I’m not really sure what happened that day, and I respect her decision to keep it that way. All I heard was a loud shriek and then Rikke came running back out of the bushes.
Early LifeBorn to a Hartilian father and Brelish mother, Rikke spent most of her early childhood living in their estate in the heartland of the Empire of Pallernen. Her father, Frâgerich Geirwichen, a kind and soft-spoken man, is a lord in service of the Duke of Amilenlân. He had met Rikke’s mother, Telētea Ūai Racai, while visiting his cousin in South Tellaiti. Months after Frederikke’s sixth birthday, her mother sent her to study with the Hillenist clergy. At home she was strict and disciplined, teaching the young girls the responsibilities of a lord’s wife so that she could be prepared for the future. While she hated her mother’s strict style of teaching, she did enjoy some of the lessons, namely the ones that involved finances and bookkeeping.
HVSS LawsIn the Empire of Pallernen and many other countries where Hillenism is the state religion, those born with hyperreactive vitatie sensitivity syndrome are condemned to death. Parents of such people must hand their child over to the local clergy or whichever authority rules over their territory. Failure to comply with the law comes at a heavy cost. While those who are handed over freely to the authorities are provided with a swift and merciful death, those harbouring them could face crucifixion or the flames of a pyre. The same brutal fate awaits all of those with the condition who attempt to flee or conceal their true nature.
Tainted BloodLife had been fairly normal for Rikke, but everything would change after her hyperreactive vitatie sensitivity syndrome was uncovered. At the age of 12, Rikke began having frequent nosebleeds. Her parents were well aware of what that meant and the dangers it imposed to both their daughter and their entire family. They chose to isolate the girl from the world, telling people that she was terribly sick all while they looked for solutions. For nearly two years the girl’s parents argued over the fate of their daughter, destroying whatever love may have existed between them in the process. Rikke’s father loved his daughter and wanted to keep her safe in their estate, but Telētea feared that the truth about their daughter would one day see the light of day and that they’ll lose all they have for defending someone whose condition warrants death.
Sooner or later her secret will be revealed. Whether by your drunken ramblings or by a treacherous servant, someone will uncover the truth and when that happens, we’ll both be hanging from a cross. I’m sure our lord is reasonable enough to compensate us for this lost daughter and all the time and effort we’ve spent trying to educate her.Rikke’s father, Frâgerich, resisted Telētea’s calls to hand their daughter over to the authorities for a while, but eventually he was forced to concede. His wife had grown impatient. She threatened to go alone to the Duke of Amilenlân and at that point there was little that Frâgerich could do to keep Rikke home. Nearly broken by his defeat and fearful about the fate of his daughter, Rikke’s father presented Telētea with a final compromise. The two of them would banish Frederikke from their home, forcing her to take on a new identity. Since only a few had ever seen what she looked like after her symptoms had been revealed, they hoped no one would know of her connection to them. Telētea reluctantly agreed to the compromise and told all she could that the terrible disease that had kept Frederikke isolated from the world had claimed her life.
Death and RebirthOn the day of her banishment, Rikke was told never to use her real name again by her mother. She ordered her to move far away so that no one could ever recognise her. Her father’s words to her were more endearing. He showed faith in her and believed that she could live a happy life free from the fear of death. Out of sight from Telētea, Frâgerich handed Rikke his personal dagger, a pouch of coins, and enough clothes and supplies that would keep her alive for a while. With that, she was forced to leave her home. Frederikke left her home a day before her supposed funeral was supposed to take place. Her new life led her north, to the great city of Eberstêi.
New BeginningsTravelling on the open road, Frederikke was distraught and in fear for her future. She knew of the risks that came with the condition she had been cursed with, but she also knew of its powers. During her time studying with the faithful of Hillen, she had stumbled across books describing vitality magic. Those powers had intrigued her even before she knew that her blood had the power to bend others’ blood to her will.
Road to EberstêiFrederikke had walked the whole day after her banishment, finally taking a rest on a broken log near the road as the sun set. While resting her legs, a rider came galloping on their horse toward her. Fear set in once again as Rikke expected the worse. A hand held on the concealed dagger, she stood back up and kept her eyes on the approaching woman on her steed. The rider seemed focused on the road ahead of her and nearly failed to spot the scared girl standing by the log. Concerned, she slowed her horse down and approached Rikke, asking if she was in need of aid. Relieved, Frederikke asked if the rider’s steed could carry her to wherever the rider was headed toward.
Alehouse AccountantAlyed of Rittsvel, the rider who had found Rikke, agreed to help the young struggling girl. While they were moving further north, the two of them talked about all manner of topics, learning to know one another. Alyed paid close attention to her skills and suggested to Rikke that she could put her accounting talent to good use in the alehouse she worked at. Frederikke trusted Alyed and felt indebted to her for the help she had received. When they arrived at the alehouse in Eberstêi, the rider introduced her to the owner of the establishment, Boglaw Teffer. The peculiar middle-aged man seemed impressed with her knowledge and welcomed Rikke onto their team.
Blood and Vengance
Everything is fine here. I have a stable job, a roof over my head, and good friends who I can rely on, but nevertheless there’s still something that irks me. I think the time has come for me to resolve some old issues.
Vitality MagicThe new life Frederikke had made for herself had given her a chance of a normal life, but still her secret had to be kept safe. Not even the friends she had made knew of the burden she carried. In secret, Rikke learned all she could about the powers she possessed by spending her income to gain access to a grand private library. With that knowledge, she was able to learn the basics of vitality magic. Through those books, she realised that the nightmares, depression, and anxiety that haunted her periodically were a symptom of her condition.
ReturnVisions of her mother tormenting Rikke kept her up during several nights, and the days had become bleak and tiring. Every day Frederikke’s anger and resentment towards Telētea grew deeper until she could no longer continue with the life she had built for herself. The pain and trauma inflicted upon her had to be dealt with. Without dealing with Telētea, Rikke feared she would never be safe. Exactly four years after her supposed death, Frederikke went back south together with Alyed. Her friend was unaware of what was about to happen, but she promised to back her up, nonetheless. Covered in shawl and veil, Rikke approached the site of her grave. It was a cloudy day, but the sun still shined brightly between the clouds. Rikke spotted her mother and father looking over at her grave. Frâgerich was laying a wreath on the site, but Telētea seemed annoyed. She moved away from her husband, towards a more secluded spot in the park. Seeing as she was isolated from others, Rikke snuck forwards, moving between the trees and avoiding attention.
Frâgerich's ContributionsFrâgerich heard his wife’s screams, but was in no hurry to respond. Once he had arrived at the scene of the murder, he and the others who had accompanied him noticed the strange wound. He knew what had happened and understood his daughter’s fury. What love he had once felt for Telētea had long perished, but he was glad that his daughter was still alive. He kept his silence and did what he could to prevent anyone from blaming vitality magic on the death.
Blood in the SunRemoving the glove from her hand, she readied her father’s dagger and slit open her palm, letting the blood rise from the wound. Lifting it up to the sun, Rikke imbued her blood with vitatie den, gathering a crimson mist around her. Concentrating the power of her blood, Frederikke targeted her mother’s external carotid artery, bursting it open and letting blood splatter across the grass. As her screams of anguish deafened the chatter and birdsong, Rikke rushed back to Alyed and fled the scene with no one knowing of their involvement.
Saviour of the EnemyFollowing the murder of her mother, Rikke kept wearing gloves at almost all times, concealing her bandaged hand. While a wounded hand was not necessarily a death sentence, it would have aroused suspicion with the Inquisition of Athe. The prestigious Hillenist military order had been sent from the Athe to root out heresy, the Aberati, and vitality mages from the Empire of Pallernen. The influence and presence of the order had grown rapidly in city after Ruprecht Aliswichen, Count of Eberstêi, invited the inquisitors to root out the taint from the denizens.
Close CallOne day, as Rikke looked at the various wares in the market, a group of inquisitors began surveying the scene for signs of trouble. While trying to blend into the crowd, one of the inquisitors, a young woman roughly her age, stopped her and asked if Rikke could remove her gloves. Knowing that refusing would only make things worse, she removed the gloves, hoping that she could come up with a persuasive story to explain her hand. Before she could take off her left-hand glove, however, a kerfuffle had broken out right behind them.
Scuffle in the AlleyA cloaked man had stabbed one of the other inquisitors and fled towards a nearby alley. Taimi, the woman who had been inspecting Rikke, rushed after him. It would have been the perfect opportunity to the market and to avoid the inspection, but Rikke felt compelled to follow the two. When she arrived in the alley, Rikke witnessed the two struggling over a sword on the muddy ground. It looked as if the man was about to pull out an additional dagger, but Rikke moved in quick and kicked him below the rib.
SaviourFrederikke’s intervention in the conflict had allowed the inquisitor to recover and take control of the situation. With the sword firmly in her hand, Taimi arrested the man and handed him over to the other inquisitors. Feeling indebted to Rikke for potentially saving her life, Taimi promised to make sure that she and the other inquisitors would always have her back. The two women would go on to become friends, but Rikke remained silent about her condition and injured hand.
Religious ViewsBoth of Frederikke’s parents were faithful followers of Hillen and tried living in accordance with Abrea's teachings. Rikke was also taught by the Hillenist clergy, but after the discovery of her condition, she became disillusioned with it as that branch of Abreanism would have preferred to see her dead. After moving to Eberstêi, she looked into some of the other branches as well. First reading into Baglamism and then into the original Orthodox ways, but neither of them seemed to fit her, albeit the Orthodox beliefs were the closest to her moral framework. Eventually she gave up searching for a sect as she felt like all she really needed was faith in Abrea herself, not some organised religion that would tell her how to live her own life.
Empire of Pallernen
The Empire of Pallernen is a feudal monarchy in southern Lethea that has for centuries been the most influential and powerful human nation on the continent.
Hillenism is the largest branch of the Aprēan religion. Followers of the faith believe in the teachings of Hillen, the hero whose sacrifice saved the world from the Invasion.
Hyperreactive Vitatie Sensitivity Syndrome
Hyperreactive vitatie sensitivity syndrome is a non-hereditary condition that affects a tiny fraction of the population and grants them the powers of vitality magic at the cost of their mental health.