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Character Concept: Nalia Swellfellow, Half-Elf Druid

A young elf girl, just a child, looked up at her mother and asked, “mom, what am I?” before looking down at her outstretched hands while she slowly wiggled her fingers.


“Why, you’re a half-elf Nalia.”


“What does that mean?” The child asked.


“It means that I’m a elf, and your father a human, and we made you, so you’re half-elf, and half-human.”


“No…” Nalia wrinkled her nose, “Why am I?”


“I told you Nalia, your father and I fell in love and I’m an elf and he’s a human.”


The child furrowed her brow, and pursed her lips, face wrenched with thought. “I mean, why am I me? What is me? What am I doing here?”


Her mother stopped in her tracks, and looked at the girl, and thought for a moment while emptying her face of expression. “I…” she started, “I don’t know.” She frowned.


“It’s okay mom,” Nalia said. “I don’t know either. Maybe someday I’ll meet someone who does.”


They continued their morning walk, each awash in existential wonder and curiosity.


 

Nalia grew up to show an interest in creation and the natural world, and early on sought out druidic mentors to support her quest for knowledge. She wanted to learn more about herself, and believed she must first learn of how life even comes to be.


She studied with various druids for a long while, and adopted the practice herself. She also tried to visit various temples to learn what she could of other creation legends, but always found herself wondering about where she fit into the grand natural design, and how it came to be that way.


Nalia also felt strange living amongst the elves of Rodellia. She was not ashamed of her half-elf heritage, and could not explain to her friends nor family what it was exactly that she felt; restless? Ennui? Asynchronous? The best she could offer was that she felt that she wasn’t where she should be, but didn’t know where else she would be.


During the last summer that she spent at home, she became friends with a meadowlark that nested somewhere outside of town. She often heard its morning songs, and it would fly overhead as she went about completing errands and walking through the woodlands. She would go off to find a quiet place to speak to it, or sing alongside it.


During one such encounter, as she spoke to her friend, the meadowlark snapped its head rapidly and looked her directly in the eye. They stared at each other for a long moment, Nalia waiting for it to hop, chirp, peck, do anything. In a feathery bluster, the bird took flight eastward through the trees.


“Wait for me!” Nalia cried out, beginning to pursue her friend. She bounded through the forest, leaping over fallen trees, and ducking and weaving through low branches and brambles. All the while, the bird never changed course. After an hour attempting to keep up, Nalia needed to rest, and gracelessly sat on a patch of moss, trying to catch her breath.


It was in this moment, that Nalia found some clarity. Surveying her surroundings, she had no idea where she was, and realized she had not brought anything with her when she leapt up to follow the lark. She thought of her family, who would surely wonder where she had done, and if she was alright. None of this phased her for more than a second, as a large smile bloomed on her face. She burst out laughing, and said, seemingly to the sky and earth, “Finally! This was it wasn’t it? Your sign to show me what I am!” She rejoiced, rested for a short while, and carried on her eastwards path, seeking out her feathered friend.


 

She traveled for a few days, finding streams to drink from and foraging as she traversed the forest. Eventually she reached the edge, and stood awestruck by the rolling grasslands now set before her. She felt like she could see for miles, breathe all the air, and channel the ambient energy around her more freely than when she would walk through the woods.


She traveled the grasslands for one day further, before hearing a familiar birdsong. Having lived in the forest all her life, she was surprised upon locating her friend, in its nest, burrowed into the side of a steep hill. Using her druidic magic, she shaped a small hovel out of the hillside, leaving the meadowlark’s nest untouched, and directly above the door hole to her new abode.


For the next few weeks, the meadowlark showed her around. It brought her to a small stream nearby, as well as a flat sunny patch of pecked out dirt atop their living hill, where she would plant a garden. It was a small paradise wherein someone might find themselves lonely. Fortunately, Nalia had herself, the earth, and her avian ally.


Nalia lived on her own for several years. On occasion she would miss her friends, family, and old home, and she would look to the world around her for comfort, and signs that she had done what was right for her. Sometimes, she would simply lay in the grass beneath the sun or moon, and allow her consciousness to meld with that of the land itself. She had all the signs and support she needed, and felt genuinely happy in her life as a hermit.


One day, in the early misty morning, she was awakened by the fretful chirping of the meadowlark. She could hear some muffled grunting, and clattering outside her door, and as she rose to investigate, the door was flung open and before her was a scavenging party of some seven goblins. They had clubs and crudely made swords, and stepped in towards her, vile grins cast across their teeth.


She glanced behind them to see her lark friend fly away, chirping she felt, at her. In an instant, being outnumbered, she transformed into a mole, and began to dig herself to safety. The goblins were surprised, but with the absence of a threat (and perhaps a meal) they sacked her small hovel.


Nalia emerged from the earth on the southern side of the hill, and fled south following the meadowlark.


They fled for most of a day to the southeast, where by dusk, they had encountered a road. Not a very traveled road, given its condition, but a humanoid made path at least. Nalia took it as a sign and followed the lark northwards along the road.


Now, Nalia’s path is laid out before her, for a little while at least, until she finds another sign.


 

Nalia Swellfellow is a young half-elf female druid, taking circle of the land (grassland). She is likely to be chaotic good, or neutral good. Possibly chaotic neutral or even true neutral, although she isn’t selfish as some true neutrals player characters tend to be.


Nalia looks constantly for signs from the gods. She has been following them her whole life, and while she doesn’t know exactly who or what guides her, she believes wholeheartedly in it.


She also believes very strongly in herself, knowing her own strengths and weaknesses is one of her greatest strengths. Self-knowledge is vital to her growth as a person.


She is very strongly connected to the land. She lived entirely off her connection to the natural world for the past several years before fleeing her hovel, that she truly values and appreciates the effort required to subsist.


She tends to run away when outnumbered, as seen in the goblin intrusion. Nalia does not particularly enjoy fighting, and will prefer to take a ranged supporting role to her allies. She is particularly good when working with a single partner, like her lark friend who is not technically a familiar, but could be adapted to be one.


Nalia is young and naive, but wise in matters of the land. Since she has lived alone so long, she has lost some of her ability to be civil and polite in conversation or courtly matters, and lacks the charisma to really connect with common town and city folk.

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