Evil is Good, right?
Malena wasn’t always known by her current name, nor does she remember her previous name or even where she comes from for that matter. She is, or rather was an Avariel, an ancient race of elves gifted with wings. Not having been a part of the original group that offended Akadi and were punished for their transgressions, she still suffers their penance. Like her parents and grandparents before her, she lacks wings, but harbors an immense desire to soar through the sky. Touched by Akadi’s power, Malena’s lineage was transformed into the Thraensharde, cursed to suffer for ten lifetimes.
Malena’s memories travel as far back as the last ten years. She can’t remember where she comes from, or how she ended up in the south side of Luskan. She was found clung to a piece of drift wood by a small trading ship. The ship’s captain swears he saw her fall from the sky into the water. It was this captain that provider her with her current name. Malena because she reminded him of his late wife, with her dark hair, fair complexion, and piercing deep blue eyes. Skyborne because he felt the sky had given her birth into the world.
The captain guessed her age to be 72, but could never really tell with elves and Malena couldn’t provide any help. Her past locked away from her, and her future unknown. Captain Reginald Flitz took her under his care, from the moment he found her he felt there was a great potential within her. He taught her the ways of the sailing, trade, and bartering. She threw herself into learning and working, as if to distract herself from something. Whenever he spied glimpses of her not engaged in a task, Reginald saw Malena staring at the sky with great sadness. There was a deep torment held just behind her eyes, a great flood held back by sheer willpower.
Eight years working the boat and back alley trades has its drawbacks upon a person, especially one with no moral compass. Malena had become unscrupulous in her dealings with black market buyers, shrewd in her bartering for merchandise and ruthless in her retrieving payment. She learned not to break the laws, but rather bend them to suit her needs. She used her looks to and wiles to get into places she didn’t belong, as well as getting out of places she didn’t want to be.
One unfortunate night, when she was seeing to another rival’s boat wouldn’t hold up to inspection, Captain Reginald was double crossed and left for dead in an alley in Waterdeep. With the captain dead, the boat was seized and the crew took off before the dust settled. Everything she knew was gone, Malena was left to fend for herself in Waterdeep.
Life in Waterdeep
She didn’t waste time getting started in Waterdeep, lest she fall into despair staring at the sky. She once again, threw herself into her dealings. Knowing the world ran on money, she scraped together what she had stored and stashed. Her first acquisition was a boat, she knew to be seaworthy and recently vacated. Put up for auction by the city, she maneuvered herself into excellent buying position. As a matter of fact, she was the only one bidding on that particular boat.
After she procured the boat, she set about finding a crew to get the boat generating money. With a bat of her eyes here, a sway of her hips there, she got a crew together in no time. Not the most trustworthy of sorts, but they worked and she had her shipping business underway.
In six months time she made a name for herself as one of the fastest shippers up and down the Sword Coast. Having proved herself while making them money, the crew followed her command without question. Having talked another boat out of business, she quickly acquired it and started running another ship. After another six months she had two shipping vessels running cargo and goods for a pretty penny.
With two crews running her ships, she now moved on to the next phase of her plan for power. She needed influence, for that she needed leverage. Sure a turn of the ear here and a bow there got her results, but they weren’t enough. For her launch into the bureaucracy of the city she needed more, she needed the secrets to come to her. A tavern on the corner of the main intersection to the lower docks was the perfect location to attract all sorts.
A little bribe here, a little blackmail there and Malena found herself the owner of the Torn Sail Inn and Tavern. A place known to serve good ale and have quiet corners, it was here she was able to broker deals for her ships. It was here where she knew all the comings and goings of the lower docks and it was here where she started to build up her influence throughout the city. Three months in and she was able to start pulling the strings of the shipping lanes of the lower docks.
Many think it was sheer luck, and it appeared that way on the surface. No one could see the cold, calculated steps that lead to the gambling match between Malena and current owner of the Cross Dock Waterfront. Many drinks later, an inebriated owner, and a dealer in her pocket, the waterfront was hers to take. Blicke Fiddleworth left the Torn Sail Tavern a few hundred platinum lighter and free of ownership to the waterfront. The next time anyone saw Blicke was in an alleyway with his cold dead hands wrapped around the hilt of the dagger plunged into his heart.
Six months as proprietor of the renamed Skyborne Shipping Dock and the little area started seeing an increase in traffic. Money was flowing through, her shipping business expanded to now four ships with four excellent crews and her tavern at the center of it. This part of the docks started shaping up, as other businesses shot up riding on her coattails.
With her investments practically running themselves, she was free to move on to the next step, actual power. Finally building up enough notoriety and wealth, she began to rub elbows with the aristocracy. First in passing with simple nods of acknowledgements and access to the libraries in the North Ward. It was in the library where she discovered she had an aptitude for magic, purely by accident. A public spell book was left out on a table turned to a summons spell. Curiously she read the spell, not knowing it was a spell at first. Much to her surprise, as much to the surprise of the poor soul who was now face to face with a dire rat. With little control over the magic, the spell fizzled and the rat disappeared back into the nether.
Acquisition of Magic
A studying mage witnessed the commotion and made his way over to Malena to chide her for being foolish. Upon his arrival, he could see the shock in her face, he knew she wasn’t a practicing mage. She probably didn’t even know she held the power to use magic. He sat her down and began to examine her magical aura, the conjuration magic radiated from her quite strongly. The mage told her what he thought her calling to be, a summoner. After that he mostly dragged her to a section of the library filled with old musty books and scroll, which look like they may not have been touched in years.
Still spinning from casting a spell, being told she had magic and whisked away to library parts unknown, she was amazed to see she held a stack of books in her hands. With a billow of dust blown into her face from the last book placed on the tower before her, the wizard looked at her solemnly. He peer deep into her eyes and told her not to practice the magics until she had a grasp on the mechanics behind them. An unlicensed mage in Waterdeep could get into serious trouble if they start to cause mischief.
With that the wizard was gone and she walked back to her offices on the docks with books in hand.
It took three months of study to finally understand the meaning and mechanics behind summoning magic and she had her answer to the dilemma she faces everyday: the sky and why she can’t be a part of it.
Malena not only desires the ability to fly unhindered amongst the clouds, but to hold a position of power in Waterdeep. The world will know she existed, she will not allow herself to be forgotten and lost in a back alley, not like Captain Reginald.
Distant portions of her past.
A History Unknown
While Malena may look 72 for an Elf, hardly even close to adulthood, she has more years than anyone could ever know. Malena was born as Alaine Ze’farel nearly one thousand eight-hundred and twenty-three years ago. Both her parents were Thraensharde who found comfort in each other’s presence, enough to pull them from the despair of not being able to fly among the stars. It was all her parents could do to keep from withdrawing into themselves, that they never paid much attention to Alaine. No tears were shed when Alaine went missing, nor was she ever searched for.
At the age of 18, Alaine barely knew her way in the world, and already she was being thrown into the mix of it. Having been kidnapped by human slave traders, she was taken and sold. Luck was with her in the unfortunate event in her life, as a passing elf noticed the youngling held captive. The elf bought her from the slavers and escorted her to his homelands where she was raised as an elf in the High Forest. She learned many skills, from the art of sculpture to the art of swordplay.
About the age of 50 she began to display traits of magical aptitude, which is what lead to the discovery of dragon’s blood in her own. Another elf sorceress took her into her care to train her in the arts of the arcana, lest she lost control of her powers.
For years she learned to hone her powers, to control them and keep them in check. All the while, she felt a welling up in her heart. Some sort of ancient knowledge trying to force its way out. Then one night, she was wrought with dreams of her flying through the air, soaring on feathered wings sprouting from her back. The misty wind sprayed her face has she weaved between the waves of the sea. The cotton-like clouds waft away as she sped through them. The song of the birds and the sound of the breeze were musical melodies in her ears. Then peaceful turned to torment, the sky bled red, the clouds poured their bloody contents on the ground. Alaine fell to the earth from great heights, tears speckled from her eyes as her wings were torn from her back. Left limp on the ground, reaching for the stars as they grew further and further away, she cried.
She woke from her nightmare, screaming reaching out for everything, grasping nothing. Tears flowed freely from her eyes. A deep yearning, and unquenchable thirst filled her very fiber, it consumed her being and she lost herself to her sorrow.
Alaine was not the same after that night, no one in the village knew what changed or why. She’d be in the glade looking at the sky, tears rolling down her face. Anger took over as she became frustrated at the birds fluttering about. Unable to take the life in the village anymore, knowing her true lineage, her true being and why she couldn’t be whole, she left.
She learned to manage and put one foot in front of the other, finally settling down where she could continue to study the powers of her magic. Years of study, surviving and defending her home from Orcs and Gnolls, she found a secret in her blood. Someone down her line tried to obtain the power of a dragon and mingled their bloods. She knew not if they were successful or not, but she found that could access her blood through will. First she could change her finger to claws and then surmised that she might be able to grow wings like a dragon.
It was a few years before she could fully grow wings from her back, a leathery blue pair that caught the sunlight in their blue translucent membrane. A slight glittering sparkle off each scale. While they were not the wings she wanted, they were the wings that would let her fly. Finally she was to be whole.
With slight trepidation, she flapped her new wings. The air caught in them as they fully extended, new muscles pulled and pushed trying to get the rhythm down. It was half a day before she got them working together, but once they did she felt the pure joy of flight. Beat after beat, she left the ground below her, the sky coming closer and closer. She was complete.
She danced an aerial acrobatics display as she weaved through the trees, somersaulting through the branches, breeching the canopy and taking in the full sight of the forest as it extended in all directions around her.
With a sadness in her heart, Akadi visited the young thraensharde. Her presence overwhelming Alaine, feeling the goddess’ sorrow for what was about to happen, Alaine could not stop her tears.
Akadi stripped Alaine of her memories, her power and her wings and cast her to someplace upon the land. Alaine would start over again, never having the memories of every flying. Stripping Alaine of her powers, stripped her of years as well; Alaine once again appeared to be 50 years old and was given the name of Norrah.
Time and Time Again
Norrah, once Alaine and to someday be Malena, would learn to fly once again. And once again that power and knowledge would be stripped from her as she was cast towards the land once again.
Each time Alaine was struck down, she’d do it all over again. Her determination was such that Akadi took notice of it. It would be one hundred and seventy-four times that Akadi would strike down Alaine in her current form. Akadi’s heart broke the last time she cast Alaine down, she cast her into the ocean hoping she would never be found, so she would never have to feel the pull of the sky. Aerdrie Faenya, a portion of Akadi, once worshipped by the Avariel, gripped strong on Akadi’s heart and pleaded with herself to let this young one live free from the bonds placed on her kind, for she did naught to deserve it.
A deal was struck between the two in the same. If Alaine, now Malena could reach for the sky once more, she would not be struck down and if deemed worthy, would be granted her all the knowledge taken from her each time.
Knowledge Washed Away
Through each incarnation of Alaine, she always worked for the sky. She had been a sorceress countless times, working the magics granted through her blood. She had studied wizardry many times, thinking the magics had come from books of spells. She had been a druid a handful of times and even a bard once or twice. Of course, as Malena she does not remember any of this nor about the power of the blue dragon locked within her blood.
Malena is good with her hands when it comes to ship repairs and building, but she would never know that as Poulain she was a world class inventor and devised a mechanism that could sail the winds of the sky like a bird. She would never know as Gwendolyn she was cursed by an item that gave her a demon’s body, wings included. And never would she know that she held a power that could rival those of the most powerful sorcerers and wizards of the day. And she would never know that half the books she studied from on summoning were written by her own hand or studied by her centuries ago.