Flash: Rafella de Sable (Part 3)

The challenge with game mechanics is creating a character with a history to match. I wanted a character who was (1) a noble, (2) a thief, and (3) a magic user.

*** Rafella de Sable (Part 3) – Wild Child

And so he did, only this time the miscarriage killed the mother as well. Andre refused to eat with his father thereafter and had nothing to do with the two children that he knew on some level were not his. Bereft of both mother and father, ignored by her grandfather in all but her schooling and then held the strictest standards, Rafaela began to run wild outside the house. In the house, she was the model child, trying to gain attention by good deeds and behavior. But the eldest child was already engaged to be married to an ancient line (the grandfather wanted to keep that line pure in case the eldest child ended up inheriting). The tutor, though loving a student as good with languages as Rafaela, had to put the last touches on his finest product. The middle two girls were wondering what marriages were in store for them. (The grandfather needed money, so he was going to sell them off to the highest bidders. )  And what little energy was left in the house was aimed at the Heir – Andre de Sablehart the Fifth, a sickly, weak child. The boy remained the center of attention for the house and was spoiled rotten, in the true meaning of the phrase.

While running wild, Rafaela caught the eye of a thief in her neighborhood. The old townhouse was in the in-between area, where the new rich can buy the first of their titles and the old rich can sell the last of their possessions. Charismatic and welcomed in most of houses, Rafaela was a treat for the second-story man. He taught her the tricks of the trade while she cased houses for him. Initially he just brought the information up in conversation, but eventually he took her into his confidence for real – about the same time he took her into his bed. She was ten. But all good things must come to an end, and the old guildmaster started making mistakes. Seeing the way the wind was blowing and being high up enough in the guild to have to choose sides in the upcoming power change, the thief introduced her to the three possible next guildmasters, turned her over to the guild teachers as an apprentice and booked out of town. Rafaela is forever grateful to both the thief and the guild.

When she was nine, she attended her oldest sister’s wedding. The girl was about seventeen. Being a second son, the boy had tried adventuring to make his fortune. He succeeded enough for de Sablehart to consider him a good prospect, if one keeps in mind his lineage. After the marriage, the couple moved into the Sablehart manor. But at the wedding, Rafaela joined the other children running everywhere. She kept in mind her training from her street friend and went into every corner of the house. Once she was caught exploring, tried to wiggle her way out physically and for the first time of her life did not succeed in her squirming. Falling back on her last resort she managed to charm her way out of it. That person was intrigued and investigated enough to find out the child was too intelligent for her own good, able to do any slight of hand magic trick if shown how to do it once and was absolutely adorable in her willingness to please adults.

He bought her before the wedding feast had finished. Not that it was called that, but marriage contracts were signed. Enough money traded hands that the grandfather no longer had to sell his other two assets cheaply (not that it was ever going to be cheap, but now he could hold out for titles and age appropriate grooms). The contract was long and complicated, as the buyer wanted a magic user of some sort and was willing to pay for all training. The brideholder was to find the instructors for this to happen and provide lodging for the same.

It took de Sablehart awhile to find a mage with enough knowledge to teach, who didn’t want to play hermit or join an academy, and who needed money. So, while Rafaela does not have the best mage in the world as her instructor, she did learn magic. Her teacher was an illusionist, a broken man dealing with more tragedy (in his opinion) then one man should have ever faced. With his need to escape reality, Rafaela was able to get him addicted to a drug she had access to through the thieves’ guild and being his supplier, manipulated the man unmercifully.

Her comings and goings were no longer questioned. She merrily switched time between the guild, the etiquette teacher and the mage. And she discovered her basic nature. She needed to prove herself. Realizing she would never be able to do that to her grandfather or the man she called father, she is driven to prove herself against nature – the very thing that seemed to have it in for the family. She loves court intrigue, even in a small backwater town like she lives in, as it challenges her mind. She loves missions from the guild, as it forces her physically to limits and the pass-fail option is very obvious. And most of all she loves illusionist magic, partially to see if she can really fool people in what they think is real and partially for the rush of raw chaos through her body that threatens to consume it even as she forces the magic into submission.

(Words 921, first written for game 9/23/2005; first published 3/8/2020)