Portrait of Alzaren

Alzaren

Half-Elf Bard

Alzaren grew up on the streets of Arrek with his younger sister, Elzbeth. His father was a stone mason and his mother was a cook for Count Raakaan al-Ishmael. The Count was a pious follower of Vurk who dared show resistance to the cultists in the region. One day when Alzaren was about 9 years old a group of snake cultist led by the Vizier Shabaan al-Samara infiltrated the court of the Count, murdering him and many innocent people working there. Alzaren’ parents were among those who perished. He and Elzbeth vowed revenge against the Vizier one day. They soon found themselves on the street busking for a few coins to buy scraps of bread. As they grew older, they got better at their craft and picked up a few instruments as well. They began performing at small Inns, gaming halls and Taverns for travelers, laborers and the occasional bandit. As their income grew they found that they could share their gains with other less fortunate denizens of the hard city. They were always aware of the stark dichotomy of rich and powerful elitist against the poor. In addition to their musical talents, Al and Elzbeth found themselves gaining some expertise in card games (and manipulation of cards), dragonchess and darts. Elzbeth would lure rich young travelers into games with Al and he would feign to lose for a while until he could capitalize on the over-confidence of the mark (fed by Elzbeth) and then fleece him for a good portion of his purse – and strangely, the mark usually walked away with a smile. This was facilitated by Al’s unusual talent for persuasion and his intuitive sense of the power and tone of words. At this point in their career, they could walk away with five or ten gold on a good night – enough for a bed, a meal and a bit to share with the less fortunate. This was a safe strategy, and if they were careful, the mark never suspected that he’d been had.

When Alzaren was a young man in his early twenties, he met a bandit leader named Habib who had a plan to spirit some gold away from a local Emir. Habib needed Alzaren and his sister to perform at the Emir’s palace and provide a distraction for Habib and his crew to sneak into the treasury and lighten his purse a bit (but not too much). The job went perfectly, and the Emir never noticed. Habib seemed to fairly divide the proceeds and Al and his sister decided to continue working with him.

After a few years of working with Al and Elzbeth, Habib was able graduate from short cons to long ones earning many hundreds of gold pieces from greedy aristocrats and merchants throughout Quath who were eager to illicitly gain more. Usually Elzbeth oversaw the “Approach” and would lure a mark to invest in a venture. Al would act as the “Shill” and appear to also invest in the scheme to boost its legitimacy or look like the person who the mark would steal from. Finally, they would pull the “Hurrah” and Habib would provide a crisis for the victim in which he had to make a hasty decision that caused him to lose his investment (and sometimes more). Al and Elzbeth would donate a good portion of their proceeds to local orphanages and priests providing shelter for the homeless.

Occasionally Habib found work for the team in obtaining information about the business of one noble to assist in counter plans for another. This kind of espionage often paid well -and because Al didn’t care for any of the wealthy power-brokers he didn’t mind doing the work. Especially if it led to them sabotaging each other’s operations.

On their last job together, they were trying to finesse the Ruby of Jaleel (worth over 1000 gp) from the wealthy merchant Sayeed al-Jabain (rumored to have ties to the snake cult) when something went sideways. Sayeed got wind of the operation and attacked Al, Elzbeth and Habib. His men stabbed Elzbeth and Habib in the back and Alzaren barely dodged Sayeed’s scimitar but sustained a slice across his left eyebrow. At the sight of his mortally wounded sister and friend, Alzaren, filled with rage could suddenly see the magical strands of the multiverse and understood the power of words to manipulate them. His uncanny ability to manipulate people finally made sense. He whispered a curse directed at Sayeed’s psyche and ripped his mind apart. Sayeed fell never to rise again. Another magical taunt and his men fled the scene filled with fear. Alzaren fenced the jewel through one of his contacts in a nearby port city and donated the proceeds to a cleric named Father Majid who ran an orphanage and was helping the homeless near the docks.

None of the witnesses knew Al’s real name and so there was no one to pursue him (that he knows of). Since that time Alzaren returned to traveling, playing music and smalltime hustles facilitated by the musical magic that he was learning to control. He found many causes to help with the poor and downtrodden victims of the rich and powerful along the way and helped as best he could – but trying not to raise his profile too high. Often, he would organize small teams to assist in these endeavors, using his magical charms to augment their performance. Over the next ten years his journey took him southward down the western coast of Cardinia through the jungles of Sarpak and then back northward along the eastern coast into Lakan and Cardinia where he heard about the trials and tribulations of the bridge dwellers in Lisell and thought that may be a place where he could do some good. As he passed through Goodhearth, he heard stories about the injustices of a very unethical seed merchant named Clifton Barnaby and thought that maybe he should check in to see if there was something he could do to help.