I recently started playing Dungeons and Dragons with a great group of people. I’ve wanted to play for a long time, and now I finally had the opportunity, and it’s been a great ride so far. I wrote my character’s backstory before our first campaign and I’m rather fond of it so I thought I would share. Here it is.
The Nature of Duty
She had another name once, a beautiful name, and a feared one. When the other elves spoke it, their voices hushed in reverent awe mingled with a tinge of fear and desire. She didn’t walk in the footsteps of greatness, she was greatness. The peak of elven battle prowess, at the height of a career forged in battle and service to her king. King Balcharan. Her lord, her master, the man whose trust was placed in her. At age one hundred and fifty, Niniel Galanodel was appointed as high guard to the king, a very young age for an elf to achieve such distinct, lofty position. King Balcharan at the time had a wife, Queen, Naerdiel who had just been delivered of a son, Prince Arphenion. When the blessed event came to pass, the king summoned Niniel to the royal nursery. The elf princeling lay cooing in his crib while the king watched him fondly, smiling, a sight not often seen in the halls of court.
Upon entering, Niniel took a knee.
“Your servant, my king.”
“Rise in my favor, servant.” Niniel obeyed, eyes remaining on the floor out of respect
“You are how old?” Among elves, this is not such a rude question as it is among humans..
“One hundred and fifty years old, majesty.”
“Young, for our kind, but your worth has been more than proven in my service. You’ve fought in the army, campaigns all over Faerun, climbed the ranks quickly, and now you’re here. Loyalty such as this should be rewarded, do you not think?”
She had not noticed but but her king had moved uncomfortably close, his finger hooking under her chin, raising her gaze to his. Her apprehension showed clearly on her face so he retracted and waved his hand back toward the crib.
“My child, my only offspring so far. He is everything to me. I need you to protect him. You shall be from now on my personal guard. Arantira.”
Niniel’s eyes widened. There had not been an Arantira for hundreds of years. Many in Faerun believed it to be a curse to declare an Arantira, for declaring such often brought the doom of those they were sworn to protect. However, to question her king’s judgement was not an option.
“I shall serve you with all of my strength in this matter, my king. And if I fail you, may the sword that failed to bring you justice pierce my heart and end my dishonorable life. This I swear, by the goddess Ehlonna.”
“Well spoken, Arantira. And I shall not forget this vow, nor fail to reward that which is given.”
And thus the new Arantira began her duties. Night and day she watched the child, the comings and goings of the staff who took care of him, remaining ever vigilant. A year passed by swiftly. That’s when the shadow fell on the castle, and it’s name was Shivras the Abomination.
It was close to the witching hour one summers night when a sudden cold front swept down from the mountains. Storm clouds began to form rapidly in the valley. Thinking this not unusual weather, everyone carried on about their business. Niniel closed the doors to the terrace of the nursery just as the rain began to pelt the windows violently. Little Arphenion grew afraid of the foul weather and began to wail. Niniel picked him up to soothe him until one of his nursemaids returned. What she could not have seen was a shadow slipping into the nursery, liquid and black as pitch. The princeling could sense the evil presence but could only wail. Lightning struck, thunder clapped, Niniel turned around and before her stood the beast, the Abomination, the evil Sorcerer himself. To describe his malevolent horror to you is to bring one to the very brink of insanity, and his form can change at his will, so what he may be to one person may not be what he is to another. What Niniel herself saw will forever remain a mystery, shrouded in darkness and terror. Lightning flashed again, and she turned from the dreaded horror to scream for the alarm, but her voice was drowned out by the thunder’s clap. Suddenly she was aware that something held her still, a grasping touch on her head, tight like a vice, and a feeling of life draining from her. She clutched the screaming prince with all of her might until darkness overtook everything.
Dull sounds echoed in her ears, as voIces heard thru a wall. Her eyes fluttered open but her eyes could not see. What’s happening?
“Wake up, you fucking bitch!” A guardsman shook her violently, striking her face hard.
“What’s happened she says? I’ll tell you what’s fucking happened! Shivras has kidnapped our prince and it’s all your fault!”
“No …. Gods no ….” Niniel shook her head, her vision slowly returning.
“Yes, you bloody worthless Arantira, he did, and you’ll be torn to million pieces, if that’s not too good for you!” The guard elf spat in her face.
Staggering, Niniel stood up, suddenly realizing her hands were bound. Another guard was beside her, but within moments he was down, felled by a punch to the back of the head. The other was not as easily subdued, but she managed to leave him still breathing. Before more guards could spring upon her, she was out on the nursery terrace and scaling down the side of the castle walls. The rain pelted her mercilessly, but all she could think, all that was in her was to run, and she did until darkness took her again.
She awoke again, keenly aware of the smells of an animal hovel. A smithy was nearby, shoeing his horse. He saw her awaken, but said nothing, only watching her.
“Where am I?” Niniel groggily asked.
She knew the place, and it was a human settlement many many miles away from the kings castle. A hell of a start, but word and a kings justice were swift. She must leave soon, but her destination was unclear. Only one thing remained to her and to her dying day she would seek it out … vengeance!
Niniel, regaining her senses, soon traded her eleven armor for studded leather armor, and traded all of her other eleven attire for common weaponry from the blacksmith.. “Don’t sell that until at least a year has gone by. Hide it, or melt it down, but if they see you with it, they’ll torture you and kill you for information.”
Catching a glimpse of herself in the glass, she could hardly believe what she saw. Instead of her long red hair that had graced her head before, now her hair was platinum silver with strands of black scattered throughout. Whether this was a side effect of the spell Shivras had put on her or a response to the stress of the dark events that had happened, Niniel did not know, but if the eleven king was looking for a red haired elf maiden then he’d already be looking for the wrong elf. A false name would help too.
Slowly and with great pain, Niniel made her way towards the towns inn to stock up on supplies for her journey.