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Official portrait, Journeyman-Illusionist Rizali - AE603.
|Born:||Astral Era Year 572|
|Political Affiliation:||Inverted Spire|
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Rizali Corvus is an illusion mage who arrived in Ceadaichte Mòir escorting the seasonal traders' cart in the spring of AE607 with Kaegan and Lyndh. They arrived prepared to journey through Kingfisher Forest and attempting to recruit any interested local villagers to their cause. While attending The Inverted Spire, they had stumbled upon ancient journals and documents that implied an eternal empire existed on the far side of the forest. Corvus's interests were in expanded knowledge of magic, as the residents of the eternal empire were said to be unparalleled in their arcane mastery.
Rizali was born in AE572 to the House of Air in the Elahána Forest, a High Elven kingdom bordering the Republic of Ustendelle to its east. By the time of their birth, the House of Air had fallen from favour and hadn't held the throne in centuries. The House of Fire had held the throne for three generations in a row, something that would have been unheard of in the early days of the kingdom, and the Anticipation of Water was rumoured to be next in line. The House of Air wouldn't be in a position to seat the throne for another five generations at least. Despite this lack of prestige, their childhood and adolescence were still privileged, as even a distant branch of the ruling family held a fair amount of money and connections.
Rizali, or "Riza", was the third child to Arlassan Corvus, himself the second son to the head of the family, Feylhen. Sylphs in the House of Air were taught the secret rituals of their elemental heritage, and Rizali was no different. During their childhood, they learned how to speak to the trees and how to influence weather systems over the forest. They were the first Sylph born to the house in three generations, the last being Feylhen's mother and, like most Sylphs within the forest, were a frail and sickly child. Because of this, what time they didn't spend learning within the forest, they spent reading and practising magic with a family-procured tutor.
The estate for the House of Air took up one quadrant of the Royal Quarter in the capital and contained homes and security for the main branch of the House. The Houses of Air and Water historically had the most children and, as such, Riza was constantly surrounded by family members while growing up. Because of their heritage, they were constantly figuring out new things to be curious about, and lost interest in the forest-based spiritualism of their training early on. Instead, they developed a knack for illusory magic, entertaining themself and the other children of their house with light shows, bursts of different colours and sounds, and sneaking around the estate at night while blending into the shadows. Seeing potential for getting away from the House, they requested approval to enter the Inverted Spire for further magical training once they were 17. This was a common thing for the ever-curious elemental throwbacks, and they were granted permission under the caveat that they would return no sooner than their 40th birthday to take their place at the head of the house.
Acceptance to The Inverted Spire
Rizali emigrated to Ustendelle shortly after their 18th birthday in AE590, arriving in Coxarif via private carriage with their mother Brithari. Their earliest days in the Ustendelli capital aren't well-documented outside a few official documents noting a member of the Elahánan royal family had arrived in the country and would be staying indefinitely, as well as their enrollment documents at the magic academy.
Their Apprentice training was under the Adept-Elemental Mage Caoimhin Wælisc, a human from the northwestern reaches of Ustendelle. Wælisc encouraged the young elf to explore Coxarif when outside of class, which coaxed out of the apprentice an interest in eavesdropping and socialising that has followed them since. Rizali could be seen in taverns across the city, sharing stories of old Elahána and its secrets, and listening intently to any stories of human culture and history. It was during this period Rizali learned that there was prejudice against elves, particularly in western Ustendelle. After a run-in with a pair of drunk westerners in 601, they began wearing a hood in public to hide their ears.
Rizali was an avid reader and spent most of their time early on in the library's apprentice section, soaking up knowledge of magical history and ancient spellcraft. In group classes, they were often disliked or resented for their ability to answer most questions even when the subject hadn't yet been covered and an incorrigible nature that desired the approval of whichever Adept-Mage was teaching that particular subject.
Adept-Elemental Wælisc also noted Rizali's interest in specialising in Illusion magic and encouraged the elf to grow into the role. In 603, Rizali was allowed to take the placement test for the Illusory Specialisation track and was accepted as a Journeyman into the program.
Illusion Magic Training
Upon entering Journeyman-level training, Rizali was moved to the Illusion school within the Spire and given a private dormitory. They spent most of their time in the library, reading books previously restricted to them and discovering a preference for ancient magic forms and alternate weaves. Journeyman-level mages were allowed access to studies on magic practised by other cultures, including the elves, as well as the magical histories of those cultures. Despite coming from Elahána, Rizali had only been taught basic elven spellweaving techniques and was only just exposed to their own race's magical history for the first time. It was also the first time they were able to see an outsider's perspective on Elahánan history, including the "Taming of the Elements" era.
Rizali flourished under the new curriculum, more focused on classroom and private study than one-on-one tutoring with occasional classes. It was early on in their studies that Rizali met Master-level mage Landry Carglowyn, who greeted them upon their arrival and oversaw the department. Though cycled out of the Illusion department three weeks after Rizali's arrival, Master Carglowyn's presence left an impression upon the elf, making them if anything more curious and more dutiful in their studies. Their elemental gifts also helped them, as they noticed a developing grace and lightness to their step as they got older. This allowed them to approach people silently and to fall more slowly than other students.
The trickster element never fully left them, leading Rizali to commit at least three documented pranks during their few years as a Journeyman. Most centred around their early mastery of Shadow Step, a high-level spell for a human or elf, but something that came naturally to a Sylph. All three of these gained Rizali recognition and praise within the department, but would not add to their academic merits in any notable fashion.
Journey to the West
Continuing their studies within the library, Rizali eventually moved into the oldest texts, where they found inferences to- and passages entirely about- a seemingly endless empire to the west of Kingfisher Forest. The mages of this empire were supposed to be incredibly advanced, so far beyond the eastern mages that they were regarded as divine. Befitting their nature, Rizali's curiosity got the better of them, and began putting together an expedition in AE606. They were 35 years old, and knew that the eyes of their house would start turning toward them soon. After reading as much as they could find on Kingfisher Forest -not a lot, mostly legends- they hired Lyndh as a bodyguard.
Lyndh was a local brawler, who had at one point been part of Rizali's drinking group, then eventually moved out of it due to finding them aggravating to be around. Despite this, he had nothing else to do and agreed to come with Rizali as long as the Sylph didn't force any standards or ideas on him, and that as soon as they entered the empire they parted ways. Once the winter passed into the spring of AE607, the pair left Coxarif with a trade caravan bound for Ceadaichte Mòir, a small hamlet on the western edge of Ustendelle, bordering the Forest. During the trip, Rizali was introduced to Kaegan, who likewise had no connections in Ustendelle and agreed to join the expedition through the forest. In the village, Rizali made the acquaintance of Cathal, and briefly met Síne.
Without magical augmentations, Rizali can pass as an androgynous elf with blue eyes and white hair that reaches slightly past their shoulders. As a child, they were sickly, and so often went without having the appetite to eat. This continued into adulthood where, even though they were ill significantly less frequently, they would still often forget to eat or get too wound up in an activity to step away. Their skin is porcelain-white, and blue patterns appear on their forehead, around their eyes, and on various parts of their body, attributes that are commonly associated with Sylphs. When their hair is longer it tends to look too much like cloud, which they find aggravating.
They are 167cm tall, slightly short for a human, let alone an elf. Sylvan ears are significantly longer than those of elves, and thin to the point of almost appearing translucent at the tips. Rizali has near-perfect posture, standing as straight up as possible and head high, belying an inner confidence. They have freckles, dark grey against the white of their skin, that dot their nose, under their eyes, and their forehead.
Rizali prefers to wear their robes over multiple layers, which serves to keep their naturally-cold form warmer, hide the more nuanced movements within their weaves, and also to further androgynise them. Usually they’ll wear a tighter inner layer, then a slightly looser outer layer of clothing. This is because their mage robes are fairly open in the front, hanging around the arms and shoulders but revealing the sternum and upper midriff area, only coming together at the waist with a heavy cloth belt, then hanging in strips around the legs. A heavy hood can be pulled over their head during rituals or in situations where anonymity is valued, but otherwise the robes aren’t the best at concealing form. When heavy robes aren’t necessary, like in the tower, they’ll often take measures to conceal before wearing a semi-loose taupe brocade with a high collar and flat front, loose trousers of the same colour, and comfortable flats.
As Rizali is detached from the general idea of gender, identifying as neither male nor female, they are comfortable appearing in whatever way is most useful. This has assisted them with hiding the more obvious aspects of their ancestry and dealing with citizens of Coxarif on a day-to-day basis. Due to their inherent gift to produce long-weave glamours, they can maintain a physical appearance with a single spell for a day without needing to refresh it.
Being a theatrical person in general, Rizali has taken this ability to a perhaps strange extent and created characters for their various appearances. Within those characters, Rizali fully identifies by that appearance’s pronouns and has established a personality to fit their own imagined background. When first experimenting with glamours in public, Rizali made up different names for their different appearances. But after eavesdropping and gathering information for a time, they realised almost nobody remembered their glamour's appearance, let alone the name given. This was true no matter what race or gender they appeared to be. The only time it would appear odd to anyone they were speaking to tended to be when they gave an elven name for a human appearance, or a human name for an elven appearance.
Therefore, except where secrecy is needed above all else, Rizali introduces themself by their given name no matter how they are appearing, utilising the special status of being born with a common, yet gender neutral, elven name. Over the years, Rizali has become more attached to two particular characters beyond any others, and cut down to using those two exclusively whenever needing to appear as male or female in public. Though there are other races in the world, Rizali doesn't feel entirely comfortable portraying any outside of humans and elves because of a lack of exposure they've had to the varieties of appearance present in those races.
Their male persona is within the average height for a male elf, somewhere in the vicinity of 188cm. He has silver-blond hair cropped short over a traditional forehead tattoo for merchant families in Coxarif. He has a strong chin, full jawline, and gray eyes. He is brash, incredibly social, mildly stuck-up due to being raised with money, and makes a joke of everything. Despite this gregariousness, he is able to hold in his energy and make sincere appeals to others when needed. Whether or not those attempts are successful is anyone's guess and usually up to the individuals on the other side of the conversation.
Their female persona is approximately 177cm, just on the short side of average for a high elven woman. She has blonde hair that reaches slightly past her shoulders, bright green eyes, and striking features. She has thick, shaped eyebrows, freckles splayed across her nose and under her eyes and pronounced cheekbones. She is much more soft-spoken and strategic than the male persona, working to use her training as an illusionist mage in conversational skills as well by shaping events through speaking to just the right person at any given time. Because of this nature, she is instinctively cautious and guarded at first. Though quiet around new people, she brightens significantly once she considers someone a friend.