Rise of the Runelords
Below is Nulia’s tragic story as revealed in the tortured writings of an isolated young girl who grew into a vengegul young woman.
Somewhere along the way, the burden of Nulia’s Aasimar heritage led her to trade angelic beauty and grace for the hateful accouterment of demonhood—a grotesque claw, a wrathful soul, and eventually a frickin’ tail. Get it?
Entry 1 — Age 9
The other children hurt my feelings again today. One boy tugged on my pigtails, saying that I’d probably stolen silver from the church and melted it onto my head to get my hair so shiny. What a dufus. Melting silver onto my head would burn me.
Papa Tobyn said not to worry. The children are just jealous of my unusual—but pretty!—appearance. I don’t care if they’re jealous; I just want a friend!
Entry 2 — Age 13
Today the wife of innkeeper Viskalai from the White Deer approached me in the street with her daughter Elsie. Elsie was all pale and yellow-looking. Her eyes had dark circles around them, and she looked too thin. Her mother said she just needed to let Elsie touch my hair.
She pushed Elise to stroke my braid. When I jerked away, Mistress Viskalai pleaded with me, saying that I was blessed by Desna. “Surely your beautiful eyes and hair are signs that Desna has sent you to us. Those in your presence can be healed of all sorts of ills!”
They way she looked at me with desperation in her eyes frightened me. I ran away crying, but Elsie was able to brush against my long braid as it whipped around my head.
It terrifies me sometimes—they way people look at me. I wish Papa Tobyn would make it stop.
Entry 3 — Age 13
I saw Elsie in the street again today. It was three weeks ago that her mother approached me on that horrible day. Elsie seems better.
I have cut my hair short.
Entry 4 — Age 16
Finally, someone who seems to appreciate me for me instead of fawning over me as some Desna-blessed healer or mysterious creature to fear. Delek is kind and sweet. We have real conversations about important things along with the mundane. It is so nice to share a day with someone on the beach with nothing to worry about.
Entry 5 — Age 17
Delek and I are in Love. I long for the day when I can change my name to Nulia Viskanta. I’d have a real family then. Papa Tobyn is nice and caring enough, but his duties at the church don’t give him time to be a real father. I’m not sure if he’ll approve of my relationship with a Varisian boy.
Delek took me to our favorite cuddling place in the smuggler’s tunnel underneath the Glassworks. He says that no one else knows about this place. I certainly haven’t heard anyone talk about it before. It’s so romantic to have a place of our own…
I can’t keep it in. We made love for the first time! It’s was much more wonderful than I could have imagined.
Entry 6 — Age 17
I think I’m pregnant. I’m not sure what to do. Delek will have a plan. Maybe we can get married soon…
Entry 7 — Age 17
They’re all the same, these Varisian yokels! Delek is a good-for-nothing lout of a boy who deserves nothing more than to burn in the fiery depths of a demon’s lair.
He called me a slut and harlot before he ran from town like a coward. I suppose he didn’t want to face Papa Tobyn.
Perhaps Papa is the only one I can trust.
Entry 8 — Age 17
Perhaps is it all humans who are horrible people. I’ve learned enough from Ezakian Tobyn’s religious teachings to know that I’m an Aasimar. Maybe that’s why my real parents abandoned me. Whatever the reason, I’m not so blessed as the books or the local people would believe.
I am cursed! And Ezakian’s betrayal is all the proof I need. He discovered my condition before I told him. He says I am never to leave the church grounds—that I must pray to Desna for forgiveness. As far as I’m concerned, the only ones who will need forgiveness are these dreadful people around me. And I doubt I shall grant them that consideration!
Entry 9 — Age 17
The baby has been kicking furiously this morning. I think he feels it, too. The… energy… It calls to me…
Entry 10 — Age 18
I am awake now. They tell me I slept long, but they remain silent regarding other… issues. I can smell the fear on them. I can see their hope that I won’t remember that night.
The baby had been kicking furiously all day. At some point I snapped and broke into a frenzy. No room in the church was safe from me. Until I collapsed.
The baby was stillborn. At the time I thought his deformities—reddish black skin and claws—were horrific. As I’ve slept these months, my mistress has shown me the truth of it. He was a beautiful child whose unfortunate death was the result of my weakness. My celestial taint.
I have pledged my soul to Lamashtu, and she has promised to rid me of my curse. My weakness has burned away. And tonight so too shall the pitiful excuse of a cleric Ezakian burn.
Entry 11 — Age 18
Magnimar has presented unexpected opportunities. The leader of this Norgorber-worshipping cult has proven a valuable ally. I wouldn’t have found Delek had it not been for this man’s aid.
__My new ally has proven wise as well. He claimed that ripping Delek’s heart from his chest would not satisfy my need for revenge. He offered me the Sihedron medallion I now wear. A symbol of the bond shared between those of us blessed by the gods of true power._
I leave for Sandpoint tonight. Something there calls to me. I will see those people burn. All of them.
Entry 12 — Age 18
I have found her. A teacher I would never have guessed existed.
When I returned to Sandpoint, I thought I’d visit the spot where all this began. I crept my way into the smuggler’s tunnel with ease. The place of my child’s conception was different than I remembered. I could feel the dark energy behind the brick wall calling to me. The must have been where I was first touched by Lamashtu.
The wall is now rubble. That was my doing. Behind it is a remarkable place of power. In these catacombs I have found my teacher—my sister, so to speak. True, Erylium is a tiny Quasit. She is almost mad having lived here for thousands of years. But she heard the calling of our great mistress after the disappearance of her old master.
She has also showed me the workings of the mysterious runewell.
Entry 13 — Age 18
A new vision. And a plan. Lamashtu has shown me the face of a mighty ally. Malfeshnekor. I will find my gloriously monstrous brother. Together we will exact my vengeance.
Erylium can stay here to guard the runewell. I leave tomorrow for Thistletop.
I have work to do…
Thus ends Nulia’s spotty account of her history. Not all of her journals are intact after such exposure to the elements, violence and general goblin ickiness. Truth be told, it seems most of her writings turned to siege plans and missives on how to free Malfeshnekor and bend the local goblin tribes to her will.