I am so sick of being thrown out of places. Villages, cities, towns, it doesn’t seem to matter they just throw me straight out. I am so sick of being misunderstood. This time I was genuinely trying to help. I’ll admit, sometimes my – enthusiasm gets the better of me. Is it so wrong to have a love for knowledge? Perhaps I should have been more careful. Okay, I’ll admit, I definitely should have been more careful. I didn’t mean to kill anyone! It was an accident! They ran me out. Just about killed me.
I wish they had. Now I have to live with the knowledge of what I’ve done. I won’t let that poor soul have died for nothing. I’ll practice more. I’ll learn more. There has to be some knowledge out there that will prevent this from ever happening again.
Dena was born and raised in the farming town of Dunaic. From the moment of her birth, suspicion arose directed at Dena. Her parents both shared the dark skin and eyes of everyone in the village. Through some genetic oddity, Dena’s skin was chalk-white and remained that way for the rest of her life. The only thing that prevented her being completely ostracised was the fact that her parents insisted that she was in no way illegitimate.
It was quite likely this that started Dena down her road. Knowing she was different from a young age, curiosity became her only companion. She was determined to understand why, if her parents were indeed her parents, she should look so different. The only physical feature she shared with either of her parents was the dark, blue-black hair she got from her mother.
Dena’s maternal grandfather had been a wizard and there were some few of his spell books and other research material in the house. As Dena got older, she began to read these books and discovered within herself an insatiable appetite for knowledge of the arcane. She was so voracious that she soon outstripped the information gathered within her grandfather’s notes and she began experimenting in order to learn more. After her parents caught her using her own blood in these experiments they insisted on some rules. It was decided that since Dena was so curious she could learn at the feet of the town mage and priests.
Dmane, the head priest, introduced her to the worship of XYZ, the god of knowledge. Dena however, found the concept of knowledge far more worthy of reverence and respect than any mere god. For surely, a god could only know that which fell within its own purview; even a god of knowledge could be limited. But she had no such constraints. Still, Dena found a waning enthusiasm fired by this new approach to learning and she devoured the tomes on magic and the working of spells.
Eventually however, she found that her curiosity and desire to know outstripped what people were willing to teach her. Frustrated by what she saw as a deliberate attempt to keep information from her, Dena resorted to thievery. She stole a few of the more obscure tomes from the town’s temple and the mage’s library and hid them at her parents’ home. From this point on, Dena’s fate was sealed.
Once the priests, the mage and her parents realised what she had done, the house was searched and the books were removed. At this point the townspeople started avoiding Dena, beginning to feel that her desire for knowledge was dangerous and that some information is simply too dangerous. Children were told to avoid her and some families moved out of the neighbourhood.
Dena saw all this as attempts to thwart her by people who simply didn’t understand her. She knew the townspeople had never really accepted her, even her skin colour was wrong. She became more and more frustrated and upset and withdrew into a shell, rarely leaving the house and instead muttering phrases and badly worded spells over and over in the hopes that something might happen.
And then something did happen. Someone came to her. At the time, Dena wasn’t sure what the creature was (and to tell the truth, she still isn’t positive). They came and offered her the knowledge she sought and the understanding she craved. More than that however, they seemed to understand Dena herself. For the first time, someone accepted her for who she was. And as a gift, they gave her the power to fire eldritch energy, as long as her will was strong enough to control it. For days the smell of sulphur lingered in the house as Dena practiced this new ability. And the experiments started again. A bit of blood here and there. A piece of the kitchen table carefully slivered off. A lock of her mother’s hair snipped while she slept. But soon it wasn’t enough; there wasn’t enough variety within her small family circle. Dena needed more.
Always aware that among the youngest of the townsfolk, she had a certain mystique that was appealing, Dena used it to her advantage. She was always very careful and indeed she had no wish to cause real hurt to anyone. The creature who had come to her had warned her of appearing overly enthusiastic at the thought of other’s pain – and indeed, he had said, pain was not the purpose. Pain was merely an unfortunate side affect. And so Dena was careful, wherever she hurt, she was sure to heal as well.
But rumours abound, especially in small towns, and it wasn’t long before people began to wonder where the small wounds on their children were coming from. It was however, difficult to prove Dena was behind it. Like all naughty children, they were reluctant to admit they had been breaking the rules and would come up with all sorts of stories to avoid admitting they had been with the lady they weren’t supposed to be around.
Dena never knew what the final straw was. She suspected someone spying on her, suspicious of her activities. Perhaps Dmane, perhaps the town mage, perhaps the town guard. The creature came back from time to time, to teach, to see what she had learned. Dena suspected someone had seen them together, for it wasn’t long after one of his visits that the town rose up together and threw her out.
It was the start of a trend. Dena walked until she found a caravan heading in the opposite direction. Careful to avoid any mention of her quest for knowledge and understanding, or of her growing arcane abilities, she took passage with them til she reached a new town. And then she began again. And again. Continuously unable to understand why no one seems to understand why knowledge is so important, Dena learns what she can, does what she can, and remains one step ahead of angry townsfolk when they decide they’ve had enough.
Eventually she learned to mask her true intentions. She began to tell others she sought knowledge to save lives. To make work easier, to make life better. When others say that some knowledge is too dangerous, she points out that there will always be those who seek knowledge in order to do harm. And sometimes, the only way to fight fire, is with fire. She seeks this information in order to protect and defend against those who would use it for more – nefarious purposes. And if she happens to gain a little extra measure of magic in the process – so much the better!
In truth, she is far more pragmatic than that. Dena avoids killing because it would make her a target. Besides, there is no point in spilling gallons of blood when only a pint is needed. She is very careful not to waste her resources.