Espiritus de Alabastros
Espíritu? Demonio? Ninguno de los dos. Solamente soy un simple Youkai
- Merryl -
Race: Hengeyokai (sparrow)
Age: 99 (story)
Sneak attack +1d6
Steal spell (0 or 1st)
:-: Sparrow form stats :-:
STR: 1 | -5
DEX: 23 | +6
CON: 10 | +0
INT: 10 | +0
WIS: 8 | -1
CHA: 17 | +3
Speed: 1ft/fly 50ft
AC: 24 = 10 + 6 (dex) + 8 (size)
Touch AC: 24
Flat-footed AC: 18
Saving throws: 0/6/1 (fortitude/reflex/will)
Communicate w/animals (sparrows)
+10 disguise checks, when disguise as sparrow
Gather information +5
Knowledge arcana +1
Knowledge local +4
Move silently +4
All the way back to my first memory, I remember him being there.
He was always there. His warm smile and his soft voice.
He would approach our nest, smiling tenderly, and he would leave us crumbs to eat everyday, speaking with a hushed and kind voice as he watched us dearly.
I think that, even back then, I was different from others of my kind.
When my parents and siblings left, I stayed behind. I felt attached to him, intrigued by his mysterious doings, entranced by his presence.
People called him a rogue. A rogue, as I came to learn, is someone who works at night, does a lot of sneaking around, follows people around, and sometimes has to take people down and make them bleed.
People also called him a sorcerer. Sometimes they were awed at his power. Other times they cowered before his might.
A legendary scoundrel with great magical prowess. It was he who I worshipped.
He, whom both the people and his targets would call: BlackBird.
For years, I was content with just following him around during the day in his daily comings and goings and then awaiting his return every morning. Sometimes he would be cheerful. Other times he would be silent, and he would brood by the window in our home, watching the sky and the city below. I would sing for him then, in a small effort to soothe him. And he would smile. His soft and kind smile. And he would call me in his quiet, warm voice, “Merryl, my little Merryl”. Through tears and laughter, I remained his little Merryl. I couldn’t imagine myself happier.
I thought those days would last forever.
I was wrong.
One night, many years ago, it all came to an end.
That night, he had stayed home and we were both peacefully asleep when suddenly there was a huge crash as the window’s glass shattered. In the darkness I saw it, a cloaked figure standing menacingly above him. But he was no coward or a weakling.
They battled furiously, daggers clashing, with blows so quick you couldn’t quite see them. But then, just as he had finally pinned the attacker to the floor, from out the window, silent and deadly, unseen, an arrow flew, and it hit him. And a second. And a third. He collapsed, bleeding. He couldn’t move. “Poison…” he said in a strangled whisper.
I wished to protect him. Him who I loved and idolized. I flew at the enemy, pecking its face, angered, knowing I couldn’t do so much as annoy him at best. I was slapped away. I hit the wall hard and broke a wing, falling crumpled to the ground. The cloaked figure, our enemy, took out a bottle and hurled it towards the bed where it exploded into terrible flames. He took another one and threw it at the door, and more fire came out. Then, it walked away slowly, watching us as it clambered out the window. And then, with a last long look at us, it disappeared into the night.
The flames spread like serpents, enveloping us, eager to eat us. I hopped wobblingly towards him, blinded by the smoke, barely able to breathe. He laid there, clutching his wounds as he bled to death, coughing. He saw me, his eyes full of grief.
His warm voice called to me, “Fly away, Merryl…escape little one… If I must die here tonight… You should be spared this painful end…” I felt terrible, not being able to do as he wanted, I couldn’t fly with a broken wing. I was so sad, so frustrated. Why must I be so powerless.
In the end, he took me in his hands, shielding me from the flames that consumed him mercilessly, unable to save either me or himself. The building where we lived burned down. And I died alongside him.
Or at least I should have stayed dead.
It seems that somehow our combined feelings of regret, sorrow and helplessness lingered in our now dilapidated home. It brought me back, as a spirit, or perhaps a demon: a yokai. And, just like before, he was there too.
But he was different.
His body was a shadow.
I came to learn that he could only come out at night, just like before, as was his job, though he now could not seem to be able to leave the room that had come to be our grave. He told me, with his whispering voice, that now sounded distant and faint, “I think I haunt this place, little Merryl…” I wished to remain by his side, and so I told him. I was surprised that he could understand me. He smiled. Such a tender smile, just as I remembered it. “I wish for you to escape. Fly away, little Merryl. If I must haunt this place for time unknown, you should be spared such a painful destiny…” He reached to pet my head, but I could not feel him. Again, he smiled, and though there was a hint of sadness in his eyes, I knew he would be happier if he could see me fly into the big blue sky again.
For many years, I wandered the city. I wished to learn who had killed him, and why. I talked to every sparrow in Alabastros, I gathered up clues, I followed every single lead, I spied on people… just like what he used to do. I have yet to find the culprit. I would not give up until I hunted him down for good…
The people of the city still talk about him, about the rogue who wielded the fearsome power of magic and who died mysteriously in a fire, of Blackbird. They tell stories of him, of his exploits and his adventures full of danger and excitement. Sometimes they come to our old home. It still remains burnt and in ruins. They tell stories of him, of how a shadow can be seen wandering the room at night, of how it stands looking out the window. They swear they’ve seen a small thing fly inside sometimes, shining like an ember from a fire. I think they might be talking about me. I do still visit him after all.
I came to learn many things about our situation in all those years. Things I’ve heard from travelers and city folk and country folk. I learned that maybe with time, he might be able to be free of the place, bathing in moonlight for many years until he could become a yokai like me. Maybe when I become 100 years old, I will finally be able to become a person like him, and I will be able to accomplish more things, maybe finding someone who can help him, or finally being able to track down properly that elusive assassin. Maybe if I can avenge him, he might find peace and depart to his rightful place, where he will be happy. So I hoped. And for that day, I prepared myself as best as I could in my current shape.
But again, things were to change.
One night, I returned to our home and he was not there. He was not by the window, or anywhere else in our old room. He was nowhere to be found. I called him, but he did not appear. I waited for him. Maybe a part of me hoped that he would come by morning, like before…but that of course was wishful thinking. The next day, I asked around with my fellow sparrows to see if they knew anything. I learned then that a traveling cleric who had heard the rumors of the “BlackBird’s haunt” had come earlier that evening and had used his divine powers to send him into the afterlife. At least, that’s what other sparrows had heard him saying as he unleashed his spell. I… I remember feeling as if I had been hit. I couldn’t begin to comprehend. I was alone now. He who had always been at the center of my whole world, was now gone forever. And I wasn’t able to join him.
I wanted to cry, to shed tears so as to quell my sadness, to shout my pain away.
But I was still a sparrow… And sparrows can’t cry tears like people do.
The city became unbearable to me after that day. Suddenly, it had become a horrible, noisy, bustling mass of chaos and despair. I had nothing, I had no one. Not even our old home could comfort me; it had now become a wretched, sickening, place: the decrepit remains of a building now in shambles, forever scarred by burnt marks. I couldn’t stand it anymore. I fled Alabastros, unable to remain within its city walls a moment longer.
I have lived here in the countryside for a few years now.
It is quiet and peaceful here, and it has helped to wash away my sorrow. Lots of my fellow sparrows live here too, as well as many more animals than within the city. There’s a lot more greenery too, and none of the grey walls made of stone that covered Alabastros.
The people here are different too, but they share the same wonder for magic as the city folk. They seem to know about me. I think that some suspect I may not be an ordinary sparrow at all. They have placed a sort of ornament made with rocks next to the road close to the tree where I live, and they sometimes stop to pray and give thanks to the ‘spirit’ that keeps their fields rich and that brings bountiful harvests each season. I of course have no such power, but I don’t mind them too much either. As long as they leave me alone, I am satisfied.
I have come to slowly forget about it all. About a mission to find an unknown enemy. About a man who was a rogue and a sorcerer. Of BlackBird.
But I don’t think I can ever erase his voice and his smile from my memory. I don’t think I can ever forget him. He, who, even as a phantom, wished for my freedom. He, who, to his last breath, still wished to keep me from harm. He, who I idolized. He who fed sparrows and talked to them lovingly.
Who gave me a name.
I am 99 years old. I will turn 100 soon. Soon.
I wonder if I will be able to become a person like him then, like the stories say.
What will I do then, I wonder…? At least I have a pretty good idea of what he would have liked for me to do. Fly, live, be free. It sounds like a good start.