How many of us know from our earliest memories what we want to be? And, how many of us are told from our earliest memories exactly who and how we will be? I’d be willing to bet most of us fall into the latter category; such was to be my path. I have since chosen otherwise, at a high and painful cost. I am an Aasimar, a distant descendant of some angelic creature who decided for what ever reason to entertain themselves with a mortal and left a lasting impression. The traits of such don’t always manifest in every generation it may skip a few and show up again randomly. Such was the case for my family. We had had a “chosen” one show up pretty consistently every generation until the last three which was beginning to cost us in our alliances and business dealings. Then after three brothers, I was born and my future began to be mapped by my parents, my community, everyone except me. I was not born with a simple mind or a contented spirit however, staying on this rock and being married off at 14 to secure some affine was not in my plans such as they were.
I don’t know when exactly my “plan” such as it was, began to coalesce. I know that for my first 13 years I did as I was bade, mostly, as it seemed to be the best way to access the information I wanted that wasn’t deemed appropriate i.e. space travel and spell work and knowledge. Fortunately, Graven, my eldest brother understood me and having also been bred for service to the family sympathized with my plight. It was he that taught me to read, got books or leaflets as he could, taught me to survive in the wilds of God’s Marbles and told me stories he heard about the asteroids where I wasn’t allowed to go. He was my window, my rock and my path to freedom; I just wish he’d been brave or foolhardy enough to come with me.
Since I can remember I’ve had dreams of stars, and the crystal spheres that encase whole worlds, of flying huge ships with my mind and will and of two men who I know are significant tho I can’t say why. One is dark with skin of ebony with obsidian eyes who never speaks and one of an enormous human man as pale as milk with fiery hair and gregarious manner; they couldn’t be more opposite. I also see my strange birthmark forged in silver and gemstones. I knew that some of my family recognized it though refused to say how or why; as it was on my shoulder it was rarely uncovered for anyone else to see or remark upon it.
It was only to Graven that I spoke of my dreams and such, and he remarked that if he could he’d find a way for me to live such a life for both of us; which often would lead to laugher and shoves and play fights, such as siblings do. I was soon to learn how serious he really was. Shortly after my 13th birthday it was announced at dinner that the negotiations for my betrothal had been finalized and that I would be married within one lunar cycle of my 14th year. All of a sudden my vision grayed and narrowed and the din in my ears was deafening. I ran from the table a look of horror upon my face, Graven made my excuses and came to find me. He knew the dealing were taking place and hadn’t wanted to alarm me until necessary. He promised to help me leave but bade me to calm myself and keep my intentions hidden lest my best laid plans be thwarted by well-meaning relations. So I did.
I kept up my routines and gave every impression that I was content with my intended. I met him a few times at much supervised functions and dinners. He seemed nice enough but more concerned with treaty negotiations and land contracts than me personally. In the meantime and in secret I posted a message to my godmother (yet another affine in my families cap) but one I felt would sympathize and aid me. Her name is Tarila Moune, head of House Moune, I have only seen her a scant handful of times, none of them in recent years but stories of her have been my inspiration much of my life. I told her of my betrothal, of my dreams and my choice to sever my ties, risk death rather than continue living this life constructed for me. It was six long months before her reply came, hidden cleverly in plain sight in the form of a betrothal gift, a gown of Ginselian silk. She had worked a scrap of papyrus into a hidden sleeve pocket that read simply, “if you’re certain of your path, I’ve secured you a berth on the PhoenixHawk; it will arrive on mid-summer and depart within one daycycle. I will arrange for your stay on the Rock of Bral. Keep safe and secret; no one can know I’ve helped you. Memorize the contents of this message and drop the slip into water”
I confessed to my brother that I was leaving and it was he who offered to see me safely to the large spaceport as he’d been there. I had only been on small rock hoppers at the smaller ports. One month later, my brother left on a reputed business venture. That was threes days before midsummer, I stole away the evening after he left and met with him 10 leagues out. We arrived at the designated port on midsummer morning and I begged my brother to come with me. He explained that though he wanted to escape he was duty bound to save my family from the fall that my leaving would inevitably cause. I nearly changed my mind at the thought of what my choice would cost him; the look on my face must have clued him in. He swore at me and told me to leave, to live for both of us and never to look back. “They never really looked at you, or they would have known we were never meant to keep you.” I hugged him tightly and promised if I could find a way to safely contact him, I would. With that I whirled and ran down the dock and disappeared. I made my way easily to the PhoenixHawk (it looks just as it sounds) and within an hour of my arrival we were off.
I was shown to a small, private berth below deck. It was cramped but clean and the crewman explained when mess was called and asked that I would remain “out of the way”. Which was my exact plan, I had a few scrolls, some inkwood and it was my intention to start and a journal and formulate my thoughts into a more cohesive plan now that I was off-world. For three days and nights I managed to remain in my berth except of meals and necessities before cabin fever drove me to the deck during night watch. For the first time my dreams began to come true ;here were the stars, I felt the shift of magic beneath my feet as the ship sailed and sensed the bubble that contained the craft allowing us to breathe. Something moved with a “snick” inside me and I knew this was what I was meant for. All of a sudden a loud thud followed by a sharp cry of pain shattered the quiet night and I ran towards the sound accompanied by a couple others. Its seemed one of the helmsman was going below decks when he tripped and fell. He broke his wrist trying to catch himself. As the break was simple and the fellow young and healthy it was within my power to heal and I offered to do so. Within moments his wrist functioned and looked normal and his pain was gone; saving several weeks of lost work. The deckmaster clapped me on the shoulder and thanked me. I was told that as long as I didn’t interfere with the smooth running of the ship I was allowed to roam in the main areas of the ship as I wished. This was how I learned to sail by watching and asking questions of offering help and occasionally being allowed to practice. The captain introduced herself one bloody afternoon, after I’d spent the best part of it removing an infected tooth from the cook. I had removed my tunic as the air was close below decks and stood in my trousers and undershift. Brendal Solfire was her name, a follower of Celestian. I was startled by her appearance as she was much taller than I clad in jewel toned robes decorated by what I discovered later were star maps. Most arresting of all was the silver charm she wore on a chain around her neck. It was my birthmark worked in silver and gemstones. When I finally looked back up at her face she seemed intrigued. “You’ve seen this symbol before?”
“Yes, though I don’t know what it means or why you have it too” I stammered.
“Too? Who else do you know wears such a symbol?” She questioned.
At this I simply turned my shoulder to the light and revealed my birthmark. “By Gods child, who are you”. I asked if we could speak in private and she bade me to bathe and join her in her cabin. One hour later, cleaned and changed I knocked on her door. “Entrées” she called out.
I sat in the chair she gestured to and began my tale omitting my godmother’s role in the matter. She was quiet as she absorbed the story and stared directly at me. I sensed she knew I was omitting something but that I also spoke the absolute truth otherwise. She was silent for a time after I was done and I feared she would return me home. Finally, she spoke and told me of Celestian and how it would seem he marked me. She explained that legends said he resembled the dark-skin man of my dreams tho no one in living memory had claimed to actually have seen him. She could shed no light however on who his counterpoint might be. She offered to show me how to fly in a limited capacity as her power to fly was intertwined with her faith and spell work based on Celestian. She also strongly suggested I enter into the Pantheistic College of Celestian, wryly adding that if my benefactor could secure my passage, my tuition shouldn’t be much of a stretch.
I spent the remaining year of my voyage between captain and crew learning and perfecting anything and everything anyone would show me in exchange for healing minor wounds and easing the aches and pains that accompany the physicality of working aboard ship. When we docked in Bral, I was reluctant to leave the ship but no sooner had I stepped off ship the dock master handed me an envelope in it was a room key and instructions to access an account for my room and board and how to make a request when I had decided what I would do. I had for the most part decided to enroll in the Celestian College and learn to become a planejammer. I wanted more than anything to be a pilot like Brendal. I stayed in the cozy room at the Inn for one night and after a sleep and hearty breakfast made my way to the College. It was as much like coming home as standing on the deck of a ship was, a resonance if you will. I applied as Lenata, without house affiliations as I claimed I was an orphan. So I stayed and I studied and worked for 12 years, made friends in school and about Bral.
My favorite bar is where Vedis works, she’s mysterious and as much as she complains about her clientele she’s a master of getting even the gruffest and grouchiest of customers to smile and order the most expensive items on the menu. She likes it when I visit her at work since I tip well even though we’re friends and other clients tip better when we’re seen together. It was once such evening after her shift was up that we decided to walk down to her favored bar for a drink, personally I think she just wanted another look at the twin eye-candy that bartended but, whatever.
We were walking and talking, paying more attention to our conversation than what was going on around us, until the bustling streets fell silent and the cobbles beneath our feet could no longer be felt nor seen as the mist swirled thick as wool around us. Vedis clutched my sleeve and suggested we walk back the way we came; I agreed and wrapped a hand around her belt lest I loose her in the mist. Within 20 minutes we realized we couldn’t find the door we’d left from, nor the street we’d walked down, or anything familiar at all! It did occur to us that the possibility existed we weren’t on Bral anymore and that all hell was about to break loose. Unfortunately, we were right.