Blade of the Dark Sands
Halfling Sorceror of the Veilled Alliance, Sentenced to Death for being the "Hill Market Cannibal"
Phostis Lorentis, level 1
Build: Storm Sorcerer
Spell Source: Storm Magic
Background: Halfling – Banned (+2 to Bluff)
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 9, Con 10, Dex 16, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 18.
STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 9, Con 10, Dex 14, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 16.
AC: 13 Fort: 10 Reflex: 13 Will: 16
HP: 22 Surges: 6 Surge Value: 5
Arcana +7, Nature +6, History +7, Bluff +11
Acrobatics +5, Diplomacy +4, Dungeoneering +1, Endurance, Heal +1, Insight +1, Intimidate +4, Perception +1, Religion +2, Stealth +3, Streetwise +4, Thievery +5, Athletics -1
Level 1: Implement Expertise (Light Blade)
Sorcerer at-will 1: Acid Orb
Sorcerer at-will 1: Chaos Bolt
Sorcerer encounter 1: Whirlwind
Sorcerer daily 1: Howling Tempest
Dagger, Cloth Armor (Basic Clothing)
“Well, I guess not many people can say that they’ve been a slave in both Nimenay and Gulg… That’s gotta count for something, right?”
Phostis “Pho” Lorentis stands in shackles, a lowly 4 feet tall. His wavy-brown hair is tied back in a short ponytail, a few locks breaking free to hang down over his face. His brown eyes match his hair, they look more human than most halflings’. His stature is thin but balanced. He walks with sure-footing, with reflexes more in tune than the average person, even if you can see how much the shackles are weighing him down. He barely looks like he would be able to use the widow’s knife he holds.
It almost seems unfair to pit him against the gladiators of the arena. The innocent look about him almost makes you forget that halflings are tribal cannibals who look upon every person as a possible next meal. This is especially true for this halfling, as he is the “Hill Market Cannibal”, who’s reputation is already spreading throughout Nimenay’s common-folk. How he killed 12 and ate 4 elves is beyond anyone’s comprehension.
Link: Ramblings of a Halfling
Sadly, I must start my story as I end it – in chains. Since before I can remember, I was a slave-soldier of the Crescent Raider Dagada, one of the houses outside the People’s Gate of Gulg. I remember I was viciously taken from my mother, dear Dara, at an early age. But so much time has gone by that the only thing I remember of her is her smile, which was so beautiful it will never leave my memory.
In the dagada, I was chosen to be part of a group of scouts called the Glade Watchers. We would scout along the perimeter of the Crescent Forest looking for Nimenay raiding parties, kill them, then vanish into the forest. We got pretty good at it … even to the point that it helped in our escape from Gulg with 50 of my brethren.
We called ourselves the Lostspears. Strangely enough, we actually kept doing what we had been trained to do, which is raid Nimenay raiding parties. However, we also stuck it to our slavers as well. One time we brought raiding parties togethr, one from Nimenay and one from Gulg. They fought, then we killed the ones that remained. Dinner was good that night.
Then, one night, my life turned upside-down when I had a dream: I found myself scouting through the forest alone (which never happens. Probably should’ve been an obvious sign that I was dreaming. We always go in pairs for fear of some of the more dangerous creatures in the forest.) The forest ends, and I look beyond and there’s a hill, covered in green grass, wild flowers, and insect-like creatures which I’d never seen before (About half the size of my fist.) The sky above was the prettiest azure-color I’ve ever seen, and I could see Ral and Guthay up in the sky. Sun looked a lot smaller – I could look around clearly without squinting.
At the top of the hill sat some pure white rocks, which peaked my curiousity. (Have you ever seen white rocks?) As I climbed the hill, I traversed much higher than I had anticipated. Soon I was above the forest tree-tops, and I could see in the distance the sandy wastelands which we all know and love. The Stormclaw Mountains were nowhere to be found. The forest, and this hill, were completely surrounded by wasteland.
As I got to the top of the hill, I knelt down to get a closer look at the strange white rocks. Five white stones were equally spaced a few feet apart from each other. Each stone was different, but each looked as if it could be picked up without much effort. In the center was a translucent green crystal, flawless in appearance, floating effortlessly about a foot off the ground. Beneath it lay the most fertile land imaginable.
As he talks about the stones, Phostis kneels down to the ground and draws a pentagon in the dirt and a dot in the center, then stands back up.
As I stood back up, the scene had changed drastically. I was standing on top of a sand dune; the grass, flowers, and forest gone. The sky was the color it is today and the moons were in different spots. Looking back down, I was surprised not by the fact that the white rocks remained, unchanged, but that the land in-between has also remained, unchanged. Perfectly green and fertile. Then I heard a voice: “Find the stones”, and woke up with a start. My entire body was tingling and I couldn’t move for a few seconds. (That was the scariest part about the whole thing … that and the fact that the dream was so vivid).
Phostis takes a second and recomposes himself.
Before I go on, I’m going to let you in on another thing about halflings. Every halfling, whether from the mystical Forest Ridge or lowly Crescent Forest, is more in-tune with nature than your average person, especially city-dwellers. Most have a good sense of direction, some can predict the weather long before it arrives, and some are so sensitive to nature that they can commune with spirits of both animals and Athas herself.
His stance becomes more relaxed, and you get the feeling he’s back to telling the story.
Anyways, over the next few months, as the year wound down during the Sun Ascending, I realized that something was different. Whenever we prepared for a coming wind or sandstorm, we would latch down loose items and prepare to cover-up, if we were out in the desert. During these times, I would … feel more power at my finger-tips.
As he says this, he turns his hands over a few times and looks at them. Then brings his finger-tips close together.
Kinda like static electricity. Like if I held my fingers close together, I might get a spark to show between them. Other times I almost as if I could push the wind faster ahead of me. At first I thought the spirits had infused me with power and that I would be a great halfling shaman or druid. But my power seemed to come from within, where-as every halfling knows that the power of nature is granted to them by the forest, the trees, Athas herself.
Fear seems to grip Phostis, and he looks at you almost looking for help.
That’s when I realized that this power wasn’t natural … it was arcane. Halflings despise the arcane, especially defiling, as it destroys nature and the spirits within, hurting Athas herself. I knew at that moment that I could never return to my tribe. They would kill me and enjoy ingesting another defiler of the land they hold so dear. But where would I go?
There was no way I could go back to Gulg. The Crescent Raider judagas are still out to get us for “leaving” as we did. I couldn’t stay out in the wilderness on my own – I wouldn’t survive long. Which left one option: Nimenay, in the hopes of finding the supposed Veiled Alliance and seeing if they could help control the powers he has.
He starts walking around, altering his walk. His hair now a mess, he rearranges his cloak, and looks at you with the most innocent eyes you’ve seen. He could almost pass as a child.
I traveled west through the forest until I came to the Nibenese road. I knew I’d have a better chance entering Nibenay with a caravan, and I had a better chance of joining a caravan if I wasn’t a halfling. So I disguised myself as a human child and started walking.
As I was expecting a caravan to come across me, I found it rather ironic when I came across a [creature]-drawn cart. The right wheel had fallen off, and some of the crates carried had spilled out into the sand. A human knelt by some rocks, looking intently at them, fear gripping him. Even though they weren’t white, when I looked at them I was reminded of my dream.
When he saw me, he stood up and looked at me with a different fear, wary of what I was. I guess my disguise wasn’t as good as I thought. “Don’t worry, I’m not going to eat you. I just want a lift to Nibenay.” He seemed convinced.
He draws up the sleeves to his shirt, baring the skinny arms of a halfling, skin darkened by the sun.
He pointed at the rocks. “Get me that pin and I’ll take you there myself and even give you housing for the night.” He seemed on the level, but I couldn’t be sure. Then again, as chance as this encounter was, I doubted he had malicious intent. I looked at the rocks grouped together and saw a pin lodged deep between them. He definitely wouldn’t have been able to reach it, but I stuck my arm in and grabbed it easily. I tossed it to him.
His fear dispersed, and a sense of relief took him. “I’m Darith, Darith Lirinal,” he said, offering his hand. I responded in kind, and we fixed the cart. He helped me fix my disguise, and we traveled all the way into Nibenay. We actually had a good conversation. He was returning home from the north end of the Crescent forest. He told me he was a cartwright, who had a shop in Sages’ Square. Apparently my small size would help in his business, and he offered me a job.
Weeks go by. I enjoyed my pleasent (and mostly unseen) new career as the cartwright’s assistant. Nobles and templar wives see me as Darith’s son, but most people (especially those in the Sages’ Square) see me for who and what I am. Some are fearful, some curious. Some even wonder how elf tastes. I usually tell them it tastes like [chicken], but if they seem real gullible I go into detail, which is funny cause I, to this day, have never tasted elf.
One day a sandstorm was blowing over the city. With doors and flaps closed, we waited it out. We spoke of our mutual disgust for templars, and I looked at one of the carts I was making. “You know, I’ve always wondered about these hidden compartments,” I said, pointing at one of the carts we were working in. Who are they for?"
Ensuring once again we were alone, he tells me. “The Veiled Alliance.” Intrigued, we started discussing his association with the Alliance, or “the tribe” as we started calling them. I had never told anyone yet about the powers I seemed to have. Since he had been who I’d been looking for all along, I decided to chance it and divulge my secret. He took the news with a smile, and was happy he could repay me for the work I’d done. He had sensed the arcane power emanating from me, but was afraid to say anything.
“There’s someone I want you to meet,” he said one day. He took me to meet “the Maker”, a fellow craftsman in the Sages’ District. “The maker” officially introduced me to “the tribe” and told Darith to teach me what he could. Over the next few months, I begin to learn how to use the arcane without defiling the land. It’s called preserving, and while not as powerful as defiling magic, it can still be potent.
Those of the Veiled Alliance will know that’s the nickname for Polan Felk, the primary contact for the Alliance in Nibenay. He serves as a ceramic pottery-maker in Palm Court.
After a time, I opened up to Darith about my dream. He sensed that it was more than a dream, but a vision. A few days later, he said his familiar “there’s someone I want you to meet.” He ventured to the Lone Tree Inn, a tavern on the edge of Palm Court. There we sat and drank with the apparently great “Tersius the Storyteller.” He apparently was not of the Veiled Alliance, but he was more worldly than most around here.
Acting fanciful, Phostis starts to perform the next part.
“Rumor tells of a cavern beneath the Black Sands, entirely made of white stone. Where it is, no-one knows, but no-one should go there for another legend states that the Black Sand is cursed, and spending too much time there rips your soul from your body, and you become one of the undead horde which raid outlying villages from time to time.
His posture returns to that which you’ve seen all along.
The next morning, a group representing the Sky Singer tribe of elves raided Darith’s shop. They insisted that behind the shop, there was some half-eaten body parts, with clothing matching elves of their tribe. With the Elven Market Massacre still fresh on everyone’s lips, they had no tolerance for desecration of elves, and took me into custody. Darith tried to help, but only got beaten on, right along with me. I pleaded my innocence, but they found blood dripping on the clothes I had worth the night before. I was already convicted and dead in their eyes.
With the clothes and some witness-sightings seeing a halfling in Hill Market, my sentence was determined in the Temple of King’s Law. Rumor had already spread of the “Hill Market Cannibal” having been sentenced to death in the arena. Some would praise me for killing the dastardly elves in such a way, some were intelligent to know that if halflings had eaten the elves, they would not leave body parts. But that was irrelevant. Entertainment would ensue.