Durisea the Strange


Durisea is the only surviving child of a common prostitute from East-of-Sky. She has only vague memories of her early years, but life with her mother was harsh. Necessities were always in short supply, and her mother would leave her alone in the dark each night while she went out to ply her trade. One night when Durisea was five, her mother never came home. After a few days passed, their landlord kicked the starving child out of the squalid room her mother had been renting, and Durisea's time on the street began.

Life with her mother had been harsh; life without her was indescribable. The child survived by rooting through garbage for scraps and begging, but only barely. Sometimes, weak from hunger, she would tuck herself into a corner near the fish market and watch the passersbys, hoping for one to drop something edible. It was on one of those days that she first noticed Jacob Ack-Simore the Mage. The thing about him that most caught her attention was the remarkable difference between his mind and the minds of the other, more normal denizens of the square.

After a few days of observing his visits to the various merchants, she startled him as he walked near her by calling out his name. Surprised, Jacob looked down at the waif he had never seen before, and almost fainted when she pointed to a weed at his feet and it doubled in size. Unbeknownst to him, Durisea had unconsciously called upon a spell of enlargement that lay dormant inside her. Recovering quickly, Jacob asked for her name. She did not know it, so she instinctively selected the name of Jacob's younger sister, who had succumbed to pneumonia in childhood. Amazed by Durisea's talent, and horrified by her physical condition (which had become obvious as he examined her more closely), Jacob asked her if she would like to visit some of his friends in the country. The idea of traveling with Jacob was immensely appealing to Durisea, so she agreed. After feeding her (and cleaning her up) he took her to his friend Cpt. Hamo's country estate, where Jacob was hiding out and secretly raising his son Borel as a mage, illegal during the Dark Conquest .

Borel and Hamo were equally impressed with the girl's talent, which seemed to improve each time it was demonstrated. While she was far younger than the 20-year-old Borel, Jacob decided that he would train her and determine if her abilities could be expanded. Durisea soon proved to be a remarkable student. Not only was she naturally very bright, but her latent telepathic ability frequently flared up and transferred knowledge directly from others' minds to hers. After nine years of close association, Jacob has begun to suspect that some hidden power in Durisea's mind is aiding her efforts to learn, but he does not know exactly how. In any event, Durisea's progress and girlish charm have made her a popular person in East-of-Sky since the end of the Occupation when it became safe to bring her back to the town.

Unfortunately, all is not as rosy as it sounds. Durisea is often subjected to blinding headaches and dizzy spells as the forces in her mind tumble against each other. The frequency and intensity of these episodes and the angry outbursts they sometimes provoke seem to be increasing as puberty runs its course, and the recent death of the noble Hamo and imprisonment of Jacob only increased the frequency and duration of the girl's outbursts. Jacob does not understand the exact cause, but he fears that she may self-destruct without help. To that end he has sent a message requesting advice or aid to the newly-founded Wizard's College in Dragonspur, and is waiting anxiously for a response. Unfortunately, the impending invasions from the East and West have indefinitely delayed any response from the Spur.