Iris named the child Rhene and, clearly understanding she was no longer welcome, moved her and the girl to an old mostly unused section of caves. Plant roots dribbling water from the ceiling at all times, uneven flooring causing it to pool, damp and humid. Miserable for the rest of the Sednans, but it seemed to suit them well.
Two things saved them from being completely cast out. First, and most importantly, everyone feared the Island’s retribution if they harmed either of the two. The storms that typically harried the surrounding ocean had been very kind to the Island since Iris’s return and it seemed a clear indication. Second, the Sedna people value usefulness. Iris was still the same woman who had been nominated Strongest, competent, clever, and strong [Think her mom mighta been a Barb, btw]. As Rhene grew, her extremely useful talents became obvious, making her invaluable in many situations.
Thus, they were tolerated.
18 years to the day Iris initially vanished into the heart of the Island, Rhene woke up to find her mother gone once more. Left perfectly next to her bed was a sea opal amulet, big enough to be held in two of her tiny hands and a note that simply assured her that everything was going to be okay.
Frantic, Rhene tore off to the underwater caves at the heart of the island, feeling that her mother must have gone back. This season’s Strongest was preparing to enter the caves as she arrived, ceremony in full swing. No one was allowed in those caves except the Strongest, it would anger the spirits. Rhene knew this. Rhene gave no shits.
She made intense, aggressive eye contact with the Strongest and lunged for the cave’s entrance, ignoring the crowd’s outraged shouting and the grabbing hands of the strongest. She dove in and swam until her arms burnt, quickly outstripping the Strongest because he had the disadvantage of needing air. Rhene had no such problems. She swam until she was delirious, the caves deep and dark, dotted only occasionally by warm vents and fluorescent fish.
She lost days down there, searching until her arms grew tired, subsisting off of scrounged freshwater clams.
Mindlessly, hopelessly searching, for something. Anything. It was only by pure accident she found her way back out. She’d gotten turned around in the maze.
When she surfaced, she found the colony decimated by a strong typhoon, more than a few people dead or injured, and structures caved in beyond repair. More importantly, it became quickly obvious they blamed her.
The only thing that had kept them from turning her away during her childhood was that they believed she was favored by a strong Spirit, maybe even the island itself. However, when she entered the caves and the Island showed its anger by allowing the typhoon, they felt she had been disowned… and now could safely be removed.
It was only by the kindness of a few more rational souls and those that could be considered friends that no violence came down on her, though it was a near thing. She was simply exiled to the more dangerous parts of the island, thinking the angry spirits would finish her off for them. Making the choice to not be eaten by tigers, she just swam out, finding the husk of the half sunken ship on the outside of the island. She lived there for six months, only returning to land to hunt or scavenge. Once in a while, one of her few old friends secreted away care packages into the edges of the island. The only one of the colony to know Rhene hadn’t been killed.
Eventually, when the annual trade ships arrived, she snuck up the anchor and stowed away. She rode that ship all the way to [MAIN CONTINENT] where she wandered. Extremely conspicuously wandered. With some natural bent of magic, she became the curiosity of a few magic users before eventually falling in with a small tribe of Grass Druids.
They were really nothing more than shrub mages, traveling wherever the wilderness took them, but they put her on the path to something she found herself very good at, and informed her of what they knew of her possible heritage. The druids were able to tell her of the planes, and had theories of her parentage. They listened to her story and were strangely not awful. She liked them. She naturally liked the idea that she wasn’t an unholy abomination. Mostly, she liked the idea that she had a parent she had never met, and a place she could really belong. Perhaps too, her mother had fled there for one reason or another, safe with her father even.
She liked the idea that she could join them...
It was impressed upon her quickly that the Elemental Plane of Water was extremely dangerous and difficult to get into. She would need to become stronger and smarter before she made any attempt. That was pretty much all her shrub druid family could do for her. So they set her in a direction and let her go.
The Far Traveler and The Wolf
Instilled with the basics of druiding, she did as the druids recommended. She walked with the will of nature, pushed across the land by pretty much only topography and necessities of survival. To be honest, she didnt entirely follow the letter of their recommendations, as she strayed from the wilderness into civilization more often than she should. She was fascinated, drawn by the glittering lights and vibrant people. She could often be found, chasing local village and city celebrations, just to soak up the second-hand happiness, eager to experience it all.
She lived that way, bouncing between remote wilderness, deep lakes, and raucous town squares in equal measure, learning to advance her Druidic nature, but never sticking anywhere for too long. Nowhere felt like home, and she was starting to suspect no place would on the material plane.
After a time, her random wanderings dragged her across one Salem Talviaikaan. He struck something familiar in her... he had a lack of place. He seemed, to her, to be running away from his past just as fast as she was, and if there was anything obvious about Salem, it was that he needed some fun in his life. A significant amount of fun to chase away the shadows. That, she could most certainly supply.
She only intended to brighten him up a bit and continue alone as she had been, but the partnership made her own troubles seem dimmer and less prescient. She relaxed into it and before long his presence didn't just seem pleasant, it seemed utterly necessary. She travelled less into the beds of lakes and deep forest, but instead into mutual distractions. These were mostly menial hunting work, and varied tasks to ensure their gallivanting could continue. One such task brought Aurellia Greyspire into her life, then shortly after, Thallia Kordin.