You are Chaosbringer Sijan Renyan'ache, War Witch of Elanthia, a Prydaen. You have pointed ears and cat-slitted silver-flecked stormy grey eyes. Your red-gold-streaked amber mane is long and straight, and is worn tied back in an intricate five-stranded braid. You have rust-colored fur with sepia points and silvered black marbling, a thick tail and an athletic figure. You are tall for a Prydaen. You are a moth-stalker.
You are wearing a polished steel locket, a brownish-black bearskin with dark green stones for eyes, a rough leather baldric decorated with pale bones, a dakohirdu bone wrist knife with a spidersilk-wrapped hilt, an albredine crystal ring, a crudely-stitched shaman's fetish pouch, a desiccated ur hhrki'izh bone spellbook case festooned with shamanic clusters of feathers, a rough iron case engraved with a maze pattern, a dark brown leather thigh bag trimmed with brass rivets, some fitted black thigh boots with claw-shaped bone clasps up the sides and a long parry stick wrapped in frayed brown leather.
Birth date: 18th day of the 10th month of Nissa the Maiden in the year of the Iron Toad, 375 years after the victory of Lanival the Redeemer
Birthplace: Arid Steppe
Focus: Protection of the wild and destruction of cities to "free" the mindless masses from the slavery of civilization. Weapon of Choice: Spear, both as melee and thrown
While warming herself around a crackling fire, a Prydaen woman sits and listens as a small group of people approach through the surrounding wilds. Preparing herself for an attack, she slips into the shadows carefully readying her worn and notched spear to protect herself.
“They move like bumbling oafs, is this the best they send after me now?” she thought as she listened to the approaching strangers apparently step on every twig and branch on their way towards her.
Finally as the group of people step from the overgrown weeds and trees, she lifts her spear silently ready to take one down. But before she strikes, she notices their torn and ragged clothes, faces covered in dirt, and emaciated builds. Their eyes dart around the campfire and find the remains of the Prydaen’s evening meal discarded and thrown into the dirt near the fire. With a ravenous pounce they all dive upon the carcass and pick the miniscule pieces of meat still clinging to the bones.
A small smirk flashes across her face as a brief wave of pity washes over her. She is oddly proud of her ability to feel something in that moment. That the silence hadn’t taken that from her as it had so many other things.
Sure that the starving group would not hear anything over their sucking and slurping of bones, she threw her spear with practiced precision.
“You all look hungry,” she said in feigned concern. “I see you found my supper, but the pickings there must not have been enough for you all. Please, stay and warm yourselves and eat. Who knows when your next meal will be?”
The men and women jump, terrified of the woman walking from the woods toward the fire. Their eyes quickly dart to the beast slung over her shoulder and their mouths water. Their stomachs and bodies craving food, overwhelmed any fear that tried to flood their brains.
Setting the beast upon the fire, she offers them a story to try and ease their patience.
“My family, fleeing the vile demon Lyras, settled in the harsh lands of the Trabe Plateau and I was born and raised among the ways of the Nomads who live there. If you know anything of these people, you know that their identity as a collective tribe is often stronger than any other they will ever have. Even many of their mages claim their Nomad heritage first and their guild association second. When our family was given shelter and accepted into the tribe, we became part of the tribe and were no longer homeless refugees.
Their ways are all I knew for most of my life. While the fact I was Prydaen among a predominantly human community was rather obvious, it was never mentioned during my youth. I paid it no mind and never felt out of place among my adopted brethren. Everything I could have ever wanted was there for me. My childhood was happy as I learned to hunt, care for skins, respect and listen to the spirits of the land, and survive in a land that toughens you.
While I heard the call of the spirits and respected the seers of the tribe, my fate was not with them. The bones were just bones to me as I saw no future when they tumbled. This was a slight disappointment, as one of my closest friends (a gnome who, like myself, was both an outsider and yet not) proved to be quite the mage. The web of fate and call of spirits opened to him in ways I will never understand even to this day.
Trying to not let myself feel pity for myself or jealous of my friend, I comforted myself in the fact I heard the spirits of the wild and focused on my ability to hunt. With my knowledge of the land and the spirits to guide me, I would spend most of my time out in the wilds searching for prey. My way to give back and to contribute to the society was to bring down the beasts that our cooks would turn into feasts and our tradesmen would turn into magnificent hides.”
She pauses for a moment, realizing that the mention of feasts jolted the starving men and women back into reality. She slowly turns the spit to keep the beast roasting.
“But then Lyras had broken free. With a vast army and immense range and power, she had escaped the prison in which many hoped she would remain forever. She set up camp in a well hidden location, somewhere near here in the wilds, and many on the Plateau felt that she was much too close for comfort.
Seeing the terror in my parents eyes when they heard is something I shall never forget. It was then that they finally told me of my original heritage. Stories of fallen loved ones raising from their graves to slay their living relatives, of a seemingly unending army that grew with every death, and of having to flee the only place that they had ever known.
It was then that I knew I had to do anything I could to make sure this would not happen to the tribe. I would not bear the same scar that my parents did, and I would give everything to make sure they would not suffer as they once did. A pain so strong they could not speak of it until this day.”
Removing the beast from the spit, she places it down on a clearing in front of the hungry humans who begin to devour it as they listen raptly as the Pyrdaen continues her tale.
“Perhaps it wasn’t the wisest of decisions, but I do think my heart was truly in the right spot. After adventuring to Crossing to see if I could find more information to help in the war against Lyras, I ran into a man who had spent years of his life studying and writing books on the topic of necromancy and what a vile practice it was. Zamidren, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, had fooled me as much as he fooled the others. I trusted his words and, perhaps foolishly, offered everything I could to help him in his quest to destroy Lyras.
Little did I know what I had done and at what cost.
Even after he was exposed as a necromancer, I found I had followed him too blindly and deeply to return. Or perhaps that is just what I like to tell myself to ease any residual pain. I, along with a few others, had been known to meet with him often and paranoia and persecution spread. The Inquisition strung up and killed others for much lesser “crimes” than mine. With nowhere to go, I secretly followed Zamidren into his descent. As I had promised, I had given him everything to help destroy Lyras and I had become one of his Philosophers.”
Eyes widening, the ravenous group drop their food and gaze at the woman mouth still agape. Trying as hard as their feeble bodies and minds could allow, they tried to flee but their terror paralyzed them.
“Yes, in many ways I grew to become the monster I gave everything to kill. Even the spirits had abandoned me as I had become an abomination in their eyes. That was perhaps the most painful of all things lost. Imagine a world buzzing with thousands of voices brought to a silence in the blink of an eye. Nothing has been the same since I found my connection to the spirits that had for so long served as my guides and companions severed.
A few people have filled this void as best they could, whether they knew the truth of what I had done. My dear friend Terra always found a way to make me feel much as I once did, but even she now has vanished to pursue a life with her husband upon the seas. And my lovely husband, with whom I have walked so many trails. I wonder what he will do if he ever truly finds out the lengths I have gone. I do sometimes wonder if either of them know how important they are to keeping me... me.
I suppose I have rambled for too long now. It is just that I so rarely get guests with whom I can share stories these days, and you all looked so hungry. Your presence has restored me, even if for a short while, that feeling of what it was once like to commune with others. I owe you all quite a good deal for reminding me that I can experience a connection like this.”
Grabbing a handful of dirt, she begins to whisper arcane words. Gently blowing the dust from her hand she closes her eyes as the dust begins to swirl around her mutating and causing the air to bleed with bilious, deep green hues. Greenish acid begins to fall like rain around her dissolving all it touches. Still gripped with an unholy and paralyzing fear, the humans don’t even move to scream as the acid rips at their skin.
“Ah, yes, now I feel quite like myself.”