- See also Meta:Kathana e'Marish'Chala.
Kathana was a Dragonlord and a master painter whose career flourished in the millennium preceding Adron's Disaster. Having perfected all the known painting techniques, Kathana pushed herself to even greater heights with her exacting standards and extraordinary attention to detail. As research for a certain work, she studied dragons in the wild for many years, sketching their anatomy and making rough paintings of them. Finally, late in the 17th Athyra Reign, Kathana felt confident enough in her skills to create a painting in oils on a commission from Rollondar e'Drien. The subject of the painting was the depiction of a wounded dragon defending her young.
While Kathana was waiting to present this painting, the Marquis of Pepperfield passed by, and offered criticism of the artwork, suggesting that the dragon appeared to be too melancholy and not fierce enough. These statements, perhaps offered in overly-arrogant tones, enraged Kathana to the point where she was unable to control herself, and she drew her sword and beheaded the Marquis without the formalities required under the dueling code.
This killing (embroidered in later retelling to include mutilation of the Marquis' severed head) was the catalytic event that convinced the Athyra Empress Cherova to step down as ruler, and transfer the Orb to the Phoenix Heir Tortaalik.
While this change in the Cycle was taking place, Kathana herself took refuge at Adron e'Kieron's estate of Redface in the duchy of Eastmanswatch, and received a commission as Adron's artist-in-residence under the alias Fricorith.
However, back in the capital of Dragaera City, Pepperfield's death sparked many separate players to attempt to use Kathana's arrest, or the delay or prevention thereof, to increase their position at the Court. By and large, the various factions included those who wished to prevent her arrest altogether, and those who wished to use her arrest to gain control of the now-vacant Marquisate of Pepperfield. Kathana's friends included the Consort Noima, and the Enchantress, Sethra Lavode, who still controlled the Lavodes. Another putative friend was Captain Lanmarea, who had first been tasked with arresting Kathana, but had obviously and interminably delayed in doing so. However, Lanmarea was probably acting so as to curry favor with the Consort, as demonstrated by her later actions described below.
Those who desired to capture Kathana, including Seodra and Lytra, wished to take credit for the arrest, but only at the exact moment when it would work to their maximum advantage. It need hardly be said these conspirators would work to prevent any others from finding Kaluma, whether to aid her or harm her.
Khaavren, Aerich, Pel and Tazendra were drawn into this political imbroglio by a desire to advance the cause of their own captain, G'aereth, by finding and arresting Kathana on their own initiative. This prompted Khaavren to request the aid of Ricardo, an Easterner and Imperial Librarian, who discovered Kathana's hiding place through expense reports, and by deciphering that 'Fricorith', meaning "nearly-the-end-of-winter" in the old North-western language, was a hidden reference to Marish'Chala.
Khaavren's goals for dealing with Kathana became confused shortly after this discovery by the machinations of Illista, who claimed that she wished to protect Kathana. Since Khaavren had strong romantic feelings for Illista and wished to make her happy, he agreed that once Kathana was found, he would protect her.
Lytra and Seodra manipulated Khaavren and the son of the Marquis of Pepperfield, Uttrik e'Lanya, to fight a duel, since the death of either one of those two would further the goals of their faction. However, while Khaavren was victorious in the fight, he befriended Uttrik (to Lytra's and Seodra's chagrin), who joined the four in their search for Kathana, despite the fact that the young Dragonlord wished to satisfy his honor by avenging his father. This was a further complication for Khaavren, who was already torn between his duty as a Phoenix Guard to arrest Kaluma, and his promise to his lover that he would keep Kaluma from arrest.
When this group traveled to Eastmanswatch and actually found Kathana e'Marish'Chala, Uttrik confronted the Baroness, demanding satisfaction. Aerich postponed this duel by pointing out that it would be inconsiderate to their host, Adron, to fight to the death while they were still guests. Uttrik and Kathana agreed to fight their duel only after they had left Adron's lands.
Khaavren and his companions went with them, and as they traveled, Kathana and Uttrik came to know one another better. Kathana explained the murder from her perspective, expressing regret for her precipitous action, and Uttrik came to have a certain friendly sympathy for her. Kathana convinced Uttrik that the Marquis had his sword in hand when she killed him, and that the popular rumor of the paintbrushes shoved into his eye-sockets was false. However, the call of duty, honor, and filial obligation held Uttrik to his earlier resolution to kill Kathana. Khaavren became increasingly glum, as his earlier internal conflict was compounded with anxiety about the impending death of one, or both, of his newfound friends.
Uttrik and Kathana prepared to fight, once the group left Adron's land and crossed into the Marquisate of Pepperfield itself, although they did so with great sadness. Tazendra was asked to stand as second to Uttrik, and Pel was asked to stand as second to Kathana. Khaavren drew the circle, and Aerich agreed to judge.
Aerich drew out the formula of the duel as slowly as possible, and with great sadness. He asked them not once, but twice, if they would not be reconciled, in a surprising breach of propriety.
When asked if they had anything to say, they both expressed great regret for the circumstances. Uttrik emphasized that he was only acting out of duty, and Kathana went so far as to say that if she won, she would immediately submit to arrest and face the Emperor's justice.
However, just before the duel actually began, the group became aware that the Pepperfield had been invaded by a mounted force of Easterners, and the duel therefore could be honorably postponed (or rather, as it turned out, canceled permanently) in order to deal with this threat to the Empire.
Once the situation with the Easterners was resolved to everyone's satisfaction in the Treaty of the Pepperfields, the group returned to Dragaera City with Kathana, only to find themselves under arrest by the order of Captain Lanmarea, to be held incognito and incommunicado. Khaavren was briefly brought out to speak with Illista, and after she demanded that he perform various dishonorable actions, realized how entirely duplicitous she was, and that she had never cared about Kathana or himself except as means to further her own agenda.
Once Khaavren was able to testify under the Orb, Tortaalik freed him and his fellow guardsmen. Kathana, having confessed to killing Pepperfield without observing the dueling code and expressing her repentance for having done so, surrendered herself to the Emperor's justice. Uttrik testified on her behalf, absolving and forgiving her. The Emperor then sentenced Kathana with the rather light punishment of 57 years of service in the Phoenix Guard.
Kathana only served 38 of those years. After she presented her painting, Consort by the Fireside, to the Emperor, Tortaalik was so pleased that he released her from guard duty to return to her art.
Kathana later married a Dragonlord of the e'Lanya line, and her fate after that is unknown. The painting Kathana created for Rollandar e'Drien and killed Pepperfields over may have survived Adron's Disaster and the Interregnum. Shortly before Vlad signed up to be a saboteur in Morrolan's army in the fight against Fornia, the Jhereg assassin examines a painting at Castle Black of a wounded dragon defending her young.
- Aerich's description of the 'duel' which got Kathana in trouble in the first place.
- "She had mortally wounded a man without following the dueling code. And, his spine was severed, and as, moreover, she had put several paint brushes into his eyes after beheading him--"