Okay I cannot finish this story in any reasonable amount of time but it also might be important to the current state of Katara due to the context it gives. I expected to get to keep working on it for another month or two but goddamnit Tess. So in the style of classic chinese literature, here’s the whole thing in bullet point summary.
-A century ago Ankathi was some weird kid that was generally a loner that minded her own business but had a unique problem of escalating conflict very rapidly. Some kid shoves her, she bashes their head in with a rock and wins the fight. Her mother died when she was 6 and the various communal caretakers argued over who should have to take the weird crazy kid, unaware she was listening. At one point they floated the idea of knowingly sending her to die so the problem would go away. She burned the house down and killed them all then ran away to the outskirts of Sybaris (where no one lives because the city is a massive ruin with not enough people to fill it so plenty of abandoned neighborhoods for her to hide away in)
-Around this point she meets her first friend in a girl named Xeni. They’re basically trouble making thieves that steal food and other things they need/want from the more populated areas of town before retreating back to the outskirts to hide away.
-Winter eventually finds them and wants Ankathi to join the coven. This is largely of interest to the two girls because being a witch is one of the positions of higher prestige in the kingdom and they’re both homeless orphans. So that’s a significant upgrade. Ankathi will only go if Xeni can come with her though. So Winter obliges, then kills Xeni within the week to get rid of her by utilizing the dark spirits to drive her insane.
-Ankathi meets Vasia, they don’t get along very well. Winter treats Ankathi like a prodigy from day one with all the favoritism that comes with that. Vasia is a tad bit spiteful of that. Winter is convinced they should be best of friends and still sticks them together.
-Ankathi and Vasia become comrades of sorts over the years since Winter keeps sticking them together all the time. They are constantly insulting, attacking, and trying to 1-up each other but at the very least when its time to go to work they work well together.
-Ankathi has a daughter named Demetra, who she takes a great fondness towards. Despite not wanting her to join the coven due to the memory of what happened to Xeni, Winter sort of forces the issue and Ankathi spends years trying to train Demetra to be ready for it. The spirits reject Demetra and melt her from the inside out right in front of Ankathi, who Winter tells will get over it just like Xeni.
-Ankathi falls into depression over the loss of her daughter and loses progress. Losing all interest in her rivalry with Vasia and the coven for awhile. Only eventually returning when Katara’s hunters come under attack and a party is to be sent out to rescue them. Because Ankathi was the most skilled swordswoman in the coven and one of its main raiders Vasia goes to Ankathi for help on the mission since she doesn’t feel she can rely on the other one Winter assigned to take the job with her.
-Ankathi’s darker streak starts showing during the mission, she is more aggressive and brutal towards the bandits then she’s ever been before. Though given the nature of the mission Vasia considers it only natural.
-Vasia becomes one of Winter’s two council witches. Having pulled ahead of Ankathi in their rivalry due to Ankathi’s three years of retirement. The two are taught the ritual that allows them to steal the youth of others by Winter. With her renewed youth, Ankathi has another daughter who she forbids from ever joining the coven. Years go by and Ankathi remains more focused on her daughter then her job as a witch. Vasia considers the rivalry over now that Ankathi is just kind of a member of the coven on a more casual basis to assist others in rituals, research, and teaching newer witches.
-The Sotirios incident begins to draw their attention. Winter realizes she needs to create a new witchblade to kill the dragonborn katara. She devises a scheme to get Sotirios to agree to give his life for his children not knowing that Winter intends to create a witchblade with dragonsbane built into it using the half-dragon Sotirios’ blood. In deciding who to give it to she is reluctantly forced to have Ankathi create it since it is about to be used to fight dragonborn warriors of Katara and Ankathi is the only witch in the coven who is such a proficient warrior.
-Winter convinces Ankathi to rejoin the coven full time as part of her plan to get her to take up the new sword. Ankathi goes into training with Kataran knights to refine her dulled swordplay skills after all these years. Ankathi has reservations about tricking Sotirios into dying to create the weapon but Winter assures her it is necessary and that they are at war. Winter keeps specifically calling the dragonborn infections, diseased, and so on to dehumanize them to the already mentally quirky Ankathi.
-The night of the cleansing comes upon them, mass rituals are put in place along the walls of Sybaris to allow Ankathi to track anyone descended from Sotirios. An additional ritual is put in place to perform the “Empowerment” spell from the spellbook. Vasia oversees that one. The rest of the witches are sent after the younger less threatening dragonborn while told that Ankathi will be the one to kill anyone who looks like they can fight back.
-In the course of the cleansing Ankathi comes to discover the prince that fathered her second daughter was the grandson of Sotirios. Winter forces Ankathi to kill her own daughter. Afterwards she allows two children to escape while Winter is too occupied to notice. These would be Rena and Faelyn.
-The other council witche, Ulena, dies during the cleansing when she gets into a fight with a particularly skilled dragonborn.
-As the cleansing comes to an end, Winter has Vasia split the empowerment spell between Vasia and Ankathi. Naming Ankathi the new council witch and the coven’s enforcer. Unaware that Ankathi now plans to one day kill her.
-Ankathi begins to research the nature of Sotirios and why the cleansing had to happen at all. She finds out the origin of the curse and how its maintained.
-As a footnote. The curse all began at the height of Katara’s power before the dying night. Back when they ruled a third of the known world. A particular queen desired eternal youth and beauty, seeking the coven to help her. Despite being warned of the problems with that she still insisted they do so, and the king was no help in dissuading her. She made a deal with one of the entities of Chaos for what she desired, agreeing to give up her firstborn child to the entity when she should have one. Once she did she changed her mind and didn’t want to sacrifice her child anymore, trying to get out of the deal by offering all of her wealth, her life, and her kingdom so she would not have to sacrifice her child. Though the entity wasn’t having that and thus the curse began with her firstborn son. It wasn’t too notable at first that the genetic exploit was in her son, but over time it became prevalent through the entire kingdom. The Dark spirits have made sure the curse was maintained by selecting one witch every time to give immense power in exchange for their cooperation. In the modern era, Winter was that witch.
-While Ankathi kept investigating into the matter, her spirits tried to kill her for becoming an obvious problem. Afflicting her with every possible curse and hex they could possibly cram into her. She somehow managed to survive, and through a mix of sheer will, rage, and witchcraft talent – enslaved the same spirit. This was the day her hair turned snow white from its original black. While she manages to silence her own spirit she is aware that she is completely alone in the full knowledge of what is going on with the coven and if she tells anyone about it, the spirits are likely to rebel. This is a problem because Winter is too powerful to really fight.
-Alongside this point in the timeline, she starts to become the Ankathi we know today. After the death of her second daughter by her own hands she became incredibly cruel, remorseless, and willing to do anything to achieve her own ends. She also met Ansa around this time and they got along suspiciously well. Inspired by the biomancer of the Nalkas, Ankathi starts abducting bandits and even other katarans to experiment on in her lab. This is part of how she became so proficient in plagues and other such things of the like and developed her reputation as the meanest thing in Katara.
-Vasia’s old rivalry with Ankathi flares back up as they both now occupy the same rank and Ankathi makes up the distance between them very quickly with renewed motive to do so, though Vasia is oblivious to what it really is. Winter also thinks Ankathi has just finally embraced being one of the biggest witches in the coven.
-Ankathi starts researching all manner of primordial links. She becomes exceptionally knowledgeable in matters of these entities over time, meeting Orias and starting to consort with him as well. Gaining knowledge of highly advanced magic over time. Revealing to our readers, who have godvision for the purposes of narrative, Ankathi has been able to do everything Nina would one day be able to achieve. She also knows how to cast druidic magic, which is tied to how she trained Amare later on. On her odyssey through the primordial entities, she becomes knowledgeable enough to access every possible time of magic based on ties to other entities. There was supposed to be a character who used divine magic from Cayetano she would eventually meet and train as well to foreshadow just how well versed in all this she is but then Tess happened. In summary, over the years, she became the most knowledgeable “pandem” style caster in the known world in her pursuit to find a way to thwart the curse, the spirits, and get her revenge on Winter.
-It is about 20 years later that Tess becomes queen, by this point Ankathi is a well known monster.
-Ankathi and Amare keep in contact after Amare leaves Tethalyn and we learn how extensive Amare’s involvement with the coven was and just how Ankathi recruited her and ran enough experiments to create a witch/druid hybrid.
-Ankathi and Orias decide to run some experiments. Which eventually become the blackguard.
-I mention again she was supposed to hybridize a divine caster too but Tess ruined my buildup.
-I was going to detail more of what happened in the Coven after Ankathi became the new elder witch. Basically she heads in to start cutting people off from their powers to stick it to the spirits. Several members of the coven attack her out of loyalty to both the spirits and Winter, they apparently missed the memo that Ankathi is the best fighter in the coven and the only one to still have her full range of powers.
In summary, the main plot line of Katara is about the curse and how to escape it. Ankathi being the key driving force of finding out how to do so, but unable to directly tell the queen about anything that is going on because of Winter’s control over Katara, which has extended to handpicking every queen for the last several generations. Winter would have some weird experiment to try, pick a queen to run it, and if it went bad she’d have the queen take the blame and be conveniently usurped by her next pet project.
I did not even get close to finishing the stupid story, but here is the text I wrote if you wanna see some scenes of 6 year old Ankathi and the epilogue with a bunch of stuff missing all over the place while I tried to hammer it out faster.