The Lost Pylugwyr
L (Lidda) Greenbottle
Roll for stealth, Check for traps.
Pet mice named Felipe are surprisingly effective. And if you don’t plan on blowing up a town and it happens anyway, is it really your fault?
Born to a community of nomadic Halflings, the L Greenbottle was not unlike any others of her kind. The first few years of her company’s travels were days spent traveling by wagon, and nights in front of a warm fire with good company and fine food. Few days would go by without seeing the young Halfling climbing atop the lead draft pony and remaining there until dinner.
They were a jovial, come-what-may bunch; unbothered by harsh terrain, vehicle breakdowns or inclement weather. On a day where the community happened to experience all three, she was six. The lead wagon’s front axle broke after navigating some dense forest and a storm was set to hit at nightfall. The Halflings hunkered down for the night and much of the next day as the rain persisted. They dried themselves and their belongings by the fire through the following evening, and repared the axle the day after.
They continued their path through thinner trees yet muddy trails until they reached a river and weatherbeaten bridge. The last rains had been heavy and the riverbanks were swollen but no one objected to crossing. After all, there was a town up ahead and vittles and supplies to restock if they’d like to continue to have a warm fire, good company and fine food.
And so they crossed with spirits high.
But the banks were too swollen, and the bridge too weatherbeaten to support its load. It happened when the third wagon’s wheel snagged on a old plank. The plank snapped, their ponies panicked and the scuffle to get them under control that followed placed too much weight on the weakened boards. The bridge buckled from the middle out; the last to hit the water was the tiny halfling girl atop the lead draft pony’s back, just throwing distance away from the other bank.
Four wagons, eleven ponies and nine families were lost that day. Only the young L survived. She was found clutching onto a boulder in the middle of the river a quarter of a mile away. An older man, a human who moved with stealth and grace well beyond his years, fished her out of the waters.
He nursed her back to health in his quiet home. When she was well enough he asked her what happened. She couldn’t remember much, not her family or not her traveling companions. But she did remember fall and the rushing water, and she remembered the smothering fear that set in anytime she was exposed to large bodies of water. Rivers would be difficult, lakes even more so, oceans nigh impossible.
She lost much in the way of childhood and memory, so the man sought to teach her anew. She learned that there was nothing left of the company she had traveled with for rocks and rapids dominated the river not far after from where she was rescued. She also learned that his name was Bran Swiftblade. He was once a rogue, retired now, and she was not the first young life that he had saved. Bran had a habit of taking on apprentices with no other place to go. Apparently he had a heart for young children with nowhere to go. But that was where his kindness ended. Bran was not cruel, but he was kind. She had no skills and so he taught them to her. She became a rogue and the young halfling who lost everything, managed to find a family amongst a den of thieves. She met many of her predecessors as they visited their shared mentor. She mastered stealth by age eight; pickpocketing by ten and by twelve received the Swiftblade’s crest should she ever need to call on her family. A cross of short swords with crossed daggers behind on her right forearm. She was forced to learn the rest of the trade on her own after that, for old Bran was truly old, and his years were spent when former enemies came calling. Away in order to restock on supplies at the time, by the time she returned the assailants were gone and Bran was dead. He had put up a struggle but there was no success for him this day.
Bran prepared his apprentices for such an outcome, however, and there were funds enough for L to start out on her own. There were ways for the Swiftblade clan to contact each other, if only in major cities. And so she set out, following in her new family’s footsteps, adventuring by day and doing what needed to be done in order to survive by night.
The years following Bran’s death, out on the streets, were dark with moments of brightness in between. Cities were the worst, full of cruelty and filth. The majority of her time there was spent trying to go unnoticed. Successful for the most part, she was able to make do on her own. The rest of her time was spent making due on the outskirts of towns and near forests.
The Swiftblades, in general, never congregated together for long and mostly traveled alone, so additional help came to her every few months in the form of a few coins, tools and training. It was enough for her to keep going, to get to the next town or source of funds and food. They taught her to hate those who would lord their power over others and lived to mistreat those beneath them. They taught her that misplaced arrogance and low intelligence were the fastest way to end up caught or dead. Surprisingly, they taught her to have a thirst for knowledge because skills without intelligence were of no use to anyone. So that while she enjoyed stealing gold and trinkets, she also made a habit of stealing books and scrolls. Lastly they taught her unbreakable loyalty and a love of mischief whenever they were around. But otherwise, she was always alone. Until she found Felipe; she was eighteen by then.
Felipe was just a bedraggled mouse, less than a year old in a dirty alley. L was perched atop of a low roof, reading a book on the region’s flora and fauna by moonlight and the glow from nearby houses when she heard the scuffle and laughter. She peered over the ledge into the alley, noting the three boys approaching a tiny moving shadow on the ground. The shadow was sluggish, limping, and the boys were grinning, holding makeshift clubs in their hands. Knowing enough of cruelty to recognize their intent, she dropped down in the shadows behind the boys. Though they were young, they were already a head taller than she was. She slunk behind them until she was close enough to see the young cat battered and bleeding, but glaring defiantly at its aggressors.
L didn’t hear what vicious thing the tallest boy said, she was focused on the knife he held at the ready as he strode forward.
She couldn’t fully remember drawing her own blade, or ripping through the nearest two. She vaguely recalled that the boy with the knife dropped it as he noticed his friends fall. He ran back to the entrance of the alley but he didn’t get far, his own knife catching him in the left shoulder. She remembered the moans as she scooped up the mouse. She doubted that she had landed any fatal wounds but it was better to flee than to stick around and check. That was the last time she set foot in that town.
And so she had found herself someone to weather the dark nights with. For the first few weeks, the mouse caused nothing but trouble, sabotaging her thefts and drawing attention to her more than anything else. She was frustrated with him, yet he didn’t seem to want to leave when sent away. He was a vexatious thing. But as time went on he became less of a hinderance and more of a help to the young rogue, causing mischief to distract targets and scouting areas to guide L along the safest paths. Occasionally, he would even contributed to their dinner.
They’ve traveled together for one year now, questing for something unknown even to them. Drawn in the direction of adventure, they set out each day hoping to be closer to what they seek; to whatever is calling them.
Hearing about an abandoned tower in the town of Old Strawn, L made her way to the town, for abandoned sites mean abandoned treasure. Stowing away and then being taken on by a dwarf named Rurik after a well concocted story, L searches for a way to make it to the tower even as she unknowingly acquires traveling companions in the process.