The Lance of Marduk
Gerlinde is a rarity among rarities. If her lineage as a hellborn tiefling wasn’t uncommon enough, she possesses the pale skin of a northern line, a Turathi house who’s heirs are all but extinct. The name of the noble family that first forged a pact with Agares, a devil and duke of Stygia, has long been forgotten, but his influence on their progeny is as clear and strong as ever; manifesting itself in pale white skin and an affinity for cryomancy in those with arcane talent. As if this lineage were not uncommon enough, Gerlinde exhibits another quality that, though not unheard of, is rarely seen in tieflings: cloven hooves. Similar to many devils, Gerlinde was born with extended metatarsals and ungulate hooves, which do little to counteract the unease many already feel in the presence of hellborn. Aside from her unique characteristics as a tiefling, Gerlinde is an older woman, just past middle age and into her fifties. Despite that, she has aged well and is not lacking for strength or physical ability, as her life as a farmer has demanded much of that from her. Likewise, her mind is as sharp as ever, and proves to be one of her most notable assets.
Gerlinde was born and raised in a small farming village in the western nation of Alemann. Born with a penchant for arcane spells, the life she was born into afforded her little chance to make use of her talents beyond simple hedge magic and cantrips. She found contentment and happiness in the simple life of a farmer, until her husband was killed by a visiting dwarf in a bar fight. With her life overturned, Gerlinde decided that she would find the dwarf that killed her husband and learn more of his death, perhaps going so far as to avenge it. She left her farm and her old life behind, and set off toward the dwarven realm of the Dawn Holds, a long and arduous journey of many months across the nations of Alemann, Illyria, and the Nentir Vale. Along the way she was attacked by a group of bandits thinking the aging tiefling to be easy prey. In the ensuing fight, Gerlinde unleashed her magic as she had not done since she was a child, unleashing an explosion that killed two of the bandits instantly. The remaining brigands fled before the smoke had cleared, unaware that Gerlinde herself had been badly injured by the uncontrolled burst of magic. Fortunately, she came to before the raiders returned, and made haste to the safety of a nearby inn, where she spent some time recovering from her injuries. Deciding not to use magic again unless in dire straits, she continued along her journey to the Dawnforge Mountains. Upon reaching the trading city of Hammerfast in late autumn, she entered the Dawn Holds as a merchant, selling overpriced tomatoes and other produce as she made her way toward the dwarven capitol of Stahlberg.
Association with the Lance
During her stay in Stahlberg, Gerlinde heard rumors of a group of outsiders also in the city. Though the rumors spoke of deeds from simply weeding out a den of kobolds to scarring Orcus, the Demon Prince of Undeath, they all agreed on two things: that the group was a band of wandering adventurers, and that there was at least one mage of some skill among them. Given the events on the road to Hammerfast, this naturally piqued Gerlinde’s interest, and she kept her eyes open for the rumored party. One day (following the Lance’s tactical retreat from the Loderr manor in the face of unexpected resistance), Gerlinde was selling her goods in one of Stahlberg’s market squares when she noticed a female half-elf fitting the description of one of the group’s members. Making some effort to draw the woman’s (who was none other than Aryawwn Casalee) attention, she readily agreed to assist the group in their mission of recovering lost documents from the abandoned estate.
Once at the manse, the group encountered a number of troglodytes who had taken up residence in the abandoned estate. Though Gerlinde’s natural arcane talent was impressive, she again had supreme difficulty controlling her spells. Despite this, she played a key part in clearing the infestation from the manor, and accompanied the Lance back to Stahlberg to return the papers.