Night elf historian, linguist, explorer, and mage apprentice
Age: 519 (as of year 41 after the Dark Portal)
By nature, Lintian is introverted and analytical. Though often immersed in her own somber thoughts, she is also open to new experiences, friendly to outsiders, and has a sense of humor and the ability to laugh at her own native culture. She is a supporter of pan-elven unity, the embodiment of which she once saw in the Suramar campaign; the Fourth War, however, quashed all her dreams and confronted her with a difficult choice: to betray her peace-loving ideals or to turn her back on her people.
Lintian was born in Winterspring, on the outskirts of night elf civilization. Her mother was a Sentinel, and her father a painter. Since childhood, she was enamoured by nearby ruins from the time of the Kaldorei Empire, and through them, became interested in the history of her people.
Under her mother’s mentorship, Lintian grew up to be a skilled archer and hunter, but refused a military career. Instead, she spent her free time wandering Kalimdor, exploring its cultures and searching for ancient knowledge, studying history and pondering the forces that drive the rise and fall of civilizations. Long months and sometimes years of solitude infused her with thoughts about the lost past unlike those of most of her kin.
After the Third War, in which her mother died on the battlefield, Lintian moved to Astranaar, which was at that time on an important route for the Alliance, often frequented by traders, adventurers and other travelers. As a young, easy-going night elf, she did not shy away from strangers — on the contrary, ever curious, she liked to question them about their native cultures. However, except for a few brief visits to Stormwind, she had no intention of leaving her homeland…
…At least until the invasion of the Burning Legion, which disrupted her quiet life. Deciding that in an “it’s us or them” situation, Azeroth needed all help it could get, she volunteered for an expedition to the Broken Isles, where she soon joined Thalyssra’s rebellion. Getting acquainted with the nightborne and Suramar, this last remnant of the Kaldorei Empire, finally convinced her of the error of the path chosen by Tyrande and Malfurion and the need for reforms in night elf society.
The Fourth War and beyond
After the liberation of Suramar, Lintian joined the traveling order of adventurers known as the Fallen Leaf, founded by pandaren revolutionary Shuang Lian. Until the end of the Argus campaign, the Order traveled across Azeroth, providing aid to those affected by the Legion invasion and helping mend the destruction it caused.
Upon learning of the victory over the Legion, Lintian left her adventurous life for a while and returned to Astranaar, where she devoted her time to writing memoirs and political treatises, thinking that Azeroth would finally enjoy peace and tranquility for many years. But reality decreed otherwise. Sylvanas’s Horde army invaded Ashenvale, and Lintian barely escaped, leaving behind the burning Astranaar.
Unwilling to join the war against her friends among Horde races, she eventually found herself in Pandaria, where she rejoined the Fallen Leaf. Having decided that the night elf nation had fallen and she was no longer bound by its laws and customs, Lintian devoted herself to studying arcane magic in the pandaren tradition from the mages of the Fallen Leaf, from time to time procuring scrolls from the Temple of the Jade Serpent.
And then came N’Zoth.
For a whole month, the Fallen Leaf, together with other defenders of Pandaria, held the siege of the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. However, when the Old God’s presence left Pandaria, Shuang announced a new goal for the order: revival of the Pandaren Empire with herself at its head, expulsion of the Alliance and the Horde, and isolation of Pandaria from the outside world. Lintian, unable to accept this turn of events, left the order with a heavy heart, and was soured on adventuring for years.
At about the same time, however, she visited Dalaran and met Archmage Zyretha Snowdawn, who welcomed her as an apprentice. Lintian has lived in the floating city ever since, finding kinship with Kirin Tor mages over their shared curiosity and intellectual pursuits.
She returned to adventuring five years later, with the discovery of the Dragon Isles, joining ancient kaldorei chronomancer Acheleus Moonblaze and his Agency on a full-scale Kirin Tor expedition to the Azure Span.
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Behind the scenes
Of all my RP characters throughout the years, Lintian is by far the one with the most depth and character development, mostly because of how long I have roleplayed her.
She was created in 2015, when the announcement of the Legion expansion brought me back into WoW after prolonged absence. I long wanted to see the Broken Isles with their Kaldorei Empire lore, but my existing RP characters had no compelling in-character reason to go there. Lintian was the kind of character I long wanted to do, one that I felt was underrepresented in official lore: a night elf explorer, rooted in the race’s culture but curious about the outside world and its younger races.
One of the character themes I’ve explored with Lintian is the deconstruction of idyllic fantasy traditionalism that night elf culture is often stereotyped as, by showing it through the eyes of a misfit. Compare Final Fantasy XIV’s Gridania, an intentional deconstruction of that kind of society by its writers, though Lintian’s concept predated my introduction to FFXIV by years.
Another theme is conflicted cultural loyalties. Lintian is genuinely attached to her people’s culture and way of life, but also disgusted with some of its aspects. She wants a better future for the night elves, but it’s a kind of future that she expects them, as they are now, to overwhelmingly reject. And she’s meant by me, her author, to be biased, and not at all unambiguously right in any of her views.
She was originally created as a hunter. The mage training arc wasn’t planned, but came from a combination of IC and OOC reasons at the time, in mid-BfA; it turned out to match her interests and personality really well.
As for the name, she was named after Lintian, the package checker for the Debian Linux distribution; a name that was deliberately evocative of Tolkien’s Lúthien, though the two characters have little in common except for being adventurous forest elves clad in blue. It spawned a running theme of all of Lintian’s relatives and animal companions being named after software as well, like her parents Maven and Riena, her owl Quilt, and her hippogryph Laravel.