D&D: Adventurers Anonymous
Youth and energy do not mask a wisdom beyond her years
Short and lithe, Anna’s skin has taken on a faint golden hue ever since the ritual of transformation at the great temple. Her small size belies her surprising strength.
Her almond shaped eye appear one size too big, only serving to highlighting her irises, starbursts of green and gold. When she smiles her canines, more aggressive than most humans’ or elves’, often dimple her lips, lending a playful or predatory caste to her features depending on her temperament.
Her mid-length auburn hair is often a little disheveled as if disturbed by a breeze, and wispy sideburns help frame her face. The pointed tips of her ears can often be seen poking through her hair.
Most startling to those who knew her before her disappearance, Anna often sports a glowing pair of angelic wings of light.
When not travelling she favours wearing a white linen dress with gold and green lining the wide collar, the broad sleeves, below the breasts, and along the bottom hem. Concealed within the lining can be found many runes representing the gods and forms of power. She wears a leather belt around her waist bearing a gold buckle and a few pouches for useful things.
On a chain around her neck she wears hers Godstone, typically hanging just above the collar of her dress.
Properly named Zul’Anna Cray, daughter of Zul’Lyza, daughter of Eleanor, Blood of Clan Zul’qor, she is the daughter of Alysa Cray and Zul’Grum.
She grew up in her family’s manor house north-west of Seagard where she delighted in the many tasks to be done for the homestead, fishing with her father, harvesting salt with the tenants, seeing to the tenant families’ needs with her mother, hunting the surrounding forest and marshes for food and protection, and raising the livestock. She loved to fall asleep listening to her mother tell stories of the God’s daring exploits and mischief.
She learned at a young age that people held great expectations for her, overhearing a conversation between her mother and High Priestess Fellheart, she recalls just scant words, “…prophesy…”, “…must be protected . . . hidden…”, “…potential…”. It troubled her, she knew they were talking about her, but she couldn’t decipher much more.
Soon after her training at the great temple in Seagard began in earnest. Though she would have preferred to stay home with her family she did not shy away from her studies, in facts she pursued them with all the daring and gusto she could muster, hoping to emulate the Gods.
When the time came to choose which God she was to serve, she felt uninspired by the choices before her. She asked for advice from everyone whose opinions she respected, but finally decided to follow her father’s advice, and so any gathered all the item she would need to go on a spirit quest. Resolved to take the journey she sacrificed a clutch of ravens and drank the draught she had brewed.
Following her journey she could only ever remember flashes of her ordeal . . . climbing a great tree . . . sinking below crashing waves weighted down with gold coins . . . being embraced lovingly by a deathly grip . . . gasping for air after imbibing a most invigorating mead from a golden chalice . . . laughter on the wind as she stumbles lost through crags of ice and stone . . . screaming in passion and pain as battle broils around her . . . a bracing breath of clear mountain air leaving a sense of clarity . . . following a boar to a place of shelter . . . contentment as she cradles a pair of infants in her arms, a cat and falcon standing vigil . . . thunder and lightning blocking her path as she continues up the great tree once more . . . choking, hanging from a branch of the great tree, the sad eye of a man in a wide-brimmed hat looking on and knowing this was the cost for the wisdom she sought . . . the flash of a sword close enough to kiss her neck, severing the rope . . . she knows these are just a few of the sights she’s seen and adventures she’s taken, some fade away as others emerge.
When Anna awoke she was lying naked, caked in dried blood, limbs battered and bruised, coughing up water, rope burns around her neck, and was unable to open her left eye. That was when her right eye fell on the Godstone. She lay somewhere in one of the vaults below the temple, though she could not say which. The Godstone lay on the floor where it had rolled underneath one of the many shelves lining the walls. Unable to see from where it may have fallen she decides to take up the stone. Grasping it each rune, one for each of its twenty side lights up, each rune glowing its own colour. She had found her sign.
Convincing the masters of the temple that she would pursue all the great mysteries of the Gods turned out to be a greater challenging than sneaking out of the vaults naked and unseen, but she was gratified to accomplish it with greater success than she did the latter task.
Over the next two years Anna’s drive to learn startled many of the masters of the temple, some of which feared she was too young and progressing too fast in the Great Mysteries, but none could slow her down. That was, at least, until she spotted that mysterious cloaked figure down by the docks one day when she was returning to the temple from home. She couldn’t say why, but her mind kept being pulled back to him. Eventually she sought him out. They would have conversations, but they faded as if from a dream. So she began to write them down in her journal.
Why did she smell smoke?
Where were they taking her?
She’s fighting in the mud. She hears the ripping of paper. Pain.
The glow of the burning pages is faint in the light of the burning house.
Is that her father screaming?
- – -
Anna awakes, her mind clearing, she notices, not for the first time, that she has awoken naked and in pain in a strange place, but this place is stranger than most.
Is she screaming? Is that her father screaming?
From her place on the alter Anna takes in the deviant sight before her, the twisted, malignant hall, her father hewing tentacled monsters – Illithid – and their mindless thralls to pieces. A human male impailing another of the twisted beasts with his rapier. A tiefling… child casting a glass orb into the fetid mass of the eldermind, its voice still crashing through her mind. Finally, right before her, a perplexing sight, a dark elf, a drow, his eyes a startling silver, falling to the ground. Shock and pain showing on his face. Blood running from his ears.
The spark of life fading from his eyes.
No, not for me!
She dashes off the alter. Her Godstone grasped tightly within her hand. She calls on the gods to preserve and protect him until she can better aid the fallen hero who would die to save her.
- – -
Upon reaching the drow city Anna meets with failure when she attempts to revive the fallen drow warrior, Taerin…
to be continued…