“The Changeling Assassin”
Brought up in a loving home by her mother, June Mason, Raevin grew into a happy child. Her father had died to a sudden illness shortly after her birth but her mother did everything she could for her daughter and doted upon her just as often. June was a lively, beautiful young mother and, with the absence of Raevin’s father, courted often by young singles in their mountain village of Gower. Raevin was almost a copy of her mother, beautiful and cheerful with her mother’s copper hair and skin like porcelain. The only difference was her eyes, a piercing green like her father’s; or so mother had said.
Near her fourteenth name day, the town magistrate, Baelin Dayne, regularly courted her mother. He had lost his wife to the same illness that had taken her father ten years after his death. She left him childless and lonely. He was keen to remarry and Raevin needed a father in order to come of age according to their bylaws. Only the man of the household could name their child a full adult. So, in exchange for her mother’s hand, he would provide her with the necessity she needed. He was a kind man for the most part. He was harshly against outsiders to the village and turned away those who couldn’t provide proper trade. He especially hated doppelgangers. He saw them as liars and deceivers who hid their true natures from the world and thought whole heartedly that they were out to eradicate the humans that had almost eradicated them. They were expressly not permitted in the village and any found were never heard from again. This had only happened once in her lifetime and she hoped it never would again.
To announce his engagement to her mother, Baelin planned a huge feast on Raevin’s name day. He invited the whole village to celebrate her birth. The morning of the party was a bustle of energy and excitement, but Raevin started having pains in her abdomen that morning. They were small and she thought it a stomach ache that would pass and busied herself in preparation. As the day went on they got worse. She eventually told June and her mother worried over her daughter, fretting at her to sit. She made her tea and checked her constantly. Baelin even joked that he felt a little left out. The more they happened the more Raevin worried and even thought to postpone the party, but at this point everything was out and so she stifled her concern. Today was for her mother, too.
The party was fun, too. Or it would have been if she could have enjoyed it more. The pains were getting worse as the night went on and they were almost a constant white hot pain rather than the twinges they had been. Despite her tough façade, however, the pain reach a peak and she collapsed, screaming at the pain that now felt as though it were tearing her in two. It radiated from her core to every end of her body to the point that she was blinded and deafened to all else. The guests all fell so silent her screams seemed to echo off the mountainsides and just as the pain felt as though it would never stop, it did. Her breath slowed and her clinched body relaxed. She was sore everywhere, as though she had done field work for days without rest. When she opened her eyes, her world turned upside-down.
The guests looked on her in fear, anger, and disbelief. Confused, she searched the crowd for her mother, surprised she was not at her side. She leaned to stand and found her answer. Her once copper hair fell inky black in her vision and her once beautiful skin an ashen grey. Quickly again she looked up to find her mother, surely, she would understand. Her heart sank when she found her. The anger on her mother’s face turned her instantly to a stranger, for the look was so foreign to Raevin. Before she could even whimper the crowd yelled out in outrage and several of them called for her immediate execution.
Wisely, Baelin, knowing Raevin had no idea, instead banished her from the village. It was not her fault the girl didn’t know her parentage. Her mother, also deemed ignorant of her husband’s betrayal was permitted to stay. He had hidden his true nature from his wife, as doppelgangers do, to breed. She was allowed a short moment to go and gather things from her home she would need to live on her own. Instantly she ran to her mother to plead her forgiveness only for her mother to push her back, screaming that she had no child. Tearfully, Raevin ran home and packed as much as she could carry. The only thing of her mother’s she took was a locket her father had bought for June, to remind herself of the casualties that love could create and vowed never to love anything again. Love was for the weak or the ambitious and she would be neither.
She did not get very far though. Her mother had always taken care of them. Raevin never needed to learn to. As luck would have it, a month or so after her banishment, Alaster Preene, a magistrate from a neighboring town of Selder, found her camping off the side of the main road. She was cold, starving, and did everything she could to hide her visage from him as she hadn’t yet figured out how to control it. Alaster sat at her failed attempt at a fire and started it up himself talking softly of his family, a wife and three boys, another on the way. He spoke comfort to her as his guards brought a couple of rabbits they’d hunted while he prepared the fire and skinned them. She watched from the branches of a nearby bush, enthralled that this man, a magistrate, could prepare a fire and food. His eldest son, Ardin, a few years younger than Raevin, came out and sat with his father, watching what he could see of her. Ardin had a toy in his hand he’d been whittling. After the rabbits had finished cooking, Alaster invited her to eat with them and she cried behind the tree. She was afraid they would shun her like the village had but Ardin, tired of waiting on his father’s gentleness, stomped behind the tree and grabbed her by the hand, pulling her against her will. Younger though he was, he was still bigger than her.
To her surprise, Alaster made no mention to her looks, save that she looked too scrawny and that winter would be upon them. This surprised her though because even as doppelgangers go, she was unique. They normally took on pastel shades for their eyes and hair and their skin a bluish tone. She was an anomaly even among her people, with her inky hair, completely black eyes, and ashy grey skin. She ate her rabbit voraciously and gulped down the water skin Alaster handed her. Seeing potential in the girl, he offered her a place in his home. He would give her work and a trainer; he had a skilled friend that had just lost his wife and daughter to a fire, Jory Fairchild, that would be glad of the company. Seeing no other options and the prospect of a perpetually full stomach, she accepted.
The moment they arrived to Selder her life was a whirl. Jory was a tough trainer and she was a fast learner. They were a match made in sweat and sore muscles. He taught her to fight, hunt, gather, and survive. He put what muscle he could on her by making her climb anything and everything. He even taught her to control how she looked; he’d had a doppelganger friend as a child. Once she learned that, she was allowed to be seen in public, each time a different face. For four years she trained under Jory, learned his daughter, Amelia, had liked the violin and Raevin learned the instrument just for him to show her appreciation. Much to Alaster’s enjoyment as well. She became very good at it in a very short amount of time and so he had her play for their dinner engagement’s as his estranged niece that he didn’t actually have. Eventually, Alaster had her doing more important things, her true purpose. She gathered information about his enemies, she would put vicious rumors about him to bed, and even kill those who wished him harm. She was very adept at this kind of work. She felt useful and strong, even needed.
Alaster then took to having her constantly at his side; his talented niece with her copper hair and piercing green eyes. She even took to calling herself Amelia, after Jory’s daughter. She was Alaster’s constant body guard and saved his life on multiple occasions. Alaster’s family began regarding her as family in kind. She was a boon to them and they continually told her they loved her, to which she would reply that she was thankful to serve them. Their daughter, Adaline, was particularly fond of her. She turned five when her father was called to serve in a larger city. He was promoted by popular vote and another magistrate would take over in Selder and they would go to the jewel city of the Azure Bay, Berenmoor. It was one of the largest coastal cities in Par’Avann and was situated on the most northwestern corner of the continent. From her room, she could see the distant peak of the island where the Dragonborn had all been betrayed by the Orc Tribes and sub-sequentially destroyed by them 2,000 years ago.
For the next year, she worked to assure a chain of contacts she could trust to feed her information. She also found a fast friend in a tavern maid, Oriana, a jolly dimwitted woman that had a knack for business and saw a potential money maker in her. Raevin would play her violin in the tavern for tips and bring business as the beauty known only as Amelia Mason. Little did she know where she would be at the end of the year. The Groundbreaking was upon them.
I am native to the Mid-Western United States and now live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, dog, and two cats. I have some acting experience thanks to high school and college and would like to become a notable voice over artist one day (baby steps though). I am a gamer, an otaku, creative writer though unpublished, and all around geek.
I have been playing Dungeons and Dragons since about 12-years-old. It’s thanks to an old friend I even got into role play and tabletop games in the first place and am thrilled that we can potentially do so much good by just playing a game.
You can follow me on Twitter @JenniHarger