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SEVRIN LORE: Black Svaria

Most people in Sevrin have fair hair, ranging from pale blond to light brown.  Red hair is less common, and truly dark tresses are exceedingly rare.  That’s one reason why the skald known as Black Svaria is easy to pick out of a crowd.

In a land where most women are merchants, farmers, or crafters, Black Svaria’s warrior frame stands out.  She is only slightly above average height for a woman but is so strongly built that she’s usually described as tall and imposing.  Most people assume she’s from some distant land, and she doesn’t bother to dispute the stories. She was, in fact, born on Stormwall Island, the only child of a fisherman and a tavern cook.  If her father suspected that his wife put more on the menu than seafood soup and roasted mutton, he never raised the issue.

Svaria learned the truth of her paternity when she was little more than a child. She cut her hair, took a job as a cabin boy, and took to sea to learn of her heritage. She returned twenty years later with a lifetime’s worth of experiences and songs.

Though she is a talented musician well versed in the styles of several mainland cultures, Black Svaria primarily performs as a traditional skald, declaiming ancient tales in ringing, rhythmic speech.  She also sings traditional and newly composed ballads, adding rhythm with a goatskin hand drum. Her bawdy sense of humor and easy, engaging manner with the audience make her a popular performer at several storytelling venues, most notably the Cat and Cauldron.

This is how Black Svaria earns her bread, although rumor suggests that she can occasionally be pursuaded to put her warrior skills to work.  She is also in considerable demand as a settler of disputes–arrangements that are entirely informal and have no legal binding. Her warrior reputation, however, is usually sufficient to made her decisions stick.