DM Handle: Estel
Name: Alianna Karalev
Weapon: 6" quarterstaff, half as thick as her wrist
Her profession requires a strong woman with a head on her shoulders, and if Alianna weren't, she wouldn't have survived past her twenty-third nameday. Alianna isn't a beautiful woman, though she is not ugly either. Her form is slightly more masculine than normal, though other than that there is nothing to really distinguish her from any other Kandori- another trait helpful in her trade.
Dark brown hair, almost black, is kept in a single, long thick braid, and her eyes are as dark as her hair. Her body is lined in thin scars, two crisscrossing her left cheek, though they are barely distinguishable unless one is close.
Signs of her age are just beginning to tell on Alianna. There are a few thin wrinkles at the corners of her eyes, and a grey hair or three at her temples. Though the bags under her eyes- caused by the stress of her profession- make her appear at least five years older.
Only for festivals will Alianna dress brightly or comb her hair out and let it hang loose. The rest of the time, she dons more subdued colours, allowing her to better blend in. The cotton she wears is well-cut, though not fine, and baggy trousers are tucked into calf-high leather boots.
'I'll only be a few days, dear.' Alianna said kissing Dominik as she saddled Catcher, the bay mare she rode. 'Take care of Henrik, and don't let him anywhere near that sword of yours. He's fascinated by it but won't admit he's more likely to chop his own foot off than anything else.' Pulling her husband of ten-years into another embrace, she thought of how happy she would be to return home in hopefully a few days. Dominik was a senior guard in the king's service, and their nine year-old son, Henrik, was every inch his father's child. The tall, lean young boy was full of mischief, always up to some prank or was fighting with the neighbours' boys- both of which earned a stern scolding from her and the fighting a beating with his father's belt. Alianna was on her way to some town, two days' ride from Chachin. Like Dominik, she too was in the service of the king, though for very different reasons. She was a thief catcher, one of the very few women in the profession- or rather, to have survived long doing her job. Rather than deal with the king himself, she was paid by his clerks for however many criminals she could bring up to the palace: whether dead or alive. The better part of her days was spent in taverns, listening for rumours of murderer or rapists who had not yet been caught by the city's guard. On a few occasions, one criminal would escape the city and flee to another nearby town. She followed. She smiled as she remembered her younger days, while her father was still alive. In her head, his voice still echoed: 'You're a woman, Alianna, why would you wish to follow my trade? Why won't you apprentice to your mother? Stain your hands with dye, not the blood of criminals.' She had been fifteen at the time, a headstrong girl still naíve enough to believe nothing beyond her reach. At her father's comment, she had burst into frustrated tears. 'My brother's are all soldiers! Why am I not allowed to fight the Shadow like they? I may not be able to swing a sword or carry a heavy shield, but I can run and use my quarterstaff like you taught me! And I am strong! I hate being a girl!' At that point, she had run up to cry in her pillow, and a week later she had found herself tagging alongside her father- much to her delight and his displeasure- as he went from inn to inn listening to men and women's gossip. Now seventeen years later, he was dead- knifed in the back by a murderer hoping to cover his tracks and make a break for safety- and she, the headstrong daughter was raising a family and catching the criminals.
Steadily Catcher plodded down the road as she wove between hills on her way home. By the time she had arrived, the man she had been after had already been hung for another murder he had committed. To some, it would be a waste of time since there would be no pay for her, however, she was just happy he was no longer a danger to any other person. The trip back seemed to take forever. She stood in her stirrups staring at the horizon, straining to see the top of the keep which dominated the landscape around Chachin, but to no avail. Mile after long mile, the horizon remained the same: hills and the far off shadow of the Blight. The wide road was empty of all travellers, not highly unusual so close to winter in the Borderlands, though the solitude felt ominous. It was nearing sunset now, and she was saddle sore from riding. The steady rhythm of the horse's hooves threatened to lull her to sleep, but it was dangerous country here, even close to Chachin as she should be. Even her quarterstaff would not frighten off the bolder highwaymen in the dark if she were half asleep. The dull thudding of hooves on bare, hard earth was like a heartbeat: steady and unchanging. As the sun dipped lower and lower, threatening to cast the entire world of darkness, she wondered why she could not even catch a glimpse of Chachin's towers. Finally, the road took her to the crest of a hill, and she finally saw why she hadn't caught a glimpse of Chachin. Chachin was gone. Gone. Completely gone. Wiped from the face of the earth, leaving only a crater where the city was. Stunned is too weak a word to explain how Alianna felt. No word known to her could describe the way she felt when she saw the crater in place of her home. For over an hour, she simply stood as the sun set and was hidden behind the horizon. Until the last beam of light disappeared from the Borderlands, she didn't move. So shocked was she by the discovery that she would not have noticed nor trembled if one of the Eyeless had stood with her face to face. When finally all light was gone, she collapsed on the ground. The scream she emitted just then was a scream only duplicated by another being who had just lost everything. Her family, her job, her home, her city had disappeared, never to be seen again.