Vodnik Tchezic

User: Spratto
Race: Human
Gender: Male
Role: Striker
Class/Level: Rogue/1
Tall with black hair, blue eyes, and high cheek bones. A large, well used, brimmed hat hangs low with a garishly blue band standing out. His sharp features are only accented by his clean shaven face. Around his neck is wrapped a colorful scarf made of wool, a deep blue with red accents throughout in a pattern that is both decorative and a touch exotic, a signifier of his heritage as a Varisian wanderer.

Vodnik's frame is wiry but tough, if his arms are uncovered it reveals scars and two small tattoos of stars on his shoulders. His frame supports some muscle but what stands out is his ease of movement and quick reactions. His eyes have a tendency to scan his surroundings constantly, even when speaking to others but his quick laugh and easy smile puts people at ease.

A dark, richly green shirt with large, billowy sleeves with brighter green laces running up to his elbows is his primary wear, a cream colored undershirt is revealed at the wrists. Studded leather armor is strapped over this, with the bracers snugged under his outer sleeves. Over the small, triangular studs is a bandoleer with small pockets across the chest, each has a leather flap concealing its contents tied down with colorful scraps of cloth ranging from yellow to dark purple. Some of the pockets appear to be hiding flasks and one has a lethal, long, knife-like appearance to it.

Simple brown trousers with a thin leather belt supporting a belt pouch on his right hip are bloused into tall brown leather boots with studded leather greaves strapped loosely over his thighs and shins. The only weapons in appearance is the short bow and arrows in a quiver on his back and the long, sturdy looking rapier hung from a thick leather belt slung low on his hips, placing the blade in a position allowing a very quick draw.

Also on his back is strapped a small metal buckler with a leather facing and grip and a large backpack and bedroll. The contents are hard to determine except for a 3 foot long rusted metal spike strapped to the outside, its purpose is a mystery, along with a metal canteen wrapped in red stained felt. The pockets are again tied shut with small scraps of colorful fabric and tightly knotted.

Clean shaven and with a rakish expression, Kodnik would be labeled trouble by any father with a young daughter or any shopkeeper without enough guards. From the stains on his boots, knees, and elbows it is evident he is a hard traveler but his equipment is well maintained and is arranged with care. Overall, Kodnik looks as if he could be anything from a courier to a guard to a highwayman, all of which are fairly accurate descriptions of his activities, someone who has traveled many roads in his young life and plans on walking many more.
Vodnik is originally from Varisian, that land of savage freedom and wilderness, and is descended of one of the original owner's of the land, the Varisian merchant gypsies with their colorful caravans and century long traditions of trade, travel, thievery, and fortune-telling. His family was part of a caravan that plied the trade route from Korvosa through to the north following the traditional Sklarkari road. The trip can take months at the slow pace of the caravan, which stops frequently to trade, steal, sell, and seduce away the products of each village and wilderness outpost. Life in the caravan was both cosmopolitan and insular, while they met many different people from dwarves with their precious ore to elves seeking to trade herbs and crafts, the focus of the caravan was on the traditions of the Varisian people. Vodnik was not devout as a child, paying the traditions of his people lip service, except for their devotion to attempting to influence or divine chance with the Harrow Deck, that is a skill Vodnik embraced fully.

Vodnik's place in the caravan was decided by his elders fairly early in his life after he demonstrated fleetness of foot and a steady, if mischievous, personality. He was taught to set his eyes to the world outside the caravan, to watch for trouble in towns and villages in the crowds seeking Varisian wares. At a young age he was tasked with slouching in doorways and alleys watching for trouble approaching, whether that trouble is local toughs unhappy at the Varisian con-artists taking their easy marks or a mob of angry citizens convinced that the Varisians are corrupting and 'stealing' their children. More than a few of these lookout jobs ended with cutting a purse or a scuffle with townies trying to do the same. While on the road Vodnik's job was to use his quick feet to run messages between wagons and the herders with their flocks and to run ahead to the next hill or ridge to watch for trouble. He was known as a tough kid but definitely lacked common sense, in his early teens he was running off into the woods to explore or climbing public buildings in towns to get a better view.

After his 17th birthday this lack of common sense and forethought was all that saved him from a not very fun life as a prisoner or corpse. While his family's caravan was a few days out of Korvosa headed north, Vodnik saw a large plume of smoke off in the distance a few hours before sundown. The caravan was preparing to stop and Vodnik, more curious than wary, started jogging that direction to see where the dust was coming from. After about an hour he crested a rise and saw a neatly laid out camp of two person tents with a few men in armor standing guard and servants or squires moving about starting fires and throwing food into pots. Vodnik immediately hit the ground and tried to slink closer, he managed to get close enough to start counting the tents. He was thinking maybe of sneaking in and stealing food or maybe even a horse when something clicked in his mind. Where were all the soldiers? The camp could likely hold nearly a hundred men if it was two to a tent, only about 20 were in sight and not nearly enough horses were hobbled nearby. Thinking maybe it was a good idea to make himself scarce, life had taught him that soliders rarely appreciate his people's ways, and with no idea where the missing soliders were he could get caught from behind any moment. Vodnik scrambled away and began jogging back towards his caravan.

After about 20 minutes he heard a sharp scream and terrible laughter, his head shot up and he started running towards the wagons. He arrived around a bend in the road just in time to see a solider get torn apart by a giant, bat-winged monstrosity. He swore and ducked into the brush by the side of the road, his lack of common sense was not so acute as to make charging a demon seem like a good idea. Sneaking through the underbrush while trying to steady his breathing, he peered out at his family's camp. Soldiers with demon faces painted on their breastplates were battling horrible creatures while the wagons burned, his aunt was in view and a terrible green light flowed from her hands. He watched the somehow solid light swat aside soldiers and up end wagons. She was cackling and he noticed for the first time long, skinny claws on her hands and a red, bloodshot eye which seemed to freeze all who he gaze fell upon. Apparently he arrived for the conclusion of whatever was happening, his teeth were clenched and his cheeks hot as he watched a solider spear a girl he grew up with and heard the screams of panic coming from inside a burning wagon slowly die off. The last demon he could see disappeared in a cloud of smoke as a solider finally sent a bolt into his aunt's forehead. Her terrible eye swung towards him and he would always remember the wrath and hate that filled it as it slowly went dim with death, in his panicked and desperate brain it seemed as if that hate was accusing him of desertion.

He lay there amid the smoke of his life burning and listened as the solider's tended their wounded and spoke in the relieved tones of people who have escape death once again. A snipet of conversation floated his way on the light breeze in the clearing -

"I told you they were all demon worshippers" said a young voice "we should kill all of these Varisian theives that we can find. Tomorrow we will report to the commander, I am sure he will be pleased. I am going back to camp to write this up, clean up here Sergeant."

"yessir" a grizzled voice said nearby, too close almost. Vodnik ducked low and hid his ashen face in the dirt. The sound of clanking plate faded back the way Vodnik had come.

"Demon worshipers my ass" muttered the Sergeant "if they were demon worshipers why did they seem as terrified of them as of us?" The sergeant's voice was moving towards the spot where he has seen his aunt die. In a curious voice yet lacking a hint of surprise the Sergeant said "This one ain't even human, it's a hag if I have ever seen one. These people probably didn't even know.....shit....oh well, fucking nobles getting us killed over a damn fortune telling hag. Damn fucking people getting in her way......" In a louder, commanding voice "Come on soliders, lets pile their dead up on those wagons and get a pyre going." Then sharply "Marox if you don't drop that bottle of fucking rotgut I will shove it up your ass, get working."

Vodnik was stunned, his family dead and a hag? Demons in the night, summoned by his 'aunt', ripping apart soldiers and his people's wagons? What was going on? He did what he always had done when trouble came, what he was taught to do, he ran. He shot out of the bushes as fast as he could and ran north. No one seemed to noticed, still his suppressed panic took hold and he ran as fast as he could. He ran until it was full dark and all that illuminated the path was the stars. He pushed himself as hard as he could again and again until he literally collapsed and slept.

A year later finds him on a boat to Mendev across the Lake of Mists and Veils with a drunken priest and other holy crusaders or escaping thieves, depending on your point of view. He has walked a long way, dodging the law in town after town, using the skills he was taught to steal a horse and sell it in the next town or signing up to guard a caravan to the next city. He doesn't really know why he came this far or even this direction, he heard rumors of demons and hags and other horrible creatures getting slaughtered and of money and change. Of a land where if you are willing to tough the winters, the demons, and the religious zealots you can make a respected place for yourself in the world. Kodnik is not quite sure what he is searching for but he knows that he is sick of being poor, alone, and without a place in society. He wraps the scarf his mother made him tighter around his neck and sticks his hands in his pockets, feeling the Harrow deck his father gave him and staring west over the lake. Staring and planning to do what he did best, keep his eyes open, his fingers quick, and his belly full.
Minor Item Details

Saw Backed Dagger - Strapped into the small of his back horizontally underneath his armor with only the hilt protruding to the right and obscured by his quiver and baggy shirt, this dagger is Vodnik's favorite tool and weapon of choice when sneaking. It is well used, with a worn guard and grip, but the blade is well maintained, sharp, and long enough to blur the line between sword and dagger. The saw back is filed to enable quick disposal of any wooden obstacles - or throats. If it is used in combat, it is the first weapon Vodnik cleans are returns to its hiding place.

Harrow Deck - A well used deck of fortune telling cards stored in a waxed leather pouch secured to his belt, this deck belonged to Vodnik's father, grandfather, and possibly even older generations. The cards are thin wooden sheets, with one side painted in geometric designs similar to Vodnik's tattoos and the other painted with the cards image, all of this is covered in a thin layer of lacquer. Some of the cards have been repainted or repaired but the exotic wood is still tough and the paint bold and bright. Vodnik plays with this deck when bored or trying to come to a decision, he never uses it to cast a Harrowing for others or con a mark. Somehow the top card always ends up being the Rabbit Prince, a sign of chaos in battle, the capricious nature of luck, and the freedom of infinite possibility, good or bad.
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