Lady Sigrid von Eisvogel
Lady Sigrid von Eisvogel of Gürtelfischer Manor (she/her) is an adventuress who has gained some notoriety as a skilled and fearless swordfighter in recent years. Her origins are somewhat mysterious. While she is more than happy to talk about her home and family, neither she nor various other interested parties have been able to turn up a single other person who has seen or even heard of the realm she claims to come from. Those of a more sceptical disposition might say that it is rather convenient for her that nobody can verify her claims of being a warrior-princess. However, while she may or may not be a princess, the "warrior" part is evidently accurate, so it is wise not say such things within earshot of her.
[As mentioned above, there are no independent sources about Lady Sigrid's origins, so this section is based solely on her account. -ed]
The Eisvogel Family
The Eisvogel family is one of the noble houses of Alcedia, having held the Gürtelfischer throne since the founder of the family was chosen by the gods at least a thousand years ago. Their divinely appointed task is to be the keepers of the Holy Birdbath, an area of hot springs and streams that is sacred to the gods of Alcedia. After a series of wars over control of this holy site nearly destroyed it, the gods raised up the first Gürtelfischer queen and king to protect it and ensure equal access for all pilgrims. To this end the kingdom controls little land of its own beyond the eponymous manor, but draws its funds and people as tribute from the other realms. Traditionally the males of the family are the stewards of the Holy Birdbath, tending to the springs and the surrounding gardens and temples, while the women are its guardians, fierce warriors protecting the sacred place with a unique swordfighting technique passed down from mother to daughter.
Legend has it that invaders tried to disarm the first Gürtelfischer queen, mocking her claims of being a holy warrior, whereupon the goddess Stecia melted her sword belt into her plummage so it could never be taken from her. To this day her descendants are marked by a rufous belt, from which they are said to be able to draw a celestial blade in times of dire need. While the royal line is passed on from queen to queen, the king is still considered to be the head of the family, to symbolize that peace is greater than war and to appease the other kings who are not prepared to hear certain things even from the gods.
Born the third daughter of the current Gürtelfischer king, Lady Sigrid was raised to be something between a shieldmaiden and a paladin with a drinking problem. From a young age she received a rigorous martial education from her mother and aunts before venturing out with her sisters and cousins to prove herself fighting highwaymen and performing minor tasks for the king.
It was while out on such a quest that Lady Sigrid got diverted and eventually found her way to our lands. What it was exactly that took her so far off her path as to wind up in a land that had not heard so much as a rumour of her home, she will not say. Or, rather more accurately, she will tell you in great and dramatically embellished detail, but she never tells the same tale twice and each telling is more unlikely than the other. One day she will narrate to you the saga of how she came across the dimensional portal of an arch-demon trying to invade this world and barely managed to push the fiend back into the pit, forcing her companions to seal the portal behind her, before battling her way across the seven hells until she finally managed to escape through the poorly drawn summoning circle of an apprentice wizard. The next day she will claim to have fallen ill and been abducted by pirates whom, after her recovery, she slaughtered to the last bird, thereby unwittingly stranding herself as she killed the only ones who might guide her back home. Once, deep in her cups, she even claimed to been transported here by strange creatures that walked upright but had no feathers and an ashen countenance, who used unknown magic to draw her into a dish-shaped vessel from beyond the heavens and performed rituals that are not fit to be spoken of in polite company before dropping her off in a remote field. Challenged on the absurdity of this last story, she produced what she claimed were sketches a peasant drew of the floating platter and its inhabitants, but the shapes on the parchment were smudged beyond recognition. At times one gets the impression that Lady Sigrid herself does not know how she came to be in this place and is spinning these yarns to reassure herself as much as anything else. A quailidin novice who traveled with her for some months suggests a rather more prosaic expanation: "Personally, I think she just got lost and was too proud to ask for directions and kept going and eventually ended up over here. You wouldn't think that it's possible, seeing how she says she was heading to a shrine within a day's ride of her home and now she's on a whole other continent, but if anyone can do it, it's her. She's a good soul, but stubborn as anything and doesn't have the sense of direction t' Hen of Grasses gave a dandelion seed. One time we were at an inn and she hid under that fancy cloak of hers? Took her a full hour finding her way out. But whatever happened, she's my friend and I hope she finds her way home some day."
As one might expect from the sworn guardian of a holy site, Lady Sigrid has provern herself to be good and mostly lawful, if one keeps in mind that the laws she is following are not neccessarily our own. She is, however, very young and has little patience for solving problems in ways that do not ivnolve either screaming, stabbing, or preferably both.