The Polari Express
"There are some who only employ words for the purpose of disguising their thoughts" - Voltaire
5’1’’, 130 lbs. Purple skinned, black haired, and golden eyed, Duessa used to look the part of a noble brat who could not defend herself, however certain events have occurred that have made Duessa’s infernal heritage all too apparent. Her long fangs hide a forked tongue, and her long horns curl like a ram’s. Her tail goes into a spade, and starting at her shoulder-blades is a massive pair of bat-like wings which allow her to fly. Despite being used to lurking in the shadows, Duessa herself does not cast one.
When given the opportunity, Duessa prefers to try to talk her way out of trouble (with her talent to persuade and deceive (+ 12), who wouldn’t?). As a rogue, Duessa wears light armor- currently studded leather, (AC 17). She’s not incredibly well protected, but she’s alright at taking a hit (Con 13). She has a preference towards dual wielding short-swords, however if necessary will throw daggers from a distance (do not count on this because she has incredibly bad aim.)
Growing up as the sixth born in a family, she has learned to talk her way around people (Char 18), and would rather talk to people than fight. As a rogue, she relies less on her strength (12) and moreso on her fantastic ability to get out of the way (Dex 20), and as long as she can see her enemy coming, her ability to dodge is uncanny, although she’d much rather avoid trouble rather than have to fight something head-on (stealth +13). As a noble child, she had educational opportunities, but tended to not pay attention in class (Int 13 ). She was very sheltered, however, so her ability to think out problems wasn’t exercised often, as she didn’t have to do so (Wis 8).
Duessa is a bit naive due to her sheltered upbringing. Her experience in Polari has helped her shed some of her lack of awareness, and has also helped her become more accepting of races who aren’t Tieflings, (though her upbringing has still left some residual racism inside of her.) She tries to talk her way out of things and has a tendency to lie often, even over little things. Despite this, she genuinely cares for the friends that she’s made and tries to look out for them. She is still pretty selfish, however, and beyond her immediate group of friends (her party), the only other person she really looks out for is herself.
She’s a little bit greedy and doesn’t want to admit it, but this is a result of her privileged upbringing, and as she is trying to shed that, she will (begrudgingly) share loot with those who’re with her. She has an incredibly terrible memory, so she keeps a journal of her adventures where she also keeps important facts (such as names or people her party has become associated with.)
From Pampered to Peasantry
Duessa was born to the noble family of the city of Akdell, a city located north of Polari. Born sixth in line, she is the youngest and last of her family’s children. Four of her siblings are sisters, and the eldest of all of the children is her brother.
Duessa, being the youngest of six, and with the family’s heir being securely chosen as her brother Urizen, had very little attention payed to her by her parents. Her favorite nanny was a half-orc named Volyn, and Volyn gave Duessa the attention that she yearned for. The chosen virtue that Duessa took as her last name was “deception”, and she used both her family and Volyn as methods to help her build up her ability to deceive. She would cause trouble within the household and then “tattle” on her siblings, telling the guards or the nannies that the older siblings were to blame. Whether or not Volyn ever actually believed Duessa, or if she was just humoring her, Duessa never knew.
Soon after Duessa turned 14, Volyn was fired from her job at the noble house. Duessa had a fit, and locked herself in her room for a few days before sneaking out of the house at night and running away. She made it to the town of Polari where she met other travelers on the road. She did not want her noble background to be recognized, so she lied to her party about her age and profession (claiming that she was a bard when she had absolutely no musical training whatsoever.)
She agreed to go on the quest given by the elf Piotr, and her and her friends set out to find four pieces of a key. Upon returning to the city of Polari to complete this quest, Duessa found herself involved in questionable circumstances that landed her in the town jail. The guards realized that she was the noble runaway, and a messenger was sent to her parents. Her father Orobas and her mother Luetha arrived the next morning, and after arguing with her father, she was presented with an ultimatum: Abandon her quest and return home, or continue her quest as a disowned child who no longer had a family. Duessa knew that saving Sura Natalis was more important, and refused to leave with her parents, officially landing her as a peasant with no familial ties. She helped save Sura Natalis, and was exonerated of her crimes.
Four years, one dead faerie dragon, One saved holiday, and countless odd jobs later, Duessa has began another quest with her friends with a very unlikely sponsor: Her father.
The Blood of the Covenant
After becoming one of the saviors of Sura Natalis, Duessa took up a few odd jobs around Polari before deciding she needed a more steady income. Using
blackmail her skills at persuasion she convinced the Apothecary to give her a job. As the town of Polari offered each of the saviors a home in the town, and the apothecary so graciously allowed her to work, Duessa was settled for awhile. But it did not last long. Four years from the anniversary of their triumph, Neega and Pellian found themselves back in Polari searching for help from Duessa and Visenya for two things that were (seemingly) unrelated. While they were discussing their options in the tavern, a man whose name was definitely Vaginas approached them with the task of delivering a box. Wanting to spend time with her friends, and getting irritated with the old Apothecary’s advances, Duessa agreed to go along.
They were informed that they were to take the box to the Lord of Akdell. Through some cyclopes, elementals, and a chimera, Duessa remained more silent than usual, until the city was in sight. She took that time to remind her friends of her noble heritage, and then when it didn’t quite click, she had to explain that they were delivering the box to her father. Some over-zealous guards and disapproving paternal glares later, they were on a journey to Parindon to deliver the “real” box.
They travelled through Angois Swamp where Bullywugs captured them, judged them, took what they deemed a portion of their “net worth”, and then sent them on a mission to kill some kobolds and hags. There was a young girl who Duessa didn’t want to help but who clung to her anyways, and three hags that turned into four that was a difficult battle. The party found a child that Duessa opted to just kill (as it was likely a hag), but the party decided to take the baby to the nearby village. Despite them earning another side mission of killing a local black dragon, this turned out well for Duessa who caught the eye of the son of the Guard Captain, and she got to add another name to her black book.
The party made it to Parindon on time, where they discovered that once again the box was empty (though this time it wasn’t supposed to be!) They also discovered where Cassiel had been. The party went back to Akdell to figure out the meaning of this, all except Duessa, who was held as collateral. This didn’t bother her too much, as she was once again treated to the extravagant lifestyle she had left behind. Shortly, the party returned, bearing the news that Orobas had been committing an excessive amount of insurance fraud. The party was tasked with “taking care of him”, something that Duessa found herself unsure of if she could do. He had disowned her, but he was still her only father.
Making it back to Akdell, Duessa and company noticed a large gathering of Tieflings towards the manner. They followed the group, and Duessa found herself surrounded by family, though this was less comforting than it should have been. A storm came through, and the torches lining the wall were all blown out. Visenya cast dancing lights to illuminate the room, forgetting that everybody in the room had darkvision, and causing attention to be brought upon the group. Duessa noticed several family members amongst the group, but didn’t have the time to react before they all attacked. A few ran away, and the rest were slain by the group, all but Duessa’s uncle, who she pleaded to simply knock out. Her uncle Beshenai was incredibly ill tempered and spat in Duessa’s face, earning him a kick to the gut from Neega. He begrudgingly told of Orobas’ plan to go to war on Parindon.
Orobas swept into the room full of confidence, and little words were exchanged. He sent Neega through hell and was sure he’d take out the adventurers. Duessa was hesitant at first, but seeing her father strike her friends made her intent on protecting them, and she was no longer reserved in her strikes. Seeing he would lose the fight, Orobas sacrificed himself to his fiend to try and destroy the party, and bringing terrible calamity upon the manor. Duessa sent Visenya and Neega to the family’s treasure room to get Mehmed’s due, and then she and Pellian sought to clear out the Manor of her family. Two of her siblings died in the chaos, and her mother escaped. Duessa was distraught at the shattering of her family, but was thankful she managed to save those who survived. Her friends consoled her on their way back to Parindon, and through a night hag’s influence she realized one of her greatest fears was her father’s corrupt influence causing her friends to leave her. The night hag was defeated, and her friends once more helped her feel content and welcome.
From the Ashes
After finishing their quest for Parindon, Duessa chose to return to her home city to aid in the rebuilding. While Pellian and Neega chose to depart on their own quests, Duessa was thankful that Visenya and Cassiel had decided to remain with her. With Orobas gone and Luetha missing, Urizen was put in charge of the city’s affairs. Thankfully, Urizen did not harbor the same racism towards other races as his father did, and he immediately brought other races into his advisory council. Duessa asked her brother what she could do to help Akdell, and he informed her that there were Minotaurs of Krynn coming to try and make negotiations with Akdell as far as their help in rebuilding. He sent Duessa to handle the negotiations.
Duessa had Cassiel and Visenya accompany her, a thing that was both good and bad for her intended negotiations. The minotaurs, as a race that respect battle, appreciated Visenya’s battle scars and Cassiel being covered in blood (from hunting a deer tealier in the morning.) This did, however, make Duessa’s stature and general air of being well kept much more noticeable, causing the minotaurs to disregard her almost entirely. They made a horrendously bias offer in turn for their help, and something in the back of her mind made her believe that even Orobas would not put Akdell in that much political peril, so she promptly refused and made a counter offer. The minotaurs decided that the best way to handle the negotiation would be their way, through an armed contest in a circus. Duessa agreed, realizing the benefit of giving the citizens of Akdell a job to do in building the circus. The minotaurs wanted to know Akdell’s champion immediately, so Duessa offered herself as champion. She then begrudgingly escorted them back to Akdell Manor to inform Urizen of the developments. Cassiel disappeared again on the way back.
Duessa then asked Urizen what could be done in the meantime while the circus was being built. He made mention that the city’s coffers had become mysteriously low and asked if Duessa knew of any way to gert enough money to refill them. Visenya and Duessa recalled their encounter with the Black Dragon of Bonemarsh Castle, and informed Urizen that they would be heading to Joedellar for a few days in order to procure some funds for the city. They then departed, and uponb arrival returned to the dragon’s lair to check the horde. The horde was still there, as was another young black dragon and three dragon hatchlings. Duessa stealthily managed to remove a large portion of the back of a pile, however fumpled on pulling some armor out, and caught the attention of the creatures. She and Visenya made quick work of all of the dragons except for one who had tried to flee, and Duessa, (with her odd love of small dragons), tried to convince it to go on an adventure with them. As Visenya didn’t know Draconic, she had know idea what Duessa was asking the dragon until it had already (begrudgingly) agreed, and he was swiftly deemed Duhrneviir.
They returned to the village of Joedellar that night, and as they were sleeping Duhrneviir snuck out and began eating a few horses from the stables. Visenya caught him in the act, and wounded him severely. He escaped, and Visenya returned to the inn to inform Duessa.
The boat ride back from Joedellar proved to be interesting. Visenya and the captain flirted horribly and then went their separate ways, and Duessa met a hulking dragonborn named Jarmash. She was unaware of his heroics until he mentioned Gentlehands, a dwarven cleric who she was familiar with as he was a friend of the family. While eating breakfast, Jarmash told Duessa to keep his escapades quiet, as he was wary of a few of the other passengers. Immediately after saying this, Visenya noticed him and quite loudly exclaimed his role in the fighting of Tiamat, which prompted two assassins to go for their mark. Duessa was surprised, and she was downed, before Jarmash made quick work of the assassins, healing Duessa afterwards. After Duessa told him of her future battle with the minotaurs, he offered Duessa help in training, which she accepted.
During the trip back, Duhrneviir was in and out, presumably keeping up with the ship. There seemed to be a horrendous storm on the horizon, and when they got to the eye of it they encountered a Storm Giant. The giant asked of a favor of retrieving pieces of an orb, and the trio agreed. They traveled to his underwater castle to retrieve on piece, and then they were informed the second was somewhere in Akdell, of which was presumed to be in the family’s treasure room. <
Upon returning to Akdell, the orb was found and returned to the storm giant, but not before it was noticed that there was not only a secret room behind the coffers, but that it was steadily dwindling. The trio staked it out and noticed that Memmehnmen had been stealing from the family. Duessa intended to wound him in a non-lethal way, however she forgot the properties of her own sword and Nine Lives Stealer stole Memmehnmn’s life. Oops. Urizen was informed of the stealing, the dead body, and the amount of money that was put into the coffers from the Dragon’s keep, and the storm giant received his orb pieces.
Visenya recieved a distressed message from Neega via sending stone, and told Duessa they had to go. Jarmash and Gentlehands escorted Duessa to the Minotaurs to inform them of the delay of the circus. Jarmash said Duessa was going on a mission sanctioned by Bahamut, and Gentlehands informed the Minotaurs that there was a single stone in the circus wall that displeased his god, and they must find it and remove it less the wrath of Moridin strike them down. This bought Duessa plenty of time. She and VIsenya went to Stoneflower to search for Neega, who was actually already out of jail, but had seemingly caused some issue in the town. She was looking for a doppelganger, and was going house to house to check. She came across one house where a noble woman was incredibly unhappy to see her, and immediately began screaming for the guards. Visenya tried to bribe them, and she and Neega were informed that they were going to be taken in. Duessa hadn’t done anything illegal (surprisingly) and was free to go. Neega punched a guard in the face, and everybody was prepared for a full out battle to break loose, when Visenya yelled for Duessa to attack the noble woman, informing her that (using the stone of truth) she had seen that the noble was the doppelganger. Duessa, acting quicker than usual, swiftly turned around and decapitated the woman, whose body reverted back to the monstrous form. Everybody was stunned, Duessa included, and they were told they were free to go but they had to go quickly.
Visenya departed to aid Pellian, and Neega and Duessa returned to Akdell. The four of them arrived roughly at the same time, and there was a great reunion between them. Suddenly, a giant dragon was seen flying over Akdell, and the group recognized it as Messai, who landed in the center of the colosseum, to which Duessa immediately ran to greet. A young dragonborn hopped off of Messai to greet Jarmash, as Bahamut had agreed to let the two meet as per request of the dragonborn. The group chatted it up, Duessa speaking with Messai, the dragonborn with Neega and Jarmash, and Visenya with Gentlehands and Pellian. After catching up, however, the fight needed to start, so Duessa prepared herself for one of her toughest fights yet.
Or so she thought. She actually made quick work of the minotaur, who, due to his recklessness, left his weakpoints open, a thing that Duessa had become quite good at noticing, and she brought him to his knees quickly. The city cheered and the minotaurs (ungraciously) accepted their defeat, and continued helping Akdell with the terms set by the city rather than the Minotaurs.
There was little celebrating to do, however, as very soon afterwards Jarmash killed Duhrneviir and the foursome had to go check on a dwarf for the enchanter Splitlip. Things got hairy.