FROM THE PRIVATE JOURNALS OF GREEN-VENOM-TONGUE
Astara Caerellius, Matron of our Sanctuary, definitely carries the weight of responsibility upon her shoulders. You can see it in her eyes, in the deep creases of her face. She really needs to take better care of herself. On certain days, she looks every bit as old as she is. She could still gut me like a fish, hollow me out, and turn my empty skin into a backpack, but that doesn't change the fact that she isn't getting any younger. I wonder if I should recommend a lotion to help with that? A combination of troll fat, river mud, and Alik'r spices certainly keeps my scales supple and shiny.
I've been trying to better understand our Matron, but in many ways she remains a mystery to me. She holds herself apart and above the Brothers and Sisters that operate out of this Sanctuary, even as she worries and frets over each assassin she sends on a contract. She is definitely cold and calculating, an accomplished killer with a reputation for completing contracts faster and more efficiently than anyone else of her age category. She's probably lost a step or two, but I have no doubt her blade remains sharp and her aim deadly. Why does she insist on projecting such a hard shell, I wonder, when it's obvious she's as soft as yolk on the inside? I want to ask her, but the last time I broached the subject she threatened to cut out my tongue and hang it on the Black Door if I didn't stop bothering her with personal questions.
I spent part of the day following the Matron around the Sanctuary, hoping to glean more insights into her motivations and character. Even a cold-blooded killer can be curious, after all.
Astara took her morning meal in the mess, as she is wont to do. She had a large bowl of wine-soaked corn cake and chunks of wheel-barrow cheese. Interesting how she would spear a bit of cake or cheese with her knife, examine it carefully, and then plop it into her mouth. She chewed each mouthful eleven times—never more, never less—swallowed, then belched enthusiastically before diving in for more. She finished all but a sliver of cake and a wedge of cheese and departed just as Tanek and Cimbar entered. I was tempted to stay behind to see what the assassins were going to eat, but that would have conflicted with my observations of the Matron. Perhaps tomorrow.
I quietly followed the Matron into the library, where she continued her morning ritual of reading from “The Five Tenets" and then, when she assumed no one was watching, she picked up one of her beloved bawdy tales. I couldn't see which it was today. Probably “Investigator Vale" or “Tales of the Pirate Empress" if I had to guess. She does seem to enjoy a rollicking bodice ripper whenever she can get her hands on one. At that point, without even turning to look, she hurled a dagger. It buried itself in the wall beside my head, less than a claw's length from my right ear.
And so concluded my observations of Matron Astara for the day.MEET THE CHARACTER – ASTARA CAERELLIUS