Alarisha Surtova, or Raven as she has come to be called, was born in Brevoy to one Alexander Surtova. Although most of those with the Surtova name basked in lives of luxury and excess, Raven’s childhood was filled with deprivation and abuse ever since her mother died on the day of her birth and her father turned to drinking. She had other siblings, of course, but her father’s wrath was more often than not directed at her rather than her other siblings since he blamed her for her mother’s death. In fact, her siblings often “joined in the fun” to help direct their father’s anger away from them and towards the sister who had taken their mother away from them.
During one of her father’s most violent of outbursts, Raven fled from her ramshackle home and ran deep into the wilderness. She quickly became completely and utterly lost and wondered for several days before she came across a strange grove that held solitary tree which bore a single piece of ripe, red fruit. Being very hungry, she fell upon the delicious-looking fruit and quickly devoured every tasty morsel. Unfortunately, as she soon discovered when a furious winged being suddenly emerged from the edge of the grove, screaming in a tongue (Aklo) the likes that she had never heard, her meal was about to come at a very high cost.
She had consumed “Fructis Vitalis” or life fruit and would live forever as long as she continued to consume the fruit at regular intervals. The problem was that life fruit trees are exceedingly rare and only bear fruit once in their lifetime. Needless to say, the fey creature by the name of Lethis who had tended the tree for the past century was exceedingly angry when he saw the human girl consume the last morsels of his own quest for immortality. He vowed then and there that she would suffer.
Raven had once thought her father to be an evil man, but she quickly came to realize that her father would be a saint compared to Lethis, her new master, who employed his magical might to make her suffer in ways that few humans could ever fathom. This torture would have continued indefinitely if age had not caught up to him. One day, Raven awoke to the rising sun, expecting to see her master’s vile grin as he chanted the words that would make her writhe in pain and agony. However, on this day she awoke to find flies gathering on her master’s dead eyes. She felt no pity for the deceased abomination, but set herself immediately to the task of chewing threw the ropes that bound her. It took no small amount of time, but in the end, she was free to spit in her dead master’s face and take everything that he had in his possession, which wasn’t much save for a strange tome bound in some type of leather. She took the tome and a few other trinkets and, not knowing which direction was out, headed deeper into the forest.
It was by fortune alone that she came upon the hut of a kindly witch after several days of wondering through the wilderness in search of a way back to civilization. There, she found not only food and refuge from a lifetime of abuse, but she found a mentor in the ways of the necromantic arts. Years turned into decades and the witch’s hair turned grey with age even though Raven’s hair remained as young and vibrant as the day she had entered the forest. Eventually, the witch died of old age, leaving Raven alone once again in a world that had not been kind to her. This time, however, Raven set out into the wilderness no longer afraid and she quickly found companionship with the creature that became her namesake – her pet raven.
In time, she found her way out of the forest and returned to her family manor, which was dilapidated and greatly in need of repair. She knocked on the door and was met by an old man who she barely recognized as one of her older brothers. At the same time, however, her brother couldn’t help but recognize her since she had aged not more than a few years since leaving their home nearly 60 years ago. As soon as the shock wore off, her brother’s expression turned into rage and roared at his “vile sister” to get of his property. Raven knew that she could have killed him then and there, but for some reason she simply turned around and left, never to return.
Much time has passed since that day and she is almost certain that her brother died long ago during the fifty or so years since she turned her back on him in front of her family manor. Raven has wondered far and wide in those fifty years, but it has only been in the last year that weakness has come into her step and hints of grey have begun to seep into her jet-black hair.
The tome bound in human leather holds the answers she seeks, but there is still more to translate and there may not be much time. She has heard of a powerful sorcerer in a nearby kingdom called Arboria. Perhaps there she can find the help she needs to translate the tome…before it’s too late.