Lyrissande Verbena (LEER-i-sand ver-BEE-nuh | /'liɹ ɪ sænd vərˈbi nə/)
Freedom fighter, spellsinger, hero
Winglord Brehon Lyrissande Verbena
Lyrissande Verbena was a legendary folk hero on the world of Caer'Thun. A Swordsinger and a Spellsinger , she turned the tide against a tyrannical nation that nearly conquered her world. Further, her words, music, and exploits have since inspired elven unification and protection of wild places throughout Known Space, hundreds of years after her martyrdom.
Early LifeSidhe noble family. Her mother was killed in a fight against orcs when Lyrissande was a small child. Doted on by her father, a Velmailain counsellor, and her significantly-older brother, a militia Captain, she enjoyed a protected childhood filled with love. Best described as "precocious," her energy and cleverness were channeled early into the study of the Avalonian Spellsinger tradition and the art of Swordsong , both of which she took to with talent and zeal. A shadow passed over this idyllic life when Lyrissande neared her coming-of-age. The Tyrannen Invasion was spreading over Caer'Thun, and half the continent of Tahlyrae had fallen under their dominion. They were rumoured to use new, powerful magics that literally drained the life from the land and people around them. With both her father and brother worried, Lyrissande vowed that on her Yadarisar, she would either stop the Tyrranen, or protect her homeland from them. Her father gifted her with the family Runeblade upon this declaration.
The Green StableIn the city-state of Tornn, Lyrissande borrowed money from the Outlaw of Tornn and founded The Green Stable gladiators as a front for her rebellion. Due to her ability to see the best in people, she successfully recruited some of the greatest gladiators of the time, including Valrik Stormbringer and his brother Kaimen. She also purchased Viktor Frostfire to save him from execution as an "unmanageable slave," freed him, and asked him to fight for her anyway. Viktor immediately agreed. With winnings from her bets on Viktor as a first-time combatant, she was able to pay off Kalvarian, with interest, and invest the remainder of her winnings into her stable. She purchased the services of Drathnar Strongarm as her trainer -- and won his loyalties with her optimism and hope. She also recruited Lashyva Shadowwalker, a Sluagh Dianic priestess, scandalizing elves on all sides. Rumours of an ongoing affair between them scandalized their peoples even more. Avalon. Travelling the gladiatorial circuit provided the Green Stable an excellent opportunity to sow dissent and build their rebellion. With her skills as a Spellsinger, Lyrissande kept the band going, even while all of their winnings were funneled into the hands of freedom fighters. She performed in taverns and busked in the streets, until her reputation grew to the point that wealthy elites immediately offered patronage as soon as word reached them that she was in town, thus giving her access to the halls of power. She, Lashyva, and the Stable, all of whom possessed surprising skills in stealth and subterfuge as well as combat prowess, used these opportunities to eavesdrop, seduce, and otherwise decant as much information as they could to aid the Resistance. They also put their weapons and spells to work in more direct ways; stealing weaponry, supplies, food and money from the Tyrannen military or their supporters; and what they could not steal, they destroyed. These attacks were strategic to minimize risk of discovery. By far, however, their greatest tool in the Resistance was their popularity. They channeled their star power into influence, and secretly spread songs and stories encouraging liberation and non-human pride in the humanosupremist empire. Much of the money used to aid the rebellion went directly to improving the lives of common people. Everyone adored them, or were obligated to pretend they did.
ExileIt was perhaps inevitable that eventually, news of the Green Stable's political leanings would reach the wrong ears. Fortunately, by this time Kalvarian had become a loyal supporter of both Lyrissande and the Resistance, and he utilized his vast underground network to tip Lyrissande off to the betrayal and help her to escape from Tyrranen-held territory. Others required more convincing. As part of her effort to convince the Khel'Nasar and the plainspeoples of Vel'darra to join the cause, Lyrissande sought initiation into the Khel'Nasar. She ascended the Iron Hills and won the loyalty of a black-feathered Nasar, whom she named Omen . In the meantime, Lashyva was in the city of Eveningcrown, trying to convince the Sluagh of Vel'sirra to join the cause, with some limited success. The Khel'Nasar believed that one could never succeed at their initiation unless their hearts truly were dedicated to defending the world's wild places. When Lyrissande called a Parliament, it didn't take long to convince them to join the fight, especially when they heard about these life-draining magics. With their support, Drathnar Strongarm, a member of the Wolf Tribe of Vel'darra, called a Grand Moot, and through Lyrissande's persuasion and his own combat prowess, was declared War Chieftain. The United Werepeoples of Vel'darra declared war on the Tyrannen, starting with a series of lightning raids against settlements and supply chains.
TohvassnerisThe Green Stable made their way first to Veladin to speak to the Nunnehi there, then to Tohvassneris to try to enlist the aid of the Alfar. Winning their support was crucial, as Veladin and Tohvassneris held most of the last remnants of the magic of the Avalonian Empire on Caer'Thun. Tohvassneris was the last active starfaring port, after Tornn's docks were scuttled to protect them from the Tyrannen. But Lyrissande was unsuccessful. The wounds of the Succession Wars still ran too deep on Caer'Thun. Veladin's leadership said only that they would consider it. Tohvassneris still kept slaves of other Elven ethnicities whose parents and grandparents had been captured during the wars. Sidhe were regarded as a lesser people, and Sluagh, after the kidnapping of the Imperial Heir centuries before, were not even to be spoken to. While her reputation was now such that the Lord of the City, Imperial Heir Selnaris Khi'Marinae, was willing to see her, he was not convinced that the other elves, or other peoples, of Caer'Thun were his concern; nor was he convinced the Tyrannen had the power to assault Tohvassneris' high mountains or break their formidable magical defenses. With the support of the nobility, he turned the Green Stable away.
Last StandIn the subsequent months, both Veladin and Vel'sirra fell to the Tyrannen. A few months after that, Tohvassneris fell. The Alfar abandoned the planet and destroyed the docks to keep the Tyrannen out of space. In spite, the Tyrannen razed the city to ash, and salted the earth so nothing would again grow there. Eyewitness accounts claim that when the news reached her, Lyrissande sobbed like her heart was broken. Desperate, Lyrissande and her followers put aside any last misgivings about traditional enemies. She approached the orcs of Bloodhaven , and even the goblins of Traggharg and the Firststar Cartel. Initially hostile, they became more receptive as news spread of mighty Tohvassneris' fall. Now almost entirely given over to scouting and messenger services for the disparate components of the Resistance, the Khel'Nasar warned Lyrissande of a massive force marching on Vel'darra. Determined that the Tyrannen would not have the last major elven civilization on Caer'Thun, Lyrissande rallied everyone she could to stop them. The night before the battle, Lyrissande was told of a vision.
She will break the spine of Tyrannia, but she will not celebrate with them.She took this to mean she was destined to die in the fight -- but they would win. After being sure to assign a clear chain of command, she sat down in her final hours to write her death-poem. This would become known as The Affirmation of Avalon. Selaro 3813 AC, General Brehon Winglord Lyrissande Verbena led the last free peoples of Caer'Thun against the Tyrannen army in The Battle of the Vel'darran Plains. She was disintegrated by the fell magic of Kalisus, the Archmage-Tyrant who ruled the Tyrannen, in the opening salvos. Her death accomplished what her life could not. The army rallied to her call. Two hours into the fighting, when it seemed the army was at the end of its strength, Selnaris Khi'Marinae came out of exile, leading thousands of pegasii and unicorn rider cavalry, and a fleet of starfaring ships, in their defense. Drathnar Strongarm was carried by ship directly to Kalisus, and broke the Tyrant's spine as he cast him from a cliff. The tyrant's destruction resulted in an explosion that killed thousands on both sides. The Tyrannen survivors surrendered. Emboldened by the news, the Resistance broke into open rebellion all over Caer'Thun. The reign of the Tyrannen was at an end. Neither Kalisus' nor Lyrissande's bodies were ever found.
LegacyLyrissande's story is perhaps the most culturally significant legend on Caer'Thun. It is used to this day to encourage cooperation and compassion. The Affirmation of Avalon has been widely quoted on worlds throughout Known Space to call for elven unity. The cold war between the elves has ended. While relations are not warm, neither are they openly hostile. Tohvassneris built a new city, Sol'Tohvassneris. They no longer keep slaves. Its gate is guarded by a giant statue of Lyrissande on one side, and Omen on the other. Statues of Lyrissande also appear in the town square of Tornn, the city of Velmailain, and the courtyard of Symmerin University. The plainspeoples of Vel'darra still make protective charms to invoke Lyrissande's blessings. A legend claims that Lyrissande and Omen will return to the world in the hour of the elves' greatest need.
Lyrissande was well educated. As a young Sidhe noble, and the indulged daughter of a noted scholar, she had access to one of the greatest libraries on Caer'Thun; including a significant collection that had been rescued from fabled Avalon. She began training in the ancient Spellsinger tradition at a young age, and so was also skilled in the bardic arts of oratory and memorization. First-hand accounts of her life claim that she had an eidetic memory. She also joined the Greenheart Swordsong School and received excellent martial and magical training. Lyrissande was also well-educated in mathematics, since she and Lashyva Shadowwalker kept the books for her gladiatorial stable. Her magical education was also demonstrably excellent, since spells remain in common use today that she invented.
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Music by Lyrissande Verbena
Date of Birth
28 Cold Moon
Date of Death
4 Buck Moon
3748 AC 3813 AC 65 years old
Circumstances of Death
Martyred in a last stand against the Tyrannen
Place of Death
Plains of Vel'darra
Silver-blue with silver sparkles
Long, nut-brown, usually worn in braids or otherwise out of her face, decorated with beaded and feathered leather ties
Quotes & Catchphrases
One discontent is like dropping a pebble in the sea. But many...many are a landslide.
They can't defeat all of us!
Children of Avalon, remember!
Lyrissande Verbena & Viktor Frostfire by Venita Oberholster