Human War Priest of Bahamut
Core BeliefNess believes that by putting those she loves before herself, she can make the world a better place.
AppearanceA streak of white hair marks her encounter with void elementals. A Mark of the Shadow tattoo covers both shoulders in green and burgundy chromed Bestial Ink scales.
MentorMarta Silvertongue (click for full story)
In her youth, Ness longed to be a sailor. In her twenties, she joined a crew on a naval ship. It was there where she met Marta. On her second night, Ness was woken from her sleep to find Marta hovering over her, those piercing green eyes gleaming despite the darkness. "Follow me" was all she said. That night, Ness and the other new recruits were led to the messdeck where they were paired up, blindfolded, and made to perform faux battles with one another, armed with nothing more than bags of rice or slabs of salted pork. This initiation ritual, Ness later discovered, was unsurprisingly one of Marta's creation. Marta was a few years Ness's senior; a wisecracking loudmouth on broad shoulders and hips, with muscular limbs, a heavy set chest, and black hair which she would never let grow past her shoulders. Often driven by impulse, Marta was known for her infallible wit, her ability to match any man to drink, and her affinity for theatrical storytelling. Marta would regale the crew with extravagant, improbable tales of adventure, danger, and bravery, always swearing them to be true. Despite their different personalities, Ness and Marta became fast friends on the ship. They shared a love of adventure, the sea, and their captain, whom they both looked up to and respected dutifully. Through the following years of friendship, Marta showed Ness her softer side and opened up to her about her past. Marta had been betrothed to a wealthy Merchant by the name of Diergardt. It was an arrangement made by her parents, who insisted their very livelihoods depended on the union. "It's good business." Her mother would say. Having had no interest in marriage, Marta had refused, insisting she was destined to a life of adventure. She left home in an act of defiance and saught out the naval vessel. "At least you have a family to burden you with expectations." Ness said with a half smile. "I'm so sorry." Marta put a hand to her mouth. "I forgot you are an orphan." "It's okay." Ness said with sincerity. She gestured to all around her. "I have a family now." Marta and Ness shared with one another their fears, hopes and dreams. They spent many hours talking about history, philosophy, and the Gods. Like children making a pact, they declared to one day leave their life at sea, devote their lives to the gods, and fight bravely alongside one another in a great war. Together, they would often wax poetic about their future battles. "We will be known and feared." Marta said, taking a swig of wine before passing the bottle, the two of them nestled atop a platform among the ratlines. Marta jumped to her feet as she spoke, so as to use her whole body for the dramatization. "Imagine, the enemy realizing that they are up against the dreaded duo, only moments too late, as divine energy surges through us, and and we begin to strike them down one by one, until we are standing victorious with fallen foes littered at our feet!" Ness laughed and took another drink. "Something tells me we won't be known for being humble." Marta paused, and solemnly looked out at the moon lit horizon. "You'll really follow me, won't you?" "What?" Marta sat back down, her face suddenly serious, almost desperate. "I mean, we can really do it. We can really leave. Start a new chapter together." Ness leaned forward, and firmly kissed Marta on her lips. "I will follow you." And follow she did. For several months, they were inseparable. Their tumultuous love affair wasn't exactly subtle. Although relationships between sailors on the ship were frowned upon, the crew and captain turned a blind eye, hiding their knowledge in secret smiles, or the sudden need to inspect the cargo hold, or when the pair found themselves alone on the deck in front of a beautiful sunset. These little moments were not lost on Ness, who knew well that the crew were doing their best to encourage the bond they shared, and the joy and happiness that followed in the wake of the young lovers. It was during shore leave, after they'd pulled into port with a particularly lucrative trade, that words, laced with impulsiveness and drink, were spoken, and Ness would follow Marta no more. Words that sank their shared dreams. Arm in arm, a half finished bottle of mead in one hand, the lovers were finishing a night of revelry with a meandering walk back to the port. When suddenly, Marta pulled Ness into a nearby alley with a conspiratorial, manic look in her eye. "You said you would follow me, right?" She said with an air of determination. Ness, taken aback by the sudden change in her lover's demeanor, let out confused reply. "Huh? Well yeah, of course! I'm following you right now, back to the ship! And hopefully into your bunk." She said the last with a sultry smile. "No. I'm talking about our dreams. Adventure. Carving our names into the history books and the lips of bards across the lands." The tone was serious, pleading. "Let's go now, to our future! Tonight! We've been paid for this month, and it was a good haul. The captain and crew will be fine without us. Our fate can no longer be put off!" Her voice took on more of a tone of desperation, as doubt crossed Ness's countenance with each new sentence. "Follow me..." Ness, still confused by all of this, stepped back from her lover, her brow furrowed, her arm no longer entwined in Marta's. "You're serious. You... What about our contract? Our friends? We... We can't just leave them without saying anything!" Her voice gradually escalated in volume, from a whisper. "We owe them at least that! We would not have..." She was shouting now at Marta, for the first time in their union, gesticulating passionately. "...This!" She pointed first to Marta then herself. "Were it not for them and the captain pretending not to know, we might have been assigned different ships months ago!" She was angry now. "How can you suggest this!? You may be my lover and closest friend, but they are the only family I've ever had!" Tears welled up in her eyes. "You know me. How could you make me decide like this!?" Marta stiffened and took a step back. "Fine. I see now where your loyalties lay. You and your family.. you were never going to follow me." With that, Marta turned and defiantly walked away. Marta never returned to the ship. Months later, when the crew caught word of Marta's marriage to Diergardt, they were unsurprised when Ness was visibly broken. They were careful to keep their whispers away from Ness's ears, but talk of Marta's stubbornness was on all their lips. Marta had run away from home to defy her parents, and now she was running back to them to defy Ness. Ness completed her contract and said her goodbyes to her beloved captain and crew. She set off toward her new chapter, one filled with danger, adventure, and glory. It was everything she had dreamed it would be, but with one very treasured piece missing. It has now been many many years since that day on the port. Ness and Marta have since made their peace, and write to one another from time to time like old friends. Marta writes of family life, and motherhood. Ness responds in kind with well wishes, and entertains Marta with her wild tales of battle and intrigue, of everything they had planned to embark on together. Ness knows she is likely never to hold Marta close ever again. Nonetheless, she brings to a close every written letter to Marta with the words: "...follow me"
- "As Kurya the golden dragon would say: Curiosity keeps the doctor away"
Year of Birth
7726 52 Years old
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