Place of Origin: A village in northern Andor
Physical description/personality: Lavena is around 5'5" and is very slender. She had small bones and appears rather fragile and light, though she is a fast runner and is steady on her feet. Her hair is an extremely dark shade of red, sort of burgundy and slightly curly hanging a little past her shoulders. Her skin is extremely pale, almost chalk white with a touch of pink to it. Lavena has a sweet face with high cheek bones and large dark blue eyes.
Lavena is very quiet and good natured. She has a soft gentle voice, and though its pitch can be compared to that of a child's she is good at taking a stern authoritative tone that would never have her mistaken for one. She is calm and patient, though secretive. Lavena is stubborn and can be very selfish at times. Though she is strong in some ways she is also very weak in others and fears death beyond anything else. She is also rather gullible. Her ways of thinking as well as her actions and choices are based mainly on occurrences in her past. She often has a tortured sad look on her face and though it is vague it is quite obvious.
Weapon of choice: The bow
Secondary weapon: The dagger
Lavena was born in a small village in northern Andor. Her father was a carpenter who worked doing small jobs for the neighbors, who often couldn't afford to pay for the work. Though Edan Kegan rarely got paid for his work (and if he was it wasn't by very much) the family was quite well off and considered to be one of the wealthier families in the village. Edan had inherited some land as well as money when his father passed away, not long after he got married and he spent carefully, not wanting to lose the fair amount of wealth he possessed, though he was not ridiculously tight about it. Lavena was the eldest of four children, then came her sister and then two brothers. Her sister had been born weak of heart and mind and the local physician predicted that she would not live beyond sixteen years. The two brothers were quite healthy, but being four and six years younger than Lavena, it left her in charge, without saying, of her younger siblings.
Lavena was grateful she had siblings at all, and would try hard growing up not to let her great responsibilities overwhelm her. She worked hard at her chores and managed to watch her little brothers and sister as she did, assigning small tasks to occupy them. The cottage they lived in was small, but cozy and everyone participated in cleaning the house, the girls by helping their mother sweep floors and wash windows, the boys by helping their father fix little things around the home and yard. The children's only form of education were books, which they would borrow from the Lord's house; he owned many books most of which were on philosophy and sciences. Lavena was very fond of reading and once she had finished all that the minor provincial Lord owned she read them all again. This was her only way of learning about the world, other than questioning the visitors that rode through the village, her conversations with them usually leaving her strolling dreamily through the fields on the outskirts of their land, wondering what it would be like to leave.
The village was small and safe, the kind of place where you get to know everyone and gossip was a main source of entertainment. Lavena made close friends with a woman twenty years older than her in the village who had done some traveling and knew a lot about people and ways of life. To the young villager, this lady (Awena was her name) seemed wise and knowing, and Lavena took her advice seriously, even more so than that which her parents gave her. Awena would comfort the girl when she had problems taking care of her younger siblings and would cry from the weight of the responsibility. This, Lavena was extremely grateful for, because it was something never discussed in her family, though always understood and she feared what her mother would think were she to tell her that she was under stress from these specific burdens.
As they grew older, the village girl and her younger sister grew close, and though the mentally-deficient sibling could not quite understand her words, Lavena would tell her everything; all of her secrets, gossip, and dreams. However, upon the age of fourteen the younger of the two died leaving her older sister rather suddenly when she caught cholera and her body, being weak, could not fight it off well enough. Lavena would sit by her side every night and talk to her, comforting her as well as saying prayers aloud in hopes that it would ease the younger girl's suffering. One night, after everyone had fallen asleep, Lavena dosing in a chair by her sister's side, heard an echoing whisper in a language she didn't understand, then her sister's voice, "Goodbye" The older girl's eyes slid open and she leapt from her chair to her sister's side, feeling her pale wrist for a heart beat. She felt nothing. Desperately she touched her hand to the other's neck in hopes of feeling something but when her head rolled back easily at Lavena's slight nudge, she knew the worst had befallen her. Lavena spent that night on her knees next to the bed, nestling her sister in her arms as her silent tears fell to the girl's naturally contorted face. She did not cry out loud or even speak, because Edan had taught her not to grieve out loud for dead relatives; he believed it somehow affected their peace. She sat that there holding back sobs until the candle had burned out and didn't notice; she had already been plunged into darkness.
The next morning Lavena embraced her mother in a tight hug, biting her trembling lower lip as her swollen eyes sent rivers anew down her tear-stained face. No one ever spoke word of it, not even as Lavena's father and brothers retired the house carrying the body of Edan's younger daughter to the coffin he had built late last night on discovering the news. The two boys, now of twelve and tens years old, shuffled out sniffling and hanging their heads in sorrow. The village could only tell by the looks on the faces of the Kegan family as well as the absence of the ever-smiling, rarely speaking girl, of what had happened.
Later that day Lavena went to speak with Awena and told her of her sadness at her sister;s passing. She had lost one of the lights in her life, one of those more dear to her than herself. Awena listened to this and shook her head sternly though her words had a tender tone to them, "Girl, one thing I have learned in my life was never to love more than yourself. One way or another it always ends in sorrow. Those you love die or leave, or suddenly have a change of sentiments towards you and you find yourself mourning a loss you had set yourself up for. I've taught myself even to not care for relatives and if you wish to be happy, you must do the same. Though love may sometimes be inevitable, try your hardest against it, but if it comes anyway make sure you always care for yourself more then you do for others." Lavena, being used to such talk from her friend, nodded determinedly. She would have to teach herself not to love others. Her only question was, "How?", and when spoken aloud, Awena was quick to answer. "To prevent loving another, make sure you set yourself as being disagreeable, challenge them once in awhile and doubt their honesty openly. Tease them in front of others and humiliate them and they will never come to love you, nor you them. Never tell anyone too much about yourself; you must be secretive so others feel insecure around you and suspicious." The younger of the two gazed off in wonder at her friend's words and left the little cottage that night in a daze of thoughts.
As weeks of considering these words of wisdom passed, Lavena found that as every day went by, and she would go outside to work in the yard and see her sisters grave the grief grew more and more overwhelming and her responsibilities seemed to be pressuring her more than they ever had before, though in truth she had fewer now since her sister's death. Lavena grew quiet and snappish; and slowly drew further and further away from her family, sharing far less with them in hopes that she would cease loving them, as Awena told her was best for her. Edan and her mother would cast wondering, hurt glances at her when she refused to answer a good-natured question or offered a sarcastic answer. The Kegan family had been known in the village for many generations of being gentle, good-natured people who rarely fought or argued and almost never frowned. Lavena's heart ached at her relatives cut glances and she would quickly rush away to another part of the house to cry with guilt. She had to make them stop loving her; she had to stop loving them herself!
It was a warm summer day a year and a half since her sister's death when Lavena found herself recalling something eminent to her Awena had once said. She sat in the grass behind her house staring at the soaring mountains that appeared blue in the distance as she mended her father's sandals. She thought of Caemlyn, Whitebridge, Baerlon, all Andoran cities she had heard much about from reading and conversing with visitors. She wished to move, to see other lands and experience new things. But thoughts of her responsibilities to the family kept pushing themselves back into her mind. She could never leave them, they needed her; the boys would travel to other places when they got older, as the local Lord had promised he'd get them jobs in the capital, and if it weren't for her, who would care for her parents when they reached old age? Then it came to her, Sometimes, for some people, in order to achieve what they wish to do or become they have to leave home or be stuck with what burdens them their whole lives. Awena had said. Lavena thought it through, trying subconsciously to find reasons to justify her leaving.
If she left, her parents and brothers would forget her and eventually no longer love her, it would spare them the pain of her death when the time came. Hopefully, in time, even Lavena herself would come to forget them and cease caring for them. To run away would be the best way to spare their feelings as well as hers. Awena had told her to put herself ahead of others; when her parents reached an age of dependency again, someone else could take care of them; her brothers would be forced to.
Lavenda rose and began tying her hair back, then stood still for a moment to feel the warm breeze that caressed her face; she would have to leave now before she lost her nerve. She would not return to the house to collect some things for fear her mother would see her. Hastily she tied her burgundy locks back and glanced towards her cottage once before hiking her skirts up to her knees and running off towards the road where she continued to go down until she reached Caemlyn. She had had a gold mark in her pocket that one of the neighbors had given her that morning to return to Edan, who had lent them the same originally. She bought her food and accommodation from that and arrived at Caemlyn two weeks later. There she worked as a maid in the house of a minor Andoran noble, for a short time (around a month). During that time she had made a friend with one of the bodyguards, a tough middleaged man who had never had any children though he had always wished to; he would tell her stories of battles and fights, exciting tales of heroism and tragic death. He had fought many battles one time, when he had been an Andoran soldier. The old bodyguard had taken his job as a way to relax and live life easier for awhile. He told her one day of a group of fighters called the Band of the Red Hand, whom his brother had joined many months before and was quite happy with. Immediately she knew she wished to join; that was what she wanted-to fight-she would forget all her ties to people by killing. She set out to find the group of fighters not long after and request admittence.