NPC Closeup 0 07/29/2003

Merath Silentstride, Puppet of Fate

Merath Silvershorn, Reckless Youth

Born to aristocratic and wealthy parents, Merath Silvershorn grew up among the spoiled and feckless youths of high society. Granted every desire, and shielded from the consequences of her mistakes, she never understood life. Her parents might have wanted to keep her innocent of the world, but in truth they were inattentive and busy with their own social and financial ambitions. They believed that money was an acceptable substitute for love and did not pay attention to Merath as long as she did not cause a serious embarrassment for them.

As might be expected, Merath's freewheeling lifestyle led her into trouble. When she was fourteen years old, she was already involved with drinking and carousing with the children of other nobles. By this age she was almost considered an adult and given considerably more freedom than she enjoyed as a child. Her associations and revelries bored her eventually. She sought out more exciting pastimes and found herself gradually associating with a rougher crowd. Many of her friends at this time were nobles also seeking excitement, but into this circle of friends came some who were more interested in her money than her friendship. One of these suggested that thievery would be very exciting and enticed her into the trade. Her early failures were covered over by her family, or by "friends" in the local guild, and eventually she grew more skilled.

But, fate took a hand as she turned nineteen years old. She planned a robbery of the temple of Heironeous, and during this daring raid Olidamarra the Laughing Rogue abandoned her. She was caught and thrown into prison.

Merath the Quiet, Royal Spy

When the king needs something delicate accomplished, he turns to his spymaster. When the spymaster needs something done that is too risky, he seeks out expendable people for the task. Such a need arose three months after Merath was put in prison; an artifact of the royal house was stolen and taken to a neighboring country. Since the artifact was tied to the image of the king's success, it needed to be recovered as quietly as possible. After reviewing the known facts about the people in the prison, the royal spymaster brought her out and offered her freedom in exchange for a small task. Binding her to his service by a magical geas, he sent her on her way expecting her to fail. He had planned to use the failure to his personal advantage. She surprised him and succeeded, restoring the artifact to his hands. Thus began her service to the king, albeit through the spymaster's organization.

Merath worked for the king's spymaster for more than ten years, some of it unwillingly. She would never have chosen this line of work for herself, and she did not always like the danger. As a youth, she was protected from the real consequences of her actions. Now, she knew that missteps meant death or torture or imprisonment. The spymaster said that should she be captured, she would be rescued so that she could not pass on her knowledge to an enemy, but this was not the same kind of protection she had enjoyed. Her parents thought her dead, since the spymaster had circulated a story of her demise at the hands of half-orcs in the prison, so she could not turn to them. She was, effectively, reliant entirely on the spymaster. After a couple years, the geas spells stopped, but she was used to the life of a spy and royal thief so she kept at it. She was also given access to training and gained in magical power during these years.

Merath Silentstride, Bitter and Disillusioned Mercenary

After thirteen years of service, she went on a mission with the spymaster, and he was killed covering her escape with the information that they sought. The new spymaster, a woman, was a very different sort of person. Without even evaluating the service of the former spymaster's agents, she brought in many of her own people and sent the former spymaster's chosen agents on missions that caused their deaths. Thus, she purged the old agents without any overt signs of doing so. Merath's turn to be purged came a year after the new spymaster took charge. Merath, by this time a talented arcane trickster and experienced agent, was sent on perhaps the most dangerous mission ever conceived. While deep undercover she was betrayed by an agent of the new spymaster, and then she was abandoned to die. She escaped, but did not return to her old employer. Instead, she fled to the west and began to take whatever jobs came to hand. Again, just as she had achieved some measure of security, the Laughing Rogue had abandoned her.

Her old employers know she is alive, and occasionally one comes to make sure she is not a further threat to the new spymaster, an ambitious woman who plans to overthrow the king and assume the throne for herself. Merath is too disillusioned now to do anything about this. Filled with bitterness at how her life has turned out, she lives from moment to moment seeking some kind of security or control. She cannot return home, and she cannot seem to find a place for herself that is lasting. If she were offered a place of security, even in marriage, she would probably jump at the chance, even though part of her would remain disbelieving. She would always worry that somehow she would be abandoned by fate yet again.

About the Author

Robert Wiese's love of gaming started in the Boy Scouts, and it continued through junior high and high school. After a few years' hiatus, he rediscovered roleplaying games in college. After marriage and a move to Illinois, he discovered the RPGA Network at a small game day in 1991. He gave his all for the RPGA on staff for six and a half years, further developing Living City and starting the Living Greyhawk and Living Force campaigns. One divorce and remarriage later, he lives in Nevada and works at UNR as a biochemical researcher. He plays D&D actively, writes occasionally, gardens a lot, and devotes as much time as possible to his beloved Rhonda.

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