The Rock IV
the rogue who's not a rogue
1- What is your personality?
My true personality seems reserved, but in fact I am shy. I am not much accustomed to dealing with people (outside of the ranks of the Children of Pleasure) as, well, myself. When the situation calls for it, however, I can be whomever, or whatever I choose. I do not show my true self very often, nor without good reason. Temple status notwithstanding, I am still something of… a valuable commodity [Phill is assuming that changelings are relatively rare], and the same way I would not flash jewelry in the street, I keep my self hidden.
2- What did you do in your life before you started on this path of your life?
I was a courtesan of the Pleasure Temples of Talbral. Because of what I am, I would usually be where the most powerful, important, or influential servants of the Three were, and I would attend to them, although as my skills expanded, some of them would come to me, or at least the me that they thought I was.
3- Why did you choose to leave that life (if you did)?
I might never have left if I had not lost Liam. But a bloodthirsty, pale-haired servant of the Reaper grew impatient with him and slew him before anyone could stop him. The Master says you should never leave a debt unpaid, and I intend to collect on the life that was taken from me. It is not the only thing that drives me, the way that it does heroes in stories; instead, it creeps up on me, in the quiet times at night, when I am alone or when my mind wanders. I daresay that this is worse; that I have been able to put him from my mind like that.
It might have been an ordinary night- the Feast of the Three [the Triplets’ birthday] was a few days away, when a call came up. A handful of the Reaper’s warriors had come in from the front, and wanted to watch a little knifeplay to help their choice of companionship along. This is not an uncommon occurrence, save on the scale of their request- they wanted a pitched battle.So we all armed and dressed ourselves appropriately, and made our way to the sandpit. The contest went normally- once blooded, a combatant retired to the sidelines to be chosen- or not. A few minutes into the melee, one of the warriors became agitated, apparently (as I would find out later) displeased with the fact that our match was only to first blood- he had thought that we would be fighting to the death.
As the others tried to calm him and explain the fact that more grievous injuries were not the norm within the Temple walls, Liam and I danced back and forth, both seeking an opening. He lashed out his foot and tripped me, and caught my arm with his blade as I fell. He stood over me, and as he began to turn to find another opponent, it happened.
I vaguely remember hearing a voice raised in anger, perhaps saying “to the death,” but I’m not sure. What I do remember is the barbed heard of a heavy spear erupting from Lima’s chest. And as he fell, I saw the clerics (there are always a few clerics on hand for bloodsport, as we Children of Pleasure can rarely afford to be scarred,) try to save him with healing magics, but it was too little, too late.
His body fell atop mine; they say I screamed. The mock combat ground to a halt, and perhaps worst of all, the spear wrested itself free of Liam’s body, and darted back to the waiting hand of the pale warrior, leaving a trail of gore across the sand, and a fist-sized hole in Liam’s chest. I followed the trail with my eyes, and met those of his killer.
Naturally, he chose me to be his companion for the evening. The priests did not, perhaps they could not, refuse him, and I had little choice but to serve. He took me forcefully, and I responded as I was taught to do so with that sort. He responded as I knew he would, and glutted on violence and sex, slept. He was gone before I awoke the next morning, but so was Liam.
4- Where are you from and what are your connections to that place?
Whenever someone asks me that, I think of the Temple where I was raised, but I was not born there. I can only guess that I was born somewhere between Talbral and Vanir, but I couldn’t tell you where. But the Temple was my life. I mattered there. I miss it dearly, and knowing that I can probably never go back, save perhaps disguised as a would-be client, saddens me immensely, but the balance must be set.
5- What is your family like?
If you mean my parents, then I can’t tell you very much about that. I’m sorry. But my family from the Temple is a large and varied lot. There was Nek, a changeling like myself, who taught me the arts of innuendo, so I could judge what my patrons desired and give it to them before they even knew. He was very demanding, but I know that he cared for me, and did the best that he could to prepare me for what I would face while working in the service of the Three.
Master Jolym was our Religion teacher. Even though those of us who can call upon the Three’s powers are few, we are all expected to learn their ways, so that we can act with proper decorum, and of course, there is the fact that at the end of the night, it’s still an arm of the Church. I never found out for sure, but I believe that he fell out of favor with someone more powerful than he, and he resented having to teach us.
We learned to fight, for ceremony as well as self-defense-some of the servants of the Three have… less than savory tastes, and more than one Child of Pleasure has needed to know how to deflect a blow, or even strike a patron- from Rankar, in the fall and winter of each year that we were in training.
He kept his face hidden, and his body covered from head to toe, but from his size, build, and the way that he clips his “g’s” I suspect that he is a half-dwarf. Once a year, before he departed with the spring, he would gather all of us together, and challenge us to touch him, with anything from an arrow to an open palm strike to a longspear, and the one that did would get a prize. He would dance through the melee, deflecting blows and knocking heads until we were all exhausted and he declared himself the winner. I have never seen him touched, and I doubt that I ever would.
And, of course, there were the ones who taught us the… finer points of our work. They came in all shapes, sizes and ages, and when I say that they taught us everything about giving and receiving pleasure, I mean they taught us everything.
My fellow students of Pleasure were like brothers, sisters and cousins to me… some of them like cousins from the hill country, if the things that the folk of the city say about them are to be believed. At any rate, we were raised together from a young age, and matured to adulthood alongside one another. I never hid who I was from them. We cried our frustrations on one another’s shoulders, we fought each other, and did all those other things that relations are said to do.
6- What do you like and dislike (hobbies, phobias, etc)?
I enjoy reading. I like spending quiet time by myself with a book, whether it be scripture, a novel, or even something totally pedestrian, like an almanac. I especially enjoy studying the words of the Gods, although not necessarily in order to follow them. Knowing why so many others think the way that they do fascinates me.
When not playing a role, I like to keep things very clean and quiet. I am not used to, or comfortable with open spaces and large crowds- we had trips to the marketplace where we were allowed to buy things with the stipend the Temple gave us, but most of the time, I would ask another to buy things for me, or if I had to get something myself, I would do it as quickly as possible.
7- What line have you set for yourself that you will never cross and why?
I will take anything but a life- I have lost one already, and that is not a commodity I am prepared to trade in.
8- What are your plans for the future?
Take back what I am owed. After that… I, I don’t know. I suppose I shall have to go into hiding. He was powerful enough to kill Liam without having to pay any sort of reparations; I can only imagine that if I am even able to defeat him, someone will be displeased.
I also don’t hold any illusions about my ability to best him in single combat, especially at my current level of skill. If he is favored by the Reaper, then he, armed with spells and steel, will certainly be more than a match for me. Even if I were to train every day, I don’t know if I could match him. Even now, in the guise of Berg the half-orc, I have learned more about the arts of killing than I have ever known, but I despair that it will never be enough. I think that the balance will have to be paid through subterfuge, if not outright stealth and a quiet blade in the night.
9- Who do you love and hate?
I love my teachers, for they gave me purpose. I loved Liam, because he loved me, and he made me happy. I hate the blond warrior because he took those from me.
10- Who are your best friend(s) and worst enemy(ies) and why?
There is Noros, a guard at the front gate of the Temple. He is only a little older than I am, but he has served the Temple nearly as long as I have. He is a big man, but smarter than he looks. We first met over poetry- he saw me carrying some books back to my room, and asked if I knew anything that would impress a girl he was chasing in town. He is a quick learner, and won the heart of his lady. He has a friend named Nathan that I don’t like, a rangy fellow who has an unhealthy fascination with what I am. I don’t like the way that he looks at me- and I let people undress me with their eyes on a regular basis.
Palla is a Child of Pleasure like I am; the two of us were likely the oddest of all the children in our age group, which is probably why we are such good friends. We met early on in our training and stayed together since then. She says there are dragons in her ancestry- her hair is a deep purple and her skin slightly rough to the touch, like snakeskin. Compared to me- indeed, compared to most people, she is exuberant and boisterous. She plays several instruments very well, and even has a knack for making jokes and telling stories to put others at ease.
Hyacinth… just resents me. I don’t really know when it started, but she seems to hate me for what I am. I think it’s got something to do with her height and my ability to change myself. She’s not the most beautiful halfling, but she has a commanding presence, and has gathered a clique to her that fluctuates with her mood. Generally we steer clear of each other, but there’s only so much space in the living quarters of the Temple, and we do have our face-offs. I thank the Three that we never had to work together; that would have been awful.
11- How religious are you (keeping in mind that all the active Gods are Evil)?
I did the work of the Gods for the servants of the Gods. It kind of rubs off on you after awhile.
I respect and fear them; I say a prayer to the Temptress when I attend to my charges, and the Master when I hear a secret. The few times that I have gotten into fights since leaving the Temple, I have entreated the Reaper to guide my fists or blade. Since I seek to test one of His, I believe that He has spared me thus far, to see if I will humiliate his servant, and keep him from a place at his side in the afterlife. I’m sure that He does not approve of my refusal to kill my enemies, but following all the tenets of the Three is not an easy task. Then again, the Temptress and the Master both speak at length on the virtues of revenge, as well. Or perhaps I’m just lucky.
12- What are your prized possesions and why?
I have always had a small steel mirror. I remember using it to make faces in when I was young, even before coming to the Temple. I must have gotten it when I was a child, and been allowed to keep it when I was sold, for I cannot remember ever being without it. Perhaps the broker felt it would show my value, that I cared to look at the faces I made. It is a simple thing- a flat pane of metal the size of my palm, one side shiny, the other dull, the edges worn or sanded so it will not cut.
I also carry a prayerbook, for it reminds me of the life that I left behind, and as I am moving around so much, I cannot take a collection of books like I had at the Temple.