Festival of the Lion
A snobbish rouge who just wanted to get to the festival in peace and quiet....
HP – 20
AC – 16 Touch – 14 Flat Foot – 12
Str – 8 Dex – 18 Con – 8 Int – 1 Cha – 7
Fort – 0 Ref – 8 Will – 4
Fire. It was burning all around her. Licking at her as if testing to see how much it would enjoy burning her alive. Saphir was huddled in whatever clear corner of her house she could find, smoke filling her lungs and ash discoloring her face. She cursed the man that put her in this position.
It had started just only a week before. Her parents were nobles of the outlying village of Apri one of the many encircling the main capital Elven city of Ethe’ron. The village itself was in a state of cleaning up and making itself presentable. It was the annual spring visit by the king to check on state of affairs and make sure all was running well in each village. Normally Saphir didn’t mind such a thing; she was only to be on her best behavior and make sure all is in order for the King. But this year was different; the King was up in bed sick, and his pompous and narcissistic son, Prince Lai’thor, was to come down in his place.
Over the years Saphir had become increasingly aware of his obsession over her. The narcissistic Prince, of course, only wanted the prettiest girl in the entire kingdom. Unfortunately for her, Saphir was his target. She had long cascading black hair that was neatly kept in a very low braid, bright green eyes, and pale skin. “It was though god made her just for me.” the Prince would constantly say. Over time he had become increasingly more and more obsessed as she became closer to marrying age. And it was unfortunate on her part she turned of age this past winter. With the Prince coming she knew she would have to put up a fight to be civil while still denying his advances. This would be a week of hell, but she could not know how true those words would be. The first few days she managed to get by, trying to dodge and avoid Prince Lai’thor as much as she could. It was on the evening of the 5th day she finally got cornered.
“Stop playing games, my lovely Saphir. Why won’t you just succumb to me?” He whispered to her flashing a grin she only thought as more disturbing then dashing.
“I will not. I do not wish to be your bride Prince Lai’thor.” A loud bang went off next to her and Saphir jumped in surprise. Her eyes slowly moved over to see that the Prince’s fist had slammed into the wall mere inches from her face.
“Now now my dear, you can’t truly mean that?” he said, anger appearing in slow increments on his face.
“I do.” Saphir said, now thinking of anything to get herself out of this. “I am already betrothed to another.” She lied.
“Who?” he whispered, his face now deadpan and his eyes very clearly showing all the anger he now had.
“A young man here in Apri. I love him.” She continued to lie. It was only then she saw the very dark look come over him, something that made her heart leap into her throat and scare her half to death.
“Saphir?” her mother questioned as she stood before them. Exhaling the breath she didn’t know she was holding, Saphir thanked any deity she could think of for the dues ex machina that just saved her from the anger of the Prince. With a very low growl and being interrupted, the Prince turned on one heel and exited the hallway.
“Are you all right my dear?” her mother questioned.
“Yes, I’m fine mother.”
“You should marry him you know. It would be very advantageous for your Father.”
Saphir laughed inwardly, so the Prince was very good as being two-faced. “Maybe, mother.” She replied.
“Well then off to bed.” Her mom said with a grin on her face. “Have a good night.” If only she knew that would be the last good night….
Saphir awoke to a very early 6th day morning to smell that immediately made her leap out of bed. Smoke had filled the house and she could feel the fire coming from almost all directions. She fumbled about as she inhaled the thick black clouds and had the same perpetrator irritate her eyes. Saphir managed to get downstairs but fire blocked her main exit. Losing proper air to get her body moving she collapsed on the floor, dragging herself to the nearest corner. Fire continued to burn all around her as she continued to mentally curse the man who was more than likely the arsonist. Prince Lai’thor.
Taking in what she could see, she finally dragged in enough air to crawl over to the nearest window and drag her body out of it. She coughed and stumbled, letting what clean air she could get into her body to make herself go again. When she finally made it around to the front of the house, her eyes widened at the sight before her.
Not only was her house on fire, but the entire village was being engulfed by flames. She fell to her knees as she took in the sight before her, guilt washing over her in abundant waves. It was all her fault. It was her fault for angering the Psychotic Prince into burning the entire village of Apri. She heard the footfalls of horses stop right before her. “You made me do this.” She heard. She didn’t need to look up to know who was talking. “If only you had simply agreed to marry me, we could have avoided all of this. You could have avoided even the deaths of your parents and all the deaths of the bachelors here in Apri.” Saphirs eyes widened and tears began streaming down her face.
No. No. NO. NOO.
The Prince laughed. “You are now a homeless wretch with no money and no status. You are no longer worthy of me. But just to make sure you don’t get back into any graces with your whorish ways, lets un-pretty that face of yours.”
He jumped down from his horse and pulled out a dagger in one swift motion. Forcefully grabbing her by her hair, he held the dagger to her cheek. Grinning wickedly, he made a slash at her, missing by inches when Saphir tugged herself out of the way. But that move was not without losses, as a big section of her hair fell to the blade instead. Laughing again the Prince stood. “Still defiant, eh? Well, that’s just fine. You won’t be able to return here after today anyways.” He turned away from her and leapt right back on his horse, sending her one last smug grin. “Goodbye, Saphir.”
She stood, tattered and torn, ragged and broken. It was only after the vile Prince had left that she noticed the waves of hatred aimed at her. What was left of the villagers of Apri, who were not killed or had died in the fire, were now turned to her.
“This is all your fault!” one screamed.
“If you had only accepted him!”
“My son is dead because of you!”
More and more voices descended upon her ears. She stood silently, letting them yell at her. One young boy got angry enough he had picked up a rock nearby and threw it at her. She had no time to dodge at it clocked her right in the head, drawing blood. It was not long after one stone is cast, that others would follow. Saphir could finally take no more as she ran out of the village, its survivors following behind her until she managed to hide from them in the surrounding forest. She stayed in that spot for days. She could not count how long before she finally got up and wandered. She wandered for what seemed like weeks before she finally got to another place. A place filled with humans. Many stared at her walking through, she was a sight covered in old soot, half of her hair chopped off and dried blood covering her body. She doesn’t remember much of those days, but it was around that time she was taken in by an older human man. Who cleaned her up and fed her, listened to her story and comforted her as she finally wept after many, many weeks.
She had stayed with him until she had recovered, he had cut her hair into the short blunt cut it is now. He taught her ways to defend herself, showed her how to use daggers. She learned then he used to be a rogue, famous in the underground for doing the impossible. It was after a time that she had declared that, if she ever had the chance, that she would kill the awful Prince that did this to her. The old man smiled, and nodded.
“Now you have a purpose for my craft, come, now I will teach some things I have hidden from you.” It was after many years did the old man declare that she had learned all she could from him.
“I have a mission for you, Saphir. You need to go to the festival this year and speak with my connections with the underground, there you will find others who could help with this purpose, or send you where you need to go. If asked, tell them Valek sent you. Also, I would recommend going by land. The ships may check identification and demand that weapons be stowed away. Your first destination will be Becna.”
Saphir nodded and gathered her things to go. She gave Valek a long glance and a smile. “Thank you.”She said and he nodded in return. She turned and closed the door behind her and began to exit the town. “Becna, eh?”