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- Name: Eszti "Iron Legs" Nightwing
- Server: Feathermoon
- Race: Kaldorei
- Gender: Female
- Guild: The Regiment
- Rank: Recruit
- Quote: "Have a care – the owl bites."
By Kaldorei standards, Eszti is rather unremarkable in appearance. Though possessing the typical lithe Kaldorei build, she is broad of shoulder, with long slender finely shaped legs that belie the wiry strength in them. She possesses wide-set blue eyes that are upturned in the corner. Her cheekbones are high, defining a strong, pointed jaw, and lack any form of tattooing. Estzi's hair is white and cut to her shoulders, lengthening out as it reaches the nape of her neck. The color of her skin is a pale amethyst. Her voice is deep, a husky contralto tinged by a trace of an accent.
She moves with the sleek and arrogant ease of an individual that has trained and honed her body over the past centuries. Her grace, however, masks the whipcord strength that Eszti possesses. The Kaldorei always seems to be in a state of constant motion and can often be seem moving at a loping gait rather than walk. It is also apparent that she is uncomfortable around other people by her somewhat aloof nature and her ill-at-ease stance while in towns and cities. Once out of a populated area, however, Eszti assumes a more confident mien and visibly appears to be less agitated.
Eszti typically clothes herself in comfortable leathers that fit her like a second skin. She prefers to dress practically, often geared more towards functionality than appearance. Due to her frequent forays into the wilderness for days on end, she's often covered in dirt and grime, though it bothers her not; she's as comfortable in the wilderness as the creatures that call it home.
Eszti’s reticence towards speaking – a so-called virtue the Kaldorei claims she picked up during her centuries of almost total isolation spent in the forests of her birth, though more likely an innate trait – has not been tempered with her time out on the open sea. Though she has become much more friendly and outgoing in recent months, she still tends to keep mainly to herself, preferring to surround herself with a few close friends and her constant animal cohort. Her closest and oldest companions agree that Eszti possesses a fierce independence and tenacious spirit.
It would be unfair, however, to describe Eszti in such terms without noting her other perhaps more redeeming qualities. She is fiercely loyal to those that she has befriended and will go out of her way to aid those in need, often without prompting. Both stalwart and dependable, the Kaldorei can be trusted to remain cool-headed and objective even when surrounded by turbulence. Eszti has demonstrated that she does have a more easy-going and even flirtatious side.
Eszti has few vices – if any. Despite being a sailor, she neither engages in drinking, cursing, or the occasional brawl. Her only passion could be described as the almost fanatical attachment she shows to her animal companion, Alatus. An aged strigid owl, Alatus is a temperamental beast prone to frequent outbursts, excessive doleful glances, and even the occasional nip. Their relationship is one of give and take, since Alatus chaffs at even the perception of obedience and Eszti is a firm taskmaster. Despite all this, the two are boon companions and are rarely seen apart. The bird’s overwhelming personality tends to complement Eszti’s more reserved one.
For a young Eszti, a carefree life gallivanting upon the open waves and casually flouting the law seemed entirely inconceivable.
The middle child of three, Eszti was born five hundred hundred years ago deep in heart of Ashenvale. Her father left their home shortly after the birth of his youngest daughter, supposedly on some sort of quest. He never returned, though this was to have little impact on the then young Kaldorei. Her days were spent assisting her mother with the household while her evenings were filled with quiet contemplation during her frequent forays into the forest.
Eszti was never particularly close to her sisters. The eldest, concerned solely with earthly matters, frequently stole from nearby settlements and eventually left home to pursue fame and fortune – as well as to flee the local law enforcement who would no longer tolerate her transgressions. Her younger sister, on the other hand, turned her gaze heavenwards and devoted herself to the teachings of Elune. Shortly after being initiated into the priesthood, she left as well, ultimately to perform the will of Elune in the lands of the lesser races.
Unlike her siblings, Eszti had absolutely no interest in traveling the world. Her sole purpose in life revolved around the small portion of the ancient groves in which she had spent her entire childhood. Even after her mother died in the battle of Ashenvale, during which the sleeping druids were revived in order to save the forests from being overrun by demons and undead, she still tended to her groves. She supported herself financially as both a woods guide and hunter, though in truth Eszti had no need to do either; since her youth the Kaldorei had been able to survive on her own in the forest – frequently for months on end.
Surprisingly it was that same love for and dedication to the land that ultimately took her from it. A blight struck the forest, killing many of its denizens and causing the ancient groves to wither and die. Fearing that the sickness had originated from unnatural sources, Eszti left the home of her birth in search of the wisdom that would save it. Unfortunately she was a woman of limited means and soon found herself indebted to various unsavory individuals who approached her to offer their assistance. She was eventually pressed into service as an able-bodied seaman in order to repay her rather numerous debts.
Sailing was an entirely new experience for Eszti. After the verdant green forests of her homeland, life aboard ship seemed strange and even daunting to her. It was a lifestyle that did not initially agree with her; during the first two months aboard ship the Kaldorei was often unable to perform her duties due to rampant seasickness. Eventually, however, she gained her sea legs and with that small first step she began to embrace her new existence. With characteristic resolve, Eszti sought out many of the old hands aboard the ship to glean wisdom from them. Over time she was recognized as a capable and stalwart sailor.
When it appeared after quite some time that her so-called benefactors were never going to release her from her debts, the Kaldorei jumped ship at the next port. Alone in a foreign land with only Alatus, a strigid owl she had raised from hatchling, as a friend, Eszti boarded the first ship that would have her. She spent the next few years of her life aboard one ship or another, traveling to numerous foreign lands. Though she came to love the feeling of the deck rolling beneath her feet and the salty kiss of the sea spray, Eszti was, and still is, reticent to openly display this.
Eventually, however, her former employers finally managed to track her down. While stopping over in the port city of Menethil Harbor, they cornered her in an alley, determined for force the Kaldorei back into a life of servitude - or kill her should she resist. Eszti fought back despite the overwhelming odds, preferring death to subjugation. She would have most likely died had it not been for the assistance of a passing stranger. Her savior, a paladin and ardent servant of the Holy Light, saved her life and then proceeded to treat her wounds. After pressing her with some pointed questions, Eszti explained her situation to the human.
She fled town shortly thereafter on yet another ship; though Eszti never saw him again and did not even know his name, she remembered her savior's words. "There are those," he told her, "that would not stand for such things. Though their methods may be a bit unorthodox, they will be able to help you. Seek them out."
Afterwards Eszti continued with her new profession, but this time the Kaldorei was careful to vary her routes and their frequencies in case her former employers should attempt to find her again. During her travels Eszti covertly sought to contact any number of organizations that appeared to share the qualities that her savior had described. Unfortunately, each one of them failed to fit the ideals that the Kaldorei envisioned. Over time, however, she began to hear rumors of a group of individuals that called themselves the Swashbucklers. After some exhaustive research and more than a bit of diligence, Eszti approached their leader, a human by the name of Karlos Montoya, concerning the organization. Satisfied by the man’s responses to her rather pointed questions, Eszti was shortly thereafter admitted into their ranks.
Though at times overwhelmed by the lively and often erratic personalities of her new shipmates, Eszti was genuinely glad to have been accepted as a member of the Swashbucklers. She found kinship in the morals and goals of the organization and readily accepted their cause as her own. The Kaldorei rose through the ranks, quickly becoming a member of the Command Crew and eventually assuming the rank of Captain of the Alliance Swashbuckler flag vessel, the Sparrowhawk. Eszti served her time with distinction and honor, eventually stepping down from the post when she found herself unable to perform her duties effectively any more. Shortly thereafter she left the crew though she still maintains good relations with her former crewmates.
Sometime during her time as a member of the crew, Eszti stumbled into Tanriel Vassily, an old comrade of hers from during her time fighting for the Alliance in Warsong Gulch. Seated in an isolated alcove of a tavern in Stormwind proper, Tanriel shared a tale of political intrigue, Church manipulation, and fel powers over mugs of Dwarven ale. That same evening, the Paladin escorted Eszti to the Vassily estate and the two became lovers.
Their relationship, such as it was, was a matter of convenience and becoming lovers was a natural progression of the respect and friendship that they shared for one another as a result of their time together on the battlefield. Though lovers, comrades, and - most importantly - friends, Eszti repeatedly assured Tanriel that they would never amount to anything more, a situation with which the Paladin initially seemed content. Despite this insistence, the two became close and it was often unheard of for one to be seen without the other nearby, whether on the field of combat, secluded in a dungeon most fierce, or travelling through the busy streets of the capital cities.
Through Tanriel, the kaldorei was introduced to the members of the Shield of Dawn, a small military force of which the noble was General. Over time, Eszti grew accustomed to their presence and often accompanied Tanriel in aiding his troops in their fights. Though originally purposefully aloof from the Shield of Dawn, she eventually accepted his pack as an extension of her own and willingly fought for their sakes without Tanriel's encouragement.
Months after their friendship took on this added dimension, Eszti learned from a member of her crew that there were a number of unsavory individuals looking for her. Drawing on the Swashbucklers' seemingly inexhaustive resources, she discovered that her former employers were still persuing her and were rapidly closing in on her current location. Rather than seeking the aid of her lover, friends, or pack, Eszti chose to remain silent of danger. As the days passed from this revelation, she grew increasingly distant until one evening she left the Vassily estate for the relative safety of the sea by serving as First Mate aboard a merchant ship captained by a friend and former lover.
Tanriel, who possessed no knowledge of this, was worried for her well-being when he failed to hear from her after an extended period of time. For while it was not uncommon for the kaldorei to leave his side for a number of days to perform one task or another without warning, never before had Eszti been gone for so long. Turning to his own privately cultivated spy network - headed by Tadams Bade, self-proclaimed Lord of the Shadows - the Paladin learned of his lover's past and the danger that was now surrounding her. With characteristic resolve, he purchased a ship, hired a crew, and set off in pursuit of the recalcitrant huntress. During the course of their quest to find Eszti and provide assistance, Tanriel came across one of her former tormentors and killed him during the course of a fight.
Their voyage ended when Tanriel learned that the vessel Eszti was aboard had reached Ratchet where they were unloading her cargo. Though relieved that she was safe, the young man confronted her for having left rather than seek his aid. Angered by his inteference and his seeming disregard for her ability to care for herself, the two parted company. In the weeks that followed, the two avoided one another, a marked change from the months that they had spent together. Eventually the conflict between Tanriel and Eszti was resolved and they again became lovers - though their resolution in a Stormwind inn was interrupted by a number of thugs who were quickly dispatched.
The months that followed passed in a flurry of activity. A new military organization, dubbed The Regiment, was formed under the command of General Daquis Tarendeth, another acquaintance of Eszti's from the battlefield. Shortly after its inception, the Shield of Dawn was amalgamated for operational purposes with The Regiment. Though neither a member of The Regiment nor the Shield of Dawn, her association with their Generals and their members allowed her to take an unwilling role in their union. Furthermore, the tasks surrounding such an operation further distanced Tanriel from his lover as he assumed more authority and responsibility.
Just as a lull appeared to be forthcoming, disaster struck. Tanriel, who had been held in low esteem by the Church due to his association with childhood friend and warlock Timothy Mcdowl in addition to other indiscretions, was arrested by the very same institution that he had served so faithfully. Though possessing little understanding of the procedures involved, Eszti attended his trial in order to provide support and hopefully be able to aid her lover in some way. Though enraged by the apparent lack of support the Paladin was receiving from his troops, she eagerly joined in their efforts when she realized that The Regiment had appeared midway through the trial to free their General. Through their efforts, they managed to teleport Tanriel to safety, though to a location unknown to all. Prior to his hasty departure, however, Tanriel gave Eszti the task of watching over his troops and friends.
Relieved that the young man wouldn't be executed for his supposed crimes against the Church, Eszti turned her attention towards fulfilling Tanriel's wish. As the days turned to weeks and then months, the huntress once again shouldered the mantle of leadership, becoming increasingly active with the troops of The Regiment - despite her desire to once again shirk that responsibility as she had done following her tenure as Captain of the Sparrowhawk within the Swashbucklers. Unable to do so, she instead focused on finding a way to clear Tanriel's name so that he could one day return to Stormwind and reclaim his estates and title - and the heavy burden of leadership.
Thanks to the efforts of the Shield of Dawn - and a few well-placed threats - Tanriel's good name was eventually restored. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the spell used to hastily teleport the young man from the site of his trial, his exact location was unknown. Eager for Tanriel to return, Eszti took it upon herself to discover his whereabouts and bring him back to the fold of The Regiment. Her journeys finally led her to the blasted wastelands of the Tanaris desert. There she found Tanriel, but he had changed since they had last spoken; he was not the same dejected man who had sat under the harsh judgement of his superiors in Stormwind, but a man galvanized by the series of task given to him by the spirits of the elements and Alexstrasza herself. Filled with newfound resolve, the former-paladin returned to The Regiment with his rescuer.
Tanriel was surprised and delighted, however, to find how much influence his lover had gained in his absence. Though still hesitant to assume responsibility, the kaldorei had once again unwillingly risen to a high rank with an organization. The authority that she wielded within The Regiment was further emphasized when Daquis Tarendeth chose to step down from his position of General of The Regiment, elevating Eszti in his stead. Among her first decisions was to promote Tanriel to a position on par with her own, recognizing that though she had demonstrated some skill in leadership in the past she still lacked the innate skill and knowledge that the young High Lord wielded so easily.
The War on Lordaeron
For some time, Eszti's life fell into a particular rhythm as she led her troops and saw to their training, Tanriel Vassily at her side through it all. However, in a moment complacency, this all changed drastically.
Timothy Mcdowl, a powerful wielder of Fel powers and childhood companion of Tanriel, was injured in an attack orchestrated by Sylvanas Windrunner, the Dark Lady of the Forsaken. As one of the last living scions of the Cult of the Damned, his blood was known to be instrumental in exerting control over the ziggurats once used to unleash the Scourge upon the citizens of Lordaeron and the surrounding city-states. For reasons unknown, the leader of the Undercity coveted this power and had spent much of the young man's life pursuing him. Her final, near-fatal attack on Mcdowl was stayed only by the combination of Holy and Fel powers, wielded in conjunction by Tanriel and the man he considered his brother.
Following the attack, a flurry of activity descended on The Regiment - and its General by proxy. Tanriel, in his position as a high lord and head of the Vassily family, declared war on Lordaeron. As weeks passed, correspondence was sent to leaders of the Horde - to the Undercity, Orgrimmar, and Thunderbluff - demanding that Sylvanas be turned over to be executed for the crimes that she had committed in the past. If they chose not to do so, an assault would be made on various Horde outposts, culminating with an attack on the vast Undercity dwelling below the ruins of Lordaeron. When no immediate reply was issued, The Regiment prepared for war.
In the days that followed, tensions between the two factions grew more strained as the number of attacks against one another escalated. Numerous attacks were made against Alliance holdings in retaliation to the Vassily estate's demands, and many enterprising or overzealous individuals responded in kind by attacking known Horde encampments. The Regiment, led by Eszti, participated little in these skirmishes, preferring to instead focus on the upcoming battles and train further.
Though galvanized by the vast preparations required for the war, Tanriel sunk into a deep melancholy, isolating himself from those to whom he used to be close - including his lover, Eszti. Though surprisingly heartsick by this neglect, the kaldorei remained a constant presence at his side, actively participating in the preparations and gleaning what wisdom she could from the vastly more experienced young man. Plans were made to assault Stonard, located deep in the murky land known as the Swamp of Sorrows. It was here, they decided, that the first theater in the war against Lordaeron would commence.
The assault, however, was an abyssmal failure. A large group of Horde, having knowledge of the attack due to the missives that Tanriel had sent out in previous weeks, stole an attack on The Regiment, marching unrelentingly towards Darkshire in Duskwood by way of the road between the Alliance town and the Horde encampment at Stonard. Forewarned of the attack by Eszti - who had gone ahead of the bulk of the army in order to scout the swampland for the numbers and makeup of their resistance - Tanriel, in his capacity as leading strategist of The Regiment, was not dismayed; he had received promises of support from a number of other organizations and felt that the preemptive attack would help rally individuals to their banner that would have otherwise been too hesitant to join.
Despite the assurances of assistance made to the young high lord, however, none of the promised reinforcements arrived. The Regiment and the town's few defenders were quickly overwhelmed in the attack and it was only luck that allowed them to stave off their advance just at the outskirts of Darkshire. During this reprieve The Regiment pushed the attacking force to Stonard, where it met further heavy opposition as the enemy gained reinforcements. In the battles that ensued, the Alliance forces were overwhelmed and pushed back to Nethergarde Keep, where they sought refuge from the fury and might of the Horde defenders.
Though incensed by the lack of support that had been promised, Eszti's reaction was negligible compared to her lover's. Overwhelmed by the loss and sinking further into the depression that had claimed him shortly before Sylvanus's attack, the former paladin sequestered himself at his estates, turning away all who sought to speak to him. In his absence, Eszti turned towards the newly elevated General Frelic to help decide a course for The Regiment.
As Seen by Others