Character Name: Sahra Swift
Custom Portrait of UO Stratics Staffer Sahra Swift, as drawn by Thanos
The Life Of Sahra Swift
I was born 17 years ago... though my memory doesn't span back as far. From what I was told, I lived with both of my parents until I was two; born and raised in the Moonglow Lycaeum. Nobody has ever told me what happened to my mother. If she is still alive, I don't have enough memory to recognize her with - for all I know I could see her daily and not know it. My father, however, I know is not someone I see. When I was two, he brought me back to his... group... or town... or whatever you want to call it. Before he had left on the trip he met my mother on, he was one of the monks living on Dagger Isle (that would be the arctic island Deceit is on, for those not well educated). The duty of the monks was to ensure the safety and purity of the Honesty shrine in the south eastern end of the island. His departure and return were greatly criticized by the other monks. This is about where my memory kicks in, and hearsay can be removed. Of course, I was still young, so some parts may not be entirely correct. My father was eventually banished from the whole island due to the matter, the exact reason I may never know, and left me with the monks.
The monks never cared for me much, I assume due to me being the daughter of my father, and put me to work cleaning the shrine on a daily basis. I never really appreciated their treatment of me, and grew into a rebellious streak. At one point, I decided to put my hair in dreadlocks, dangling to my shoulders, and wore loose, sleeveless, short skirted (only down to my knees - a very short skirt for someone living on Dagger Isle), ragged, yet stylish, outfits - all just to spite the monks. It wasn't long before I decided to go back to the typical monk robes for an outfit though, as the marks from my right wrist down to my right ankle often, for lack of a better way to say it, scare the demons out of people. I can't say I blame them, considering where the birthmark originates from... I still keep my hair in dreadlocks to this day though.
I also learned some neat tricks during my rebel stage. I taught myself to turn into an ethereal form, and ability I got through the same bloodline as the birthmark. The ethereal form itself is much like that of the ethereal mounts many people have come into possession of, only better. It took lots of practice (Honestly, I never really mastered it entirely until two years ago), but I became able to turn myself completely invisible while still moving, as well as pass through thin objects (including being able to lie on the ground and have a monk walk right through me and never know, with no harm to myself). I learned many tricks with various arcane arts too. The standard tricks, such as telekinesis to open doors and a wall of stone or energy to block someone's path, or the more clever ones, such as summoning a daemon or an elemental, telling it to follow you (you know, those things don't follow by sight, they follow your spirit energy), then turning ethereal and chasing someone. That never ceases to be fun.
Anyway, I was stuck on Dagger Isle for a long time. I didn't own a boat, nobody who ever visited the island did, and nobody would teach me to read runes (the ones used to recall yourself to other locations, or to open magical gates with - runic lettering I learned even before I finished learning common lettering), so I couldn't use magic to get off. About four years ago, I stopped following the monks around. I managed to find a moonstone being carried by an orc someone had killed near the shrine, and took off to the new lands Nystul, one of Lord British's mages, had created through that ritual of his. I was still stuck on the island, but at least I didn't have to deal with the monks anymore. Besides, somebody was in the process of setting up a wonderful library on the island (why someone would ever want to own property on Dagger Isle is beyond me, but they did), full of a wide variety of tomes, some dating back as far as the year 23 (by the old Sosarian date standard [OSDS, as I have come to refer to it]). I spent three years doing pretty much nothing but reading. I finished reading all the books in that one library, roughly 1000 books in all I believe, in a little under one year.
It wasn't very easy for me to find enough books to keep myself happy, but I managed. After the second year of me being in the new lands (for reasons I still don't understand, named after the Trammel moon), I stopped looking for books in homes and other such buildings on the island, and began to search through the dungeon named Deceit, the taint of Honesty. Despite the name, Deceit turned out to be full of honesty. Journals of explorers that were lost were all over the dungeon, as were many tomes written by minions of who I have now learned to refer to as "The Enemy", so as to avoid speaking the name. I spoke his name a few times, and it only ever brought me trouble. Besides, if I spoke it too often (as in, more than twice during any 10 year period) in my present company, I'd likely get my tongue cut out... but I'm getting ahead of myself... my adventures of Deceit taught me many things not found in the books. I honed my skills to sneak around in ethereal form, and learned to use my staff not only as a weapon, but also to be able to channel my spells through it. All three of those tricks helped me survive the lower levels of the dungeon - if I didn't have any one of them, I probably would not be here today.
One year ago come this April (April 2005 by the common date standard [CDS], 5 years come August by the OSDS), I finally had a way off of Dagger Isle. A relatively new Knight of Yew was sailing around the island. I saw his boat floating near the shore, so I jumped on and hid in the hold. Oddly enough, it turned out the Knight could see me, even in my ethereal form. He was the first person I ever met who was able to, and it was rather shocking (though since then I have found others who are also able to, but very few can). He asked me why I was there, so I gave him my story (though a shorter version than I am giving here). He was quite kind, and agreed to let me have a room in his home.
Long story short, he probably regretted that before too long. I basically took over his home and used it as my own, but we got to be pretty good friends anyway. I slowly got to meet other people in the Aegis (the town, at the time small enough to still be referred to as just a 'glade', where the Knights of Yew live, located south east of the Yew Moongate, or due east of the Empath Abbey). Since, I have become a friend to the Knights as a whole, and have helped them out on many occasions. Eventually, I helped Zah'Qim, the Knight whose boat I snuck onto and house I took over, save up enough gold to purchase the land for a second home, which I convinced him to turn into a small stage. Originally, I agreed to live at the stage, as it would be me who would run it. I had gathered such a big collection of books though, Zah'Qim ended up moving in to the room there instead. Later on, some things happened with some essential parts needed to tell the story that I have promised not to speak of, so please forgive the hole in the story. A new plot entered the possession of myself and Zah'Qim (we had by this time agreed to share most of our belongings, as they all ended up mixed in with my stuff anyway). This new plot was much larger than the other two plots (the one used as my home was traded to someone else as part of the situations leading to obtaining the larger plot), measuring about 15 by 13 paces. This new location was turned into a nice theatre, which unfortunately has yet to be used for performances, as well as a home for myself and a storage area for Zah'Qim, and the old theatre got converted into a guard post for the Knights of Yew, and retained the place for Zah'Qim to sleep.
I skipped over a few things that occurred after I got to Yew. A few months ago, I was contacted by a few people located throughout mainland Britannia (as well as one residing near Luna in the landmass known as Malas). They had all read my writing (another thing I had skipped - I wrote a few journals during my time in the Trammel side Dagger Isle, as well as some informative documents about some occurrences related to the Royal Britannian Guard) and requested that I speak with the mysterious group known as "UO Stratics" that publish and distribute a wide variety of news throughout the realm. I hesitated at first, but eventually decided to send a letter to the group requesting a position as a reporter, to get my works published and distributed. Since that day, I have been writing regular reports, sending them with a rather odd raven (why they trained a raven to send messages, I don't bother asking) to get published and distributed to various locations in Sosaria. During some of my work as a reporter, I became a not-very-combative member of the Royal Britannian Guard, using most of my time with the group to educate members, and search for clues while the others fight, as well as write up reports of events not only for the mysterious "Stratics" group, but for members of the Guard who are unable to help during the times some situations occur.
Also during this time, I learned new tricks. These new tricks, I'm not certain where they came from. My best guess though, would be I inherited them from my mother. I knew since I was rather young that I wasn't just a half-human half-demon, but that there was something else in my blood. I eventually determined, through some alchemical experiments with my blood, that I was also half fox-like creature... except not halves... because three halves would make me more than one person. I learned during the discovery of the most recent lands, the Islands of Tokuno, that the fox-like blood in me is that of Bake-Kitsune (or as some people joke, Baked Kitsune). The new tricks I learned, the ones that come from my Bake-Kitsune blood, were polymorphic abilities. I wasn't able to learn all that I know of now right away. Surprising enough, turning into a Bake-Kitsune was one of the hardest morphs to be able to do (though that form now feels almost as natural as a human form, while other forms feel rather odd).
That is the story of my life to date, excluding the parts I can't tell without risking my own, or someone else's, well being. Perhaps it can inspire you to write your own story, so that one day I might be able to read it and learn from it.