Skaina is old, but she is most certainly not a woman. Do not let your eyes fool you.
You cannot trust your senses.
Long, long ago, when the winds over the stones of Lhazaar were wild, there was a storm-tossed island, on which lived dour, fierce people with cold blue eyes. At the heart of this island was a cave deep in the side of a hill, and in this deep cave lived the Crone.
(It was said that at the back of that cave, hidden behind an ancient stone, was a door, and that the door led all the way down to Khyber. If such things are to be believed.)
The people and the Crone lived together, shared that small storm-tossed isle, and yet they only met once a year. That was the time of Sacrifice, when the winter storms brewed on dark horizons. In exchange for the Sacrifice, the Crone would sing down the winds. She would protect them, even from the ravages of time. She granted them an unnaturally long life, and was their secret which they jealously guarded.
The price was merely a single child. And so the weakest was chosen by the elders, and brought to the Crone, left for her, and never spoken of again.
Before the first cold-eyed people came in their long boats, the Crone was there, and it was believed that she would be there long after. But it was not meant to be.
Many years ago, following a great war between Dragons and Elves, there came a lone woman to that isle. She was fleeing great powers, and yet she hid within herself the greatest power; that which all life must answer to; none other than Death. She came to the isle weakened, grieving, broken, her body stitched together by dread energies drawn from a thousand graves.
She and the Crone met. They spoke. And it is said that, slowly, with creaking limbs, the Crone did what she had never done.
A sacrifice, of sorts, to be sure.
And when that dread woman called upon the Crone once more, after long years had passed, she came, and answered, and traveled to a certain keep in Lhazaar which was once her home, to inquire of a certain family whether they were in need of a nurse for their newborn daughter…
The livid purple birth-mark bothered her not at all. She only smiled, and cooed, and waited for the girl to grow up at last.