About Alyse Shade
Female human magus 1
Background, Description etc.:
The girl woke up at the end of a narrow alley way, with no memory of how she had gotten there – or little else for that matter. She wore a black dress that might once have been fine, but was now patched and faded, and a silver locket with the name ‘Alyse’ engraved within. She had a purse filled with coins that seemed to be from a dozen different nations (or worlds perhaps), and little else. Sigil would have eaten up this girl with no past and not even spat out the bones, had she not been found and taken in by Shadow the fetchling tout.
Alyse (as she assumed was her name) was never really certain why Shadow took her in – the fetchling woman was mercurial, gregarious and friendly one day, distant or miserly the next. She was not rich, sometimes not even making enough jink to feed herself, let alone a human orphan girl. Sometimes Alyse wondered idly if Shadow had taken her for a fetchling herself at first, with her pale skin, thin frame and hair of jet. But then maybe it was the coins, and Shadow just hadn’t felt like stealing from a little girl that day.
That was six years ago as they reckon them in the Cage, or near enough. Alyse figured she was about 10 or so when she woke up, which would make her a woman (or near enough) by now. She’s never remembered her past life – doesn’t even know if she was a Planar or a Prime, whether she’d been in Sigil for a time prior to waking up, or whether she’d just stepped through a Door. She has flashes of memory sometimes – a tall, stern man; a crystal palace; a woman crying; a black, roaring beast; running through a dark place; walking the streets of a crowded, fog shrouded city (maybe Sigil, maybe not). Alyse may not know the dark of her past but she’s not Clueless anymore, Shadow made sure of that.
The bashers of the Great Bazaar (where Shadow mostly looked for work, her case was in the vicinity) started calling Alyse ‘Little Shadow’, then ‘Shade’ for short. Shadow wouldn’t take Alyse with her once she actually had a job, and sometimes she couldn’t (or wouldn’t) let the girl stay at her case for a spell. At these times she’d fob Alyse off to one of her many friends or accomplices in or around the Great Bazaar. There was Maldrin the Magnificent, who taught her spells and magecraft; Painted Pietra taught her body art, the tongue of demons, and how to be a lady (or not); Thorn of Clovenwood, who taught her how to fight, how to swear in a dozen languages and various bits of forbidden and arcane lore; and The White taught her about life, about the Great Wheel, and was a better mother (or father) to her than Shadow usually was.
Not so long ago, Alyse Shade decided she needed to find her own space and her own way – not to mention that Shadow’s case was barely big enough for a woman and a girl, let alone two women. Shadow had always cautioned her about being too quick to join a Faction, even one with as loose a membership and philosophy as the Free League – a Faction could protect you, but it could hurt you too, if it turned out your ideals didn’t completely gel with its. Growing up in the Bazaar, Alyse was naturally drawn to the Indeps, but she resolved to keep her eyes and options open and her wits about her. Recently, so as to make some jink and afford a kip she’s been doing some work for the Crossroads Lightning Guild Lodge, as a messenger and courier. She’s been known to kip at St. Cuthbert’s Lodgings for the Lost when desperate, although the priests make her kind of uncomfortable.
Alyse Shade is a human girl of about sixteen or seventeen standard years. She is of middling height and slender build (if you’re kind – otherwise words like skinny, or undernourished might come to mind). She has very pale, almost translucent skin, and very dark, almost jet black hair that hangs to her mid back, but is usually tied back or up in a messy tail or bun, with a few stray strands always hanging down into her eyes, which are blue-grey and look big in her narrow face. She has a small nose, and thin lips. She has a number of piercings in ears, nose, and lips, and several tattoos – some artistically beautiful, some rough and crude – although most of these are generally covered by her typical garb, which tends towards layered black clothing, wrappings of linen and cloth, fingerless gloves, tall boots, a weathered dark great-coat and a sort of shapeless black hat.
She has few friends, but is loyal to those she has. She’s stand-offish, sometimes rude, often seeming sad, but those who look closer may notice an inner strength and confidence, something that draws people of a certain type. She’s fit, quick and strong despite her slight build, and too smart for her own good sometimes, which makes her reckless. She’s somewhat wary of the strong philosophies and alignments of the Great Wheel, and has so far in her young life tended towards looking after herself and those few she loves rather than dedicating herself to a philosophy or a cause. She has a deep-seated fear of abandonment, which makes her hesitant in getting too close to people, or be too trusting.
Friends, Allies and Contacts
Shadow (female fetchling): Something of a mother figure to Alyse, Shadow is a tout who operates out from the Great Bazaar and surrounding areas, who took the young orphan Alyse in for unknown reasons. She is mercurial, at times kind and at times cruel – people tend to like her, but that doesn’t always go both ways. She generally treats Alyse well, but sometimes seems resentful of her – although this has lessened somewhat now that Alyse has (mostly) moved out on her own. Shadow does not make a great living as a tout, and sometimes supplements her income with thievery and perhaps (Alyse thinks) the odd spot of assassination. You know, just sometimes.
Maldrin the Magnificent, aka Maldrin the Muddled (male human): A wizard who operates a modest shop in the Grand Bazaar selling scrolls and minor spellcasting services, Maldrin’s moniker is much grander than he seems to be. His appearance as a scruffy and rather befuddled old man may have some truth to it, but also serves him well in gathering and passing on information for the Indeps. He has taught Alyse much of magic – he says she has a knack for it, and has offered to take her on as an apprentice, but she never seems to have the interest or patience for truly dedicated study of wizardry, and anyway suspects that being an apprentice would involve a lot of sweeping and darning socks. She still often comes to Maldrin for advice on things magical, or when she decides she needs to add another spell to her own meagre spellbook. Despite his seemingly humble magical ability, she’s occasionally observed him seeming to cast spells that should be far beyond his ability, but which is truth and which just appearance she’s never been quite sure.
Painted Pietra (female reformed succubus): Pietra claims to be a reformed succubus, but she’s known to have a very casual relationship with truth – it may be that she’s an alu-fiend or a half succubus or something else entirely. She makes a living as an artist, model and muse in the Grand Bazaar, specialising in tattooing, body modification and subversive sculpture. Most of the time she appears tattooed in bright and intricate designs from neck to ankle. She has been something of a surrogate big sister to Alyse, although extroverted Pietra could hardly be more different to her ‘little sister’. She’s a Namer of the Signers, though she doesn’t flaunt her affiliation.
Thorn of Clovenwood (male bariuar): Thorn is a brash, oft bad tempered bariuar Taker who has a soft spot for pretty girls (he says that Alyse is close enough, although it seems to be Shadow he is taken with). Alyse and Shadow managed to help him out of a spot of trouble a few years ago, and he occasionally threatens to return the favour. He’s probably a bad influence on Alyse, teaching her all sorts of things she shouldn’t know (like tan’nari curses, dangerous magical lore, and how to fight dirty), but he can be fun when he’s in a less dark mood.
The White (androgynous aasimar): The White is a priest of some lost or obscure faith – ey rarely pushes eir philosophy or faith, but is warm and caring to most, and is willing to share eirs thoughts on life and the Great Wheel if prompted. Alyse tends to be mistrustful of priests (likely Shadow’s influence), but she gets on well with the White who often looked after her when Shadow couldn’t. Even Shadow seems to take some pleasure in the White’s company, though the two are about as different as white and some darker shade of grey. Alyse doesn’t know if the White belongs to a faction, although she’s seen him oft enough in the company of Godsmen.
Enemies and Rivals
Big Pate, aka Pate the Pig (male half-orc): An orphan of the Bazaar like Alyse, Pate is a few years older than Alyse, big, stupid and cruel. As a boy he was a bully who delighted in picking on skinny, quiet Alyse. As a man, he’s become the leader of a petty gang of thugs who roam the Bazaar, threatening, thieving from, hurting and, yes, still bullying whoever they can.
The Stranger (male human?): When Alyse had been in the Cage for about a year, a man tried to snatch her from a dark alley. These things happen in any large city – thankfully for Alyse she managed to escape, but the experience scared her badly, not least due to the man’s sinister appearance and actions. He was very tall and very thin, with skin as pale as her own, a hairless head and long fingers that almost seemed to have too many joints. He wore a long black coat, a long scarf and smoked glass goggles. As Alyse ran away down the crooked alleyways of Sigil to escape her, he always seemed to be near behind her although she never saw him run. Only when she emerged into the bustle of the Bazaar did he abandon the pursuit.
Dhaaz’jaag the Razor (female githyanki): At the tender age of sixteen (or maybe seventeen) Alyse hasn’t had the opportunity to make many enemies of her own, but that’s okay as she has inherited a few of Shadows. She doesn’t quite know what Shadow did to annoy the githyanki gish, but it was enough that the Doomguard affiliated Razor swore bloody vengeance on Shadow and all she held dear, which apparently included Little Shade. So far, bloody vengeance seems to be a dish best served cold, apart from a few threats and a little destruction of property, but recently Alyse noticed Dhaaz’jaag watching her from across the Bazaar with murder in her eyes.
Hard Theros (male dwarf): Another inherited enemy, Theros the Hardhead has had his beady eyes on Shadow for years, always hoping to catch her out in some criminal act, and generally doing his best to make life difficult for her. Shadow often blames her lack of income from the freelance guide game on Theros scaring away her customers. Years back he seems to have decided that the daughter must be as bad as the mother (he doesn’t know or just doesn’t care that they’re not actually related, or even the same species), and often enough takes the time to make life hard for Alyse too.
Jasmin Krin (female human): Jasmin, the daughter of a Bazaar spice merchant was Alyse’s friend once – maybe she still thinks she is. The girls are of an age, and pretty, popular Jasmin has often taken it upon herself to ‘improve’ her gloomy, shy friend. It’s f!*+ing annoying. No one in the Cage is that sunny all the time, there has got to be something else going on, or so Alyse supposes.
Long Term Goals, Motivations, Hopes, Fears
Make a name for herself, either within a faction or not.
See the Great Wheel (some of it anyway).
Find out where she came from, whether her family is still alive, and how she ended up in Sigil.
She fears the Stranger, and wonders what he wants, whether he is something to do with her past.
She worries for Shadow, that she is going to get herself (and possibly Alyse) into more trouble than she can handle. She also wonders why Shadow took her in and has (mostly) looked after her all these years.
Alyse has few close friends her own age (don’t get her started on f%ing Jasmin), and although she has something of a surrogate family whom she cares for and they her, they are not a close family like she has read about (or seen occasionally). She sometimes wonders if Shadow would die for her, the way she’s heard a mother would be willing to die to protect her children; she’s fairly sure the answer is no. Although she hardly admits it to herself, she would like a family, or a close knit group of friends. People who she would die for if needs be, and they for her. She wonders if she would find that in a Faction, but she’s not sure.
The status of Alyse’s blood family is unknown. Are they dead? Did they leave her in the Cage to abandon her or to save her? Is the stern man she sometimes remembers her father? Is the crying woman she sometimes hears her mother? Did she have any siblings? She remembers other children, but not who they were to her.
Shadow is the closest thing Alyse has to a mother in Sigil – she’s not a great mother, but she does well enough when it suits her. She sometimes thinks of Pietra as an older sister (or wicked aunt), but Pietra, like Shadow, only has time for Alyse when it suits her. Maldrin and the White have both cared for Alyse, but she thinks of them more as favourite uncles (or aunts) than close family.
Magic Item Wishlist – in order of category rather than desire, and obviously I don’t expect them all … right away …
- Some magic armour. Early on maybe studded leather, a chain shirt or even elven chain. Special properties such as shadow and energy resistance are nice. At higher levels, magical chain mail with the improved versions of such properties might be nice, mithral is a girl’s best friend and celestial armour may be appropriate.