"Why should I obtain by force that which I can obtain by cheating?"
ℕ𝕒𝕞𝕖: Born Valanthe Vanatar, close friends know her as Val.
𝔸𝕝𝕚𝕒𝕤𝕖𝕤: Vasiraghi ("Vas"), Vadania ("Vad"), Vedenin ("Ved"), and a string of other aliases, often invented on the spot by Valanthe.
𝕊𝕡𝕖𝕔𝕚𝕖𝕤: Valanthe is a proud Moon Elf, which makes her not just pretentious, but extra pretentious. By her own admission, she tends to think that if you're not a High Elf, you probably aren't an Elf at all.
𝕆𝕔𝕔𝕦𝕡𝕒𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟: Professional Cardsharp, Master Illusionist, and Tempting Trickster
𝔸𝕝𝕚𝕘𝕟𝕞𝕖𝕟𝕥: Chaotic Neutral
ℍ𝕖𝕚𝕘𝕙𝕥: 5' 9''
𝔹𝕦𝕚𝕝𝕕: Valanthe possesses the lithe, graceful build so commonly attributed to the Elves.
𝔼𝕪𝕖𝕤: The young elf has gentle blue eyes speckled with flecks of gold. They are eyes that appear far too innocent and kind for someone so shaped by her own avarice and arrogant ambitions.
ℍ𝕒𝕚𝕣: Valanthe is keen to distance herself from the flowing locks of hair so favored by other elves and keeps her turquoise blue hair shoulder length.
𝕊𝕜𝕚𝕟 𝕋𝕠𝕟𝕖: She has pale skin tinged with an icy hue of blue and favors lip stick a cool shade of blue.
𝕋𝕒𝕥𝕥𝕠𝕠𝕤/𝕊𝕔𝕒𝕣𝕤/ℙ𝕚𝕖𝕣𝕔𝕚𝕟𝕘𝕤: As refined woman of noble birth, Valanthe has never even considered tattoos. The mere thought is disagreeable to her, not to mention foolish given her criminal inclinations. By grace the grace of her noble ancestors, Valanthe has yet to acquire any noticeable scars. She does however have tasteful piercings adorning her noticeably pointy ears.
ℙ𝕖𝕣𝕤𝕠𝕟𝕒𝕝 𝕊𝕥𝕪𝕝𝕖: Valanthe favors elegant, flowing clothing in brilliant colors that show off her shoulders, weather and setting permitting. Inevitably, this means that given a choice, Valanthe will be found wearing a very wizardly robe or fashionable dress.
Clever * Charismatic * Impulsive * Stubborn * Arrogant * Foolishly Brave
ℝ𝕖𝕝𝕒𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟𝕤𝕙𝕚𝕡 𝕊𝕥𝕒𝕥𝕦𝕤: Single
What first impression do you make?
"Well now, that all depends... What sort of gamble is this? What are the rules? What are the stakes? And when is it time to quit? Oh, that was a joke, I don't quit. But how much money are we talking here? I'll say what I have to, I'll do what I have to, and I'll be who I have to in order to make a good first impression. Let's just say that I'm quite charming when I want to be. I know how to work a crowd, I know how to work my friends, and certainly know how to work my enemies. Who needs a gun when the right words will go so much further?"
What are you like in a high stress situation?
"The more stress the better. I'm as cold as an ice elemental relaxing on the Glacial Plane of Existence even if you put a gun to my head. When others panic, when others falter, and when others are scared to death, I'm living my best life and I'm enjoying the ride every step of the way. We're all doomed. We're all going to die. It's only a matter of time. What's the point in being afraid? What's the point in playing it safe? I'm only trying to make it from one great gamble to another. What else is there to live for?"
What are your best and worst qualities?
"My best qualities are everything about me. My worst qualities are that for some reason people don't want to see me succeed. Some people have called me arrogant. Some people have called me a heedless risk taker. Some people have called me a cheater. Some people have even called me a thief. And some people have even called me a murder. They are of course absolutely correct in all regards. That doesn't mean they can stop me though. That doesn't mean I have to listen to them. And that doesn't mean I'm going to give up."
What is something about yourself that you would never admit to anyone?
"I have a great big hole in my heart. I'll never be able to steal enough, I'll never be able to cheat enough, and I'll never be able to win enough. But it doesn't matter. Nothing really does. That's what makes all of this so much fun. It's just an endless game and we're all doomed to lose, one day or another."
What are your dreams?
"To acquire enough gold to fill the entire Holimion Sea. It's a reasonable dream to start with, no? After that? Well, who knows? Maybe I'll become the next great archmage or an immortal lich? I hear eternity is plenty of time to collect a dragon's horde worth of fortune. Life is too much fun to cash out just because you've lost all of your chips and it's too far to quit when you're ahead. I'm playing for keeps. I'm playing for the whole thing and I don't plan to stop until I have my own plane of existence."
How do you want to be seen by others?
"Easy. I want to be seen as a winner. I want to be seen as the best. I want people all across the realms to know me for my magic and my gambling. I want to them to remember me. Fondly if possible, but I'm not too picky on how they remember me as long as they remember me."
How do you see yourself?
"I'm simply the best. What more is there to say? I'm a wise wizard, I'm a great gambler, and I'm a dignified member of the aristocracy. To whit, I may also be the most peaceful bank robber to ever grace these sandy dunes and tumbleweed towns. I can assure you of that with absolute confidence. They don't call me Val the Bloody, now do they?"
Do you tend to make snap judgements, or stop and think about things?
"If I thought things through then my life wouldn't be very fun, now would it? Life would be so predictable, so boring if I spent all my life planning. No, no, I prefer to just act when inspiration strikes me. If you're fast enough, even a bad plan can become a good plan or at least an adequate plan. And worst case, at the very least I'll have a little bit of excitement to fill my day."
What haunts you?
"Losing. I remember every time I've lost. There's nothing worse than losing. I hate, I HATE to lose. It doesn't matter to who and it doesn't matter how little or how much. Losing is for losers and I'm not a loser! If anyone says different I'll send them to abyssal plane. I'm a powerful wizard. I can do that. Of course I can do that! Just watch me!"
What is your philosophy on life?
"Someone, probably an ancient wizard, once said that in gambling the many must lose in order that the few may win. He was wrong. It wasn't about the few. It was about me. It was always about me. You all have to lose so that I can win. It's a price that I'm willing to pay. Every time. Without a doubt. You'll just have to bear it. You can forgive me later. It will be fun, I promise."
- Performing Sleight Of Hand Tricks
- Casting Minor Cantrips To Entertain Herself
- Writing Ridiculously Irreverent Poetry
- Practicing Magic
- Having To Return Home
- Living A Boring Life
- Coffee and Booze
- Stupidity and Ignorance
- Rules and Pointless Traditions
- Early Mornings
- Physical Labor
- Lucky - Valanthe is lucky, very lucky, people, often people trying to kill her, have dropped their jaws in sheer amazement at her good fortune.
- Silver Tongued - For all her flaws, and they are many, lies pass across Valanthe's lips like holy truths. People tend to believe what she says, no matter how inane her conversation or how incredible her stories. This liberty enables her to spread falsehoods with impunity, deceive friends and enemies alike, and explain her way out of perilous situations.
- Will To Live - Valanthe is a scrappy failed noble. For someone so adverse to physical labor and so seemingly fragile she just plain refuses to lie down and die, even when that would be the most preferable option for everyone involved.
- Too Pretty To Hit - Valanthe has a noble, refined air about her and a force of personality that seems to remind people that there is great beauty in life. In short, she has a presence about her that sometimes leaves others reluctant to commit violence against her person, even when she really, really deserves it.
- Born Rich - Valanthe was born rich, very rich. She has all the benefits of an aristocratic upbringing and all of the arrogance to match it.
- Perceptive - Being a professional card shark requires an ability to spot what others do not and to catch what others might miss in the haste of the moment.
- Catlike - Valanthe has an uncanny elegance to her movements, moving far more quietly and agilely than a spellcaster should be expected or ever permitted to move. However, her frequent personal claims that she always lands on her feet have yet to be tested.
- Privileged Family Name - Despite having very little to do with her family, Valanthe can still sometimes rely on her family name to get out of trouble. Although this may necessitate waiting for a letter to reach her ancestral home and for her family to once again reluctantly bail her out of trouble.
- Disgraced - Valanthe has been disowned by her noble family. She is the latest and greatest failure her long line of heroic and exceedingly honorable ancestors. To say she is a disappointment to her family is to put things mildly.
- Poor Self Control - Valanthe has a remarkable inability to control her actions for very long. She wants what she wants and she wants it as soon as possible. And what she wants is to have as much fun as possible, consequences be mostly damned. The greater the risk, the greater the potential reward, the more compelling Valanthe finds the wager.
- Liar - Valanthe is an almost compulsive liar. She lives for the story. She lives for the fun of telling the story. What she doesn't live for is the truth or boring things like being honest. Fortunately for her own sake, she is a talented and well-practiced liar.
- Magic - As befitting the scion of a noble Elven House, Valanthe is a trained wizard, her teachers numbering among some of the finest and most expensive wizardly tutors that money could buy.
- Magic Specialization: Illusion - While a gifted wizard in general, Valanthe is a pure prodigy when it comes to magic from the school of Illusion. Her illusions are stronger and last longer than when cast by less innately talented illusionists. Worse yet for those who cling to an objective view of reality, Valanthe manages to do things with illusions that seem impossible even to other trained wizards.
- Magic Specialization: Enhancement - In no small part due to her professional interest in acquiring the riches of others, Valanthe has spent no small amount of time honing her ability to magically entrance and beguile others using magical means.
- Passable Shot - No stranger to danger and bad people, Valanthe is a capable enough shot with a firearm. A wizard, even a powerful wizard would be a fool not to be acquainted with the mundane weapons of the age. However, despite her familiarity with guns, Valanthe views them as terribly vulgar and brutish weapons, relying upon them only with the utmost reluctance and distaste. As such, she is unlikely to use her pistol unless she has run out of all other options.
- Sleight of Hand - Although Valanthe is confident that her magic will see her through her latest card-based endeavor, long experience has taught her that one should never rely completely on magic. As such, the talented wizard maintains an impressive repertoire of physical tricks in her pocket to deceive her opponents.
- Spellbook - An ancient leather-bound tome with pages of vellum that Valanthe claims to have won from a lich in a deadly game of cards that lasted several weeks without pause.
- Deck of Cards - Valanthe carries a simple deck of cards with her at all times.
- Karavastar Single Action Army Revolver - In situations when her magic fails her, Valanthe relies on a sleek, elegantly designed single-action revolver to see her through the day. Originally designed for cavalry officers of the Selalion army by the Karavastar Firearms Manufacturing Company, the Model M or Mediator is known as a reliable and notably accurate, if expensive, pistol. As the gun of choice for the landed gentry of yore, Valanthe feels it is the perfect weapon for someone of her noble origins.
- Leather Traveling Bag - To hold her worldly possessions and arcane ingredients, Valanthe uses a quality leather traveling bag that she purchased from a traveling gnome salesman at some point in the not-so-distant-past. However, its seems equally likely that she simply stole it.
- Gold Pocket Watch - The only possession that Valanthe seems to truly value is an ancient keywind pocket watch cast in gold that she keeps on her person at all times. Attached to the inside of the front cover is a worn and wrinkled photograph of two young Elven women wearing long evening gowns. Unfortunately for the curious, the exact details are difficult to make out at a distance due to the poor condition of the photograph.
"Join me, friend, and I will regale you with stories of my life and many adventures. You will of course have to buy me a bottle of champagne. A decent bottle. Allow me to educate you. Nothing is free in this part of the world and a bottle of passable champagne is far cheaper than most have had to pay to enjoy my company for an evening.
Now, it should not surprise you to hear that I was born the scion of an ancient and noble family. My family, House Vanatar, have served the King and Kingdom of Ilnathalas with distinction for untold centuries. To a commoner like you, it would be easier to think of my status as being practically the same as that of a princess. And before you ask, I'm not going to knight you. Unless you're willing to pay me in gold, lots of gold.
I grew up in the jeweled city of Numenlaur, the capital of Ilnathalas, famed for the towering arcane spires that still dominate the city. It is a city of unrivaled magic, ancient arcane mysteries, and powerful spellcasters. If you should find yourself with the opportunity, I would encourage you to visit. It is much cleaner and far more civilized than this place. No offense intended of course. This is a lovely, quaint town. I like these...cows. Yes. They are simply extraordinary. A credit to your fine town. What was it called again?
As a blue-blooded aristocrat I was brought up as my station demanded. My life was an endless string of carefully chosen nurses, servants, tutors, and friends. I learned proper manners, I learned what it meant to be an elf, a proper elf, a High Elf. To be a proper lady, one cannot just be a learned lady, so I learned to dance, to sing, to play a host of instruments, and to entertain. All in the hopes that it would permit my parents to find me a suitably prestigious match. My parents had high hopes that I would be able to further the peerless reputation of our family by marrying some prince or wealthy duke. Like any good parents of noble birth, they had planned out my life, career, and love far in advance of my birth.
Oh, what a great disappoint I must have been to them.
You see, I was always bright. Gifted even, especially in terms of my magical abilities. I was casting my first cantrips when I could still barely read or write. I suppose I was what one might call a problem child. I was stubborn. I did not listen well to commands. I did not heed the wise and generous advise of my beloved parents as I grew into a passionate early adulthood. I had a desire to live and learn that exceeded the polite expectations of noble society. Marrying some boring nobleman and spending the rest of my life as some glorified display piece was never my intention.
My sole escape in those early, dark days was magic. I buried myself in my books as I blossomed into a charming young lady. I hid myself away from the pointless pleasantries of the aristocracy. And I convinced my parents to allow me to attend the great Arcane University of Numenlaur. Magic I once thought, would solve all my problems. I was certain it would release me from my obligations. I believed it would set me free. Foolish. It was a foolish dream. I know now that magic can't solve your problems, but back then...ah well, I had great hopes for the world.
The Arcane University was a great disappointment to me. It was a place of great learning and it was place steeped in the mysteries of the arcane. But the great archmages were so boring, they were so old, and they were so afraid of the smallest risks. What price is a burnt down a building if it might bring you ultimate knowledge and turn lead into gold? I tried, I really did. I was taught by the some of the finest wizards of the age and learned much about the finer aspects of the magical arts, distasteful and boring as my teachers were socially. For several years I labored and languished at the Arcane University, learning a great many things but burying my sorrow in sweet, sweet wine.
As you may have guessed by now, the life of an arcane scholar was just not for me. I did not flourish under the stern gaze of ancient and lecherous wizards. I did not enjoy their attentions or their favors. I realized that I had to leave. I knew that I had to escape before I set the next lascivious wizard alight. It was no small feat to leave the Arcane University while avoiding the urgent summons from my parents urging me to return home in order to fulfill my filial duty.
Leaving my studies and my family behind, I fell in with the wrong sort of friends as my mother would have said. They were a wonderful group of runaway nobles, upstart peasants, and valiant vagabonds. Most importantly, they were interesting and they were fun. My new friends made me feel alive. They made me feel free. They were prone to acts of great artistry, chiefly in terms of thievery and fraud. It was a very exciting time for me. I learned so much about the world, the real world, the world that lay beyond the gilded cage of privilege. I learned to steal, I learned to lie even better, and I learned how to cheat at cards from true masters.
When my newfound group of friends encountered some problems with the heavy hand of the law in Numenlaur following a storied scam that targeted a minor Elven prince, I elected to branch out on my own in a less orderly place. Traveling westwards, I soon realized that going at it alone, especially as a woman was a dangerous proposition. The further I strayed from civilization, the less I found that my noble heritage protected me. It was almost as if people were jealous and they wanted to hurt me more simply because I was who I was.
Faced with few better alternatives I joined a moderately famous gang. Roleth and his gang were talented enough and more importantly they were clever enough to avoid attracting too much attention. It was easy to convince them to let me join. A powerful wizard with mastery over Illusion and Enchancement is exceedingly useful for a group of thieves keen on avoiding unnecessary violence. In short order, I participated in a number of robberies. I robbed some stage coaches. I robbed some general stores. I robbed some people. And I even robbed some banks. However, I was never violent...well, almost never. I'm not the violent type. It's just not my style. I prefer clever solutions to brute violence. I'm a wizard after all, not a common back-alley thug.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not a saint. I will kill if I have to, but I will not kill unless my life, or the lives of those close to me, are threatened. Now, don't look at me like that. I'm not some villain. I have simply always done precisely what I needed to in order to survive. I'm not a bad person. I'm not evil. I simply reorganize that we all care the most about ourselves. I am merely honest about my selfish motivations.
Eventually I grew tired of robbery, lucrative and peaceful as it was, and following some restructuring in the gang as a result of Roleth's untimely death during a bank robbery, I elected to pursue a hobby that I had been pursuing in parallel ever since I left the family estate in a professional capacity. I am speaking of course, of the most honorable sport of gambling. In short order, I became what what you might call an expert gambler, a so-called advantage player, which is to say that I took money from those less-skilled players foolish enough to bet against me. A vocation I proudly continue up to this day.
Although my string of victories is unmatched, I will admit that I have on occasion utilized my knowledge of spells from from the school of Illusion to my full advantage when facing a particular talented opponent. I have always found it much more palatable to consider the morality of my actions after I have won sizable amounts of money. However, I have always been a pragmatic wizard. I have never scorned the mundane or the wonders of technology. Unlike others of my arcane profession, I did not neglect learning and mastering mundane methods of cheating. Sleight-of-hand techniques and card manipulations are wonderfully simple ways to ensure that the game proceeds in your favor. With that being said, I always viewed marking cards with disdain, it is a unseemly practice and far too obvious. I was far more partial to switching cards or hand-mucking as they have come to call it, using false deals or shuffles to ensure that I received exactly the cards that I desired. It has been my great experience that a true expert player must be skilled in the art of riffle and overhand stacking, so as to build the deck of cards in front of them to their own liking.
Do not mistake me, friend, a gambler always needs luck to match their skill, and I have always been lucky. With luck, skill, and magic in hand I traveled far and wide. I sought out high-stakes games in which to gamble and free fools from the heavy burden of their money. It was a wonderful time. It was an easy time. I enjoyed the comforts and pleasures that only money can buy and the favor that only the lucky are granted.
Eventually I found myself in Forsaken. I hadn't intended to stay for long. I was simply passing through. But I got bored. Very bored. And so I decided to play some cards. I was doing very well. I was winning. Unfortunately, the locals found it suspicious when I won twelve hands in a row and took most of their money. They summoned the Sheriff and I found myself under arrest. Without any proof that I had been cheating, mind you. A tragically grievous offense against justice.
In a stroke of great luck, I managed to convince the Sheriff to let me go. I had heard of the recent incidents and so I offered my help. A powerful wizard is more useful hunting down a killer than rotting in a jail after all. Besides, how long could they really have kept me in there for "cheating" during a game of cards."
ℂ𝕙𝕒𝕣𝕒𝕔𝕥𝕖𝕣 ℚ𝕦𝕠𝕥𝕖: "Why should I obtain by force that which I can obtain by cheating?"