The Story of Rosette of the Blackthorne clan of assassins in Warden’s Hall.
As told to her trusted companions one night around the campfire.
I remember little of my parents. The only clear memory I have is sitting at the table, hearing my mother singing in the kitchen, the smell of her cooking tickling my nose. Though I can’t remember his face, I can hear my father whispering good-naturedly in my ear “Good thing your Mama cooks with love, 'cause she wouldn’t know a spice if it bit her in the bum!” I remember my mother shouting at my father from the kitchen, feigning anger, but I can hear the laughter in her voice. Other than that little bit, my oldest memories are of growing up in the brothel.
Yes, most of what I know of my early childhood I learned from the courtesans of Madame Rosamonde’s Garden of Pleasure. And from Madame Rosamonde herself, of course. I’m told that a man calling himself Frederick Bacrum of the village of Eagle’s Watch came to the House carrying a small child, me, a girl of no more than three. Bacrum claimed to be my father and told the story of how my mother had recently died of the wasting sickness and how he couldn’t afford to raise a young girl by himself. He believed that a girl of my beauty (After all, what girl of three is not beautiful?) might make a better life in such a house as the Garden of Pleasure. He then offered to relinquish his custody in exchange for a small fee. Madame Rosamonde did not believe him for a minute. She did, however, believe that I would be in danger if I had stayed in the man’s care. She agreed to pay the gold he so desired on the terms that he would never show his face in her establishment again. As far as I know, he has not. The only thing I still have of my childhood is this coin I wear around my neck. Madame Rosamonde tells me it was sewn into the lining of my blanket when I arrived or she is sure that Bacrum would have taken it. I am told it is rare and of some value, but I have no idea why it was hidden in my blanket.
From then on, I was raised to be a courtesan, a professional lady hired to tend the physical, emotional (and sometimes spiritual) needs of the uppercrust. I befriended an elf who was there training as well. Ethuelle has since moved back to her home and become quite popular as both a courtesan and a healer. Madame Rosamonde and her girls taught me to read and right, to sing and dance, to dress, to stand, the sit and to speak like a lady. And, of course, they taught me other things, as I am sure you are aware.
I had been with the Garden for nine summers when I had my first flowering. When it was complete, Madame Rosamonde deemed me ready for my first client. As with all new girls, it was to be a trial by fire. I was to serve Lord Albert Reynolds, leader of the Fellstone Trading Company and infamous among the ladies of the Garden for his twisted desires and violent tendencies.
I had been bathed, perfumed and dressed as a proper courtesan for Lord Albert and await in my room with great nerves and anticipation. I did not want to disappoint my mistress. I had every intention to be the greatest courtesan in the Garden of Pleasures. But, when Lord Albert entered and I saw the demented look in his eyes, something inside me went cold. I was not thinking of what was to come, of my future as a famous lady. I was instead thinking of all of the young girls this filthy old man had abused over the years. If he paid gold to abuse ladies of the Garden, what would he do behind the closed doors of his home? Who else had he molested? A dark, silent rage took me over. But that rage never reached my face. I showed nought but fear in my eyes for that is what I felt. I was terrified. But I also knew that was what he wanted to see, for that is what he desired: fear. I begged him not to touch me for I knew that was what he wanted to hear. I used his perversions and my terror to bring him closer. And, when he touched me, I pulled a pin from my hair and drove it deep into his temple.
He died surprisingly quiet and with very little blood. I was sitting there, not knowing what to do next, when the door opened and Madame Rosamonde walked in. I stammered, trying to explain and apologize. “Hush, girl” she told me. “I thought that might be the path you’d take. Come, young one. No, leave the body. We’ll take care of that. I’ve a secret to show you.”
My mistress took me to a secret underground passage that lead to a training grounds underneath the Garden. “We are not just a brothel, my girl” explained Madame Rosamonde. “Those courtesans who can bear the touch of men such as the late Lord Albert maintain our cover in the light of day. However, down here, below ground, and in the dark of night, we have a different calling. One for which you might be better suited. Welcome, young one, to your new home: the guildhall of the Blackthorne Assassins.”
There, Madame Rosamonde taught me of her true profession. Clan Blackthorne is a private guild of assassins, lead by the Madame in her quest to rid the land of its most cruel and corrupt elements. While she runs the guild, she teaches its members to be independent and to think for themselves. She hands out assignments but encourages her agents to investigate and study their targets, not only to make the kill efficient and effective, but to ensure that the target is indeed deserving of execution.
In that secret hall, Madame Rosamonde and her lieutenant Yasmina taught me to the arts of investigation and assassination. Where the Madame is a patient, if stern, teacher, Yasmina is so aggressive as to be bordering on cruel. I have many a scar earned, not in true combat, but in training under that vicious bitch. (I will say that she has a scar or two earned from me as well.)
Being the Madame’s lieutenant, Yasmina considered herself her mistress’s favorite. However, she was jealous of the time Madame Rosamonde spent training me and became particularly angry when our mistress dubbed me Rosette. (Rosomande means “rose” in the language of Madame’s homeland. Rosette apparently means “little rose.”) As far as I am concerned, Yasmina (which, by the way, means “jasmine flower”) would be the logical successor should Madame Rosamonde ever retire. However, Yasmina has gotten it into her mind that I am being groomed to take her place. My mistress has never mentioned this to me and I am not even sure I would want this. But I must watch Yasmina. I would not put it past her to have me killed to secure her position in the guild.
But that is neither here nor there. Now that I have completed my training, Madame Rosamonde has sent me out to make my own path in the world. She assures me I am welcome in the Garden should I ever have questions or need shelter, and that she will be keeping tabs on me and sending me occasional assignments, but otherwise I am on my own. I am glad to have joined up with the four of you. In my element, I have every confidence in my abilities. But this world is a great and dangerous place of which my element is but a small piece. Thank you for allowing me to join your party.
Rosette of Clan Blackthorne
Age/Stock/Class/Level: 15 Human Assassin 1
Raw Abilities: Will: 4 Health: 4
Skills: Fighter 3
Traits: Wolf Amongst Sheep (1), Thoughtful (1)
Home: Warden’s Hold
Raiment: Scarlet veil
Wises: Know Your Mark-Wise
Belief: The guilty must be punished.
Instinct: Always divert attention.
Cloak , lantern, flasks of oil (2), preserved rations (3), satchel, boots, thief’s tools, tinderbox, water, throwing blades (disguised as hairpins), coin amulet, quiver