Article written by Doug Niles & Darcwulf
Coryn Brinefolk (b. 405 AC – d. --) emerged from the most humble origins to, almost overnight, become a powerful magic user and the leader of the Order of White Robes. At an age when most wizards are trying to learn the basics of spell-casting, this talented young woman was performing as the most powerful contemporary enchantress of her order. Possessed of an unprecedented wealth of arcane talent and personally blessed by the god Solinari himself, she has brought new ideas and fresh enthusiasm to an order that was in danger of being eclipsed by the more vigorous, and more numerous, mages of the Black Robes and Red Robes. It seems likely that the true extent of her power and influence will eventually extend far beyond her current, already significant, reputation.
She was born in a humble fishing village south of the Plains of Dust. Her ancestry is lost in the murk of the centuries before the First Cataclysm, but there is the suggestion in her surname that she is descended from the original elven visitor to the lands of the Icereach: Kerrick Fallabrine, called the Messenger. About a thousand years ago, Kerrick married Moreen Bayguard, the chieftain of the Arktos, and their legacy of prosperity and peace lasted for many centuries—until the Cataclysm brought ruin and virtual annihilation upon the whole of their continent.
However, the few people who survive in that frozen wasteland are descended from the original Icefolk. Among those tribes, family names including the word "Brine" have long been associated with the descendants of this unique union. In any event, it was clear from an early age that Coryn had been born with some unique aptitudes in the areas of wild magic—sorcery. Even as a girl she was helpful to her tribemates with her arcane control of waters and her influence upon wildlife and even cultivated plants. In these pursuits she was subtly encouraged by her paternal grandmother, the old woman Coryn simply knew as "Umma".
Although the fact was generally unknown in the tribe, Umma had studied the arcane arts before the time of the Chaos War, when the three gods of magic still controlled the powers of spellcasters. She still owned several volumes of magical text, and the perspicacious Coryn discovered and read these without her grandmother's knowledge. Of course, at the time these books contained merely abstract words and symbols, because the gods of magic, along with the rest of the pantheon, had abandoned Krynn following the Summer of Chaos. So the talented girl practiced magic the only way she could, with wild sorcery.
Return of the Gods
But Coryn's true talents began to show themselves at the end of the War of Souls, when the True Gods returned to Krynn. Of course, all the people of her tribe—as well as most inhabitants of the world as a whole—noticed the immediate phenomena in the night sky: immediately following the end of the War of Souls, the single, silver moon that had glowed since the Chaos War was replaced by two visible moons, one of white (Solinari) and one of red (Lunitari). However, alone among her clan, Coryn sensed the presence of the third, black moon, Nuitari. The evening was fraught with portent for the teenage girl, and, no doubt, her grandmother began to sense some of the child's innate talent.
Coryn's real epiphany occurred when, while hunting, she was attacked and trapped by a band of murderous Thanoi. On the brink of disaster, she recalled a word from her grandmother's scrolls—a word, even then, that she did not understand—and she spoke it aloud. The sound keyed an immediate teleport spell that blinked her out of danger and plopped the surprised young woman onto the floor of Umma's simple hut. This was a virtually unprecedented display of godly magic by a young and untrained caster, and the old woman immediately recognized the significance of her granddaughter's display.
Umma arranged for Coryn to travel to Palanthas and offer herself as a servant or apprentice to the powerful wizard, Jenna of the Red Robes. The most powerful mage of her order, Jenna had rediscovered her spell powers when the gods had returned, and was already engaged in an effort to restore the wizards' conclave to its rightful place in the Tower of High Sorcery in Wayreth Forest. Dalamar the Dark, the leader of the Black Robes, soon joined Jennna. The two of them sought the tower, with Coryn accompanying them as an apprentice. They were unsuccessful in locating the tower, and could not even find evidence that other magic users were abroad in the land.
But the young woman's powers soon became apparent as she eluded her powerful companions and found the tower on her own (or perhaps the tower found her). At the time, two mad sorcerers, implacable enemies of godly magic, occupied the ancient structure. With significant help from Solinari himself, Coryn tricked the two sorcerers into allowing her to take the Test of High Sorcery. She passed the test and escaped with a secret, and very powerful, spell allowing the summoning of the rest of Krynn's magic users.
Together with Jenna and Dalamar, Coryn cast the spell of awakening. The trio returned to the tower, where they were joined by the newly aroused mages of all three orders. In a violent and highly magical battle, the wizards reclaimed the tower from the two sorcerers. The Wizards' Conclave was restored to its proper place, with Jenna becoming the Highmage of the Orders of Magic. The Red Lady granted her protégé use of her manor and laboratory in Palanthas, and Coryn immediately went there to study, to develop her uncanny skills, and to aid the return of the world, and especially Solamnia, to standards of law, justice, and order that had been all but forgotten on long-suffering Krynn.
The Rise of Solamnia
When Coryn arrived to take up residence in Palanthas, she was very different from the teenaged girl who had been overwhelmed by the city's splendors a half year before. Now she saw the world through a grown woman's eyes, and considered her life and future with the mind of an accomplished wizard. She recognized the potential of the place even as she saw the corruption, the oppression, and the hardships that were the legacy of the Dark Knights reign. Takhisis was gone, but they ruled the city harshly, and carefully defended it from any external threat. This was the legendary capital of the Solamnic Knights, but that history was all but buried under the weight of the present. Coryn attracted little notice from the Dark Knights, as she carefully avoided any overt display of power.
But there were active pockets of Solamnic Knights in the city, and Coryn soon established contact with them. More knights infiltrated Palanthas, some dispatched by Lord Tasgall from his base in Sanction, others coming from Sancrist and Whitestone. Lord Bakkard du Chagne, a wealthy merchant who had somehow managed to hold on to his wealth even during the Dark Knights' reign, organized them into cadres. Coryn worked closely with the lord to prepare for a coup.
The Knights of Solamnia struck suddenly and with complete surprise early in 422 AC. Aided by Coryn's magic, du Chagne's bodyguard seized the Dark Knight headquarters, while other groups quickly seized control of the docks, the walls and gates, and the many barracks and garrison buildings throughout Palanthas. In places the Dark Knights fought furiously, but in a little more than 24 hours all of the occupiers had been captured, slain, or driven from the city.
Coryn was acclaimed as a great friend of the knighthood, and of the people. She quickly became known as the White Lady, and was helpful to all who sought to restore rule of justice and equity to Solamnia. These, she soon learned, did not include all of the new lords of Solamnia. Soon disillusioned by the avarice and corruption she saw across the land, Coryn could see that the ancient realm would never return to its former glory under these petty and venal rulers.
She met Jaymes Markham during these times, somewhere in the southern plains near the Newsea. They may not have been in love with each other, but they were lovers. And she recognized in him the hope of a strong, future Solamnia. His ruthless ambition is not tainted by weakness of greed, and Coryn sees in him the possibility of a true leader, one who could restore the legacy Vinas Solamnus created millennia ago. Jaymes waged war on the corrupt rulers, and Coryn was his ablest assistant.
Now, the rest of their road lies before them.
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