Here’s a backstory of a character that I wrote up for an unfortunately short-lived play-by-post game. The game was supposed to run Pathfinder’s Skull and Shackles adventure path, a pirate themed adventure. I had hoped to play Makimbe, a witch from the the Mwangi Expanse from Pathfinder’s Golarion campaign setting.
I drew my inspiration for this character from the fantastic cover art of Marvel’s Doctor Voodoo #3 by Marko Djurdjevic .
The writeup below is my imagined conversation between Makimbe and a new shipmate.
Why do you look at me this way? You never eat snake? Yes chicken is better but still I chose the snake. Oh, you wish to know why is still eat it? Okay. If you bring me more wine I will tell you why.
Here it is. It is simple. I like to eat snakes. I eat them whenever I can as it helps me to remember that I was once weak and full of fear and did nothing to save my family.
I once lived in the small village of Ekowa, but a short days walk from the beautiful city of Nantambu. I remember well the first few honeyed weeks with my wife when we stayed in the city of chimes, listening to the nightly music as we joyously learned how to share pleasure. I still carry a piece of glass from that magical time. How few the days were that we shared, for it was soon after we returned home that my life changed and my inner self was revealed to me. It was then that the shame of my cowardice was revealed and the ugly truth that befalls all those who stand frozen in fear.
We had returned to the village and our families were eager to show off the new home where we would live. They had worked while we were away and built a strong and beautiful hut for us on the edge of the village, near where the fresh stream flowed past the dirt path that led back to Nantambu. It was a fine hut for my family held some say in the village. I had not know my father for he had died when I was young, but my mother was the spirit elder and very little happened in the village without her knowing or consent.
On that one terrible day, my mother looked me in the eye, the way that only mothers can, and told me to leave for a while as she needed to speak with her new daughter. I laughed and gave a quick wink to my wife as I fully expected her to be told all the duties of wifedom and how it was that she was to rule our home. I knew there was more to it having listened to my mother speak of the sacred rights of ever since I was young, but still I walked out happy and content believing I was at the beginning of a joyous life.
I walked away down the path and sat behind a tree near the stream, watching the clouds drift slowly beyond the leaves above. The soft winds that day lulled me to sleep and I awoke as darkness was descending to a thundering crash and the beat of horses as they ran along the nearby path. Looking up quickly I saw terrible men, wearing metal vests and metal hats, screaming with fury as they rode with sword and spear into my village.
I ran back to my home, hiding in the darkness of the trees wherever I could. Oh how I still remember my fear of those men. The men on horses. The men who threw fire, while we shot arrows. They were not from Mwgawi. They carried the sour sweet smell of the northern peoples but they carried no flags, nor symbols to show who they were.
I scurried like a rat back to my home just in time to see my family being pulled out by these terrible men. My mother began screaming something that I couldn’t hear. But the soldiers would hear nothing of it and cut her down before her calls to the spirits could be finished. Then my dear wife was pulled from our new home by soldiers leering at her. I whimpered like a child as I hid behind the wood pile even as they threw her to the ground. It was then that the other man appeared.
“Look out! It’s Harrigan”, shouted one of the soldiers. The man on top of my wife, looked up in fear at Harrigan, and scampered away, leaving my dear wife to the pirate captain. Harrigan held a sword to my wife’s throat, eyeing her with pleasure. He began to cut her clothes off on the grass before our hut when I finally stood up and yelled meekly for him to stop.
I still remember Harrigan’s eyes. They looked down at me as if I were nothing but a worm.
“She yers?” He spat out. “Now she’s mine,” and he threw me a copper coin in mock payment. I grabbed the coin and went to throw it back at him when my wife kicked free and started to run.
“No one runs from me!” he yelled angrily. With a sharp flick of his wrist a single dagger flew through the air, straight into the back of her head. She was dead before the ground stopped her fall.
“Take him.” he commanded and soon I knew no more for a time.
When I again awoke I was in the hold of a ship, moored somewhere, probably Bloodcove. There were many others with me as well. A few I recognized from my village, but many I did not. I soon learned that we were to be sold to slavers and taken deep into the south. I do not know for how long I was in that ship, only that it was Captain Dumont who boarded the ship and set us free. I’ve been sailing the seas ever since.
Oh. I never explained the snake. Here. This be the coin. See the symbol stamped into it. It be the snake in the shield. It’s the coin Harrigan threw at me. I’ve carried it ever since.
I promise that one day I will find Harrigan. I will give him back this coin and then make him pay for what he has done. I promise this.
Here. I have eaten enough snake. Give me the chicken.