And Leviathan Smiles
Avalonian thief, surviving on the mean streets of Carleon.
Saoirse Laighleis was born in 1652 in Inismore, in the town of Dunkeen. Her parents, Ossian and Maireid Laighleis, were druidic healers, unabashed practitioners of magic and curators of the town’s arcane druidic library. In their care, Saoirse was raised to be fearless in the face of fae mystery and of her inherent eldritch power. Her days were full of laughter, hard work at her Glamour lessons and the sanctuary of her home life. Her strongest memory was of meeting the grand and glorious Queen Maab, one of the Three Queens of the Sidhe, as a visiting dignitary to their humble little burg.
But in 1648 the daughter of King Richard IV, Margaret, took the throne. And as Margaret was a loyalist to the Vaticine Church and a wife of a Castillian noble, her rule was wrought with bloodshed, torment and near civil war. Determined to purge Avalon of ‘black magic heathens’ and Objectionists, the Iron Queen invited Castillian Inquisitioners into the realm to clean house. Thus began the trials and executions of eight thousand Glamour wielding Avalonians.
One of these earliest hunts eventually ended up on the doorsteps of Saoirse Laighleis’s home. Only 5 years old at the time, she witnessed her parents’ being dragged out of their house by their hair, clapped in irons, tried and convicted with little to no defense and eventually burned at the stake in front of her. Shattered emotionally and with the smell of her parents’ burning flesh in her nostrils, Saoirse swore vengeance right then against Queen Margaret, the Vaticine Church and all Castillians. With her parents dead, the courts had her shipped off to an orphanage in Balig.
It was high irony in a way that only a year and a half later, the Iron Queen dropped dead and left Avalon without a ruler. But Saoirse had more important problems.
There in the orphanage, her distrust of the world grew. Night after night she was tormented by the other children for being Inish, provoked into fights that she was ultimately punished for. She began several failed attempts at escape, each one resulting in greater and greater beatings from the matron, Miss Rosa Coote. But one night, a lanky new boy named Gunner, stood between her and her tormentors and threatened all of them with broken skulls if they ever laid a finger on her again. From that point forward, she had a protector and a friend.
A few years later, when she was 12, and Gunner 14, they took their chance. The matron had mistakenly left the main door open to allow wine merchants to enter with their goods. Without any hesitation, Saoirse and Gunner bolted out into the frenzied hubbub of Balig. The air had never tasted so good, the light never so warm.
They struggled mightily to survive for those first few weeks. Gunner taught her how to pick men’s pockets and lift coin purses from ladies, making just enough money to pay for food and, every once in a while, a roof over their heads when it rained. Saoirse relied on her Glamour to distract and confuse her marks. It made it easier to make off with their coins if they barely remembered where they even where. And yet, despite the magic, they were too infamous in a small town like Balig to last at thieving for long. The law was too looming of a threat. One day, Saoirse fumbled a seduction trick on a puffed up old peacock and in no time at all the city guards were on her and Gunner’s heels.
Quickly hiding aboard an apple merchant’s caravan of carts, they left everything behind and rode their way to The Shining Star of Avalon… the majestic city of Carleon. It didn’t take them long to settle in and even less time to notice that the sticky finger business was much, much better there. The suckers practically filled the streets.
She’s been at it for five years now and she’s never been caught. Life couldn’t possibly get any better.