- Name: Breena Twinneedle
- Race: Gnome
- Class: Rogue
- Flotilla: Fourth Flotilla
Breena was born and raised on the small island of Jerzee, in a small community of Dune Gnomes whose main pastime was arguing with each other. It got so heated that the community split into North Jerzee and South Jerzee, with a few central Jerzee residents that the rest of the Island kept pushing to take sides. They argued that the best devices were Giants, and others argued the best devices had Jets. They loved driving their vehicles but argued about who….and how to fill up the tanks. But most of all, they loved to argue about breakfast, with the North Jerzee gnomes claiming that Taylor Ham sandwiches were the best. The South Jerzee gnomes said they were nuts and stuck with their Pork Roll sandwiches. The WaWa clan of Halflings on the island that made the sandwiches snickered and shook their heads as they took the money. The sandwiches were exactly the same, but no one believed them.
Breena went to the Shores of Jerzee every morning with her Pork Roll sandwich and fed the seagulls some of the bread. Then she’d practice climbing some of the trees, and race the squirrels. One day she reached for a branch that wasn’t there, and she fell face first into the sand below. A gnome boy was doubled over laughing as Breena fell for his illusion, literally! She spat sand, growled, and pounced on the boy. They proceeded to beat on each other, throwing gnomish insults and puns till they were too busy laughing to throw another punch. And that’s how Breena met her best friend, Stilgo Wizzlepizz, but she never called him that.
One day, Breena went to his house, and as usual, scaled up the side and jumped into a random window. It was her favorite game to hide in his house and scare the daylights out of him, but when she jumped in, everyone seemed to be running to and fro feverishly. Stilgo’s mother clucked in her direction, “Ugh! When are you gonna learn to use a door, girl!” The father rushed by, “No time for that! They’ll be here soon. Stilgo, are you dressed yet?” Breena blinked in confusion as the gnomes were putting on the finest clothing and looking for papers for some reason. She had to dodge them as she made her way through the halls to his room. “Hey, Wizzpiss! What’s going on? I thought we were gonna hit the market today?” She heard his voice from the other side of the door. “I can’t go. I gotta get ready for wiz.…” his voice trailed off in a curse, “Dad, I look stupid in this!”
Breena barked a laugh, “You always gotta piss, and you always look stupid. I don’t care. Now come…..out…” Her words failed her as Stilgo came out, frowning, wearing what looked to be a wizard initiate robe. It draped awkwardly on his skinny frame and was too long, hiding his hands and feet. His wildly poofy hair was slicked down….with oil by the smell of it. Breena sank against the wall laughing and he glowered at her. “Yeah yuck it up, Twintits. My parents are sending me to wizard school. They say I need... discipline,” muttered the young master prankster who single-handedly disrupted Gnomvention Day as he tried to combine explosive Black Sand and spells with disastrous effect. They’re still repairing Town Hall. The Dwarven Mayor never forgave his family for that.
Breena’s eyes widened, “Oh Gnomenuts, it’s Apprentice Day already?!!! My parents are gonna kill me wondering where I am…” Stilgo’s mother fussed over his hair and straightened his robe while giving Breena a dismissive sneer. “Don’t bother. You’re too busy pretending to be a monkey for anyone to bother training you! At least MY son has a USEFUL talent!” Both Breena and Stilgo rolled their eyes. They’ve lost count of how many times their parents would argue over whose child was better and sneered at the other’s faults. In usual teenage rebellion, Breena picked her nose and flicked it at the woman. She shrieked and shooed Breena out of the house, “OUT! OUT! Southern Mongrel….” as she slammed the door in Breena’s face. Breena hurled a few pun epithets, but it’s no fun mocking a door, so she went home.
Breena ‘s home looked more like a Gnomish fortress than a house. Her parents have learned long ago that sending their willful daughter to her room for punishment would rarely keep her there. In sheer frustration, they did everything in their power to make their house escape proof, but their nimble daughter continued to find ways around the bars, locks, and gnomish traps. She scaled the walls to her bedroom window and was about to pick the locks to the barred shutters she relocked when she yelped in surprise as a strong arm opened the shutters and yanked her in. Glyphfinder Twinneedle Spryscheme, Revered and Respected Veteran of the Alizarin Blast Brigade, Honored with Awards of Bravery and Ingenuity by the Royal Family, glared at his wayward daughter as he tossed her on the bed. “You’re late.”
Breena winced and was able to stammer out some excuse when he silenced her with a gesture. “Gnome you don’t, young lady. We don’t have time for it. I’ve pulled some strings with the Mayor and arranged for you to be in the very elite group who will represent Jerzee in the Alizarin Legionnaire boot camp.” Breena paled as the last thing she wanted was to be in the army!
The old man ignored her expression and continued, “An old combat buddy of mine has personally assured me he can get you in, and will train you himself. You’re young, agile, and darned clever. I expect you to hold up the Twinneedle name….” He leans in and murmurs darkly, “And you’re not gonna give him a lick of trouble, understand, missy?”
Breena miserably nodded. She might sass Stilgo’s parents, but never her own. Her old man was quick as lightning and tough as nails. She might be quick and nimble herself, but she had yet to beat him in their daily sword training duels. She had plenty of score marks on her arms and torso, but they’re getting fewer as she got faster. One day, she will mark him. One day….
He escorted her downstairs, and her bubbly mother came up to frantically clean her up, and handed her a handmade lunch, “Oh my! It’s today! Everyone’s so excited and I told that shrew that while her boy might be able to pull nothing more than rabbits out of a hat, my baby girl is gonna save the world, just like her Father! Won’t that be wonderful?”
“y-Yeah….” Breena said with a nervous fake smile. No pressure….
There’s no traffic like Jerzee traffic. If you didn’t understand the jughandles, you’d never make it through the twisted roads of the island. Every kind of gnomish vehicle was on the road today, looking like a scene out of a Dr. Seuss book as each vehicle vied to be ridiculous and outlandish than the next, and everyone was in a sour and frantic mood, screaming vile puns as they all rattled, popped, banged, and whirred their way to the center of the Island where every gnome hoped their offspring would be paired up with an apprentice based on their talent, or their parent’s over-ambitious wishes. Any gnome that didn’t get an apprenticeship was a mark of shame to the family and viciously mocked by the neighbors.
The Fair was pure chaos with representatives of every guild in the world with shiny posters and perks with crowds at every booth. Breena ‘s eyes took in all the sights and smells. She kept trying to stop at a few booths, but her father kept pushing her along, and never took his eye off her, knowing how quickly she could slip into the crowd. She noticed a group of individuals in dark cloaks talking quietly to each other in a copse of trees, further away from the main fair. They all had ravens on their shoulders. The ravens peered at her, tilting their heads curiously. She tilted her head to mimic, grinning, and tossed some bread from her lunch in the grass before her father lightly flicked her ear. “Keep moving, and avoid those people. They’re probably pickpockets.” She rolled her eyes and sighed, moving on, but she glanced back and smiled as she saw the Ravens take her offering.
Eventually, she was dragged to the Legion booth and stern looking human soldiers were combing over the recruits with a critical eye. Breena squirmed uncomfortably as her father filled out paperwork. It would be so easy to run off while his back was turned, if not for the scarred soldier with steely eyes staring at her, almost daring her to do so. She mimicked his face, trying to look as dour as he was. He didn’t seem impressed. Bored she looked about and noticed the Dwarven Mayor talking to another human. This one seemed a bit more animated, but he had an oily smile that made her skin crawl. Next thing she knew she was engulfed in a hug. “Alright, Breena, my girl, this is it. I know you’ll do great at the camp, running circles around these clumsy oafs. Remember the motto if you get in trouble.” Breena nodded, hugging him, “Strike Twice, Strike True.” She didn’t cry but hugged a moment longer than normal. “Take care of Mom.” The gruff man coughed, trying to be tough too. “Will do. Alright, go on.” Soon she was on the large Alizarin Battleship with the other recruits, as she watched her home recede on the horizon, heading to the Alizarin Imperium. They never got there.
The Orc pirate ship struck at night, hidden in the unnatural black fog created by their cultists as they glided like a snake up the side of the ship. The orcs scaled the battleship to find the soldiers already dead, the man with the oily smile leaning against the mast smirking. The leader finally boarded and gave a toothy grin at the carnage. “Cargo intact?” he said in guttural Common. “Yes, the gnomes are secured down below.” The pirate chief grunted, pleased as he paid the man with a sack of gold and gems. “Now we orc shall have the secrets of the Black Sand.”
The man then headed to one of the smaller dispatch boats, leaving the battleship and the young gnomes to the Orcs. Unfortunately, the boat he chose was the one Breena was hiding in when the screaming began. He never noticed the illusion of a bulky blanket hiding the terrified gnome as he sailed away into the night.
Breena had a terrible headache from holding the illusion so long, and her body was cramped from staying so still, but mercifully the boat hit the beach, and the man disembarked and walked confidently unto the beach without looking back. Breena peeked up in the dawning light and she didn’t recognize where she was. Shivering, she snuck to the trees and climbed them, and began the process of slowly following the man as he headed to a strange town. There were more dwarves here she noted as she followed the man to the inn. She went to the alley and peeked in the window, watching as the Man with the Oily Smile sat at the table. Then her eyes widened in recognition and shock, as across from him sat the Dwarven Mayor of Jerzee! They talked for a while, but she couldn’t hear much, but she saw the man give him a portion of the gold and gems he received from the Orc pirates. Breena’s face reddened in rage and swore quietly under her breath. The mayor sold them out! A raven on a rooftop watched Breena unnoticed.
Her stomach gnawed in hunger as she smelled the delicious food coming from the inn. Fortunately, she still had a bit of her mother’s handpacked lunch, a bit old, but it will do. She stayed hidden in the alley, continuing to watch them as she scarfed it down. The Mayor then handed the man a paper, which he read over carefully before stuffing in his pouch. After that, the man left while the Mayor continued to enjoy his meal.
Breena debated who to follow. “Well, I know the Mayor will have to go back to Jerzee. I know where he’ll be. Besides, I gotta know what’s on that paper, and I can’t let this scumbag get away.” Decided she begins stalking the man as he began swiftly walking back out of town. She was so focused that she didn’t notice the raven following or the 2 others that joined it.
He seemed to be heading back to his boat, and again Breena took to the trees to follow him. The man paused halfway down the path. “I know you’re there. Come out.” He said in a soft voice, looking at the trees. Breena didn’t move and didn’t breathe. The man shrugged, “Have it your way.” He raised his arm and a quiet “thwip” from his hand crossbow sent the poisoned bolt flying. Breena barely dodged it as it sank into the trunk where her head was a moment ago. She scrambled further back into the woods, and the man pursued. It was all Breena could do to dodge and flip among the branches as bolts skimmed her. “You’re fast, I’ll give you that, little one,” he said calmly. It was daytime, making it harder to hide, she was hungry and tired, and the man was a skilled assassin. Eventually, he scored a bolt in her side, and she yelped and fell to the ground. He stood over her and aimed his crossbow again, when an angry squawking raven dove at his face, scratching his eyes. He raised his arms to bat away the raven. That was all the chance Breena needed as she took the long twin needles out of her hair that her Dad insisted on her wearing at all times, and leapt at the man, thrusting them both into his throat, and falling back in pain as she watched the man gurgle in death throes and fall before her.
Breena felt dizzy and nauseous and looked at the bolt in her side. The raven landed on the ground near them and cawed. Then the other two landed and in her blurred vision, they seemed bigger…..almost like changing into men. Then she blacked out.
When she woke up, she was bandaged but left in the woods. She no longer felt nauseous and there was a rolled scroll in her hand that read, “Well done. We’d been after him for months. We’ll be watching you.” and a small stamp of a raven. She looked about and cussed as only a Jerzeean could. The corpse of the man was gone and so were the Ravens. “I needed that paper! That was evidence.” She sighed in aggravation. “No one’s going to believe me when I get home…...if I can figure out how to get home. I don’t even know where I am. I tell ya, it can’t get much worse.” She says with a grunt as she stood up, only to be knocked down again as something big and feathery fell on her.
“Oof. Sorry!” Said Owlbert. He blinked owlishly at her, “Have you seen my Mother?” Breena groaned.