[Co-created with my girlfriend Megan, but mainly written by me, for an aborted PBEM campaign]
Class: Magic-User (journeyman)
Social Class: MLC
Relatives: Crystal (29-yr. old sister)
Money: 1 gold pieces, 20 silver pieces, 8 copper pieces
Items: Shield, simple bow, 12 arrows [made with house rules that allowed magic-users to employ shields and any weapon, but all restricted to 1-4 points of damage regardless of size], dagger, gown, robe, shoes, book, cheese (1 lb.), lantern, salted jerky (1 lb.), waterskin.
Background: Jade was the oldest daughter of two simple villagers in the Village of Barnard. Her father was a tailor and Jade was apprenticed to him in that trade at the age of 16 (being customary for unwed maids of 16 or older to seek employment in the Barony of Blackmoor). Her village was on the edge of the Barony of Blackmoor, along the shores of Loch Glomen. She might have wiled away her years here without any hint of adventure in her life had not a young stranger come to town during her first year of apprenticeship. He was a magic-user, a journeyman in the mystic arts, and was seeking his fortune. He was also young and handsome, just as Jade was young and beautiful. The two fell in love, and the young man promised to take Jade far away to the City of Maus where she could learn magic, as he had, at a college of magical arts there.
Life in Maus proved less than idyllic. The city itself was a nasty, vicious place. Her teachers at the college could be cruel. The student body was small and seldom numbered over a dozen students at a time. Worse of all came the tragic accident during spell research when Jade’s then-fiancé was killed. Numb from the loss, and feeling she could not go back home, she stayed at the college for years, never advancing far as a student.
Finally, with what monies her fiancé had left her spent and with no more ability to work off her scholarship, she gave up college life and returned home. Many years had passed, and Jade was now a mature woman. She thought her home village, at least, would have seen fewer changes than her.
She was wrong. Barnard was considerably changed. It had grown into a small town – a squalid, filthy town that was mostly filled with strangers who seemed more at home in Maus. Barnard was now called Frogtown, named after the new temple constructed in town – the Temple of the Frog.
It was the 19th day of Dewsnap, and Jade had woken in the Village of Nengone on Mare Island . It was the last stop on her way back to Rocking, the village on Rock Island that she once called home. She had a strange dream last night. She dreamt that a shooting star fell out of the sky and landed in Rocking. She dreamt that the people of Rocking had gathered around the fallen star and celebrated it. Jade felt compelled to approach the fallen star. She embraced it, tried to lift it, and tried to move it, but could not lift or move the star.
It was a strange dream, but since Jade’s dreams had rarely been prophetic before, she did not reflect on it long. She did have, after all, a rather momentous homecoming ahead of her. She had been away from Rock Island , near the south shore of Loch Glomen , for 16 long years. For a long time she had dreaded returning home, but now she was anxious to see it again. She thanked the people who had let her stay with them for the night, paid them generously with a silver piece for their trouble, and went to the dock.
The first sign that something was wrong on Rock Island came from the ferryman. “You mean Frog Island , don’t you?” the old man asked. Jade assured him that she meant the next island over to the east, to which the old ferryman gave a curious shrug. “You seem too proper a lady to be heading for Frogtown,” he said, but left it at that.
It was a cold, breezy day. She was wearing her college gown under her robes to help keep warm. There was a light fog that refused to blow off the lake. Because of this low visibility, she did not see Frogtown until they were almost upon it. It had to be Frogtown, because the little village of Rocking that she remembered was one-fourth this size. The ferry was pulling up to a fishing dock at the edge of some slums – squalid little huts and shacks, with a mixture of wood and thatch buildings that were businesses of some sort or another and, beyond that, long warehouses. About a hundred yards east of this dock was a curtain wall with towers that extended from the shore north. The ferryman demanded a silver piece for his troubles.
Black Cat by Steve Rude
1 day ago