Anäriel Anastil - Hero's Journey Contest
The Black Unicorn
Who is The Black Unicorn?
IntroductionsAnäriel is the outcast phrasai of the Royal House Anastil. She is the youngest child of the late pharota and pharotu, Xanära and Ethäes Anastil; is the twin sister of Seeré the Lost Prince; and is the younger sister of Vänima the Veldriss, the self-proclaimed goddess of Orosta and Rhye. When Vänima rose to power after every Rhyastilian citizen over the age of fifteen was murdered, Anäriel escaped into the east where, over the next 150 years, she would become a myth known only as The Black Unicorn. This is when we meet her, but . . .
There's A ProblemAnäriel is a character who doesn't know what she wants. She hasn't been pushed. She hasn't been made a hero yet. Her main conflict is not bad parents, a tragic past, or a dead loved one. Her main torment is she does not know herself. She has no idea who she is because everything she was burned in dragon fire. All she does know is she's a coward. Running is what she does best. But after 150 years of running, there's nowhere left to go. Sooner or later, she's going to have to accept that. Then she's going to have to do something about it.
"For over five thousand years, my family has ruled Rhyastil. Five thousand years of history, legacy, but in one sweep it just . . . my entire family is dead. Or they have not been seen in a century, or they are psychotic tyrants. I am alone. I have been completely alone for 150 years. I am the last true Anastil. And that is a state that has been forced on me.”—Anäriel Anastil
Sithu is the white fire burning on top of Sithuwaye blood—the source of their immortality. Sithu protects against illness and heals non-mortal wounds. While the fire is not normally hot, it can be weaponized if the Sithuwaye wills it, as seen with Anäriel’s fire swords, Khasa and Erido.
If subjected to a state of extreme isolation or loneliness, a Sithuwaye's sithu can start to fade, and eventually, they can die. A sense of connection is as vital as water to the Sithuwaye.
Psionics is the catch-all term referring to the powers of the mind, specifically telepathy and telekinesis. All Sithuwaye have these abilities, but power levels vary based on genetics. For Anäriel herself, her power is above-average but nowhere near the strongest. That honor goes to her sister
. . . unfortunately.
Shadowstealers are people with shape-shifting abilities. It is not Sithuwaye-specific like sithu or psionics, and any race—except for dragons—may possess it. Due to its extreme rarity, it is largely mysterious to most people, even to those who have it, as almost nothing is known as to how or why the power manifests. There are theories, though . . .
The Problem With Unicorns
Vänima: "What do you know about unicorns, dear?" Kieran: "You mean . . . The Black Unicorn?" Vänima: "Her, yes, but more so unicorns in general." Kieran: "Unicorns? There's more than one?" Vänima: "No, actually. But do you know why? The unicorn is anathema, a demon from the void, though it was not always so. Once it was beautiful. The undine scribes tell how it happened. A rogue star fell on the unicorn and possessed it, twisting it into a monster. It screamed as it was dragged into the void, but as it fought, it pierced its horn inside a tree. The tree bled, and magic poured out of the bark in sticky black gulps of tar. The unicorn battled to get away, but it was trapped. It drowned. When it finally had breathed its last, its ruined corpse crawled out of the blackened pool, and so it was anathema. Now it roams forever alone. Forever broken. The unicorn is white, a mangled echo of what it used to be, but when it turns black, they say it will be a sign of the end—the end of all things. Do you know what they call this unicorn, Kieran? They call it the Fallen Star. He is the opposite of Le Sair, the embodiment of strife and discord. He is his singular enemy. At least, according to the legends. Do you see now the similarities?" Kieran: "Anäriel is your Fallen Star?" Vänima: "Look at you starting to understand. Very good, dear."
Into the Swamp
Six years after The Battle of the Royals Dead, Anäriel is an outcast hiding from her deranged sister. Unfortunately, she is discovered by Vänima's first iteration of Sicarius assassins, led by Cayl Sulissurn, and is chased into the menacing Morsus Swamp. Anäriel escapes the assassins, who are torn apart by a mysterious darkness, but soon finds herself lost. She wanders until she encounters a kelpie and battles him. Upon defeating him, she is granted a single wish which she uses to escape. The kelpie leads her out of the swamp into the wilds of the east—the perfect place to hide from Vänima.
"The Morsus Swamp made Cayl Sulissurn what he was. Cayl managed to escape, but just barely, and he returned with a report about trees tearing from the ground, monsters ripping his host in half, the darkness itself coming alive and speaking to him. Even the goddess was spooked."—Balâg Loperian
"Dannis Feldor, Lord Nomarch of
ResenaJersæg, and all his House swear fealty to Vänima the Veldriss. This plaque is a sign of our allegiance."—A plaque in Jersæg
In the east, Anäriel learns House Feldor has survived Vänima's mass slaughter. She travels to Castle Resena in the hopes she can reunite with friends, but upon arriving sees Willan Feldor conversing with an assassin. The reason House Feldor survived is revealed, and Anäriel flees, thinking she has been betrayed. It is 29 years later before she learns she was wrong, and in a terrible realization come too late, she sees the aftermath of House Feldor's coup against Vänima—Castle Resena reduced to a ruin and renamed Jersæg or "Example". Filled with grief, Anäriel loses herself in the east and begins a life of true, unending solitude, an extremely dangerous state of being for Sithuwaye who require companionship to live. Anäriel begins to go insane.
Fast forward 94 years, and Anäriel stumbles back into the west a shell of her former self, unable to stand the solitude anymore. She wanders into the town of Clearbrooke and lives in a nearby jungle, entering cautiously now and again to purchase food. She hides from Vänima's ever-spying mirrors and slowly begins to find herself again . . . until a mirror does see her. Even after 123 years, Vänima's reaction is swift and brutal. She sends the red dragon Elghinyrrok the Judge to destroy the town, and Clearbrooke is reduced to ash. Anäriel sees an eight-year-old boy floundering in the flames, and against her better judgment pulls him from the fire. They run together, and the boy introduces himself as Kieran Quinn.
"In a daze, I pulled him from the fire, all the while thinking I had no business caring for a child."—Anäriel Anastil
The Fisherhook Gang
"Chabaal Hassa was many things, but not many of them were good."—Anäriel Anastil
Aware of how unstable she is, Anäriel debates leaving Kieran at various orphanages they pass, but she can't bring herself to be alone again. Instead, she and Kieran devise a plan to locate and join the notorious Fisherhook Gang, a resistance group against Vänima led by a Sithuwaye named Chabaal the Fisherman for his tendency to "gut his victims like a fish". Anäriel supposes these are stories spread by Vänima to dissuade people from joining her enemy. Anäriel and Kieran find Chabaal's second-in-command, The Hood, in the western town of Isring. Taking a risk, Anäriel reveals her true identity to The Hood which allows them to join the Fisherhooks. Unfortunately, the stories of Chabaal were true, and Anäriel and Kieran are soon forced to flee the crazed murderer. Anäriel returns to what she knows and runs back into the east, taking Kieran with her.
Assassins in the East
Anäriel and Kieran live another 10 years in the east, but Anäriel tries not to notice the way a now adult Kieran has started looking at her. Deciding Kieran needs exposure to other people, Anäriel summons the courage to return to House Feldor's ruined castle Jersæg. There she encounters a green mimic named Ree and his adopted human daughter Cali. Anäriel joins Ree's ragtag thieving gang to give Kieran some semblance of a family. Five years later, Ree hatches a mad scheme to rob the dragon Graxilyphet the Brown. Anäriel can't pass up the chance to add a dragon to her shadowstealing repertoire and allows Ree to talk her into it. But upon meeting the dragon, Graxilyphet informs her there are assassins in the east, something before unheard of. Anäriel doesn't have to wonder who they are hunting. After all these years, her sister has chased her to the end of the line. No more running. Anäriel will have to choose between leaving her friends or staying, but the famous assassin Jezryn Sulissurn—a descendant of Cayl—has found Jersæg. This is where we meet our outcast hero, and the novel Remember Dragons Lie Volume I: The Stag begins.
"Her assassins are crawling all over the east nowadays. A sizeable host passed by my lair just yesterday, in fact. They were searching for someone . . ."—Graxilyphet the Brown
To see what happens next, hop on over to the book's teaser seen here:
Contacts & Relations
- Kieran Quinn
- The Hood
- Willan Feldor
- Vänima the Veldriss
- Chabaal Hassa
- Khazar Éridok (husband) (deceased)
Species Elf Conditions Lacero Disease Ethnicities
- The Black Unicorn
- Her Highness Phrasai Anäriel of the Royal House Anastil
- Ethäes Anastil
- Xanära Anastil
- "Skeeters of hell!"
- "How can I help if you will not listen to me?"
- "I want my family back . . ."
- House Éridok
- House Feldor
- The Children of Le Sair
- The Black Unicorn
- The Morsus Swamp
- Sithuli (1st - fluent)
- Orostian (2nd - fluent)
- Zishlyn (3rd - knows a few words)