Randall Shadowcrown (deceased)
Wrathspawn Tiefling Rogue/Softstrike Monk
When most people think “tiefling,” they think of horns, growths, and a fiendish tail. While that may be true of the typical devil- or demon-blooded tiefling, the spawn of asura tend to look rather different. Randall is of middling height, with a narrow, compact frame. His olive skin and narrow features occasionally turn amorous heads, until they see his unnatural, gold-flecked eyes and strange white lines along his body at his cheekbones, neck, clavicle, pectorals, and biceps. Also, his teeth have a natural but slight sharpness.
For clothing, Randall prefers simplicity. He wears baggy pants cinched at the waist with rope, and the bottom cuffs are held down by dirty footwraps that also serve as his shoes. When he must walk where the ground is detrimental to bare feet (such as mountainous terrain or the like) he carries a pair of wooden sandals for such occasions. On his torso, he wears only a travel-worn forest green vest and a matching cloak that has begun to fray at the hem. His hands are wrapped in a similar fashion as his feet, halfway up his forearms. His black hair is remarkably long, kept in a neat braid that ends in a clasp shaped like a dull metal spike. He wears an odd set of goggles with two pairs of lenses in it, which is usually resting atop his forehead when not in use.
None Statistic. (Source)
Feat Name: Description (Source)
Ability Name: Description (Source)
Relics, Wonders & Curios
Scrolls, Potions & Components
Lorÿndol: The Five Perfections
Randall has no idea where he was born. His parents were already dead by the time he was old enough to remember much of anything. Uncle Kronis is the only family he ever knew, and his time with the old man was tragically brief.
From the time he can remember to about six years old, he traveled with Uncle Kronis overland to deliver dried goods to outlying villages around the Vale of Talanor, particularly the mountains east of The Picks, and the outskirts of Aspenwood. Rand was too young to know anything about his uncle, and had almost no interaction with others. His uncle kept him away from other children; he was too young to understand why, only that the kids he saw looked markedly different from him. None of them had tails, or olive skin, or black eyes. None of them had the first hints of strange white lines on their skin making frightful geometries.
During a caravan ride into the foothills of the mountains outside The Picks, they were stopped by a fearsome, horrific presence. It spoke in a language that crawled about inside Rand’s little head, leaving a trail of psychic slime wherever the words skittered between his ears. It made him want to vomit just hearing it. Worse, he could understand it.
THIS ONE HAS COME FOR THE PROGENY.
His uncle stroked his salt-and-pepper beard, twilight shining off his bald pate as he looked sternly at the towering figure before him. Vaguely human in form, but with far too many arms, and bedecked in resplendent armor and some sort of terrifying silver mask. Uncle Kronis, however, seemed unperturbed.
”You can not have him,” he said.
YOUR PERMISSION IS NOT REQUIRED. DELIVER HIM OR PERISH TO OBLIVION.
Kronis smiled. ”You may try.”
What happened next was not granted the reprieve of a child’s memory; there is no vagueness or fragmentation in Randall’s mind. Like so many victims of trauma, it is acid-etched onto the inside of his skull.
One of the caravan guards, a stern-faced middle-aged woman with steel gray hair, shoved a dagger into his hands and told him to run, hide. Rand looked back to see the creature eviscerating guards left and right; but Uncle Kronis stood his ground, going toe to toe with the monstrosity with lightning palm strikes and kicks. Rand made it to a switchback before something heavy bounced off the trail above him and landed just ahead. He ran past his uncle’s sightless eyes and ragged stump of a neck, and hastened screaming into the shadowy dusk.
He found his way to a cave and hid there for three days. At dusk on the second day, the towering creature appeared before the cave entrance. Randall did his best to cower behind a rock and make himself as small as possible, clutching feebly at his tail to keep it from whipping about absently, as it was wont to do.
After several minutes of dead silence, Rand heard it speak.
YOU CAN NOT HIDE FROM THIS ONE FOREVER, LITTLE SPAWN.
Rand squeezed his eyes shut, tears streaming down his dirty face, and willed with all his might for the thing to leave.
It did not.
YOU HAVE A GREAT DESTINY, LITTLE SPAWN. IT IS OUR TIME. THE ASURA SHALL TEAR THE EALITAINE FROM THEIR GILDED THRONES AND EAT THEIR SOULS TO MAKE THEIR POWER OURS.
Rand had no idea what any of that meant. He only whimpered silently. Please, someone, make it go away. Make it leave me alone…
YOU HAVE A GREAT ROLE TO PLAY, LITTLE SPAWN.
A heavy, dull thud as a footstep touched the rocky dirt inside the cave. Please, please, make it go away…
WE SHALL UNDO ALL THE GODS HAVE CREATED, LITTLE SPAWN. THIS ONE HAS FORESEEN IT.
YOU SHALL BE OUR HERALD IN THIS REALM. IT IS A GAPING WOUND THAT SUCKERS AND BLEEDS. YOU SHALL BE THE SPEAR THAT PENETRATES AND ENDS ITS SUFFERING.
YOU ARE THE SPAWN OF ASURA-RANHA. GRAND-CHILD TO THE SUN EATER. TO ME. THIS IS YOUR DESTINY. COME TO YOUR DESTINY, LITTLE SPAWN.
no no no no no no no
The creature never finished its thought. A long, ugly, pregnant pause infested the cavern. After an interminable amount of time, it said, VERY WELL. THIS ONE WILL RETURN FOR YOU WHEN YOU ARE PREPARED.
And just as it had begun, a heavy, oppressive weight lifted from Rand’s shoulders. A minute passed, two, three. Finally he peeked out from his hiding place. The cavern was dark and empty. The sun had vanished behind the horizon, and night had begun to creep into the land.
And yet fear still paralyzed him. He stayed in the cave for another day. By nightfall, his stomach was knotted and cramped from hunger. In desperation, he ate dirt from the cave floor in the vain hope it would nourish him. To his shock, it did just that.
Even after leaving the cave, it was two days on foot to the base of the mountains and the town known as The Picks. He ate dirt by the handful, and drank from river streams. Sadly, he was no outdoorsman, and didn’t know the danger of the act. He became terribly ill over the next day, vomiting and loosing his bowels constantly.
When he arrived in The Picks, he was a sorry sight: an inhuman child, covered in dirt, bruises, and excrement, violently ill and alone in the world.
Not a single adult came to his aid. They shooed him off at best, and chased him with weapons at worst. He cowered in abandoned buildings, growing sicker and sicker by the day, until finally an angel appeared in the shape of another boy: Ezekiel.
Ezekiel was Rand’s elder by two years, tall where Rand was short, stocky where Rand was ropey. His skin was dark but his hair was shock-white. When he found Randall, he was flanked by two smaller boys. He dug a vial out of one of his many pockets and shoved it at Randall. ”Drink this.” His tone brooked no argument. Nearly witless, Rand gave no thought and obeyed. ”Medicine. I’m Ezekiel. You call me Zeke.” Randall could do nothing to respond but nod absently. Zeke slid a pair of strange goggles off his forehead and handed them to Randall. ”These help me see how things work. Maybe they’ll help you see how The Picks work. I’ll try to keep you alive until then.” Randall clutched them to his breast like a drowning man to a lifeline.
The alchemical balm Zeke had given him eventually helped Rand recover from his illness. Zeke led a small group of urchins who leaned on each other to survive in The Picks. It was hardly as run-down and seedy as The Point, but the Picks still had its share of poverty. The boys were the ones society had left behind due to some curse of birth: deformities, impoverished parents who had died with no relatives, even three children who were the lone survivors of an orphanage fire the year before. They called themselves the Castoffs, and Zeke led them all, kept them fed, found new places to hide—warehouses, condemned homes, even caverns in the foothills when needed. They would sleep huddled together in the winter for warmth, and out under the stars in the summer. It was a hard life, and usually an ugly one, but there are moments on which Rand looks back fondly.
Zeke died unceremoniously when Randall was sixteen. A young man from a rival gang skulked up and put a knife into Zeke’s armpit once, twice, three times, then dropped the weapon and walked away. Zeke crumpled to the street and bled out. By the time anyone brought a healer, he was dead.
Rand asked around and found the young man’s location. They found him headless the next day; his head turned up a day later on a spike outside the rival gang’s hideout. Nobody dared to mess with the Castoffs for years after that, and Randall found himself in a de facto leadership position. It also put him into the city guard’s crosshairs.
Despite being a wanted man, and despite the fact that The Picks wasn’t the largest city in the world, Randall was methodical and careful. He never let himself be out in the open without hiding his identity and – more importantly – his fiendish ancestry. He evaded the law for six years. But his good fortune finally ran afoul of his morbid curiosity.
After learning a rival gang was after a prime piece of real estate for squatting, one that supposedly had food and excellent shelter, Rand was immediately suspicious. As it turned out, he was right to be suspicious. He cased the warehouse during the day and found it to be the lair of a group of bandits, bad-news creeps who didn’t just rob and kill, but also dealt in corpses, taking the bodies of their victims and selling them on the side to necromancers, death cultists, anyone who would pay coin for them. Rand knew the place was a death sentence; the rival gang didn’t.
Rand spread a subtle rumor that the Castoffs were going to take up the place soon, and the rivals should get there first. It worked; Rand snuck back to the warehouse to watch the scene unfold. It was a bloodbath; the bandits murdered the rivals – most of whom were no older than sixteen – with a level of brutality Rand had only seen once before, at his own hands.
He looked away from the window, unable to stomach it anymore.
The things the men were doing to the rival boys in there… Rand had done that, once. He still saw the boy’s face when he closed his eyes, sometimes. But he’d comforted himself by claiming it was retaliation for his friend’s death. It wasn’t murder; it was retribution.
Now he watched kids barely younger than himself, kids who’d grown up on the streets with nothing but each other, just like himself, get murdered and worse. And was responsible.
His hands shook, and his stomach clenched violently. He was too busy vomiting to notice the city watch bearing down on him, reinforced with men and women in brightly polished armor, bearing a sigil with which he was unfamiliar. He turned and stumbled away, but he wasn’t nearly fast enough in his condition. They’d caught him at last.
Rand languished in a cell for three days awaiting sentencing. When someone finally came for him, it wasn’t a guard. It wasn’t anyone from the city watch at all, in fact.
A short, withered old man appeared in front of Randall’s cell. He couldn’t have been taller than five-five, and probably weighed one-twenty soaking wet. His long white hair was pulled back in a tight braid, and his eyes were completely milked over with cataract. He leaned heavily on a gnarled oak cane with a bulbous knot at the head, and smiled serenely at the tiefling. Rand might have called the look vapid, but he immediately suspected there was more to this little old man than met the eye.
”Hallo!” he called jovially. ”You must be Randall.”
Randall’s eyes narrowed. ”Depends on who’s askin’.”
The old man snorted. ”I am.”
”Who’s ‘I am’?” Rand sneered.
The old man blew a puff of air dramatically. ”Oh, well now. That is the question, isn’t it?” He blinked mildly. ”Or were you asking my name?”
Rand rolled his eyes. ”Yeah, okay. This is city jail, friend. Looney bin’s over in Outlander’s Grove. Happy trails.” He rolled over on his cot and closed his eyes.
”My name,” the old man said in a quiet, powerful tone, “is Shiro Jonetsu. You will address me as ‘Master’ from this point on, until such time as you earn that title yourself.”
Randall rolled back over and stared at the old man. ”The hells are you talking about?”
”I am your master. You are my pupil. That is the way of it. Your only alternative is death.”
Rand scowled. ”Maybe I’d rather take death.”
The old man’s face softened again. ”No, you would not. Death, for you, would be the coward’s escape. You have done terrible things. They haunt you. Death would free you from that burden, but you have not earned that right yet. And you know it.” He rapped his cane once against the floor. ”That is why you will come with me. You will learn to fight, and you will learn history. And you will learn the mysteries of Lorÿndol. And day by day, you will work to atone for your sins. And, one day, you may earn true peace. But that day is not today.”
Randall stared at him, speechless. He opened his mouth to speak, then closed it again. Finally, he said, ”When do we start?”
He spent the next six years training at the Blue Lotus Monastery deep in the Aspenwood. ”Lorÿndol,” Master Jonetsu would often say, ”once gave Solinthol a gift of a blue lotus. The lotus would only bloom so long as no one else looked upon it, but if kept hidden from any eyes but Solinthol’s, it would blossom forever. Solinthol had never seen such beauty before, and longed to share it with others, but was loathe to disrespect Lorÿndol’s wishes. So he hit it away in a small chest, but he took it out to admire it every night.
”Eventually, he could bear it no longer, and revealed it to a small group of friends. But when he opened the chest to show him, a bright rainbow of colorful butterflies spewed forth instead, filling the room with dazzling brilliance, before escaping out a window and into the bright dawn. His friends were overjoyed at the beautiful display, but the lotus was gone.
”Dismayed and ashamed, Solinthol admitted to Lorÿndol what had happened, but instead of being angry, Lorÿndol smiled. ‘You see,’ he said. ‘There is beauty hidden in the world, but once exposed to others, it is forever changed. Yet this change can also be beautiful too. It is the fate of mortalkind to forever change. Find beauty in it, and you will know peace.’
”That is why this monastery is called Blue Lotus. Like that fateful flower, those who come here are cultivated, made beautiful in their strength of will and flexible in their thinking, then sent into the world, both to change themselves and those whose lives they touch with blessed Lorÿndol’s teachings.”
Rand was not well-liked by the other ascetics at the monastery. He was brash, impatient, short-tempered, and perhaps most damning of all, he was talkative. He talked when he was nervous, and that grand chapel to Lorÿndol, with its dark, imposing stone walls, made him ridiculously nervous, particularly in the beginning.
Two years ago, Master Shiro Jonetsu sent Randall out into the world with his blessing — and a gift. One of the oldest tomes in the monastery’s impressive library on the teachings of Lorÿndol: The Five Perfections. Randall reads it studiously, but its scripture is so dense and obscure that at times, Rand wonders if it was written by a madman, or someone in a fever dream. Yet he continues to study as he journeys through the world; not so much out of piety, but for a sense of stability. A routine that grounds him when the world gets just a little too crazy (which seems to happen often, particularly for him).
And every day, Rand throws himself at the problems of others. Stopping bandits, feeding the poor, tending a sick child, fending off wild animals from a frontier farm. Every time, he subdues when he can; he wants no more blood on his hands. He doesn’t think he could stomach it. So far, he has not found the peace Master Jonetsu spoke of, but he searches desperately every day.