Tiel is one of the five avian high priests. She was born at the foot of one of the largest mountains of Ablach. Her childhood was unremarkable. Her parents, Cyril, a captain, and Gwydeth, a midwife, ingrained in her a deep responsibility to those about whom she cared. They died on her 15th birthday from sickness. Tiel mourned them for the proper year. The day after her mourning period ended, she tried joining the military, full of pride and duty. However, at 16 she was late in growing, all elbows and wings. She was found to be incredibly inept with sword, shield, and staff and passed over to the battle ground healers. She turned out to be an adequate healer, but she was destined to tie bandages on the field until a stray arrow sent her to join her parents. This did not sit well with the young avian, and she spent many restless nights pondering why. One of her teachers had the experience and insight to recognize Tiel's mistake and arranged for Tiel to have an encounter with a friend of his, Silvina, a priestess from the temple. ('O my twisted ankle! Here, young healer, help an old lady! There's a good gel.' Indeed.) Things sorted themselves out and Tiel, 17 now, left the healers' tent and entered the temple.
She almost idolizes Hagadorn; he is intelligent, commanding, and quite knowlegeable, and a nice bird to her despite the whole Staff incident. She respects Mila as full of age-won wisdom, and she finds Mila hilarious when the older avian is angry. (She does not tease Hagadorn, but Mila is fair game.) Lavinia is someone her age, a co-conspirator when the opportunity arises, which is not too often nowadays. It was left unsaid who replaced the Staff of Amaryd with a holiday jester staff right before the ceremony of ordaining the new priests. Or who hung Mila's laundry from the tower flagpoles. With each busy with their studies, some of which coincided, the two spend less time together than when they first met. Still, if the priesthood is her family, Lavinia is her sister.
Tiel's mentor Silvina is a busy avian. She has black hair, pale blue eyes, and iridescent black and blue wings. She is responsible for recognizing and training the war mages. Tiel was prone to saying (at least until it got her in trouble) that if it came down to Emperor Norsak and his mighty Exemplar minons verses Lady Silvina, she was sure that Silvina would take care of the whole mess without mussing a feather. Silvina has a thin staff of plain, silvery metal topped with a blue crystal the same shade as her eyes. Tiel seeks guidance from Silvina as much as she does from Hagadorn, but she feels closer to the Lady.
Treasa and Florinelle are sisters with whom Tiel trains as a priest. Treasa is a strong personality, stubborn and passionate, and wont to cheat at dice, when not playing for stakes; she has strawberry blonde hair, dark brown eyes, and golden and white wings. It is suspected by all except those involved that Treasa and Lavinia were responsible for those pranks. Tiel enjoyed arguing with Treasa and others in their tower til the wee hours. Florinelle is Treasa's older sister, silent for the most part, although more passionate than her sister when it comes to religion and philosophy. Tiel tends to get lost after talking for five minutes with 'Flora,' so their conversations are short and polite. Tiel admires the older avian's faith and strength. Florinelle has blonde hair, brown eyes, and brown and grey wings.
There is a priest called Alanor, older gent with greying hair, darker skin, and green and grey and brown wings, who could be considered Tiel's rival. He probably gets along quite well with Idarian, the Kait Magistrate, although Idarian is more conservative than he is. He resents that Tiel holds the Staff at such a young age and does not believe that Baldur has chosen her for anything. He urges that the free allies rally to attack key strongholds in the Empire, backed up by as many priests and mages as possible. He believes that strategic troop command and sufficient power work far better than small groups and covert efforts. He was much against Lunarina's mission.
While Tiel felt a responsibility for her people and for the other Children, she found it difficult to care for the humans and the Empire. After all they started this war. Well, okay; there were some bands of humans that were not allied with the Empire. True, without the war the alliance would never have been forged so strongly. (Perhaps the alliance is the only good thing to come of the war, though!) Still, the Empire was not to be forgiven. Tiel viewed every member of the Empire as accountable for the war atrocities as those who performed them. (Poor girl; but no one's perfect.) In listening to Taybyrn she is gradually learning that this view is wrong.
The war continued to stretch the avians' resources and manpower. Near the end of the year, autumn going on winter, Tiel herself was called to help coordinate a particularly large group of fighters and priests in one of the borderland valleys. A week before she received the request, Tiel woke to the shock that the tips of her crest were red and her first primary had four red marks like four drops of blood. Spooked but unclear about what the warning referred to, Tiel continued her work. The day arrived and Tiel went to the valley. After the second to last troup went out, SOMETHING went wrong. Troups from the Empire attacked the remaining (and rather outnumbered) fighters, routing them completely. It was every avian for himself, and Tiel stuck with a small group of fighters. They fled between hills and trees, dogged by troops at every frightened step. They were herded back to the valley and captured.
Roughly, that's it. That's Tiel. She's twenty two and a half years of age, one inch over six feet tall, thin-boned, pale-skinned, brown-haired, brown-eyed, and colored like a mourning dove. She's patient, devout, and dedicated to the priesthood and to Ablach. She's better at fighting than she used to be, although a far cry from a fully-trained warrior.
Tiel feels a duty to her homeland and wants to make life better for Ablach and her allies. Right now she works to keep Ablach's own healed to hold the Empire back for another year. She tries to put her own prejudices and feelings aside and become a priest for Baldur, to work in his name and to save her kingdom and its allies. She keeps as many options open to her as she can, for example not revealing her capacity as High-Priestess-in-training until necessary, which could be considered a type of cowardice. She was quite willing to die for Ablach and for Baldur; living for them is harder --- she knows she is far from completing her training. While Tiel cherishes the idea that she will do some great service to aid her people, she wonders if she might be able to do so at a lower profile. She is uneasy with the fact that people know her name and she does not know theirs.
Tiel is paralyzed by the thought of what power the Empire holds over its people. The soldiers fight because that is the only way they can feed their families; the citizens don't rise up because they don't know any better. What can anyone do against a force that large and that indoctrinated? She knows the alliance cannot defeat the Empire through force of arms. A complete adjustment of the Empire's policies must occur. This can be done by empowering a new Emperor, a hazardous solution at best; creating some kind of barrier preventing the Empire from expanding, a pipe-dream that would only work by a miracle from Baldur; and crippling the Empire and drawing its attention to internal matters. The Empire is far too efficient. Tiel does not know how to end the war. She works to slow the Empire and waits for a miracle, either from the free allies' great thinkers or Baldur.
Tiel has trouble separating the idea of stopping the Empire from hating the Empire. Perhaps her feathers were ruffled from healing the wounded soldiers and pondering the Empire's illogical persecution of the free allies. It is easy to hate someone or something abstract, such as the Empire. It is much harder to continue to hate Taybyrn, walking servant of the Empire and decent fellow (even if he does have a truly impressive glower). Given time Tiel might just realize how similar her position and Taybyrn's are. "Civil servant," indeed. Given time Tiel will realize that perhaps Taybyrn would be the best person to replace Emperor Norsak and revolutionize the Empire.
Tiel kept a record of her adventures to give to the high priest:
Concerning Kori Canyon
Concerning the Return to Ablach
Concerning the Mission to Kanpeki