Da Hadez Family/Erisha
Erisha Da Hadez
Erisha Da Hadez was the second child of the Darkan war hero Luthor Da Hadez and his first wife, Luessa.
Though she was known for her thoughtfulness, fairness and honour she could display strength and ruthlessness when required.
Her father was delighted to be presented with a daughter and upon seeing her for the first time his eldest son, Erisha's half-brother Balian, knelt next to her crib and solemnly swore that he would defend her with his life.
Despite her half-brother's derisive asides and their father's disapproval her younger brother, Severn passed on to her all he could learn about the art of warfare and the code of the nobleman. They would patrol the family estates in Eurotan together, hunting vermin, wolves and poachers. She spent her childhood nights reading tales of far-off lands and later in the more reputable taverns talking to the wanderers and merchants.
On her 20th birthday Erisha met a merchant from The Colonies who was seeking a bodyguard to escort him on his journey home. There was a border war raging at that time and Lord Da Hadez could spare no men. Upon hearing this news Erisha offered her services. After some heated debate Lord Da Hadez agreed to this proposition although it took the merchant some convincing (and a crossbow bolt through the hat from 40 feet) to accept that a young woman could indeed be adequate protection for his gold and jewels. She spent a relatively uneventful few months travelling around the colonies with him.
Although it was always Erisha's intention to return to Darka she fell in love with the country and people of Oritolon and settled in the quiet mountain town of Iglavik. She was eventually appointed Baroness of that region, a position she retained for the whole of her time in Oritolon.
Having served some time as Judge and (briefly) as Prime Minister of Oritlon Erisha was appointed Minister of Defence during an attack on Oritolon by the combined armies of neighboring theocracies Alowca and Alebad.
However, Erisha soon found that the cautious nature of the Oritolon military hierarchy was incompatible with the more direct and ruthless style of warfare she had learned in Darka and she soon stepped down from the position and returned to the role of regular soldier.
When the idea was raised that Oritolon should find some way of countering the theocratic preachings of their enemies it was Erisha who proposed that the official state religion should not be a religion as such but more a philosophy that encouraged honorable behavior and allowed all people the freedom to believe in whatever gods they wished - on the condition that they did not try and force that belief on others. Thus was The Path of Chivalry born.
For years Erisha held her position as Baroness of Iglavik and continued her career as a soldier. She also played a key role in planning the founding of a new realm based around the duchy of Alebad and it was decided that she would be the initial ruler of the new realm after taking the position of Dutchess of Alebad and seceding the duchy to found the new realm.
However, before this could happen the new realm of Minas Thalion was founded by the incumbent duke.
Erisha immediately traveled to the new realm's capital to assist in it's foundation and run for election as ruler. She arrived with her heavy infantry during the confused first few day of the new realm. She was warmly welcomed by a guard patrol as she arrived outside the city and proceeded to the barracks outside the gatehouse, where other Oritolon military units were preparing to leave for home, to await the officials that would invest her as a noble of Minas Thalion.
As she awaited their arrival another Oritolon unit arrived in Alebad, 'The Black Storm' commanded by Erisha's god-daughter Sangi Tempest had been travelling for days toward the front-lines, tired but eager to engage the enemy at the earliest opportunity. However, news of the new realm's founding had not yet reached them. As they approached the guardhouse barracks they spotted a unit of armed troops approaching quickly, bearing no banners or livery. They could not have known that this was a welcoming party from a friendly realm too young to have had time to prepare banners or produce livery for their soldiers, let alone to have completed the complicated legal writs of alliance. Sangi and her men assumed that they were under attack from an enemy raiding party and charged.
Alerted by the commotion the Oritolon forces at the barracks simply saw an Oritolon unit in battle and rushed to find out what was going on. The city defenders, dismayed and confused by what appeared to be an unprovoked attack by their mother realm also rushed to the scene and a chaotic and confused melee ensued which quickly evolved into a full-blown battle as sergeants and commanders organised their disarrayed forces.
While efforts were made on both sides to cease the battle such a conflict has a momentum of it's own. In the chaos Erisha attempted to reach the commander of the defending forces to convince him of the tragic mistake and put an end to the fight. Whether or not the commander's bodyguard saw Erisha's improvised flag of truce or not will likely never be known. She was struck by a pair of arrows just yards from his position and was dead before she hit the ground.
The battle raged on and the tragic truth of it's circumstances would not be known until it had reached it's bloody conclusion.
The following information, at least in part, became known long after the death of Erisha Da Hadez. Passed on by bards in song and poem this story has become in equal measure both a legend and a part of Oritolon's history...
During the bloody and brutal war between Oritolon and her theocratic neighbours Alowca and Alebad Baroness Erisha made the acquaintance of a young bard of poor but noble stock who went by the name of Loris Malay and made his living telling tales and singing songs among the camps of the warrior nobles of Oritolon.
The driven, passionate and pragmatic Erisha found herself involuntarily attracted to Loris's romantic nature and easygoing idealism. She would later discover a carefully concealed wisdom and intuitive understanding of human nature that annealed her attraction into rapt appreciation. Eventually, when she discovered these virtues were accompanied by a quiet but unyielding sense of honour, her feelings for him were tempered to a deep, burning love. His unspoiled youthful countenance cannot have harmed her attraction to him as it posed a marked contrast to the mental and physical scars the much older woman carried after years of brutal warfare.
Loris himself found his muse in Erisha. He became fascinated by the complexity of a woman who could show such wisdom, restraint, compassion and tenderness to those who merited it but would, without hesitation, mete out terrible and merciless violence on those who opposed what she believed righteous. Fascination quickly became respectful and measured, though passionate, adoration. Despite his keen insight into human nature it was not until after her tragic death that he was to realise in an epiphany the truth of these apparent contradictions and would later describe her simply as "The nature of woman distil'd".
After the war in utter secrecy Erisha and Loris were married in Iglavik. Though Loris was much younger and of lower noble stock there was no obvious need for this subterfuge. The reason may be that Erisha could see a cancer growing in Oritolon's political classes and did not want to allow her husband to become exposed as a target for those who sought to corrupt and subvert Oritolon and who may have seen her as a threat.
The pair spent ten quiet, happy months as newly-weds on Erisha's estates in Iglavik before it was made known that she was to be appointed ruler of the new realm of Minas Thalion. The tragic circumstances that lead to her death there are well known.
On the fateful day that Erisha was slain Loris had accompanied her, posing as the bard of this future ruler, as she traveled to Alebad. As the tragic battle unfolded he rode between both sides' camps trying desperately to put an end to the mistaken violence. Dismissed as a base teller of tales by both sides he failed and as a result many were needlessly slain, including his secret wife.
When the clash of swords had faded to the groans and cries of the wounded and dying he had found his wife lying lifeless in the mud, attended by a priest and a healer. The latter was able to do no more and so the former was preparing her soul for eternity. With a cracking voice Loris passed to them both a dire secret and a plea of such gravity that both those caretakers of bodies and souls sagged and groaned as if bludgeoned.
Together, unseen in the confusion, the trio performed a desperate and frantic act upon the lifeless, cooling body of Erisha Da Hadez. The healer and priest worked in stunned silence while the bard sang a heartbreaking lament in a broken whisper so saturated with despair and hope that it surely caused all the angels of the heavens to weep for at that point a torrential rain broke over the field and shrouded their urgent endeavor in a grey shroud.
When the priest, the healer and the bard returned from the field to Oritolon's camp onlookers, though they were distracted by their work ministering to the wounded, casually noted the strange expressions painted large on the faces of the trio as they entered a quiet stable nearby. They would later remember, for no clear reason, the exhausted expressions of euphoria and melancholy in those faces and be puzzled. But none had noticed in all the confusion the two tightly wrapped bundles held close to the bard's breast. And none would recall the anomaly of the unexplained wound later found beneath Erisha's armour.