Allies and affiliations:
Traveling around and often having to live off other people’s generosity means that Kestrel is familiar with certain communities such as gypsies and gnomes.
Kestrel knows a few members of the Harpers but is not a part of the faction herself.
She is hasn’t spent much time with elves, meeting the occasional individual on her travels, but Cahn taught her the elven language and culture when she was younger.
Kestrel is generally a friendly and helpful person, and while she has no particular reason for adventuring she is motivated by a desire to help others in a similar way to how Raven and herself were helped.
Kestrel has a hatred of necromancy for obvious reasons, though besides Rilaan hasn’t met many practitioners of it. Caleb also covered why the undead are hated by nature.
Sacrificing someone who is unwilling or has been groomed is abominable in her mind, no matter the reason. The end cannot possibly justify the means.
Her sister Raven and her family (husband and two young children) are more important to her than anything in the world.
Some things can upset her, and when that happens she can lash out angrily or take rash actions and it is very difficult to calm her down.
Found abandoned on the doorstep of the village temple at a few days old, Kestrel was lucky to be adopted by a kind and not unwealthy man named Cahn. Cahn had already adopted the daughter of one of his oldest friends after she and her husband were killed by a necromancer named Rilaan for a ritual to gain immortality. Afraid that the necromancer would come after the young girl, named Raven, Cahn sold everything he had and relocated, taking to fatherhood quite well. So when the opportunity to adopt a second daughter arose he took it. When Kestrel was old enough to ask about her real parents the most anyone could say was that a group of elves had passed by some months before she was born, and a woman who lived in the village became very reclusive before leaving ‘for a new life’ only a few days after she was found.
Kestrel was very happy growing up, splitting her time between study (when she could sit still), chores and running around the woods building forts and getting into scraps with the other local children. She was very close to her foster father and sister, but did occasionally feel isolated due to her elven heritage.
This all changed when she was fourteen years old, and the necromancer Rilaan came after her sister.
The first either of them knew about this danger was when Cahn rushed into their room in the middle of the night, telling them to dress and grab some spare clothes. The three of them fled into the night, but were ambushed in the woods just outside of the village. Cahn was killed but the two girls managed to escape. For the next two years Kestrel and Raven kept on the move, living rough and hiding from Rilaan and his agents. Despite the sudden change in circumstances Kestrel soon found this hard life suited her. She quickly learned how best to forage for food and build shelter, as well as which folk would help out two wanderers such as themselves. After some time she also discovered her own latent magical ability, though had little understanding of how to master it. Throughout this time the bond between the two sisters became ever closer and Kestrel became fiercely protective of her older sister.
Once again though, circumstances changed.
Rilaan tracked them down to a hidden valley where they had made a semi-permanent home, and in their hurry to escape in the morning gloom Kestrel slipped and fell into a river, the current pulling her underneath the water. Raven escaped but Kestrel was captured. The next few months were very difficult for her. Rilaan wanted to know where Raven might be hiding and who would be helping her; information she wasn’t about to give up. However, in the dark of the prison she was able to overhear conversations between his henchmen. There seemed to be a great deal of disquiet and even near mutiny against their master, in part due to over three years of failing to capture one young woman. It was information that Kestrel would eventually base her final gamble on to end Rilaan’s hunt. Besides this she also learned a disturbing truth about the man. The half completed ritual he was using to gain immortality not only required the sacrifice of a man, a woman and their child, but that they were a blood relative. Rilaan was in fact Raven’s uncle.
Eventually Kestrel’s blossoming magical ability saved her, transforming her into a mouse and escaping out of the dungeon.
That experience badly affected her, and when she eventually tracked down and reunited with her sister in a hidden gnomish village she had lost a great deal of her former self, becoming withdrawn and distant. Now all she could think was that Rilaan could never get hold of Raven and put her through something such as that. He had to be stopped at any cost, and now Kestrel was sure the cost would be her own life.
Near the end of their fourth year in hiding the necromancer again caught up with them and again Kestrel was captured, only this time intentionally. The gnomes had given her a small trinket that could conjuror minor illusions. She used it to pretend to cast Otiluke’s Resilient sphere around herself after being cornered. In a fury, and thinking she was just as unable to penetrate the barrier as he was, Rilaan walked up to the edge of the sphere to scream about all the things he was going to do to her once the spell had ended, only to find a knife thrust through the illusion and into his throat. He managed one last spell, touching her on the wrist and causing pain to course through her body and she passed out. Some hours later she woke up alone apart from Rilaan’s half stripped dead body, looted by his followers.
Suddenly everything was over. The two women could start new lives with no reason to hide or run any longer. Raven quickly reunited with a young man who had helped them and given them shelter before, and not long afterward they married and settled down to start a family.
Only Kestrel found herself living a future she hadn’t expected. Far from being happy with a new life she felt cheated out of a death she had prepared herself for, the trauma of the last year weighing heavily on her mind. She began wandering off into the wilderness, sometimes not coming back for several days and worrying her sister with her long disappearances and silence when she returned.
It was during one of these ‘walks’ that she met a druid called Caleb. Caleb recognised that Kestrel’s magic was drawn from her connection with the wild and decided to tutor her. It was the best thing that could have happened, and slowly Kestrel began to emerge from her depression with a new drive.