Char's Pathfinder Game
Kellid (Human) Druid
Four thin scars on her left arm, or front left leg while in dog form, earned from a displacer beast on the day she fled her clan.
One small pock-like scar on her right cheek, only visible when smiling, earned from the alpha dog in Dev’s pack not long after her coming to live with them.
A red bullmastiff, with golden eyes in dog form.
Dark hair and golden eyes, deeply tanned skin in human form.
The Kellids are a nomadic people, on a constant journey toward no end. And like any journey, theirs is one fraught with obstacles- monstrous, blood hungry obstacles, to be more precise.
The Kellid people are steel hearted and fearless, beholding many grudges against the blasphemous natures of science and magic that so frequently pour tragedy upon their clan.
This story begins some five years prior to this day, among the vast flatlands within the Realm of the Mammoth Lords. A young girl, not quite a woman hopped along, softly singing a Kellid war call, turning the somber, dark tune into something far brighter than its creator had intended. She would pause, poised upon one foot, before leaping deftly from one boot print to the next in the sand, following the man in front of her- her brother Kaarek. He walked tall, a spear held in one hand, its blade forged of boar tusk, resting upon his shoulder. Scars decorated his back, like a mural telling a tale of hard earned victories, and his long dark hair was loose, slick with sweat and sticking to his spine.
“You are a strange thing, Tuulket,” Kaarek mocked his sister. “Singing our battle hymns in such a way. Maas a’ shi.” A shame, he had said. He shook his head. So serious. But she noticed the stares from the rest of their clan, too. She was, as he put it, strange, shameful- at least in their eyes.
Feeling cross, Tuulket sang a bit louder, hopped a bit faster, before coming up short, colliding with her sibling as he stopped, abruptly, spear pulled quickly from his shoulder. He turned to place a hand on her arm, but kept his eyes turned forward.
“Silence, Tully. Arm yourself.” He stepped forward, gesturing to his clan, who raised their own weapons.
Before them stood a small pride of long toothed, cat-like beasts, unfamiliar, yet beaming with arcane energy. She could see it, nearly smell it upon them. They shifted, disguising themselves within an unnatural cloak of shadow and sand.
“Maggah…” Kaarek growled, cursing them for what they were. Magic.
Tuulket felt afraid as she pulled her dagger from its sheath, she looked at the curved obsidian blade. A gift from her brother, crafted from the talon and arm bone of an adolescent raptor, the first beast they had slain together. She hated the violence. The thirst for death in the eyes of her clansmen, stronger than the thirst of most every foe they crossed.
Then the first beast yowled, and pounced from nowhere into the crowd. Soon, five more joined their leader, wailing bestial cries as their teeth met resistance in the primal weapons of the Kellids. The din was overwhelming, terrifying, as Tully looked on, stuck upon the ground.
She heard Kaarek’s voice boom in her ears. “Guard yourself, child!” She gasped as one of the beasts, swiped its claws. She fell back, lessening the blow as her flesh tore shallowly in four places along her upper arm.
The offending beast shrieked as Kaarek’s spear met its side. She almost felt sad. Sadness turned to anger. She looked up to her brother in veneration as he offered her a hand.
Around them, battle grew quiet. Tuulket stood and took a step back, and her brother made to remove his spear from her assailant.
The next moments were both her damnation and her freedom. The last beast fell as Kaarek pulled forth his spear, lifting it over his head and crying out in victory. A wild smile tore over his face, and Tuulket screamed as she watched the felled beast before him lash out, its last few breaths used to leap upon Kaarek.
She lunged, tossing aside her weapons and threw herself upon the creature. Her vision grew grey and white, her muscles tightened, and rage tore through her as she found herself ripping the beast to sinew with her hands and teeth. A growl emanated from her throat and she did not cease until she felt the beasts energy fade.
It was a blur. She heard the muttering, the gasps, from many yards away, as clear as a bell.
“No! It cannot be! Maggah! She is evil! Corrupt!”
She recalled her brother’s face, bloodied and horrified as he looked to her. She recalled them closing in upon her. And she recalled his instruction, hushed and hurried.
“Run. Run, quickly. You cannot stay. Run!”
Panicked and confused, she obeyed. She ran, far and long, faster than her clan could follow, she felt so strange, her mind lost in a tunnel, her body felt distant. She came to a small merchant village by nightfall, and walked to a small oasis pool to quench her thirst. She lowered her face to the water and choked as she took in her reflection. Voices approached behind her, and she jumped, cowering and backing away. Maggah…
“Look, Lara! A dog!”
“Quiet, he’s scared, Hennid…look at his leg, he’s been hurt!”
“It’s a girl dog, can’t you tell?”
Tully felt modest, and turned her parts away from the children.
“Well… she looks hungry,” Hennid continued.
Tuulket agreed with the boy’s assessment, she was famished. So, when the boy put a rope around her neck to lead her home, she did not think to resist. This town would certainly take kinder to a dog than a Kellid at nightfall.
So she lived, alone amongst people and animals. Well-fed as a beast, she would hide when in human form, giving herself time to rest. She did not think once to return to find her clan. She was blasphemous, sentenced to die by her nature alone.
She learned to love the children who found her. Lara and Hennid were her most loyal companions, and she became theirs. They called her Hanti, meaning red, the color of her fur. They sang to her, and she would howl in kind. They tucked small desert blooms behind her ears and in her make-shift rope collar. They snuck her the very best food under the table at meal time.
But their father, Onid, did not approve, scowling and scorning Tuulket’s presence.
Nearly a year later, the family travelled to Sandpoint Harbor so that Onid could barter a deal with a local gentleman.
Tuulket stayed aboard the boat while the children rested, curled up near Lara’s feet.
The children were awoken by Onid calling to them as he walked down the docks.
“Lara, Hennid, bring your dog to me!” He sounded overjoyed. The children rubbed their eyes, and Tuulket felt uneasy as they beckoned her to follow them.
Onid met them on the main deck, behind him was a tired, and short tempered looking gentleman, dragging a cow behind him on a lead.
The stranger looked to Tuulket, and tutted.
“She is well-fed. But tarnished here…” He gestured to the scars on her front leg. “We will call it a fair trade with an additional bag of rice. She will fit nicely with the rest of my mastiffs.”
“Trade?!” The children cried in unison as they stood in front of their beloved pet. “No! Father you can’t!”
Onid gritted his teeth in impatience, barreling between Lara and Hennid to take Tuulket by the collar.
Turning, his grimace turned to grin as he bowed to the gentleman, thrusting a whimpering Tuulket toward her new owner.
“We have a deal, Dev.”
Hennid and Lara bellowed, pained as their father held them back.
Onid beckoned to one of his deck hands to bring Dev a bag of rice and a lead for Tuulket.
Dev presented the cow to the deck boy, and made to put the rope around Tuulket’s neck. She ducked her head and growled at the man who laughed aloud, lassoing her despite her resistance. He hoisted the bag of rice over his shoulder. He stepped off the boat, tugging Tully behind him.
She stumbled after him, turning her head in defeat, to apologize in silence to the children who had so loved her. Her round, golden eyes burned with tears. She could not bear to fight and cause them more pain. She gave them that final glance and with determination, she bowed her head in a nod, presenting as much courage as her canine countenance could portray.
And so, for several years from that day, she lived amongst Dev’s dogs, each red, and each a mastiff, as she was. The company was well intended, and she made many friends amongst Dev’s pack. But she missed those children.
Lara and Hennid were more precious to her than her humanity.