Calistra Winterdottir

  • Depending on your outlook of being blessed or cursed, Calistra was born on Midwinter Night's. In the rugged mountain valleys of Icewind Dale, outside of Bryn Shander, the festival of the Cold Goddess was at its peak. Swept up in the fervor of the festival activites, the tribal elders took the newborn from her parents and paraded the child through the ice festival in the village. Someone shouted, "This winter has been not been a harsh one, let us thank the Frostmaiden!" A snowflake symbol was painted on the child's forehead, by the tribal shaman. "Let Auril know we offer this child in her name!" The child survives thoughout the festival.

    In the coming days massive snow storms raged in neighboring mountain valleys, forcing much hunted game to seek refuge in hunting grounds of Calistra's tribal lands. The hunters relished in this fortune gathering enough game for a comfortable winter's survival with plenty meats and pelts for trade.

    Be it superstitious or through a true divine cause, the tribe took this as Auril's approval of the tribe's offering of the child. Thus the shaman gave Calistra the surname of the "daughter of winter."

    Given a normal tribal upbringing, however she was under the watchful eye of the Auril faithful. She learned of the Frostmaiden and the Reghedmen warrior queens of Icewind Dale who revered her. Upon reaching adulthood she and other Auril faithfuls travelled to Luskan on pilgrimage to The Winter Palace. There she learned of Auril's boons to those that further her reach and spread fear of winter's wrath. She learned of the Great Glacier how it once it spead across much of the northern lands but has since receded and of those priestess' whom risen as Auril's chosen - particularly Iyraclea, the queen of the Great Glacier.

    Upon returning from pilgrimage, her fearful outlook on Auril still remained, however a tinge of curiosity had crept into her mind. Her learnings had made Auril's wrathful power somewhat intriguing, though no less scary. Calistra began finding herself wondering more about the reaches of Auril's influence in Toril. The yearning for wanderlust outgrew her sense of tribal responsibilities, and she set of east and found herself ending in Narfell... in the lands where the Great Glacier once claimed.

  • Backstory expansion: Part 2 - The Beginnings

    Luskan and the Winter Palace

    The girls entered the city wide-eyed. Much bigger and busier than Bryn Shander or anything the young girls have ever seen! Docks, ships, and hearing foreign languages! The group of girls travelled close together through the city, being sure not to straggle for fear of any slavers stalking about.

    Then they turn the corner and it is there. A giant white stone structure, the Winter Palace. Little did Calistra know what was truly in store for them. As she entered, she noticed great pyres of fire giving light throughout the complex but giving no warmth. There were many people, with arcane gifts, gathered throughout the complex assisting in rituals and keeping the pyres lit. She would later learn they were Cold Cloaks, those with magical gifts here for the Frostmaiden. Calistra marveled at the arcane magics. They were a rare sight around her village back north. She never held the gift of weave nor had much interest in studying it, but seeing it first-hand was incredible.

    Now that the group had made their journey to the palace, the initiations were to begin. Their first day they watched the famous Luskan wet parades, performed by city inhabitants to lighten Auril's wrath and pass the rest of the winter with somewhat ease. But with a new group of initiates in her temple, it seemed the Frostmaiden was eager to see who would survive her torture.

    As a blizzard began to beset the city of Luskan, the temples' ice-priestesses had the tribal elderwomen organize the group of girls in the open center of the Winter Palace. They were stripped of any clothing that would provide warmth or protection from the cold. Auril's symbol, the six-pointed snowflake, was painted on their bodies. Calistra was reminded of the story of her birth, as she had heard the story many times back in the village.

    As the height of storm began to set in, the girls began to look for shelter or cover where they could in the open courtyard. Some tried to huddle up together, but that seemed to force harsher winds upon them. The Frostmaiden was daring them to go it alone! "Focus on yourself," Calistra told herself. Concentrating on her breathing, trying to ignore the cold numbing pain in her limbs, she balled herself up against a pillar for at least half-cover from Auril's biting wind. Hours of winter's wrath besieged Luskan. The swirling snow was piling up and created snow banks, Calistra noticed that it at least brought protection from the wind. That was when she heard a single word in her head, but not of her voice... "Endure."

  • Backstory expansion: Part 1 - Pilgrimage

    Icewind Dale

    It was time. The Midwinter festival was over. The next grouping of the tribe's adolescent girls to make the pilgrimage south to Luskan and to Auril's Winter Palace. There they will make their pledge to the Frostmaiden so that the tribe will not raise her ire.

    The elder women on the journey acted more as guides rather than chaperones. They led the girls through the mountain passes, showed them where to find or hunt food but offered no help. Each night during camp, around a small campfire, the elders spoke parables of the Frostmaiden's four tenets: Endurance... Preservation... Isolation... and Cruelty.

    The journey was long. "How many more nights must we hear these women speak of the same things!?" Calistra says out loud, one night. None of the other girls remarked, either already asleep or annoyed that the "Daughter of Winter" had something to say about the elders. Some quiet snickers develop amongst the girls still awake. "Like she would speak up to them?" "She's the favorite, the great snow child!"

    It was here, during the great strain of the journey southward when Calistra's name began to fray with friendships. The elders were always strict and attentive to Calistra. Quick to correct her ways. But back in the village she could find ways get away. Go on a hunting expedition, help gather food out in the woods, or travel to the main town, Bryn Shander, and help with the trade caravan. Here on this pilgrimage, Calistra felt the spotlight on her and found it difficult to deflect.

    Surprisingly the weather on the southward trip to Luskan was not severe and the pilgrimage arrived without much trouble.