Ezra

Everyone deserves an open ear and a helping hand

Deep inside, Ezra is a good-hearted person, trying to bring good to this world. But, as a Changeling, they struggle with their own sense of identity and hide behind Personas they have fabricated throughout their life. Their continued self-deception fuels their deepest fear - losing the little they've learned about their true identity.
 
Ezra firmly believes Selune, the goddess of the moon, stars, wanderers, questers and protector of all shape-changing creatures, guides them, to bring good to everyone around them. Their parent taught them to be understanding and accepting of anybody, helping wherever they can; always having an understanding ear for those who are lonely and a helping hand for those in need.

Personas

Ezra can take on the look of anybody they have ever encountered. But they do not just change their appearance, they build complete Personas around each of their faces. Those Personas range from shallow Masks they just use for a very short amount of time to full Lives they live for multiple years. All their Personas are them, some are just "more them" than others.   Between all those different personas, if you look really closely, you will find similarities. For one, Ezra can change minor details about their look, so they try to always use the same slight purple eye color, if they can. Using an appearance without this eye color makes them feel incomplete and vulnerable. It's their anchor when everything else changes; something fixed that always stays the same. Also, their love for music is noticeable, no matter which Persona they are currently using. They always love playing and creating music, sometimes just for themselves, sometimes for others.

Masks

The most simple Personas Ezra calls Masks. Masks are always a means to an end and lack most depth. They just take over a face for a specific situation or goal, but hate doing it, as it feels like literally wearing a mask and acting out a role. They will only use Masks if they are forced to do so, or think they can achieve something they could never do otherwise. Wearing a mask feels like lying to everybody around them and even if they are incredibly good at deceiving people, they really hate doing it.
 

Lives

On the other extreme, they have Personas they call Lives. They create Lives, if they intend to stay at a place for a long time. Lives are exactly what they sound like. They are complete Personas and Personalities they live for multiple years. They create bonds and friendships with others, but never let somebody get too close, as they know they will move on to another life at some point.
 
We can't stay in one place forever, it's too dangerous. People fear us for what we can do, and who could blame them? Someone with our abilities could impersonate their best friend, their wife, a guard or even the king himself, and they might never know. They do not understand what we do. People fear the unknown and fear brings them to do horrible things. It's better if they don't know what we are, and what we can do.
— Myzra to Ezra
 
They use Lives to improve as a person and learn new things, while helping those around them. Lives will influence all current and future Personas in some form, but once they leave a Life behind, they won’t use that Persona anymore. Leaving a life behind is one of the hardest things they do, so providing a clean cut by no longer using the Persona is easier than constantly being reminded of what they have left behind. Reasons for leaving are usually either fear of being detected as a changeling, or the feeling of having accomplished enough to move on and help others somewhere else.
 

True Personas

But the Personas most close to their heart, they call True Personas. Those Personas are truly them; at least they see it that way. Those are Personas they are regularly using and feel most comfortable with. If they don’t need to hide, they will freely switch between those Personas, depending on what they need at the time. During living one life they might decide to switch to one of their True Personas, when nobody is watching, or spend a few days in one of those Personas as some form of vacation.

Jess
The Fighter and Leader
Appearance: They actually don’t know who this face belonged to originally. It’s a Persona they’ve inherited from their parent. It was Myzra's go to Persona if things got tough and they thought it would be a good idea to give that to their child.
Jess by Setsu
Jess by Setsuretsu
  Instrument: Viola
 
Is this All You've Got? Don't try to fool me. I know you can do better than this! I've seen you do way more impressive things! Get up, and show them what you've got, or was it all luck previously? Yeah, I don't think so either, so stop pitying yourself and get the fuck up!
— Jess
 
Jess is a natural leader, using her charismatic Personality to push others to their limit. She wants to get the best out of everybody, but would never demand something she would not be comfortable doing herself.   She thinks way more analyticly than Nic and in contrast to her she has no problem in fighting for what she thinks is right and to protect the people she cares about even by force if necessary. She will still try to find another solution, but won’t push it as far as Nic would.

Nic
The Traveler and Best Friend
Appearance: Shortly after leaving home, Ezra met a girl named Rebecca and traveled with her for a few days before reaching waterdeep. A friendship formed between the two, the first real friendship Ezra ever had, and that made them panic and they ran off. To this day, they wonder what happened to their first real friend.
Nic by Setsu
Nic by Setsurets
  Instrument: Harp Guitar
I know it's sometimes hard to stand back up. But they don't know you, so don't let them tell you what you can or can't do. I'm sure you will be able to do this, eventually. But for now, how about just grabbing a drink and hanging out? Sometimes taking a break is the best thing you can do. Let's get your mind off what just happened.
— Nic
 
Nic is a happy, good-hearted and curious person who enjoys traveling and seeing the world. She is open and outgoing, does not think much about what she does and acts more on instinct and what feels right in the moment. She wants to enjoy life to its fullest, but wants for others to do so as well. She will happily take a step back and cheer on everybody around her.   Nic will go out of her way to avoid a fight and find a peaceful solution for everyone involved. She will fight for what she thinks is right, but only after exhausting every other possibility. She was the first, and so far the only True Persona Ezra built themselves. Using the face of their first real friend to do so seemed fitting to them.



Their True Self

But if they would look deep into themselves, they would realize something. All those Personas, all those Lives and Masks, are not really them, at least not fully. They tell you they move on, because they fear being detected as a changeling or have accomplished enough and they really believe that lie, but that still does not make it true. The truth is, they subconsciously realize that there is more to them than that one Life and they become restless until they have to leave it behind and move on. In some sense they are running from themselves.
 
Because buried beneath all of those Personas, hidden deep inside of them, there is another Persona. A Persona they are not even aware of yet, or just chose to ignore. This Persona is their True Self, this is who they really are. Not one of their lives, not one of their True Personas, but a combination of all of them and so much more.

History

Ezra - Their first Life

Ezra
by Portrait Workshop
Instrument: Harp
Ezra was born in the small town of Red Larch, just a few days north of Waterdeep. They were raised by their single changeling parent Myzra, who settled in Red Larch, just weeks before giving birth to Ezra. Ezra never met their father, and Myzra never talked much about him. The only thing Ezra knows is that he is an Elf, who Myzra met during their travels.   Ezra learned very early on everything they had to know to blend in with others. They learned a lot about many different cultures, their history and language, they learned how to forge documents if necessary and they learned how to help people with healing and medicine. They also learned how to play different stringed instruments and how to create music. Music always had and always will have a big place in Ezra's life, the same way it has in Myzra's.   So for the next few years, both their days looked pretty similar. They worked together on the fields in the morning and studied in the afternoon. From time to time Ezra helped at a local inn, just to earn some extra coin and meet new people. They always enjoyed talking to strangers and hearing stories from all over the world.  
Ezra's Medal
Myzra's Medallion by Setsuretsu
At roughly ten years old, Ezra grew really sick. To this day, they do not have any memory of that time. Myzra did all they could to save their child, but their knowledge and abilities eventually reached their end. When all seemed lost, a priest of Selune, covered in a long veil and colorful clothes, came through Red Larch. This priest heard of Ezra's conditions and used the magic of Selune to cure Ezra. For Myzra this was a deeply spiritual experience. Myzra always knew that Selune was the protector of all shape-changers, but this event made them realize that Selune really seems to care about all of them, and they began to worship her, as well as teaching Ezra the basics about that faith.   Before leaving, the priest gifted Myzra a small medallion with the symbol of Selune. Later on in Ezra's life, they will find out the truth about this small gift and they will learn about a connection they have to Selune, but at this point neither Myzra nor Ezra had any idea about what they had just gotten or why that priest helped the two of them.   Ezra had learned everything their parent had to teach them shortly before their 15th birthday and the day that had been lingering at the horizon for so long got closer and closer. Out of fear of being detected, Changelings never stay in a place for too long. It is even rarer that two changelings stay together for an extended period of time. So Ezra knew from an early age that they would have to leave this life behind and move on at some point. They also knew that after they left this place, Myzra would move on to another life as well, and the two would never meet again. And now this day had come.  
I always knew this day would come eventually, but this does not make it any easier. The last 15 years with you have been the best ones of my life. I love you and I always will, but it's time to say goodbye. I know you will find your way through this world, and I know you will do great things. So go out there and be the best person you can be and Selune will protect and guide you. Have a great life, do good and be safe. I love you.
— Myzra
  The two celebrated Ezra's birthday together one last time. It's custom for changelings to gift their children a necklace before they leave. A changeling will use this necklace to keep trinkets of all their lives, a way to remember who they have been in the past. So as a parting gift, Myzra gifted such a necklace to their child, already holding the medallion of Selune as Ezra's first trinket. This necklace is Ezra's most valued possession, and the Medallion is their connection to their first life in Red Larch. Under no circumstances would they part with either of those two. Additionally, Myzra gave their own armor to Ezra. An armor that can change appearance at will, to fit any Persona Ezra might use in the future.   So after sunrise the next morning, Ezra and Myzra heavy heartedly said their last goodbyes, assuming they would never meet again, and Ezra made their way towards Waterdeep, leaving their first life behind.
 

Alex - A Barkeep in Waterdeep

Alex
Alex by Portrait Workshop
As Ezra arrived in Waterdeep, the sheer size of this city amazed them. They spent the first few days just exploring the city, enjoying the bustling and lively atmosphere. But eventually they had to settle down and find a more permanent place. So they created a new Persona, another Life, Alex. He was a warm and outgoing guy, always open for a friendly conversation. He enjoyed being around people and listening to music. He always had an open ear, for everyone who just wanted someone to talk to. In hindsight, he was pretty similar to Nic.   In their first few days in Waterdeep, they stumbled upon a nice, cosy place called the Night Sky Tavern. The name by itself immediately piqued their interest, and the moment they stepped inside, they knew they would love this place. The tavern was owned by a dwarven family who were big music enthusiasts, even if they could not play much music themselves. So instead they tried to provide a stage for new and experienced musicians alike. Every evening, to this day, you will find a new artist playing there. So when Ezra heard they were looking for a barkeep, they immediately applied.   From their first day on, Alex loved working at the tavern. Talking to regulars, travelers and strangers alike, listening to all kinds of music every day and sometimes even playing a bit himself, when he was asked to join in. The two owners made him feel at home and part of their family, even letting him stay in one of their rooms for the first few months, till he found a place for himself. It quickly became his home and he worked there day in and out for the next five years.
Ezra's Coin
Alex' Coin
  Outside of work, Ezra really enjoyed living in Waterdeep. The anonymity of such a big place allowed them to switch to their True Personas regularly and enjoy everything Waterdeep had to offer. They met a lot of new people, helped many and formed a few friendships. But eventually they grew restless and moved on. As goodbyes are always hard, they just left a written note. They added a strange coin they got as their first tip to their necklace, a reminder of their life as a barkeep in Waterdeep, and headed northwards.  

Chris - The Bard of Triboar

Instrument: Cello
After leaving Waterdeep, Ezra traveled through Red Larch, all the way up to Triboar. While not being as busy as Waterdeep, Triboar is still active all day and night. Many travelers and merchants come through here every single day and Ezra decided they wanted to stay here for a while. So they built yet another Persona, Chris, a beautiful, confident young woman, with a passion for music.   She quickly found a job at a small local general supply shop and worked there for the next four years. But the thing she enjoyed most was playing her cello and singing every evening in one of the local taverns, inns, or restaurants. Ezra could not switch as freely between Personas as they could in Waterdeep, but it mattered little. They really enjoyed being Chris and playing music, but when they really wanted to take a break, they just became a traveler coming through town for a day or two.  
Ezra's Bone Tooth
Chris' Bone Tooth
A few months before moving on to another life, while Chris was playing at a local Inn, she was approach by a traveling Halfling, Norace. He thanked her for her music and the two started talking, sharing stories, and the time just flew by. Norace stayed at the inn for a few days, listening to Chris' music every single evening. Before he left, he gifted her a small tooth carved from wood, as a trinket for good luck. Weeks after he left, Chris noticed they could unscrew the top part of the tooth, revealing a little compartment inside filled with some exotic spice. Before moving on, Ezra added the tooth to their necklace, as a reminder of their life as a bard and musician in Triboar.

Orba - The life that should not have been

Orba by Setsu
Orba by Setsuretsu
Instrument: 12-stringed Guitar
  At 24 years old, Ezra wanted to move on to Neverwinter. Before traveling off so far away, they wanted to take a last look at their hometown, as it was just a few days away from Triboar. But what they found scared them. The town was partially destroyed by an attack by the Dragon Cult. The strange and terrifying thing, nobody seemed to remember it happening, or even cared about the destroyed buildings. Everybody acted like nothing had happened. So scared, confused but intrigued by what had happened, they followed the trail of the cult. Traveling as Jess or Nic, over the course of about a month, they tracked down the Cult into the Mere of Dead Men.   Arriving in the Mere, Ezra ran into a fight between a few local Lizardfolk and Gnolls. In a split second decision, they took on the form of a Gnoll, whose corpse they had found just a few hours ago. Luckily, the fighting Gnolls did not recognize their dead brother, and took Ezra in. Ezra never intended to stay for long, but living there for just a couple days made them realize that there was a lot of good that could be done here.   So what should have just been a quick mask escalated into a full-blown life, and for the next nine months, Ezra was Orba and lived with the Gnolls. He became their pack healer, used his knowledge about herbalism and medicine, as well as his magic secretly, to help the sick and wounded. He was still looking for what the Cult was doing there and soon learned that the Gnolls seemed to work for the Cult. They had been driven out of their original home, and the Cult provided a perspective for them. But there was not much he could do by himself, so he just tried to make the best out of this situation.
Ezra's Dragon Scale
Orba's Dragon Scale
  One day, when transporting valuables for the Dragon Cult through the swamp, a group of adventurers showed up. This was his chance, maybe his only chance to change things, so he took it. Together with the group, he knocked out the remaining Gnolls and started a long process to free the Gnolls and local Lizardfolk from the influence of the cult.   As a parting gift, after the cult was defeated, Methuzela, a dragon leading the Lizardfolk, gave one of their own scales to Orba and Ezra added that one to their necklace as well. It is their reminder of their life in the Mere.

New Beginnings

TheThundercatsLV8
The Thundercats by Setsuretsu
After freeing the Mere from the influence of the Cult, Ezra joined the group of Adventurers, now called "The Thundercats". Ezra did not have much of a choice, as traveling to Waterdeep as a gnoll would have been incredibly difficult, so they revealed their nature to the Thundercats. Together they traveled back to Waterdeep, to take part in a council between the major factions of the Sword Coast and plan what to do about the Cult.   Usually, this would be the time when Ezra would create another life, but this time was different. This time they did not fully leave their last life behind. They were still working against the Cult, the same way Orba had been, and the other members of the Thundercats knew about their nature and who they have been in their previous life. For the time being, they were traveling as their True Personas, most of the time as Nic.   Ezra always felt some sort of connection to Selune. They always somehow knew that she was guiding and protecting them. During their life as Alex, they often visited the House of the Moon, a temple of Selune in Waterdeep and after all that had happened in the Mere, and for the first time in their life not being able to do a clear cut from their previous life, they visited the temple another time. And while being there, they had a deeply spiritual experience.  
Ezra found themselves in an endless desert of white sand, under a beautiful night sky, and the sound of quiet music in the air. Even if they did not know where they were, it felt nice and safe. Taking a deep breath, they walked towards the horizon, further and further. Beautiful white sand stretching as far as their eyes could see. After what could have been minutes or hours, they arrived at a raised stone platform, five mirrors standing on top of it.   Standing between the five mirrors, they turned around to look at the first one, just to not see Nic's face, but the face of a young half-elven boy. "My first life. It was so long ago.", they thought. Turning to the next mirror, a man with wavy hair and a well-kept beard looked back at them. "Alex, I wonder what happened to that tavern. I hope it is still around." And another mirror, this time a girl, her hair beautifully made and a cello in her hand, "Chris, I loved playing music every day. It was nice". And then the fourth mirror, starring back at them, an old and kind Gnoll, "Orba, I hope I did well.".   Then they closed their eyes and turned to the fifth mirror. A bit of fear struck them. The first four showed their four lives, but what will the fifth show? They did not have a fifth life yet. Taking a deep breath, they slowly opened their eyes, but the mirror stayed empty.   “Who are you?”
  Later that day, they sat in a tavern with their new friends, looking at their medallion and processing what had happened in the temple earlier. Restlessly they experimented with the medallion, until they noticed a tiny slot on its side, just enough to fit a needle in. They quickly scrambled through their bag, till they found a little needle among their herbalism tools. They pushed it into the slot, and to their surprise the medallion opened up, revealing five pieces of empty sheet music, impossibly folded over each other.   Four of them had a small symbol in the top right corner: the medallion itself, a copper coin, a bone tooth and a dragon scale; perfect drawings of the trinkets they always carry around their neck, their connections to their previous lives; and the fifth one, completely empty. The medallion they have been carrying for years is not just a medallion. It is an ancient artifact. It is The Endless Score. An item that exists outside of time, with no beginning, and with no end, with no origin and with no resolution.   Being struck by a burst of inspiration, they frantically wrote a melody onto the sheet with the Dragon Scale. Just a few minutes later it was done, and the first part of a piece of music, describing them fully and whole was born - Orba’s Theme. A piece that will take them months or even years to finish, but a melody that is truly their own. And once this new melody filled the tavern, the divine magic of Selune came with it.  
EzrasThemePlaceholder

Whatever will happen next, one thing is certain. This time will be different. This time, they won't just be able to move on and build another life. This time, they can't run away from their previous life. This time, they will finally have to deal with who they really are. So...
"Who are you deep inside?"

Footnotes

Ezra has been creating theme songs for the other members of the Thundercats. They are playing them on various stringed instruments in world, but I created full orchestral versions of them as well. Give them a listen if you want to and I hope you'll enjoy them!
Character Portrait image: Ezra by Setsuretsu

Comments

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27 May, 2021 11:23

I love Ezra so much! The artwork is gorgeous and I really do love that you have included sound clips too, especially since music is so important to the character. Excellent work Satrium and I can't wait to read and hear more about Ezra and their journey! <3

27 May, 2021 19:45

Thanks for your kind comment! I will eventually add Ezra's own theme to this article, but I first have to finish it and that might take a while. I'm also really excited to see where Ezra's journey will go. I will probably write an update at some point.

28 May, 2021 08:12

I am loving this character and their struggle. I would love to see more of them maybe in a story all their own. The music you have added is amazing. I can't wait to hear more of your music whether in other articles or even in this one.   Do NOT ever lose that creative spark.

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29 May, 2021 15:58

You will get to see more about them at some point. Not sure yet in which form, but I definitely will write more about them. Also, there will be more music eventually, and I'm really glad you enjoyed it. I am currently working on Ezra's own theme, and once it is done, I will add that to the article as well.

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
28 May, 2021 12:35

This is really a great article :D I love Ezra and all of his different personnas :D   I know you've said it's already too long, but I think I would like at the beginning an explanation of the danger changelings face and why it's so important for them to stay hidden. Even if you write a full article on changelings, I think this is an important background for Ezra character and would really help highlight the danger they face - maybe even show the example of what happened to the last one who got caught.

29 May, 2021 15:56

Thanks! As always after one of your comments, I now need to think about how to fit that into the article, because it's an amazing idea, and definitely should be there.

2 Jun, 2021 22:23

Great article! Watched it on stream and love all the music and images you added. Well thought out stuff and nice quotes. Was very nice to learn about changelings here. Great job!

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3 Jun, 2021 12:09

Thanks! Glad you liked it :D

Eallixy
Eallixy
27 Jun, 2021 12:40

Love all the detail in this article! Especially the stuff about the eye colour, it shows so much about them ^^ I was wondering how you play into changelings during games? Like does the party know or do they try to keep it hidden? I've played a changeling for a little while some time ago, but I felt like I couldn't really get into the character much as revealing being a changeling while hunting down doppelgangers was definitely a bad idea ^^

27 Jun, 2021 13:14

Thank you! Ezra has been living in my brain rent free for over half a year now.   About playing them: Originally the group just knew Ezra as Orba. So for them I played a Gnoll Bard. But eventually the story came to a point where Ezra thought, they have to reveal their nature to the party in order to not risk loosing their trust. So they did (that happened like 5-6 session in). Ezra is still very secretive about their past, and their true (natural) form, but yes the party knows that they are a changeling and have seen them change between Orba, Nic and Jess (and one or two random people for infiltration reasons).   Outside of the group, only two other characters know. A friendly NPC and Ezra's parent. And for the time being they want to keep it that way. They trust the group enough to not judge them for what they are, but they still fear what the rest of the world would do to them.

Eallixy
Eallixy
27 Jun, 2021 15:40

Ah cool, thanks for sharing! Sadly the campaign I played a changeling in stopped before I could really go in depth sadly. I might take some inspiration about how you setup the personas and such, if you don't mind for if I ever play a changeling again, it sounds like a nice system to differentiate between masks, lives and personas ^^

27 Jun, 2021 19:59

It's always a bummer if a campaign ends prematurely, but sometimes there is not much you can do about that.   Honestly feel free to take as much inspiration from this article as you like. That's one of the main reasons I'm sharing my stuff. I've been thinking a lot about Ezra, so it's amazing if it inspires other people as well.