As the World Burns
A black-haired tiefling with a lust for life, a belief in fate, an abundance of smarts, and not a lot of tact.
Hey there. You can call me Chimera. It’s not the name I was originally given, but it’s even better: a name I chose. It’s a tiefling thing, choosing our own names. “Chimera” means something put together from several parts, which I am. It also means a fire-breathing she-monster, which I suppose I am sometimes, too. But only sometimes.
Anyway, if I’m going to tell you about me, I should probably start at the beginning. I don’t have parents. Well, there was a human woman who once carried me in her womb and gave birth to me, and there was some sort of horrific extra-planar creature who knocked her up, and there was a creepy old man who oversaw it all and made sure I was conceived, but…none of those creatures were ever ‘parents.’ More like a group of participants who created me for their own gain. Project masters, if you will.
My “mother” was a noblewoman named Kianna, and when her husband died, her loving family threatened to kick her out of her house. But she had a great idea. If she claimed she was pregnant with her husband’s only heir, they’d let her stay, so that’s what she did. There was one big problem with that plan, though: no baby. So, she had to get pregnant and do it fast. Plus, the baby had to be a few months along, and it had to look kind of like her husband, or the whole plan would go balls up. She had heard that there was an old shaman out in the desert named Simeon who could do anything with his summonings and magic, so in desperation, she went to go see him.
I don’t know what the thing was that he summoned, but it seemed to do the trick, and only a few months later, I was born. The Lady Kianna raised me as her husband’s heir, and everything was all lace and frills and boring parties and show-and-tell until I started to display a little too much of my heritage by sprouting a red tail above my arse and tiny red horns at my hairline. Kianna acted as if it was all a big surprise, me having demonic features. As if she hadn’t paid a crazy old man in the desert to summon a big swiving demon-thing to impregnate her with its evil seed. When I was littler, she held me down and filed my horns whenever they poked above my hair, and she forbade me from wearing anything but big skirts to hide the tail. She even tried to cut off the tail once in a fit of drunken panic, but by that time, I had learned to teleport and extend the barbs on my tail, and she had trouble pinning me down.
It didn’t really matter, in the end. Kianna may have given Simeon a lot of money, but the dark thing that made me still needed to be paid. When I was about 12, it came back and claimed Kianna’s soul right in front of me. I stood there and watched, pinned to the wall in fear, as this towering, black, sulfurous thing with barbed…and the smell of the ichor that drooled…you know what? I don’t particularly want to remember what it looked like, or what it did to her right before it carried her away, or that one cursory, somehow amused glance it gave me before oozing back out of this plane. Best to forget.
I had heard Kianna mention Simeon a few times, so I immediately left my pampered, thoroughly meaningless existence as a noble and traveled out to find him. I wasn’t sure what I wanted…answers, I guess. Something to do next. When I found him, I told him what had happened and told him that he owed me a new life now. He brought me into this world, so it was his job to find me a place in it. Turns out he wasn’t such a bad guy – just strange as hell and a little off his nut. And he wasn’t upset that I was there. In fact, he thought I might be good at magic and sword fighting – and I was. Really good. So he taught me, and I got better and better still, until I got tired of living in that smelly little shack and decided to go out on my own. I didn’t know what I’d do, but I did know that I had some sort of destiny ahead of me, and it was going to be good, and it was time to start looking for it.
So, here I am, adventuring all over this weird, arse-ugly planet, seeing what I can, and searching for that big-time future ahead of me. It’s been a rough road – hell, all roads are rough here. But I’m strong enough to survive, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Even though I believe in fate and destiny and all of that stuff, I’m not fatalistic or trapped. I may have one end point, but there are a million ways to get there, and there’s always the chance that if I screw up or give up, I won’t live long enough to get there at all. So I have choices. Plus, the way I interact with other people here will affect their own fates, too. We’re all tools of the endgame, after all. Everything always turns out the way it’s supposed to be. Not necessarily for the best. Not everyone ultimately gets what they need or want, especially here. But if you’re strong, and if you’re determined, and if you shine just as hard as that gods-forsaken sun up there, you’ll get to where you’re going.
And I’m going somewhere good.