Maena Farmhook is the first daughter of the farmer Matthieu Farmhook and was a stubborn and practical girl before she chose the path of a warrior. Farmhook farm is on the edge of the woods and from those trees any number of foul or malcontent monsters can and will eventually burst forth, or at least as she reckons. Being on the edge of the village her home is more often the target of wolves and the passing bear but more importantly their village of Redstaff is along a road that eventually leads much further north to Temple. Counter intuitively instead of making the roads safer it is more often the case that fleeing fiends will pass through, turning some poor creature into its victim to fuel its frantic flight. She learned about life and death this way at an early, helpless age when Maena watched as her paltry herd of sheep was torn to shreds by a werewolf.
The beast would’ve had her as well had it not been for Matthieu’s watchful eye and skill with the quarterstaff. The werewolf had already been wounded by some other hunter and Matthieu allowed it to escape. Afterwards Maena threw herself into combat lessons with her father who immediately put her into heavy leather armor. Her strength was sapped by the armor and she sought out the many villagers who might be able to teacher her something useful beyond a quarterstaff. The most influential of which was Bette Rosso, the pit fighter, who agreed to teach Maena in her off time at the taverns. It was she who taught Maena those forms of fighting that her father would not allow which included using her natural assets to distract the majority of her opponents. The pit fighting skills gave her a greater freedom from the heavy armor that slowed her down so dangerously. Everyone was ready for a woman in armor but it was her unusual garb that made her opponents underestimate her and this she used to put down countless ruffians who were focused on her flesh instead of her weapons.
Maena continued to spend most of her time in the tavern, making friends or teachers of those who stay for a drink and learning their tricks. Years of practice and maturation led to a seasoned fighter who sports only a few select pieces of armor that she had won from opponents, many of which formerly belonged to some of the cockier males in the village, with her labors and deeds. Some now whisper about her as the Warrior Maiden, a mercenary and sword to lend to the battle for the village. Although still young she keeps a weathered eye on the tree line for any creep and a silver chain to subdue the werewolf.
Julie Alcoast is a peasant in the village of Redstaff, living in a small apartment above the blacksmith’s which she had worked for tirelessly herself. She has a son with the blacksmith but enjoys being a free woman and rebuffs the few advances she receives. If you need something done it’s Julie that you can call on, any tiny job is her domain, from sewing to dusting to mucking out stables or slaughtering animals. The Alcoast family has never been above doing honest hard labor, all of them have scratched a life out of the hard earth and Julie left her family in the south to make a place of her own. Redstaff
appealed to her, more importantly they needed her. In the first few hours after her arrival Julie had a job at several homes to tend to cleaning and horses and paid her handsomely for the work they themselves had no time for.
Julie is beloved by the people, and feared as well. No one knows how but Julie has a stranglehold over the Alderman, although she would never do so many whisper that she could walk out of his mansion with everything he owned and he would not call for the guards or raise a hand. She is kind not to flex her power often but when her son Tomnin lost the Alderman’s coin purse down the well during a juggling demonstration the Alderman intended to give the scrawny lad a vicious thrashing. Julie put her foot down, interposing herself between them and whispering something into the ear of the old man. A mere heartbeat later and mother and son were gone without reprimand or scorn.
Few are those in the village who didn’t turn to her eventually, most of them come to enjoy her easy laugh and nowhere is she more enjoyable than when she’s found in a tavern ankle deep in a cup with a belly full of some warm meal from the kitchen. As someone who cooks and cleans for a living it’s a pleasure that she affords herself to buy her evening meals in such comforting places among her many friends and prospective clients. It’s her way to stop serving long enough to drink in her time and often to join the crowd who come to see her son.
Hardwick Thistlebound’s family has been living in the village of Redstaff since the last regent passed away over half a century ago. His grandparents moved from their forest home to escape a terrible manticore rampage, and found the workers of the mining camp both warm and inviting. Once in camp, they found their generations of woodcarving and landscaping useful in the business of providing burial and undertaking, a practice long shared by their cousins in the Dark Lands. However, their newfound morbid profession was not always embraced by the younger members, and such was the case with Hardwick.
Hardwick loved making people laugh, but families in times of grieving have little place for folly or levity, so the young halfling would steal away the free hours in local taverns and pubs, performing acrobatic tricks and staging general buffoonery. His wily sense of humor and razor-sharp wit won him acclaim and even coin in some of his frequented establishments. In time, his father began to learn of his side activities through gossip in the local community. Yew Thistlebound was a far more stern, somber man with no regard for his son making a fool of the family name. The senior Thistlebound had always commanded respect from his peers and total submission from his children, and his totalitarian views would not allow for Hardwick to engage in the family business by day and lead others in drunken revelry by night, so he gave the young lad a choice: straighten up and act respectable, or leave the family home.
The greater fortune of Redstaff is that Hardwick remained when he could not be turned to the family business, so Hardwick began work in earnest as a jester, performing in the streets by day and the taverns by night. Soon, word had spread of the madcap halfling to nearby towns and villages. Thereafter, any time he entered a room, the crowd would inevitably begin hounding him for more jokes and pratfalls, of which he had aplenty. Now he makes a handsome living traveling from tavern to tavern as the Halfling Jester, doing what he loves for the people who love him for doing it.