a land of ghosts both dead and living, of half-remembered greatness, of the triumph and fall of a noble race. At night, the wind picks up, singing sad and lonely songs through the Bone Wood. A howl of unfathomable loss.
Bordering Kestrel is the Edge of Wind. Mostly invisible, but sometimes flickering with the rage of arcane fire, it cuts ever closer, devouring Kestrel in slivers or opening cracks that creep ever nearer to Kestrel’s heart. It is here, at the edge, where Norn spent most of her childhood. Watching angry fires rise in the wind. Watching the nothing creep through it. Watching the earth beneath shatter as it ripped and faded.
How can they still do this? she would think.
As Norn grew, so did the Fey’s rage. The People had long ago abandoned defiling magic, turning instead to the primordial or to the enlightenment of thought, spirit, body, and blood. Yet in the world, there were still those enchanted with the powers of annihilation. Sorcerer kings held sway over nations of slaves, forging power through their geocidal magics. And scattered all across the land were those foolish or greedy enough to continue burning the world’s life away out of lust for power.
And so the great hunt formed. Seven centuries of riders swept out across the land. Each one charged with the destruction of open defilers. Each one given the duty of issuing The Warning to all others who use magic. A levy was set. At least four open practitioners of defiling magic to be slain each year, and the skulls returned on The Wind to prove it.
On the eve of the great hunt’s forming, Norn journeyed into the Bone Wood to the Heart of Howl. There, the graves of her people lay scattered amongst the dead trees. There the obsidian earth seemed to ring with the dead’s anger. There also lived a hermit by the name of Rill.
For long Rill had trained Norn in diverse arts. The arts of Thymos, of calling the power of heart and using it as a terrifying weapon or as a courageous defense, of living in the balance of earth, air, fire and water, and of summoning the rage of the dead to craft mighty armaments for the battles to come. There, together with the angry spirits in the Heart of Howl, they forged her spear, her armor, and they called forth the ancient ghost of a fey steed to inhabit an orb of obsidian. Eld, he was named. And when summoned grew to the mighty size of an ancestral warhorse.
And so Norn joined the Hunt. Riding down the wind and into the Other Lands, she tracked her first defiler. Ord was his name, a Dray slaver and dark sorcerer. For years, he had terrorized the locals. For years he had spent the life of Earth for the increasing of his own might and for the exploitation of others. It all ended upon the day he met Norn.
They were preparing to sell a number of fresh slaves when Norn arrived. Ord had come to oversee the labor personally, to make certain the elves in his employ weren’t cheating him. The town square around them was mostly empty. But a few sleepy buyers shuffled in to get an early look. Norn walked among them until Ord appeared, a puffed up figure ascending the dusty stand.
Casting her cloak aside she emerged in wrath on the back of her obsidian stallion. The early comers scattered as she leveled her spear at Ord and delivered her sentence. He stood proud as a colored cock on his platform. But his smug words of reply were swept away as Norn rode him down, the thrust of her spear knocking him to the street. She was just making her turn for a second pass when Ord responded, drawing life from the surrounding slavers to make an end to Norn. The slavers cried out in pain. Defiling magic lept to Ord’s hands. A spell of death crackled on his dragon-tongue. But Norn came on him in fury. Angry ghosts seemed to swirl about her and Ord faltered as Norn’s battle cry raged in his mind.
Her lips hadn’t moved and Ord fell as she passed him, his spell stopped by her spear.
Now Norn bears his skull, a sacrifice for the Wind when second moon thins to sickle.
At Ord’s death, the slavers scattered. Norn lifted her spear, reared Eld, and declared all the slaves free. They broke from the pens in elation, taking the slaver’s water and gear for their own. One, a bonded druidess named Pendarin (?), asked to join Norn who, ever lonely, was happy to find a companion in the Hunt.
Now they hunt the lands of dust together. Grim wayfarers on a grim road.