| ||The officer wasn't embarrassed at the sight of them, and didn't blush, gape or goggle, because the officer was a woman. A tall, slender woman with a thick, black plait and a sword at her side.|| |
|- pg. 86, Time of Contempt (UK edition)|
Rayla of Lyria, known first as Black Rayla and later as White Rayla, was a natural-born soldier and a veteran of the wars with Nilfgaard. She was a mercenary and later an officer of the special forces of King Demavend of Aedirn. While she was guarding the withdrawal of civilians from invaded Aedirn, her unit was wiped out by Scoia'tael commando. She survived the capture, but maimed and disfigured.
Rayla was the daughter of a elven woman and a human man, making her a Half-elf. She was born in Lyria, where she lived in a hamlet. Her neighbors however, fearing the Scoia'tael commandos, showed nothing but hatred towards Rayla and her family, who were constantly bullied, discriminated and beaten. In the end, Rayla started hating non-humans even more than her former neighbors, despite secretly being one of them.
She early became a mercenary and departed for adventures. At some point of her life she met Geralt of Rivia, witnessed his fighting skills and became impressed by them. She also visited Vengerberg few times meeting sorceress Yennefer.
She fought for Nordlings during the Northern War I. Later, she participated in gathering at Bleobheris where she watched Dandelion's performance and discussed with other spectators about the events described in his ballad.
Aedirnian special forces
Some time later, Rayla joined the special forces formed by King Demavend. In June 1267, she was tasked with escorting Archmistress Tissaia de Vries to Gors Velen. There, Yennefer argued that Rayla, as a mercenary fighting for money, would not be able to sacrifice like soldiers who defend their own country and homes, while Margarita Laux-Antille defended the warioress. Yennefer's predictions would be later proved untrue.
Early stages of war
When the Second Northern War broke out, Rayla's unit was sent by King Demavend to defend Lower Aedirn from Nilfgaardian invaders. However, instead of Nilfgaardians, the unit faced a vanguard of Scoia'tael, who captured Rayla's men and attempted to execute them. Fortunately for them, the elves were all slaughtered by a convoy of Lyrian soldiers who were passing nearby. Surprisingly for Rayla, the unit was led by none other than Meve, Queen of Lyria and Rivia, who was escaping from her country after the Lyrian golpe and was entering Aedirn, where she was hoping to receive military aid from King Demavend. Driven by common interest, Rayla and her men joined Meve's party and headed to Rosberg, where the King was last seen.
Alas, the Nilfgaardian invasion was proceeding without obstacles and what remained of Rosberg were some burned down ruins. One of the few survivors, Xavier Lemmens, informed Queen Meve and Rayla that King Demavend left Rosberg before the siege and was now preparing his defense at Aldersberg.
In the end Lyrians and Aedirnians joined forces and clashed against Nilfgaardian ones in what will be later known as First battle of Aldersberg. Although Meve and Demavend's troops were defeated and Aldersberg was burned down, the two monarchs managed to save their lives and Aldersberg citizens'.
Following the battle, Demavend fled to Redania. Before leaving Meve however, he handed her the Leaden Ring, a token which would've given her the permission to enter the enclave of Mahakam and ask for military help to Brouver Hoog, the Elder-in-Chief. The King of Aedirn also tasked Rayla with escorting the Queen to her destination.
Sack of Vengerberg
After the Battle of Vengerberg was won by Nilfgaard, Rayla's unit protected the civilians fleeing through the Pontar Valley to Temeria. When the rear guard was obliterated by Scoia'tael, she ordered her men to stay and became the rear guard theirselves, despite their reluctance. After a fierce battle, she was the last to stand, surrounded by Scoia'tael. They asked her to drop her weapon, but she replied her sword was too expensive to drop it and if they wish to take it, they should break her fingers to do so.
Rayla appears again in 1268 – not with broken fingers but without the whole hand, replaced by a steel hook. While survived, she apparently suffered much: even her hair turned white. Calling herself "White Rayla" now, she was full of rage and hatred towards Scoia'tael. After the Battle of Brenna she pursued Toruviel's commando.
Rayla is a character in Thronebreaker. She can be recruited by Meve as a companion at the start of the quest Ashes of Aedirn.
The hunt for the free elves who had been resting near Murky Waters was led by White Rayla, a mercenary hired by the Order of the Flaming Rose. She had her right hand severed under sadistic torture when she was captured by the Scoia'tael trying to help villagers who were later judged to have been traitors. Her moral stance on the fate of the villagers of Murky Waters then comes as no surprise as she accused them of being traitors for harbouring the elves.
Later, Salamandra found her, close to death and subjected her to mutation. Rayla recuperated and, as a mutant, regained her full strength. In return for her second "more perfect" life, she served as a thrall to her new masters. Her few interjections during Azar Javed's speech to Geralt suggested that her intellectual faculties did not survive the mutation unscathed. Under the influence of Salamandra she attacked Geralt and was slain.
Depending on the path Geralt choose, White Rayla was one of three possible, but mutually exclusive, sexual partner Geralt can have in Chapter V. He slept with her if he choose the Order path. Their exchange just prior to their roll in the hay was quite amusing, making killing her, even mutated as she was, sadder than it might have been.
- The hunt for the free elves who had been resting near Murky Waters was led by White Rayla, a mercenary hired by the Order. Rayla is a natural-born soldier and a veteran of the wars with Nilfgaard, during which she was maimed and disfigured. Rayla is used to discipline and has but one passion — she hates elves and hunts them with unwavering ruthlessness.
- Rayla surrounded Toruviel's elves in the village of Murky Waters, but the situation got out of control. A fight broke out between her soldiers and the elves.
- If Geralt does the Order path:
- I decided to help Rayla during the siege of Murky Waters, thus helping her to defeat Toruviel's elves.
- White Rayla returned to Vizima. She was slain by elven arrows as non-humans and knights of the Order clashed in the burning city.
- I met the mercenary again. Salamandra found her close to death and subjected her to mutation. Rayla recuperated and , as a mutant, regained her strength in no time. In return for her second life, she had to swear absolute loyalty to her new masters. She tried to stop me and I had to kill her. For good this time.
- After the end of the Second Nilfgaard War, White Rayla is described as heavily disfigured (with at least two big face scars), half of her right ear is missing and she has a brass hook in place of her left hand. In the game however, none of these afflictions are presented and, in fact, this even contradicts her own in-game journal entry, stating that "she was maimed and disfigured". Also, her hair at that point in the book is already all white (presumably the cause for her change of alias from "Black Rayla"), whereas in the game she is portrayed as still having black hair.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Blood of Elves
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Time of Contempt
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 The Lady of the Lake
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales