Loren Nelda

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A close-up of Loren, taken from the cover art of Nightblade.

Loren of the family Nelda is a young girl of low birth, who dreams of becoming the world's greatest thief. She has spent most of her life in the Birchwood, with her parents Elpha and Drevan, as well as her childhood sweetheart, Chet.

After a chance encounter with the rogue wizard Xain, Loren begins her adventure across the Nine Lands of Underrealm, making friends and enemies along the way, in both low and high places. She is the main character of the titular Nightblade Epic, currently including the books Nightblade, Mystic, Darkfire, Shadeborn, Weremage, and Yerrin.

Early life

Loren was born on the 15th of Octis, 1296, and raised in a small nameless village within the Birchwood, in the kingdom of Selvan, as the child of foresters Drevan and Elpha. Her parents were cruel to her, and her father was known to physically abuse her, and so she sought to escape him from a young age. One of her greatest hopes was that she would some day be able to leave the forest with Chet of the family Lindel. Another aspiration, although it was little more than a flight of fancy at her young age, was to follow in the footsteps of the legendary thief known as Mennet the Mist, whose stories were oft recounted to her by a travelling peddler by the name of Bracken.

Recent events

Nightblade

On the 15th of Augis 1312, Loren meets the self-exiled wizard Xain Forredar, as he flees through the Birchwood after his altercation with Drystan Drayden on the Seat. Loren pursues the wizard into the forest until she catches him, before asking him to take her with him on his travels. Though Xain is disdainful of Loren, he eventually agreed, and after a small run-in with some constables, Loren leaves her village with the wizard. Upon leaving her house, however, she steals a strange dagger from her father's possession, completely oblivious to its potential importance. After Loren's father finds out about her disappearance, he follows the two of them into the woods, resulting in a fight where Loren shoots own father in the leg with an arrow. Xain and Loren carry on for a while, before he abandons her by the side of the Melnar River.

Loren carries on alone, but runs into trouble with the constables that she had previously lied to in order to protect Xain. Fleeing from the King's law, she comes across a merchant caravan being directed by Damaris of the family Yerrin. When the constables came looking for Loren, they came dangerously close to discovering the merchant's hidden stores of magestones, and so she had them killed by her caravan guards. Although this was a huge shock to Loren, she continued to travel with the caravan when Damaris offered her a chance, and also met her daughter Annis, who would become a close friend and ally of the Nightblade in times to come.

During the caravan's journey to Cabrus, Loren was taught the basics of how to ride a horse, and was also gifted a black cloak by Damaris. But when talking to Annis, Loren discovered that the young girl wanted to get away from her mother, who is a cruel sadist. Having seen Damaris' brutality for herself, Loren agreed to help Annis, and together they fleed into Cabrus once the caravan arrived there, revealing Damaris' magestones in the process and marking the beginning of a life-long, bitter grudge between Loren and Damaris.

On the 21st of Augis, Loren and Annis entered Cabrus, but were separated when two constables tried to apprehend them. After being taken into custody by the constable Corin, Loren flashed her stolen dagger to the man, who, much to Loren's surprise, released her, likely thinking it was because she was an undercover mystic or mage hunter. Loren then met Jordel of the family Adair for the first time, who at the time was searching for Xain, so that he might bring him over as an ally in the coming War against the Necromancer. Loren, neither knowing nor trusting Jordel, and being completely unaware of the Mystic Order, refused Jordel's help. After being pickpocketed by a young thief, Loren chased down her mugger and regained the money she had lost. Impressed by her tenacity and skill, the young thief introduced himself as Gem of the family Noctis. The two aspiring thieves would go on to become close friends. Gem decided to introduce Loren to "Auntie", a therianthrope who ruled over the city's gang of thieves and pickpockets. Though Loren was initially given a job by the strange woman, she was swiftly betrayed to the constables. With Gem's timely help, she escaped their grasp, and during her flight ran into Xain for a second time. Reluctantly, the wizard agreed to help her and her new companions flee Cabrus the next day.

Late at night, some time between the 21st and 22nd, Gem and Loren set about finding Annis so that the four of them might leave Cabrus. They met Jordel for a second time, though Loren denied his help for a second time as well. The pair eventually found Annis, but were quickly pursued by Gregor, a servant of Damaris, as well his men and some constables, and were forced to flee through the sewers of Cabrus. The group of four were forced to flee Cabrus in the early hours of the morning, but ran into Auntie on their way out, trying to leave through the sewers. During the fight, Loren lost possession of her mage hunter's dagger, which fell into Auntie's hands. In the morning, the group rested at the house of Markus, an associate of Xain, before Annis and Xain split from Loren and Gem to be smuggled out of the city, promising that they would wait for the others somewhere safe along the road, while Loren went back into Cabrus to fetch her dagger. Gem was able to lead her to a hidey-hole where Auntie kept her most prized possessions, but the two were unable to break into it, and were forced to flee. They then spent the night at Markus' house.

On the 23rd, Loren finally decided to seek Jordel's help. After finding and conversing with him outside the Wyrmwing, she formulated a plan to retrieve her dagger with Gem's assistance, involving the family Yerrin and her enemy Damaris. Loren lied to Damaris, telling her that Annis was with Auntie, like the dagger, and proposed that the two work together to retrieve both. On the 24th, they executed their plan, successfully capturing Auntie and using her key to open the hidey-hole. Loren then retrieved her dagger and fled from Damaris, as Gregor was gravely wounded by a falling iron grate set as a trap to defend the hidey-hole by Auntie. She revealed herself to a constable and allowed herself to be placed in a cell, only to be visited by Damaris later in the night. The merchant interrogated Loren with a clouded viper, who provided false information about Annis' whereabouts. Loren managed to kill the snake with her dagger, but was bitten regardless. Panicking, Loren was able to escape from the cell, but went delirious from the snake venom. Half-mad, she went to Damaris' room at the Wyrmwing and destroyed her stash of magestones, before being found by Jordel, who took her to an apothecary, Alin, to be healed.

In return, Loren told Jordel what had transpired, and then agreed to helping him find Xain, on the condition that he not be harmed. Together with Gem, they set out from Cabrus to find Xain and Annis, but traveled for many days with no sign of them.

Mystic

Loren traveled south with Gem, Jordel, and their carriage driver Seth to try and find Xain and Annis. Before they found the wizard, the group came across an army of mercenaries, who were, unbeknownst to them, travelling to join the Battle of Wellmont. Gem was captured by the mercenaries, and Jordel killed a group of them to free the boy, which Loren found reprehensible. They were then pursued by the mercenaries, until Xain crept into their camp and woke Loren in the night, to take her away from the mystic, whom Xain believed to be dangerous. Gem joined them and they reunited with Annis, and together the four of them traveled to Redbrook.

On the 5th of Septis, the group arrived in Redbrook. They secured passage to Wellmont on a riverboat, captained by Brimlad. Vivien, a mystic, shadowed them and secured passage on the same boat, but Brimlad was forced to leave early with Loren and her companions, after they are discovered by a Yerrin agent. On the Dragon's Tail river, they were pursued by Vivien, who eventually caught up to them in another boat. Loren fed Xain magestones which she had stolen from Damaris, allowing him to overpower Vivien's magic and speed their escape.

When they reached the city of Wellmont, they found the rivergates closed to them, and needed to enlist the help of a wurt named Bubble to swim under the gate, though Annis nearly drowned in the process.

Though Loren and her companions did not realize its significance at the time, the Battle of Wellmont broke out only two days after they arrived. Before it did, Loren was caught trying to steal from a woodsman named Gillam, but ran into Jordel and Vivien when taken into custody. Once Jordel and Xain had spoken to one another, they all agreed to leave together, though Loren did not know of what they spoke. Dorsea and its mercenaries attacked the same day, prompting Loren and her companions to aid in the city's defense. In the aftermath, Annis was kidnapped from Loren by Xain, prompting her to track him to a riverboat. Though she did not know it, Xain had been driven half-mad by magestone sickness at the time. Nevertheless, she agreed to leave with him, abandoning Jordel as they fled the city. When faced with a Dorsean blockade, Xain used darkfire to great effect, but to Loren's horror.

After escaping from Wellmont, Xain fled from Loren, stealing magestones from her as he went, which prompted her to hunt him down once more. It was also during this time that Loren first stole her horse, which she named Midnight. After catching up to Xain on the road and running into Jordel, Vivien and their mystics, Loren tried to restrain Xain, but in his madness he set darkfire upon them. Many of the Mystics died, though Jordel survived and Vivien escaped with near-mortal wounds. Loren was able to subdue Xain with the protection of her mage-hunter's dagger, the first step towards her realizing its true potential.

Darkfire

After the battle with Xain, Loren and Jordel joined forces in order to take him back to Ammon. Because of Xain's treachery, Jordel too was implicated, and the party traveled outside of the King's law. They were attacked by a group of Mystics in Strapa, but managed to escape with the help of a retired mercenary by the name of Albern. Albern then served as the group's guide as they traveled into the Greatrocks in order to avoid detection. Loren entered the Greatrocks around the 4th of Octis, beginning a long and hard journey through the mountains.

Around the 26th of Octis, Loren and her party first encountered satyrs in the mountains, but were able to avoid confrontation. Around this time, the mercenary Albern began to teach Calentin bowcraft to Loren. Xain, who had been their prisoner for the duration of the journey as he suffered from magestone withdrawal, was able to break his bonds and escape, but was tracked down thanks to the powers of Loren's dagger. Loren learned more about these powers during the chase, thanks to Jordel. On the 30th of Octis, the group also encountered harpies.

Trying to avoid a fortress that Albern has told them sits in the mountains, they tried many different paths around it, but were driven back by both harpies and satyrs who are under the control of a mysterious "Lord". They were forced to cross the bridge to the stronghold in order to get out of the mountains, despite their suspicions that they were being directed there purposefully.

Loren's group hid in the caves beside the fortress, until Loren spied caravans that she recognized as belonging to Damaris Yerrin entering the stronghold. She and Jordel infiltrated the stronghold and witnessed Damaris' meeting with Trisken, the commander of the mysterious forces that were stationed there, which Jordel later confirmed to be Shades.

Shadeborn

Weremage

Yerrin

Personality

Pacifism

Early in her journey, Loren was known to be a pacifist. When she first witnessed Jordel kill a group of mercenaries in order to save Gem, she was horrified, and at first lost respect for him. When she swore an oath to the High King, Enalyn promised that she would never force Loren to kill in order to fulfill her obligations. Later, Loren adapted her beliefs, especially after witnessing Chet's rape at the hands of Auntie, and his subsequent murder of her. Eventually, Loren used purposefully lethal force for the first time to kill Gregor in the royal palace in Danfon.

Sexuality

In the author's note at the end of Weremage, it is stated that Loren is bisexual. This can be evidenced by her attraction to Niya throughout the book as well as her long-standing relationship with Chet.

Appearance

Quotes