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    Tenjin, Rogue of the Burneal Forest

    Running a low level rogue in my first 5E game, set in the 576 era of Greyhawk, I started to write up a description of both my character's background and a relatively mundane event during the course of an adventure.  As I started writing, it just kind of took off from there...

    As the party sat around the fire, the priest finally caught a glimpse of the rogue's face, albeit very briefly.  Tenjin adjusted his hood and for a moment, the priest saw the two distinct scars that lined Tenjin's profile, arching from the side of his head down to the curve of his jaw.  Although she thought it was but a quick glimpse, Tenjin noticed her gaze and shifted his posture up in response, and began to speak in a low but steady voice.

    "Yes, you see my scars, so you can probably now understand why I keep them under my hood and behind a shroud.  As a child, our village was often attacked by roving bands of Wolf Nomads."  Bowing his head slightly, turning away from the fire's glow, Tenjin continued.  "We were captured by a band, led by a Wolf Nomad shaman.  In a ceremony, the shaman attempted to initiate us into the tribe by forcing men, women, and children to face wargs in a survival test.  Moments before I was selected to test, I was able to get out of the grasp of a Nomad captor, and started to flee past the shaman into the tall grasses of the plains.  Just as I thought I had ran past the shaman, he struck out with a taloned palm.  I was blinded by both the pain and blood in my eyes, but my fear drove me way from the nomads into the grey dusk.  I guess they did not anticipate a child as bold, or foolish, but I had no choice.  In order to keep the remaining villagers at bay, they offered no chase...perhaps the Nomads felt they would ultimately catch me in my escape," Tenjin said, halting...."but they never saw me again."

    A silence fell across the party as Tenjin pulled the hood back over his head, hiding everything but the vague shadow of his face.  Then, as the priest was about to respond, Tenjin added, in almost a whisper, "ever since, in the Burneal, you will hear them call me Tenjin Two-Scars...and now you know why."

    Tenjin then rose from the fire circle, and moved away toward the edge of the firelight.  He tucked a small wooden medallion, hung on a thin leather cord, back into his jerkin.  The priest identified it as the sign of Xan Yae, the goddess of twilight, shadows and stealth.  Tenjin made a final silent glance toward the party as he moved into the dark, a slight picture of a face too young to look as weathered and weary, someone whose presence and unnatural quietude was forged out of a life lived in the shadow of the world.

    Posted: 12-24-2021 12:40 am