Tiefling scholar with a burning need for knowledge... and vengeance!
Outwardly reserved around strangers, Azeria will often break the ice by blurting out the first question that pops into her head. She’s very curious and focused on learning new things and uncovering secrets, which causes her to overcome her naturally introverted nature. She has a fairly typical Tiefling appearance, horns, glowing golden eyes, and reddish auburn hair. She tends towards dark colors in her garb, arms herself in leather, and wields a sword.
Alias: Lightning Bolt
At 12 no one ever questions. The world is the way it is, and surely always has and always will be. So it was with Azaria. At age 12, the young tiefling girl was perfectly content with her role in her little village in Ravenholt. After all, what else was there?
The most troubling thing on Azaria’s mind was her recent elevation to adulthood, and therefore servitude. All the tieflings in her village worked as servants for the upper class humans in Midway. And, as the children grew up, they were groomed to become the next generation of servants. It never occurred to Azaria to question that. Tieflings weren’t as good as humans. Everyone knew that. But growing up was no fun!
Along with the upsetting news that she would gradually have to give up her days of freedom, playing with the other children, was the vague rumors of witch hunts, and magic running wild in the world. But Azaria was able to push that to the back of her mind. After all, it had never happened here. And she knew her parents were safely magic-less. And so was she. So there!
Today was supposed to be fun. She had a day off work, and fully intended to make the most of it. Her parents had the day off, too, which was odd. But they had told her to go play, so that must be ok. Catching the eye of Maelesh, a tiefling boy from the village and her best friend, she dashed off toward the nearest tree. They didn’t need to clarify the rules. You got to the top first – you won. Obviously.
But today, there was something other than victory at the top. The view from her favorite tree showed a disturbing amount of heavy, black smoke hovering over the town. The wind kicked up, and Azaria shivered without knowing why; she was never cold. The smoke cleared a fraction, showing the huge flames engulfing her home.
Azaria froze, but only for a moment, and then she was scrambling down the tree trunk, and racing toward the fire as fast as she could go. She could hear Maelesh calling to her, but it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered but getting to the blaze and making sure her parents weren’t in it.
She plunged into the village and the huge crowd gathered around the burning wreck confirmed her worst fears. A few were carrying water and beating impotently against the flames with wet sacks, but most were just standing there, knowing it was hopeless. Hands reached out to stop her as she attempted to break in through a window. She felt a sudden blaze of pain in her hands and arms, and then all went black.
A week later, a different child stood at the wreckage of her old home. This child had seen her parents buried. Had seen the charred remains of their bodies, too brittle to withstand the merest puff of air. And now stood and saw the flame blackened beams and piles of ash that were all the remained of her old life.
She was leaving. She knew that much. A week had gone by, and she had heard the rumors. She knew it was dangerous to stay, and more importantly, there were no answers here. And answers were all that mattered now.
In her peripheral vision, she saw that her neighbors were eyeing her with a mixture of pity and fear. Fools! They believed the rumors. They thought her parents had been magic-wielders and had somehow earned this fate. That the witch hunters were in the right. Vengeance knew differently and her new name declared better than anything else what she intended to do about it.
Vengeance ducked inside the wreckage, to hide from prying eyes the last tears she intended to shed before she set out on her mission. She found herself slumped in the corner, where her parents bed used to sit and where she had spent so many nights, after waking from terrible nightmares. Vengeance leaned back against the wall, steadying herself on the wall, and ignoring the lump in the floor jabbing against her thigh. She tried to let herself go and cry, as she had not been able to since the shock of the fire. The uneven floor distracted her.
Angrily she got up and kicked at the floorboard. She couldn’t even grieve properly! Then gaped, as she saw the crack open up upon contact with her foot. Immediately she crouched, pulling up the loose board. Underneath was a pile of rags, with some loose dirt layered on top. She opened up the bundle and found something that made no sense at all.
An amulet. With strange markings on it. And what looked to be a letter. She couldn’t read, but she dare not ask anyone in this village. Most of them probably couldn’t read either. How had her parents gotten these items?
Pushing aside all doubts about her parents, Vengeance stowed the strange artifacts in her traveling pouch. Time enough to think about them later. Time enough to prove they didn’t change things. Her parents were innocent.
5 years later…
17-year-old Vengeance angrily flipped her hair out of the way of the spell that had gotten out of control. Again. She was practicing in secret, that much was clear from the way her dark, golden eyes scanned the room before she began again. Not that magic was forbidden at the college. Far from that. Students were permitted to pursue learning in any field they chose. But Vengeance was by nature secretive, and the taboo on magic she had been raised with was impressed too strongly upon her. She had yet to make peace with the ability she found within herself.
Just the thought that she could do magic, and that her parents had possibly had the ability as well, was enough to alight a storm of emotions within her. She distracted herself from that, as usual, by focusing on fighting to control the spell. Her hands and forearms bore the marks of many magical mishaps. From the first, she had been drawn to fire. Like magic itself, it both repulsed and fascinated her. And the burns hid the old scars from her childhood, and kept the memories at bay.
That this place of learning had found and accepted her was a miracle. Vengeance had traveled for weeks on her own, before collapsing from thirst and exhaustion. Her anger had driven her farther than would have been thought possible, but she couldn’t subsist on it alone.
As she lay half dead on the forest floor, she had gradually become aware of a pair of boots directly in front of her. Forcing her face up off the ground she looked up and was shocked to see a beautiful woman standing over her. The woman’s face was serene, but surprisingly kind as she bent down to touch Vengeance’s face.
Had the woman offered to take her the afterlife, Vengeance probably would have accepted, for anywhere was better than here. But she didn’t. She took her to the floating city, where everything felt like a dream to the still youthful Vengeance, who had never imagined a place that wasn’t Ravenholt.
She smiled, remembering her astonishment at the collections of books. After acquiring the ability to read, she had become obsessed with learning. At first she stayed away from the darker books, and the tomes of magic. But eventually her curiosity got the better of her revulsion, and she pored over every scrap of knowledge that might help her with the riddle her parents had left her.
She’d made some progress. She’d gone from barely being able to say the alphabet in the common tongue, to fluently reading several languages, and she now recognized the characters on her parent’s parchment as originating from Dwarvish. But it was written in a code that she hadn’t deciphered yet. At first, she’d been fooled and puzzled by the mundane details of the trade agreement involving people she’d never even heard of, but soon she realized this was merely another layer of deceptive code to hide the real message. Small wonder her current studies focused on Dwarvish culture and encryption!
The runes on the amulet were still a mystery. At times she feared they were remnants from some demonic tongue and she would reluctantly scan the few books in the library with mention of demons. But before long she’d need a break to dispel her discomfort by practicing her swordplay. The magic disturbed her almost as much as the amulet, but she was drawn to it, and could only resist for so long before she’d attempt to master it again.
She pulled on the gloves she wore to conceal the burns, old and new, ignoring the pain of leather on raw skin. It was time to get back to more productive studies. She knew she was getting close to understanding the Dwarvish code. She was almost certain the real message involved a pattern of letters hidden with the significant words in the message, but she hadn’t quite pieced it together yet. Once she broke it, she intended to head to the north to seek out more knowledge. She hoped her parent’s mysterious correspondents would have more information about them, and, more importantly, about their enemies. After this task was completed, she could worry about what came next.
The idea of leaving this place of learning was difficult. It had been a home, and she truly loved gaining knowledge. Her studies had been broad, encompassing much more than runes and language skills. She’d pored over texts of history and geography, seeking to learn more of the world outside her old home. She’s also studied survival skills and fighting skills, swearing to never allow herself to be so vulnerable or weak as to repeat her childhood experience in the woods. Some studies were truly obscure areas, including Elvish pharmacology and interracial psychology. But what she’d learned of the history of this land had been disturbing, and she feared her parents had been involved in a plot like those of the past. Although Vengeance knew it was necessarily to learn as much as she could, she also knew she could never be truly happy until she’d vindicated or avenged her parents, and her growing restlessness showed it.
The time had come to seek out knowledge in other, more forceful ways.