Kareela is a young wild elf from the Forest of Lethyr. She stands a wirey 5'8" tall with dark, dusty skin and dark green hair. Her eyes are hazel brown. She is fully 46 years old, but that is rather young for her kind. When she started out, she wore a loose, small, poncho-like top of dark blue and green, scuffed brown pants that end ragged below her knees, and a flat conical straw hat hanging from her neck. In the Underdark, though, she acquired more ... interesting garb. In an encounter with a demonic kraken in the Lake of Shadows, her clothes were dyed jet (and so was she, for a few days).
Kareela's name means the South Wind for she was born during a fierce windstorm from the south. This storm brought down a few of the younger, weaker trees. Some saw the new elfling as a gift to balance out the loss of the trees; some saw her as a symbol of change and loss. Some of her peers teased her as "Kareela Tree-feller," a major insult in such a wild elf community. However, feelings eased in time, allowing her to grow up as any normal elf child.
She felt drawn to the dancing wind which raced through the trees. She heard the wind make the trees whisper and murmur and she has seen it break them apart. Her parents were pleased at her appreciation of the forest, but they were curious at how a young Kareela could spend half a day in one spot, listening, staring.
Kareela received sword and bow training with the rest of the young elves. She learned it with an eye to defend the town, but she became increasingly frustrated as she practiced. Kareela wanted to find the heart of the warrior, which she knew would match the heart of the forest: potential strength and destruction not necessarily shown by a graceful appearance. A sword or a bow seemed like a barrier to this intimacy of power. After seeing their daughter angry and uncertain, Kareela's parents intervened. There was, among the few human towns in the Forest of Lethyr, a town with an older gentleman of curious reputation: he fought as well as an armored knight but used no tool or material beyond his own body. They allowed a young Kareela, then 23, to watch and then approach the strange human. Four times he turned her away. The fifth time he attacked her to see how she defended herself. The sixth time, he began her training.
Move like a crane on the water, Master Wei instructed, barely touching the water and barely touching her prey save for precise and effective jabs. He taught her how his master taught him: in the style of the Crane, a style that has almost haughty disdain for physical contact. Kareela learned a strict mentality quite alien from her elven upbringing, but her parents saw her content in her life and devoted once again to her dream of protecting Treehollow. As she improved over the course of 20 years, Master Wei let slip a few tantalizing clues to the mystery of the founder of the style, Hououji Fuu. He suggested that this woman had the wind in her blood and created the moves of the style by studying wild cranes and dancing with the wind.
Just before Kareela was told to leave for Bakaam, he gave her a final clue. It is said that Fuu created a second style, Gray-Crane-on-Rocks, for which the entire school of the Crane was a blind, a feint, a diversion. If Crane was learned by watching birds who dance on the wind, Gray-Crane was learned from the wind itself; where Crane was balanced, predictable, and effective, Gray-Crane was ungainly, unpredictable, and fairly unstoppable. At 45 Kareela had fulfilled her training and Master Wei released her with his blessing, knowing full well what dangerous spirits he had kicked up in the young elf.
Kareela makes mistakes like anyone else, despite her code of honor and her discipline to her martial art. It upsets her when she fails her personal code, but it does not always bother her if she fails in someone else's eyes. Ultimately, though, she feels hers is the mindset that matters most to her.
Much like her fighting style, her manner is a tad unpredictable. She will laugh for no apparent reason, lost in some memory of her master in Treehollow or some remark Arawyn once made when they patrolled. She admires the wind, her mentor, for a balance of frivolousness and inevitability, which aspects she sees in herself. The wind can pass through a forest undaunted, or it could dance around a rock circle for hours. Kareela knows that she is different from most people who she would meet on the street, but she tries to take a step back from her training and upbringing to understand them. When conversing with her fellow town guards, the second pause between her listening and her answering made her seem standoffish and calculating. Thus, for her continued absences and for her odd attitude, she is not fully accepted as "one of the guards."
Elegant theory and well-thought discussions might be great, but they mean nothing to her unless they may be put to action, she feels. Such ideas, while admirable, are hollow to her, otherwise. Among the wild elves she was known for her low tolerance of philosophizing and religious debate; she prefers a straightforward approach to life that action brings. It was a joke by her parents (semi-serious for it vexed them both) that she would dodge religion class for practicing her katas from Master Wei. That's why she's only got one rank in knowledge:arcana and religion and why she won't get more, unless she has a serious change of heart. She does enjoy debating abstracts more than a human, though, for she is still an elf. She is not narrow-minded or thick-skulled, just short tempered, mentally speaking. Perhaps talking with the priests of Tymora will help. Perhaps not.
When Ba'Kaam was attacked by drow, Kareela and the other defenders of the town decided to brave the Underdark and find a way to halt any future offensives. The group emerged once to report after a few days then continued their travels deeper into darkness. Curious to know what happened? We kept a running log, and I wrote all of the stuff not in italics.