Pandrila the Great

Most scholars who have made a career in studying the Crin’s Sacred rarely agree with their fellows. Debates rage on topics ranging from appearance and height to speech patterns and travels. However, one of the few areas in which most scholars find common ground is regarding Pandrila, the sole female of the group. All agree that she was beautiful; more importantly, all agree that she possessed a swift temper and almost tyrannical personality. To make an enemy of Pandrila was a foolish venture. Perhaps more frightening was the fact that it would not take much for her to consider one a foe.

Pandrila was a tall, stately woman with a deep voice and biting tongue. She towered over most men and, although very feminine in her build, possessed a toned physique. She was an albino, a state not familiar to most Vhendimmothians who typically possessed brown or bronze skin. She tended to keep her white hair cut short and most representations of Pandrila reveal that she was not afraid to experiment with hair styles. Pandrila was an extraordinarily beautiful woman. It was said that she looked ravishing especially when angered. Like the other Sacred, Pandrila’s face bore the ritualistic tattoos of an Imperial Sentinel; in her case, it resembled nothing short of an elaborate dagger held in a feminine fist. This image would become her symbol. Although she also earned the totally black eyes of the Sacred after her apotheosis in the Unholy Pool of Immortality, Pandrila seemed to prefer that her original eye color – red – was seen by all those who dealt with her. She wanted them to know when she was staring at them.

The legends surrounding Pandrila’s origins are surprisingly consistent. It is widely believed that Pandrila and her family were light-skinned Vhendimmothians, their lineage traceable to the people that migrated from the Wynding River (possibly from the Bainland peninsula) into the Golden Plains and eventually into Vhendimmoth during the middle years of the Age of Darkness. Although the status of her family remains unclear, it is generally assumed that they were probably imperial servants, indentured to one of the many wealthy priest-houses of Vhendimmoth if not the holdings of an Imperial Sentinel. The rationale for this is two fold. Most light-skinned sapiens in Vhendimmoth at the time were imperial servants to powerful Vhendimmothian nobles within Fortens’ Keep and the surrounding environs. Second, research has shown that only in the houses of wealthy clerics or Imperial Sentinels of Fortens’ Keep and other nearby cities were any imperial servants trained in unarmed combat, something that Pandrila would remain renown for until her disappearance during The Darkhold. Such families, valuing the strength of the mind and not trusting their servants to carry expensive weapons (which they could very well have used against their masters in an insurrection), could then have access to dangerous but discreet bodyguards. If Pandrila was part of a family serving an Imperial Sentinel, it is also possible that she would have been trained to be an Imperial concubine, capable of providing both pleasure and protection to her master(s). Most Sages (particularly the men) support this notion, pointing out that Pandrila would have more easily caught the attention of the Imperial Sentinels for arcane training.

At what point Pandrila entered into Crin’s Academy is unclear. Like the other Sacred, legends surrounding Pandrila suggest that she would have been quite young when she joined the school, no older than 21 and possibly much younger. After all, most Elven Bards’ Tales, myths, and chirpto plays expound upon the inexperience and naïveté of the Sacred during their quest for Morganshium. It has only been recently that scholars, led by Xpa the Renown of Mandl, have supported the notion that Pandrila, like the others, was probably well into her mid 30s before she left Fortens’ Keep. Xpa and others that support this position point to ancient texts that describe Imperial Sentinel training and the fact that such Sentinels must have had access to The Word near the highest levels, perhaps no lower than the Seventh Chapter of Words. Although it is possible that Pandrila and the other Sacred could have attained such power at a young age, most scholars consider it unlikely as there is little evidence, from legends or historical fact, to suggest that Pandrila or the other Sacred spent much time beyond Fortens’ Keep before the Quest for Dracovomica began.

Needless to say, Pandrila must have revealed considerable talent with The Word for her to be admitted into Crin’s Academy. She had already spent considerable time honing her martial skills and it has often been asked what could have prompted her to consider The Word. According to the Diary of Drenicus, Pandrila claimed that her interest in The Word came from her desire to wield as much power as possible. Not content to let her body alone accomplish her goals, Pandrila believed that the ability to manipulate the energies of the world should also work to promote her desires. While the Diary of Drenicus suggests that the author was ambivalent regarding his friend’s attitude, the historical and legendary evidence seems to support the words attributed to Pandrila.

The tales of her role within the Questers of Dracovomica are too numerous to detail here, although there are a few tales that have become almost canonical. One of the best known is that she was the one who rescued Anninarcus from the clutches of Morganshium when the Great Red Wrath ambushed the Questers after Zyxzrxzy’s betrayal outside of the doomed city of Laldranno. The two would be feared lost after Morganshium caused a mudslide that destroyed the town in which the group had hidden. Through her ingenuity and Anninarcus’ physical strength, the two not only survived but saved a fair number of townsfolk from a grisly demise. It is also during this time that the legendary romance between Pandrila and Anninarcus is said to have started. Pandrila would never again step foot into Fortens’ Keep before its destruction at the hands of Sycolthor the Grand and a flight of dragons in 982 ADR.

Of all the Sacred, only Seeroth was more prolific than Pandrila, and that was only due to the events surrounding The Darkhold. Prior to The Darkhold, Pandrila was easily the most visible of the Sacred. Even before she and the other Sacred would bathe in the Unholy Pool of Immortality, Pandrila became known to the Kingdom of Bainland. During the final days of the Dragonhold, Pandrila would deal the death blow to the great green wyrm, Taltotos Bloodbur, in Bainland. The king of the time, Corythron Karthrike, would name Pandrila a Marquise and grant her eternal access to the Green Kingdom. Precisely what drew Pandrila to Bainland has long been speculated upon by scholars. Most claim that Pandrila’s interest was simply a desire to trace her roots, which is largely believed to have been Bainlander in origin. Others offer more mysterious possibilities, suggesting that Seeroth the Dark instructed Pandrila to go to Bainland in preparation for “something.” Those that support this notion go as far as to whisper that Seeroth prodded Pandrila in this direction in preparation for the events that would eventually befall Bainland millennia hence when The Darkhold arose. More mainstream scholars scoff at this notion, however; these scholars point out that at the time of her first entry into Bainland, Pandrila and the other Sacred had not yet bathed in the Unholy Pool of Immortality and Seeroth had not emerged from the cavern with his “plan.” In any event, Pandrila would take Bainland up as her new home after the Dragonhold, serving as an advisor to the Kings of Bainland.

Towards the end of the Age of Darkness, Pandrila and the other Sacred would make their fateful journey into the Noon Woods and the cavern of the Unholy Pools. Legends claim that while Seeroth the Dark developed the idea to enter the cavern of the Unholy Pools to seek out the Unholy Pool of Immortality, it was Pandrila who convinced Anninarcus and Drenicus to comply. Although stunned with what appeared to be the loss of Seeroth, Pandrila returned to her adopted home to continue with her plans to forge a new empire out of the Kingdom of Bainland. Alongside Corythron’s heirs, Pandrila would help the Kingdom of Bainland rise to the pinnacle of economic and political power in the Wynding River Valley and east-central Drm. So long as the kings and queens of Bainland considered and accepted Pandrila’s advice, Bainland prospered. Chief among Pandrila’s directives was the need to wipe out all resistance to sapien hegemony in the Wynding River Valley. This essentially amounted to war with the duruban, goblins, and hill giants and the suppression of the elves.

Pandrila did not hate duruban or elves; however, Pandrila did hate disorder and chaos and anything she felt was an impediment to achieving a Bainland Empire. The duruban and elves stood in the way of this goal. Fortunately for the elves, most of whom were far removed in the thick forests of Worm’s Wood, the duruban proved a greater threat to Pandrila’s dreams. The Kingdom of Bainland had been battling against Curoboria and other duruban cities, and the various goblin and hill giant tribes on and off for centuries and their presence had limited the ability for sapiens to settle in the Wynding River Valley itself (where modern day Valdeze and northern Quasii lie). Still, even as she encouraged the rulers of the Green Throne to eliminate the duruban and goblin threats, Pandrila also believed that the people of Bainland needed protection and required guidance. Although not a Thore Mirian, Pandrila did possess the maternal and condescending attitude of the worshippers of the sun with regard to the common sapien. She saw it as the responsibility of the nobility and royalty to defend the weak and also warned against aggression that would bring undue harm to the people.

As the centuries progressed, Pandrila would see the rise of the Noon Alliance and Bainland’s golden age by the Tenth Age. However, she was not prepared for Bainland’s setting sun. Although the rulers of Bainland never ceased to heed most of Pandrila’s advice, there were many Landed Nobles who despised the authority she wielded. Although Pandrila’s counsel had led to the Noon Alliance that by now stretched from the Bainland peninsula to as far north as Mandl, as far east as Worm’s Wood, and as far south as modern day Quasii, these nobles had felt the sting of her sharp tongue too often. There were numerous attempts to discredit Pandrila and it is suspected that there may well have been many failed attempts to assassinate her over the centuries. All of these attempts failed and many of the conspirators were punished by Pandrila herself. Eventually, though, the various enemies and challengers to the Green Throne and Pandrila found allies in cult of Dauth Alman.

The cult of the Dark Sovereign had never established a strong foothold in Bainland since the first settlers appeared thousands of years earlier largely due to the need to maintain sapien cohesion in the face of duruban and goblin aggression. However, with Bainland completely dominating the Wynding River Valley and with the festering anger within the Landed Nobility, the cultists may well have seen an opportune time to take control of the monarchy. Eventually, the cultists poisoned the mind of young Prince Krimnthron who would abandon all pretense of concern for his people as he sought to further enrich himself. He all but removed Pandrila from his court and made enemies of his Kingdom’s former allies. Pandrila, in a manner not typical of her personality given what is known about her, allowed Krimnthron to pursue this avenue. Some scholars have offered that Pandrila knew of the cultists and knew that her goal for a Bainland Empire would not reach fruition and allowed Krimnthron to permanently damage the foundation of his kingdom’s authority. However, others disagree, chief among these Duke Dentun of the Valernus Library. Dentun supports the notion that Pandrila simply did not believe that the cultists were a threat and that eventually, whether through the involvement of other forces loyal to ideals of the Throne or to herself, the cultists would be dealt with and the king would be overthrown and replaced by another more amendable to Pandrila’s desires. If this was the case, Pandrila was wrong. When Krimnthron’s heir, Nimnthron, ascended to the throne in 1010 AG, matters would grow much worse. The cult of Dauth Alman now had a full convert in Nimnthron and directly sought to kill Pandrila. Confronted by a cabal of priests of Dauth Alman and possibly a number of powerful devils, Pandrila was driven out of her adopted home.

Pandrila would relocate in Valdeze. Valdeze, like the other states within the now crumbling Noon Alliance, was wary of the Throne and knew that something had to be done. The Archlord of Valdeze, Valernus, accepted Pandrila’s advice, gathered conspirators from across the Alliance and within the Landed Nobility of Bainland, and began The Bloody Revolt. For Pandrila, this must have been a difficult decision. On the one hand, she knew that if the cultists of Dauth Alman maintained control over the Throne, there would be stability and order the likes of which had never been seen once their stranglehold was fully established. Yet, Pandrila also knew that the people would have been nothing more than slaves under the might of such rulership. Pandrila opted to lose her precious order in favor of not so much a greater good, but the possibility of a greater balance in the future. In 1022 AG, The Bloody Revolt ended when Pandrila, along with Valernus and the Celzarian priest, Lurthe Ehtlie, destroyed most of the Dauth Alman cultists and executed Nimnthron.

Although The Bloody Revolt ended and the Noon Alliance was shattered, Pandrila knew that Bainland would be greatly weakened and that civil war was imminent. However, Pandrila disappeared from Bainland, legends have it, at the behest of Seeroth the Dark. For almost 30 years, the two – presumably in the company of Anninarcus the Grim and Drenicus the Wise – traveled Drm. During the time of these travels, they were seen across the continent-realm. There are records from Burquebain that reveal that Sacred traveled to meet the Grand Thane and there are legends that have reached into Ashtur that support the notion that the Sacred traveled into the Great Kharsis Desert. Wherever they went, most now presume that their goal was to find at least one of the Seven Spheres. The rationale for this quest remains a mystery that scholars have been trying to piece together for centuries. Most readily point out that by this time, Seeroth had long since escaped from his imprisonment in the cavern of the Unholy Pools and that he may have been aware of the pending return of T’Oth Maldran. While he may not have shared the entirety of his concerns and goals with Pandrila, Seeroth apparently did find the means to ensure her support: he would give her a Sphere that she could use to return order to the Kingdom of Bainland. If this is true, Seeroth kept his word. In 1154 AG, Pandrila returned to Nar Narth Karthrike with the Sphere of Power, which she had given to a little known heir to the Green Throne, Egal Fensmister. With the Sphere, the two destroyed all contenders to the Green Throne and established a new monarchy. With the aid of Seeroth the Dark and the blessings of the new king (who literally owed his Throne to her), Pandrila erected the four Sacred Fortresses. One Sacred Fortress was placed in each duchy and used to empower an elaborate maze within which the Sphere of Power would be protected.

Pandrila would remain in Bainland advising the kings until The Darkhold. When Curoboria attacked Bainland in 1966 AG, Pandrila single-handedly kept the duruban forces from breaching the defenses of the Sacred Fortresses. It took an attack of Masteronus himself to force Pandrila to flee. Many scholars wonder where the other Sacred were at this time. While Drenicus was with his family in Quasii, Anninarcus and Pandrila had long since parted ways as a couple and had few dealings with each other beyond Seeroth’s occasional calls to quest. Only Seeroth, who was in nearby Valdeze, would have been aware of the attack and could have assisted Pandrila. For reasons that have never been determined, Seeroth never came to his old friend’s aid and this would cause a rift between the two. Furthermore, there is evidence in the Diary of Drenicus that Pandrila grew to distrust Seeroth as she believed he knew all along that the Sphere would be the target in a war he knew was coming. Despite these misgivings, Pandrila still joined with Seeroth and the other Sacred in Quasii for the first time in years to fight the Demon Prince of Winds, Cabernasus in 1970 AG. She would later become a Heroe of Noon after which she would meet her fateful end.

While the war raged in the Deep Sea and the Vast, the Foreboding Order had elicited the aid of the Named One Hallucimain the Deceiver, somehow convincing him to deliver to their agents the Sphere of the Mind. The Heroes of Noon discovered this plot and traveled into the Agrabathor Jungles where they confronted the Named One in his abode in Agra Gura. In a titanic battle, the Heroes were being overwhelmed by the dragon until Pandrila, in a desperate attempt to save Anninarcus’ life yet again, threw herself bodily into the Named One. Using all of her skills, Pandrila managed to withstand the direct assaults of Hallucimain although she was gravely wounded. Pandrila’s final act during The Darkhold was to bring down the mountain atop herself and the Named One, saving Anninarcus’ life and delaying the Foreboding Order’s assumption of the Sphere of the Mind.

It is widely believed that Pandrila survived her battle with Hallucimain. Legends that are widely regarded as fact purport that Pandrila and the Named One fell into a subterranean tributary of the Agragrabala. For whatever reason, Pandrila would not emerge from the depths of the earth and there are new legends forming that suggest that she may have been trapped within the Lands Below. Whatever the case, some believe that Pandrila the Great would travel to the far north, hoping to abandon her “failure” in uniting the Wynding River Valley into one ordered empire. These scholars believe that there is plenty of evidence to support this as it is known that the polis of Xyl, once ruled by the sinister Magistrates, were overthrown by the Savants of the Mist. Led by the Great Savant, the Savants of the Mist were bolstered with power over acid and flames, totems associated with Pandrila the Great. These scholars point out that none have ever fully seen the Great Savant who rules from the Great Fortress of Gys, but that the ruler of Xyl is a woman and a powerful wielder of ancient magic. Under the Great Savant, the people of Xyl live orderly lives while adhering to the command of a strong government with little room for individuality, an attitude very similar to that which Pandrila was supposedly trying to create in Bainland.

If Pandrila is still alive, she would be approximately 5000 years old. Willful and headstrong, Pandrila was blunt and almost tactless, capable of smothering another’s opinion in a few, angry words. She did not suffer fools and did not appreciate being questioned. In many ways, Pandrila was considered the least pleasant of the Sacred, but the most honest about her expectations and opinions. Although few liked her, most respected and all feared her. Although they long since ended their romantic relationship, Pandrila and Anninarcus were said to have never stopped loving each other and had at least one child together. To date, what became of this child is unknown, although many believe that he or she may well have been Egal Fensmister or another King of Bainland.

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