Legends of Thassilon
Malcanthet & Lilith
Tall and slender with long, black hair and lightly tanned skin. Her dark brown eyes seem to carry a heavy burden within her soul.
SIGH… 5th ed. version
Malcanthet aka: Malika Kaminska
Varisian Female Ranger 9
xp: ? / 64,000 to level
Init: + 5
Speed: 30 ft.
Str 13, Dex 20, Con 13, Int 13, Wis 15, Cha 11
Proficiency Bonus +4
HP 77 (d10 HD)
Saving Throws: *Str +5, Dex +9, Con +1, Int +1, Wis +2, Cha +0
Melee: + 1 Rapier (1d8), Dagger x4 (1d4 )
Ranged: + 1 Shocking Frost Long Comp.Bow (+ 1 Str.) (1d8 ) (+ d6 Frost) (+ d6 Shock)
SKILLS: Acrobatics +5, Handle Animal + 2, Arcana +1, Athletics +5, Deception +4, History +1, Insight +2, Intimidate +0, Investigation +1, Medicine +2, Nature +1, Perception +6, Performance +0, Persuasion +0, Religion +1, Sleight of Hand +5, Stealth +9, Survival + 6
Special Abilities: Track, Wild Empathy, Favored Enemy( Humanoids + 4 damage), Natural Explorer: Mountains, Archery Fighting Style 4 damage, Advantage vs. spells and abilities), Fleet of Foot: Dash as a Bonus Action +30’ movement
Personality Traits: I am always calm, no matter the situation. I never raise my voice and I do not let my emotions control me.
Ideals There are those who DESERVE to die.
Bonds My entire family was murdered a d I mean to avenge myself upon their killers.
Flaws I will run and/or hide when I get in over my head. No questions asked.
Languages: Varisian, Common, Elven,
COMBAT GEAR: Shocking Frost composite longbow + 1, Str. + 1 with 60 arrows, Rapier + 1, 4 x Daggers, 4 x Thunderstone,
Armor: + 2 Mithral shirt
Spellcasting Ability 6
Spell Save DC 14
Spell Attack Bonus 6
4 slots @ 1st Level: Cure wounds, Hunter’s Mark
3 slots @ 2nd Level: Darkvision, Lesser Restoration
2 slots @ 3rd Level: Lightning Arrow, Conjure Barrage
OTHER GEAR: Handy Halversack, bedroll, explorer’s outfit, torch (x2), flint and steel, manacles, grappling hook, silk rope (50 ft.), Winter Clothes, Winter Blanket, Water skin, Sack, Trail Rations (x10), 4 x Potions of Healing, Crowbar, Gaming Set: 3-Dragon Ante,
0 pp, 1256 gp, 2 sp, 5 cp.
Lilith Level 9 Cheetah, Med. Cat
Init: + 5
Speed: 50 ft.
Str 14, Dex 18, Con 11, Int 3, Wis 14, Cha 7
Size 4’8" long + 2’9" tail and 140lbs.
Saving Throws: Str +6, Dex +8, Con +4, Int +0, Wis +6, Cha +2
Melee: Bite + 8 (1d6 + 6 + Trip) Claw X2 +8 (1d4 + 6)
SKILLS: Acrobatics + 13, Athletics +6, Perception + 2, Stealth +8
Special Abilities: Low-light Vision, Scent, Sprint(500’ Charge), Evasion, Shares Favored Enemies, Shares Favored Terrain, Proficiency Bonus added to AC and Damage, Proficiency to all saves, Climb speed 40’, Coordinated attack, Beast’s Defense, Pounce,
Trait Threaten My Friends, Threaten Me…
Flaw Anytime is a good time for skritches.
PATHFINDER ED. Malcanthet aka: Malika Kaminska
Varisian Female Ranger 9
xp: 9000 / 15000 to level
Init: + 9 (+ 13 urban, + 11 mountainous)
Speed: 30 ft.
Str 13, Dex 20 (24 w/Belt of Dex + 4), Con 13, Int 13, Wis 15, Cha 11
Base Atk + 9/+ 4; CMB + 10, CMD 27
AC 23, touch 17, flat-footed 16 (+ 6 armor, + 7 Dex,)
HP 77 (d10 HD)
Fort + 7, Ref + 13, Will + 5
Melee: + 1 Rapier + 17/+ 12 (1d6 + 2 / 18-20) Dagger x4 (+ 9/+ 4)/(+ 14/+ 9 thrown), (1d4 + 1 / 19-20)
Ranged: + 1 Shocking Frost Long Comp.Bow (+ 1 Str.) + 17/+ 12 (+ 18/+ 3 w/in 30’) ,
+ 14/+ 14 Rapid (+ 15/+ 15 w/in 30’) (1d8 + 2/x3) (+ d6 Frost) (+ d6 Shock)
Full Attack Many shot (2 arrows at once + 16) Rapid shot (1 arrow at + 16) Second Attack (1 arrow at + 10) + 1 to ALL within 30’ (Point blank shot) Deadly Aim (-3 attack, + 6 damage per arrow)
SKILLS: Acrobatics + 15, Bluff + 0, Climb + 8, Diplomacy + 0, Disguise + 0, Escape Artist + 12, Handle Animal + 9 (+ 13 on Animal Companion), Heal + 6, Intimidate + 12, Knowledge (Geography) + 8(+ 4 urban, + 2 mountain), Knowledge (Local): Kaer Maga, Varisian society, Magnimar + 7, Knowledge (Nature) + 11, Perception + 14(+ 4 urban, + 2 mountain), Perform () + x, Ride + 10, Sense Motive + 2, Spellcraft + 5, Stealth + 19(+ 4 urban, + 2 mountain), Survival + 14 (+4 urban, + 2 mountain), Swim + 5,
Feats: Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Deadly Aim, Weapon Finesse (rapier), Manyshot, Clustered Shots
Special Abilities: Track, Wild Empathy, Favored Enemy(+ 2 Humans & + 4 Undead), Combat Style Feat: Precise Shot, Endurance, Favored Terrain (+ 4 Urban & + 2 Mountain), Woodland stride, Swift Tracker.
Hunter’s Bond: Cheetah Companion
Traits: Reactionary +2 Init., Vagabond Child +1 Escape Artist
Languages: Varisian, Common, Elven,
COMBAT GEAR: Shocking Frost composite longbow + 1, Str. + 1 with 60 arrows, Rapier + 1, 4 x Daggers, 4 x Thunderstone,
Armor: + 2 Mithral shirt
SPELLS: 2 @ 1st Level (2 x Magic Fang), 2 @ 2nd Level (Windwall, Cat’s Grace)
OTHER GEAR: Handy Halversack, bedroll, explorer’s outfit, torch (x2), flint and steel, manacles, grappling hook, silk rope (50 ft.), Winter Clothes, Winter Blanket, Water skin, Sack, 2 x thunderstones, Trail Rations (x10), 0 pp, 1256 gp, 2 sp, 5 cp.
Lilith Level 9 Cheetah, Med. Cat
Init: + 9
Speed: 50 ft.
Str 16, Dex 28, Con 17, Int 3, Wis 13, Cha 7
Base Atk + 6; CMB 6 Natural Armor)
HP 72 (d8 HD)
Fort + 8, Ref + 14, Will + 3
Melee: Bite + 14 (1d6 + 3 + Trip / x2 crit) Claw X2 12 (1d3 + 3 / x2 crit)
SKILLS: Acrobatics + 13, Climb + 7, Escape Artist + 13, Perception + 5, Stealth + 13 (+ 17 in tall grass), Survival + 2, Swim + 6,
Feats: Boon Companion, Weapon Finesse (Natural), Agile Maneuvers, Spring Attack,
Special Abilities: Low-light Vision, Scent, Sprint(500’ Charge), Evasion, Shares Favored Enemies (+ 2 Human, + 4 Undead), Shares Favored Terrain: (+ 4 Urban, + 2 Mountain)
Tricks: (6 max +1 Bonus Trick) 1.ATTACK! 2.HEEL! 3.COME! 4.DEFEND! 5.DOWN! 6.TRACK! 7. FLANK! 8.FETCH!
I was born on the side of the road between Riddleport and Hell itself somewhere in the wilds of Varisia. I grew up traveling with my nomadic family who were a sept of the Desmondonna Clan. Every fourth year, all the families of the Clan would gather in some remote part of Varisia and erect a city made of wagons, carts, tents and brightly colored swags of fabric strewn everywhere. The Gathering, as it is known, was a time to share tales collected from across Golarion, drink, dance, sing and play for days on end. But before the transient city would fall, the elders would always hold somber and secret meetings in private. I can only imagine the things they spoke of and while these meetings often took only two or three days’ time, sometimes they lasted the better part of a week; ample time for the rest of The Gathering to recover and start celebrating anew. Alas, as quickly as the city was built, it was packed away on a thousand carts and disappeared into the misty morning, leaving nothing but cold fire pits dotting the landscape. These were my fondest memories growing up, for in such a place as The Gathering, I could disappear from my hard life, endlessly traveling the roads, and be a part of a larger spirit, a spirit of laughter, joy and love. I could sit for hours listening to the unbelievable stories from places as far away as The Field of Maidens and even lands so remote, they have not even been named on a map. I would walk among all the camps of my kin, seeing all the fantastical wares they had crafted themselves or acquired from faraway lands. However, despite the fascinating sensory overload, my favorite part of The Gatherings was getting to see my Auntie Sabina. She is a Harrower and I was always entranced by her mystical powers to divine the futures of others. Every Gathering I would find her tent and spend as much time socializing with her as I could. I would often play her assistant when a “Seeker of Truth” paid her a visit and as she performed her art I gave every attention to try and glean the secrets from her in hopes of one day becoming a Harrower too. Divinely knowing what I held in my heart, she sat me down one night, 3 years past, and read the cards that told of my future; my destiny. She told me that I had the potential to be the greatest Harrower in all the lands of the Inner Sea, but that I was meant to accomplish something far more important. Exactly what, she could not foresee, for it was shrouded in a swirling mist that she could not penetrate. A mist she had never before encountered. Needless to say I was heartbroken at such news, but my Auntie was an expert of diplomacy. “Reach your destiny, My Heart,” she said to me as she wrapped me in her arms, “and you will know joy and fulfillment that no Harrow deck could ever provide.” Alas, it was only two days later that the camp dispersed and I was back to my hard, boring existence on the road, embroidering scarves, gathering firewood and hunting for dinner each night.
Not a moment passed that I did not ponder and stew over the destiny the Harrow cards had foretold. I was excited that I would, one day, shed the mantle of my mundane existence for greatness, but I had no idea that the commencement of this journey would fall upon me as quickly and terrifyingly as a dragons’ shadow. Just a few days had passed since The Gathering had dissipated. Several families of our kin, eighty three souls in all, had decided to travel with us until Turtleback Ferry before venturing off on their own. Along the way we met a quartet of sibling sisters, “Exotic Performers from Beyond the Arcadian,” they hailed themselves. Dressed from head to toe in colorful feathered hats, provocative bodices, jet black boots with high heels and slitted skirts, their attire left very little to the imagination. They were, indeed, exotic for I had never seen such a flock of female perfection. I am ashamed to say I was quite jealous of the attention they garnered from all the men, even the boys. The Sisters were travelling alone in their horse drawn wagon and asked if they could join us on the road to Turtleback and invited anyone who wished to continue escorting them to Kaer Maga. Of course there were several volunteers. Fortunately, I had more important thoughts to concentrate on than my envy.
Later that day, we left the main road and clustered the wagons together to prepare for night fall. Spotting a nearby copse, I thought I could hunt some small game for our meal. I had become a fair shot with the worn, aged, yew shortbow my father gifted me for Sunwrought nine years past. Carefully, I made my way towards the small woods and scanned the flora for animal sign. The noise of the camp was far enough off and the sun was moments from setting. I crept down among the tall grass and weeds, found a nice hide at the edge of the copse and settled in to watch and listen.
At first I thought the setting sun had flared behind me. I turned to face back towards the camp, squinting in the setting sun and that is when the thunderous roar of the explosion assaulted my ears. Another flash of intense flame engulfed the twilight and before I could see the backlit shadows of the camp, another ear splitting crack struck me. Struggling to gather wits enough to dash from my hide, I saw the heavy columns of black smoke rising from the camp and only then could I hear the distant screams of my kin. Not the screams of alarm but the screams of the tormented and dying. Fear then washed over me. A fear that gripped my heart and ran as ice through my veins. I was frozen and could not make my body move to help them. It looked as if the setting sun had set ablaze the entire camp. I tried desperately to force myself to take a breath, to scream, but only a choked whimper escaped my throat. My hands were shaking so violently I dropped my bow to the ground. I could only feel the tears streaming down my face and watch in petrified horror as everyone and everything that was my life incinerated before me. Then I heard the laughter.
Transfused within their screams of agony and suffering I could hear the faint tittering and cackling of female voices. Their cachinnation broke the spell of fear within and infused me, instead, with a flood of anger, hatred and rage like I have never experienced before or since. I scooped up my bow, nocked an arrow and charged from my hide, sprinting towards the inferno. I remember screaming out like a terrified toddler for my Mother and Father. Every wagon seemed to be ablaze and though the screams seemed to cease, it was replaced by the crackle and roar of the burning homes, though the laughter was clear and boisterous. I circled the burning wreckage looking for a vantage that I might get closer to identify the female voices, but the intense heat and acrid smoke seemed an impenetrable wall.
“No! No! No! Why have you done this?” I wailed through tears of despair, “Why?” I kept repeating, my throat raw from screaming, not knowing what to expect in reply.
The two closest wagons abruptly flipped onto their sides, erupting a dense cloud of embers, and were brushed aside by giant unseen hands creating an opening within the circle of fire. I could see more clearly the center of camp and, more importantly, who perpetrated this massacre of my family. Two of the “exotic” women, now completely naked and wreathed in flame, each held aloft the charred corpse of one of my kin. They giggled, twirled and swayed around their fiery dance floor in a macabre saltarello. The third woman lounged, unclothed, atop a pile of smoldering bones and watched the gruesome promenade, cheering and laughing hysterically. The fourth now stood, staring at me, only a few paces away, a perfect female specimen. Her undraped body lit by the flickering fires of the camp. Intense heat and ember sparks swirled through her long, scarlet locks and yet she was unscathed.
“Look what I found, Sisters,” purred the sultry voice from her fanged mouth, “We still have one more toy not yet broken.” A sinister smile crawled across her face and she began to slowly close the distance between us. “Fear us not, little girl, we promise to be gentle with you,” she rose her arms toward me offering an embrace.
Rage mixed with adrenaline allowed me to draw my bow and aim at the creatures face. The heat was unbearable and I could feel the courage draining quickly from me while helplessness and fear welled up in its place. My eyes began to blur from tears of anguish so I loosed my arrow. The short, wooden shaft flew straight and true towards the forehead of the fiendish woman and burst into a puff of glowing ash before it could strike. I could only scream in frustration and woe.
Without blinking, the shapely, naked woman continued forward, “There, there, poor girl,” she pouted, “Do not cry. I will take care of you.” She laid her slender hands on my shoulders and pressed her lithe body against me, “Let me kiss you and make it all better.”
I tried to turn and run, but sorrow deadened my body. I wanted this to all go away. I wanted to wake from this horrific nightmare. I wanted her kiss. I closed my eyes and sobbed, waiting for an end to my pain.
My ears filled with pounding thunder, my lip felt a gentle brush before I was violently hurled to ground, hitting my head. I fought past the dizziness and nausea, forcing my eyes to open. The blurred vision of a shapely woman unfurled large, jagged wings and moved to leap upwards, but was interrupted by a larger, glinting blur that tackled her mid jump and tore her asunder with mighty blows. I heard the deep voice of a man shouting in a strange language. An otherworldly shriek pierced the air. The large glinting blur, stood over me and I felt a touch on my forehead. A rush of tingling energy flowed through my whole body, clearing my head and returning my sight.
”Rest easy, my young lady,” rumbled the shining armor-clad warrior, “On my honor, you shall not perish this day.” He turned and charged into fiery maelstrom of the camp.
Sitting up, I noticed the blood stains upon my shirt. My bow lay charred and useless nearby. Shivers flew up my spine as I felt a large presence approach from behind me. My heart raced with terror, as I slowly turned my head, only to meet the friendly face of a massive horse in shining barding. It stepped up beside me, blew a long breath from his nose and attentively watched the flames, ears perked and listening as the warrior continued to bellow in his strange language from somewhere inside the camp while the creatures within replied with spitting hisses and shrieks. I could see one of the winged women perched atop a rock outcrop at the edge of the camp. She seemed to be watching the confrontation intently, as if she was an alchemist observing an experiment, while the other two danced and slithered around the warrior, flanking from different angles. One leapt upon him from behind and flailed her clawed hands across his face and armored chest, but he did not waver and with great focus he reached up, grasping it by the throat with one gauntleted fist, while the glowing sword in his other hand dealt powerful slashing blows that cut down the creature before him turning it to ashen dust. He spun around, still gripping the creatures’ throat and used the momentum to hurl her to ground with a sickening thud. She scrambled to stand, but the warriors’ sword spun in his hand and thrust downward, sinking through her bare chest. Her body convulsed and shuddered, around the gleaming steel that pinned her to the smoking ground. A clawed hand feebly reached up for the warrior before her body collapsed in a heap of ashes. I shot a quick glance to where the last creature was perched, but it had vanished. I stood on my wobbly legs and forced myself to move towards the blistering heat to try and warn him of the unseen danger.
”There was one up there," I pointed to the rocks.
The warrior turned to me, crimson rivers flowed across his face, “Stay back, my young lady, this is no place for you,” he kindly warned then went to task tearing apart flaming wagons searching for survivors. Somehow the horse understood and his massive head reached down and gently pushed me back from the flames. Occasionally, through the din, I heard the warrior bellow the Varisian words, “Call out if you can! I am here to rescue you!” Alas, there was no reply. I sat in exhausted stupor, staring at the mesmerizing dance of the flames, trying to make sense of all that had just happened. Several minutes passed. The sun had disappeared completely but the immense bonfire lit the night sky. It seemed an eternity passed when the warrior emerged from the smoke and flames, coughing and spitting. His once shiny armor was now stained with ash and blood. He strode slowly, tears of sadness flowed down the jagged wounds upon his soot smeared face, and he knelt down before me and leaned upon the hilt of his glowing sword.
“I … I could not save anyone else,” he spoke with downcast eyes, “I am so very sorry. I have failed you this night. I have failed Iomedae. Please forgive me, my young lady,” he lifted his gaze to the smoky heavens, “Please forgive me, My Goddess,” more tears trickled from this powerful man as he closed his eyes, bowed his head and sobbed gently.
My eyes grew wide at his apologetic words, “Noble Warrior, how can you take responsibility for the horror that befell my family tonight?”
”I did not get here in time,” he straightened up, trying to regain some feigned composure, “They came unto this realm through an ancient portal lost in the damnable darkness beneath the Kodar Mountains. I learned of villages, far to the north, between Guiltspur and The Storval Deep being razed to the ground and all their inhabitants brutally slain. I have been in diligent pursuit of those demon-bitches for the last…” he looked away, embarrassed, “Apologies, my young lady; there is no excuse for my profanity,” he cleared more smoke from his throat and continued, “I, and many others of my Order, have been pursuing them for a fortnight. Five days ago, they attacked a Mission-Temple of Desna near the village of Lochheed along the southern edge of the Storval Deep. I arrived in time to thwart their attack on the priory and orphanage, though I was wounded quite severely. My humble gifts of healing were not enough, however, and I could not press their retreat until the next day. They fled south along a caravan route and I relentlessly followed their bloody trail stopping only to water my noble friend, Alyce,” The war horse nickered softly at her mention and nuzzled the warriors’ broad shoulder. “I was not half a league away when I heard the echo of the first explosion within your camp. Alyce and I sped here as fast as we could. Iomedae sent me to destroy those Demon-sisters, banish them back to the Abyss, and stop the senseless bloodshed. I could not save your kin and the last sister is still out there somewhere. That is why I have failed. And, though I am not deserving, is also why I humbly beg your forgiveness, my young lady.”
I was so emotionally devastated and overwhelmed by this eve’s tragedy, the only response I could give , was to wrap my arms around his neck, hold him close and cry. I felt him place a sympathetic hand on my back to return the embrace. Never in my life had I hugged a person in armor and it felt like trying to connect with someone through a wall. There was no comfort or warmth in it and was even a bit painful, but it was all that I had, so I let my tears flood. I cried with abandon until the last drop trickled from my exhausted body and I fell asleep.
Nearly two days passed before I awoke from a strangely peaceful sleep. Though the fire and destruction tried to invade as nightmares, they were always swept away by memories of Gatherings. Auntie Sabina was always there with comforting smiles and reminding me how much I was loved. There were also times of dark oblivion, where I was surrounded by nothingness, but before the feelings of loneliness, emptiness and despair could consume me, light replaced dark and I was surrounded by love and happiness though I could never see from whence it came.
I was tucked into a warm, comfortable bed in a room lit by a small fireplace. Normally the crackling of the logs and the rollicking flames gave me ease and good cheer, but I was awake now and haunting memories flooded my mind unceasingly. My stomach tightened, my heart raced and I felt sick, had I eaten anything these last days, I probably would have spit it up. I wanted to cry and yet I could not. I had no tears to shed, just an emptiness inside me.
The door to the room opened slowly and a kindly looking woman with long wavy black hair, garbed in a simple muslin chemise with a forest green bodice and matching skirt peeked her head inside. Despite her green tinged skin and a pair of small tusks, she beamed with a toothy, yet friendly smile and greeted me warmly, “Welcome to the world of the living, young miss! Thank Desna you are awake!
My eyes narrowed with a combination of suspicion and confusion about my current state and whereabouts. The orcish looking woman seemed to read my thoughts and emotions perfectly.
“Be at ease, young miss, I understand you have been through a terrifying experience. Mathias brought you here. You are safe now. I am Kath St. Jayne and this is my home.”
I managed to force a coherent thought across my lips, “Who is Mathias?” I asked pointedly, “And why was I brought here?”
Her smile never wavered as she dragged a sturdy mahogany stool beside the bed and looked at me with her dark, almost black, eyes. “Mathias St. Jayne is my younger brother,” she paused and then added, “Actually, he is my adopted brother. He found you and brought you here knowing I would care for you until you were well.” She reached out, laying a gentle hand on my arm, “He needed to keep hunting those who attacked you and your family. Mathias is a good and courageous lad. Know he will do everything in his power to mete justice upon them.”
I believed her words, though they gave me no peace. My brain was still a whirlwind of memories and emotions. I simply sat in bed, unable to will myself from it. Kath understood somehow and quietly stood, placing a nurturing kiss on my forehead, she crossed to the fireplace, added another log and opened the door to the room. “Rest all you need, young miss. I will bring you soup and something to drink. I know you probably do not feel much like eating right now, but your body needs nourishment, though your mind is not hungry.” She continued to smile warmly as she left the room.
I listened to her footfalls descend a staircase, followed by the muffled thump of, I assumed, a kitchen door. I drifted through the hazy chaos of my consciousness for what was probably only a few minutes, but seemed like days, before Kath shuffled into the room carrying, in one hand, a small serving tray with a piping hot bowl of the most delicious smelling soup and a small earthenware tankard of water. In her other hand, she offered me a slender, glass vial of purplish liquid, “If you trust me, take this potion,” she nodded gently and placed the vial on the blanket covering my lap, “It will help you gather your thoughts better and allow you to think more clearly.”
I had no reason to distrust the kindly half-orc, nor had I much will to live if she wanted to harm me. My fingers numbly grasped the potion and I downed it quickly without any thought of consequences. A moment later, like the snap of a bowstring, my body and mind suddenly seemed to connect once again and I felt a hunger and thirst erupt within me that I have never before known.
“I will just leave this tray here next to your bed and when you feel like it, you can eat,” Kath spoke softly as if to not disturb me. However, my mind was now sharply focused on the food she carried. My stomach roared and I reached both hands toward her like a starving child begging for a scrap of bread. Her smile broadened even more, “Now, eat slowly young miss, lest you make yourself sick.”
Ignoring the carved wooden spoon entirely, I picked up the bowl of soup with both hands and raised it to my lips, eager to gorge myself on the savory broth. The bowl stopped short of my watering mouth and I glanced across its steaming edges to see Kath holding the bowl at bay with the same spoon I had forsaken. “Manners are very important in this house, young miss,” her stern, maternal gaze locked with mine, “And I give you my advise because I genuinely care about your well-being,” her hand gently, yet firmly, lowered the bowl upon the tray. I took the spoon from her offered hand, casting my eyes down to the meal, slightly ashamed at my behavior, and took my first, of many more to come, sips of kraken-n-leek soup.
Kath sat beside me once more, folding her strong hands upon her lap and watched me eat. After a few moments, making sure I continued to follow her advice, she sighed heavily and began to speak, “By now that potion should have done its work and you are clear minded enough to hear what I must tell you.”
I nodded my agreement with a sense of morbid curiosity knowing that she was not about to present me with good tidings.
Kath leaned forward and made sure our eyes met before she began, “I spoke the truth when I said you were safe now. However I cannot guarantee your safety indefinitely,” she sat upright knowing my full attention was upon her. “The demons that attacked your caravan are a wickedly resentful sort. Mathias was able to banish at least one of them back to the Abyssal realms, but any who survived will most assuredly try to reap revenge upon him and as long as you are alive, young miss, you are a target for their wrath as well, “ she paused a moment to let her words sink in. “I trust Mathias to relentlessly pursue those demons to their ends, however, in order to protect you he delivered you here, along with a small purse of gold, and instructions for me to care for you until you recovered and then see you delivered to the city of your choice where you may use the money to start a new life,” her friendly, tusky, smile returned. “There is enough coin for you to attend any guild-school or university you wish, though Mathias did ask that you consider a path within the teachings of Iomedae,” she snickered then paused, expecting me to understand the mirth of her words, but my lost expression cued her to elaborate. “My apologies, young miss, I assumed you knew that a Paladin of Iomedae was who brought you here.”
“In truth, I did not, M’lady Kath,” my words flowed from my thoughts much easier now. “When I first saw him, I did not even think he was a mortal,” replaying the memory in my mind now, for the first time did not cause me terror, but awe and respect for the man who risked his very life to save a vagabond Varisian girl. “Please forgive me for not saying so sooner,” I reached out my hand for hers and made the ancient sign of blessings for my people, “Thank you, m’lady. Thank you for your caring spirit. May it ever be free.
“You are most welcome, dear child,” For the first time her stalwart smile wavered, ever so slightly, and I could see her eyes well as she reached forward and wrapped me in a warm, deceptively powerful, embrace. A few moments passed as she regained control of her tears and she sat back on the stool, blinking repeatedly and laughing away the moisture on her cheeks. “Please call me Kath,” her smile returned to its normal radiance. “M’lady makes me sound like some spoiled Chelaxian princess.”
I could not help myself. A snort of laughter escaped me at the conjured image and I felt a smile begin to creep across my face, “My name is Malika. My friends call me…” the smile was fleeting, interrupted by the reality that they were all dead. “My friends used to call me Mal.”
“Then, I shall call you Mal forevermore,” she beamed. “More soup?”