Born of Ozian bloodstock, Lais had hair that was fair as flax and skin said to be as smooth and creamy as fresh milk. She is depicted in provocative dresses, the type that accentuate the breasts and the hips while presenting a very narrow waist. She is always painted or sculpted with impish lips and a knowing look upon her face.
Born to poverty in the city of Lilies, Lais was just another thin and hungry girl running between the cane fields and the rice marshes. Life was a constant challenge between the constant ache of hunger and the fear of being taken by the slavers who sometimes swung south from the areas of Pagan Ankara, still uncivilized and unsaved by the Trinity. Worst still was the danger of one of the river dragons, or the desperate and wretched marsh goblins. Yet Lais survived this seeming hell of circumstance.
At the tender age of 13 she was taken into one of the bathhouses of the Upper City, where at first she tended laundry, poured water and did menial tasks such as scrubbing floors and washing walls. This was a better life than the one of hunger and danger running the marshflats with the other urchins. It was during this time that the Mistress of the House started working on breaking the new girl in to become another of the women for hire.
With her creamy smooth skin and budding breasts, Lais was popular among the clientele and the Mistress could charge the top rate for the girl. This lasted only a short time before a man and purchaser of flesh bought her from the mistress of the house. After dodging slavers for almost a decade, her thought of guardian sold her right into their waiting hands.
Lais blossomed into a young woman in the opulent and decadent city of Ankara. Now this wasnt the Ankara of today with the great redstone cathedral and the many great towers. this was the old city, complete with cattle kraals and redbrick homes that were rarely more than 20 feet tall. In fact, the tallest structures were the macabre Towers of Silence where vultures feasted on the remains of the dead until naught but bone was left.
Not to be a common whore, Lais was educated to read and write, to recite poetry and write with a cattlehair brush and to adorn her face with the kohls and other pigments of the Ankaran nobility. She became a well known performer of the Nahali, a series of historical, emotional, and erotic dances. Such was her fame that she was eventually sold to the very King of Ankara, Keeper of the Red Fortress. Even at the exorbitant sum of 3,000 talents of gold, or roughly 48,000 gold pieces, the King was greatly pleased.
Lais served the king for many years, her most frequent performances being interpretations of the Nahali, recitations of the epics of Ankar, the first King, who yoked the Wild Ox to built the greatness of the Red Fortress. So impressed with her final performance of the Nahali was the king that he offered her a shed tear. This was a boon worth any one thing she was to request, but it must be requested before the tear was dry upon the cheek.
Being impish and wise, Lais did not ask for jewels or lavish gifts as many other courtesans did. She asked that the King grant to her a husband who would appreciate her dance as much as he did. It was the next day when the King did sometihng most unexpected, he released Lais from her status as a harem woman.
While several young men of the Kingdom professed interest in the exotic pale woman from the south, the King had other plans. It was then that he did what was considered unthinkable. Lais was made his wife, first among wives and above all concubines. To her was granted a domain suitable for a successful Prince for the maintenance of her clothing and court.
Many items were attributed to Lais and her time as a Queen in Ankara. The most common item is the Farthingale, a sort of dress that uses a corset to slim the waist and a set of hopps to accentuate the bottom and hold out the skirts of a dress.
Lais' Rouge Pot - This small gold and ruby studded paint pot contains a red powder applied to the cheeks. It provides a flush of vitality as well as making the female wearer more attractive. There was a supposedly magic brush that went with the pot that has since been lost.
Golden Hairpin - This is said to have been part of her personal jewelry, and to have protected the Queen to be from poisoning attempts and hostile magics. While it's magical powers have never been tested, the shining array of jewels on the hairpin make it nearly priceless regardless of magical power.
Jewel of Fools - This nickle sized amethyst hangs from a long chain, placing the large purple jewel between the wearer's breasts. While worn, all men within sight of the jewel and afore mentioned breasts suffers from a reduction of Wisdom and is vulnerable to the Suggestion spell, that can be cast from the jewel 1/week.
While the above story is well known, especially in brothels and other places of sex for sale, it is very inaccurate. While Lais was indeed a poor girl of Ozian blood, raised in a brothel and sold to the Ankarans, there is no record of an Ozian Queen ruling over any part of Ankara. The real version of the story is more tragic. Lais made a tragic mistake, she fell in love with the son of the King, and when she was presented to another as consort she refused, telling that her asked for price was not enough by 9 by the original. The buyer agreed to ten times the first price and Lais refused.
The Prince abandoned her. Though her story was embellished in the telling, Lais herself was left marked, being placed lowest among the concubines of the harem. Old prostitutes and historians know the true version and while it is simply another historical oddity to the historians it is an object lesson to the courtesans and prostitutes.
Farthingale's Syndrome - It happens from time to time that a courtesan or prostitute finds herself, or himself in some settings, across the line between profession and pleasure. A PC, likely a wenching, whoring type of scoundrel has become the object of affection for one of his dainty darlings. The PC now has a less than sterling paramour who wants to be desperately rescued, just like Lais!
Pretty Woman - In the fashion of Lais, a courtesan/prostitute has lauched out of the brothel and into the nobility. Scandals and social faux pas erupt and there is much gossiping. This is even more fun if the said noble might be a PC character recently raised to nobility for valor and service to the crown.
Monster - There is a sociopath lurking in the brothels, killing working girls and clients alike. Investigators are baffled. In truth, one of the girls has fallen in love and when their paramour doesnt return the affect she kills them with poison. Those who visit other girls find their other girls dead and often the finger pointed at them as being guilty. Mayhem ensues when the sociopath turns her wandering eye on a PC, likely the ravishing rake...
A Final Note
Lais Farthingale has gone the way of other historical figures such as Saint Duncan and King Thyr and as such is long since dead. At best, a necromancer could conjure forth a shade that would pretend to be the ghost of Lais but the likelyhood of this being true is sketchy at best.
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? Responses (6)
An interesting historical character. I especially like the details of her history (and her legend) and the items that are attributed to her, no doubt still circulating among the courtesans of the decadent and the more daring among the ladies of the Courts.
I admit, I have a weakness for proper legendary and story worthy figures. This one works for me. It is one of those color characters that fill out a cultural ethos. Sure your average adventurer will not be impacted by this, many would say, 'who cares'. It is characters and stories like this that help round out a setting. And by having these kinds of legends pre-made, saves you the stress of having to make one up on the spot.
What Moon said. I like the background stuff, it really makes a setting seem real, even if it doesn't effect the players too much.
Nice NPC. Me like :)