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Author Topic: Eliezra Baldwin  (Read 716 times)

ElvenStarr

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Eliezra Baldwin
« on: February 18, 2022, 04:14:24 am »
Eliezra Baldwin



Eliezra Baldwin was born in the lakeside town of Lyrkos and was the third of five children.  Her family had for several generations run a notable textile business.  As soon as she was old enough, Eliezra learned the family trade and proved a talented tailor, if a little prone to daydreaming on the job.  It was expected that she would stay there until she married and had children.  She knew her parents were planning to arrange a marriage with a scion of a rival company.  Though Eliezra wasn’t entirely unhappy with her lot in life she was impulsive and a dreamer.  She decided she wanted to experience just a little more of life before she was stuck working with rugs and curtains and raising children.  In her late teens she stole some money from the family safe and ran away from home.  But her glorious dreams of adventures and wealth came to nothing.  A few years later she was scraping by working as a barmaid in tavern in Fenwick.  A shameful return to her family seemed inevitable until another opportunity arose. 

A tiefling lady by the name of Tylna came to the tavern with her entourage one night and with flattery, drinks and charm she convinced Eliezra to accompany them on a voyage to Conch.  Tylna said she was starting a "classy escort business" there and that Eliezra was pretty and charming enough to make a lot of money.  The fare for the voyage could be paid back through work, Tylna assured the young woman.  While there were no direct lies about the nature of the work Eliezra would be doing, Tylna deliberately omitted certain details such as that the business would be in the slums, the main clients would be gangsters and Eliezra would be an indentured servant rather than a free woman until her travel loan was paid off.  Eliezra’s new workplace was to be the Loving Lamb of Conch’s slums. 

Tylna craftily applied interest to Eliezra’s loan to stretch out her bondage for longer.  Most of the clients Eliezra serviced were brutes from the gangs rather than the drunk young nobles she’d optimistically expected.  There was one regular client of hers who was kind, a battle-scarred enforcer from the Knots gang named Trewin.  He had been an adventurer and noticed that Eliezra had some untapped potential for swordplay and roguery.  For several months he took her around the slums and taught her some of what he knew.  Eliezra proved adept at handling weapons, forcing locks and disarming traps.  Trewin had a plan behind this training but he was never able to complete it.  Unfortunately, he was one of a few Knots captured in a street fight with the newly ascendant Diiri’s Boys gang and tortured to death. 

After that brief glimpse of self-sufficiency had been torn away, Eliezra resigned herself to slowly paying off her debt until she could flee back to Lyrkos.  Then she could grovel to her parents, take her punishment and go back to working for the family business and taking an arranged marriage.  It seemed almost something to look forward to now.  But fate intervened.  A cleric of Moander came to the Lamb one night.  He was ugly, vulgar and coarse and frightening in nature but also seemed wealthy and generous with his money.  The ladies drew straws for who would accompany him that night.  One of the newer girls got the short straw and sobbed in distress. 

Fatefully, Eliezra offered to take that woman’s place to spare her this client and agreed to split the money with her.  Eliezra spent a few hours entertaining the cleric, but then came down with a fever afterwards. By the next day she was seriously ill with dreadful ulcers breaking out over her body, particularly her face which almost seemed to be rotting away.  Tylna had Eliezra wrapped in sheets and taken to the temple of Tyche to see Kardeen.  He was horrified by her condition which he diagnosed as a virulent magical plague.  But Tylna was even more horrified by the price he put on a cure and was terrified that the plague might spread to her other staff.  Cruelly, she fired Eliezra and hired one of Diiri's thugs to take her away and finish her off.   The Boy was a vulgar half-orc and eager to prove his worth to this gang.  However when he unwrapped the sheets to deliver the coup de grace, he was so repulsed by the woman’s state he simply dropped her and ran. 

Eliezra lay in a dark corner of the slums drifting in and out of consciousness as the disease ravaged her body. Her eyesight began to fade.  The few people who walked past gasped in horror and fled.  In this horrific state, Eliezra made her peace with her fate.  If nothing else she knew she had spared another person this horrid death, and that was a harsh burden she decided she could accept.  Her only resentments were aimed at the city itself, and its complete absence of mercy.   It was so lacking in mercy that even the man hired to put her out of her misery bungled the job. 

The sound of approaching footsteps interrupted her thoughts.  These footsteps did not flee in revulsion.  She looked up with her cloudy vision and saw a blurry, but unmistakable and pitiful sight. There was a man dressed only in a loincloth and his exposed skin was covered in a multitude of welts from what must have been a hellish whipping. His fingers were bent back and broken and he limped upon burned and blistered feet. His face, though plastered with blood, was that of the dead Trewin.  "Follow me, child" he said softly. "You, who would spare another a horrific fate and take on that heavy burden yourself, shall not die here."  The crippled man beckoned to her and she dredged up just enough strength to crawl to his familiar face as he led her.  Occasionally he stopped and smiled warmly with his gashed lips while Eliezra caught her breath.

Inevitably there came the moment where Eliezra could not even crawl anymore.  She looked up to plead for the man to have mercy and carry her.  Instead she moaned in anguish when she realised he was gone.  Yet her weak cry had gained the attention of others.  Several people rushed to her aid.  There was a gnome, a few human men and a woman.  They were dressed in the tattered clothing of beggars though their hands were wrapped in clean linen tied with red cord.  They lifted Eliezra up and carried her to a hidden shelter within a breach in the city wall.   Sister Mylene, Sufferer of Ilmater and caretaker of his hidden shrine then attempted to cure her. 

The disease was resistant to even her magical treatments but with painstaking and exhausting care the elderly priestess was able to cure Eliezra.  Some of the damage Eliezra had suffered was irreparable.  Her face would never be the same, and her hair had prematurely turned almost white.  It only took a single look in a mirror for Eliezra to resign herself to a single life wearing a veil for the rest of her days.  What lies beneath it only Sister Mylene and a few others would know, but it is horrible enough in Eliezra’s mind for her to keep it permanently concealed.   Her only concession to  fashion would become her immaculately styled dark eyebrows

When Eliezra was strong enough to leave the shrine she refused to.  She knew her family would be ashamed of the work she had done, and her face meant no one would ever be willing to look upon her again, let alone marry her.   Furthermore she felt a strong desire to do something, however small, about the appalling things going on in the slums.  It seemed logical to her too that now she would be more accepted in a district of shunned monsters than anywhere else.  She told Mylene of her life to that point, of the man who had brought her to this refuge and her thoughts for the future.

Mylene smiled at this news and told Eliezra that she had been chosen by an avatar of Ilmater to become a supplicant, one of the “Angels of Small Mercies” that secretly worked in the slums.  Brother Trewin had been part of this network until he had been martyred.  Clearly Ilmater had been watching Eliezra for some time.  For her part, Eliezra swore to protect both Sister Mylene and the shrine with her life and bring Ilmater’s light to the darkness of West Conch.  It would prove a lonely path for Eliezra which would bring her many enemies and few friends outside her fellow Angels of Small Mercies.  Her own experiences have not hardened her but rather made her kinder and perhaps even a little naive.  But like her patron, she will relentlessly bear that burden too.  Now she walks the slums of Conch as a defender of the weak, hungry and desperate.  She is Eliezra the Faceless, the Veiled Guardian, the Protector of the Lone Parish... and after she retrieved the Iron Helm of Heroes, a divine champion of Ilmater.





« Last Edit: February 18, 2022, 04:17:39 am by ElvenStarr »