A renegade assassin living with the guilts of her past and the fear of being hunted down by the Guild she betrayed, Mercy has emerged from many years in hiding to adventure with the Hero's company.
TL;DR: Halfling girl runs away because of arranged marriage, ends up as a pickpocket/street acrobat in a large city. Gets picked up by an Assassins Guild, receives training. Kills baby, gets fearsome reputation. Gets commission to kill another child heir. Guilt +Time = Angst. Can’t. Takes the money and runs. After some shenanigans ends up in Byblos as an apprentice, masquerading as a young boy.
Mercy was born with the name Xiao-niao (little bird) and was raised in the halfling country of Xiongnu. Her family was made up of simple fishermen, and they were far from rich. She grew up hearing stories of wonderful adventures and amazing creatures in the countries of the Elves and Men. Overall, she found home life to be boring, and longed for adventure and an escape from poverty.
About the time she turned 18, her parents decided it was time for her to be married, and found her a suitable and fairly rich husband. She wasn’t happy about this because he was much older, but despite her protests the marriage plans continued. Some time before the wedding, she ran away from home, stowed away on a trade ship and ended up in a fairly large port city in the Imperium of Man.
Here was where the reality check happened. She was alone in a huge city, somewhat of an oddity with respect to height, had no money and no friends. In order to survive she turned to living on the street and performing acrobatic tricks in markets for handouts, which she used to buy food and clothes. When people stopped giving her money for her performances, she successfully learned to steal from shops and pick people’s pockets, employing her small stature, quietness, and dexterous hands. The few times she did get noticed, her tininess worked in her favour, allowing her to effectively hide from guards and angry shopkeepers. At this point, she began wearing boy’s clothes, both for practicality and concealment.
This went on for a while, just under two years, before she picked the wrong person’s pocket. This man was a high ranking member of the Thieves and Assassins Guild. She stole a variety of valuables and his wallet while he was waiting in a line. Initially, he didn’t notice, but later he tracked her down. He was impressed by her raw skill, and offered her the opportunity to receive training and potentially join the guild. With nothing to lose, she said yes and received several years of training in various ways to steal things and murder people.
At the age of 24, she received her first challenge, the test of skill and determination that would decide whether she could join the Guild. Failure was not an option, as those who failed were either permanently silenced or enslaved to prevent leakage of Guild secrets. This job involved copying a document concerning a state secret, and killing the owners infant son “in an unfortunate accident”. (Note: The murder was commissioned by the child’s uncle out of jealousy and desire to inherit the fortune, while the secret stealing was for a political rival).
The night of the assignment came. The family was sleeping in the house, making silence and efficiency key. She successfully broke into the father’s study and copied the document, and then went to kill the child. Out of desperation and desire to succeed, she killed the child, allowing the family guard dog in the room to destroy the evidence. Upon return to the Guild, she was accepted and given the new name “Mercy”, officially leaving the last of her old life behind. (Note: Name was intended ironically, as she just brutally murdered a baby.) The story of her initiation spreads, and she soon has a terrible reputation as a ruthless, efficient, and cold blooded murderer who can climb and sneak in pretty much anywhere.
Over the next 4 years, she lives up to that reputation by assassinating (mostly by poison or “accident”) a wide variety of noblemen, most of which were corrupt. She makes a pretty decent sum of money, most of which she saves away. Throughout all of this, she feel tremendous guilt for the murder of the innocent child, and tries her best to avoid any jobs involving young children.
Unfortunately, at the age of 28, she gets a HUGE job. She gets commissioned to brutally kill the Emperor of Man’s young son. She tries to refuse the job, but the payoff was huge, and so were the threats. (Note: I think this was probably funded by the Elves, seeing as they will be at war in a couple years). In the middle of the night, she sneaks into the Emperor’s castle, quite effectively, actually. None of the guards even saw a shadow. Once in the child’s room, she remembers the guilt and nightmares that happened after murdering that baby, and can’t go through with it. She steals a piece of the child’s clothes, bloodies it with her own blood, and sneaks back out of the castle. Once she meets up with her employer, she gives him the piece of clothing, says she cut the child’s throat, and collects the money. The employer is found floating in the river the next day, poisoned.
Knowing the penalty for her failure would be a complete loss of reputation and probably a horrible death, Mercy decides to leave the city. In a panic/hurry, she collects all her money and any meaningful possessions, and leaves the city. She falls back into her old habits, and finds a traveling group. She lies to them, telling them she is an acrobat that got separated from a traveling carnival and heads with them to the next town. Somewhere along the road, she finds an actual traveling carnival and joins them as a knife thrower, acrobat, and contortionist. Her money and assassin’s tools are kept locked in a small case, far from prying eyes.
After about a year of traveling, wandering all over the continent, the carnival ends up in the Manichean Confederacy, and heads for the town of Byblos. Feeling she is reasonably beyond the reach of both the Guild, the Imperium of Man, and the Elves, she decides to stay. After completing the performances with the troupe, she lies and says she has found family in Byblos and has decided to leave the group.
She sets herself up with a modest house, finds somewhere safe for her leftover murder funds and goes looking for suitable employment. After concluding that no fun jobs are available for women, she cuts her hair off and starts wearing boy’s clothes again. She masquerades as a boy, lying about her age, and gets an apprenticeship as a bookbinder’s apprentice and goes about her life in hiding. She learns to read and spends any free time she can in the Bibliotheca.
Alignment: Something chaotic.
Mercy has somewhat “grey” morals, and is motivated by survival, self preservation, and self interest. She has a slightly cynical, realistic view of the world, brought on by all the experiences she has had and the death she has seen. She knows that she can only rely upon herself, and is ruthless when it is required for self preservation. Due to the guilt of her initiation kill, she objects to the killing of the innocent, especially children. She finds no pleasure in the murder of adults, but did it for survival and profit.
Mercy is pretty reserved and quiet, and doesn’t make close friends easily. She is of average intelligence, and doesn’t complain or voice her opinion unless necessary.
She is rather short (3 feet 9 inches) and very petite (weighs 60 lbs). She has large green eyes, medium skin tone, and short black hair that barely covers her slightly pointed ears. Her face is fairly average; she is pretty but androgynous and instantly forgettable. She wears men’s clothing, such as a tunic, leggings, soft leather boots etc. She has very deft, tiny fingers. She moves fluidly, gracefully and quietly. Her body is toned like an athlete, but she is not strong. Her one uniquely defining characteristic is the detailed tattoo running up her leg and onto her back. It is of a vine, with small flowers denoting every successful assassination.