About Petra Gritstone
The scarred dwarf-woman shifted uneasily in the throng of travelers, most taller than her. She moved around the outskirts of the crowd-- or tried to-- but her knowledge of how to move in the market was obviously lacking, and she disrupted the flow of traffic just as that same boulder might have disrupted a river. The first person to careen into her, a merchant with his arms full of water jugs, began a grumpy cursing that trailed off when she turned around and fixed him with a wild, startled gaze from the ravaged burns on her face. The dwarf and merchant both backed hastily away from each other. She kept going, until she thumped up against a stall. There she stayed a moment, arms wrapped around herself, glowering out at the crowd in a fashion that combined hostility and misery. They were all so... so noisy. She longed for the peace of the deep desert, the quiet of shifting sands with only the cry of hyenas to pierce it... but she had a job to do, and she would do it.
The others were waiting for her to get back. Petra pushed off from the stall and forced herself back into the crowd, aiming for the food stalls.
A ragtag human child bumped into her-- and the dwarf's wrist shot out like a viper, closing on the skinny wrist. "Give it BACK," Petra growled, in a voice raspy as a dry riverbed. The child stared into the burnt mess of her face-- the slice visible under her keffiyeh, anyway-- then snarled and thrust the coin purse back at her. Petra let the boy go, sourly thinking that the desert hyenas were more honest thieves..
Petra is one of the Pahmet dwarves-- sand dwarves-- and her skin is the deep, weathered brown-bronze of a lifelong desert resident. The sun and wind have made her appear older than she actually is, with dozens of fine crow's feet wrinkles-- though the most arresting feature about her is her scars. Not so very long ago, Petra was badly burned, and the legacy of that is still written on the right half of her face, and part of her scalp, where the hair does not grow. She is self-conscious about this disfigurement, and usually wears a drawn-up keffiyeh to try and hide it. What is left of her black hair, she wears shorn fairly short to her scalp. Her eyes are a dark brown, almost black. For a dwarf, she is somewhat lanky-- wiry muscle rather than beefy. Her clothes are Pahmet-style rather than traditional dwarven-- plain and humble homespun, without much ornamentation-- and she wears armor made, not of dwarven steel, but of stiffened leather with bronze studs. A flail with the jackal-head of Anubis worked into its pommel is tucked at her belt, but she seems more comfortable with the longbow she holds-- not a weapon common to dwarves in other parts of Golarion, but the Pahmet hunt on the open desert sands, and taking down an antelope or a hyena is easier at a distance.
Background and Personality:
As a Pahmet dwarf, Petra grew up in the southwest of Osirion, in the mountains there, which are claimed as a homeland by the Pahmet. Specifically, she grew up in Erekrus-- a necropolis city guarded by the dwarves, where especially noble pharaohs who had earned the favor of the Pahmet were entombed. The Pahmet dwarves long ago left the traditional dwarven faith for the gods of Osirion (they would argue that this not an abandoning of their own faith for human gods, but rather, that the gods are universal and transcend race, and that Ptah and Torag, for instance, are simply two sides of the same coin). In Erekrus especially, the god that humans call Anubis was especially revered, as the gatekeeper and tender of the honored dead. Petra entered training to become an acolyte of the Guardian of the Tomb at a fairly young age.
Petra's childhood was fairly uneventful, by Pahmet standards-- she was taught how to survive the deep desert, how to use both the sacred flail of Anubis and the practical bow that the Erukruskans favored, as it was easy to defend the high bluffs of Erukrus by archery. She also learned some basic prayers and to have respect for the dead, both human and dwarf. Petra took to her lessons and her duties in an obedient fashion... until the night of the tomb robbers.
A group of motley and enterprising thugs slipped into one of Erekrus's outlying tombs, figuring that with the dwarven guards, the riches here might yet be undisturbed. They were correct about that-- but they encountered one of those guards, a young Petra who was on one of her first sentry watches and was, perhaps, overly eager to go after every faint sound in the dark. However, on her own, she was no match for the experienced and ruthless crypt-breakers. They quickly subdued her, trussing her up while they went back to their work... and leaving her under the watchful eye of one of their number, a half-orc sorceror named Thurzen. Thurzen favored fire magics... and he was also a sadist. It amused him to see her squirm under his threats... and then, to burn under his magics.
When the rest of the crew returned to find her engulfed in flames, they hissed at Thurzen to stop his play-- they had their profit, and it was time to be gone. Reluctantly, Thurzen did so-- assuming she would die from her injuries, or perhaps just be crippled for life. The crypt-breakers fled with their ill-gotten goods.
But Petra survived. She was shamed-- both by her failure to defend the sacred charge of her people, and the humiliation of having been a captive plaything for Thurzen's evil amusements. She begged leave from her family and elders to track down the thieves and regain what they had taken from Erekrus, and she was given this permission. Petra is largely oblivious as to the rest of the world outside of Erekrus, as she has never left home before-- she has some grounding in Osirion's history as a whole, but little knowledge of the day-to-day life of modern Osiriani, and no real knowledge of the world beyond Osirion's borders at all.
But she does know how to track, and she knows what Thurzen looks like.
She trailed him to Wati, where his gang intended to loot further tombs. On the way, Petra fell in with several other travelers (the rest of the party), serving as a laconic-and-somewhat-anxious guide-- she could advise as to desert hazards, but they knew the ways of the world, so it was a mutually profitable arrangement. Here in Wati, she hopes to find Thurzen and his crew. In the meantime, she has agreed to help explore other tombs. Though she finds this to be dishonorable work, these are not the dead of Erekrus, the truly noble dead-- these are the bones of lesser pharaohs, who were not deemed worthy of entombment at Erekrus, and so, Petra rationalizes it to herself as being not-so-bad... but at heart she still thinks of tomb robbing as a sport of filthy jackals, and will regard other explorers with at least some initial disdain.
Petra is naive as to the ways of other people, especially non-dwarves (i.e., most of the world), and alternates between being too trusting, and very suspicious. She is slow to open up to others fully, but once her trust is won, she is loyal unto death. She takes her responsibilities seriously, and is most at her ease in the desert's harsh heart, surrounded by the elements. Her word is her bond.
In addition, if the wielder of a bow of the watchful guardian fails an attack roll, as an immediate action once per day, she can retroactively add a +1 competence bonus on that roll. If this bonus is enough to make the failure a success, the attack roll succeeds.
Finally, a bow of the watchful guardian sharpens the senses of its wielder, granting her a +2 insight bonus on Perception checks.