Kari Brightwind

Smells like flowers, has twigs in her hair


People have been trickling into the inn looking for the Warden for as long as you’ve been in Antiva City. They usually show up in ones or twos, check in, hug it out with the boss, then get their assignment and go. But Kari’s been here since before you got here – apparently since before any of you got here, if you ask around – and though she doesn’t hang around the bar like some of the rest of the Warden’s main crew, she shows up almost every night with a little package wrapped in brown paper and tied with a neat ribbon bow, and perches on the edge of the table to listen while your advisors talk strategy over a cup of evening tea.

Sometimes, she shows up with twigs or leaves in her hair, which is impressive, because you have to get pretty far outside the city to find anything that looks much like nature, let alone enough of it to get tangled up in. Once in a while, she’ll come in wearing a flower crown, and if you compliment her on it, she’ll blush and bluster and brush it off… but show up with one made just for you the next night. If you let her, she’ll even braid your hair. It’ll be up to you to make conversation (or not, she won’t mind either way) for as long as you’re sitting together by the fireside, but by the time she’s done, you’ll have the most gorgeous, intricate updo of your entire life – plaits upon plaits interspersed with leaves and flowers and ribbons – and Kari will be positively radiant, like you’ve just done something unimaginably nice for her. If you ask where she got all the flowers, she’ll say something dismissive like “oh, here and there,” but the truth is, she grew most of them herself. Her little third story apartment on the other side of the city is full of plants, from the blooming window boxes in the front to the overgrown balcony in the back and in every inch of spare space in between. If you ever go inside, you can’t help but think Kari must be at least a little bit magical to be able to keep this many plants alive all at once, but then again, that’s probably why the Warden recruited her.

Despite the fact that she lives in the city – and evidently has for some time – Kari is not one of the people to ask to show you around town. In fact, she seems to know one and only one route between where she lives and 1) the inn the Warden is staying in 2) the marketplace 3) the docks and 4) the western gates of the city. If you want to explore outside the city, though, or wander around down by the shore, Kari will gladly let you tag along when she ventures out to gather flowers and herbs – sometimes harvesting, sometimes taking cuttings, and sometimes digging up the whole plant, roots and all, to replant back in her apartment. If you stay with her all day, there’s a good chance you’ll come back to the city a little sunburnt and with twigs in your hair, too.


Kari Brightwind

Long Way Down theshannonlewis theshannonlewis