Class: Warlock (Infernal Pact)
Weight: 120 lbs
STR: 8 CON: 18 DEX: 11 INT: 16 WIS: 10 CHA: 15
Born to a seamstress in the seedy Dockside district, Hope always knew she was different. Even as a young child, the reddish hue of her skin set her apart from her peers, and as she grew older the horns that began to sprout from her head only heightened her stigma. After all, living in Dockside already meant that you were at the bottom of the social ladder – being a tiefling on top of that meant that you weren’t even allowed on the ladder in the first place.
The target of ridicule by the other children, Hope had few friends. Hope often would beg her mother to make her long-sleeved clothing that covered her reddish skin, complete with hoods that could cover her budding horns, even during the summers. Her mother, however, tried to encourage her to fit in as if she were a normal person. Hope tried, but it only seemed to alienate people more. Being a tiefling carried at “bad girl” reputation that many captialized on, fitting into the seedier parts of the city with ease. Hope, acting as if she was a human with a skin condition, was rejected by that crowd as well. To the miscreants of Dockside, she was a snooty little kid acting better than everyone else. And to the respectable people of the rest of Blackport, she was still just another tiefling.
Hope knew little about her father. He left when Hope was an infant, and her mother preferred not to talk about him. She seemed to wish that her silence on the subject would somehow erase him from her past. What little Hope knew, she was able to learn from others in the neighborhood. He’d been a well-known figure in Dockside before her birth, and stories abounded in the bars and allies of what might have happened to him. Some said he’d been murdered, some that he’d simply left to spread his seed. Other stories were more exotic, such as he’d traveled to Hell itself. None of the stories were very encouraging to Hope, though, and soon she stopped asking, always hating what she heard.
Hope tried to help her mother out as much as she could. She was being trained as a seamstress herself, and would often run errands for her mother. It was on just such a day that she first heard the voice. The day was warm as spring was beginning to give way to summer, and Hope was sweating under her heavy cloak and hood. A ship had just arrived from the Majaris Islands, and Hope had a silver piece in her pocket to buy any good cloth that the trader might have. Several children followed her, mocking her, for though she hid her face all the children knew who the only girl was in the neighborhood that would wear such heavy clothing on a day like this. It was the usual taunts she’d heard a thousand times before, telling her she was no good, or she should kill herself so she could be with her Dad in Hell. It was a game they played, to see who could get her to cry first.
Hope couldn’t take it any more. She fled home and hid in the pantry, so her mother wouldn’t see the tears. There she looked up and saw a knife. Years of anger and hated at what she was bubbled over and she took the blade and began to cut into her horns. Hope made it almost halfway across when she started to bleed. She only stopped when her mother, having heard the commotion, opened the door to find her child covered in blood and crying. She picked Hope up and held her the whole night, finally telling the child about her father. How he was a brave man that loved her but had to leave to fight in a war and to prove himself to the humans. That night, she dreamed of her father. She dreamed of him fighting for the humans that distrusted him, and saw him bravely fighting orcs, trolls, and all manner of monsters while a figure she couldn’t quite see murmured in his ear. Somehow, it seemed for a moment the figure noticed her, and then she awoke.
The next day as the children set about their usual ridicule, Hope heard something new. Every now and then there was a different voice in the crowd. It seemed to be a whisper, yet she heard it over the cacophony of insults.
She searched for the speaker, but every time it was in vain. Over time, the voice became an old friend. Though she was frightened at first, every time the other children would follow and insult her, she would hear the voice again. Often, it would sound like a susurrous whispering, the words on the edge of understanding, but Hope could never quite understand what was being said, except one word…
Years went by, and as time passed she found she could focus on the voice if she wished, and the quiet whispering would fill up her ears, quieting the mocking to the point she could almost ignore it. She cried less and less, which was no fun for the other children, and it seemed for a while that they might leave her alone. One day as Hope walked down the street, the children began to hurl the usual taunts her way, and she retreated once more into the whispering embrace. One boy, though, was angry at being denied his sport. He began to pitch stones at her, until one hit her particularly hard on head, dazing her and knocking her to the ground.
The boy laughed as he continued to hurl stones at her. She rose to her knees and called out to the whispers, asking them to help her. Promising anything if they could just make the taunts go away forever. A burn rushed through her body and a flame shot from her hand. Hope hadn’t been aiming it, not really, and though it didn’t strike the boy, it was close enough to leave his face was pink and his clothes singed. He screamed and ran, the other children following suit.
Hope, exhausted and scared, stumbled to her feet as she saw a large uniformed man approach her. The guard had obviously been alerted by the mob of screaming children running away from this area.
“What’s been going on here?” Hope knew that what she’d done was a sure way to get locked up, but as she looked up at the guard, she recognized him as one of the nicer ones who never seemed to pick on her. Before she could say anything he looked at the blood oozing from her cheek. He pulled a rag out of under his armor and gently dabbed it.
“OK,” he said. “It’s OK.” The guard helped her get her hood over her head. He looked around to make sure no one would notice, then picked her up and carried her home. She fell asleep on his shoulder.
That night, she finally understood the whispers.
Hope peeked around the door of the station entrance and quietly walked to the large desk where a guard was doing paperwork.
Hovan looked up to see a familiar smile lurking under a hood. “Do I need to get you out of trouble again?”
Hope laughed. “No! No. I just wanted to visit the sergeant of the guard. Just bored today, we don’t have any orders at the shop right now.”
“Well you might as well go back there.” Hovan stood up and started loading a pack with rope and other equipment. “I have to look at a hole in the ground.”
“Hmm…there’s lots of holes in the ground… any one in particular?” She scanned the floor.
“No, a larger one, in a store. Now go home before your mother starts bothering me, wondering where you are.” He nodded in the direction of her house.
“Well there is a job posted for people to go investigate this hole. I think I’ll tag along.” She grabbed a bag that laid on the floor and put some rations that sat on the desk. Hovan shook his head, a mixture of amusement and exasperation on his face.
“That’s nice, Hope. Now maybe you should go home.” He took the pack from her.
She snatched it back. “This is something I can do to earn coin for for my mother and you’re going to need me.” Looking around, it was obvious that he was the only guard in the area. Hope reasoned he would want a familiar face along. “After all, who knows what kind of lowlifes will be jumping on this opportunity and you need someone to watch your back.”
Hovan sighed, and tossed her a few more supplies. “Fine. Just stay out of trouble.”
Hope grinned. “Hey, you know me.”