"They will only respect you if you put up a good fight."
Neawendi was found in the wilderness along with her brother Anarion—both young children—with no memory of their parent's or where they came from. Despite being a misfit in society and often referred to as a wild animal by her peers, she climbed the societal ladder at an alarming pace. Either by luck or sheer stubbornness, Neawendi grew up to become a Swordmaster and a Guardian to Lorioloth, the High Lord of the elves.
Her obsession with swords and battle put her life and others at risk to the point where few wanted to fight alongside her. It was considered bad luck. To Neawendi, they were simply weak-minded. If they feared they would be slain in battle, all they had to do was hone their skills more. You can't be killed if no one can touch you.
Neawendi caused quite the scene during her first days in Old Tharglond. She watched a group of young boys sparring outside a school with their wooden swords and proceeded to insult their techniques. Being a female, and a child herself, they naturally mocked her in response. A challenge was issued and before any teacher could be notified, Neawendi had already severely wounded three of her opponents. Where she had learned to fight in a way so different from elven standards baffled them. Instead of blocks and thrusts, she ducked, jumped and sliced. It was tiring even to the viewers to watch her lead the boys in circles until they lashed out in fury, but Neawendi herself seemed almost tireless.
The news of the fight spread like wildfire and the school was forced to take her in as a student. She had potential, confidence, and determination, a prime candidate. When the time came to choose a profession, the question of what she would become did not have to be asked. She considered herself part of the militia before she had even been introduced to the idea, so by the time she graduated, the army already eagerly expected her.
The army came with rules and discipline, two things she did not handle very well and openly opposed. She knew how to use a sword. She'd die to protect the city. Any other formalities she dismissed as optional. This enraged many ranked above her, nobility, and the city guard. Her inability to correctly follow orders and to act properly around superiors should have had her expelled. Royal intervention delayed such action when she won a close victory against Aiu, one of Lorioloth's guardians. The High Lord did not waste the opportunity to include her as one of his Guardians. This meant the army and nobility would no longer have to deal with her, and Lorioloth had someone at hand reckless and competent enough to not be intimidated by the Nevaari that slowly but certainly encroached on his territory.
Being placed pretty much up front and center in Lorioloth's guard, it was only a matter of time before Shairën's eyes caught sight of the young lady, and he would see her often. They would train together, duel, challenge each-other in tournaments and speak of all the things that normal people would rather not think about. Thus, many concerned voices were raised when Neawendi was thrown into the role of a diplomat between the elves and the morgethri. She worked so closely—and alone—with Shairën that her loyalty came into question by those who had not really seen them together. There was undoubtedly chemistry between the two, but Neawendi treated it like any other battle and would not yield to his or her own emotions.
Had the state of the world been different, perhaps they would have been allies, both dedicating their lives to the sword with little care for politics and the business of others. Shairën attempted to convince her to switch sides during the war but she would always turn him down. She would not abandon her people, especially while he was so openly willing to slay whoever got in his way.
The near genocide of the high elves committed by Shairën and his people made any peace between the two impossible. She had to fight him on principle. If no one else would, the war would be lost before the nevaari even reached the gates of Tharglond. Neawendi was not the best Swordmaster in Lorioloth’s service, but she made it her personal duty to hunt down and hold any battle where Shairën were present. She’d fight him and lose many times, yet he’d go out of his way not to kill her. Speculations spread that such mercy was either out of boredom or even love, speculations that would naturally make Neawendi livid, clearly it was some obscure tactic to spread confusion and doubt. She was sure she wanted him dead. She hated how he always knew what to say, the way he got inside her head, the way he tried to justify the slaughter of thousands of elves. Yet, when she herself was presented with a chance to simply "let him die", she instead saved his life.