A name in the archaic Fontanese tongue Ciarghuala is a pun which can variously mean either "friend shouldered" or "dark (hair and eyes) shouldered". When Ciarghuala was born she had a shock of fine black hair, and during her infancy she was fostered by family friends in the then independent citadel of Via.
Ciarghuala is the daughter of Lady Moira Dubhaine, former Supreme Justice of Fontan and latterly an adventurer of Western Dwilight and Northern Beluaterra. Born in the free city of Via and raised on the borders of the Zuma Coalition, some have speculated that her father may himself have been a Lord of the Zuma, though such fanciful tales have little place in modern genealogy they're popular with the bards who sing of her many accomplishments.
She began her military career as a knight of Niselur and fought with the First Edreun when the monster menace became manifest. It was during this time that she discovered the Forgotten Crown of the Austere Star. When Niselur was abandoned by the other SA realms and reduced to a coastal rump, Ciarghuala led the bodyguard of King Fulco as he travelled to exile in Luria and personally presented the Crown to Emperor Seamus before returning north to coordinate the last desperate attempt to save Gelene.
Later she would lead the last defence of Golden Farrow as the final haven on the Western Continent fell, harrying the monstrous foe across the Inner Sea and raiding their settlement ashore, eventually seeking asylum in Luria Boreal. Unusually amongst the nobility of Dwilight Ciarghuala is a skilled and confident sailor and with her dragon ship Waveburner has made many voyages across both the Inner Sea and the Outer Ocean.
A period of retirement followed before the fall of Shinnen prompted her to take up arms again, fighting hard to defend the people of Luria Nova. In time she'd become Grand Panetier of the Empire and Queen of Earth's Hall with her seat in the fortress of Poryatu on the northern borders, reforming the office along military lines and acting as close advisor to a succession of Suzerains before eventually accepting the throne of Luria Nova in her own right as Suzerain Queen.
Ciarghuala's reign saw the reinvigoration of the Lurian Empire with successive campaigns in defence of Swordfell's most northerly outpost of Unterstrom and came to a natural end after she introduced regular elections. She retired back to her Ducal seat of Poryatu where she continues her role in government as Grand Pantier and leads the defence of the northern borders.
Lady Ciarghuala inherits her mother's powerful, sinewy frame which combined with her raven tresses and the smoky cast framing her midnight blue eyes give her an unsettling, primal beauty which remains untouched by age, ripe in the first bloom of womanhood. First and foremost a warrior, she rarely adopts the finery her rank allows and is most often seen in the green drab brigandine doublet and grey kidskin britches and boots of the Free Fontanese Guard. The basket hilt and scabbarded blade of Shieldbane slaps against her left hip, the silver clasp of her worn leather baldric chased with the famed Dubhaine armorial, a heavy-bladed seax running flat across her back, the flintlock pistols Barker and Spitfire thrust through her belt.
Ciarghuala is a renowned archer and huntress, closely associated in popular folk tales with her distinctive longbow Whisperer. According to the bards Whisperer's slender bow-stave is cut from a single length of ancient yew harvested at midnight from a grove in the Zuma-haunted forest of Gonophor, treated with tallow rendered from an Ogre chieftain's flesh, and strung with silk from the spider-pits of the Volcano Nightscree. Setting aside its fanciful mythtoricity, what's certain is that its draw-weight is unmatched and only those trained since early childhood to lay their body into the bow could hope to bend it. Whisperer is accompanied by a grey drawstring bag containing long-shafted bodkins and a slender poignard.
The Queen is also well known for her love of all things nautical and can often be seen pacing the command deck of her Dragon Barge The Sea Wyrm when opportunity allows. The Barge is a might vessel with a sleek hull crafted from Lurian oak, its forest of masts rigged with white canvas sails augmented by three banks of oars. Two mighty ballista are mounted for and aft and the prow boasts a cruel iron ram, whilst below decks there's space for a full company of marines and their gear along with the ship's company of rowers and sailors.
At court she usually wears dress uniform, a maroon broadcloth tunic with gold buttons, white kidskin britches, and oxblood leather baldric and boots. Her complicated relationship with formal attire means she never looks comfortable in the frocks and gowns expected of her rank and rarely do her clothes make as much impression as the sense of irritation she feels at wearing them.
Raised in the wilderness of Western Dwilight in the borderlands between the dread Zuma and the free city of Via, Ciarghuala is tough and self-reliant even by the standards of the Dubhaine matriarchs. Whilst she shares her mother's deep-seated hatred of injustice and tyranny, it more often finds expression in compassion for the poor unfortunates who toil under its yoke than in the punishment of those who perpetrate it. A well-read and thoughtful woman, she's as comfortable planning against a harsh winter as wielding bow and blade in battle.
In her youth Ciarghuala was more at ease in the wilderness than she ever was in the densely-packed cities of the Inner Sea, however the devastation of recent years has forced her to reassess her views on civilisation and its importance to the human condition. Though still far from courtly in her inclinations she's come to appreciate the company of her fellow nobles - at least those of Luria - and in the right company can seem positively gregarious. However her private life is closely guarded and few outside her immediate military circle know anything of Ciarghuala's loves and passions.
The following scores are based on anecdotal evidence.
- Watchmaster of Niselur, April
- Margravine of Golden Farrow, April
- Coffermaster of Niselur, May
- Lawmaster of Niselur, May
- Knight of Astrum, May
- Knight of Shinnen, June
- Knight of Askileon, July
- Grand Panetier of Luria Nova, July
- Countess of Poryatu, August
- Vice-Marshal of The Emperor's Will, November
- Em, Lady Emily D'Arcy
- Ciarghuala's mysterious lover
- Royal Equerry
- Captain General of the Lurian Marine Corps
Former Captain of the Free Fontanese Guard
- Captain of the Free Fontanese Marine Company
- Sergeant of the Second Platoon of the Free Fontanese Marine Company
- A warrior of the Second Platoon of the Free Fontanese Marine Company
- Lieutenant of the 1st Poryatu Heavy Infantry Militia Company
- Lieutenant of the Free Fontanese Guard Militia Company
- A Sergeant of the Free Fontanese Guard Militia Company
|The Silver Lancers||The First Edreun of Niselur||0 + 1||C||31||49||49||6||84||30||0||60||14.08.1013|
|K'dira Rangers||The First Edreun of Niselur||Hildemund
|Free Fontanese Guard||The First Edreun of Niselur||Wolfgang
|Free Fontanese Guard||Golden Trout||Roderic
|Free Fontanese Guard||Erkenbrand
|Free Fontanese Guard||The Defenders of the Empire||Septinia
|Free Fontanese Marine Corps||The Novan Wrath||Septinia
|Free Fontanese Marines||The Novan Wrath||Aelfmona
|Fontanese Freebooters||The Novan Wrath||Floronia
- April, The Long March Home -- With Niselur overwhelmed by monstrous hordes, Ciarghuala and her faithful Fontanese Guard escort King Falco to exile in Luria Nova at great personal cost before commencing the long journey home to defend their adopted people.
- July, All is Confusion -- Monstrous hordes roam the east with impunity.
- September, The Siege of Luria Nova
- December, The Slumbering Giant Stirs
- The Slumbering Giant Stirs -- January, February, March, April
- The Northern Kingdom -- May June
- July, When an Emperor Falls... -- The unexpected disappearance of Suzerain Emperor Aldrakar leads to a struggle for the throne, complicated by the Lawful Rebellion clause of Luria's constitution. First Imperial Marshal Isabella Pavus seizes the throne in a bloodless coup, then as she is protested from office Lord Aylwin follows in her footsteps only to himself be protested from office.
- August, ...an Emperor Rises -- Under the newly elected Emperor Nicholas Archival the long-planned division of Luria into northern Luria Nova and southern Luria Ferrata is finally enacted. Following the division King Matthew Coffey is taken ill and when it becomes apparent that he'll need a long convalescence the Crown of Earth's Hall is passed to Ciarghuala as his nominated successor.
- September, The Glorious Summer of Luria
- Two Hearts Beating, One Beats the Other -- October, November
- December, Westward Ho!
- The North Aroused! -- January, February, March
- April, Winter Blows Cold in the West!
- May, Who Does Death Serve?
- June, To Stand United?
- July, To The West Once More
- August, The Golden Shores of Dusk
- September, Regulators and Collectors
- October, The Last Days of the Reign of King Bennet
- First Amongst Equals -- Following his retirement Suzerain King Bennet is succeeded by Ciarghuala -- November, December