Arissa Doelene will swear to any who listens that she has a wood nymph as a great grandmother but the only relatives she has lives with her in the village. Her great aunt and great uncle Donna and Jackal Doelene lived an long uneventful life, are quiet, and have become too infirm to live without care. Arissa volunteered to escape the pestering hoard of interested suitors of the valley in favor of the salty and heroic adventurers who passed through Redstaff. Most of her day is spent caring for her great aunt and uncle and once they are secured in their bed she heads to work at a tavern. Arissa is a familiar face everywhere she goes and few look down on her or try to take advantage of her friendly nature. Not that they don’t try, nor are they all poorly received, on the contrary she is always looking for another interesting encounter and seemed to never tire of disappointing uninteresting parties. The intense messages Arissa sends can cause quite a stir but sometimes the unfamiliar patrons can assume that her adventurous nature means an inherent weakness and are then made witness to the most polite verbal and occasionally physical thrashing.
With her powerful positive attitude she endures a barrage of abuse and advances that would crumble the resolve of many as unsavory characters of all manner of ill repute pass through who come just short of openly being monsters in the village proper. Otherwise, in Redstaff, she finds that problems are often transitive, easily or soon gone because this is not a place you come to stay it’s a place that you pass through. The same is true of Arissa as she only awaits the passing of her great aunt and uncle to leave this one as far behind as many others. The love of travel and the new and exciting adventure, the opportunity to meet a special someone, and the chance to leave misunderstanding behind her are all appealing things to her unfettered nature. However as each day passes she feels more at home, more comfortable with Radstaff and if she were to put a finger on any one thing that so turned her from her wanderlust it would be the entertainers of Redstaff who were unique and mesmerizing as only a festival-centric village like this could be.
While Arissa helps many of the youngsters in the village her kind and giving nature ends with her family, them, and her conquests, otherwise the hardened criminals in the taverns she works are shown a hard line and sometimes that cold wind blowing off her shoulder is enough to chill the room entirely. Because of this, and a few jilted lovers, it’s rumored that she is actually a succubus who has taken the face of a Doelene woman to hide her demonic nature. They claim this would explain her penchant for all her travel and avoidance of commitment. But then so would a tragic life, and Arissa never answers truthfully about her family. Donna and Jackal Doelene are the only ones who might have known anything but no one has spoken to them since they became so ill. Healers have been to see them and Arissa’s many pet projects in the youngsters of the village return to her enough money to see that her family is comfortable in their all too slow passing.
Bellinda Eion’s name eventually falls from the lips of nearly every adventurer who spends a jolly coin in a tavern. She is the living embodiment of promise and lures in all manner of strangers off the street. Her plucky feigned innocence and oblivious alluring body language encourages the owner of any tavern to entice her with whatever she pleases, but what this luscious tart melts over is the passion that an entertainer can arouse. For Bellinda a powerful melody or a thrilling act would give her a rush of excitement that propel her into a dance or a frenzy of childlike innocence. Tomnin the juggler has tried many a dangerous trick to win her heart, and though she likes the dangers involved her eyes always land on the dwarven bard Gemat.
Unfortunately for Bellinda Gemat is uninterested in her basic human stock and farm fresh innocence. With his eyes firmly locked on the elven barmaid Selamina Bellinda’s unanswered beckoning nature spills over into every other interaction, which does not go unnoticed by Bellinda. The tart’s sweet temperament hides a sinister temper, and when the occasion arises she will let slip the location of Selamina’s camp or hints that the elven barmaid is actually wealthy. To her the haggard appearance of Selamina the night after evading more mercenaries is like a warm cup of coffee. Those mercenaries who are unable to find or secure a fortune on her seductive words occasionally return for restitution and the village usually pulls to defend her, knowing full well she was in the wrong but no one is willing to turn their back on Ma and Pa Eion who had lost two generations of children to accidents, sickness, pirates, war hoards, and feral entities of unseen horrors for a total of twenty children, and all six grandchildren lost. If anyone had the pity of the village it was the Eion family, so much so that the home they lived in was rebuilt by everyone.
Ma and Pa Eion do not approve of her ‘little jokes’ on the elven barmaid, who is often her only victim, or her interest in a bard or any other entertainer and work together with many other villagers work to keep their beloved Bellinda from focusing on any one man. Luck is with her poor victims as she is not so terribly smart, the village turns her attention to one or another person and keeps her from either leaving her position or from leaving town with whomever she shacks up with. Despite the village’s best efforts on Ma and Pa Eion’s behalf, she’s frequently throwing herself at soldiers, admiring their weapons, and displaying her great talent for affection anywhere that she can be noticed. Ma and Pa Eion are hoping to marry her to a wealthy traveler, especially if it’s a nobleman, so far few pass through Redstaff. As such they allow her to continue her job despite the dangers that her temper can get her into.
Gilburt Finius Sterobotum doesn’t actually like money. He likes the variety of forms that it comes in, the different denotations of nations, the unique weight and material that each is made of, all of it excites his senses like a beautiful painting or sunset might inspire in another. That’s not to say that Gilburt doesn’t appreciate the thing that each really represents: a favor that can be granted by anyone who wants a favor of the same kind. He knows where the gold is made, who has made it for the last few hundred years, and aspires to work with them. But his talent is not in minting money, but in the mastery of the numbers they represent, in keeping a vast network of numbers and their relations in check. Trained at a young age when he showed a knack, Gilburt was fortunate to study with a dwarf from under the Dark Lands named Kaz Chetulmach who had been a tutor to some of the subterranean Princes and Princesses in those cursed lands. He had retired in the Northern Realms but couldn’t turn away a precocious mind like Gilburt’s.
With Kaz’s tutoring and his own natural talent Gilburt at a young age he helped his parents, Blessibell Brandiby and Roudolfo Puck, mind their repair shop. Mastery of the numbers allowed them to plan carefully and earned them a pretty penny which elevated them all to nobility. They were able to buy a small manor and plot in the wilds on the coast of the Northern Sea, their own status was substantial but the once poor Sterobotum family ignores the local caste and instead manages the docks outside of Restaff. Their repair and docking services are scattered along the coast, which means they have a small hold on the trade to this western coast, this brings them the notice of the small noble pool of Redstaff who came to him to put pressure on the family and left as clients. With Gilburt’s help a number of nobles are still noble today in the face of oppressive raids, unexpected shortcomings and just plain bad luck. What Gilburt doesn’t enjoy, however, is that he has become a victim of his own success.
Once he began to work with people of great wealth he came to meet the Underworld Boss and his many underlings. His options are terrible, he has no desire to work with them, but due to the vast reach of the guild he couldn’t hope to turn in everyone and escape with his life, or better to escape with his family’s lives. He now cooks the books for a great number of Thieves’ Guild members and their success throughout the region can be attributed to his intervention. In return for his compliance and skill the guild gives Gilbert everything else he could want, short of letting him leave the region. Although the work is not ideal Gilbert does find himself comfortable most of the time, only his conscience weighs on him and settles on his brow like a crown of lead. With the seedy underbelly of the kingdom hiding their misdeeds behind his skill he often attends taverns, drinking heavily in the evenings.
Zarcutus Kasapor was born to the half fairy mother, called Misty Breeze, and his human father Nikorius Kasapor. Zarcutus’s father was a local member of the Fighter’s Guild who was hired to fight a demon on the loose in the Redstaff area. Though victorious, Nikorius was killed in the fight, after which Misty Breeze abandoned Zarcutus into the apprenticeship of a barkeep. The apprenticeship was rocky at first as time after time his customers would receive the incorrect drink no matter how carefully he tried to pay attention to his task. He was fired from his first and second job before the serving wench Arissa Doelene who had taken a liking to the young man spotted the unintentional magic at work and paid to send him to the Wizard’s Academy in hopes that he could learn to control it.
Zarcutus was welcomed with open arms by an excited student body and staff. Transmutation is a powerful branch of magic and produced wild results that most pupils needed to train to make manifest for years. His unconscious effort made them drool, but the scope of his ability was limited to changing one liquid to another and only after intense practice was he able to manifest the liquors of his choosing. He left in disgrace and returned to Arissa in shame. In the guise of a pity-drink she took him to a tavern and brought him a rockbottom ale, which he deftly turned into a king’s ale to better drown his sorrows. After enough drinks the lad was feeling much better about himself and at her behest began changing drink after drink. The two of them drew a crowd and with each drink changed he turned one doubter into a believer, with each conversion the cheers swelled Zarcutus’ pride.
When the barkeep discovered what was happening, notably why all his paying customers were no longer purchasing the high quality drinks, he dragged the two into the back stockroom to discuss the newfound talent. Not one to complain about cracking open a new case of each of his cheapest, the barkeep quickly made a much wiser decision. Rather than punishing the two of them for the impertinence he hired Zarcutus and built the young man up. He found his place in the bar and found a generously paying job that brought him fame, attention, and virtually everything he could want. While his affections come and go his recent love of his talent has seen him practice into the morning, changing drinks over and over again. His skill with drinks is masterful and ever desiring to be more he has been experimenting unsuccessfully with foodstuffs. His only success was in changing turkey gravy into chicken gravy but his recent experience with the wizards of the Academy and the encouragement of Arissa has seen an end to his self defeating nature.
Tomnin Alcoast is the son of the peasant woman Julie Alcoast, and open-secret bastard of the Alderman. He was a stable hand for the first few years, working with his mother on her odd jobs until his shenanigans would lead him into trouble. Every job that came to them would inevitably be ruined by his horseplay. Rather than struggle against his natural habits to force his conformance to their position she collected scraps of colorful cloth from her sewing jobs and fashioned them into a party outfit for her son to parade around in. He became apprentice to the jester Hardwick Thistlebound but found that learning some of the tricks from the halfling were impossible due to his ever increasing size.
Instead of being discouraged Tomnin sought to focus on his best skill, juggling. With the help of Hardwick the two of them put on a number of shows where Tomnin juggled glasses, chairs, and eventually Hardwick himself. The crowds at any tavern wanted more, however, and remained unimpressed until Tomnin began throwing knives. His was an elite skill and he enjoyed the attention that a little purposeful mishap only to have him recover at the last moment would garner. Now wherever he performs at a tavern he draws a crowd, not to cheer for him but rather to try to cause him to slip up which he embraces beautifully. His skill is such that he allows people to try to throw objects at him, which he ends up juggling, and once he caught the first set of daggers blindfolded the crowd began to demand it.
Although he has yet to hurt himself the patrons can become enthused and dangerous in their participation, so the barkeeps and other entertainers help out by way ofinterference whenever necessary. Julie would never forgive them if something ever happened to him, which he uses to his advantage as often as someone will allow him. In his act he often consumes the alcohol of those he entertains right in front of them, they willingly toss him the full glasses or coins or even trinkets from their travels for him to juggle and often they will end up in his pocket or in the many little hiding places in the rafters. Sure, there have been a few complaints but Tomnin is defended by the town, secreted out back doors or tunnels and sometimes even holes in the walls. It’s a dangerous line to walk but Tomnin has the skill set and the love of a good mother to prop him up until he becomes a full and proper man.
Alderman Tarcy Meenwellow is simply known as Alderman throughout the village of Redstaff. He oversees the greater community functions and acts as judge to many issues of dispute among his fellow villagers. His will is iron and the people under his purview know to call on him if there is no way of reconciling the matter otherwise. The Meenwellow family is large and one of the oldest in the region, having settled here as one of the first families, and originally owning a large portion of one of the most successful mines. The family sold it before he was born, and now the family only has history to prop up the decay of their otherwise stately farmhouse. Tarcy was taught the history of the village, of the people who live there, and is a firm hand in matters of state or business. He also corresponds with a number of nobles who will join him in his estate or visit throughout the region, coming from even as far away as the castle itself in the capital city of Orynn. Once there was a great fortune but a series of less than careful relatives left his estate in poor repair by the time he was able to inherit it. Not to be one to live in squalor, he began to make many of the repairs himself, earning back some of the respect that his family once commanded.
Because of the great cost of repairs and the gaping wound where the Meenwillow hoard once stood Tarcy became a tightfisted man, sparing no coins for beggars, granting no boons, and leaving no mercy. As such his duties are light, no one willingly turns to his judgment or seeks out his council except when necessary, so many of his days are spent sipping brandy in a local tavern. All these things he learned from his father, a drunkard who was quick to anger and self-indulgent to the point of negligence. Although Tarcy’s pride demands a certain level of decorum he does not deny himself the pleasures that killed his father and so has become a connoisseur of the finer food and drinks that pass through his village. This small amusement keeps him happy, and a happy Alderman means he’s less likely to begin making assertions about the people around him, so many people go out of their way to spoil him into placation. This has been the manner that most in the village take to handle his moods, and also the reason why he is still alone even in his old age. Rumors abound about illegitimate children, under the table bribes, back ally deals, and cold blooded murder. While he doesn’t look like a man of great strength, he is a man of great influence in this dusty, sprawling little village known as Redstaff, and that power does most of the work for him.
The Meenwillow family was never particularly likeable, but Tarcy was always the least favorite of the family and the Villagers both. His sour attitude and his haughty, hawk-like nature lends poorly to winning others’ trust. Yet despite this he was otherwise seen as a child of true grit. He would grow under the sparse attentions of his father and blatant disinterest of his mother and was more often than not spending his time with servants who filled him with stories of the family and their long hand in establishing a sense of self in the village. They had always connected the people of Redstaff , bringing in many families to work at the mines, granting them homes which their descendants today farmed or lived on. Without the Meenwillows much of the village would have been lost to the surrounding wilderness. Tarcy took this to heart, and not as if the village were his toy, but his sacred charge. As such, every aspect – even the festivals and holidays – are to be treated with a proper attitude which he has since enforced. Though hard as the ragged bones which now support him, the softest place in his heart is for his village home of Redstaff.
Bette Rosso and Markov Rosso are twins who found a niche in the region early on in life. Since a young age they have been fighting, and not just arguments, the Rosso children solved their disputes with intense displays of violence. As children their scraps were serious but their effects were minimal. As they became teenagers the damage they could cause to a location became extensive. Chairs and tables broken with the random bodies weren’t free, they cost the family a great deal of coin. After a bad one that had cleared a tavern of all furniture Papa Rosso brought the siblings to a pit fight to attempt to make the money needed. It had been his intention to scare them straight while earning some money through a bet. While they watched their first pit fight one of the fighters lost an eye. The gory move put a stop to the fight, their father lost everything he had been betting. When thugs came to collect the two of them worked together and they were able to distribute a severe and costly beating to the would-be muggers. When the underworld boss came to them with his bruised underlings and a few fresher faces he was pleasantly surprised by the grit of the youngsters who again beat the underlings and his new hires.
So he offered them a job. The Rossos entered the next fight to pay for their father’s debt and fought against dogs, teams of thugs, and even each other, although the fights were designed to kill them they survived and even became famous for their flippant dismissal of the criminal’s attempts. Their fight against each other was legendary, they knew how far to push each other and their skill was so evenly matched that the fight would be long and bloody. With so many admirers the twins decided that fighting for the money was better than fighting for their lives and turned their pitiless hobby into a career. Because they are still young they don’t hold back and throw themselves into every fight, after which Papa Rosso brings them to the tavern to nurse their wounds and lighten the massive loads of cash they had earned. The Rossos are favorites among the fighting scene but when it comes to protecting the town their father keeps them restrained, holding them back from battles with monsters lest they become injured and lose the power to earn. As an outlet Markov and Bette both teach their skills to others in the village, sparring with new partners helping them to become better fighters as the excuse for Papa while they sneak out to have their adventures.
After a short lifetime of being dirt poor the Rosso family has become a little heady with their newfound coin, having paid off the boss that first night they were soon thereafter so wealthy the family could afford to live entirely on the many tavern’s hospitalities. While Papa Rosso spends lavishly on himself he is not so foolish as to let the two question why he should have any at all and encourages them to indulge in simple things such as the physical pleasures that their adoring fans were throwing their way unbidden and a tavern’s most famous offering: drinks. The twins tried it all but discovered they enjoy the strongest of drinks, the Dragon’s Breath, a taste acquired after Bette’s brutal victory over Markov when the family had a post-fight drinking contest. Dragon’s Breath’s fiery burn was an endurance challenge and the state it left them in had them enjoying more and more of the tavern’s luxuries, including the vast number of opportunities to pounce upon any passerby that might catch their all-inclusive fancies.
Marcus Quorio of the low-land Quorios is a beast of a man. During his youth his frame was pushed to the limits with stocking large sacks and barrels of goods on shelves and into carts. Many times he was the only one available for the job as most of his family line to be slight of frame and bad of back. His father Antonio, also a traveling merchant, had an affair with a young woman in the nearby village of Raven’s Hollow when he would travel to purchase fresh herbs and supplies from the witches. On one of his return visits, he learned that the woman had died in childbirth and that one of the witches, her sister, would raise the child. Antonio knew that his own wife would not be happy, but felt the responsibility to take the boy home instead and raise Marcus with his own children. Needless to say Marcus was not his new mother’s favorite at first, but Endalesse was kind enough to punish Antonio, not Marcus. Antonio was eventually too old to travel, mostly busy at the local store or kept at home by Endelesse while the growing children would work as they could. Antonio worried about keeping his supply routes as many villages depended on his goods and trade, so Marcus volunteered to take up his father’s routes as he was the best equipped for carrying the goods and strong enough to handle himself in a fight. Over the years, Endelesse grew to love Marcus and loved him as her own.
On his third journey out, Marcus traveled to Raven’s Hollow to retrieve a special order of healing potions for the local Adventurers Guild. When meeting with the witches, he learned of his mother, a sick woman who had come from the Greywood and who had loved his father during many of the trips he had come to visit. She had been sweet and quiet and rarely spoke of herself or her home, but what they did say was that she had come here looking for a better life and had taken a nasty turn on the way. The witches of the village were not able to stem the curse that weakened her, nor were they able to heal her when she died in child birth. His father was commended by them all for his compassion in taking Marcus home, the whole of the village was more than happy to see how he had grown in his care. For years he would return and see whom he would come to feel was his second family. It was more than that, they were teachers too. Marcus had no magical aptitude but a great love for turning a deal and armed with the knowledge of their every use the herbs, tonics, and potions he returned home with flew off the shelves.
Marcus grew older with each passing year, enjoying the success that his prowess afforded him, but he was malcontent. He wanted to break the tidal lock on his path, wanted to bring his wares to new places and maybe even find someone to spend his life with. All of which he felt would happen if he were free. He left his family in the care of his younger half-brother and three sisters who were already well-versed in the trade and managing the family store with great success. Marcus loaded up a cart of their finest wares and left for adventure. As time passed he sold the cart and his wares and began to carry the promissory notes from suppliers to prospective towns. Now he’s come to Redstaff and found a surprising thirst for the new. In this strange crossroads the traveling merchant can find countless opportunities to arrange contacts and arrange supply lines for a surprisingly wide reach. For Marcus this is a golden opportunity, a chance to fill out his frame with comfort, and he is always on the lookout for adventure.
Anyone can tell you that farming is a difficult task. Adding to that mix the attraction of malicious, murderous, monstrous beings to any number of things, including crops, familiar members, magic or lack thereof, and those strangers passing through and the average farmer has seen a great deal. Stedman Goodwind is an unmarried but prosperous farmer who spent a great deal of his younger years in taverns talking to all manner of folk who would pass through and learning their secrets. As more and more strangers such as students from the Wizard’s Academy would arrive at the docks, Stedman made it his business to be there to greet them and sometimes offer them a job. With each scrap of knowledge or hint of suggestion Stedman found ways to keep his property safe from the surrounding madness of the forest. Now the Goodwind farm is a solid producing force for the village, it’s often his pumpkins that become the festival cider and his grain that makes so much of the bread for sale in the village.
While he had ample opportunity to squeeze his fellow villagers for the extra odd coin he chose instead to pay and ask for fair trade. That which he did not sell was donated to the poor for charity or to local merry-making. Such a protected farm provides many opportunities for others to find work, and Stedman is happy to receive most since he enjoys the protection of the local Thieves’ Guild. The secret alliance is open but never openly discussed, and was only once ever once mentioned before . A friend was worried for him and began to speak out at the taverns he frequented, but when the Guild caught wind of it, the friend disappeared. After susupicions arose as to the man’s fate, Stedman would reply that he had moved for health reasons and was now living comfortably in a nearby town. While many wished to believe him, there still remain a few with doubts, and this fear suppressed even the Alderman and the guards curiosity.
Goodwind Farm supplies both employment and abundance, as such Stedman finds himself resting up in taverns more and more these days. His love of the job keeps him working when he doesn’t need to and the extra works puts enough coin in his pocket for the finest foods that he doesn’t have to cook. With his success still recent and growing Stedman has yet to swell in his needs and tastes, preferring only that food and drink be available. He makes for an easy patron and for the travelers that pass through he is a piece of the authentic spirit of Redstaff. To them he is a reminder that this place was built on inner riches and that fortune can still be had by those with the ingenuity to manifest it. Or so he would like to believe.
Selamina of the Fifth Wind is the second daughter of an elven family from the Enchanted Forest. Her father Elothelium and mother Fervisilia had once been adventurers who raised the rams kept sacred by the elven forest king. Her brother Halen’or nearly lost his life when the whole family saved the animals in a fight against a savage forest dragon. The Forest King then awarded them a few of the sacred quadrupeds for their own as well as the space to raise them at the edge of his kingdom. The ewe’s milk had magical properties and it would support them without any other food and keep them from feeling the effects of sickness. To slow the attacks on the herd, and protect the line should they fail otherwise, the Forest King ordered them into seclusion.
The family of the Five Winds was happy to oblige, but Veraliah’s sister Selamina was not content to remain in hiding in the forest thick with monsters and mayhem. So she broke ways with them, appearing from nowhere on the road and walking into Redstaff, followed shortly by Veraliah. She would come to keep an eye on her sister Selamina and the village in case they venture into danger or the forest where her family lay in hiding. Although her family had gifted Selamina money with which to care for her sister and herself she didn’t have enough to last very long without a job. Veraliah saved money by camping outside close to all those elven things she so loved, the trees, the wind, the wild animals. Unfortunately, Selamina’s older sister lost that money just as quickly wining and dining the women of the taverns under the guise of keeping a watchful eye. Selamina eventually stayed in a tavern that served cheese and having never before tasted something so divine as cheese she agreed to work for it. The master of the tavern agreed and continued to charge her lodgings, sending her fleeing to tavern after tavern where her needs alternated back and forth between cheese and a roof over her head.
The nights they spent outside became more and more perilous as thugs and shadows of men were drawn to their camps. Eventually Selamina left her sister to the woods. Without her sister for protection and company it was apparent to everyone that Selamina needed a place to stay and while many offered Selamina needed someone whom she could trust. Her sister was not without compassion and introduced her to a noble woman she had met while entertaining at a tavern. Selamina moved into the manor of the highborn Lady Quintessa Olivia DuMont who collected her like a piece of art. Not that this is disagreeable, there are constant gifts of the finest clothing and jewelry to adorn herself with, scent baths, and servants. Selamina continues to work at the taverns for spending coin, cheese, and the company of countless travelers who have so very much to tell about the world for whom she hungers most.