I was born a cursed child. I am a Tiefling, standing tall, slender and imposing, with silver-white horns and pale blue skin. From my eyes down my sharp cheeks to my jawbone, I bear a silver lightning birthmark. To see me, you would find it little surprise that my mother died before she could even hold me in her arms. My father could not cope with seeing the start of my life mark the end of his lover’s, nor could he find it in his heart to love me. In my earliest years, he provided for my brothers with what little money he had not yet drunk away in run-down taverns. My brothers helped feed me, even as young boys. But money from a drunkard is not something one can rely upon. It was never enough, so Mavarst and Gatash, six and eight years my elders learned to steal and beg, and keep scraps of food on our plates. What little I recall of this time is through my brothers’ stories, for I was too young to form any clear memories. When I was three, my father was imprisoned. A bar fight had escalated, and a skull had tragically cracked on a table as a man fell to the ground. That was the last I saw of him. Perhaps that is what saved my brothers and I, for we were sent to an orphanage, where we were found and taken in by Martha and Devaan, who owned a large house by the docks. I lived happily here, loved as if I were their own child. I spent my days playing with other children, who never gave a moment’s thought to what I was. My brothers ran errands in the docks, and then took jobs once they were of age, eventually being employed on merchant vessels. They travelled far and often, and were rarely home. By the time I was twelve, I was becoming aware of the dirty looks and whispered judgement from strangers in the streets. Even the once innocent and carefree children began to bully and taunt. Martha and Devaan had endless faith in me, but I began to lose faith in myself, and it was clear civilised society doubted me. I felt the need to prove I was more than my infernal heritage. I had to prove I was good and pure of heart, and the only way I could think how to do so was to worship the gods – to spend as much time as I could in the various temples of the city. For four years I devoted myself to worship, missing so many opportunities for social pleasures, academic interests, or decent labour, instead studying only the divine texts. For all that I missed out on, it was a nonetheless a happy time. I had friends in the temples, and a newfound belief that I was not defined by my birth. I once thought that I would stay forever, and become a wise old religious teacher. But All Things Must Change.
When I was seventeen, a storm unlike any that had struck for generations ravaged our coast. The dock was hit the hardest – homes, workplaces, ships, shattered by wind and wave and lighting. My family’s home was among those obliterated. By luck alone, my parents were unharmed, but everything was lost – all our possessions, and their livelihoods. They packed what little they could salvage and set off to the capital to seek a new living. They begged me to come, but I refused. I did not want to back away from my dedication to the church, but I soon realised the storm had awakened something that had been inert inside me since birth – a great arcane might. I could channel the force of lightning with just a touch, and cast bolts of it through the air. I spoke of this with temple elders, and though the arcane is respected by the church, strange traditions disallow the clergy to practice it. I resigned from my duties, trying to figure out some meaning in everything that was happening. The sudden shift in my life and power was overwhelming. Unbound by duty, I spent months indulging in pleasures I had denied myself as an devout acolyte – ale, spirits, drugs, men, women, literature, but most of all, I indulged in my newfound power. A peaceful city was no place to be a sorcerer. Little could be done with my power there. I had to leave, and so I did. I travelled from town to town on random whim and impulse, never truly knowing nor caring where I would end up. Less than a month into my travels, I came to the realisation that I bore a child. I took pause from my journey, and spent the months of my pregnancy in a temple. Throughout that time I prayed to the gods, and tried to meditate on my future. I knew my journey could not be over, so I left the child to be raised by the priests. I left her, unnamed, with only a short letter to promise I loved her and would return one day. Five years have passed since I left my daughter in that temple. I think of her each and every day, but I know I do what I must. Throughout these years, I have come to conclude that I am not on journey to seek my destiny. There is no destiny, only the chaos of the storm – the inevitability of the change it brings for better or worse. I am a vessel of that change. I have no predetermined path to tread. The random ever-changing winds of fate guide me in this world. I will follow them to the ends of this earth if that is where they lead.
A storm brings destruction. Lives and homes may be torn asunder. In that violent chaos, it is easy to forget that the very same storm broke the drought which threatened to starve the kingdom. It is easy to forget that the flood which drowned this year’s crops leaves behind good sediment that makes next year’s crops grow stronger. The destruction, the change, and the new hope that come from the storm are not its intent. It has no intent. One cannot question the whim of a storm. It does not choose where to strike. It simply follows the only path it can.
Some say that storms follow me wherever I roam, but they mistake me.
I am no harbinger of storms.
I am the storm.
I DM one campaign, and play in another. Kehani was created as my backup character in case Monty the Goblin dies, but she developed into something outside the tone of that campaign. Perhaps I’ll get a chance to play as her one day. For now, the closest I’ll get is sharing her backstory here, and hoping someone else appreciates her theme and relates the traditional DnD woes of having more character concepts than you have opportunities to play.