pathfinder: beyond the vale

My character in this campaign is a 19-year-old, human witch named Cirice. I know you’re thinking it, no, I didn’t misspell “Circe” or even “Cersei”, she was partly inspired by the music video for the Ghost song “Cirice” in which a little girl uses terrify supernatural powers in the style of Stephen King’s Carrie. (It’s a great song and video and is the first song by Ghost that I heard which caused me to immediately fall in love their music…)

I wanted to create a character that was unconditioned by society and had an innocent and almost child-like approach to new experiences, but at the same time was capable of wielding terrifying supernatural powers.

Please don’t @ me if a forty-year-old man’s characterisation of a teenage girl does not ring true for you. I try to channel my inner teenage girl but she’s a bit shy!

I wrote a short introduction to her character which was supposed to have a grim fairy tale flavour but came out a little bit darker than planned. Later entries in her story will hopefully be more cheerful!

 

Part 1:The Patchwork Dress

Cirice sat alone by the dim flickering stub of a candle in the little cabin. She was using a crude wooden needle to stitch up a long tear in the dress draped over her lap, as she had done so many times before. Her strange yellow eyes didn’t really need the light, but she felt less cold in its fitful glow. The rather ugly dress was a veritable patchwork of old repairs and there was so little of the original fabric left under the patches that it would be almost impossible to tell at a glance that it had once been made of a deep green satin. It was more curtain than dress now and neither of the curtains reached anywhere near the windowsills anymore. Trick the Fox watched silently, its feral eyes glowing from the shadows at the edge of the room.

“I don’t know what you’re looking at, Mr Trick; You’ve had your dinner. You’ve had more than me… If you want more food, you’ll have to catch it yourself and you can bring me back something too!” Her voice trembled and sounded strange in her own ears. She didn’t use it very often. The Fox licked its nose and lay down on the boards. He clearly had no intention of hunting for her, but he would keep watch.

Granny had taught her how to sew. How to mend what was ripped and torn… How to keep the cabin clean… how to scrub out the stew pot and the kettle, how to sweep out the dust with the broom… How to write her letters. Granny was less than a half-formed memory now, but the work Granny had taught her had to be done every day. Daily tasks that had become strange feverish rituals. Granny, sometimes cruel, sometimes kind, a strange capricious deity that must be obeyed even though Cirice had not seen her for years. If she didn’t do her work, then Granny might come back… the thought made her drop the needle in a brief paroxysm of horror as she felt her heart flutter like a rat in a cage and her skin prickle with sweat. She took a deep breath and finished her work.

She stood up and held the dress out to look at it, briefly revealing her skinny naked body before she pulled the dress overhead and smoothed it down with a little shiver. It was the only piece of clothing she had left that hadn’t been worn away to useless rags. Sometimes when her blood thundered in her ears and she could hear the wolves howling, part of her longed to cast it off these meaningless rags and just run naked through the woods like Mr Trick did. Maybe if she did, she would grow fur all over like his, like she thought she had been a few years earlier before the moon brought her pain. Once the curtains were gone and she couldn’t repair the dress anymore she wouldn’t have much choice… “The end of the curtains” felt like something extremely final, as if the world couldn’t possibly go on without the curtains in it.

The cabin was a strange anchor that seemed to keep this wild spirit tethered to the world. A girl who had more in common with her silent companion fox than another human and hadn’t spoken to anyone in 10 years swept her house once a day and wrote complicated runes in huge leather-bound book. The rest of the time she wandered about the woods foraging for food. Talking to the various animals she met. Very few of them deigned to speak to her in return but occasionally the birds spoke to her, not in words but she found meaning in their song. She avoided the wolves as best she could, especially in the winter when their hunger was the deepest, (they did speak to her but only of their ravening for her flesh which thrilled her with terror…) Two days ago, one had chased her all the way back to the cabin, taunting her the whole way about how he wanted to eat her. Its teeth pulling at her dress had torn it as she scrambled inside which was why she had had to tear another scrap of cloth from the curtains to fix the ugly patchwork dress.

She realised as hot tears coursed down her face that she hated the ugly dress and the curtains, and the cabin and she wished she was brave enough to let the stupid wolves eat her, but she wasn’t and she didn’t know what else to do so she stayed…

 

John

Author / Games master