A d20 Character Background
The girl stood high-up on the top of the stone building. It was almost forty feet to the ground below, but that didn’t matter to her. In the cold of the night, she had tied a rope to a half broken gargoyle statue. The other end she had tied around her own neck, nice and secure. The rough hemp scraping on the bruises that she constantly wore.
Bruises were common to her. Beatings, bashings and even the occasional stab wound. Nothing surprised her much any more. She stood there, leaning on the edge as she stared down into the darkness of the city below. What did she have to live for? Nothing. Constant beatings when she never made enough coin for her slave master. Rapes by any who wanted to. Beatings, robberies. Even by the city watch too.
Nothing mattered. Death would be far easier to live with. Even the hells itself.
She was about to step forward, to jump when a voice almost startled her off the roof.
“Is it really that bad?” he asked
She steadied herself and looked back at the well dressed man. His fur lined cloak rustling in the cold wind.
“What would you know silkthread?” she shot back, using the gutter-speak for a rich man.
The man smiled at her kindly. He was old by her standards, but probably only in his mid thirties – if that. His eyes showed a brightness though the kind she hardly saw anymore – that of someone alive. Truly Alive.
She stepped closer to him without realising it.
“You have a choice you know. Your life can be different – very different from what it is now. And that change can start almost immediately. It is your choice.”
“Choice? You make it sound like I am free silkthread. I am not. I am a slave to this life. How can I change what I have become?” her voice was breaking, her confidence failing.
“Yes girl. You have a choice. I can show you what your life could be. If you let me.”
The girl nodded slowly and the man untied the rope, throwing it off the roof to the street below. “You won’t be needing that, ever again.” he said, looking into her eyes before he took her by the hand and walked across to another building.
“Now, try and keep up.” he said with a wry smile as he took off running across the roof tops.
She was again surprised at his speed, and simply retorted “In my sleep…” as she ran after him, responding to the different pitches and surfaces of the rooves with ease.
It wasn’t long until they both dropped down to the street level and quietly walked up to a house. The building was almost of wealthy standards – too big to be classed as ‘poor class’ and not good enough to be classed in the upper class. To the girl though, this place was amazing.
The man led her inside, and the first thing she noted were pictures. Dozens or portraits – head shots mostly of men and women. Some her age, some older than the stranger. She even saw his photo. A picture of a woman before it, and a man before that.
“I get it… “ she said, adding “These people are like you? He taught her, she taught you and you will teach me?”
He nodded. “Yes. And when the time comes, you will take on your own student. A young man.”
“Me? A teacher? I don’t believe it.”
“Well you must. But first, let us get you cleaned up.”
He led her to a room that had an iron bath. A large kettle of sorts kept water heated and she could simply fill the bath herself. Coals under the bath ensured that the water stayed warm for some time as well.
“Here you go. Have a bath now. Over there is a robe you can wear, for now that is. Tomorrow we will buy you some decent clothing. Your own silkthreads” he said with a laugh.
She found herself smiling back. Warming up to this man. This stranger.
“Wait, “ she said, before he left the sparse room, “what is your name? What do I call you?”
He smiled. “I was wondering how long it would take. My name as Gartholum. But you can always call me Silkthread.” he mused.
She smiled. “Um. My name, the one I know, is Diandra. But I have been known by many others.”
“It would be best that the others are not repeated here. Diandra is fine. For now. Perhaps though, you will find yourself changing it. We will see.”
Diandra lay in the warm bath, soaking. She had never truly bathed before. Not ever. And never even close to something like this. Bathing to her was usually a mug of water in the face. Or risking a swim in the port or river mouth – never a good idea, and not only because of crocodiles or sharks. The City Watch tended to shoot people in the river rather than waste time arresting them. This, to her, was absolute luxury.
For a moment she thought she had actually died and this was the afterlife for her. The fabulous heaven that awaited.
A knock at the door woke her up “Are you ok? You have been there for some time…” Gartholum asked.
“I am fine. I will be out soon. “ she said politely, realising that even the coals had began to cool down and the water was not as warm as it was.
Diandra got out of the bath and patted her pale skin dry with a woolen towel. She put on the robe that Gartholum had pointed out – a soft, warm robe made of wool as well. Something like this she would normally steal to sell. But, here, she knew she could not. She could not steal – he would simply know.
She fastened the belt around her, covering all her girly bits that were still girly and not quite womany. She then walked back to the hall, and finally found him in a large room that may have once been a ball room of some kind. Now it was marked with symbols on the walls and floor and the ceiling above was a large glass dome – the very stars lit up the room like day light.
Gatholum was sitting at a table and he gestured for her to sit on the chair opposite him. On the table was food. Fruits and cooked meats – the kind she could only ever dream about or would have to flip for in the market square.
“Eat, please. This is for you.” he said smiling as he bit into an apple.
Diandra ate slowly, trying hard to keep civilities that she could only imagine was ‘right’. Soon her hunger got the better of her, and she dug into the food with reckless abandon.
Gortholum waited until she ate her fill. “Do not be embarrassed, Diandra. There is nothing wrong.” he said, easing her feelings of guilt and shame.
“This room, “ he gestured, “ is my sanctuary, my study, and my temple. It will become yours too for it is this place that will teach you everything you need to learn. Here you will realise what Fate is and how you can Weave it to what you will.”
Diandra stared at him in amazement. “Fate Weaving? I have never heard of such a thing.”
“Then I have worked well. Secrecy is an important aspect to your Faith. Our way of life will be destroyed if others learned of the truth. Here, people move about the city and ignore this building – because I have willed it. I have woven Fate to hide this building from the eyes of the city, and it has worked very well. Those I speak to, that is a different matter. To them I am simply an astronomer – a star gazer.”
“Ah. The same question I asked my Teacher. It has taken me nearly two full years to find one worthy of this. Fate brought you to me.”
“Bu… worthy? I . But you weave fate? you change it?”
He smiled again. “Ah, but Fate is a balance. You can manipulate a small fraction of it to your own ends, but the consequences is something you may not be able to change. Do not worry, you will learn and understand. Think of Fate as our religion, our faith. We do not spread the word, we simply believe. And that is what you must do also – believe.”
“Rest today. Tomorrow we will begin.”