Disciples of the Flayed God
Born in the city of Baldur’s Gate, İskändär left his nest at age 9, joining a street flock of young adult Kenkus. As a petty thief, he became acquainted with a human rogue, Mahdat, and the two worked together for several years while also becoming close friends. Although he engaged in violent criminal activities with some level of disgust, he respected Mahdat and joined his friend in some questionable occupational vocations during their years together. Eventually, İskändär, upset with his actions and disconnected from his flock, turned to Mahdat, hoping that the two could put aside some of their more violent activities (such as slaving) and leave Baldur’s Gate behind. Initially seeming open to the idea, Mahdat suddenly vanished, leaving his friend to fend for himself.
İskändär heard nothing for over a year. Although he tried to reconnect with his flock, he felt profoundly alone and began to fall into old habits. One day a letter appeared; scrawled on the envelope were unfamiliar names: Tupac Gnomaru, Belisama, Carlos, Mari. Inside was a note from Mahdat; he apologized for his absence, informed İskändär that if he was receiving this letter, it was because Mahdat was dead, and claimed that the two would always be brothers.
Initially İskändär felt compelled to find those who had killed Mahdat. Quickly, however, the trail went cold; on top of that, İskändär’s past was quickly catching up with him. Over the next several months he traveled from city to city, committing petty crimes to make ends meet but otherwise trying to stay below the notice of his pursuers. Eventually he found himself in the city of Calimport, where he managed to secure a position at a local tavern where he, along with some hired goons, robbed unsuspecting patrons.
One day, a group of five companions – a dwarf, a dragonborn, a gnome, a halfling, and a tree-man – entered İskändär’s tavern. Something about the troop aroused İskändär’s interest – although they appeared worn and weary, he sensed that at least a few of them were hardened adventurers. For the moment he kept an eye on the group – certain that
he could find a better use for them than simply relieving them of their meager possessions.
After a few hours of careful observation, several eladrin silently entered the tavern; as İskändär shifted his gaze to the newcomers, out of the corner of his eye he saw the gnome stand up from the table and approach the eladrin. Although they stood only a few feet from him, he could hear nothing of their conversation, as if the group stood in a vaccuum. Moments later, the gnome returned to his companions and offered a quick goodbye, withdrew a blade from his belt, laid it on the table, and departed with the eladrin.
İskändär had only a second to decide upon his path; as the feyfolk left the tavern he drew up his hood and followed… A master of sneak, İskändär remained unseen and unheard through the streets of the city. The feyfolk traveled far, eventually leaving the confines of the city and entering the nearby forest. As they approached the treeline, their apparent leader halted the gnome before entering the wood. This was İskändär’s chance.
“Don’t move,” said İskändär, holding his rapier to the back of the gnome’s neck. But to the gnome, the voice was familiar.
“The one who you called Mahdat is dead, as you well know. Turn and face me so I can know the face of his murderer.”
Tupac turned, slowly, and with a flick of his hand the sound of twigs snapping came from behind the kenku.
İskändär hesitated for only a second, but it was enough – Tupac withdrew his wand and pointed it at İskändär. “If it is my life you are after, you are welcome to try and take it. But you should know I did not kill Mahdat.”
“You better explain yourself, and quickly…”
It was not long before the eladrin returned to guide Tupac to the portal between planes, but by the time they did, both rapier and wand had been sheathed.
It seemed that for the first time in several years, İskändär felt no compulsive need to lie or cheat – he had listened intently, if not completely patiently, to the gnome’s tale, and took Tupac at his word that he and his companions had not murdered Mahdat, even if they had been complicit in his death. As he listened, he felt a longing for the gnome’s adventures, and, most of all, for a flock to call his own. In the end, a bargain was struck – İskändär would forgive the gnome and his companions of any wrongdoing, and in exchange, Tupac told İskändär where his friends could be found, and guaranteed that they would accept him by giving him a special gift – a set of magical dice.
Of course, İskändär felt no need to show his hand – why would he, if he could bluff his way to the vast riches of a dwarven hold?