Character Name: Siltharen (SIL-THAR-EN) Nightjar
Alias/Nickname: Silt (SILT), Broken Claw
Age/Date of Birth: 36/ Snowbound 7, 3082 ADW
Apparent Age: 30s
Height: 5’ 7”
Weight: 130 lbs.
Hair Color/Style: Muddy Brown with Carmel-Black Highlights / Wavy / Shoulder Length Hair
Marks/Scars/Tattoos: Tattered ears that look like they’ve been bitten and torn.
Physical Appearance: Small, Lean, Fit.
Overall coloring is like that of a “Snowshoe Cat”. See picture attached.
Her face is mostly black, especially around the eyes, with caramel brown highlights above her brows and black ears. She has an inverted V-shaped white blaze starting at the middle of her forehead that runs between her eyes and fans out across her muzzle. This fur pattern gives her a very raccoon eyed appearance. Some even see a black “x” in the pattern that forms between her eyes and ears. It is considered a sign of good fortune among thieves and relic hunters as “x” literally “marks the spot”, indicating a sharp mind.
Her nose is a soft pink with white whiskers. She has a light, dusty brown cape around her shoulders that fades into a darker, muddier brown body mixed with caramel, charcoal, and black. A wide, white tuxedo bib runs from her chin down her neck to her chest and continues along her belly. Her tail is black. She has white mittens on her hands and white boots on both feet.
Skills: Throwing blades/darts/ 2, small blades/ 2
Abilities: Aura: Magnetism / 1, Companion / 1 (Raven), Beast Master / 1 (Nightjar)
Professions: Huntsman, Con Artist, Relic Hunter
Carried Possessions: Small backpack with traveling essentials (a few coins in a pouch, jerky, water flask, change of clothes, first aid kit, maps, compass, flint and steel), leather braided necklace with a stone totem (black and round with a small blue center), throwing darts, two small blades, lock pick.
Clothing and Armor: Simple, chocolate brown shoulder cape with hood, loose, light colored V-necked blouse with three quarter sleeves, brown sash belt with silver buckle, and dark, cargo pants (Capri length and tied tight at the cuffs with string) with plenty of pockets. No shoes or boots – just foot pads and wraps to prevent sores in summer and booties to wear in winter. Prefers clothing that mirrors her fur color.
Weapons: Two small daggers, throwing darts/blades.
.:Character’s Personal Information:.
Likes: A Clear Night Sky, Winter, Stars, Forests, Mountains, Lakes, Snow, Elsyven. Libraries, Books, Maps, Bathing in Pools.
Dislikes: Orcs, Hot Weather, and Confinement.
Merits: Amiable, Disciplined (in profession), Clever, Organized, Strong Willed, Strategist.
Flaws: Aimless (in life), Disobedient, Impudent, Blunt, Deceptive, Manipulative, Opportunistic.
Worst Fears: Torture.
Personality: Silt is relatively quiet among close friends, naturally reserved and closed mouthed in public, but when required she can be surprisingly charming. It’s clearly a learned skill, but one she’s honed. She can be very manipulative and is good at misleading others.
History: Silt was born in Isbyan, high in the foothills where it always snows. During her youth, she learned the skills of the Huntsman from her parents and became a decent tracker and hunter. But she was always the odd man out in her age group – more interested in exploring and playing alone than being part of the group. She was never well accepted by her peers and often stole from them.
At first, it was simple things, like food or toys, but eventually Silt graduated to more valuable items and began using them as leverage or to earn coins from passing traders. Petty larceny soon became second nature and, inevitably, her activities began to extend out into larger clan society.
The adults frowned on her behavior, complaining to the clan council, and her parents – fearful that she would be thrown out of the clan – tried to curb her thievery. But nothing worked. Instead of stopping, she simply learned to conceal her theft and avert suspicion with charm.
By her young adult years, she’d become a regular freebooter and her parents were mortified when the old clan chief had her brought before the council. They feared the worst.
Silt’s northern clan was a small one. Their environment was harsh, cold and snowbound most of the year, and maintaining numbers on limited resources was difficult in the area. The old chief had once been a powerful leader, who’d held a large territory with a great number of warriors that extended into the southern foothills. When a prosperous eastern clan rose to prominence by the sea, the old leader sought an alliance.
He had no daughters to offer, but his two sons vied for the hand an eastern leader’s daughter. Such a union would have brought food and resources to the north, but her father chose to marry her to the son of a Green Lake clan, snubbing the north entirely.
And it might have ended there, but one of the chief’s sons had fallen in love with the girl and tried to kidnap her before her wedding. The plan failed, resulting in an honor dispute that started a small war. Both the chief’s sons were killed in this dispute and many of his warriors abandoned him, forming clans of their own or joining with outsiders to the south to build new ones.
These new southern clans steadily grew both in size and strength, eroding away the northern chief’s territory until the old clan was reduced to living on the mountain fringes, bound against the sea. Territorial disputes and power struggles had become common by the time of Silt’s kit hood and obtaining resources without bloodshed was a difficult prospect.
Subject to the whims of their neighbors, the old leader had grown tired of kowtowing to former subordinates and newcomers. He wanted revenge against the eastern clan, but lacking the strength to take back his lands, he opted for a more indirect approach.
The local clan’s folk were extremely superstitious and many leaders kept relics, such as old totems, bone knives, war staffs, and small statuettes. These items, reputedly gifted to them by the Gods or their ancestors, were divine symbols showing they were chosen to lead by higher powers.
Silt was charged with starting rumors, planting false documents, diverting or delaying key trade items, and – in culmination – making the prized holy relics disappear. It was psychological sabotage and it worked. Dissension built. Rumors spread. And the theft of the relics, timed to key yearly events wherein the leaders celebrated their ascensions, had the desired effect. Publicly, the disappearances were viewed as a sign that the gods had taken back their approval or that the ancestors had marked the leader as unfit.
Politically, well placed clues and rumors, fed by the underground trade network, lead the southern and eastern leaders to suspect one another of betrayal. This threw them into civil and political dispute. Trade ground to halt, threats were made, and the alliances they’d so carefully woven began to fray. Meanwhile the stolen relics were sold for the northern clan’s profit.
The old clan chief prospered and Silt found acceptance at last. Her chief backed more excursions, which slowly increased in scope and distance. Much of her adult life was spent traveling by barge on the Jade River or sometimes on a bigger ship to sea ports along the Narovian coast. She’d slip into towns or temples, abscond with icons, paintings, or jewels, and sell them to merchants bound for great cities like Calora or Rhyndor.
Inevitably, though, her luck ran out.
She was caught aboard an Etharian ship, stealing a relic that was destined for a temple in Lirasel. The captain choose not to have her killed, but he did extract a common a thief’s punishment. He had all the fingers on one hand broken, then tore both her ears to shreds. She was sent back to her clan in disgrace.
Her wounds eventually healed and the bones in her hand knit, but she was never the same; suffering stiffness, numbness, and pain whenever she tried to grip something firmly. A thief with a crippled hand was no thief. She now lacked the dexterity to pickpocket effectively and word of the incident and her maiming spread throughout the area. The eastern and southern clans began to put two and two together and, though they could prove nothing, some of the feuding began to die down.
The old clan chief promised her protection, but the same superstitions that had brought her glory, now brought on shame. Her bad luck was a sign that the ancestors were displeased. The common folk viewed her as a pariah and many of her peers, long jealous of her status, let her know it.
A few months later the old leader died, yet another sign of the ancestors displeasure, and she left the clan of her own volition, wandering south with a passing caravan toward Green Lake, at the head of the Jade River. It was an area she knew and she hoped to scratch out a living among the small villages that bordered the shores.
These were difficult times for her. Unwelcome by the local clans, she tried to live among the townsfolk, but their way of life was foreign to her. She proved unfit for the tough work required on the docks; farming was unnatural to her; fishing was unthinkable given the deep lake; she had no skills as an artisan; and being an outsider, and an illiterate kojin to boot, made her unqualified for any form of public office. There was tavern work, but her hand made it difficult to carry cups and trays and she disliked having to clean tables and wash floors.
Despite her best efforts, she couldn’t earn enough to maintain regular lodgings and keep food on the table. After a few months, she decided to move on. She had just enough coin to buy passage down river to Mahigan. Still rural, it was a beautiful area, but lacking in trade work off the water. Keeping to the outskirts, she lived off the town’s discards, eating what she could from rubbish heaps and the leftovers meant for pets. Livestock animals proved easy targets and she began picking off small lambs and calves. She made a good living off these excursions, but the losses soon drew attention. Farmers set traps and hunted the nearby woods. Silt melted back into the countryside, moving on to avoid being caught.
She moved into the forests, hoping to reach the Isbyan border on foot and cross the river at the ferry point to Ar’Mora. Her only company during this time was a small raven, which – after being fed regular scraps, began to follow her and eventually became her companion. Traveling by land was new and it was impossible for her to survive in the tough, inland wilderness. She nearly starved getting to the city.
In Ar’Mora, she hired herself out, doing odd jobs and chores. She tried to hold down regular work, but hard times forced her to shoplift. She had a few lucky successes, but being kojintora made her very recognizable and, with her bad hand, she was soon caught.
She spent several rainy days in a crate on the back of a wagon, soaking wet and shivering, while the local magistrate weighed his options. On the one hand, she was a thief, on the other a kojintora and valuable in her own right among those who wanted magite sensing beasts. He decided to ship her out with traders on their way to Calora.
It was a frightening, degrading experience – being put up for sale in a market – but luck was with the crippled cat. An elsyven saw her and, given that he needed a servant, brokered a deal and purchased her. She was taken from Calora to the foothills of Glendorin, below Eratia’s Tears.
It was a fortunate turn of events for Silt, though she did not view it that way at the time. The elsyven treated her well and, though she was expected to work hard, exceptions were made for her physical state and efforts employed to help ease her pain. Over the years, the two – master and servant – gradually became friends and he helped her overcome many of her physical limitations, investing in medical care and physical therapy. It took years for her to regain basic dexterity in her hand and, even then, she was prone to dropping objects. But the pain lessened with good care, reasonable work, and medicine. Regular physical therapy visits improved her extension and grip.
Among the elsyven, she was also permitted a basic education. She learned to read and write in elsyven and a few local human dialects, and was schooled in basic mathematics, history, and art. Access to the library on her free days afforded her the study of her own kind as well as the continent at large. She grew fascinated with histories and architecture.
Reading of these new things in books, Silt began to explore professions and soon discovered the topic of animal companions. She learned that ravens, although commonly associated with death, could also serve as Divine messengers and teachers. They symbolized transformation and a new chapter in one’s life. It made sense. Her old life was dead, but a new one had been offered when the bird had come to her. She studied the behaviors of birds and other animals with interest.
Overall, life was good, but just as Silt felt truly settled, she was faced with another fork in the road. Her master was engaged. No longer in need of a foot servant, as his fiancé had plenty, he gifted Silt her freedom. She was turned loose and, having no place to call home, set out for the mountains. She spent several years there, digging up relics from ancient sites – both kojintora, human, and elsyven. These she slowly began to trade in towns and, as her reputation grew, she became a regular procurer of ancient items for collectors.
No longer a thief, she made her own way and found a small measure security. She never lost her love of study, however, and frequented libraries whenever she could. Further study introduced her to animal totems and, eventually, she managed to secure one … a small bird known as a Nightjar. It was unassuming in appearance, but proved a master of camouflage, a skilled hunter, and had keen night vision and reflexes.
Now, she regularly walks the paths between the mountains and forests of Jalaras to one of the major cities.