The Traveling Nameless
Hollykhan Duskwalker was born Maid Holly to Lord and Lady Laurelgild of North Hollow. Her mother, Lady Oleander, was a vain and ambitious social climber who was born to common folk on the outskirts of the kingdom. Her mother wanted a life of privileged for her daughter and berated her father for not providing them the lifestyle they deserved. Oleander’s remarkable beauty paired with her mother’s cutthroat ambition led to her admittance to the palace of the Lord Laurelgild where she trained as lady in waiting to his ailing mother. Throughout her time at court, Oleander made many enemies through her careful manipulation of those around her in her efforts to climb her way to the top. It was not long before her beauty and charm caught the eye of Lord Laurelgild himself, the feared leader of North Hollow, who took her as his wife.
The kingdom of North Hollow reveled at the birth of their daughter, Maid Holly, who at a young age showed to have inherited her mother’s beauty. She was raised by a governess and a team of tutors, though had little interest in the ways of society and would often sneak away to spend time in her father’s menagerie or on the grounds of the castle. From an early age, Holly discovered that she had the ability to commune with the natural world. Much to the chagrin of her mother and governess, Holly found a solace in nature unmatched by her studies or time spent in court society.
Throughout Holly’s childhood her mother grew increasingly anxious at her inability to produce a legitimate heir to the kingdom of North Hollow, and Lord Laurelgild’s patience grew thin. After many years and painful miscarriages, it became apparent that Lady Oleander was unable bear the Lord any more children.
Over the years, Lord Laurelgild’s anxiety over his waning bloodline grew into contempt for his wife and he began to seek the company of her lady in waiting, Livinia Greencrest. Within months, the Lord had cast aside his wife and daughter only to wed Livinia. Lady Oleander and Maid Holly were stripped of their titles and banished from North Hollow. Oleander, embittered by the betrayal of her husband and desolate over the loss of place in society, lost the will and desire to care for herself or her young daughter. Holly was left to fend for them both, scavenging what she could to keep them both alive in a small village on the outskirts of the kingdom.
Displeased with the potential threat Holly’s posed to the throne as the daughter of Lord Laurelgild, Lady Livinia sent an assassin to murder them both Oleander and her daughter. Holly awoke to the screech of an owl and was able to escape with her life shortly after her mother’s throat was cut in her sleep. The assassin, unwilling to murder a child, instructed Holly to run far from the North Hollow if she wanted to live
For two years Holly fended for herself in the forests of Mistglen. Fear of being detected led her to travel only under cover of darkness and early affinity for the art of stealth and concealment. Her ability to commune with her natural surroundings allowed her live safely in the forest, though she was constantly on guard for another of her stepmother’s assassins. After a year of living on her own, she was captured one night by a nomadic band of wood elves, the Oakenkhan, as she attempted to gather food from their stocks. She had been sneaking into their camp scavenging for food and the theft by this “duskwalker” had not gone unnoticed. Initially fearful of being discovered as Maid Holly, she discovered this band of resourceful elves held no allegiance to her father’s kingdom and found herself a member of their community. Just like her, the Oakenkhan were a displaced people who were forced to live in the forests. The Oakenkhan saw in Holly the tracking and concealment skills she developed over her time on the run and began to train her as a huntress.
As Holly grew into a skilled huntress and valued member of the Oakenkhan, her newfound people took her into their community as their own. In turn, Hollykhan, as she came to be known, took it upon herself to care for the struggling band of elves, especially the children and elderly members. She became especially close to Meldakhan, a respected female elder, who took Hollykhan under her wing when she recognized her inherent regal demeanor. Through their time together, Hollykhan learned that the Oakenkhan were once a great people, and to her dismay she discovered that it was her father, Lord Laurelgild, who had unjustly stolen their land and banished them from North Hollow under pain of death. When Hollykhan was old enough, Meldakhan told her of the true atrocities Lord Laurelgild committed on their people; the burning of their homes, the kidnapping and torture of the families of those who opposed him, and the public executions of the senior members of the Oakenkhan. With no previous desire to ever return to her home, Hollykhan vowed to return to North Hollow and overthrow her father. She would reign over a land where her people could find peace and no longer live in fear.
Hollykhan knew her people longed to return to North Hollow and would follow her to the end of the realm and back, but she knew they were not yet strong enough. It became apparent to her that the only way of creating alliances strong enough to overthrow a tyrant, she must marry for political gain. With her eye on the prize, Hollykhan set off in search of a man who could give her the army she needed to take what was rightfully hers.