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As promised, an actual character post! Here are two of my older ones… though not, I think, as old as Wildcat. (Arien possibly gives her a run for her money, but I think she’s older.) They live in the same universe as Rakariel of Before the Sun Fades, a world of magic, gods, and destinies.

Arien and Ashi are not your usual travelling companions. For a start, one of them’s a demigod, and the other is technically dead. One is on the run from his own powers and those bent on killing or using him; the other is searching for the person or people who slaughtered her monastic warrior order. One can’t stand to lose one of the few friends he has; one resents the unintended magic that keeps her something resembling alive.

It was luck that saw Ashi escape the death of her people. Hiring their skills out to those they judged to be on the side of good was the way that they supported their lives in the remote mountain environment that was their home. Ashi was away when the attack happened, and returned home weeks later to find nothing but carnage. She set out to discover who or what had been behind it, as, one by one, other survivors like her who were scattered across the lands were picked off.

To support herself along the way, she continued to hire out her skills, often in places and over matters that would once have been beneath her notice. In a small country town, she was paid to act as a member of the local watch and help solve the mystery of several disappearances. Questioned by her when he passed through, Arien stopped there to lend his skills as a ranger to her cause — and it was good that he did. The disappearances were part of a complex trap, one set to lure in and kill the last of the Daienne — and it succeeded.

Arien was there at her death. Helpless to save her, he couldn’t stand to lose someone he’d come to call a friend. In that dire situation, his dormant, untrained powers awoke, performing his will. Moments before her spirit was lost to the mortal realm forever, it was bound to her broken body, and to him.

Her wounds healed by his power, Ashi breathes and eats and walks the mortal world, but as long as she is bound to Arien, she can neither die nor truly live. She cannot go too far from him, and when she is hurt, his strength is drained to heal her. Unless the clumsy bond created by Arien’s uncontrolled power can be remade, she will never again be independent of him.

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