Rise of the Forgotten Kings
Scrappy gnome with a tongue as sharp as his daggers.
Scrupples Bandlefark Zlint Blacktop Windoddle Gellyful Glomble (referred to as Scrupples or Scroops), AKA Slink Featherfoot, AKA Wisp, is a CN (Chaotix Neutral) Rogue Gnome, skilled in the arts of thievery, illusion, and alchemy. After his mother died in childbirth, Scrupples was raised by his strict yet caring father Scroopel, a high alchemist on the remote floating island of Pling. Since his mother died before his mother could give him a name, he only has his father’s, plus the many names given to him by members of his clan. Scrupples was trained in the art of alchemy from an early age, and in his younger years seemed to be growing up to be another playful Gnome with a love of games. However, his small stature – even for a Gnome – and messy black hair (as well as his constant state of seemingly unhygienic filthiness) quickly made him an outcast among his peers, and his apparent lack of athleticism earned him the nicknames Scrawny Scroops, or Scraggly Scrooper.
Despite efforts to fit in, Scroops never seemed to be able to keep up with the “bigger kids” and soon found himself alone more often than not. He played mostly by himself, climbing trees and playing “pick-a-pock”, where he would challenge himself to steal as much from whomever he could as possible before the person noticed. What Scroops lacked in strength or athletic prowess he more than made up for in his agility and stealth. As time went on, he got better and better at thieving, although he was caught red (or gold) handed on many occasions and reprimanded by his increasingly-perturbed father. He also became an excellent liar, and always fancied deception and illusion over truth and candor. He was attracted to shiny objects, as many Gnomes are, and would use his cunning to collect baubles from anywhere and anyone he could, including a mysterious silver-and-ruby jewel that belonged to his father, which Scroops stole in a fit of youthful defiance and rebellion. His father never discovered where his treasure had gone, but it remained in Scroops’ possession as his sole attachment to his past life, and the “crowned jewel” of his collection. In a sad way, in later years, it also served as a reminder of his estranged father.
His father, being a trade alchemist, would take Scroops from their floating island home to the cities and towns of Humans and Elves, selling potions and crafts that would amaze the townspeople. As a result, Scroops was fortunate enough to become worldlier than most Gnomes, and learned many foreign customs and habits. He expanded his game of “pick-a-pock” to non-Gnomes, increasing his skills while half-heartedly listening to his father’s alchemy lessons. Scroopel, Scroops’ father, was charismatic as far as Gnomes go, and had a good reputation throughout Tarragonia as a skilled and reliable alchemist and healer. Scroops resented his father for this, but while he tended to be aloof, he did learn some degree of manipulative diplomacy from his father. But where his father was genuinely kind and well-respected, Scroops’ version of charisma was based on subtle conniving and subterfuge, misleading and confusing people while wearing a false-yet-believable smile in order to get his way, or making jokes to get others to trust him. His father was none-too-pleased by this behavior, and considered Scroops something of a disgrace, yet despite his better judgment still brought his son on his journeys in the hopes that Scroops would “fall in line” and grow out of his trickster persona. How wrong he was.
It was on a visit to the Human city of Draken’s Point when Scroops was seventeen that the young Gnome foolishly attempted to steal from a master thief by the name of Wren the Swift. Scroops was caught and threatened by the thief, but his sly and charismatic nature, and his snarky jokes, made Wren hysterical with laughter. Instead of punishing Scroops, Wren asked if he would like to be trained in the ways of the thief and join his nubile band of thieves known as the Red Knives. With barely a second thought to his home or his father (who was off selling his merchandise at a local bazaar), Scroops hastily agreed, and began his tutelage as a thief. He forsook his family, race, and god (he had been brought up to worship the Gnome god Garl Glittergold), took the new name of Slink Featherfoot, and began to worship Olidammara, god of thieves and trickery.
When Slink first met the Red Knives, they were little more than a nomadic band of rough-and-tumble Human cutthroats and rogues living by campfire in small tents. They had no home or place of sanctuary, and were poorly-trained and fairly clueless, bordering on outlaws rather than crafty burglars. The other thieves were immediately mistrustful of the shifty-eyed Gnome, and despite the shine his mentor Wren had taken to him, Slink was scorned by his fellow Red Knives. They were generally not fond of outsiders, and due to Slink’s race and the fact that he was the “new guy”, he had an especially hard time fitting in. The other thieves would often play cruel jokes on him, steal his food, or take a “tax” on his hard-earned findings as his dues to the group. For several years, Wren was the only one who protected and aided Slink, teaching him the craft of thieving and defending him from the other Red Knives. However, Wren occasionally grew concerned over Slink’s seemingly more ruthless and cold methods (including poison and back-stabbing), and worried that his protégé would fall into darkness. Slink’s only source of comfort during this dark time was using the alchemy skills learned from his father to poison or tamper with the others’ food so they would spend the night on the john, or hallucinating for days on end.
Five years after Slink joined the group, a young Halfling named Jasper was brought into the fold by a fellow member, who saw his talents when Jasper was busy stealing from a royal magistrate in Gelid City. Finally, there was another “new guy” who was also small in stature, and who could conceivably take Slink’s place as the punching bag of the group. However, the group took a shine to the spritely Halfling (the only of his race in the band of thieves), whose bright demeanor and hilariously off-color jokes took the edge off these seemingly heartless men and caused them to spit out their stew from laughter, but also caused Slink to become somewhat jealous and embittered. All the same, Jasper seemed to want desperately to gain Slink’s approval, for reasons unknown to Slink or anyone else.
One night, after a particularly intense evening of revelry and drinking, Slink was jolted awake by a hand on his genitals, and awoke in shock to find a very drunk Jasper attempting to seduce him. Slink shoved him away, and the matter was not spoken of the next day. However, Slink was now aware of the reasons for Jasper’s affections, and while he considered himself to be straight, he would be lying if he said he never, from time to time, got drunk and “experimented” with the Halfling. After a time, Slink began to see an opportunity arising, and decided to use Jasper’s love for him and his good graces in the group, to further his own position in the Red Knives. One day at dinner, Slink pulled Jasper aside and began telling him of plans that he thought would work well for the group, but would have to come from Jasper since Slink’s ideas would never be heard out. The somewhat naïve and love-struck Jasper readily agreed, mostly due to Slink’s deceitful sexual undertones and suggestions, and swore never to tell anyone that the ideas were truly Slink’s, no matter what. Slink spoke through Jasper, who in turn convinced the group to embark on dangerous, easily-foiled missions, which resulted in failure and put the Red Knives up against the ropes. They were tired, poor, hungry, and desperate for a way out. And Slink was that way out.
Using his worldly knowledge and general cunning, Slink threw Jasper under the bus and offered new ideas to help the group find more suitable targets to steal from and ways to succeed. He also encouraged teamwork and increased membership (the idea of “safety in numbers”) and an expanded sense of who the Red Knives were. He also introduced the use of poisoned weaponry, and taught the Red Knives the finer points of sneak attacks and stealth combat to be used in conjunction with simple stealing. In addition to thievery, the group began also using their tricks to assassinate enemy targets and manipulate political situations in their favor. Slink focused the group’s abilities and taught them how to identify important figures, instead of just running in blind.
Upon seeing his strategies manifest in a big, lucrative way, the Red Knives finally accepted Slink as their Master Strategist and, under his guidance over the next 25 years, they became the largest Thieves Guild in Tarragonia. The name “Slink Featherfoot” soon became synonymous with a whispered legend of feared renown, though few knew him personally outside of his original band. Based out of their original town of Draken’s Point, the Red Knives grew to membership in the thousands, with connections in almost every Human city, and even among some of the Elven and Halfling regions.
During this time, Slink also became true friends with the rest of his original group, and formed a strong bond with Jasper, despite their rocky start. Truly, Jasper was too smitten with Slink to hold the grudge. By this point, Wren was somewhat more advanced in years, and while still the head of the guild, was growing less and less capable as a commander of rogues. Slink, despite his great love for his old mentor, again saw an opportunity for personal advancement. He decided to use a mild poison devised by his father to enfeeble Wren, but due to a miscalculation (probably stemming from the fact that he had paid such careless attention to his father’s alchemy lessons), the serum killed the already-ailing Wren, as opposed to simply rendering him unable to lead. Driven out by terror and guilt, Slink, now nearing 50, ran away in the night before anyone knew what had happened.
The only person with any knowledge of Gnome alchemy in the remaining core faction, however, was Jasper, and upon analyzing Wren’s body in secret, realized that it had been Slink’s poison that had killed the man. Instead of telling the group and soiling his best friend’s good name (also, it would not behoove the Red Knives’ reputation to the world at large to know of this betrayal), Jasper kept the secret to himself and instead took it upon himself to find the traitor (and his former “lover”) in secret and hunt him down, a mission which he continues to this day.
Meanwhile, Slink, disgraced and self-exiled, took to a bard’s life of aimless wandering. He would trick unsuspecting Humans, Halflings, Dwarves, even the occasional Half-Orc, using illusions and obfuscation and silver-tongued riddles, in order to acquire gold and jewels, or just to get a laugh at others’ expense in the name of comedy, an art he found himself excelling at. While he did steal to survive, he always kept some goodies (which he called “shinies”) in his own collection, including the silver-and-ruby trinket he had stolen from his father, which served to remind him of his old life. Never settling in one place long, he would vanish as suddenly as he would appear, earning him some renown as a vanishing demon, as well as the nickname The Wisp. Spending most of his time in the Human, Halfling, and Dwarf realms, he learned several customs, and was able to adapt to a variety of situations over the course of 75 years. He also maintained some strong connections to certain factions of the Red Knives, who supported him despite his mysterious disappearance and apparent defection.
It was on a warm summer afternoon when Slink/Wisp was 105 that he happened across King Reginald’s caravan on a small road. The King’s wagon had lost a wheel, and Slink, ever the opportunist, offered to repair it for a modest fee. Upon fixing the wagon, Slink attempted to make off with a few baubles for his collection when the King’s guards apprehended him. Slink’s escape attempts were met with intrigue by the King, who saw potential in his craftiness, and upon seeing his silver-and-ruby trinket and identifying it as a piece belonging to Scroopel the high alchemist, with whom the King had often done business, Reginald discovered Slink’s true identity and demanded he follow the caravan to court and use his innate skills to devise an elixir to heal the King’s dying son, Rhegar.
Thanks to his father’s training, and a few tricks he learned in his travels, Slink cured the boy in exchange for his freedom, although he stayed at court for a number of years to amuse the King and his son with his many illusions and magic tricks, as well as lend a hand using his skills in alchemy and craftsmanship. During this time, Slink took a real shine to both the King and Rhegar, for whom he became a sort of adopted uncle. He noticed much of the childhood mischief in Rhegar that he saw in himself, and the boy was awed by Slink’s sleight-of-hand and parlor tricks (not to mention his jokes). However, as Rhegar yearned to be closer to Slink, the gnome began to worry that the friendship was growing too deep, and that he would inevitably hurt the young boy for whom he had developed a paternal love. Leaving Rhegar his father’s silver-and-ruby trinket one night while the boy-prince was sleeping, Slink vanished without a trace.
About 65 years into his self-imposed exile, Slink eventually decided to return to the southern jungles, home to the elves, and there he first met Itto Darkseer (nee Itto Elfbane) and Rayne the Elf. The trio teamed up to infiltrate an elf camp in an effort to slay the masterfully powerful elf, The Orc-slayer. After being found out by the elves and sent away (and defeating the guards who were ordered to kill him), Slink wandered north. Over the course of a few nights, Slink noticed his items were going missing, and eventually tracked down the thief: a dark and brooding elven peasant-ranger named Myst, who introduced him to the world of drugs. Together, the two became addicted to all the most potent hallucinatory drugs in Tarragonia, dragging each other down into a faux-romantic spiral of sex and drugs which lasted a number of years. Slink/Wisp forgot about Jasper and his cares and fell in a form of twisted love with Myst.
Eventually, their highs began to become less high as their bodies began incorporating and building immunities to all the drugs, and their relationship began to sour. In a last-ditch effort to save the situation, Slink used his alchemical and poisoning knowledge to devise a super potent super-drug using a combination of Insanity Mist, Goodbye Kiss, and the near-lethal Black Lotus Extract. The goal was to attain “The Perfect High”. Myst greedily took more than the recommended dose and fell into a coma so near death that Slink assumed her deceased, and had a complete breakdown.
He again fled the scene (much like he did when he poisoned Wren) and stumbled into the outskirts of the Halfling kingdom where he lived as a vagrant in an abandoned Halfling hole, doing drugs and attempting to steal for drug money (though he was so hopped up and rusty from his years as a bard that he had all but forgotten his rogue-like skills). He was bitter, lost, and alone, a true hermit too drugged up to notice his life was slipping away. It was in this sorry state that Reginald’s spies hunted him down (after a number of messages had already been sent, most of which had been lost but the remainder Slink had used as rolling papers). The Kingsguard (literally) dragged him out of his hovel-in-the-ground, sobered/cleaned him up as best they could, and carried him, kicking-and-screaming, to the court to again serve the King.
Now 129 years young, Scrupples/Slink/Wisp continues to fill the role of the elusive yet charismatic Rogue, stealing and wandering and generally having as much fun as possible at the expense of those around him. He has few friends in the world, and none that last very long. He is yet unaware of Jasper’s vendetta, or the fact that Myst is still alive. He prefers to be alone, not to form strong attachments, and manipulate others to get what he wants as a sort of mastermind puppeteer. That said, he loves a good joke or riddle, and is attracted to anyone who can keep him on his toes. Despite his aloof exterior, that young gnome is still alive inside Scroops, and his greatest desire is to be accepted and to be recognized for doing something good.