|Title(s)||Prefect of Nova Ara|
|Professions||Hunter, Alchemist, Weaponsmith|
|Height||5 Feet 8 Inches|
Tall and slender, Licinia has the perfect blend of blond, red, and brown hair. Her eyes are her best feature, as they can entice any man, yet she is too naive to know it.
She is 20 years of age, but has wisdom beyond her years. At a glance, she appears subservient, but a deeper look will show much more defiance and strength. Her trying childhood has turned her into a brave and firm woman, but a woman nonetheless.
My father, Leonius, and my mother, Junia, made our home north of Shamar in Aquilonia. My father was a proud man and a good husband too. When I was born they named me Licinia Phaedra, but called me Lici. My father never complained that my mother didn’t provide him a son. Instead he taught me the things I needed to know to help him raise our family. When I turned eight, he started to teach me how to hunt. He let me come with him on his hunting expeditions, and sometimes they would last days. They were such grand adventures! He only let me come near the animals after he’d killed them at first, but many times I begged for him to give me my own bow. Finally when I turned ten, he gave in. He taught me to kill, skin, and cook my prey.
I remember the glow in my mother’s eyes; she was such a happy woman. Even though we had scraps for clothing and very little money, we had each other, and that was enough for her. My mother had a garden of vegetables she would sell to passersby, which wasn’t very often, but caring for the garden kept her busy enough. My infant sister, Alia, cried when I left to hunt and giggled when I came home. Mother said Alia was lonely without me.
On the first day of my seventeenth year, the skies were clear, and the breeze was warm. My father took me hunting as he always did. That evening, I spotted a stag, standing near the Tybor River, so I shot an arrow right into its chest. The animal dropped to the ground in silence. As I knelt down beside it, I saw a bear cub splashing in the river near me. Before I knew it, the mother bear was charging me. She thought I was going after her cub! She reared up on her hind legs, gnashed her teeth, and roared so loud I had to cover my ears. My father yelled for me to run as he took out his dagger and leapt between the mother bear and me. She fell down hard on my father, crushing his chest with her heavy paws. I heard him bellow in pain, and then everything went silent.
I hid, afraid to run and leave my father. The mother bear howled in pain as well, moving slowly off of my father. She limped towards her cub. After I knew the bear and her cub had left the area, I came out from the bushes to see my father dead on the ground. I cried in his arms, realizing that he had saved my life, but I had ended his. I reached for his dagger, still clutched in his hands, and saw that he had managed to clip the bear’s paw, pulling off one of the claws. I took the claw and put it in my pocket, and returned home.
When I opened the door, my mother asked where my father was, and I held out his dagger silently. She started sobbing instantly. I told her what had happened, reliving every moment. The sparkle disappeared from her eyes, immediately turning them grey with sadness, and I knew she was empty inside. Alia didn’t understand since she was just a little thing. All I felt was guilt and sorrow. I was responsible for my father’s death. That night I made a necklace from the bear claw, and put it in a small treasure box my father had carved for me years ago.
Just a few weeks later, I had gone hunting just as my father taught me, but when I came home, there was a black horse I’d never seen before tied to a tree out front. The breeze fainted and the birds went mute. Fear swarmed over me as I threw open the door. My mother and a strange looking man were there waiting for me. He was short and stout with skin darker than I had ever seen before. I knew he came from beyond the borders of Aquilonia but I knew not where. He had an air about him that told me I should not trust him or his kind. My mother was holding the baby as she dabbed the tears rolling down her swollen cheeks. It appeared as if she’d been crying for hours. I looked down to see a satchel filled with the few things I owned. When I looked back at my mother, she ran from the room. Confused, I looked up to the man and before I could utter a word, he picked up my sack and grabbed me by the arm. That was the last time I saw my mother or my sweet sister alive.
Later I found out that I had been sold to a man named Koios, a Stygian aristocrat who lived in Sukhmet, to be his wife. My mother had assured him I would bear many sons, so he took me in. To this day I do not know why he wanted an Aquilonian to be his bride when he cared so little about my people. Yet I am even more bewildered as to why my mother let a beast of his nature claim me for his own. Was she trying to punish me for allowing my father to die? Mitra knew how much I was suffering already!
I lived as both a wife and slave for three years, but it felt like an eternity. I couldn’t hunt anymore like my father taught me. I couldn’t work in the garden like I did with my mother. I spent each day with the other slaves and spent each night in the filthy arms of a ruthless and selfish man. Koios had many slaves. He barked orders at us all and expected us all to obey his beck and call. I watched the women shake with fear every time Koios entered the room. Many times he took one away with him never for her to return. I often wondered where they went, but was too afraid to find out the truth. The men had such a look of defeat in their eyes, something I never saw in an Aquilonian man’s eyes. They could not be proud of their work, for it gave them no gratification to work for Koios. He had some knowledge to him but didn’t know how to behave intelligently. If he hadn’t been born into aristocracy, he would’ve killed himself long ago, be it an accident or intentional. His blood was the only think keeping him alive and in his place in the kingdom.
Every night Koios forced himself upon me, demanding a son. Every night, I cried myself to sleep praying to Mitra to save me. Finally I became pregnant. I was torn between joy and love for this little thing growing inside me, and hate and resentment for the man that abused me each day for so many months. When I finally felt the fluttering of my offspring inside me, I realized that I could not hold this cruel man’s actions against an innocent child, and knew from that moment forward I would have to protect my baby from its father.
One night in a drunken stupor, Koios raped me, insisting that I was only lying to him and that there was no baby growing inside me. He beat me as he raped me. There was such a sharp pain in my belly from the beating, that I passed out. When I woke up, I realized I was bleeding. The baby was in trouble. I hid in silence where no one would find me, until the pain of childbirth hurt so much I started to scream and cry. It wasn’t supposed to hurt like this. Something was really wrong. Many painful hours later, still alone, I gave birth to a girl. She was small and beautiful, just like Alia, but she was not breathing. I cried with her in my arms until I passed out from exhaustion.
I don’t exactly know how long I slept with her in my arms, but when I woke, there was a shadow hovering over me. The baby was gone. I looked up to see Koios. Fear filled my weakened body as he grabbed me by my hair and pulled me to his chambers. I screamed for my daughter, but he didn’t listen. He was so furious with me for having a girl, that it didn’t even matter to him that the baby was dead. He beat me again as punishment for failing him. He would’ve left me for dead if he could’ve, but he swore by Set that I would give him two sons as payback for my wrongdoing.
Something inside me died with my daughter, but something was born in me too. I now had an extreme need for vengeance against the scum of a man that did this to me. No longer would he punish me. No longer would he rape and beat me. My father taught me to fight for what was mine. And fight I would. I told no one of my plans, lest Koios find out and try to put me in the dungeons or worse yet try to kill me. I looked at the poor women and men that let themselves live a worthless life for Koios and the other nobles, and regret filled my heart. I would never understand how someone could accept a life like this, but they did. So I made my plans to leave this horrid life behind me.
I couldn’t sleep one night – thoughts kept going through my mind about how to flee. I was roaming through the quiet halls and I saw a shadow jump across the floor. I thought it must be my eyes playing with me since I was tired, so I rubbed them and turned to go back to bed. I heard a soft shuffle and saw the shadow again. Were my eyes deceiving me or was someone or something with me? I hid in a niche in the wall long enough to see a slender man stealthily working his way down the hall. Even in the dark shadows I could tell he was a strong man. I did not recognize him, but somehow I did not fear him, even though he was a Stygian like Koios. My hunting senses came alive and without realizing it, I pulled out the dagger I had hoped to pass on to my daughter. I followed the man through the house without a sound.
He came to Koios’s room and stopped. I heard whispers inside - Koios never had visitors this late at night. Something was going on. The shadowed man waited until he heard the whispers silence themselves, and then he waited 20 minutes more before he slowly crept into the room. He started to take a vase off the table just inside the door when I heard Koios’s guard yell.
“STOP YOU THEIF! IN THE NAME OF SET, STOP!”
The man turned quickly to see a bow and arrow aimed right at his heart. Before he could do anything, I heard Koios’s angry voice.
“No beast dares enter my home intending to rob me and expects to survive! Your leader doesn’t have faith in you, now does he, Lomus? Sending you here, knowing what I do to thieves and scoundrels. Ha!”
Koios knew this man? But I’d never seen him before. Gripping my dagger tighter, I had a choice to make – go after the man named Lomus trying to steal from my home, or Koios, the man who stole my life.
”You know my name? You know Artenis? That bastard! He sent me here to kill me – the coward couldn’t do it himself. He –“
“SILENCE YOU WRETCH!” Koios, raging mad, threw his goblet of wine against the wall. “Thugara, kill the savage already!”
Koios’s guard looked in fear between the two men, raised his bow again, and pulled the arrow back.
“BY MITRA, STOP THIS AT ONCE! HE’S NOT DYING TONIGHT! YOU ARE!” I shouted, jumping out from the shadows. At that moment, Lomus lunged at the guard. I moved so swiftly about Koios he didn’t notice that I had a dagger. I slit his throat as he tried to escape me. The hunter had returned!
After wiping Koios’s blood off my face, I looked up to see Lomus standing over the dead guard, weapon at ready.
“Fool of a woman, who are you and what are you doing here?”
“I was this man’s wife! Might I ask you the same thing?” I said standing above Koios, cleaning my dagger on my sleeve.
“Lomus Skol. But I have no time for chatter. I must go now! Be off with you!” He lowered his weapon and turned to leave.
“But wait, I saved your life. The least you can do is assist me in leaving this prison of a home! You go nowhere without me!” I exclaimed, grabbing him by the arm.
“YOU SAVED MY LIFE!? Hardly! I owe you nothing, woman!” Lomus pulled his arm from my grasp, still holding the vase in hand.
Pointing to the vase, I retorted, “If you are as good a thief as you make out to be, I presume you know this city well. Get me out of the city walls. That is all I ask of you! You do this and I am in your debts, Lomus Skol.”
“Fine then. Let us go now, before I change my mind. I already killed two other guards near the stairs.”
We went in silence to the city stables, took two of Koios’s horses and fled. I hardly knew the city since I wasn’t able to go about by myself during the day. Lomus showed me the way. Once we made it beyond the guard towers, I thanked him for his helping hand.
“Fair thee well, stranger!” He said as he rode off.
“You will be repaid, Lomus Skol! You have my word!” I shouted back.
After leaving the city, I traveled at night so as to avoid as many Stygians as I could. I had forgotten what it was like to be free, but I still felt like a prisoner, and would until I crossed the Stygian border. I feared the nobles of Sukhmet would send slaves after me, at least as far as Khemi, but I came across no one who knew of me. Those that did see me did not like the looks of my kind, so I dared not stay in one place too long.
My hunting skills came back rather quickly as I traveled. I had my dagger with me to start, but I knew that wasn’t going to be a big enough weapon to survive with. Shortly after leaving Sukhmet, I came across a drunken traveler. I had seen many women come through Koios’s home, charming men, tricking them into giving gifts more expensive than I could’ve imagined. I watched and learned from these women without realizing it, and was able to charm the drunkard into giving me his crossbow and bolts. It was nearly worthless, but it was better than nothing.
I made my way to Khemi in about 3 weeks time, resting every few days so my horse wouldn’t get too tired. I only stayed there just a few days as well. The streets were too crowded, people carelessly murdered those they did not like, and it was quite obvious I was not welcome. I found a perverted old man who was willing to take me across the River Styx for a taste of my body, so I agreed, knowing full and well what would happen. I insisted that he take me across first and only after he could have as much of me as he wanted. Again, the women of Stygia helped me convince this man that what I said was true. As soon as we got on the other shore, I slit his throat as I did Koios’s. He never saw it coming. And I never looked back.
Knowing that I would not be hunted outside of Stygia, the rest of the trip home was a blur. I traveled through Shem, Argos, and Ophir before making it to Shamar where I grew up. I managed to survive the trip with few injuries. I met strangers along the way, some willing to help, others turning the other way, but the closer I got, the more I heard of the wars going on in Aquilonia. I heard so many tales, I wasn’t sure what to believe and what to ignore. When I finally arrived at my childhood home, almost 3 months after killing Koios, I realized there was nothing left for me.
I expected my mother and sister to still be living there since it hadn’t been more than a few years, but there was no sign of them. Either the Zingarans or the Nemidians had come through, it was obvious. There were no bodies, so I wasn’t sure what they had done to my family, but it was clear they didn’t leave willingly. Alia’s toys were still inside and my mother’s garden was still growing vegetables, but it had started to overgrow with weeds. They had been gone just long enough that there were no hints as to where to look for them. I cried myself to sleep in my mother’s bed that night. It had finally set in how much pain and suffering she put me through, but how much I missed her and wanted her back. Alia and my daughter would’ve loved to play with each other. I missed my father, and still blamed myself for his death, for this whole situation. If he were still alive, and if I had still lived at home, maybe we could’ve forced the intruders away without harm to my family.
I was a mix of emotions the following day, realizing that I had no one left. Everyone I had loved was gone. I packed a small satchel of items, tokens to remember my family by. I took one of Alia’s favorite dolls, a little blond girl dressed in a sky blue, dress. I took one of my mother’s handkerchiefs she’d knitted and I took my father’s dagger, the same one I had returned to my mother years before. I found a few of my own things, including my treasure box, took one last look around our small, empty home, and left. I picked as many vegetables as I could since many of them had started to rot, and left for the woods where my father and I had always hunted. I didn’t know where I was going to go, but I knew that I’d find some peace in those woods so I could think things through.
I followed the Tybor River until I ended up in the same spot where my father had died. It was finally time to bury my past and start anew. I killed a rabbit for dinner, made a fire, and sat right where my father lay dead years ago. The wind blowing through the leaves of the nearby trees whispered to me as I ate in silence. I drank a whole flask of ale before I had realized it and started to fall into a deep sleep. In my dreams, my father was trying to console me. He sat up, blood on his shirt, and told me it wasn’t my fault. He demanded that I be the brave hunter he taught me to be. He told me that I protected my cub from Koios just the same way as the bear protected hers from me. He told me he loved me. My mother was praying on her knees when I entered our home. She was crying, her face red and swollen from all the tears. She latched on to me like a begging child asking for forgiveness. She said she didn’t know what else to do. The man promised that I’d be well taken care of, and that with no man, there was no way she could raise her children. She knew that my father had given me many good skills, so she thought I’d be able to manage on my own. She collapsed to the floor sobbing. I saw Alia sitting on the grass out front of our home. She was looking in the direction we came from when my father and I had come back from our hunting adventures. She looked so sad and empty, alone under the sun. She was singing a song faintly under her breath. I could barely make out the words, but knew it was a song the two of us had made up together before I was sent away. She would sing part, then I would follow, yet this time my lines weren’t sung, instead there was just silence. I tried to sing the lines for her, make her hear me, but I couldn’t utter a sound. I closed my eyes and wiped away the tears, only to see my daughter at Alia’s feet when I opened them again. They were playing with each other, laughing and smiling. They were singing the song Alia and I used to sing. She wasn’t lonely anymore; she was happy again. My darling baby was with my family where she belonged.
I woke up groggy and unsure of my whereabouts. When the clouds cleared from my mind, I remembered my dream and knew that it was time to pack up and move on. The peace I was looking for found me in my sleep. I knew only of Tarantia. I’d heard of King Conan the barbarian, but knew little about him. I wanted to find a way to serve him, to help fight back against the horrific animals that had taken away what was left of my family. I needed to find a new home and a new family, and I knew that somehow, King Conan would help me find it. Shortly after arriving in Tarantia, I heard rumors of a noble named Garek Ambrose. Under King Conan’s order, he was going to be rebuilding a city on the Aquilonian frontier and wanted followers. He was just the man I needed to see.