Article written by Nancy Varian Berberick, Kranar Drogin, PsychaDurmont
Elansa Sungold (? AC – March 9, 249 AC) was an elven noblewoman, and daughter of Paras Sungold. She was a wood shaper, a healer of trees, and in her blood ran the ability to communicate with the elements. She was given a talisman called the Blue Phoenix. Her father set up a political marriage with Kethrenan Kanan of House Royal, a brother to the Speaker of the Sun.
Brand kidnapped the wife of Prince Kethrenan Kanan and held her hostage while he and his beleaguered band of outcasts and outlaws tried to keep ahead of Goblins and the Elves who always hunted them. Elansa did everything she could to survive. She never abandoned hope that her husband would rescue her.
The prince's pursuit was relentless, driving Brand, his outlaws, and hostage literally underground where they find their way to the abandoned fortress of Pax Tharkas through a series of caves. While they were in these caverns, Elansa miscarried a child she knew to have been her husband's. Along the way the tensions between Brand and his outlaws grew stronger as their flight grew more difficult. Those tensions played themselves out over the fate of Elansa. Desired by many of the men in the group, she found herself offered a difficult protection by Brand: she could become his woman, and accept his protection, or become a prize to be contended by the rest of the men in his band.
She agreed to his proposition, for she would not despair. Her husband would find her.
Over the Ages people who learned the story of Elansa and Brand believed every evil about the man, and some believe that the Princess had developed a psychological dependence on him that resulted in her identifying with her captor and not seeing him for who he truly was. In fact, Elansa of Qualinesti was one of the few people who did see him for who he truly was, a man who lived his life caught between two enemies in a bitter, broken land where no one was safe. She was not a wretched victim; she was one party of a meeting of opposites on a very bad and dangerous journey.
A woman of a long line of noble blood, it was in her character to survive. Over the course of their increasingly dangerous journey Elansa began to learn Brand's history and she felt sympathy, though perhaps not empathy. She didn't love Brand, but she came to appreciate his position and did care for him in the end, certainly enough to grieve him and, when she learned she was pregnant again, to decline to abort his child.
Neither did she love her husband. Theirs was a comfortable arranged marriage that pleased her family and his. Marriage to the prince was no hardship. They were young and healthy and compatible. She admired him and cared about him, until she saw a side of him she considered ugly. Having spent months struggling for her life, Elansa could not believe that her husband was ready to kill her because she did not kill herself after having been the bedmate of the Human. She saw that she was to her husband no more than a symbol of his own honor, and the knowledge sickened her.
Elansa watched as Brand died defending her life against her husband, and she mourned him. She left him with her Blue Phoenix and fled to the caverns with the dwarf Char Hammerfell as her guide. Eventually she returned home and took Char's advice to explain her pregnancy as the result of a rape. Had she not done so, she and her child would have become outcast and very likely have died.
Life and Death
Elansa returned back to her people and told a story of her husband and the human rapist killing each other. She was welcomed back as a survivor, but never again felt comfortable with the bigotry of elves. Elansa would carry the baby to full term, and once the baby was born, she was able to nurse once before the hard birthing took its toll. She passed away before naming him, and her nursemaid Eld Ailea named him Tanthalas.
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