High Pass - Humble Beginnings
Seraphina was a slave. Born into slavery, she never knew freedom. Her mistress, a cruel evoker named Pralia, valued her beauty and dexterity, using her as a dancer, a show piece when she entertained other members of the elite. Pralia was part of the magocracy, the spellcasting rulers of the land, their whims were law, and a lowly slave like Phina was at best a prized animal. Pralia had hundreds of slaves, and since Phina was valued her beauty, she was punished vicariously, a resistant look would result in one of her fellow slaves being whipped, and a misstep during a performance meant she watched one of the “less valuable” slaves skinned alive or disemboweled while Phina watched through streams of tears. Once, another slave managed to escape and Pralia had a child slave executed for every day until the slave was recaptured. Escape was not an option
Phina grew up a slave, but her long elven lifespan meant she learned patience. She had a natural gift for the dance and Pralia had one of her underlings teach her some simple magic to enhance her performance. A small breeze here, a flash of light there, a slow fall spell in the hands of a experienced dancer could make it seem like time had slowed, bringing Pralia prestige in the magocracy for such a fine prize.
One of her fellow slaves, a half-elf named Renault, taught her some basic combat techniques. They only had a few moments a day, and they had to keep their lessons a secret, taking months to learn the basics, and years to gain any proficiency. Seraphina began to realize that combining the combat techniques Renault had taught her, some simple magic, and her dance together led to a fighting style that was difficult to defend against, because it was so unpredictable. She bided her time, she could not escape, so there was only one choice, Pralia had to die, and all the slaves would have to escape in the confusion.
Phina had been Pralia’s slave for forty years and she had learned to be the model slave, and eventually Pralia had began to show her age. Pralia had learned to depend on Phina more and more over the years, believing her to be one of those slaves that craved someone to give them purpose in life, and though it tortured her soul, Phina played the part, for all the slaves. Pralia showed her favor, making her the head of the house, essentially the master of the slaves. She was also in charge of punishing those who misbehaved, a duty that she had to perform, for the long term good of all. She will never forgive herself for some of the things she had to do, watching a young human mother starve to death because she attempted to smuggle her child out in a basket of laundry…but it was for their good, eventually. She had to think of the group. Pralia eventually trusted Phina with the station of body guard, after all, she had been the model slave for a majority of Pralia’s life. She was given weapons and martial training, enhancing her previous lessons and giving her the tools she needed to free “her people.”
The day finally came, Pralia because seriously ill, and her personal cleric said she would be several weeks recovering. Phina silenced the cleric in a side passage, hiding the body in a spare bedroom, seemingly sleeping in one of the opulent beds. She then resumed her post in Pralia’s room, taking some sedative from the clerics pouches before she went. Triple the dose in Pralia’s spiced wine made the kill easy, a quick stab to the heart and Phina arranged the body in the piles of blankets. It would be days before anyone realized. She went about her duties, directing the household, sending caravans of slaves to “the auction.” Pralia’s failing had been she depended to much on the slaves’ obedience, and now Phina was using it to free them. They would be on their own once the reached the borders, some on the east and some to the north, and she knew some would even try to return to slavery rather than try and make it on their own. But at least she gave them a chance. Eventually the estate was empty, paid guards having left for the day, and all the slaves sent away. Phina could not help but return to her mistresses body for closure. Looking in the dead glossy eyes she felt sorrow, for she had taken a life in cold blood. A evil life, but what had she become in doing it? She glanced down and saw a small piece of paper, written in Pralia’s hand…
“I made you.”
Phina eventually made her way south, to High Pass, to make something of her freedom, but still those words haunt her. Pralia had known her plan, and had used her last effort to punish her one more time.