Skeksil the Corch
"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." - St. Augustine
Skeksil was hatched in some deep corner of Undermountain near Skullport to an organized crime family of kenku thieves and murderers. When he was still a little fledgeling, his family became ensnared in some rather nasty politics with some Skullport slavers and Myrkul cultists. Their involvement eventually drew a number of Waterdhavian adventurers to their lair to wipe them out. Skeksil and a few others managed to escaped the slaughter and fled into the city.
While still very young, Skeksil was casing the warehouse being used by a smuggler ship when he saw a most beautiful statuette being crated up - a black raven exquisitely carved from obsidian with dark garnets as eyes. He'd never wanted something so bad in his life. He followed the crate to the ship it was loaded onto and the night before it was to leave port, he crept on board in search of his prize. Searching the ship's hold, he finally found the crate he sought, carefully prying open the boards he reached in and laid claim to his prize...
He was no longer on the ship. Instead he was somewhere else, far, far away - quite possibly one of the Hells, Gehenna? The Abyss most likely - he never did study religion and the planes much. He was on one of the Planes of Awful that was for certain. Before him was a massive creature, some horror that was a demonic joining of raven and man, with four wings and a beak filled with hundreds of needle-like teeth. His red eyes were the same dark red as those of the garnet eyes of the statue. The creature introduced itself as the Great Lord Pazuzu, Master of All the Sky of the Worlds Above and Beyond. It offered the young Skeksil access to unfathomable power and a wish - seemingly with no catch, the power would be his to do with as he wished, Pazuzu simply wished for the best for all of his children, the creatures of the air and sky, such as what Skeksil was destined to be.
This took him back. Skeksil had grown up on his mother's tales of the ancient tengu of Kara-Tur, their magnificent winged ancestors. And he had always felt a longing for the freedom promised by the skies high above, and here in Pazuzu's presence, it was intensified into an all consuming fever.
Young Skeksil made his wish - "I WANT TO FLY!". Pazuzu smiled, which is to say he opened his beak filled with doom needles wide, it was not pleasant to watch and he reached out his massive talon and raked it across Skeksil's chest. Blood blossomed out and the youth fell to the ground. Pazuzu had plucked out his heart. Skeskil lie dying and watched as the demon lord devoured it. He then took the beautiful statue from the child's now limp grasp and inserted it into his chest, where his heart had once been. Then stitched the wound closed with the touch of the same talon that had rent him open. "You now have my power to do with as you see fit. And I grant your wish." He presented a pair of cuffs and snapped them around Skeksil's ankles, they sprouted little black wings that fluttered for a moment before vanishing. Skeksil's mind was reeling, the pain in his chest barely diminished from the moment of trauma before, but his indignance mustered him past it all, "This is not what I meant!" he yelled at the demon lord. Pazuzu "smiled" once again. "Then you should have been more specific and less careless with your words. I have completed my side of the bargain - i have granted you flight and I have gifted you with my powers, and I've asked for nothing more from you than to go out into the world and use them as you wish, trusting in you to make the right choices. I'm very generous am I not? But - if you want more, that can be arranged. Perhaps do me some small favor here and there in the future, and I might grant you the wings upon your back that you crave so badly. I am Pazuzu, speak my name thrice, and I will hear your call and know your mind. If you seek to serve my will and I have use of you, I will come and you might earn those wings."
Then Skeksil woke up. He was still on the ship, clutching the oddly warm statue in his talons. He suddenly became very aware of two rather alarming issues. One, it was daylight and the ship was moving. And two, the captain and a few of her men were standing over him, discussing how best to dispose of their stowaway and the moral debate on whether or not eating him would constitute as poultry or cannibalism.
Captain Liayra, an elven woman with golden skin and snow white hair, decided to keep him. She didn't even seem very bothered by his theft, allowing him to keep the statue, saying that it was a cheap trinket among many that she'd received in trade from a Chultan trader. She later confirmed that it was indeed nonmagical, she has the ship mage check all cargo for the chance that a magical item might crop up, which she can sell for considerable profit.
Skeksil grew up on that ship and Liayra and the crew became his family. They called him the Corch, the elven word for crow, not only because of his race, but also because his keen eyes often put him in the position of lookout in the crows nest. The strange arcane powers granted to him by his deal with the demon continued to grow and he learned to manifest them through his skill at arms and powers of deception and misdirection.
He loved the sea, sailing was the next thing closest to flying, the freedom it offered was an exhilarating drug that he never grew weary of.
Skeksil always feels a bit shameful and embarrassed when he uses the wings Pazuzu "gifted" him with. It's all a bit undignifying, but he cannot deny how useful they are. He has tried calling upon the demon lord twice since. Once in a moment of desperation during a storm, in which case he was told that if he couldn't weather a little rain he was unworthy of the lord's attention. And a second time, hoping to convince the demon to give him said task that would earn him true wings. Pazuzu didn't even bother to respond, instead a tiny yellow imp-like creature appeared, handed him a scroll, ate one of the ship cats and vanished. The scroll read, "You have nothing to offer me. When your fortune changes and I find use of you, I shall come."
Time would pass and the crew would change from time to time as people came and went. Captain Liayra eventually retired, choosing to settle in Luskan and much of the crew scattered. Since then Skeksil has found work and sailed aboard a number of other ships, some legit trading vessels, others not so legal. He is always dedicated to the captain and crew he serves with at any given time - that loyalty and dedication is often the only thing that can keep a crew alive and intact in crisis, though he misses the close knit nature of Liayra's old crew.
Skeksil is 5' tall with jet black feathers and solid black eyes. He prefers to wear loose tunics and baggy pants or skirts so as not to uncomfortably ruffle the feathers of his upper legs and torso with studded leather over it. He is armed with a somewhat sinister looking rapier; the blade is very thin, but jagged and the hilt and guard seemingly shaped from razor sharp metal to form infernal runes. Upon his belt hangs a hand crossbow, an obsidian raven statuette secured by a reinforced leather thong and an assortment of pouches and satchels.
- Equipped: studded leather armor, rapier, hand crossbow & bolts, Winged Cuffs, dagger
- Carried: satchel, 2x pouch, coin purse, obsidian raven statue (this is his warlock foci - a cold lump of glass that is "discomforting to hold" to others, but to him it is warm and throbbing), navigation tools, thieves' tools, fishing tackle, a foreign gold coin (a gift from his mother, the only thing he has from his childhood)
Stored Equipment: Backpack, 50' silk rope, blanket, spare clothes, crowbar, healer's kit, lamp, flask of oil, mess kit, tinderbox, waterskin
- The ship and sea provides.
- Liayra - retired smuggler in Luskan. She and Skeksil developed a familial relationship, much like a favorite aunt and her nephew, who also worked for her - and she was a strict and mean boss.
- Carl - the not too bright cabin boy that had served on Liayra's ship. Last time in port, Skeksil found him working the docks of Waterdeep.
- Skekna - one of the few survivors of his Undermountain family. She is a member of a one of the Skullport thieves guilds. When their paths cross they will enjoy a meal together and exchange stories of their lives.
- Pazuzu - Jackass.
- Smokey, Missy, Garf, Rincewind, Dash and Ursula - ship cats.