Skulls & Shackles
Sebastian "Bastian" Percival Broadspear III
I am a member of the nobility. Or, rather, I suppose I was.
Being the lone child to the Count of the Worldwound – and a bastard child at that – has made for strange circumstances in life. In my youth, I was kept… hidden. Hidden in order to protect my paranoid father’s bloodline and to hide the shame of the result of his tryst with a lowly elvish handservant. I am told my mother remained a handservant to my father’s estate, though I was never allowed to meet her.
All of this made for quite a lonely childhood. Only being able to interact with guards (stern) and my father (even more stern) led to unimaginable bouts of boredom. Fortunately, at around six or seven years of age, I met Grix. Written off as an “imaginary friend,” by my father, Grix kept me company when no one else would. We played games together, and he taught me minor feats of arcane conjuration.
Much to my father’s disappointment – which was possibly the most common feeling he expressed towards me – as I came of age it became clear I was too wispy and feeble to become a warrior and “properly represent the Broadspear name” as he would say. Begrudgingly, he sent me far away to be mentored in the arcane arts as I had shown aptitude in that field thanks to Grix’s lessons in my childhood. Throughout my studies, my bond with Grix grew stronger. His form was much sharper in my mind, and at times it felt almost as though he were trying to push through the veil into this world.
After nearly a year under the tutelage of my mentor, he informed me that I was to return to the Worldwound at my father’s bidding. There was a kind of gravity in my mentor’s voice when he told me this, as though he knew something he was forbidden to speak of. Upon my return, my father welcomed me with a warmth uncommon to his character. I was quickly introduced to his newborn infant son, born to the Countess who was long thought to be barren. After feasting with my father – yet another uncommon experience – he sent me to my bedchamber to rest.
I felt an unease in my chest at over the day’s events, though I could not place it. As I tossed in my bed unable to sleep, my hand came across an envelope under my pillow. I peeled it open and squinted at the words by dim candlelight.
“He’s already killed your mother,” it said in elvish. “He aims to kill you. Get out!” Having accrued a true heir, it appeared the shame of my existence had overpowered its utility.
No sooner had I finished reading the brief note when I heard the door to my suite creak open and watched six armed men walk through the door. Unsuccessfully, I attempted to use my mostly-undeveloped arcane training to defend myself, but was quickly overwhelmed. As two of the guards held me back against a wall and a third drew his blade back to drive into my chest, I felt pounding in my head as Grix roared in fury. When the guard thrust his blade forward, my eyes rolled back and I began to scream. However, no noise came out. Instead, a thick and dark fog spewed forth from my mouth, enveloping my body. I began to lift off the ground several inches, despite the guards trying to hold me in place.
Just before the blade made contact with my body, the fog spewing forth from my mouth burst into corporeal form as Grix’s chitinous hide replaced my own. As the guard’s blade met Grix’s stomach – where my chest used to be – it chipped as it slammed against our armored hide, barely penetrating the surface. I could feel as the blade hit that Grix and I were no longer separate forms strewn across different planes, but now one and the same.
Our two large, clawed hands made quick work of the two guards attempting to hold us down, lifting them by their necks and slicing into their throats. Our third and fourth arms – heavy and stone-like – were then free to deal with the third guard, who stood aghast at what he had just observed. One hand slammed down into his weapon, still slightly embedded in our flesh, shattering it. The other hand did the same, except to his skull.
Surrounded by three dead guards in the home of a powerful man who wanted to kill me, we decided to flee. We’ve spent the years since then wandering, hiding from my father. Sometimes together as one on this plane, sometimes separately on our home planes.
Grix is my best friend. My only friend, really. He saved my life all those years ago, and as my power grows, my bond with him grows ever stronger. I pity those who cross us.