The Clutch of Verthandi
Niamh Ceallach is the daughter of the ill-fated Elvish Ambassador, Saoirse Ceallach. Her father, Saoirse’s husband, was a human named Owen Marish, a professor by trade and an amateur carpenter. Niamh spent the first twelve years living in her father’s native city where her parents worked. Her parents’ inter-racial marriage was often considered controversial and was particularly contentious among those humans who still harbored resentment against the elves living and working in the city. Although she was raised among humans and had inherited her father’s light blonde hair, Niamh’s connection with her Elvish heritage was strong. Her mother began to teach her the ways of the Elves as a baby, and promised to take Niamh to her native city on Niamh’s twelfth birthday to continue her cultural education.
When Niamh was nine years old, her city was raided and ransacked by sellswords who had been hired to purge the city of the Elven race. The Capitol where her mother worked saw the most violence: many elves working in the government were killed on the spot, but Saoirse’s body was one of a few that were never found. A year later, rumors began to spread concerning the escape of several political prisoners, including Saoirse Ceallach, but Niamh neither saw nor heard from her mother again.
After the loss of her mother, Niamh and her father often argued, particularly over whether or not Niamh should relocate to her mother’s city. The two did ultimately love each other, however, and on her twelfth birthday, Niamh’s father presented her with her first bow and quiver of arrows that he had carved himself and agreed to escort her on the dangerous trek.
Five days into the journey, they were attacked by what both believed to be a Red Dragon. Owen and Niamh together managed to subdue the dragon, wounding it mortally—so they believed. Owen himself suffered a fatal blow to the chest. Niamh, badly burned along one side of her body, buried her father and spent a sleepless night by his grave. In the morning, she cut a small scale from the dragon and strung it around her neck, vowing to wear it always. She eventually found her way to her mother’s city where she was placed in the care of a foster family. Although she healed from the fight with the dragon, a burn scar runs from the right side of her neck to her hip. Her clothing covers most of it, but it is visible on her neck and upper chest when she pulls her hair back for fighting or travel. After decades of training, Niamh has embarked on a journey to honor her father and to find her mother who is, she believes, still alive and in hiding.