Character Name: Gretchen

First Born Of My Father

Gretchen, Marta, and Lydia Aelfraed born to Magdalen ala’ Molcice and Clint Aelfraed.

Father was an Elvin counselor. This is a pretty high position from an outsider. He was given permission to marry one of the elder’s daughters. (Honestly I think they were just trying to be rid of her. She was lovely to see, but a bit backwards in socializing. She enjoyed the mystic arts and often blew things up in her practicing.) The love for all things mystic and scientific I am certain came from her.

I am Gretchen, first born of my father. We lived in a small village outside the city of Yew. Mother trained me in the mage arts, as much as she could, and my sister Lydia in the arts of science. Many nights we were awaken by frantic shouts of someone having to douse a fire started by Mother or Lydia. Marta, the middle sister, was more suited to animals and working with her hands. She would sew beautiful garments while out in the woods. And she had an amazing knack with animals. I will never understand how those two things work together, but she seems to be comfortable with it.

Our childhood was full of innocents and fun. Father would take us out in his boat to see the worlds around us. Lydia took to the ocean as if she were born of it, amazingly enough she never blew up her boat. Marta and I enjoyed our trips but prefer the feel of hard ground to rocking waves under our feet. We each grew in our skills and gained honor and respect in the village because of our parents. There was always something lurking in the background of our minds. There was a force, some looming evil always present. The day the crier announced the invasion, I heard the rest of the story.

After having me, Mother was warned never to have another child. The stars had spoken. The day I was born was bitter cold and menacing, the village seer warned it was a bad omen, but mother and father did not heed the warning. Marta was next in line and her birth was something rather special indeed. She had a clear spring day as her birthday. Birds were singing and a doe with her fawn were just outside the hut where she was delivered. The announcement of a third child was another dark day. After Lydia was born the seer looked on her, touched her forehead and fell over dead. That same day Marta, Lydia and I were seared with a strange mark on our backs. We did not understand what it meant and still don’t, but we do know it links us together in a most unusual way.

Apparently the warning was indeed sound. Several years later our village was over run by Juka invaders, with no one to protect us we fled. Mother and Father were killed, their bodies thrown to hideous beasts of the swamp. Not even the monks of the abbey could help or hide us. Our village seer gave us a curse and a blessing that day. “Your life is given to you to be used in service for the King.” We are no longer our own but have been purchased with a great price. Our lives now belong to serve King and Country. The mark we bore made us outcasts in our own town. As young teens we were forced to run the country side searching for help and resources.

I remember days of fighting for our lives against beasts and monsters that now seem so small. There were days when Marta would find us horses to ride only to get them and ourselves horribly wounded before we could ever reach a stable or inn. We also had many long days of gathering herbs and spices just to practice our chosen occupations. Marta would sheer sheep for wool to keep us clothed and warm, Lydia would create potions to help heal and cure us, and I sought those spells that would teach me the ways of my Mother. Eventually we all became well versed in our skills and also more capable of supporting ourselves. We lived off fish that Lydia caught, Marta kept us clothed in pretty good armor and I learned the spell casting spells that offered a degree of protection and could at times be used to defend.

Marta also acquired several pets that were good fighters, if not some of the gangliest creatures I have ever laid eye on. They were called frenzied ostards, to me they look like over grown chickens with serious attitude problems. In a pack they would tear through some rather large creatures indeed. I once saw them take on a horrendous blood elemental in very short order. Not only did they beat the elemental, but they were hungry for more.

It did become a bit of a joke after a while to see Marta come through town with her pack of frenzied ostards. She has since moved on to larger creatures, but those ostards I think will always be special in my mind.

Those days seem so long ago, and yet I still remember the effort required just to make it to our small cottage in the woods. It was a one bedroom shack with one trunk to share between the three of us. We took our lives in our hands every time we wanted to leave of come home. Our neighbors were some of the more ferocious beasts and monsters that we knew of at that time.

In our travels together we made allies and enemies. Those who would do us harm have run into dread consequences of their own, and those who helped us have been made stronger and better for their efforts. One of the allies that Marta found was a man of considerable wealth and influence who looked on us with compassion and pity. He took us into his home not fearing the evil that followed us. He swore to protect us. He even married Marta.

Our strong Sir Gilead, lord high protector, gave us the protection and the resources we needed to carry out a mission he did not fully understand. When I was asked to start a guild to help others, he sold many resources of his own so I could fund Called to Serve. To him I owe my gratitude and my life. And to me he gives freely his loyalty and protection.

In our time with C2S we have had as many enemies wishing our destruction as we have had allies in our cause. I had a warring guild come in with the intent of breaking our band of warriors and making it his own. This was not tolerated and the curse that ‘protects’ us broke that guild apart. Again our “mark” held true, those who would see us harmed have come to their own brand of damage. The ones, who help and honor us, receive blessings in return. We have taken in misfits, and uneducated with the intent of helping to groom and train them for great service and influence in our land. Those who have stayed with us are better because of it.

We now have a sister guild, filled with nothing but women so I guess a “sister” guild is an appropriate term indeed. Outlaw Women was a motley band of renegade women with the purpose of deceit and manipulation. They were attracted to us, for some unknown reason, and have changed their theme to accommodate us. They may still be full of renegades and outlaws, but they live with integrity to die with honor.