(most recent listed first)
Specific House Rules
Star May use her ring of elemental command to allow Grimerald to burrow through stone walls for up to 10 rounds per day. These rounds need not be consecutive.
Star was born Setarrevarremeryennel Ketaralanezzemaurelenna Valerosenuggermuggian, and understandably, uses her full gnomish name so seldom that she almost forgets it at times. “Star” was the nickname given to her by the dwarven children she grew up with in the Deepinghome, and it stuck. She was a rambunctious youngster, always full of jokes and youthful mischief.
In this great city where gnomes and dwarves live in harmony, Star quickly got used to the idea of racial equality, though she had little exposure to anyone much above four feet tall. The tall ones on the surface, in fact, she quietly feared for lack of exposure. This fear was especially potent when her parents left her behind, along with great numbers of other gnomes and dwarves, to fight in Ludimarite War in Mazavi. However, at the time, she did not quite understand the full scope of what was happening in the land; she was only just ten years old then, tiny and vulnerable.
While her mother and father were to be gone, she was sent to stay with some dwarven friends. A dwarf named Tiera, who was also forced to bid her husband goodbye, had a daughter named Usha who was just Star’s age. The two girls had grown up closely together, and Star was thrilled to be allowed to stay with her best friend for a while. A few months, her parents said—maybe several. Surely they would be back for her eleventh birthday, they assured her.
It was fun at first, being up nights giggling with Usha, but Star had her moments of homesickness. From time to time she heard whispers about the war, about the horrible things that were happening among the tall ones up there, the horrible things that might happen to their brethren. More gnomes and dwarves left to fight, while some began to trickle back home, disillusioned. Deep concerns began to brew within Star’s young soul, especially as her eleventh birthday grew near, and most of the first wave of soldiers had already returned. All the same, she kept up the hope of a child, painting a thousand “welcome home” pictures for mama and papa, when they should come home.
Those in the Deepinghome tried their best to stay in contact with those on the surface. In the city centre, rough lists of dead and wounded were posted from time to time. Star would never forget the day Tiera came home with her face half-hidden within a tear-stained handkerchief and gathered the two girls in her arms, informing them that the three would remain alone from then on.
That night, Usha wept into her pillow while Star sat alone by the fire, cutting her paintings into hundreds of tiny pieces, and feeding them to the fire in handfuls.
The next several weeks were a time of solemn bonding between them as they tried to resign themselves to the fact that Star’s parents and Usha’s papa were not coming home. Their losses knit them together in sorrow. The girls continued to grow up closer than sisters, leaning on one another through these times that were so difficult for children to understand. Tiera wasn’t sure she was any better able to understand it, though she proved herself to be a veritable rock, raising the two girls with tremendous love, wisdom, and strength. Coming out of the tragedy, Usha turned out a timid and quiet girl with a wonderful listening ear, but a diffident and often mistrustful nature. Star depended on her then, trying not to be jealous that her dwarven sister still had one parent left, for Tiera was mother to both.
Star herself became angry and hard-tempered as she grew into adolescence, fiercely fighting for independence at every turn. Tiera coped with her as well as a mother can, but Star spent copious amounts of time running off and exploring the tunnels and caverns of the outer Deepinghome. She became angrier each time she saw a gnome or dwarf reunited with a loved one. Most of them came home, she thought; why not her parents? She didn’t even have a grave to visit, like so many of those who had lost family members. Her parents’ bodies were not recovered. Again, she questioned this, raged against the injustice. At times the happy-go-lucky, rambunctious side that had dominated Star during her early childhood showed itself again, but it came out at rare occasions and with the closest of loved ones. She shone like this more often as she approached adulthood and some of the pain of her loss was dulled with time, but her dominant side continued to be that which was aggressive, and bitterly independent. With the wisdom of years, she turned the pain of losing her parents into rage toward those who were responsible for it. She knew the Ludimarites were their enemies in the war, but the force of her anger was directed toward everyone up there—the “tall ones”. As far as she was concerned, none of them were trustworthy.
As Star ran about the city alone, she gained in strength and stamina, and found herself closely befriending the dark tunnels, cold stone, and tunnelling creatures that found refuge there. The gnomes and dwarves of the city got used to her presence, constantly on the move, like a shadow, often trailed by a pet badger. She became notorious for possessing the secrets of every corner of the Deepinghome.
Eventually, the Deepinghome was not large enough to contain her. Star remained intimately close with her adoptive dwarven mother and sister, and they begged her not to go—for they could not stand to lose another member of their broken family—but she had made up her mind and would let no one stop her. She longed to face her fears with bold countenance, and exact tremendous revenge on these infamous Ludimarites for depriving her and her loved ones of their families. She knew she had plenty of training to go through before she could make a true attempt at reaching her goal, and she knew where to go to do this, for she had sharp ears and listened to talk wherever she went in the city. A town on the surface called Lowmeadow was reported to be a gathering place of dwarven soldiers, and here, she felt, would be the right place to begin.
Rather than face tearful goodbyes, Star slipped silently in the night from the bed she occasionally shared with Usha and left the house with a few supplies. She snuck covertly to the small outlying ranch of a gnomish badger-wrangler she sometimes visited and crouched by the fence, waiting for her favourite dire badger to come greet her.
“Psst… hey, furball!” she whispered. “I’m leaving this place. You want to go on a trip with me? Fight some bad guys?”
*Keep my belly full and my legs moving, and we are burrow-mates,* the badger agreed. The beast cocked its head toward the wrangler’s hut. *Alpha two-legs will rage to lose one of us.*
“He can kiss my little armoured behind,” Star snorted. “Come on.”
She worked the fence open to give the badger an easy exit, and then replaced it quietly. Saddling up with a mischievous, silent chuckle, Star rode to the surface.