Rise of the Runelords
Half-Elf Universalist Arcanist
Unlike the childhoods of many adventurers, Riona’s was relatively peaceful and uneventful. Despite being a half-elf, which had its own sets of problems in a tightly-knit human township, nothing was too out of the ordinary. Her mother was the local baker, her father an alchemist with a deft hand at healing draughts. A fondness for recipe experimentation and frequent run-ins on market days helped to kindle an attraction, and no one was truly surprised when the two of them announced that they would be getting married. Oh, there were some sideways glances, but both of them filled essential roles in the town, and their marriage was attended by most of the people.
They only had Riona, despite hopes of a large family, but they doted on her, and she grew up studying both the nuances of a precisely raised loaf of bread and the tricks to a perfectly balanced healing potion. When some of her “experiments” yielded unexpected results, such as the barking mouse incident of ‘84, both of her parents agreed that it was time to apprentice her to a wizard who could truly teach her how to harness her innate talents. Under his gentle but firm tutelage, and with controlled access to blanket experimentation, she flourished, and was soon discovering new recipes that improved the efficiency of everything from hair tonics to food flavorings.
At eighteen, everything changed. She came home from her studies to find her mother unconscious and covered in blood, and her father on the floor of her bedroom with his throat ripped out. It turned out that a local witch had taken a dislike to “elf-lovers” and decided to get rid of her father. She had put a spell on her mother which caused her to, well. . . . Her mother never recovered from the shock and died shortly after.
The witch, who also happened to be insane, killed herself, and the whole matter was officially closed. There were lasting effects, however. Riona was quietly ostracized from her home, not because she had done anything wrong, but because her existence in town reminded them all of the horror that had been living in their midst, and that none of them had seen what was happening until it was too late. Somehow she became the representation of everything that disturbed the peace, and the harassment she had minimally experienced as a child started rearing its ugly head in subtle ways that quickly convinced her that her home was no longer a haven to come back to, but a starting point for a new life. Nothing tied her there without her parents, and the memories were worth leaving behind. She just needed to wait for the right opportunity to come along. . . .