Ever a tool of highly educated ladies, Drea has come to put an emphasis on this contradiction of word and action. It is mainly used to distance herself from those she interacts with as it is a type of intimidation -- a coping mechanism forged in the constant rejection she's faced. After coming into the influence of the Varg, it has become one of her main sources of amusement. The general lack of intelligence surrounding her has made it all the more easier. However, she still has enough manners to know when she's gone too far.
Things have never really gone her way, at least not for long. During her stay in Laharl, there was always some sort of nuisance to deal with; be it the fearful rumors of the bored or something entirely more sinister. They made her strong, but they also made her view the world in a glass-half-empty sort of way (or in some cases, completely empty). Her family was supportive, but she could tell that even they had doubts. They found the passion her very existence could inspire in the minds of the Lorkin, especially lupine Lorkin, terrifying. It seemed her lot in life to be forever shrouded in danger.
By the time she was old enough to defend herself, she had made her first kill. It was her innocence that disarmed her wold-have-been killer and a strange coincidence that led to his broken neck. She does not remember much about the incident, but there was always a familiar presence in the back of her mind. She figured one of the gods had taken pity on her and blessed her life with their protection. That assertion was gradually chipped away as devout followers of various gods pitted themselves against her. That isn't to say she was untouchable, however. There were times when she was beaten near-death and left for dead or where, by shear luck, she illuded or dispatched her pursuers. She found that her "protection" was greatest the nearer she was to the woods and so she believed it was a god (or goddess) of nature that protected her. It wasn't until her first meeting with Filtiarn that she realized who her true protector has always been. The reason behind it is still a mystery to her, but perhaps there was some chink in his rage. A weakness barely suspected. Maybe, but alas, it is not her or our secret to know.
Because of the constant danger she faced throughout her life, she developed into an individual whose life depended on her attention to detail. A stranger in the neighborhood, the whisperings of the homeless, or even a misplaced cup of sugar could all point to a potential assassination attempt. Even once she had left the city, she retained that meticulous nature in her hunting. Like the lupine ancestors before her, she learned to leave no trace of her kills. When she made fires they were always small and lasted just as long as they were needed. Afterwards ashes were scattered and her scent masked by various scent-masking products (or, if that was not available or practical, simple dirt and the scent of the forest.
Much like her sister, Talanna, Drea has the acute senses of a wolf. This does not mean she can hear or see any farther than a Mann. Her eyes are better at picking up motion than detail and her ears can pinpoint direction precisely as well as hear higher and lower registers. Her sense of smell, however, is vastly superior (to Mann at least) in distinction as well as distance.
As a product of her meticulous nature, she has developed more skill in the art of stealth and camouflage as she continued on the path of the hunter as well as her unusual childhood. She knows how to mask her scent, use her black fur to blend into the shadows, and has mastered the art of not stepping on twigs.
She has the senses needed to track, but no extensive training. Any knowledge she has gained in her four years of hunting is a product of trial & error. Like any canine, she can recognize an individual by scent and can track the trail of that scent. She can also predict where an attack may come from and, in a lesser sense, where "prey" might run to. However, her tracking is more instinctual than logical and dependent on her emotions.
She knows Common as well as simple phrases in most other languages. Because of her training with the Caoin, she has also learned the rudimentary differences in most major cultures. This training was deemed necessary by her father in order to help negate her negative reputation. This knowledge, however has not been put to much use of late and may be outdated and rough around the edges.
During her time in the courts of Laharl, she was taught the rudaments of archery with a variety of bows, including the crossbow. When she graduated, her brother gave her a solidly constructed, hand-crafted crossbow of polished wood and burnished metal. The metal had come from one of her more distant cousins who owned a smithy on the opposite side of town. After years of use and wear there are now multiple dents and scrapes across both metal and wood. The original bolts have been long spent and the polish has dulled, but the accuracy and power of the crossbow has remained.
Although she had gleaned basic close combat knowledge from experiance, it wasn't until she joined the Varg that she gained extensive knowledge on the subject. Even if she wanted to, it was hard for her not learn a bit of the natural tactics of the Varg. In some cases, she was forced to use her guile and newfound knowledge to assert her position in the pack. What I am referring to is not the Mann-like combat of fist and holds. No, I'm referring to the more ancient combat of tooth and claw.
Despite the high-born status of her mother, Drea has always been a social outcast in the Lorkin community. She would most likely face prejudice from other races as well. This is especially the case for Mann as they have had the heaviest casualty rate and, in general, are quick to jump to conclusions. Within the Varg, however, she is seen as a Beta of Filtiarn's pack, in essence his "daughter" and second-in-command.
With her aptitude in range and stealth, she would most likely be considered a "ranger". With the exception of her red eyes, however, she could quite easily be mistaken for small Varg warrior if caught without her ranged weaponry.
Drea is first and foremost a Beta Varg, although she has more influence over the lesser Varg than most.
Her foremost goal is to follow the role fate seems to have set for her: the harbinger of Filtiarn's return. She has forsaken her attempts at normalcy although she has yet to test that against her older ties; namingly her blood relatives and a certain coyote.
Drea Athuis was born to Burwin and Eleyna (Caoin) Athuis on a moonless mid-spring night not long after her white-furred twin brother, Asmodeus. Her jet-black fur, long and thick like that of her father's, came as a shock not only to her parents, but to the entire lupine community. The existence of the last black lupine had long passed living memory and only in the oldest of texts were they mentioned. Many had been prosecuted as reminders of Filtiarn, the Lord of the Varg. Even during the relatively peaceful days in which she was born, where the Varg are but a myth to frighten young pups, such reminders were seen as bad luck. Some saw her as a sign of cracks in Filtiarn's cage, the black night seeping through to taint the young. The missing moon, more than anything, heightened these fears.
Her eyes, however, were a bright blue that conveyed an innocence that all young lorkin share. She was but a babe, what harm could she possibly cause? So it came to be that the dark whispers of her birth were stayed by the pleads of her family and the elders who, although old, knew not the terror of those olden days. Some rumors may have reached the ears of the Lorkin king, but only vaguely. They were folly, only suppositions of the overenthusiastic and zealous. As she grew, her eyes turned redder and redder. Alarm grew within the family as all knew what red eyes meant. They are the mark of a Varg, and of a great evil that tore a once proud and united province asunder. It wasn't hard to conceal the young pup from prying eyes, but some grew suspicious of the seclusion nonetheless.
It was the young voice of Drea's older sister Talanna that broke the frightening spell of those reddening eyes. Indeed, as the color of the young lupine's eyes stabilized they were the same shade as her older sister's: a rich amber. Outside the family, however, amber eyes could seem red with no other shades to compare to. Thus it was that they took to clothing her in a bright red. Surely with such a vibrant shade to contrast her eyes, they would see that she was not the red-eyed Varg others claimed she was. If only this was true.
Not three moons after the twins' birth, a figure stole into their small home on the edge of the city. The intent and identity of the individual has never been widely known. The official story is an attempted burglary, but most figure it was an attempt on Drea's life. There were even whispers of a Varg cult, hell bent on stealing the young pup from her family and teaching her the "Way of the Varg" or some such nonsense. Whatever the reason was, however, it was surely that event that triggered the Althuis family's move to the middle ranks of the city, closer to the homes of the Caoin family.
As the years passed and time ran on, Drea began seeking attention, as is natural in most young pups. Within her immediate family there was always love to go around, but outside their perfectly normal middle-class house, she found that few would acknowledge her existence. Other children would play with her and seem to be unaffected by her abnormality... as long as their parents were not there the pull them away. This was to persist throughout her life. One of those unfortunate series of closed doors that shunned her to the path she currently treads.
Of Cults and Assasins
Late in Drea's fifth year, her family began hearing rumors of groups from both lower and higher in the city that had taken the dark symbolism of their little cub's birth to heart. In a week they started noticing outsiders in the neighborhood. These weren't just Lorkins from other parts of the city. No, they had a menacing aura about them and seemed to put a little too much effort into not being observed. As these strangers had come and gone, Drea's mother, Eleyna, had appealed to her family to help keep watch over the house. The family acknowledged Drea, if only because they had to, but this was a thing of honor. So, it came to be that Drea would sometimes see glimpses of one of her uncles walking down the street at night and think them gallant knights.
Months later there was another attack on the Athuis house. Unlike the previous attempt in the lower city, the Caoin family was there to witness and impede the attempt. The Caoin are a proud bunch, loyal to their family and in most cases brutally honest. Thus the securing of Drea's life came as a grave burden to many of the clan. Some decided the burden was too much to bare and left for the distant port of Rybalk. To their credit, they spoke not a word of the child to others. They knew what panic might ensue if it was suggested, especially in the presence of Mann, as there were rumors of Varg activity in other Mann settlements. That wasn't to say that word didn't get out, but you would be sure a Caoin did not breathe a word of it.
As more years passed by, Drea became aware of how odd others behaved around her. She almost thought it normal as her sister did not seem to have any friends either. All it would take is one glance at Drea and most adults would find reasons to do other things. Yet, if her brother was in a room, they would find less reason to glance her way. Some would stay longer and some would even unknowingly answer her, because they only heard her voice. A fairly normal voice, but it somehow had a quality to it that made you want to listen. It was subtle and quite easy to deny, but even those who wished to ignore her seemed to remember her words long after their meeting. Maybe it was the strong associations and symbolism that surrounded her. Perhaps there was some power truth in the odd coincidences surrounding her birth. Whatever it was, it served to throw even more suspicion on her identity.
When the time came for the twin's schooling, their father was stoutly against exposing Drea to such a security risk. Such a socially drenched place would surely not be needed when so many feared to look at the poor girl, let alone treat her with equality. Her mother, however, would not have the good name of her bloodline shamed. A fine education could be afforded and she would not have her little girl labeled an outcast. She deserved every chance at normalcy and grace her family could give her. So it was that Drea was enrolled in the boarding school that her older sister had so despised.
She threw herself into her studies, spending hours and hours on proper etiquette and table manners. She learned all things deemed appropriate for women to learn. She was not by any means the best, however, as she was exposed to her older sister's mannerisms. She also had many tutoring sessions with members of the Caoin family. They taught her how to defend herself, detect poisons, how to read and write, and, most importantly, how to think for herself. Many of these sessions were demanded by her father, who was determined that his little girl would be ready for the prejudice and violence that surrounded her. By the time she had completed her schooling, she had become a well-mannered young lady. She gained friends and made enemies, but in all she felt she was enriched because of it.
A Double-Edged Sword
It was not long after the completion of her studies that the Enthsamor and Caoin families agreed upon yet another suit for her older sister, Talanna. She had seen many a Lorkin wrung through the torment that was her sister's courtships, but most were younger sons of lesser families. Thus it was that Liekos' suit came as a complete surprise. She had heard the gossip and rumors and secretly agreed that the match most certainly could not work. Someone so steeped in politics surely needed a good wife to keep his house while he was away, not an adventurous young woman with such an obvious disdain for womanly work. As the suit continued, she became even more sure of her initial assumption. If her sister ever found a mate, it would be of her own choosing and more than likely quite by accident.
A curious thing happened, however, when by chance they met in the otherwise deserted home of her parents. Her father was gone to Rybalk to fix some noble's something or other and class was in session, so her mother was away. Liekos had, of course, came to find Talanna, who had hours past already left for the forest to gather some herb or another. Drea was not to concerned with the details of her family's coming and goings. She could take care of herself and knew exactly what to do if she found herself in peril. The peril of love, however, was unknown and caught them both off-guard. Later, she realized it was folly as both their reputations were known throughout the city. Hers so black and his so bloody honorable that the combination was sure to sweep the city with the scandal of it. The attraction, however, could not be denied and they soon found that they were spending more time in each others company than was entirely proper.
Unfortuantely, her days in the clouds were not to last. As their relationship blossomed, so did their carelessness. It was after one such careless meeting that Drea's reputation finally caught up with them. Accusations were made and lines were crossed that tore her beloved coyote away from her. When she turned to her friends for advice and comfort, she found none. Instead she was met with fear, envy, and incredulity. Angry and heartbroken, she forsake her courtly training and followed in her older sister's footsteps. Her carefuly constructed mask of optimism and proper ignorance was thrown away to shatter into oblivion, never to be put back together again. She poured her being into hunting, learning from her sister and any who would teach her. Her personality became one of dry sarcasm and sharp tongue. Her sweeter mannerisms lost in the brutality of a kill. Her innocence and hope thrown away and lost.
Once her enemies in Laharl had realized that she was not going to die in the forest, they began sending assasins after her. What they didn't take into consideration, was the reason why most people didn't venture into the forest in the first place. In addition to the help of her sister, there seemed to be another, darker presence. At first, it seemed only to observe, just a mysterious part of the forest that came and went as it pleased. Later, however, it began to help. Just little things at first -- freshly dead rabbit set in her path after a week of sparse game, a trinket after a sucessful kill. Never did it directly interfere, although the presence sometimes made her hunting harder.
By her twenty-first year, most of her days were spent in the forest, venturing deeper and deeper in her search for answers. It was on one of these forays into the wilderness that she came upon a strange, testosterone-ridden scent. There was a darkness to it that caused her hair to stand on end, yet there was also a vague familiarity that she couldn't quite place. As she followed the scent she came upon a clearing in the center of which was what she at first assumed was a simple lone wolf. It soon became apparent, however, that this creature was definately not normal. For one, the wolf sat very still, his posture far too relaxed for such an open area, especially with the wind rushing towards him. He obviously didn't fear anything attacking him. Although not initially apparent, Drea came to realize that he was easily twice her size.
Much too far into the Forest, and far beyond the territory of her sister, no one would save her if she failed now. Surely the giant wolf had sensed her presence and if she ran, she would not get far -- of that she was sure. So, armed with her crossbow and clothed in the light leathers of a ranger, she took careful aim at the shadowy figure and, in between breaths as she was taught, pulled the trigger. To her dismay the bolt bounced harmlessly off the figure and dug into a tree about ten paces to the right with a dull thud.
Since that day she has not returned to Laharl.
One might expect that Drea was killed that day, but something extraordinary happened as soon as she swung her right right claw up to restring her crossbow (for it was not all that fancy a machine, despite the decoration). A deep rumbling chuckle pierced the silence and the figure turned his head to one side. An eye of white and red pinning her in place. Now this, she thought, was a Varg -- the very picture of masculinity and destruction. Murder and a deep, seething hatred lurked in that eye. A raw aggression in teeth that shown like stars against fur as black as deepest shadow. Yet, there was also softness in his expression. Something so fleeting and possessive that she paused in her motion, the string setting against it's notch yet again.
She had never known anything to deter her bolts except range. No hide seemed thick enough and even metal seemed no barrier at a close enough range. Yet this monster shrugged it off like it was nothing. Surely even the Varg of old did not have such thick hides. They were made of wolf flesh, just as weak and penetrable as her own. A name flits through her mind. Filtiarn, Lord of Wolves, a constellation pulled from the very sky. She resists the urge to look up as she snaps a new bolt in place. This was no fairy tale, just another abnormality -- a concept she herself was proof. At least, that is what her sister would have told her.
The Varg's expression became more serious and, still sitting, he raises his head to howl. This was no ordinary howl. It was a deep baritone full of power -- a commanding sound that brought a shiver up the entirety of her spine. She recognized this howl in her very core, from dreams and distant remembrances. He was her protector, the one who watched from the shadows as she grew. He knew her better than anyone in the world -- of this she was sure. An elation coursed through her with this knowledge and she lowered her crossbow, her padded hand removing the bolt and placing it back in the quiver that hung around her waist. She slung the crossbow over her shoulder by the strap and ran out to greet him.
Thus Drea Athuis was marked and willingly joined the ranks of the Varg. Some might say she was put under a spell that day, or it was a spell long in the weaving. To her, it was fate. A destiny she had resisted for far too long. In the past year she had come to develop a deep, innate connection with the Vargs second only to Filtiarn himself. She is able to broadcast and receive thoughts in a wider radius and can better interpret Varg/wolf behavior (although not as well as her sister, Talanna). She holds a highly symbolic role in the packs and is seen as a true daughter of Filtiarn. She has not had much exposure outside of the Varg encampment and surrounding forest as she has spent much of the year training in the ways of the Varg. She only just recently gained the Beta Varg title.