Tales of Marhalla
The Drow Oracle/Druid
Opinionated, willful, yet caring and compassionate as well, Tessera is proof that one’s circumstances of birth do not define who they are.
To the average passerby, Tessera appears as a quiet, contemplative, and beautiful Elven woman with jet black hair, shining green eyes, and a fair complexion. She wears a faded red and white hooded cloak, golden armbands around her biceps, functional traveling clothes, and a Holy symbol of the Deity Milani and carries a long wooden staff as well as a well worn leather bag.
Yet despite the Elven visage, Tessera is more than she seems as, when her minor image spell is disrupted, her true appearance is revealed. With dark, bluish-grey skin, jet back eyes and silvery white hair, Tessera’s true identity as a Drow is a secret only known by a few.
Knowing that she belongs to a race of notoriously cruel and evil dark Elves, one would expect the Drow Oracle to be of the same mind, one of greed, self indulgence, and dark magic. However, Tessera is nothing of the sort; though her temper does sometimes get the better of her, anyone that knows her well can see that she is genuinely compassionate, thoughtful, and good to the core, not to mention her phenomenal healing capabilities and divine magical power.
Recently, Tessera has added anothed weapon to her arsenal: a massive and ferocious white wolf found along the way named Estel. Together, Tessera on the back or her 10 foot long wolf, the two have turned many a fight to the side of the group.
Throw all assumptions aside when concerning the S.H.I.T.s MVP; she is clearly not of the typical mold.
Tessera and her twin brother Anderwood were born Therandwell’s, one of seven noble families of Drow in the Underdark or the Darklands as the worlds native people call it. As Tessera grew, she was plagued with horrific nightmares of death and destruction and vivid daydreams that came at all hours. Because of these dreams and her behavioral oddities
her inclination to perform good over evil, her brother Anderwood was the more appreciated and accepted of the two siblings. This favoring of her so called ‘evil twin’ and her distaste for how Drow society function on principal is what drove Tessera to leave the Underdark at the young age of 30. Still just a child in Drow years, Tessera followed the path carved by few from the depths of the Underdark to the surface world of Marhalla. But before she could be let into the surface world city of Waleah, she was subjected to a test given to all dark folk wishing to live in the light. Her intentions and heart were tested in a process called The Judging to prove she meant the world no ill will and that there was no malice in her heart. She was cleared of the test, but When she reached the surface, she was greeted with hostility and distrust by the humans, dwarves and elves of the surface.
She spent her first few weeks on the streets of the city as she had no money and no real skills. That was until she was observed in one of her nightmarish states by a local priest. He took her in for a short time, teaching her ways to control her nightmares by asking his deity, Pharasma, for her help. In the process of doing so, the priest gave her a tattoo of the symbol for his god that covered her heart and most of her chest.
As her time passed on the surface, Tessera continued to practice controlling her nightmares and was able to live a relatively comfortable life in Waleah once she found someone who would hire a Drow for work.
She never enjoyed the work she did, as she felt more at home away from the coast and in the tree of a nearby forest. Over the years, Tessera spend and incredible amount of time wandering the forests and learning to observe her surroundings.
On one of these days in the forest, she happened upon something she didn’t normally see in these forests. A small human was running under the tree that she was settled in. He was not alone though. Tessera followed him, silently running through the connected branches of the tall trees and she came across a small encampment. Staying concealed in the trees, she watched as another human emerged. This one was a women, and much more mature as far as she could tell.
“Mother I saw a blue elf.” The young one spoke quietly to the elder, his mother she assumed.
“There are no blue elves her honey. Those fowl creature love far beneath the surface. You know that.”
“But I really did saw her. I know that I did. She was in the trees.” The mother silenced the boy and looked around the tree tops.
“Some of us are not as fowl as you may claim human.” Tessera spoke, remaining hidden in the leaves of the tall trees. She removed her staff from its place on her back and used it to assist in her dismount from the tall tree. “Some of us don’t wish harm upon any creature.” The mother immediately drew the child behind her, pulling a small dagger from somewhere in her cloak and holding it shakily. Not aggressively, but defensively. Despite her passive nature, Tessera held her staff out and was prepared to use her Drow Magic, would the human women attack. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” Tessera warned, gritting her teeth. Neither human spoke for a long moment. “Why are you here?” Tessera questioned.
“We live here.” The young boy spoke.
“Humans do not live in this forest.”
“My name is Nethra and this is my son. We are safe here. Please. We mean no harm.” Tessera lowered her staff and looked into the women’s eyes. Her grey eyes were kind and soft, but the boys were bright amber, almost alive in their own right.
“Safe from what?” She asked the mother. But instead of answering, the child came out from behind her and walked up to Tessera.
“We were not safe in our village, so we came here… I’ve never seen a blue elf so close up before. My dad used to-”
“Hush child. We don’t speak of your father any more.” The boy looked towards his mother and then back up at Tessera. Then, before she could move out of his reach, the boy reached out and touched her hand. At that moment, she felt an immediate connection to the child, some otherworldly link between the two of them. This was something she had heard about from the priest when she was little. That some creatures are born to come together at some point in their life. Tessera shook her head in disbelief for a moment, before kneeling and looking back into the boys eyes.
“What is your name child?” She asked.
“Xander.” He replied, his amber eyes almost a blaze.
“Well Xander. On this eve of spring, I promise that I will be the one to keep you safe for as long as I live.” And for twenty eight years that remained true. Tessera and Xander grew to be best friends, she taught him how to fight with a staff and bow, and how to remain unseen in the forest as she had taught herself to do. And for years she kept her word in keeping her two human friends safe in all the ways she could.
Until one day when Xander’s mother became deathly ill. Tessera had never seen death before since elves live an incredibly long life, and as Nethra’s life came to an end, she didn’t know how to respond. Nethra had gone from being a strong mother to being frail and old in a matter of less than thirty years, which was barley a child’s lifetime to Tessera. So as Xander’s mother lay on a soft bed of leaves that Tessera had created for her, she said her last few words to them both.
“Tessera you need to take care of Xander for me when I’m gone. Can you do that for me?” She asked in a horse voice.
“You have my word.” Tessera responded. Nethra smiled, and pulled something from behind her back. It was a delicate headdress made of blood red roses.
“Milani has been my protector for as long as I can remember. And now she is yours as well.” Nethra’s hands shook as she places the headdress on Tessera’s head. “You have my blessing. I love you both.” She said kissing Xander and Tessera both on the forehead. “May you never again see death.” And that was when her hands fell limp by her sides. The two sat in silence for many long moments before the sound of foot steps invaded the quiet of the forest. Voices filled the air and Tessera immediately recognized the voice of her brother and other members of her previous royal Baird from the Underdark.
“Run Xander! Run!” Tessera cried, rushing to stand up and defend him. But he had no time to run because within seconds they were surrounded by other a hoard of Drow noble Warriors. Each carried longswords or cross bows or even more deadly weapons Tessera couldn’t name, ready to strike if given the cue.
Out from the crowd of weapons and fighters stepped a large misshapen creature, being ridden by no one other than her brother Anderwood. He spoke to all his troops without dismounting. “I have told you all that my sister was not one of us. First she leaves her family, betraying us for this world a weaklings and should be slaves to out kind. And where do we find her? In a forest defending what smells to me like a bastard human boy. She’s a traitor to our world!” Tessera was frozen, unable to gather herself enough to speak. “You four, take the human and I will deal with my sister.” Before the four Drow could move in Xander’s direction, Tessera lunged at her brother Screaming for Xander to run. She fought as hard as she could, using what magic and fighting skills she had at her disposal to defend him as she had promised, but she was eventually overpowered by the larger Drow and she realized that she had not only lost this battle, but her best and only friend as well. Once she was brought back to the Underdark, she was imprisoned and kept kept hidden away for ten years by her family. She never saw Xander again and was losing hope of his survival. That was until the ten year anniversary of Nethra’s passing, where on that night, Tessera had an incredibly vivid dream about not only Xander but his mother speaking of the deity known as Milani. Milani spoke to her in a language she did not understand, but when she awoke from this dream Tessera was possessed by an incredible magic power which allowed her to escape the Underdark and the imprisonment of her family. Milani had chosen Tessera as an oracle of her divine power but she has also been cursed to face terrible consequences if she were to break a promise like the vow of protecting Xander that she made to his mother.
Tessera has now left home and is searching for her lost best friend and is also after blood for her brother who betrayed her.