Scales of War
A, literal, Rebellious Princess that sings like an angel but has the mouth of a sailor.
Class: Bard Hp: 38 AC: 17 Fort: 13, Ref: 15, Will: 16 Stats: Str 10, Con 14, Dex 11, Int 16, Wis 13, Cha 18 Skills: Trained in Arcane, Bluff, Diplomacy, Heal, Insight, and Streetwise. But ever other skill is good because of ‘Jack of All trades’ and ‘Skill Versatility’ Feats: Pact Initiate, Jack of All Trades
Back-story and the rants in between told from the perspective Rachel**
Chivalry, courtly love, all that stuff is dead (if it ever was alive in the first place); and people that say otherwise are pretenders that go through the motions to feed their pompous self image. Today it’s all about money. You don’t build an army anymore, you buy it. You get some mercenaries, buy some slaves, and pay some asshole with land to lead them. But you don’t actually use that army because they’re loyal for as long as it is profitable for them and no longer. When push comes to shove your army will back down or even worse turn on you. No, the real path to defense and conquest is by bribery, backstabbing, and marriage. When it comes to that kind of politics my father, Darell King of Amaranthus, is the quintessential politician.
For those who don’t know Amaranthus is a small coastal kingdom in the southeast. About two hundred years ago it used to be one of the many duchies that made up the Pectore empire. But a Coup d’etat and a number of subsequent bloody revolts in the empire’s capital, Pell, brought down government and the center of power almost overnight and the outlying duchies were forced to defend for themselves. Over the years a number of new kings (who would have formally been dukes) have tried to step up in the region and restart the empire; but all of them wouldn’t last long.
So all the new little kingdoms have stayed separate for last two hundred years with no force to unify them; that is until Olaf Ironstag the Conquer came from the far north and took Pell. You probably already heard about his long and illustrious campaign of conquest over the past 30 years so I won’t go into that. With Pell in the hands of such a strong leader with an impressive military, all the small neighboring kingdoms (including Amaranthus) that were apart of the old empire wasted no time in surrendering to a force they couldn’t possibly take on. A Marquess was appointed by Ironstag to rule over the newly acquired lands from the city of Pell.
The new Marquess had the ‘brilliant’ idea to ingratiate himself with the local aristocrats by inviting them to send all their marriageable children to Pell to strengthen local political ties through marriage. Unfortunately this is where my story comes in. I’m the only daughter of Darell’s fourth (he currently has seven) wife. And since I’m his only child that isn’t dead and at marriageable age, my greedy arrogant asshole of a father decides to sends me off to Pell in order to get his foot in the door with the new regime. So me and a number of other sons and daughters from the former kingdoms in the area were sent off to Pell to undergo two years of training in “the skills becoming of our patrician status” (as if I hadn’t already learned all that shit since I was four).
I absolutely hated the idea of being forced in marriage especially since the marriage would help the father that I despised. But, I went anyway just to get away from my father and his court of arrogant self important pricks. Unfortunately, I ended up in a place full of people my age who had completely bought into the mindset and lifestyle that I was trying to get away from. Seeing them further pissed me off; but at the same time, seeing what they were gave me a better appreciation for my mother (gods rest her soul). If it wasn’t for my mother keeping me grounded and enlightening me to the hubris around me when I was younger, I probably would have turned out just like them.
My mother didn’t come from noble birth. She was the daughter of poor human carpenter in the predominantly eleven kingdom that is Amaranthus. My elf jackass father forced her to become his fourth wife after seeing her during one of his travels in the countryside. Why would a male elf noble force a female human commoner into marriage, you might ask? Simple, it is because my mother was so beautiful that her looks surpassed that of an elf female. So in lust my father forced her into marriage, knocked her up, and nine months later I was the result. But after a short time my father became bored with my mother (and by proxy myself) and he married again since polygamy is legal where I come from. I was mostly raised by my mother who kept me humble and wasn’t afraid to point out the hypocrisy inherent in the current system. She died when I was 10 but her influence had opened my eyes to the bullshit around me that always made me mad.
And while were on the subject of things that piss me off, what was just as bad as the turpitude around me was the asinine rules. Every single moment of my day was tightly controlled. I could never get a damn minute alone and I could never go where I wanted. I had to do everything just right: How I walked, talked. sit, bow, address people, ride, eat, dance, sleep, cough, etc… I had to learn to do all this crap ‘properly’ and do it every time.
Anyway getting back to my situation at Pell, I spent a year their going through the training and education that I was expected (i.e. forced) to master before I was to marry. Most of it was etiquette crap and statecraft (i.e. talking like a diplomat and lying like a lawyer) that I already knew. There was a lot of emphasis on how we were the cultural elite and that made us better than everyone else, which I had also heard many times before. Most of it sucked except for the lessons music, art, and poetry. All three of which I have enjoyed and pursued since I was young.
When I could, I’d sneak away and spend some time at Pell’s extensive libraries. I’d study on my own about the heroes and noble pursuits of the past. I spent a lot of time studying and practicing the arcane arts that I had always found fascinating. Another thing I would is sneak out in disguise and frequent the local hangouts of the commoners (i.e. real people). I especially liked to hang around the adventurers. The adventurers of the world are the true cultural elite, in that they stand out from the rest of the population but they actually do things to help the common man unlike the aristocrats that do shit for the common man. Also, adventurers actually believe in something, in being noble and all that stuff, unlike the aristocrats that believe in nothing but power and money.
With only a year remaining until my inevitable marriage to some aristocrat ass, I couldn’t go on any longer living like this. So I packed up what I could carry, dyed my blond hair black, and ran away west. I was determined (and still determined) to not play by their rules, to no longer listen to their crap, and do something meaningful with my life. I just hope my dad’s men don’t catch me. Perhaps I should join up with some adventures.