Who is Xari Gundara? What motivates the woman? Her fears, her loves, her desires, who knows these things about her, and what might they reveal about her as a person?
One thing that may be said about Xari Gundara is that she leaves her past behind her, but is it a true or even a fair statement.
Only once, by her own admission, did she ever visit the House Gundara Mausoleum, the day that the ashes of her mother were laid to rest. One would have to imagine that she was alive for the deaths of other relatives, such as her grandmother, also a Morschcoda of Armanda, but it is possible that in that case at least, she would have been too young to remember. Other relatives might simply not have been close enough to her, either in blood or emotional ties, for it to have been worth her attendance at their deaths or funerals.
Also along this line of reasoning, supporting Xari’s easily letting go of her past would be the example of Xari’s daughter and only child, Guinira. Guinira ran away at a young age, for reasons that are at best speculation, but then proceeded to live, as a prominent woman, in the city from which her mother ruled as Morschcoda of Armanda. If Xari knew or guessed at the true identity of the young woman who sat on her council of advisors, she apparently made no effort to close the gap between them. Xari’s lack of other children might be explained by a desire to not be reminded of her runaway daughter, though that would be a poor explanation.
There is another way to explain Xari Gundara however, and it is one that completely contradicts the theory previously presented: that Xari lets go of the past quickly.
What happened to Xari’s husband? That she must have had one (whether or not he was the true father of Guinira would not particularly matter, only that he exist for the sake of appearances) is beyond any doubt. Traditionally, Armandan women marry quite young. Xari is only about one hundred and fifty years older that Guinira, and though that is a respectable difference, look at the ages of her contemporaries on the Morschcoda Council, Ranny Marsharin and Daliana Marcarry. Neither were married by their third century, and Daliana was still unwed well into her sixth century.
So, what happened to Xari’s husband? The answer, of course, is Taren Garrenin the Second. Xari’s husband was a decorated soldier, and what country was more suited for war with Drogoda than its southern neighbour? Allihn Gundara, Xari’s husband, died in battle with Drogoda. It is often claimed, though Taren Garrenin has never confirmed the theory, that Allihn Gundara was killed by Taren himself. This theory explains quite easily why Xari Gundara is even more hostile to Taren Garrenin and Drogoda as a whole than any Gundaran Morschcoda before her.
Another point to raise is the sword she carries: Galdren. The Flaming Steel was once the property of her husband, returned in state to An-Aniath with the Lord Allihn’s body, escorted by ten Mordak Riders (an attempt on Taren’s part to make a gesture of peace). Xari would wear the sword every day for the rest of her life, constantly ensuring that Taren saw the blade, reminding him of his crime against her. I believe also that Xari trained with the weapon to be even more proficient than her husband, hoping to be able to kill Taren if she was ever given the opportunity.
I believe that the death of Xari’s husband drove an emotional wedge between Xari and her daughter, and that Xari attempted to bury her past so that it could not be used against her. But where does that leave us in regards to who the woman is?
She tries desperately to hide from her past, which only leads to it controlling her. She had no choice but to put her duty before her family, and so she lost her daughter. She loved her husband so deeply, she carried the only physical reminder of him that she had for the rest of her life. In short, she is a woman defined by loss, who lost everything, and lost it more than once.