Quynh Thi Luong
"Nah, honey, you're not missing out on a damn thing." Quynh leans back in her chair, crosses her boots on the table, reaches for the pipe the halfling next to her is offering.
"Yeah okay, the decor's nice; I always did like that wall tapestry with the silver chimera. And sometimes you get to see the Turay family in all their fancy regalia, or Lady Udoka at her private table with whoever she's seeing this month... But the actual food, tho? It's awful! Overpriced, pretentious garbage! Seriously, he lets us eat there for free and I'm always makin up some excuse not to."
"Here, take a look at this---" She digs around in her pack, haphazardly unfolds a sheet of fine parchment, jabs at it with her finger.
[It's some kind of prix-fixe menu, dated three weeks ago. In exquisite calligraphy:]
. steamed basilisk tail dumplings . cockatrice saliva reduction .
. curried mandrake soup .
. firebolt-seared illithid tentacle calamari . organic wild fresian greens . melf's lemon vinaigrette .
. coconut black-pudding pudding . gelatinous cube tapioca .
. 1499 north tranquil coast goodberry wine .
[There's no price listed anywhere on the page -- it's the kind of establishment where, if you even have to ask, you're definitely too poor.]
"Can you believe they pay for the privilege of eating this shit? I swear, Gustavo must have some sort of enchantment over the whole place, otherwise I've no clue why these gullible fucks keep coming back! For real, we keep antitoxin vials in our pockets on delivery days, cuz he keeps pulling us into the kitchen to taste his latest culinary abomination."
"Like, why's everything gotta be exotic and potentially-lethal with these people? Whatever happened to simple food done right? Ughh, gimme some pork belly and eggs in fish sauce, rice porridge with chicken, mushrooms and morning glory -- that's the stuff I miss from back home."
Quynh looks wistful for a moment, takes a swig from a bottle of dwarven stout.
"Anyway, the pay's right, at least; I can tell you that much. See, Gustavo can't just hire any band of mercs to supply .beastiary. The weekly menu's always a secret, and he's paranoid about tipping off competitors. He only trusts his own people. He and my uncle were childhood buddies; pretty sure that's only reason I got the job, to be honest with you. It's a good arrangement. Every week he hands us a grocery list and half the gold upfront. We acquire the ingredients, he pays the other half on delivery. He don't ever ask how we got it, we don't ever ask what the fuck he needs it for..."
Allies and Organizations
- Flexible morals: I never met an ideal I'd be willing to die for. Though my parents raised me in the Zupanist tradition (the most common variant of Alexandrianism in the barbarian lands to the south), I've no qualms about claiming whatever religion or adopting whatever moral position is most convenient for me in any given situation. I tend to roll my eyes at people whose religious or ethical convictions are too overbearing.
- Tinkerer: Ever since I got my hands on my first practice lock and lock picks, I haven't been able to resist tinkering with devices/traps. I'm delighted by intricate mechanisms, clockwork toys, and mechanical puzzles.
- Wealth: I spent my youth with my tribe in the Ulan wilderness, and emigrated to Handlestadt in search of a better life. I've known poverty, and have no desire to be poor again. In the city I call home, I've learned that money is power, and anyone can be bought. My work routinely finds me hovering around the fringes of the local aristocracy, and I can't help but envy their lifestyle. It's not so much the gold itself I covet, but the luxuries it buys: the fine food and drink, the clothes, the art, the attention.
- Honor among thieves: I'm no fuckin snitch. I only trust people once they prove they can keep secrets. I won't give my life to protect a fellow thief, but I'm not scared of going to jail for someone in my organization. I believe most street criminals are just doing what they have to do to survive, and most police are just thugs with badges.
- Arjuna Dwaram: He was a boy I once loved, back in the Ulan; I left him when I moved to Handlestadt. His father was growing old, and his tribe needed a leader. It's been years since we last saw each other, but I still think of him occasionally. I wonder what he's up to now.
- Thanh Van Luong: My uncle, also working for the Iron Fences, and a childhood friend of Gustavo Cienfuegos. He's lived his whole life in Handlestadt, while my mom and dad were still in the Ulan wilderness. When I moved to the city, Thanh helped me get on my feet and introduced me to the Iron Fences. I don't know what strings he pulled to put me on the contract with .beastiary., but I definitely owe him a huge favor.
- Zahra Amal: She's my mentor in the Iron Fences. She taught me how to wield a shortsword and bow, how to distract a shopkeeper and pick a pocket, how to navigate the city's dark alleys, secret doors, and rooftop walkways. But when we're off-duty, we also drink and gossip with each other, do each other's makeup, sneak into the theater together, act as wingwomen for each other at the tavern. She's the big sister I never had.
- Solveig Irmer: A lieutenant in the local police force in Handlestadt. I was sloppy on one of my earlier jobs; my mask slipped, I made too much noise coming out of a window, and I think she saw my face in the moonlight. I got away, but I'm sure she'll try to track me down if she sees me again.
- Imposter imposter syndrome: I've seen the higher-level agents in the Iron Fences delivering arcane artifacts, potent drugs, and mythical beasts I've never even heard of. I might talk like I'm full of bravado, but privately I don't know whether I belong in the ranks of such hardened veterans. (Let's be real, I'm level 1. There's no way I have any idea where the hell you'd find an illithid on this plane.)
- Phasmophobia: I like my enemies visible and decidedly corporeal. I'm spooked by ghosts, spirits, undead, and anything else you can't kill with a dagger. Trust me, if you'd heard the stories I've heard, you'd be afraid, too.
- Vengeful: I have a fragile pride, and a long memory for slights and insults. I might keep cool in the moment, but the resentment will keep smoldering inside me, and I'll fall asleep plotting revenge. I'll go out of my way to get back at someone who's crossed me, even to the point of endangering a mission for the sake of my spite.
- Age: 29 (Born 1486 FI)
- Height: 5 ft 3 in
- Weight: 125 lb
- Eyes: Brown, small, close-set
- Skin: Moderate brown / Fitzpatrick scale 4, warm undertones, usually a little dirty
- Hair: Shoulder-length, black, usually up in a messy ponytail, or covered by a hood