Scales of War
Handsome Broken-Hearted Devil Seeks Redemption Through Adventure
The newly met party members are sitting at a table in one of Brindol’s nicer taverns, getting to know each other by telling the tales of how they came to be adventurers. Santiago excuses himself and walks over to the bar.
Since you are considering fighting side by side with this newly met stranger, you size him up as he walks away. He is fairly tall, but quite slight. You wonder how he manages the weight of his chainmail, shield, and longsword, and wonder if perhaps the heavy weaponry is just for show.
His flamboyant manner of dress shows that he is clearly not one of the staid, hardworking folk of Brindol. His billowing silken pants make him seem a desert barbarian, his shirt is open to the waist like a pirate, and his long black hair falling about his shoulders would look much more proper on a Brindol maiden.
But he thrives on his outlandish appearance, and many in Brindol love him for his entertaining bardic ways. The innkeep bursts out laughing at something Santiago says to him as he buys the drinks. As the serving wench reaches to pick up the loaded tray, he playfully slaps her hand and says something to make her laugh as well … then he leans over to whisper something in her ear that immediately makes her blush. He leaves her staring open-mouthed as he walks away with the drinks.
He returns to your table with the tray held precariously high above his head, and then serves the drinks to each one of you with a flourish. “My friends, if I am going to make you all listen to the sorry little tale of my life, at least I can make sure you do not go thirsty during the telling. And I do not like to make the serving wenches exercise too much … I prefer them a little plump and soft (wink).”
Santiago seats himself on a stool, pulls out his lute, and begins to speak. He noodles about on the lute as he talks, offering sad notes or comic chords to add emphasis to the tale.
So… the tale …
My friends, many men would say I lead a charmed life. Good looks, unearthly musical talent, and effortless charm allow me to stroll through life. In my long life I have followed my bliss across the known world, singing for my supper from the roughest dockside pubs to the ballad-halls of Eladrin princes. And after supper, of course, I have no trouble finding a warm bed to share.
I have the fine fortune to be demon spawn, yet have the looks to pass for human. An astute observer will detect my demonic heritage in my ruddy skin and a faintly reptilian cast to my eyes. Gaze into them if you will … many have called them hypnotic. Less astute observers will notice my long scaly reptilian tail, whenever I am not keeping the bad boy in my pants (wink).
These fine gifts were not earned by me. They came to me in my blood. From whence came this fine powerful blood, you might ask? Well, my good looks come from my beautiful mother, a gorgeous creature who all men desired. And, one must assume, not only men. For she did not have a tail, nor did her husband, nor did my sisters and brothers. So the powers of reason lead me to assume that her husband was not my father. Her husband came to the same conclusion quite rapidly after I was born.
Although my mother swore until her dying day that she had remained faithful to him, her husband cast she and I out into the street. The public shame led her to be disavowed by her family, leaving her no choice but to … shall we say … “sing” for her supper to support herself and her infant son in a house of ill repute.
Being raised as a young boy in a brothel was not nearly as depraved as one might think. I always had a flock of aunties to look after me. At a very young age I discovered my voice, and by the age of ten I earned enough by singing for the clients that my mother no longer had to work … at least not on the nights she didn’t feel like it.
And by the age of twelve, my friends … well, let’s say at that age the life of a handsome charming brothel boy becomes very, very interesting. The ladies of the house were fascinated by my tail.
To move the story along … my mother died, and as soon as I could grow a goatee I decided to take my talents on the road. And so you may ask … who is Santiago Tenacidad? What sort of man is he?
My friends, I have a love of adventure, a love of music, a love of history, and a love of … love. My weakness is women, and although some may see my life as a series of heartless conquests, I actually fall desperately in love, again and again, and fall victim to constant heartbreak and disappointment. I can never be as good … or as bad … as my lovers want me to be. My heart is too sweet for the bad girls, yet sooner or later my demon emerges to frighten away the good ones. Yes, I have a powerful demon inside me. Hopefully when you see him, he will frighten away our enemies but not chase away you, my friends.
The result of the repeated love affairs has been a huge library of love songs … which only serve to feed my next cycle of conquest and heartbreak.
My solace from the immediacy of love is immersing myself in the vast sweep of history. When I am recovering from the heartbreak of my latest affair, I will seek out the song halls of the elves, where the balladeers will sing a single epic tale from dawn until dusk. I luxuriate in the history of the world, which reminds me of the pettiness of my own small emotional concerns. Here in Brindol I have made an extensive study of the Diamond League. I have composed so many songs about them that I have even compiled a libretto of them, and have on several occasions made an entire evening’s performance singing of their lives from birth to death.
I was recently was given the great honor of singing my, well, hmmmm … there is no proper word for it in the Common Tongue, but in translation from the Elvish it is something like “LifeSorrowBallad”. I sang my LifeSorrowBallad in the Eladrin hall not far from here, and a fellow balladeer had a bit of advice for me that has given me great hope. He told me that my love of the heroic ballads called to my deeper nature, that underneath my surface self of a handsome devil, there beats the heart of a hero. He told me that I should stop thinking with my devil tail and instead follow my Hero Heart. This great friend told me that if could channel my passions into the doing of good deeds, then would I ever find peace in my heart.
And thus I find myself in Brindol. You may find me blushing to admit it, but I have found yet another new love. Maribel Kabiri, the lowborn weaver woman who has risen to a seat on the Brindol Council. I can see your expressions – you are thinking that she is a bit old and plain to raise the passions of a grand seducer like myself, no? But this love, my friends, is a chaste one. She is my muse, my idol that hard work and good deeds can be rewarded, and it is she that I think of when I want to undertake my quests to defend Bristol.
And thus, my new friends, I find myself at a table sharing drinks with men of adventure and passion. Will you help me on my quest? Will you help me to work hard, defeat evil and become a better man?