Looking for new ways to reengage my imagination and creativity has attracted me to DnD. Being new to the game though, I’ve found it difficult to find players willing to take me into their groups. Until very recently when one of my friends decided to try his hand at being a DM. Last weekend, he and Glux game over for cookies and character building. Glux introduced Danaeryzard the Dragonborne who you can read about there.
I created Alaria (pronounced like malaria without the M)
As a child growing up in the vast city of Eklatar, her tiefling parents were scarce, but doting. Her mother tended bar at a tavern frequented by wealthy travelers. Using her wit and charm, she made them feel at home on the road, while stealthily relieving them of any valuables they were unwise enough to keep at their hips to help pay back (and unintentionally enable) her husband’s gambling debts. Her father was a fletcher who crafted highly sought arrows. No arrow shot further nor more absolutely than his. His struggle with gambling kept the family from the life they worked hard enough to deserve and seeded deep paranoia in his mind. He passed his superstitions on to his daughter, who keeps one of his finest (and final) arrows in her quiver for perfect aim and direct guidance on her life journey.
At 9 years old, Alaria wanted to help her parents in a particular time of financial stress. She had been practicing her pick-pocketing skills by stealing corks and small coins from her mother’s tavern frock. However, one day, she fetched an ornate key from her mother’s pocket – two tones of gold, yellow and rose, twisted around the body gleaming like flames before meeting at the base in an explosion of pave rubies and diamonds. She was sure this would save her family from the streets! As soon as her parents kissed her goodbye for the day, she stole off to pawn the key. She never saw her parents again.
You see, her parents were to deliver that key to the head of the Shadow Thieves – Birolesh – as a last resort payment. When they failed to deliver it that evening, Birolesh assassinated them both. Of course, Alaria doesn’t know any of this. So when a mysterious uncle appeared at her door with tragic news and an offer to take her into the Shadow Thieves, she agreed.
Under Uncle Biro’s mentorship, Alaria became a highly skilled thief. She’s proficient in the arts of manipulation, pick-pocketing, deception, and lock-picking. She knows every corner, shadow and sewer of Eklatar. Despite her horns and startlingly gold eyes, she’s a master of disguise But for all she has and all she knows, she will forever be indebted to Biro.
Thieving business was good. Uncle Biro used his wealth to set up an underground training complex for an Assassin’s Guild so he could further develop his thieves and cultivate a profit-driving fear. As her first training mission, Alaria was to track and assassinate a dragonborn menace who had been setting forest fires just a day’s journey away. She’d never killed before, but hearing the reports, she justified this mission as a heroic deed to prevent a deadly threat from reaching her beloved city.
On the night before her planned departure, she overheard Biro assigning a job to a seasoned assassin: There exists an ancient key, crafted by a dragonborn demigod to lock the soul and fortune of Raethae. Legend tells of a two-toned gold key with a ruby hilt. Find it and bring it to me. Fail, and suffer the fate of the wretched tiefling stonescrubbers who lost it last.
At that moment, Alaria understood three things:
1) She must leave that night and never return to Eklatar.
2) She had to somehow atone for the crimes she committed for him.
3) She would not be killing this dragonborn, or anyone, if she could help it.
She left that night, anger so intense she had no plan other than to stick to the original idea: track the dragonborne. Her rage carried her pace and cut a daylong journey in half. By morning, she found her target napping in a forest clearing and talking in her sleep. Alaria silently perched herself on a branch above and listened. She learned of the traveler’s troubles and that she, too, was running from her own. Alaria empathized, and the emotional trauma of her childhood caught up with her in that tree. She let out pained gasp as it all came crashing down, startling the dragonborn awake and triggering an accidental torrent of flame.
Alaria leapt from the tree and rolled on the ground, turning just in time to see the blackened bark crumble to ashes. She drew her shortsword in defense.
“I’m not here to hurt you!” Alaria said. “Well, not anymore. It seems we’re both running from our own demons… I didn’t mean to startle you.”
“Dany,” the dragonborne introduced herself. “I’m really sorry about the flames. It’s embarrassing, but I can’t quite control my magic and -”
“I know. I heard you talking in your sleep,” Alaria interrupted.
“Well it hardly seems fair that you allegedly know all you need to about me and I know nothing about this tiny tiefling standing with her sword drawn before me.”
“Sorry.” Alaria sheathed her blade. “Reflex, I guess.”
Dany laughed and nodded her reptilian head toward the tree. “Yes. I know the feeling. Looks like I managed to cook a couple birds from that tree. Why don’t we have some breakfast and you tell me why it is you’re here?”
“I am famished…”